Category Archives: smocking

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!!!

Wedding, Chicago and Workshop!!!

So, it’s been a little while since my last post.  Well, we’ve been busy!!!  Our youngest daughter got married on 4/8 and it was a perfect day for it.  The weather was outstanding and she was a beautiful bride!  Of course, I’m prejudice.

The little ones looked adorable in their outfits and did their jobs well.  LOL!

After the wedding weekend we celebrated our Savior’s resurrection on Easter Sunday and had the kids/grandkids over for a meal and some fun activities.  The kids looked adorable in their Easter outfits!

Easter Monday we flew up to Chicago to be with our son and daughter-in-law for his heart procedure.  Monday evening we were able to go out to eat with them and enjoy a delicious meal!!!

Tuesday morning we headed to the hospital early in the morning.  We were so thankful that many prayers were answered and they were able to repair the heart with no damage!  It was a rather stressful LONG day waiting, but the hospital had lovely waiting rooms and the staff were so very helpful.  The dr. was one of the best in his field.  We praise God for his wonderful provision and for the outcome of this.

I love this picture of Steve with Lauren at the wedding!

After the quick trip to Chicago, I headed up to Maryland to do a workshop with the Chesapeake Treasurer’s guild.  What a fun group of ladies to teach!!!  They were enthusiastic about the classes and techniques they learned and I had a great time with them.  It was so fun to see the different choices that the ladies made for both the dress class as well as the embroidered jacket class!  I’m looking forward to seeing some pictures of the finished outfits on FB soon!!!

Now that I’m home again I’ll be working on my next new project as well as managing the home front and preparing for the next workshop.  I am loving the next project and hope to share it soon!  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

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

Preemie Cloth Doll Sewing

It’s boxing day (what we called it in Canada) and I certainly won’t be shopping anywhere today!  So, for anyone else staying inside, I thought I’d provide some reading material.  😛

img_0061This was one project that I wanted to complete before the year end.  While at the SAGA Convention, I spotted a tiny, preemie doll.  The doll belonged to Wanda, the SAGA Wee Care co-ordinator.  I already owned the pattern, but had not taken the time to sew it.  Seeing the tiny doll was incentive for me to find time to make one.  I believe that it is always helpful for other to “see” just how tiny some of these preemies are and perhaps give them the extra push to get a few Wee Care gowns sewn.

Having a few spare minutes, I decided to head out and find supplies – 2 days before Christmas!!!  What was I thinking??? That was no small task! Traffic was horrible and the crowds in the store – oy!!!  Somehow, I foolishly thought that I could get everything at one store.  Wrong!!!  After visiting 4 stores, I had everything needed for the doll – knit fabric, fleece, plastic pellets, etc..  Just FYI – the plastic pellets used for stuffing the doll were found at Hobby Lobby.  Other craft stores didn’t carry them or they only carried them online.  On to the pattern.

The preemie pattern is from The Cloth Doll Market.  I was unable to find any reviews of the doll.  The pattern makes up so nicely and quite accurately on sizing/shape of preemie babies.  Included is a master pattern which you have to copy and shrink it by percentages to get the smaller sizes.  I did this.

You should be aware that this method of adjusting sizes does cause some problems. When you shrink a pattern that has a 1/4″ seam allowance, your seam allowance also shrinks, so I ended up with a generous 1/8″ seam allowances to make the 2 lb. size doll.

Be aware that the pattern is hand drawn and has very little in the way of markings/guides (aka: no notches) on the pattern pieces to aid the seamstress in matching up pieces before stitching.  I followed the directions, but because there are no illustrations, some directions were challenging.  I had to read through some of the instructions multiple times to “get” what the instruction was.  I am more of a visual learner, so no pictures is challenging.  Because of this, I would sat that this probably isn’t a pattern for a beginner.

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The instructions say to use a knit fabric that doesn’t have too much stretch.  That is rather vague.  I think that giving some fabric types to look for may have been more helpful.  The only fabric that I could find with our lack of fabric stores was a knit jersey.  While it worked, I wasn’t a fan and won’t use it again.

