Category Archives: machine embroidery

Sewing Wee Care Sets

‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ (Matt. 25:40)

October is National Infant Loss Awareness Month, so in honor of our 5 grand babies in heaven and their strong mammas, I’ve chosen to work on sets for these little ones that will be donated to both our local Smocking Arts Guild (the guild donates to local hospitals) as well as to Caleb Ministry (they provide memory boxes as well as counseling for women that have suffered infant loss).

I have had several gown sets in the works and living on my dining room table while waiting for the finishing touches – this month was the perfect time to start finishing them.  All of the gowns are made from the SAGA Wee Care #1 pattern, available to all SAGA (Smocking Arts Guild of America) members.

I have taken this opportunity to work on the pleated sleeve option for the gowns as well so that they are a better fit for these tiny babies, so I cut out boy gowns in all the sizes from under 1 lb. – preemie.  The cute frog embroidery was from the A to Z bullion book, but revised to be slightly smaller.  The diaper set is from Teeny Tears.

This set is a preemie size.  The cute sailboat embroidery is from appliqueforkids.com.

This sweet set is also a preemie size.  The smocked bonnet pattern is the tapered smocked bonnet  pattern by Laurie Anderson.  The hem & blanket embroidery design is from Fromtheneedleofanne.com, though I cannot remember the name of the set.  I use it all the time because it takes only about 8 minutes to stitch out and it is beautiful.

This next set is a 1 – 2 lb. size.  The smocked bonnet pattern is by Judith Marquis called The Preemie Baby Boy’s Bonnet.  It compliments the rest of the set perfectly.

This sweet gown set features embroidery by appliqueforkids.com called Nap Time.  The bonnet pattern is now available in my Etsy shop.  I had previously had only the preemie (4-5 lb.) size available but now offer the micro-preemie sizes (1 – 4 lb.) as well.

The embroidery design from Appliqué for Kids was so cute that I had to use it twice.  The smocking design on this gown was the giraffe from the Little Memories S. S. Noah plate – just revised a bit to use for the tiny gown and stitched with 3 strands of floss rather than the usual 4.

I have a few more gowns in the works and will complete them as time allows.  However, I wanted to share these sets and hopefully raise awareness for all of those families touched by infant loss.  If you are a seamstress and looking for a worthy cause, there are so many organizations that would love to have you sew these tiny gowns for them.  There are plenty of non-smocked options such as this one for tiny gowns.  This kimono pattern comes from 7pinedesigns.com and the bonnet pattern is my micro-preemie pattern.  Other organizations accept hand knit blankets.  If sewing or knitting isn’t your thing but you still want to participate, Caleb Ministry accepts donations so that they can buy the supplies needed to create the special boxes that they provide (for free!) to all of the area hospitals in Charlotte.

I pray for the families that will receive these sets in the future.  I am happy that I can do something that might help them during this difficult time.   I hope that this post will inspire others to use their talents to bring a measure of healing to families that have lost their precious little ones.

Summer Sewing Wrapping Up

Since our beach trip, I’ve done plenty of sewing, but haven’t done any blog posts about it.  I guess that makes me a blogging failure.  LOL!  Part of my problem is that I’m having issues with photography in the studio.  I will have my technical support guy (hubby!) look at that this weekend.  So, you’ll get my iPhone pictures instead.  Not great, but the best I’ve got!

First of all, I made a casual version of the Spanish Lace dress that I photographed at the beach.  I like the casual version as well and see potential for it as a top!  I think older girls would love this.  I need to draft this in the smaller sizes.

Upon returning home, I had a package delivered to me from a SAGA group in MI that needed bias bands placed on the little gowns to finish them up.  Some needed hems.  All needed ribbons and snaps.  It was so nice to finish up these little gowns and have them ready to deliver to a hospital.

Another package arrived from Claire Meldrum (fellow SAGA teacher) who sent things to use for Wee Care as well.  One of the items was a lovely piece of handkerchief linen with the most beautiful hand embroidery on it!!!  Initially I thought I’d make it into a blanket, but then decided to take it as a challenge and make it into a little gown – placement was challenging due to the location on the piece of fabric.  I found the perfect pattern in a past SAGA News issue and made the dress showcasing her embroidery.  I was very pleased with how it turned out.

For inquiring minds, this pattern will be reprinted (I’ve been told) in the Wee Care issue of SAGA in 2020.

I’ve done a few pretty sets (blanket, bonnet & gown) for Caleb Ministry as well.  I forgot to include the blankets in the picture – whoops!

I then completed a few ready to smock gowns and bonnets that I can take with me when I travel.  They make perfect airport/airplane projects since they are so small.  I’ll share pictures of those when the smocking is complete.

These last few weeks I decided that it was time to complete some of my ancient UFO’s (Unfinished Objects).  The first one that I pulled out I had started for our youngest daughter, but obviously didn’t get it done in time!  It’s a size 4.  She celebrated her 27th birthday in July!  😯  It was time to finish this sweet dress.

I was quite pleased with how it turned out.  Although my sewing has changed and improved significantly over the last 25+ years, I didn’t want that to stand in the way of finishing this dress.  I am choosing to see the less than perfect sewing as a testament to how I’ve improved over the years and celebrating that!  The smocking design is something new that I designed.  If this is a style that you like, the Fall issue of Classic Sewing Magazine includes a pattern by Gail Doane that has the same pleated area in the front.  I would highly recommend getting a subscription so that you don’t miss a single issue!!!  I have a couple of dresses included in this issue as well.

