Category Archives: pattern

Still At Home…..Sewing, Smocking, Designing

Like most people around the country, I’m still at home for the most part, and using the time to do more sewing for the grandkids, add more patterns to my Etsy shop, etc.  I have been productive, but probably not as productive as I’d like.  It’s hard to stay motivated.

I’m thankful to have been able to add several patterns that I hope will motivate, teach and encourage others as they stay home more than normal.  I’ve added a beginning smocking book as well as a shadow work embroidery book.  They are both for beginners and introduce the basics.

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Then I wanted to add more patterns that I have either taught over the years or were in past magazines.  Some are easy to make, some are more difficult.  All have very thorough instructions with lots of detailed pictures to enable the seamstress to complete the project – difficult or easy – without problems.

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As you can see, I’ve been busy with that!  LOL!  Adding additional sizes as well as getting the instructions ready for a PDF pattern is very time consuming.  However, right now I have PLENTY of time!!!

What has been more fun is creating outfits that the girls can wear!  When adding additional sizes, I add sizes that are the right size for our growing granddaughters (ages 7 & 10).  Thankfully we are able to see the girls since we are all practicing social distancing, so I’ve been able to take pictures of them in the newly created, newly sized outfits!

Ella loves her new Perfectly Pretty dress and I’m already working on a second one for her!

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Livvy loved her Perfectly Pretty top with the parade!  I made matching shorts for her outfit.

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Eva agreed to try on the outfit, but didn’t want it.    It went to Livvy.  LOL!  She has chosen other fabric and I’m ready to put that together now – the smocking is done!

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Ella also loved her smocked halter dress.  I think this is a great pattern for older girls!

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Even the back has cute options!

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I then moved on to some other patterns, this one is Primrose Lane’s “Annie” pattern.  Sometimes it’s nice to not have to think about anything but to just follow someone else’s instructions and sew.  🙂  The smocked insert on this dress was purchased years ago from Beaux et Belles.

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Next I decided to make all 3 girls matching dresses, though there isn’t much need for them.  They are big enough to wear again next year!!!  The pattern is Children’s Corner “Lillian”.  The girls do love them and are wearing them.

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This morning I finished the smocking on the 3rd Perfectly Pretty dress so that the girls will have matching/coordinating dresses for our upcoming beach trip.  Can’t wait to put these together and see them on the girls.  🥰

As you can see, though I haven’t been updating the blog, I’ve been busy!!!

I hope you’ve been able to keep busy enjoying your hobbies, whatever they are!  I look forward to the time when we will all be able to safely get out a bit more!  Until then…..

keep on stitching!!!

Kathy

 

Home Confinement Sewing

No explanation needed – we’re all supposed to be practicing social distancing and staying home as much as is possible.  So, what does my “tribe” do when confined to home?  Well, designing, drafting, sewing, smocking & embroidery are all on the top of my list!!!

This week I got right down to it and decided that my Sandpiper dress that was published many years ago in Australian Smocking and Embroidery should be a dress that I (eventually) offer in my Etsy shop.  I think that the style is just as current and relevant today as it was when it was published.  This was the picture that was used as the cover picture for the magazine.  It’s a perfect beach dress and if I remember correctly, the photographer’s daughter was the model.

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The magazine published sizes 3, 4 & 5.  This was one of our granddaughter’s favorite dresses when she wore it, so I wanted to possibly offer sizes 2 – 8.

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I loved everything about this dress and had probably made a dozen of them (sold on Ebay) before the dress was ever published.  My  favorites were the ones made in the fun fabrics!

I had been thinking about these for Easter dresses, but we may be still under home confinement when Easter rolls around, so they may be our beach dresses.

First up is the size 6 dress.  A little stash diving and I came up with cotton sateen and a lovely cotton lawn that I believe might be a Liberty from several years ago.  I can’t even tell you how many fabrics were auditioned before the choice was made.  LOL!

I graded up  a size yesterday morning and then got to work.  Today I finished up the dress and I’m hoping that Eva might just like this one.  Fingers crossed!

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I love the back with all the ruffles!!!  I like to add a pop of color by using Wooly Nylon thread in the serger – it gives the hem a ribbon effect.  The floral border was pinstitched to the apron.

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Seriously – who doesn’t love pink and green for girls???  The easy fit style makes this dress very comfortable to wear.

