Category Archives: layette

Smocked Knit Nightgowns!

As I was going through many of my older magazines, I came across a pattern for a smocked knit nightgown in an old AS&E magazine.  I decided that I had to try smocking on knits.  I think this would be so sweet as a coming home from the hospital gown for the young moms that are more casual and wouldn’t do a smocked day gown.  I pulled out a white knit from my “stash”, but was too lazy to dig deep into the stash.  Instead, I called my best friend and told her I needed some ribbing to make the nightgown.

What is it about shopping in someone else’s stash that is so much more fun than going through your own???  She had pulled out several knits and some ribbing.  I went home with 2 pieces of knit from her stash and a couple of options for ribbing.  Then I went to work.

Because we didn’t find a good match for the white fabric (you know how many shades of white there are!), I chose to use yellow.  This white fabric is really nice, but heavy!  It is the weight of those “beefy” T’s.  It was a real bear to get through the pleater – much like pleating corduroy or velveteen.  Once I got it pleated, it was a dream to sew and to smock.  I smocked my design rather than what was included in the magazine.

The next nightgown that I worked on was the lavender rosebud print from my friend.  I made 2 of those.  It was a nice, lightweight knit and easier to sew.  I’m in the process of smocking it, but include it in the pictures anyway.  The next gown that was made was the pink gown with long sleeves shown in the next picture.  After finishing it, I determined that those sleeves are much too long!

With 4 gowns finished, I went over to deliver hers and we proceeded to go through more of her stash.  She pulled out her harder to get to knits (you know how those stashes are squirreled away!) and I went home with a LOT more pieces of fabric.

With the new pieces of fabric in my sewing room, I cut and pleated up 9 gowns in one day and then stitched up one of them that evening.  I’m telling you, these are so quick to make!  Once cut, I think it takes about 40 minutes to completely sew the gown – and that includes counting the pleats to find the center.

These last 2 are “vintage” Carter’s knit fabric.  Does anyone else remember when you could shop at outlet shops and buy the fabrics and trims as well?  This was LONG before those yellow “sort of” outlets that are all over the place.  I think that the lavender may be from a children’s wear outlet as well.  These knits have aged well and are now ready to smock!

While I would always choose a beautiful daygown for a baby, so many young moms haven’t got a clue what a daygown is and they certainly don’t want to iron.  I think these nightgowns along with a burp pad and bib will make a lovely baby shower gift!  If you disagree, please don’t burst my bubble – I love believing that these will be enjoyed and used.  😛

The gown pattern was in AS&E #19 – an older magazine and probably difficult to find. It came ins a NB – 12 lb. size as well as a 12 – 18 lb.   It has 3 sleeve options so that is nice.  I love the little puffed sleeve!  So sweet and little girlish.  In the magazine it is longer and designed to smock.  I didn’t want to smock the sleeves and so I shortened them and added the cuff that was designed for the straight short sleeve instead.  I’m really happy with the results.  I have a few other suggestions if someone has that magazine and plans to make the nightgown.

  •  The long sleeves are way too long.  I made the sleeves on the pink gown according to the pattern.  For the other gowns, I trimmed 1″ off the sleeve length and I think another 1/2″ could easily be removed.
  • The shoulders at the back yokes don’t fit together properly – the back shoulder is 1/4″ wider than the front shoulder.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I chose to smock a simple design on the dress and then graphed it out to share with my readers.  I also changed up the graph to be suitable for a Wee Care dress or a tiny bishop.  I hope that you will enjoy it!  This is suitable for any small space that you want to smock – including a bonnet!

I think that this little gown could easily be made by adapting a t-shirt pattern – maybe even one from Kwik Sew.  I’ll have to look into that.  It would be adorable as a tiny dress with matching panties as well.

So, after completing 8 ready to smock gowns, I put the other 5 that I have cut out away and brought my serger in for a spa treatment!  It is much-needed.  I’ll be working on a French pattern next.  Stay tuned for a report on that.

*** Please excuse the bad pictures, I was having a bad picture day today and seemed that nothing was in focus.  Ugh!***

Sweet Baby Bishop

I have finally had some time to do some relaxing sewing/smocking!  While we were away at the beach, I smocked such a sweet bishop dress that I wanted to make for a baby gift.  Another couple in our Bible study group just had their first granddaughter a few weeks ago.  So, this was the perfect opportunity to stitch a little dress for the baby.

