Category Archives: picture smocking

Girls and Dolls

I’ve had such a great time sewing for the little girls and their dolls this past week!!!  When I delivered the dresses and matching doll dresses, the little girls squealed with delight!  That makes it all worthwhile.  They immediately dressed their dolls and had to show me.

I let Ella and Eva choose fabric when they visited a week ago.  They aren’t necessarily what I would have chosen, but they are what the girls wanted, so that’s what I made. I have pinned the doll dress to the little girl dresses in all the pictures.  I hope that will be visible enough.

The first dress was the Children’s Corner  “Lillian” pattern.  I had a matching stripe fabric that I used to make a center panel and trimmed the panel with large rick rack.

I took a commercial doll pattern and changed it up a bit to look more like the Lillian pattern.

Extra large buttons finished off the front of the dress.

I had to take a picture of the back of the dress to show how matching the design is such a great idea – it makes the pattern on the back of the dress flow so nicely and seamlessly.  My friend, Joan Messinger would give her approval on this – she always matches everything perfectly!!!

The next dress was the Children’s Corner “Lucy” dress.  This continues to be a favorite pattern of mine for a quick dress.  Eva was adamant that she needed the flamingo fabric!  LOL!  Now, we’ll see if she will wear it.  She is very opinionated about her choice of clothing (at 4 years old!) and has nixed most of the things that I make.  I think that the doll dress may be the ticket to wearing this outfit, but we’ll see.

I used the same pattern for her doll dress as I did for Ella’s doll dress, but changed it up for shoulder snaps.  Silly me, I didn’t think about it being more tricky for a 4-year-old to pull up a dress on a doll.

The cherry outfit was my choice.  I used the Bonnie Blue “Claire” pattern for this outfit.  I had heard that these patterns run very large, so I made a size smaller than I would have normally chosen, and it is still very roomy on Ella.  I trimmed the top with spaghetti bias and then used the same for the shorts to tie it all together.

The smocking design is one that I have drafted and changed up a bit for each outfit that I make.  I still am not 100% satisfied with it, so will do a few more changes the next time I stitch it.

I tied the spaghetti bias into bows at the side seam of the shorts and then hand-stitched through the center of the bow to tack them so that they wouldn’t continually come undone.

Sorry for the slightly blurry back picture – it is the only one that I took and I didn’t realize that it’s not so sharp.  The double back buttons are cute, but I think they may be a bit tedious to do up for each wearing.  We’ll see how mom feels about this before I make another double back button top.  If it is too much trouble, I’ll draft the back to be a single button back.

I still need to make a matching doll set for the cherry outfit.  I’ve found a pattern that I think will work.

Because I’m saving the Frannie dress in my previous post for Livvy’s birthday in October, I needed to make her a dress and matching doll dress as well.  For her dress, I used one of my inserts from my stash of Beaux et Beaux inserts.  I always get questions about where to buy these inserts, so I’ll answer that right away – they are not selling the inserts any more.  Sometimes you can find an insert for sale on Ebay or Etsy.  I’m glad that I purchased so many when I did – they have come in handy when I’ve needed a quick dress and the quality of stitching is fabulous!

Livvy was thrilled with the “fairy” dress but noted right away that the dolly dress didn’t have a fairy on it!  Hahaha!!!  I should have used some machine embroidery for that, but didn’t want to spend the time hunting for the right size fairy for that.  Perhaps for Christmas…..

It continues to amaze me that these inserts are stitched with only 2 strands of floss for the picture smocking – such detail!!!

I love sewing for the little girls and happily will make matching dolly sets.  I know how quickly they grow up, so I’m enjoying this stage of their life!

I hope that you’re stitching something that you love!!!

Busy! Sewing, Teaching and Drawing!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The computer drawing of the bonnet:

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

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

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

Keep on stitching…..

Kathy

Happy Mother’s Day!!!

What a wonderful thing to have a day when we can celebrate the mother’s that helped form us into who we are today.  I have been blessed to have a godly, loving mom who has always been a great example to me.  She taught me what it was to be a child of God, has loved me unconditionally and encouraged me to do my best.