Included in this issue is a download for a machine embroidered welt pocket that Joy Welsh of appliqueforkids.com created.  It is an AMAZING technique.  Who knew that a welt pocket could be done completely (and perfectly!!!) on an embroidery machine!!!  The gray dresses were done with Joy’s embroidery files.  The orange dress was done using the traditional welt pocket technique using a regular sewing machine.  Both methods are discussed in the magazine.  This dress pattern is included in sizes 2 – 7.

The next UFO was even older – can you believe that!!!  I started it when I was pregnant with our youngest.  😳  Well, now she will have it one day if she has a little girl!  Hahaha!!! I had obviously been inspired by a pleated front bishop – there had been an article in an old CN magazine with the directions.  So, yet another pleated front dress.  This dress is a size 6 mo. bishop day gown.  Again, I’m celebrating how far my sewing has come over the years.  I just love how this turned out.

So, what’s next on the list of projects – well, one more pretty day gown that has been started and is incomplete.  It has been all sewn, but needs a hem treatment.  The shadow work embroidery is completed down one side of the front, but not the other side.  It was also started for our youngest.  After sitting all these years, the blue wash out marker had faded away.  So, I’ve marked the embroidery on the side and am ready to start on that gown.  It is too pretty to not finish.  You can look for that in a future post.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed some fun sewing this summer as well.  What’s on your list of projects?

 

Let’s Start Summer Sewing!!!

Memorial day always marks the beginning of summer for me.  As a kid, that’s when school got out and summer holidays began.  I feel much the same about it today.  So, this past weekend I had cleaned up in my sewing room and was ready to start.

I began by finishing up a skirt that I’d started quite some time ago.  When I brought it over to try on the girls, Eva asked if I would make her a dress.  😊  She told me her favorite color was turquoise.  As it happens, I had turquoise fabric on the cutting table and a plan for it already!!!  So, I started on the turquoise dress when I got home.

My inspiration for the dress was this little Lilly Pulitzer dress that Ella wore when she was 2 years old.  I adore the style!

I had to do some figuring out on this!  Thankfully, all the girls wear a size 6 – Ella’s just needs extra length since she’s 9 years old.  Whew!  Only one draft needed. I wanted to copy all of the elements of the dress, down to the scalloped pockets and the zipper in the back.  The zipper was installed like they do in mass produced garments – it is encased in the neckline as well as both the lining and the dress seams of the zipper are sewn by machine.  It’s a nice, clean finish.

 I’ve managed to make it work – x3.  That said, I have to do some more thinking on the steps in construction.  I still don’t have it working as easily as I’d like.  There has to be a better way.

By the end of the day yesterday, I had 3 of these finished!!!  I have loved this print and been saving it for the right dress.  I loved this fabric so much, that I purchased in in all 3 color ways – turquoise, pink & lime green.  I’ve already made dresses in the other colors.

The fabric is wonderful – it’s a lightweight denim that it poly/cotton – so, no wrinkles and no ironing needed!!!  I know that will be appreciated!  What doesn’t show up in the pictures is that the center of the palm trees has silver sparkles.  The girls will love the sparkles!!!

I did managed to put the zipper in production style and am quite pleased with the way that it turned out.

I’ll be doing a little more math to get the lap slightly narrower.  Overall, I’m very happy with it.

My favorite part of this dress is the pockets.  I chose to pipe them rather than have a band of fabric like the Lilly dress features.

I used a monogram in the same hot pink color.  I like this monogram font so much, I’ve bought the identical font from 2 different sources.  It is either Fancy Monogram 1Font from Embroitique or it is Elegant Font from Applique Corner.  I’m not exactly sure which this one is, but I’ve used both and they both stitch out beautifully!

I decided to scallop the hem of the dress to match the scalloped pockets – that is where I made the dress a bit differently than the sample dress from Lilly.  I used the method that I described in an earlier post.

I’ll definitely be making more of these dresses for the girls.  Summer is here!  School is out at the end of next week, so I’d better hurry!

What does your summer sewing look like?

May Musings….

May is Mother’s day month and I am keenly aware of how blessed I am to have such a wonderful mother!  She has always been there for me, always loves me and has always been the best example of a godly Christian woman.  Her love for God, family and others has been constant and she lives out this love daily.   She has been a constant encourager to all of us, expecting us all to be the best that we can be and pointed us to Christ at an early age.  For that and so many other things, I’m so blessed!   I hope that I can be the same example for everyone that I am in contact with as she has been for me!

This picture is 2 years old, but I love it – this is my sister and mom – 2 lovely ladies in my life.

This is a more recent picture of mom, dad & their 4 kids at their 65th wedding anniversary party last summer.

I’ve also been blessed to be the mother to 4 wonderful children, the mother-in-law to 4 terrific spouses and the grandmother to 4 beautiful grandchildren here on earth and 5 more that I will meet one day in heaven.  I’m thankful that God has entrusted me with the role of mom & grandma and love all of those that he has placed in my life, including my loving husband of 42 years (we just celebrated our anniversary yesterday!).  I hope that I will have the positive and godly influence in their lives that my mom has had in mine!!!  This is a picture of our gang at the beach last summer.  As always, spending time with all of them is so much fun!!!  We’re looking forward to another beach trip this summer.