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Obviously, I’ll be home for a while, so there was no need to rush the smocking design.  I enjoyed creating the base design sitting in the bright picture window of our living room.  The pretty flowers are cast-on stitches – also a favorite of mine.

Tomorrow I’ll be stash diving again after I size up to a 7 tomorrow.  I’m thinking of white linen with pastel border.  We’ll see what the mood brings tomorrow.

I hope you’re enjoying some special stitching time while confined to home!  Why not make the best of it!!!

Stay home, stay safe & healthy and keep on stitching!!!

Where Has The Time Gone???

I can’t believe that it’s been several months since my last post!!!  Where has the time gone and what have I been doing?  LOL!  Sewing, creating patterns, smocking, teaching, etc. – I’ve been doing all of these things.

After creating the first of my  Kathy’s Ultimate Travel Case, I actually made another one and tweaked the pattern a bit before listing it in my shop.  The second case was stitched in my favorite colors – blues!  I even added my monogram!!!  Can’t wait to use this case!

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I also wanted to share pictures of my little girls in their special dress for the daddy/daughter dances they attended.  I was glad that both girls got to wear the dress.  Aren’t they adorable!!!  Not that I’m biased or anything!  LOL!

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They both loved the dress and had such fun at the “dance”!

The next on the agenda was getting a favorite pattern ready to list in my Etsy shop.  I regularly have had requests for this pattern, so it was time to offer the Suzette pattern in the shop.

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This has been a favorite of mine and the girls looked so cute in this dress when they wore it a couple years ago for Easter!

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Once that pattern was complete and listed, I moved on to a favorite summer dress – the smocked halter dress which includes the Shabby Roses version.

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Seriously, could anything be cuter!!!

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The Shabby Roses version doesn’t require a pleater or any smocking knowledge.

Of course, creating additional sizes required making up the dress in all sizes to ensure accuracy – so that was a LOT of sewing!

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I have smocked one of these dresses for Ella – it only needs a hem.  Let me just say, this was no easy task!!! (excuse the bad picture!)

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This smocking plate is the Beaufort Bow by Laura Jenkins Thompson.  I’ve smocked it before, but many years ago.  Let me just say that my aging eyes had a really hard time deciphering the graph and I ended up re-graphing the picture smocking design in my Adobe Illustrator software so that I could read it well enough to smock it.  No simple task!!!  I think that there may be an error or 2 in my smocking, but nothing that is obvious.  LOL!  Now, to smock the blue dress for Livvy.

Then there was yet another pattern to get listed in the shop  – this one is a reversible crop top 💕 which I created specifically to go with the reversible twirl skirt.  The girls absolutely LOVE this top and can’t wait for the warm weather to come so that they can wear it!  This pattern has either a curved back or a straight back to it, but it’s reversible, so the other side can be something different.  😊

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Livvy was quite the willing model and she couldn’t decide which side of the top she liked best!

I’ve had the privilege of teaching for both the Savannah smocking guild as well as the Atlanta smocking guild in the last 2 months – both groups were such fun and they did so well with their chosen classes!  I look forward to seeing pictures of completed projects soon!!!

Now I’m working on something special for the Classic Sewing Magazine.  If you don’t already subscribe to it, you’re missing out on a lot of beautiful patterns, embroidery & smocking designs and LOTS of inspiration!!!

So, you can see I’ve been quite busy in the sewing room!  I’ll try and do a better job of keeping up with the blog in the coming months!

I hope everyone is busy working on spring/Easter sewing – it will be here soon!!!

Happy Stitching!!!

Kathy

 

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.

Annalise Pattern Now Available!!!

Annalise has been one of my most requested patterns for the last 10+ years.  I started making it in the early 2000’s and sold many of these tops on Ebay.  I made more of these than I can count!  So many options – some with shorts, many with capris and some with skirts – all looked so cute!

After many years of selling, I submitted the pattern to AS&E magazine.  They chose to publish only the 3/4 length sleeve.  They called the top “Temily”.  It was published in sizes 2, 4 & 6 and was in Issue #80.  The picture below was that sample that was sent to them.

After our first granddaughter was born, I sized the top down to infant sizes so that it would work for crawling little ones.

I loved this cute and practical top for the little girls.  Made from Imperial broadcloth, they could be washed and worn regularly!  Of course, as our girls have grown, I’ve added larger sizes as well.  The pattern is available in sizes 6 – 12 mo. to a size 8.