My aunt (mom’s sister) was also very influential in my life, as were both of my grandmother’s.  All godly women.  I took this picture of myself, mom and her sister last year shortly before my aunt passed away.  It’s not the best picture, but I’m glad that I have it.

Be sure and take time to celebrate you mom today!  If you mom is no longer with you, enjoy and celebrate the memories!

This past week I had plenty of time to play around in my sewing room, cleaning, organizing, etc. while hubby was away.  I did manage to finish up a couple of projects that were nearly finished.

The first project finished was a dress from SATB in January.  The dress is “Vintage Visions” by Trisha Smith.  It is the sweetest dress.  I had set it aside due to my questions about the embroidery design and pocket placement – thinking I had lost the embroidery template.  Once I realized that it was a freehand drawing I went ahead and drew in my design.  Fingers crossed that the pockets are in the right place!  I can’t wait to see this sweet dress on Livvy.

The next project was finishing up a top that I used for demonstration purposes at SATB.  The top is the Jane pattern from Classic Sewing magazine.  I finished up the top and made some shorts to go with it.

Ellas was excited about this outfit and I’m sure it will look so cute on her!  The whale design is from Junebug Designs, “Whale of A Tale” – if you can find it at and heirloom shop, snatch it up as it is out of print.

I hope to finish a few more UFO’s that I found this week!  Until then……

Happy Mother’s Day!!!

A Quick Bishop

This past week was one of R&R for me.  I stitched things that I love and enjoyed it!  Sometimes a week of R&R is just what is needed to rejuvenate.  One of my stitching projects was a bishop dress.  This was a quick bishop because I happened to find this ready-to-smock dress in the closet.  It’s practically vintage as it is at least 10 years old, and the fabric even older!  😛  There’s only a couple ready-to-smocks left in there.  I had sewn many RTS outfits several years ago – before grandchildren!  So, now it’s a real bonus to find one the right size and to be able to complete the smocking.

I had our wild little Eva in mind with this dress.  It’s a pretty wild print!  LOL!  Also, this is a poly/cotton piqué, so very easy care.  That’s a real bonus for busy moms!!!

I used my favorite bishop “dip” design method in order to smock just one figure on the front.   I do modify the “dip” design to accommodate different pictures, but the free design is a good starting place.  Then I chose a lady bug from Frances Messina Jone’s “Make A Ladybug Wish” plate.  This is available at many fine heirloom shops.  I love the way that it looks on this bright print!

It’s still not a sure thing that this will get worn.  When I brought it to Eva, she told me that she didn’t like it.  😂  She does have her opinions!  However, when I told her that I’d give it to Livvy, she changed her mind and said that she would keep it.  We’ll see – it may still go to Livvy!  LOL!

I also finished stitching and sewing my sample garment for a new class and loved the way that it turned out.  I’ll share that in the next post.  Until then, keep on stitching!!!

Just breathe!

So, the wedding is less than 2 weeks away and we’re in the last days of all the little details to attend to.  Although we’re so excited about the upcoming wedding, there’s always stress involved.  My plan is to add nothing to my calendar for this week and next week and to enjoy some relaxing sewing time as time permits.  This is relaxing and enjoyable to me when it doesn’t involve drafting/sewing for new classes or magazine articles.  LOL!  I started this process on Saturday and had a delightful weekend!

My first nearly finished project only needed a couple of rows of smocking and some buttonholes and buttons to be sewn on.  I enjoyed finishing the little dress and look forward to trying a different method of using a contrast fabric at the top of the bishop.  I believe that each method will have benefits as well as challenges.  I am OK with this method, but think the there may be a better option.  After I try a couple of others, I’ll be back to report and share my findings.

I used the apple design that I did for the Classic Sewing magazine‘s fall 2016 issue and eliminated the color changes and added a chain stitch around the outside to mimic the apples in the fabric.  I graphed the bird to match the fabric.  What a funny little bird!  I also backstitched the smocking area with a 4 step trellis stitch and like the wavy effect that it gives.

As always, I used my practical 2 button back closure.  I find that this method actually stays closed while the dress is being worn.  😜  That’s always a plus with active toddlers!