I have spent the last few weeks sewing tiny gowns and bonnets in memory of our precious grandchildren in heaven, in honor of their moms and in the hope of bringing a small measure of comfort to the moms that will receive these gowns for their little ones.  This is something that I try to do each year as I celebrate Mother’s day and recognize that for some it is a hard day due to losses.  I donate gowns to both our SAGA guild, which passes them on to area hospitals as well as to the Caleb ministry – a local ministry that provides wonderful support and has many resources for those that have suffered loss.

I have recently been blessed to receive fabric & laces from others that are no longer able to make these little gowns.  I have used all of the gifted fabrics and laces for these recent projects.  Thank you to all of those that have participated with me in this endeavor by sending me the fabric and lace.  ❤️

I have been trying to make more “sets” as opposed to just gowns.  The first set is a blanket, bonnet & gown in pale yellow.  the accent flowers were done in lavender.  The smocking design on the gown is one that our local SAGA guild donated to convention as table favors one year.  This gown is the SAGA Wee Care gown pattern and the bonnet is a free download from Laurie Anderson – unfortunately, I cannot get the link to work.  The pretty cross design was purchased at From The Needle of Anne.  Her designs always stitch out beautifully.

My cell phone pictures are so much better color than the ones taken in the studio.  Definitely need my technical support guy to check out the “problem”.  LOL!

The next set is done in pale pink, though for some reason I couldn’t get the colors just right when I took the pictures.  The same gown and bonnet pattern were used and the cashmere flannel blanket is so soft and sweet.  The smocking design was one that our local SAGA guild donated one year for convention table favors.  I don’t remember what embroidery design I used for this, but I suspect that it was from Martha Pullen.

The last 2 gowns don’t have matching bonnets as there was only enough fabric for the gowns.  You know how whites don’t all match!  I didn’t want a mismatched set to go to a family.  The white cross design is another From The Needle of Anne and the smocking design was my beaded design that was featured in a SAGA news magazine.

The aqua and white smocking design is an out of print design from Kathy Crisp called Tiny Baby Bishops – it is a favorite of mine to smock on these little gowns.  The cross on that dress is a Martha Pullen design from many years ago.

I have 4 more bonnets and gowns made up and ready to smock.  These are easy to pick up and work on when I’m traveling.  I like to have several on hand since they smock up so quickly.  I smocked all of these little sets while we traveled and enjoyed a weekend in the mountain with our friends.  I’ll leave you with these beautiful pictures from that trip.  Nothing can trump God’s beautiful handiwork!!!

The first waterfall we visited was spectacular!!!  We were able to walk behind it as well.

The second waterfall we visited was also pretty, but not nearly as impressive as the first.

We also did a small (2 mile) hike up the mountain.  We were up 4,000 ft.  The views were breathtaking from all angles!

I look forward to more stitching this week!  I’m working on a pretty embroidered pillow that I hope to share soon!!!  I pray that you will be able to count your many blessings as you stitch something beautiful!

 

 

 

A New Year, A New Pattern

It’s been too long since I’ve posted about my sewing adventures!!!  I was busy with Christmas sewing and couldn’t show the gifts and with all the extra activities that happen around the holidays, well, blogging just didn’t happen.

Last weekend I was in Houston, TX with the Midnight Oil smocking group and had such fun!  They are a great group with such talent!  I can’t wait to see their finished dresses – there were so many beautiful fabrics and laces chosen for the project.  Of course, I forgot to take pictures.

I have stayed busy sewing, designing and teaching – all things that I love.   My latest project has been finishing up this bonnet pattern!

I first made this bonnet years ago for Ella.  She looked adorable in it, as I’m sure that any little princess would!   The bonnet can be hand or machine embroidered on the bonnet brim and back as well, just adding to the sweetness without taking too much time to complete.

Over the years, I’ve had requests for this pattern, so I decided that this would be the first thing on my agenda for the new year.  I’m quite pleased to offer it in sizes 6, 12 & 18 mo. in my Etsy shop.

Need a cute and relatively quick gift idea for a new mom – this is perfect!

I am also working on new things for the Classic Sewing Magazine.  If you don’t subscribe, you’re missing out on so many wonderful patterns and ideas from a variety of fabulous designers.  You should consider checking it out!  Of course, I’m biased!!!  LOL!  You’ll have to wait to see pictures of those things.

If you’re interested in the dress pattern that matches the bonnet, that can be found in the Spring 2017 issue of Classic Sewing Magazine and was printed in sizes 1 – 5.

It’s time to be thinking about Easter and spring sewing if you haven’t already started!  I’m staying inside on this chilly day and making plans for some fun sewing for warm weather!!!

Happy stitching!!!

 

 

More Vida Dresses for Christmas!

I’ve been lazy about taking pictures lately.  These dresses were completed a few weeks ago when I was supposed to be enjoying a sewing retreat at the beach.  Well, I’ve finally added the appliqués to the dress, so thought that they deserved some decent pictures.

I’m pretty sure that the girls will love the dresses since they are bright colors.  I’m thrilled that I had the co-ordinating prints for the dresses!  These are the Vida dress pattern from Farbenmix.  Unfortunately, the pattern is out of print.  However, I’ve managed to snag an extra copy on the second hand market and I’ve decided that I’ll do a drawing for it!  Anyone that comments on my blog will be entered in the drawing for the pattern.  I will choose from the names on Monday, October 15th at 9am EST.  So, if this is a pattern that you’ve bee searching for, please leave a comment!