Because of the continued requests for this pattern, I’ve now published it in my Etsy shop.    Click the link and you’ll be taken there.  Not only can it be printed on a home printer (8-1/2″ x 11″ paper), but I’ve included an A0 file for those that prefer to have a full size copy printed at a print shop.  Honestly, it doesn’t take long to trim (with paper-cutter) and tape the 12 pages together, but I do understand that there are many that would prefer not to do that.  Now both options are available.

More eye candy for you to enjoy!!!  I hope this inspires you to whip up one of these adorable tops for your special little girl or young lady.

I’ve saved my favorite one for last!!!

I hope that this will get your creative juices flowing!!!  The pattern has lots of tips for working with rickrack, making pretty gathers, etc.  You’ll be able to create a stunning top in no time at all!

Keep on stitching……

Vintage Bonnet Pattern

I’ve had such fun drafting and sewing up this new vintage bonnet!!!  It was the perfect bonnet for beach portrait pictures!!!

During the week at the beach, we had only ONE morning when the wind wasn’t blowing wildly.  Unfortunately, that was the day that the guys went golfing, so I was only able to get some cell phone pictures rather than some beautiful pictures that my hubby can take.  However, they did turn out quite nice.

This is the cutest bonnet!!!  It is a reproduction of a 1920’s style doll bonnet pattern that I have a copy of.  I just had to make it big enough for little girls!!!  This would be a perfect bonnet for Easter, weddings or portraits.  The bonnet crown frames the face beautifully!!!  Sadly, I didn’t get a good full-on face shot of the bonnet.

Not only is it a beautiful bonnet for special occasions, but it is a very practical bonnet for protection from the sun.  The bonnet brim goes fully around the head and is wide enough to offer plenty of protection.

The possibilities for this bonnet are numerous!  I made one with some hand embroidery and finished the edges with bias band trim.  I loved how it turned out!

The bonnet brim or crown would also look fabulous with a monogram!!!

I drafted the bonnet in sizes for both dolls and girls and with both the scalloped crown as well as the round crown.  My favorite is definitely the scalloped style.  The doll sizes start at 15″ and go to 20″, which is also a newborn size, though I doubt many newborns will need this sort of bonnet.  LOL!  That size will work for larger dolls though!

I have listed the bonnet pattern in my Etsy shop in case this is something that you’re looking for.  The sewing only takes a little over an hour, so it makes a quick gift.  I can’t wait to see what others will do with this bonnet pattern!!!

Now, on to more sewing, drafting fun!!!

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?

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!!!

 

 

“Sweet Cheeks” Smocked Diaper Cover

For the past year I’ve seen pictures on Pinterest of smocked diaper covers, but when I searched for a similar pattern, I couldn’t find any.  Our smocking guild issued a challenge which included using red gingham and spaghetti bias on anything, so that was my incentive to get a pattern finished for this diaper cover.  I loved the results!

I’m looking forward to bringing in my “challenge” item and also to seeing what everyone else has completed for their challenge.

After completing my challenge diaper cover, I proceeded to draft the other sizes.  I couldn’t stop!  I ended up with 9 different sizes for the diaper cover!!!  The smallest 2 sizes are for dolls – a 12″ – 15″ doll, and then a 15″ – 18″ doll.  Then the sizes move on to Preemie (4 – 5 lb.) all the way up to XL (21- 24 lb.).  That larger size could fit many 2 year old still in diapers.

Each diaper cover that I made became my new favorite!  I just love all of them!!!  LOL!  It was so fun taking pictures.  I wish that I had a NB baby to do portrait pictures wearing just these sweet little covers!  How cute would that be???  Of course, I love ruffles and couldn’t resist adding ruffles to the back of these!

I can also see these as being a quick way to dress up a onesie.  I’m not a fan of onesies and was glad that my granddaughters were never seen in them.  However, I do see the appeal from a busy mom’s standpoint – soft, comfortable and easy wash and wear.  That said, onesies are in the same category as PJ’s to me – not something you wear out in public!  LOL!  Definitely am showing my age with that comment.  Anyway, I thought that a quick pull on of this sweet diaper cover and they go from “PJ’s at home” look to “boutique”.