With the bishop dress completed, I moved on to the next nearly finished project.  As I have moved clothing around in the bedroom closets and rearranged space after our daughter moved out, I found several projects that needed only a little attention to be finished.  One project was a sample “Suzette” dresses that was made when I designed the dress.  I made 5 samples – the blue dress was one of them.  I recently taught this dress and it’s one of my favorites with the simple lines and smocked sleeves.  This dress only needed a hem and a button and button loop on the back.

I machine stitched the hem in the dress and then added the featherstitching.  I can say that I’m not totally thrilled with my featherstitching at the hem!  On the bodice I use a grid to get the stitch uniform.  For the hem, I decided to try it without a grid.  Oh my!!!  Wrong choice.  However, I’m giving myself some grace and recognize that nobody will be down at hem level inspecting this dress, so as Elsa says “let it go”.  That’s exactly what I’m doing!

I do love this dress and will love seeing both this one and the bird/apple dress on the little girls.

Today I’ll dive back into the closets and see what else can be finished easily and hopefully enjoy some fun stitching time between the wedding errands and such.

I hope you’re enjoying some spring sewing!  Our weather has warmed up and I think spring is here to stay!  Soon it will be time to start the summer sewing!!!

Keep on stitching……

Kathy

Just Some Fun Stitching!

Sometimes I have to take a break from designing, making kits, teaching, etc. and just want to slow down and stitch something fun.  I started one of these fun projects Wednesday evening and hope to have it finished in the next few days.  😃

My new and fun project is a bishop dress with a solid smocking band at the top.  I see these all the time on all the different websites that sell smocked children’s clothing and it’s been a long time since I’ve made one of these, so this was the time.

I chose this fun print for the project and am in the process of smocking an apple on the center front.  We’ll see how it goes!

In case you’re interested in how I do my smocking these days, I’ll show you my setup.  I am using the apple design that I created for the Fall issue of Classic Sewing magazine.  I’ll modify the file to fit the fabric design – hopefully!  LOL!  I pull up the file on my iPad, and then can enlarge it so that I can see it better with these “mature” eyes.  I also have my Dazor magnifying lamp to look through so that I can ensure that all the stitches are perfectly smooth.  Amazing all the technology that I need these days to continue to enjoy my smocking!

Once I finish up this dress, I plan to start another one with a slightly different method of color blocking the neckline.  Then I’ll decide which method I prefer.  I’m sure both will be acceptable, but I know that I will prefer one over the other!

So, that’s what I’m up to this morning – sitting in my living room enjoying the morning sun and smocking a spring dress.  I hope you’re enjoying some stitching time as well!

Some Tiny Gowns

This past Saturday our SAGA Dogwood guild had a Wee Care workshop.  As the chair of this committee, I typically don’t sew at the workshops, but make myself available for any help that is needed.  We had a fabulous turnout and I also had some beautiful gowns turned in!  What a lovely, caring group of ladies that give of their time and talent making these sweet gowns.  As always, I come away from the workshops inspired to work on some gowns as well.  It probably comes as no surprise that I always have several in different stages of completion.

Because I had several gowns that were nearly completed, I decided that this morning was the time to get those finished up.  I’m so pleased with how they turned out and now I have 3 more that are done and 1 more that only needs to be smocked.  I’ll do that one quiet evening.  They don’t take any time at all to smock!

I love this teeny, tiny size – it is for under 1 lb. babies and measures a mere 8-3/4″ long (including the lace).

Because our guild sends gowns to Camp LeJeune, I wanted to try one gown with a nautical design.  I would think it could be used for a boy or girl.  I liked the tiny sailboats (my own design).

There’s always a call for gender neutral gowns, so a white on white with no flowers, lace, etc. works well and is quite elegant looking – or so I think!

I smocked a simple design and used “dots” instead of flowers to keep this gown neutral.

So, that has been what I’ve been sewing lately.  Well, that as well as some things that I’ll have to show you later.  😛  I don’t want to spoil the surprise!

Enjoy some lovely stitching time – it’s such a great way to relax and ready yourself for a busy day/week ahead!