Each piece of the doll is cut out of both the skin colored knit fabric as well as another piece cut in white fleece.  The fleece is then inserted into the skin fabric.  This is a good plan because it helps with the plastic beads that are used for the filling – it keeps the “skin” softer and works out much nicer than stuffing the doll with stuffing.  It does take a bit of forceful pushing to get the fleece pieces inside the knit pieces and I found that the jersey began to run in a few places (like pantyhose type of runs).  I put fray check on the runs and hopefully that will keep the runs in check.

After some research, I found that many cloth doll makers use a knit doeskin, which is a suede type of knit fabric.  I’ll have to order some of that if I decide to make another doll, though I’m seriously thinking about making the doll from Kona cotton if I try it again.  I have seen a picture of the doll made by another FB friend and it was in a woven fabric.

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The facial features were supposed to be painted on with acrylic paint.  I don’t paint!  🙁  So, a Sharpie had to do.  The knit wanted to stretch as I “drew” the features.  Ugh!  I was pleased to find that when the doll was finished, the 1 – 2 lb. Wee Care gown fit very well.  It’s nice to see how well these are proportioned.

Once the doll was finished, I had to get rid of the blue wash-out maker that I used to mark the darts and to draw in the fingers, etc.  Obviously, you don’t want to soak the doll after it’s finished.  That was a lengthy process.  It took many, many spritzing to get all the marks out.  I would think that they were gone, and when the spritzed area dried, they were back again.  Ugh!  Next time I’ll use one of the air-erasable markers and be sure to stitch the same day!  I did find that dotting along the stitching line worked better on the knit fabric.   Trying to draw in the lines caused the knit to stretch.

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Because of the way that the arms and legs are attached, they are somewhat posable, which is  a nice feature.

The little diapers pictured on the doll are from the Teeny Tears group.  They make diapers and donate them to hospitals for tiny babies that don’t make it.  The larger size diaper fits the 2 lb. sized doll.  I made the stockinette cap from a toddler size 5-6 sock.  I cut the cuff off the sock right above the heel and tied a ribbon in it.  It’s a snug fit, but it works.

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I did learn a few things making this little doll.  I definitely need to work on my hand sewing technique.  😂  The doll head is hand stitched to the doll body – not an easy feat between the stretchy knit and the head flopping around.  Maybe I’ll be better at this the next time.   LOL!  Pulling out the fingers after stitching was a super challenging task on the 2 lb. size doll.  I immediately decided that I’d never make the smaller sizes with fingers.  Others have told me that they make the hand with only a thumb and then a mitten style for the other fingers.  This would be much easier and is a technique I’ve used on other cloth dolls!  She does suggest this method for the tiniest sizes.

I’m pleased with how the doll turned out.  It is only going to be used as a visual aide at workshops where the smocked Wee Care gowns are being made.  Our guild is doing the next workshop in the community room at a retirement village.  I’ll have the doll out for the residents to view along with some of the finished gowns.  I suspect that we’ll have different ladies drop in to check out what we’re doing.  The doll will be a nice addition and maybe even promote some interest for some new seamstresses to join us!

My overall review of the pattern makes up really well and is an accurate representation of the size/shape of a preemie baby, but the instructions are lacking in the way of diagrams/pictures of any of the sewing techniques.  There are only 2 diagrams total and there is an assumption of sewing knowledge, so some techniques aren’t described (ie.  “sculpt the toes”).

The designer of the pattern does seem to have some first hand knowledge of preemie sizes and proportions.  That is what makes the pattern of value.  Instructions are also given if you want to make the doll a weighted doll (accurate weight for the age/size), which some do want.  This doll looks very much like the preemies that I saw in the NICU when our granddaughter was there.  There’s not another proportionally correct preemie doll pattern that I’m aware of.  So, for this reason it is a great pattern if you want proportionally correct preemie dolls.

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Perhaps today I’ll stitch the 1 lb. size (with no fingers!) out of Kona cotton and see how that works.  I’ll keep you posted!

I hope you enjoy some stitching today!

Smocked Dresses for Dollies!

The last week before Christmas found me fixing up the dollies and dressing them for the 3 little girls.  It would be a special gift.  Their Auntie Lo had a huge collection of Gotz dolls (all are around 18″) that she played with as a little girl and that I saved.  So I selected 3 of them that I thought were just perfect.  However, after many years of being packed away, they needed some serious “work” done on their hair.  It was a mess!