I wish I could remember whose embroidery file I used for the flower, but alas, it was weeks ago and has left my memory.  I’m sure that it would be easy to find something similar online. The monogram font is from Embroitique.

One of the things I enjoy the most about making these Vida dresses is choosing the fabrics and trims that I want to use.  These colors were a challenge!  I did manage to find some soutache in good colors for this dress, so I wove 3 different colors together to create a braid.

For the pink dress, I actually had some of the trims that were designed to go with the fabric, so they match perfectly!  I’m happy about that.

Now, if I can finish up a few more things and get them photographed, I’ll be able to post more ideas!

These are Christmas gifts for 2 of the granddaughters.  I hope you’re getting some of your Christmas sewing finished!!!

Kathy

Matching Dolly and Girls

I’m still busy stitching up a storm and enjoying every minute of it!  I have just finished dresses for Eva and Livvy and made matching doll dresses.  I know that they will love these!

I had this corduroy in my stash and all of the little girls have pointed it out and said that they loved it.  😊  I think it is the bright colors that they love.  I had a pink corduroy that also matched, so I chose the Children’s Corner “Rose” pattern.  It went together quickly and easily!  I chose to line the sleeves because I preferred a more finished inside to the sleeve.  Aside from that, I made it exactly as the pattern indicated.

Of course, the yoke needed a monogram!  I chose the Fancy 1 Monogram set from Embroitique.  I have always had beautiful stitch outs from any of the designs purchased from Embroitique!

 For the matching doll dresses, I went to my Genniewren patterns and chose the Jessica pattern.  Genine’s patterns always go together so well and fit nicely.  I did make a few changes to the pattern.  For easier dressing (aka: mom doesn’t need to help!), I changed the back so that it opened all the way down the back.  That is also how the girl dresses are made, so it also makes them more match-y.  LOL!

The Jessica dress has a puffed sleeve with a cuff, and I wanted to make it straight, just like the girl dresses.  To accomplish this, I folded out a little of the fullness in the sleeve and straightened out the lower edge.  While this isn’t pattern drafting at its best, it was an easy way to do it.  It’s a doll dress after all.  I was going for a quick fix, not perfect drafting.  To do this, I made 3 small folds in the sleeve – each being slightly less than 1/4″ – and then drew a straight line along the sleeve bottom.

It worked well enough for me.  This eliminated all the gathers in the sleeve, but leaves gathers in the dress front and back.

I like to close the doll dresses with snaps, and I always use the snaps from Snapsource.  The tool works well and I’ve never had an issue with the snaps coming out.  It is an easy tool to use and I highly recommend it.

I didn’t have enough of my corduroy fabric to make Ella a matching dress, so hers will be a coordinating dress instead.  That will work well – then Eva won’t have to wear the same dress again in a couple of years, though I’m sure she wouldn’t mind.

After completing these cute dresses, I did a quick sew and stitch on Sunday of another sweet Wee Care dress.  This dress was featured in the SAGA news in 2001 and again in later issues. I’ve been told that they are working on republishing the pattern for the Wee Care issue next year, so if you don’t have the earlier issues of SAGA news, you can wait until next year and then you’ll be able to stitch it as well.

That’s it for now.  I’ll be working on Ella’s dress as well as some Christmas sewing next!!!

Kathy

Sewing, sewing, sewing…..

I’ve been sewing a LOT since my last post, but many of the things aren’t quite finished, which is why I haven’t posted about them.  😛  However, without having deadlines, who knows when they will be finished, so I’ll go ahead and post the nearly finished things.  LOL!

First, I thought I should sew one of the Tamarack jackets from Grainline Studio that we are making in the class with the refugee women at Project 658’s Make Welcome Sewing School.  I felt better prepared after making the jacket.  Of course, it is lacking the closures.  The pattern recommends snaps.  We’ll see – might be buttons.

There are many of the instructions that I don’t care for, so some of them I did my way, while others I went with the pattern directions, but would do them my way next time.  I love the fabrics that I chose for the jacket, but I’m not sure that I’m a fan of the jacket.  Perhaps that’s why it isn’t finished!

If you decide to make this jacket, I would recommend quilting rectangles large enough to accommodate the pattern pieces and then cutting out the pieces after they have been quilted.  Quilting does shrink up the fabric a little and if you follow the pattern directions, which have you cut the lining, face fabric and lining of each piece, then sandwich them together and then quilt – well, the pieces don’t end up matching correctly at the edges, no matter how carefully you cut and stitch.  Then the quilted piece isn’t the same size as the pattern piece. I quilted first, then cut – much more accurate.

I chose to bind the seams inside, but am not a fan of how the bound seams match up with the bias outer edges (which has the very edge cut and unfinished).  Next time I’ll do a Hong Kong seam and I’ll finish the edges of the bias binding properly.  The pattern indicated to stop the side seam stitching at the “dot”, which is above the bias band.  I didn’t like that look so I stitched to the bottom of the bias binding.  I followed the pattern directions for the welt pocket, but will never use that method again.  I don’t believe that it is durable enough for constant use of the pockets.  One of the other volunteers teaches a more traditional way to stitch the pocket, which is how I’ve done them in the past.  I’ll continue using the traditional method in the future.  I like to try the pattern directions, but after that, things are done the way that I prefer.  Anyway, this is project #1 that is “nearly” finished.