Kathy

A Sweet Little Dress

After all the preemie clothes, it was time for some different sewing.  I had big plans, however, as often happened, plans change.

Last week, in preparation for a class, I needed to retrieve a previously made outfit with a specific picture smocking design .  I was thrilled that I had a sample already made!!!  I only needed to retrieve it from the closet of clothes that the granddaughter’s have outgrown.  Easy, right?

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Of course, after looking it over, it needed a serious pressing, so I chose to wash it and press it.  I threw it in the wash with a load of whites – good choice since it was pastel pink.  However, also in the wash was an ORANGE top!  Yikes!!!  You know where this is going – and it’s not a good place!  The ONLY thing in the wash that took on some of the orange dye was the romper!!!

No amount of soaking, stain remover or anything else made a bit of difference, so the decision was made to remove the smocked insert, which suffered no damage, and put it into another garment.  So the un-stitching began….

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With the insert removed, it was time to find a pattern with the same chest width as the insert – that would be easiest.  I found that the Children’s Corner “Elliott” pattern (out of print) was perfect across the chest, and the armhole curve matched as well.  Score!  But, I wanted a dress, so some modifications were needed.  Easy.  I’ve done that many times before.

The sewing began. However, when all that was left to sew was the facings, I realized that things were amiss.  Ugh!

More un-sewing, and then I walked away for the evening.  Finally, I fixed the problem and finished the dress.  It’s cute, but it sure has been a problem right from the get go!

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I love the yellow rick rack with the gingham.  I did “see” that I ended up cutting off more of one side of the insert armhole curve than the other, but it’s going to stay that way!  LOL!  No more un-sewing of this dress!!!

I know we’ve all had days like this, so I know that there’s at least one person out there that can relate to my sewing woes.

For The Boys!!!

I love to sew  outfits for boys!  They are so quick and easy and the little guys look adorable in them!  I dress our own son in these all summer the summer he turned 2.  They are easy on, easy off for diaper changing.  I don’t do leg snaps because at that age, they are so busy that the snaps rarely stay snapped.  And, if they do stay snapped, little fingers like to pull them apart.  It’s just easier to leave them off and remove that temptation.  LOL!

Liam won’t be 2 until fall, so this summer is the perfect summer for these! He will stay cool as well as look cute all summer long if it’s up to grandma. 🙂  So, I did some stash diving – both into the stash of inserts and then into the fabric stash to find just the right combinations.

Edited to add that I use Children’s Corner “Johnny” for the jon-jons and “Lucy” for the dress.

This first outfit is poly/cotton chambray (aka: no wrinkle!!!).  The insert was purchased from Belles Et Beaux.

IMG_9860  This next outfit is a pima cotton gingham.  I probably should have done a better job of positioning it on the mannequin, but I was in a hurry and too lazy to retake the picture.  I smocked this insert several years ago and it was just waiting for a little guy to come along.  This is my favorite fire truck design.IMG_9862

This smocking design is from Junebug Designs, and available at many of the heirloom shops.  So, so cute!  I love the coiled hose – a very long bullion stitch!  She designed many plates to co-ordinate with Sew Many Designs appliqués.  The smocking designs are adorable and the appliqués stitch out so beautifully.  I only needed the smocking for this one.

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The next outfit is a poly/cotton seersucker – again, no iron, so it’s going to be a hit.  Liam will love the trucks – he’s all boy!!!  This insert is also from Belles Et Beaux.

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I had both the boy and the girl version of this insert, so I had to make brother/sister outfits.  I can’t wait to see them in these matching outfits!  The fabric is a dimity check.  I love this stuff!  Though it is 100% cotton, it really doesn’t wrinkle hardly at all and is very durable.  Again, the inserts are from Belles Et Beaux.

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I love when I can whip up some cute things so quickly because of inserts already on hand and my fabric stash = a small fabric store.  Hahaha!!!

Isn’t he a handsome little fellow!!!  Can’t wait to see him in all his new duds!

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And he’s always smiling – especially if there is food involved!  I stole this from my daughter’s Facebook page.  🙂

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Next up is some beach outfits for our trip in a couple weeks.  🙂

Keep on stitching……

Kathy