 

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I consulted several different websites and tutorials on how to detangle and fix their hair.  I thought I’d share the process in case there are dolls in your home in need of some TLC.  The detangling is done by first soaking the hair in a bowl of laundry softener.  Since the hair is synthetic, not human, softener works better than shampoo.   After getting the hair saturated, you massage it into the hair, then rinse out thoroughly.  This leaves the hair with a powerful smell of the softener, so make sure that you choose a fragrance you like!  LOL!  After the rinse, the hair can be brushed out, starting at the ends and working up towards the roots.  It takes a bit of time, but it does work.   Then leave it to dry.

After doing the first doll, I got smarter and wrapped the doll bodies in saran wrap to keep the body dry.  I also found that it helped to stand the dolls up in a large bowl or plastic pitcher to dry.

This method worked well, but if I do it again, I think that I will dilute the softener with 2 parts water to 1 part softener.  I think that this would be plenty of softener to do the job and would tone down the perfume smell.

Once it was dry, the hair ended up smooth, but very straight (sorry for the blurry pic).  

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Next, I spritzed the hair lightly with water, rolled it in some sponge rollers and left it for a couple hours to dry.  This left the hair with nice waves.  I’m sure that you could leave it for a day and the curls would be tighter.

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Each of the dolls got a pretty, smocked bishop dress.  While cleaning my sewing room, I discovered several ready-to-smock bishop dresses that had been aging for 15+ years as well as shoes, cowboy boots (who knew that these would be worn with dresses!) and hats.  😱  Please tell me that I’m not the only one that has UFO’s that are this old!!!  I was delighted to find these and made quick work of smocking them and putting buttons/snaps on the back.

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These 3 dollies are ready to go home on Christmas day with 3 happy little girls!  I hope that they will be excited to see these dollies in their special dresses and new shoes!

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All of these dresses were made from fabrics that I had used for our youngest daughter’s smocked clothing – what a sweet memory!

I thought I’d share my tip for getting the lace collar to stand out nicely from the dress.  It always bothers me when you pleat the lace with the bishop dress and then the 2 pieces want to “stick” together so tightly.  I think you know what I mean.  To get the lace to stand out from the fabric it is pleated with, you need to smock a row on the dress fabric so that the lace won’t sink into the pleats.

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Pull up the lace and smock on the dress fabric following the same path as the last row of smocking.  Smock as closely as possible to the lace.  The end result is a lace overlay that stands away from the dress, which I think looks much prettier.  😀

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I’ve enjoyed squeezing in these last 3 smocking projects just before Christmas!

I hope that you and your family have a blessed Christmas rejoicing in the birth of our Savior!

 

Something Quick!

Where does the time go?  I have such good intentions to post sewing things, but then life happens and weeks go by.  I have continued to sew and have been working on some new ideas, classes and sample garments.  I won’t show those yet – not until they are ready!

My favorite event of the past month has been a workshop with Cindy Foose!  Our guild had her come and teach for 3 days – it was such fun!   Cindy is a wonderful teacher and I enjoyed her class immensely.  If you have a chance to take a class from her – go for it – you won’t be disappointed.

Yesterday I decided I was going to sew ONE thing.  LOL!  So I did.  Between cleaning, sorting out things that I need to let go of (sewing supplies!), printing class materials and meal prep, I managed to cut out and sew a pair of pants.  Not a huge accomplishment, but I met my goal.

I found this cute top at a consignment store and paid only a couple dollars for it.  It is by Orient Express and is well made, very lightly worn and the smocking is so pretty!

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I’m not a fan of the bias band being sewn down by machine, but I’m not about to correct that.  In my stash was some wonderful pants weight twill from Patsy Aiken.  It has been aging for a few years.  🙂  It was a perfect match for the top, so it was chosen for the pants.

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I thought that the top was a bit plain, so I added the rick rack to the top.  Just like that I have an outfit!  Score!!!

Today I hope to cut out and sew a quick jumper.  I hope to quickly find the embroidery design that I’ll use on it.  I don’t know about you, but I can spend hours looking for the perfect embroidery design.  😛  After that, I have a few Christmas outfits to complete – only a couple weeks until Thanksgiving, so I’d better get on it!!!

Happy stitching…..