Then, the next projects were supposed to be stitched while enjoying a sewing retreat at the beach with some special friends.  After a week of getting projects planned and supplies kitted, meal planning, grocery shopping and meal prep, hurricane Florence arrived and changed those plans!  Since I’d made kits for each dress, all the fabrics, trims, threads, etc. and the hard decisions were made, the kit made it easy to take out one project and move forward.  I had my “retreat” at home.

The first project I cannot show since it will hopefully make its’ debut in Classic Sewing magazine next summer.  Here’s a sneak peek – ignore the stray thread!  Hahaha!!!!  How did I miss that one???

Then I moved on to more Vida dresses that will be Christmas gifts.  These are for Ella and Eva, so the same prints in different colors.  You may remember that Livvy has the Minnie Mouse dress.  Of course, both of these are missing the buttons and buttonholes and I’m still deciding if they need a monogram or appliqué somewhere.

This was my quick, unprofessional cell phone picture of the dresses carefully placed on the coffee table!  LOL!  I love the Tilda fabrics and have been saving them for the right dresses and these were just the ticket!  Once I decide about what else is needed, I’ll have those finished and put away until December.

I also started another Minnie Mouse Vida dress for Livvy’s other cousin, but had to set it aside as I’m waiting on the last of the fabric to arrive.  So, another UFO – we’re up to 4 now.  🙄

In addition to all the fun sewing for the grandkids, I’ve been doing some sewing for Caleb Ministry, which is such a wonderful ministry to women suffering miscarriage/loss.  I have made 4 boy gowns with matching caps (the tiniest size doesn’t get a copy).  Thankfully, these are all finished!!!  No UFO’s.  I tried different thread colors to try to get the best match for the corded pintucks.  I think my favorite is the middle gown.  Now, to mark that one so that I know the next time!

The next thing I  tackled was embroidering hankies that are put in the memory boxes.  I think I embroidered about 20 of these.  The stitching goes quickly, but the prep work and set up takes forever.  The hankies need to be washed, ironed, starched and then marked for embroidery.  They do seem to take forever just to get little feet stitched on them.  I’m not a fan of production style sewing or the amount of stabilizer used for these, so these are definitely a labor of love.

The last group of embroidered items are the blankets.  I was given these blankets to embroider – someone else stitched the blanket edges.  They did such a nice job with the rolled hem edge – something I haven’t been able to master on my serger!  I think that there’s about 15 of these – 3 different sizes.

So, you can see that I had my personal sewing “retreat” and loved spending the time sewing with few interruptions.  It was good to have all that distraction from the hurricane happenings.  My thoughts and prayers go to all of those whose lives have been affected by this disaster!

After all that stitching, I cleaned up the sewing room and last night I cut out 2 dresses for the little girls.  I hope to start on them this week but need to do some cleaning in the rest of the house first!

What have you been stitching?  Have you started Christmas sewing yet?

Kathy

 

Baby Britches – Another Diaper Cover

I’ve been enjoying these smaller, quick projects lately.  The diaper covers fit the bill perfectly! After finishing up the Sweet Cheeks diaper cover pattern, I started working on a similar one that would work for baby boys as well as baby girls and came up with this version and called it Baby Britches.

Can’t you see this set on some little twin babies!!!   I love picture smocking, so that would always be my first choice for little boys and is often what I choose for little girls.  The smocked cars are from a Pat Garretson smocking plate called Danny’s Toys.  That smocking plate has several different small designs that would work on the diaper cover.

I had fun making these little diaper covers in all the sizes, including the doll size!  The smaller doll sizes take no time at all to make – perhaps 1 hour for smocking AND sewing them!

For the 2 diaper pictured above with the tiny sailboats, I smocked my own tiny sail boat design and am putting the design here so that others can smock this design as well.  You can download the graph by clicking on the blue words below.  🙂

tiny sailboats

Even for the picture smocking “challenged”, this is a simple plate with only 2 rows to picture smock.  The sails are trellis stitches, as is the flag.  I honestly think that anyone ought to be able to smock this tiny design!

I went out and purchased some little shirts to photograph the diaper covers with and think that both the onesies as well as the shirts look good with them.  Of course, I’m probably biased!  LOL!  I felt like I had my “Vineyard Vines” vibe going on with these with those pineapples and whales.

For easy dressing and a no-iron option for the tops, choose onesies!  Though I’m not particularly fond of them, they do allow the diaper covers to shine!!!

The little whale smocking design is a Kathy Crisp miniature design called Babies Ahoy.  You may still be able to find her plate online.  It has several tiny designs featured on the one smocking plate.  It was hard to choose which one to smock!  There are other small designs available to smock as well – just look at some of the smaller figures on picture smocking designs and you will see that you probably have more in your personal stash than you realize!

I like embellishing the back of the diapers as well and the little girls nearly always get some sort of ruffles while the boy covers can be monogrammed or they can have an appliqué design stitched.

I couldn’t resist doing some embroidery on the waistband for the little girl diaper cover – it offers a small area to embroider and took only a few minutes and I think adds a lot!

There are so many ways to embellish both the waistband as well as the diaper cover back!

With 2 doll sizes offered in the pattern (Bitty Baby size as well as a 12″ – 15″ size), I think these would also work well for Wee Care items for the hospitals.

I hope to see some creative ideas from all my smocking friends!  Until then, keep on stitching!!!