These diaper covers are cute no matter what you smock on them – from the simplest smocking design to something with cast-on flowers or bullion flowers!!!  They are quick to smock and quicker to sew.  With only 4 rows of smocking, that can be completed in quick time.  Add a little more time to embroider flowers and then about 1-1/2 hours (max) to sew and you have an adorable diaper cover to bless a little girl with!!!

I was so fortunate to have Lisa test the pattern for me and we bounced back different ideas for design, sizing, etc.  She created an adorable set and dressed her reborn doll in it – just too cute!  I enjoyed working with her and her help was invaluable!!!  Thank you Lisa!!!

I think that the preemie and doll sizes would work beautifully for Wee Care items as well.  I can see the tiniest size with a bonnet or blanket going to the hospital for a loving remembrance of a precious little one.

I added lace to the back of one of the diaper covers – it doesn’t show up well in pictures, but it is so sweet in person.

There are so many possibilities with this pattern!  I hope that I’ll be seeing lots of cute versions!  The pattern is available in my Etsy shop for anyone interested in smocking their own cute little bloomers!  You can click on the link to find it.

As always, keep on stitching…….

Kathy

 

The Mermaid Dress and Top & New Pattern

I’ve been busy stitching outfits for our upcoming beach trip!  I’ve had such fun with all these designs and outfits!!!  I may have to make several more.  😊

The first outfit was a popsicle set.  I chose the popsicle colors based on the polka dots in the fabric I was using for the shorts.  The smocking design is called Chip’s Frozen Pops.  It is an older design from the 80’s/90’s.

Of course, I thought it was adorable.  However, when I tried it on Eva – my granddaughter with a definitely sense of style – she vetoed it in favor of a “sea green” top with pink pigs smocked on it!  Ack!!!  After finding some aqua domestic dotted Swiss in my stash, I did manage to talk her into mermaids, so all is well.  Mermaids are a better theme for the beach than pigs.  LOL!

While there are several cute mermaid smocking plates, I decided to create my own design for this summer’s beach trip and came up with the mermaid and dolphin.  I really like it!

This was the first one, and my fingers are crossed that Eva will love it!!!  She also chose the fabric for her shorts, which was a stretch twill and perfect for shorts.  The contemporary design seems to go well with the water/mermaid theme.

As you can see, I got quite carried away with the pattern and the beach-y theme.  A dress was requested for Ella, so I made the mermaid dress out of piqué.  I had fun with the hem and stitched jumbo rick rack under the tuck and then stitched on top of the stitching line with a coral stitch and variegated thread (#5 pearl cotton).

The white top is a sheer voile, doubled and with a self ruffle on the top.  I wanted to smock it with the same design I did many years ago for a special Ebay outfit.  I loved it then and I still love it now.

This has now become my new Etsy pattern and I’ve called it the Mermaid Dress & Top.  I have drafted it in sizes 1 – 7 and there are 3 options for the dress/top – a bias band finish at the bodice top, the 2nd option is quicker to sew with a yoke in the back – so the back can be smocked or left unsmocked and just gathered into the yoke.  The 3rd option is the self-ruffle finish seen on the white top.  I’m happy with each version and can’t wait to see all the little girls wearing their new mermaid outfits when we are at the beach.  Here’s the back variations:

I am sure that I will get questions about the shorts pattern – it is not included.  You can choose your favorite shorts pattern and if you are so inclined, scallop the hem.  Drafting shorts patterns doesn’t excite me the way that smocked outfits do!

I have several more on the design table now.  I can’t wait to start them.  What are you stitching?

Kathy

 

Adorable Boy Diaper Sets!

I’ve been absent for too long.  What have I been up to, you might ask.  I’ve been pattern drafting and testing. I’ve finally finished up the diaper set pattern for infants and included NB – 12 mo. sizes in the pattern.  I have at least one request per month for my preemie pattern in larger sizes, so now it is done!  Whew!  That was some work.  Of course, before I would consider listing the pattern, I had to make it up in each size.  I now have several sweet sets that I can save for future grandkids or use for baby gifts.  I love how each one turned out!

I love red, white and blue – especially for little boys!  I worked on the shadow work anchor embroidery while we drove to the mountains on Sunday to visit the inlaws and spend Mother’s Day with my MIL.  The 2 hour drive was ample time to get the embroidery finished.  However,  I don’t recommend shadow work embroidery in the car!  LOL!  It was quite the challenge to get that needle back into the same hole while riding in a car.  However, it did turn out cute!