More Tiny Sewing

I’ve been busy the past few weeks trying to complete my charity sewing.  After finishing up some Wee Care gowns for our SAGA group, I moved on to sewing diapers to match the gowns.  I signed up to work in conjunction with Teeny Tears – another organization that provides tiny diapers to hospitals all over the country.  They send the diapers in pairs so that there is one for the baby to wear and another for a keepsake.  The little diapers are darling!

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I completed 20 sets of these diapers to co-ordinate with the SAGA gowns that we were sending to Camp LeJeune!!!  These are fun to make and don’t take much time or fabric.  If you’re interested in an easy ministry to be involved in, I’d highly recommend Teeny Tears.  If you don’t sew but still want to participate, they accept donations as well.  🙂

Being on the Teeny Tears Facebook page, I saw how pretty so many of the ladies package their items to send to the hospitals and I immediately brought my suggestion to our local Dogwood chapter to improve our presentation.  All members agreed, so we purchased organza bags for the gowns/diapers and I repackaged all of our gowns from their ziplock bags to the organza ones.  Now families will receive this pretty package of handmade items.

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As I worked on all of these SAGA things and reorganized them, I discovered that the SAGA gown also comes in a very tiny size – under 1 lb.! How have I not realized in all these years that there is a tiny size???  I’ve been sewing these gowns for more years than I can count, but have never noted or smocked the tiny size.  So, I immediately had to try it out.  It is as sweet as ever!

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Having made this extremely tiny smocked gown, I have decided that I will make more of these, but I won’t be smocking those tiny sleeves again!!!  LOL!

With that big project behind me, I moved on to sewing for Caleb Ministries.  I had been given several beautiful knit blankets, booties & bonnets and they needed a special gown to go with them.  The larger gowns will get flannel blankets since the knit ones would be too large to fit into the gift box that Caleb Ministry provides for the families.  This is another wonderful Christian organization that provides a needed service for women.  They also accept donations if you would like to support this type of ministry and don’t sew or knit.

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So, what’s next???  Well, next week is the SAGA national convention and I plan to go as a student this year!  I’m busy packing and making sure that I have every supply needed for all the different classes.  I’m looking forward to a fun sewing week!!!  When I return, I think it will be time to start some fall and Christmas sewing for the little ones.  🙂

I hope to see some of you at the convention!!!

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.

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!!!

 

Sewing For Preemies…….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

Coming soon…….

I know that weeks can go by and I don’t get to post an update to the blog.  That doesn’t mean that I am not sewing or working on new classes.  It just means that I can’t show you what I’ve been working on yet.  I work regularly on garments that I hope will be included in the only heirloom magazine that we have available – Classic Sewing Magazine.  Soon the fall issue will be out and I have a cute outfit included in this magazine.

I first made this top many years ago when we only had one granddaughter.  She wore it and looked so cute in it.  The smocking plate was designed to match the apples on the pant fabric.  Of course, this was 5 years ago and unless you have some of this aging in your stash, you’ll have to find a different apple print.  Thankfully the apple design will work with many prints! SG3B1108_sm

I love the simple lines and tailored style of this top and think that it will be popular with both moms as well as the little girls.

Thankfully, the Classic Sewing magazine also like the top and I was able to remake the top – x3 – for the upcoming fall issue.  Won’t this be so cute for back to school???  Fall in the south is pretty warm, so the top paired with capri pants is perfect.

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However, fall in other parts of the country may be cooler, so I also made the outfit up with long pants in fine wale corduroy and a cute fox smocking design.

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Both the fox and the apple smocking designs will be included along with the smocked top.  They have also included pants and capri pants patterns, so you’ll have everything you need to make up this outfit.

All the fabrics and trims were purchased at Farmhouse Fabrics, so I know you’ll want to go to their online shop and make your selections.  I worked with Sally to choose fabrics that we hoped would still be available this fall.  That is no small feat since these outfits were made months ago!  However, if the exact prints aren’t available, her staff is wonderful and will help you select something similar.  🙂

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I hope you’re as excited as I am about this cute new pattern!!!  You definitely will want to subscribe to the magazine if you don’t already!  Or, if you just want to try it out, Barnes and Nobles as well as many of the heirloom shops carry the magazine.  I like to support the heirloom shops whenever possible so that we don’t lose any more of those!

So, now that you know what I’ve been sewing, what have you been sewing?  Are you ready to start sewing for fall yet?

Keep on stitching……

Kathy