Christmas Sewing in July

I love getting a head start on Christmas sewing!!!  I was told that there is a Disney trip planned for Jan. 2019 and that the kids could use some special clothes for the trip.  While I’m sure that the intent was for 1 or 2 outfits, I have had so many different ideas in my head that who knows how many they will end up with!  LOL!

My first thoughts took me to the “Vida” dress by Farbenmix.  It continues to be a favorite of mine because of the fun in designing the dress with different fabrics and trims.  I definitely have to think outside the box for me.  My box tends to be classic, heirloom and smocking.  This dress is none of the above!  That said, I still have LOVED every Vida dress that I’ve made. The newest one is a Minnie Mouse dress, complete with a monogram.

Before starting the dress, I had to wash all the fabrics.  That slowed me down only for one day!  Then I got started on the dress the following day and had it finished by the end of the day.  I love it!

Since it is a brother/sister going to Disney, little brother needed something as well.  I chose a more masculine monogram for him and I think he will love it.  I purchased shorts to go with it, but my mannequin is too small for his size and the shorts fall off.  LOL!  Suffice it to say that he will not be without some cute shorts to wear with his shirt.

I spent countless hours on the computer looking through my thousands of embroidery designs.  Unfortunately, after looking for all the perfect appliqué designs for both outfits as well as the other outfits in the works, I can only recall that the fonts came from Kabo Designs on Etsy.  However, when I went to search for a link to share the fonts, I discovered that they are no longer selling embroidery fonts, but have changed to die cut outs.  So sad – the fonts stitched out beautifully.  I’m glad that I have so many to choose from.

Next up in the sewing room is another t-shirt for Liam.  I have Livvy’s princess carriage outfit finished and have selected his appliqué design.  I just need to stitch it out.

I am having such fun with this sewing.  I’m definitely going to make all the little girls a Vida dress for a Christmas gift.  I had forgotten how much fun it was to sew this dress!

Moving forward…..hope to get more things done!  I hope everyone else is enjoying some fun summer stitching!  Remember, Christmas isn’t that far off!  LOL!

How To Change A Neckline Tutorial

Like so many seamstresses, I have a plethora of patterns that I have secured over many years of sewing.  My sewing is primarily for children and mostly for girls.  Styles change, but the basic lines of classic styles don’t change much.  Most changes are seen in the size/style of collars and sleeves.  Dresses in the 50’s sported sweet tiny collars and small sleeves while the 90’s had large collars and huge sleeves.  I’m pretty sure that a beach ball could have been stored in some of those sleeves!  LOL!

One of the more significant changes that I’ve observed  recently has been in the comfort factor of children’s clothing.  Most children are used to the comfort of knit clothing.  The result of that is that children find anything with a true neckline to be uncomfortable and it is perceived as too tight.  This became obvious when I gave dresses that our youngest daughter wore to the granddaughter’s to wear – the classic style would still work, but they said that the neckline was too tight.  Children’s necks have not gotten larger, they have become used to less constrictive clothing.  I believe that this has also resulted in seeing fewer collars on the dresses that the little girls are wearing.

With that in mind, I thought it would be useful to share ways to adjust the neckline of a dress/blouse.  While it is a very simple process, many find alterations of this kind to be intimidating.

The first thing that should be done is to trace the bodice front and back pieces of the garment on paper so that the original is preserved.  Once the bodice is traced, remove the seam allowance and cut the pattern pieces at the finished neck – shown in blue.

Once the seam allowance has been trimmed away, the neckline can be redrawn to whatever shape is desired.  Decide on how much to remove from the neckline.  It doesn’t have to be exactly the same from front to back, though it can be done that way if desired.  The following drawing shows the neckline only slightly lower in the back but gradually increasing at the front (shown in pink).  It is imperative that the amount removed at the shoulder seam is EXACTLY the same on both the front and the back bodices – shown with the green arrows.  Once the neckline looks good to you, remove the excess paper beyond the  newly drawn line (pink).

Double check the new neckline by placing the front and the back bodices together at the shoulder seam (pieces will overlap) and ensuring that they align.  Remember that some patterns allow a little ease in the back shoulder seam while others don’t.  Check the original pattern pieces to see if the shoulder seams on front and back are an exact match – if they are, then they should also be an exact match with the neckline alterations.

Now it is time to decide on how the neckline will be finished.  If a bias band will be applied around the neckline, then the pattern is ready to use just as it is.  The finished neckline will be covered with the bias band.

If a plain neckline, piped neckline, or collar is desired, then a seam allowance needs to be added to the neckline edge on both the front and the back bodice pieces.  A 1/4″ seam allowance is a good choice for a neckline seam allowance.  You can add up to 3/8″ for a seam allowance, but more than that is undesirable.

I have been leaving collars off most dresses I make, however, if a collar is desired, it can be drafted at this point.

Don’t feel limited to limit the neckline change to just lowering the neckline slightly, try some other neckline adjustments and have fun with them.  There’s no limit to what can be done – a lower, scooped neckline, a sweetheart neckline, a square neckline, etc.  If you don’t feel confident in the redrafted neckline, test the newly designed bodices with a muslin or some scrap fabric and try it on the child to ensure that the new neckline is pleasing.  Cutting and stitching up a bodice take much fabric or time.  It is better to test it out and ensure that all was done correctly and the finished results are pleasing rather than to being disappointed with the results of the finished garment.