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Another set was made in green seersucker and I had to include the frog embroidery on this set!  One of our SAGA guild members had embroidered these frogs on a Wee Care outfit and I loved them, so I did them on the diaper set.  If you’re interested in the design, it comes from the A – Z Bullion embroidery.

Then I did another outfit with the tiniest bit of embroidery.  I appliquéd the boat with a blanket stitch and then added just a little hand embroidery to finish up the boat.

After 3 boy outfits, I decided to make a fun little girl outfit instead of the frilly lace one like I did for the preemie set, though the instructions are included for the frilly lace set in the pattern!

Obviously, I couldn’t exclude lace altogether!!!  I gathered up some flat lace and stitched it on using ribbon to cover up the raw edges of the lace.  I am quite happy with how it turned out.  Then I added piping and lace to the blouse.  The yellow flower buttons were such a great match to the fabric.

For the little girl blouse, I chose a fun bird to embroider.  After looking online for the perfect (in my opinion!) bird, I didn’t find exactly what I was looking for, so I took elements of different birds that I saw and drew my own.  It was fun to incorporate some different stitch combinations to make up this bird and I think it adds such a sweet touch to the blouse.  I did include the bird design in the pattern as well – it was too cute to leave out!

I think I’m going to have to have my tech support guy (aka: hubby!) check my photo set up – I’m not getting quite the right colors and seem to have some weird shading going on.  Maybe it’s because I’ve neglected the blog and haven’t done my photo editing lately.  😂😛  Now it is on to cleaning up the room and deciding on the next project.  I think it will have to be some summer outfits for the upcoming beach trip in June.  that will be here before long!

I hope you’re enjoying some fun, summer sewing!!!  If your sewing includes sweet babies, consider the diaper cover pattern this summer!  😊

Happy stitching!

Kathy

Easter Sewing and New Pattern

I have been busy for the last few months making Easter dresses from my new pattern which I have called “Juliette”.  Why not make samples and get Easter dresses sewn at the same time!  I delivered the dresses to the little girls yesterday – in the nick of time!!!  Of course, I had to have pictures for the pattern before they were delivered and worn for Easter.  Only Eva was available to model, so she is my cover girl.  LOL!  I hope to have pictures of both Eva and Livvy wearing the dresses on Easter Sunday.

 

I love this dress!!!  When I saw the vintage pattern picture, I envisioned the dress as an heirloom dress.  Of course, I had to wait until I had time to create the pattern and stitch up some samples.

I decided to change up the neckline a bit.  I didn’t think that the boatneck with ribbon ties was the most practical.  However, I love the overall silhouette of the dress and the scalloped hem is precious!  The straight sleeve looks sweet on, though a bit odd on the mannequin.

I love every view and sleeve option of this dress.  The gathered flutter sleeve is very traditional and heirloom looking and would be perfect for a portrait dress.

I had to do some hand embroidery on one of the dresses.  While I didn’t include the embroidery design in the pattern, there are ample options for embroidery designs available in books and even online (free) from vintage sketches.

When I had Eva try on the first dress, she didn’t like it.  LOL!  So, I let her choose some laces and made her dress with the pink bow lace that she chose for her dress.  I love the Swiss lace style dress as well.  The hem is straight, so a quicker one to make.

Being the practical person that I am, I made the slip from Imperial batiste so that it will not require ironing like the dress will.  That way, the slip could be worn to a photo shoot and the dress put on after arriving.  This keeps the dress pristine and unwrinkled.

I can’t wait to see the little girls wearing their beautiful dresses on Sunday!!!  I have had such fun creating this pattern and sewing these dresses.  I love using up some of the special laces in my stash for these dresses!  Does that make them free?  LOL!

If you are interested in making this dress, the pattern can be found in my Etsy shop.  I hope that I will be seeing some beautiful versions of this dress for beach portrait pictures this summer!!!

I hope everyone has a blessed Easter!

Kathy

Spaghetti Bias “Dolly”

Friday and Saturday our SAGA guild hosted Cindy Foose.  As always, Cindy was a delightful and very knowledgable teacher and guided everyone along as we made the Dolly dress.  This classic dress has a pleated front as well as a pleat in the back under the buttons.  It offers the perfect pallet for embellishing, which is exactly what I did!  I am quite pleased with how it turned out.