It was so relaxing to sit and stitch without the pressure of deadlines.  I knew once we got home that I would be stitching with a deadline again, so I enjoyed every minute of this relaxing, no-pressure stitching.  Of course, being at the beach certainly helped!

After stitching the dress, I decided to keep my illustrator skills sharp and graph the design.  For my dress, I loved the pink/yellow combination, but any combination of pastels would be lovely.  I used DMC#963 & 3078.  I thought I’d share the smocking plate with my readers.  😊   I gave this smocking design the same name as the baby it was gifted to!

The hem treatment was so easy – I folded up the hem depth twice and then stitched the tuck, encasing the hem at the same time.  I added ribbon and a bow above the hem just for interest.  I think it’s a nice option to add just a bit of color.

I also stitched a couple of bonnets while I was at the beach, but I’ll save those for another post.

Upon my return home, I got right down to sewing the next dress for the Classic Sewing magazine.  If you enjoy smocking and heirloom sewing, you should consider a subscription to the magazine – it provides so many patterns and free downloads with each issue.

I just received my fall issue of the magazine last week and was thrilled to see how beautifully they photographed the dresses that I’d submitted for this issue!  Could the models be any cuter!!!

I guess that means that it’s time to think about some fall sewing!!!  What will you be stitching?

 

 

Busy! Sewing, Teaching and Drawing!!!

This is my busy month of travel.  Two weeks ago I was in Houston teaching for the Midnight Oil smocker’s guild and had a wonderful time with that group of ladies!  They did a fabulous job working on their techniques and dresses and I’ve seen a couple of pictures of the finished dress already.  No grass is growing under their feet!   This is the dress that they were making:

I’m heading out today to teach in Virginia for the Seaside Smockers guild.  I’m looking forward to a good workshop with them.  We will be doing the Annalise top and some picture smocking.

With my busy schedule, I haven’t had a lot of sewing time.  So, between classes I decided to do a bit of my charity sewing for the tiniest of babies.  I made several sets of the Teeny Tears diapers to go with the Wee Care gowns that our SAGA guild makes.  These were already cut out, so it was just a matter of sewing them.

Next up was a sweet little gown made for an under 1 lb. baby.  A set of diapers was made to match this gown as well.

The last project was for the Caleb Ministry and features some pretty, pin-stitched lace details.

In addition to sewing, I have been hard at work learning how to draw on the computer.  Several years ago I learned (with the help of Claire Meldrum) how to graph smocking designs on the computer.  It took several years along with many tears and frustration, but I finally “got” it.  I’m definitely NOT a computer person.

My goal at the beginning of last year was to become more proficient in Adobe Illustrator so that I could diagram stitches and techniques in my class notes.  I worked hard at it and have been able to do many of the stitches and diagrams, though not all.  So, these last couple weeks I’ve been working at learning some of the different “tools” available in the software.  I have really enjoyed the process and have learned more in the last couple weeks that I believe will make my drawings even better.

My first drawings were for a new correspondence class that I have been working on.  It is a French machine sewn bonnet, so involved drawing many illustrations of lace joining, which I’ve done before.  I expanded the illustrations and when the bonnet was finished, I drew a picture on the computer as well as took a photograph.  I’m quite pleased with the results.

The computer drawing of the bonnet:

I still can’t draw gathered lace very well, but that will improve with practice.  LOL!

Taking the drawing even further, and with the new brush tools I’ve learned, I have drawn a bishop dress.  I’m really happy with the results and think that they look very much like a charcoal sketch.

So, that’s what I’ve been up to!  Hopefully when I return I will be able to sew a bit more!  I hope that sewing is on your summer schedule!

Keep on stitching…..

Kathy

More Little Things….

In case you can’t tell, I’ve had so much fun creating so many sweet little things.  I though I’d share some more of them.

After smocking one of the SAGA Wee Care bishop gowns, I made up the diaper cover pattern as well as a smocked bonnet to go with it.  For the preemie smocked bonnet, I used the free pattern that has been graciously provided by Laurie Anderson.  She has excellent instructions!  If you don’t know how to smock and would like to learn, she also has some fabulous u-tube videos (for those visual learners like myself!).  It’s easier than it looks!