I hope that this has inspired you to consider pulling out some of the patterns that aren’t being used because of the dated styles and getting creative with some simple pattern redrafting!  Of course, adding your own heirloom touches will make it special!

Easter will be here soon – it’s time to get started!

Keep on stitching!!!!

 

 

 

Wee Care Week

Last week I celebrated my birthday – another year of life that the Lord has blessed me with.  I chose to celebrate my birthday by sewing tiny gowns for babies that would never celebrate a birthday here on earth.  I prayed for the families of that would receive these.  I have been blessed already by doing “for the least of these” as Matthew 25:40 says.

I wanted to do a variety of patterns, so here is the result of that.  I’ve been saving preemie patterns for years, but never tried any of them.  I enjoyed stitching some different things for these babies.

The first 2 gowns were very quick and easy to make.  I used the pattern downloaded from a blog.  These are the size for 2.5 – 4 lbs.  Because I made these from a tea towel, the hemline was already decorated and finished.  On the first gown, I matched the neckband to the stitching on the hem, but decided that the second gown was getting a pink gingham neckband.  I did not line the gowns as the pattern directs.

I liked the quick stitch and simple design of this gown pattern but wanted to add some embroidery, so I adapted the pattern and added a box pleat to the center so that I could machine embroider tiny designs to the front of the gowns.  The box pleat protects the babies fragile skin from the embroidery stitching.  Again, the are unlined.  I chose French seams instead of lining and it works quite well.

The dress with the blue gingham trim is the smallest size (1.5 – 2.5 lbs.) and the dress with the red trim is the next larger size.  The sweet embroidery design comes from Appliqué for Kids and is a perfect size for these tiny gowns.  I neglected to write where the anchor comes from – I have so many designs to choose from.

I drafted a tiny hat to go with the little gown and embroidered the hat.

One of our guild members brought in some tiny quilts with her gowns last year and I thought that was a lovely idea.  So, I found just the right tiny print in my stash of fabrics and cut 2″ strips and pieced together a tiny quilt to match the red trimmed gown.  The finished quilt is 18″ square and works well for a baby this size.

I have also made another identical quilt sized for the 1 lb. babies.  It is not pictured because it looks exactly the same, but measures 15″ square.  I think I will eventually make a gown to go with that quilt as well – I would prefer a gown with the turquoise stitching for that one.

I like using a nautical theme because our guild sends gowns to Camp LeJeune and it just seems appropriate.

I also drafted a tiny hat to go with the gown and embroidered it as well.

As I looked for other patterns in the files I’ve collected over the years, I found a pattern for a smocked boy’s cap, but it had no picture.  I was intrigued and had to make it.  It was labeled “preemie”.  It drives me crazy when the size cannot be identified!!!  I will eventually make a tiny gown to go with the boy cap, but I’m not thrilled with the finished look, so doubt I’ll use it again.  The finished size would fit a 1 lb. baby.  I think I just don’t care for an open back with a bow for a boy.  Call me picky!  LOL!  The pink hat is similar to my preemie pattern, but sized for a 1 lb. baby.  I will definitely be making a tiny gown to go with this.  I just ran out of time.

I first saw one of these sweet buntings at the SAGA convention in Hampton, VA.  One of the members had made several.  I had saved the pattern for the bunting prior to that, but hadn’t made it.  After seeing it in person, I knew I would have to make some of these.  I made 3 of them using chenille from my stash.  These are designed for babies smaller than 1 lb.  The doll inside the bunting is 5″ – just for reference.  These take a bit longer to make, but are well worth the effort.  The pattern is free.

The next gown is the smocked gown  rom AS&E #29 – a favorite pattern of mine.  I decided to do some machine embroidery at the hem and used a bodice design from Kathy Harrison’s Gals and Dolls pack.

Thought these are designed to be stitched on sheer fabric so that they will mimic real lace, I was very happy with the stitching on the batiste.  The smocking design is one that I made up as I stitched.  I rarely follow a published design when I smock the tiny gowns/bonnets.

The last 2 gowns were made from the SAGA Wee Care #1 pattern.  I used the pattern adaptation that was published in Sew News Volume 35, Issue #3 and the bonnet from Volume 36, Issue #3.  The corded pintucks add sweet detail and a touch of color.

The hem embroidery bear is another quick stitch from Appliqué For Kids.  I didn’t do the shadow work, but just stitched the outline – it was stitched in less than 2 minutes!

The tiny bear is another embroidery design that I forgot to note when I was choosing designs, but I’m sure that it would be easy enough to find a tiny design that is similar.

That wraps up a week and a half of stitching.  I have enjoyed every minute of it and hope that this inspires others to do some charity sewing as well.  There are so many organizations that would welcome additional items for their hospital donations.

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Thanksgiving and Sewing

It certainly has been a busy month or so and promises to finish the year out being just as busy!  I’m sure that many are experiencing the same thing!  Right after my last post I flew up to Michigan and enjoyed a week visiting with my mom and dad and my sister.  The weather was unseasonably warm there, as it has been here, so it was a beautiful week to be there.  This time was especially nice for my folks since our daughter and grandson spent the first couple days with us as well and then at the end of my visit our son and daughter in law drove up from Chicago for an afternoon.  It’s been a long time since my folks have seen the kids and this was the first time that they met their great-grandson.  What a special blessing!  I’m so thankful for the time that we were able to spend with them.  🙂

Since returning home I have been sewing a bit as well as preparing for our Thanksgiving meal with family and friends.  We had 23 for dinner!!!  My sweet husband cooked 2 very large turkeys for the day.  Food and fellowship was wonderful!  We have so much to be thankful for!!!