The 2 days were enough time for me to get the dress almost finished, and with just a bit of sewing yesterday and hemming the dress today, it is done!

I used spaghetti bias trim for the bodice and sleeves.  I love using spaghetti bias and purchase mine from Farmhouse Fabrics.  It is so easy to use and is a quick way to decorate any part of a dress.

While I love using the spaghetti bias, I don’t love the pressing afterwards.  I have always had quite the time pressing the bias on the finished garment after it has been laundered or after soaking out the blue marks needed for construction.  During one of my sleepless nights, it occurred to me that I should shrink the bias.  Duh!!!  I shrink everything else.  Who knows why this thought hadn’t come to me before.  So, to test the theory, I measured off 12″ of spaghetti bias, wet it and left it to dry.  When I measured it again, it was 11-1/8″.  Yikes!!!  I think that it must stretch quite a bit during the process of creating it and winding it on the cards for the shops.  I have now wet ALL of my spaghetti bias so that I won’t be hindered with the next project that will use it.  I am still quite embarrassed that I have been using this without pre-shrinking!!!  Oh well, life!  LOL!

The back of this dress has such a cute pleat under the button placket.  It allows for a little more fullness in the skirt.

I’m sure I’ll be making another one of these dresses!  If you have a chance to take this class from Cindy, sign up right away!  You won’t regret it.

Now, back to Easter dresses – 2 down, one to go.  Just a sneak peek!!!  More later….

I hope everyone else is busy with Easter sewing!!!

 

 

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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!!!!

 

 

 

Delightful Dolly Clothes

With Christmas right around the corner, I have been busy with the last few dolly outfits for the little girls.  When I make them, I can customize them so that they work best for the girls.

The first set of outfits are doll jumpers and blouses that will match Ella and Eva’s jumpers.  I used the same featherwale corduroy.  The pattern is the Mary De pattern from the Children’s Corner Dolly’s Wardrobe book..  I love how quick and easy the jumper is to make.  I could only eek out the 2 jumpers with the fabric left and ended up piecing together one of the bodice pieces, so I disguised that with some lace and ribbon trim.  The blouse is also from the same book.  I hate making the doll blouses – those collars are something that I just don’t enjoy making!  So, for the gingham blouse I made a ruffle around the neckline and I also changed the sleeves slightly.

The next dress that was made was stitched from some piqué scraps and I love the way that this dress turned out!  The pattern is the Betsy dress from Genniewren.  As always, her pattern instructions are excellent and the finished dress is adorable.  Genine gives wonderful tips for the new seamstress so that the pattern is also a tool for learning new techniques.  I chose to leave off the belt and used red piping at the waistline instead.

The next winter outfit is a featherwale corduroy jumper and the same blouse from the Mary De pattern, but with the ruffle neckline.  The jumper pattern is the A-Line Color Blocked dress from Genniewren, but I didn’t use color blocking.  It made the jumper very quick and easy to make.

I decided that Livvy also needed a Christmas dress for her doll and I had this cute Christmas fabric in my stash.  I had this brilliant (NOT!) idea to make the Mary De jumper but add the blouse sleeves so that I didn’t have to make a blouse.  In my mind, this was going to be quick and easy.  Well, it didn’t exactly work out that way!  😂  I did add the sleeves, but doubt that I’ll be doing that again right away as it was rather tricky.  LOL!  I do love the way the dress turned out though.  Livvy will love the sparkly rickrack used at the hem.

The last outfit that I stitched was the coat and hat – again from Genniewren.  This is called the Carla coat.  There are several options and lengths that you can make this coat.  I chose to make the long coat and I do hope to make one of the shorter versions as well.  After all, I’m sure that all the dolls will need coats!  The coat is completely lined and has an adorable hat to go with it.  I used some brushed twill from my stash and trimmed the coat and hat with sparkly rickrack as well as some lime green cord.  Now it’s time to get wrapping these up and putting them under the tree!

I’m sure that there will be more doll clothes sewing in the near future.  I have plenty of the polka dot fabric used to line the coat left and I think it would be so cute to make a dress to go with the coat!  That may be next on the sewing table for me.

Is your Christmas sewing finished?  Next up is Easter!!!  I can hardly wait to start that sewing!