IMG_9966

Laurie also includes a simple smocking design with her pattern.  🙂  It works up quickly and is very appropriate for beginners.

IMG_9964

I thought that this made a beautiful set for a preemie baby!

The next girl set that I finished I have already shared a picture of the gown, but without the bonnet since I didn’t have that pattern ready yet.  This bonnet pattern is now available.  The embroidery design is from “Designs For Shadow Work Embroidery and Fine Embroidery” – designed by my late friend Lane Edwards and  published by her daughter, Donna Krezelak.  The design on the bonnet is as it appears in the book.  I modified it for the corner design on the dress – a simple matter of rotating half of the design.

IMG_9950 IMG_9949

I love everything about this sweet set!  I chose a simple embroidery design so that it could be completed quickly and sent out to the expectant mom.

Not wanting to leave the boys out with the pattern, I also included boy designs as well as a girl design with a brim, though my favorite is definitely without the brim.  There’s a total of 4 bonnet styles, all lined, in the pattern The pattern also includes instructions on how to apply piping so that it is as tiny as possible and how to apply the gathered lace with plenty of tips for that.

What father would love this little bonnet with the embroidered horse?  Unfortunately, I cannot tell you where I purchased this design.  During my early machine embroidery days I lacked the computer skills/knowledge required to adequately file and note designers.  Thankfully, I’m past that now, but I have thousands of designs that I have no clue where they came from.

IMG_9970

This is another sweet embroidery design.  I though that it may be from Martha Pullen, but I didn’t couldn’t find it online.  Perhaps someone else knows.  Both the horse and the puppy designs were shrunk somewhat to make the size more appropriate for these 4 – 5 lb. bonnets.

IMG_9974

The last bonnet to design was a girly one with a brim.  For this embroidery, I used a design from Joy Welsh.  She has some beautiful and very reasonably priced embroidery designs.  I particularly liked this design with the featherstitching and hope to make a matching dress or diaper shirt to go with this.  She also includes tips on how to make this a continuous design that can be used all around a hem, or can be made into insertion lace.  I haven’t tried that yet, put it’s in the plans!  Hopefully soon!

IMG_9982

I’ve enjoyed creating these special little things for some special little babies.  I had never intended to offer patterns, but several ladies requested the patterns, so I decided to offer them.  There’s very few tiny preemie patterns available.

I hope others will enjoy sewing some of these patterns as well.  For all those women that don’t have little ones to sew for , these make wonderful gifts and are also much appreciated if you choose to donate them to a hospital or to the Wee Care project of SAGA.  The piped bonnets can be made up in no time at all!

Enjoy some fun stitching!!!

 

Preemie Pattern Options

I am still playing with the preemie clothes/pattern and enjoying every minute of it. The pattern is available on Etsy.  I most recently finished up another asymmetrical diaper shirt, but lengthened it to be a daygown length.  This was so simple to do and the dress is so sweet!

IMG_9950b

To lengthen the gown is a simple process.  Extend the side seams another 5″ longer than the pattern piece on the back as well as both of the front pieces at the side seam as well as the front seam.  Then slide the front piece down and draw the hem curve back in on the right front piece.  Voila!!!   You’ve now got a daygown!!!  Of course, the longer length will require more entredeux and lace.  🙂

The lengthened dress needed some embroidery on the front.  In honor of my dear friend, Lane Edwards, I used one of the embroidery designs from her book, “Designs For Shadow Work Embroidery and Fine Embroidery”.  This book was published by her daughter, Donna Krezelak.  There are some exquisite embroidery in that book as well as the other 2 books she published under her own name.

Lane went to her home in heaven last month, July 13, 2016.  She was someone who I admired not only for her exquisite embroidery skills, her unending talent with the needle and thread, but also her unshakable faith and love for the Lord and her family.  She was one of the most godly women that I know and I will always treasure the friendship that we had.  I wanted to embroidery one of these gowns in her memory.

If you don’t have any of Lane’s books and you enjoy embroidery, you can often find them on Amazon or Ebay – snatch them up!  They have lots of beautiful embroidery designs, most included in 3 different sizes.  I use mine often and I’m sure that you will as well.