My first jumper completed was made to match some cute leggings.  I sewed the Children’s Corner “Lucy” dress – it’s so quick and easy and I know it fits so well.  The embroidery design comes from Bunnycup and I stitched it out on a frame from some other designer.  It’s been a while and I’ve forgotten whose frame it was.

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The next sewing project included making 3 matching jumpers for the 3 little granddaughters. Again, the leggings were purchased – I believe from Target – so that drove the design choice for the embroidery.  I went to the “Lucy” pattern again.  The embroidery design was from Digistitch – the reindeer seemed to be a perfect match for the leggings.  The little girls are loving the jingle bells stitched to the ribbons!  I wonder how long they will stay attached?  Hahaha!!!!

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After completing the 3 jumpers, I decided to work on something different.  I chose this partially completed pinafore and blouse.  It has been languishing in a partially completed state for at least 3 years now.  I knew if I didn’t finish it now, Eva would outgrow it without ever wearing it (I started it thinking Ella would wear it – that was 4 years ago!!!).  Students will recognize this pinafore since I’ve used it to demonstrate some of the construction in my Bee-Utiful Pinafore class.  This is a different version of that pinafore.  I’m thrilled with the way it turned out.

The pinafore fabric is line piqué and is trimmed with gingham.  I used the matching gingham to line the bodice as well as to make the matching blouse.  This will be so sweet on Eva and will look especially great with her big, blue eyes!

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The bodice embroidery is a Martha Pullen embroidery club design from many years ago.  It stitches out beautifully and seemed to be perfect for this bodice.

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I love the sash/bow on the back of the pinafore – it makes the outfit adorable from both the front as well as the back.  🙂

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The scallop hem detail is similar to the original class pinafore, but with a slightly different shape to it.  I don’t always like making the same thing twice!  LOL!

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Today I believe that I’ll finish up the Christmas decorations!  I’ll be pondering my next sewing project as I decorate.

I hope everyone had a blessed Thanksgiving with family and friends and has had the opportunity to squeeze in some sewing time as well!

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!

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!!!

 

Fun Play Clothes

The past week and a half I’ve enjoyed plenty of time in the sewing room.  I always enjoy sewing fun clothes, so it’s been relaxing.  I had 2 partially completed “Annalise” tops that I’d used as demonstrations for different techniques when I taught that class earlier this year.  I don’t think it took an hour to finish both of them.  That’s a bonus!

After a bit of stash diving, I came up with the exact fabric that inspired the smocking design many years ago!  I love when that happens!  A pair of capri pants (Children’s Corner “Abbie) were cut and stitched to match that cute top, but with a ruffle instead of contrast band.  The second top got a pair of shorts (Children’s Corner “Lettie).  I can’t wait to see these on the little girls!

Both of the smocked sections were done many years ago when I sold a lot on Ebay.  It was a great “find” to discover the already smocked pieces since that made the completion of the tops so much quicker, though smocking such a small section goes quickly anyway!

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This is a picture of my Ebay outfit from back in the early 2000’s.  I may have enough of the butterfly fabric to make one more outfit like this!

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This smocking was also from my Ebay selling days.  I am sure that I have a picture of that somewhere as well, but wasn’t able to find it quickly.

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I also lengthened a bishop dress – this little ones keep growing so fast!!!  It’s so nice to see them looking so cute in their smocked things, I don’t mind the re-hemming!

Because of my busy schedule this spring, I haven’t had a lot of time to sew special gowns for the Caleb Ministry, so I took several days and competed a few gowns, bonnets & embroidered matching blankets for them as well.  I love sewing for this wonderful ministry, though I wish it wasn’t needed.  The boxes that they provide for families suffering the loss of a child are really special.  I consider it a privilege to sew for these precious babies.

This gown and bonnet were made to compliment the blanket with beautiful lace.  Another volunteer made the blanket.

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One of the other volunteers made this blanket also, so I made the gown to go with it.  This one required a tiny gown.  though you can’t tell from a picture, this gown is only about 6″ long and designed for a 1 – 2 lb. baby.  I put just a touch of hand embroidery with tiny bullion flowers on this gown and on the blanket.  We don’t make bonnets for these very tiny gowns.

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There were many of these ecru blankets made with donated fabric.  We only make white gowns and bonnets, so I added corded pintucks in ecru and added machine embroidery to make this set go together.  I love this beautiful cross design from Fromtheneedleofanne.  Her embroidery designs stitch out beautifully.

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This is another gown featuring corded pintucks and a cross design.  I don’t remember where this design came from.

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This last gown is another tiny one.  Another talented member knit these precious booties, bonnet and blanket, so I made just the gown to go with them.  I used pink ribbon down the center of the lace strip, though it’s hard to see in the picture.

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CI count children and grandchildren as my most precious treasures here on earth.  My thoughts and prayers are with all those families that have suffered loss this Mother’s day.  I know that it is a particularly difficult day for anyone that has lost a child.  Don’t forget about these women this Mother’s day and say a prayer for them.  God cares for them.  Psalm 56:8 – You have…put my tears in a bottle.

I still have a few more UFO’s that need to be finished up for the little ones and several more things that I’d like to make for them.  Until next time, keep on stitching!!!