 

 

Sewing For Preemies…….

IMG_9920

I’ve been absent from blogging for a while.  Summer has been busy with travels, vacations as well as working on sewing projects/classes/patterns.  I have gotten a lot done, but don’t have a lot of sewing to show for it.  More of the work has been on class notes, pattern drafting, etc.  All of which are needed things, but not the fun sewing that I enjoy.

After several weeks of not touching the sewing machine, I just had to sew something.  I’ve had so much fun these last few days working on some preemie baby things.  A dear friend of mine will soon has some grandchildren on the way!  I’m so excited for her and have been praying for those little ones.  I suspect that the babies may be early.  Of course, they would need some preemie sized clothing.  I went on the search for some cute preemie boy patterns.  I was so discouraged at what I found, or rather, what I didn’t find!

When searching for preemie patterns, there are plenty of freebies out there, but they are mostly hand drawn kimono type garments.  I was looking for something that looked more like real clothes and not something to be worn for bed.  I finally gave up and decided to draft my own diaper shirt and diaper covers for the little guys.

IMG_9919

This was the first outfit that I finished.  I used the sweet bonnet pattern that was included in a recent SAGA News for a matching bonnet.  Judith Marquis designed this bonnet and the pattern is available for purchase and has multiple preemie sizes included.  I can’t wait to get to the SAGA convention and purchase the pattern so that I have all the sizes!

I just love these diaper covers!!!  They are designed similar to the vintage pattern styles with no elastic in the legs.  They are my favorite!

IMG_9923

Here’s what I have discovered as I’ve looked for preemie patterns.  The few that I found available were sized either 3 – 7 lbs. or 4 – 7 lbs.  Therein lies the problem that I have with those patterns.  If something is large enough for a 7 lb. baby, it’s going to be enormous on a 3 or 4 lb. baby.  The seamstress in me cannot wrap my head around how a 3 lb. baby could wear anything that is something that a 7 lb. baby could wear.  Here’s a visual:

IMG_9922

The doll on the left is the size of a 7 lb. newborn – same length, torso length, chest, waist, etc. while the doll on the right is the same size and has the same measurements as a 5 lb. preemie.  (Just for reference, I don’t consider a 7 lb. to be a preemie but a , so also don’t consider clothing that goes to 7 lbs. to be preemie sized but a NB size.  Yep – I’m strange!)  It doesn’t take much to figure out that the same sized outfits will not fit both of these 2 dolls.  I didn’t have a doll the same size as a 3 or 4 lb., but the difference there would be even more significant.

I also was unable to find any diaper shirts and diaper cover sets in a pattern for the preemies, and that’s what I had my heart set on.  So, after a pattern draft, a trial garment, some minor corrections and more sewing, I’ve been able to create 2 outfits and make 2 slightly different shirts.  I’m quite pleased with the little outfits.

IMG_9927

I love the asymmetrical shirt and think that the blank space would be perfect for a monogram.  Not knowing what the boys will be named, I opted for a cute rocking horse design.

IMG_9928

Now that I have the pattern drafted, I hope to get instructions written up.  We’ll see how that goes.  I’d much rather be sewing than writing instructions and taking pictures!!!

Until I can find other preemie (as in, up to 5 lbs.) patterns, this will be my go to pattern for preemie boys!

I have no problem with preemie dress patterns.  The SAGA Wee Care gown is a wonderful smocked bishop dress and I know it fits little ones great!

Several years ago my niece was born prematurely weighing 1 lb. 12 oz.  She spent  time in the NICU until she was big enough to go home.  I made her some 1 – 2 lb. size smocked Wee Care gowns.  This is a picture of her at 5 weeks in one of those gowns.

thumb_IMG_2031_1024

The little gown fit perfectly!  As she grew, I also made her some 3 – 4 lb. gowns and she wore those as well.  I think she may have been the best dressed little girl in the NICU.  🙂  We thank God that she’s a healthy teenager now!  I cannot say enough good things about this SAGA gown.  If you know of a preemie that needs a tiny dress, this SAGA one is sure to be a good fit.

That’s the extent of my recent sewing.  I hope you’ve been able to fit some sewing in this summer as well!