Category Archives: picture smocked dress

Lots of Sewing Fun

Getting ready for the beach trip always means lots of sewing for me.  I love making the little girls matching outfits.  They are young and still enjoy matching each other, so I love to sew for them while they are still excited after the mermaid outfits, I made the girls matching watermelon dresses from the Children’s Corner “Jacqueline” pattern.  They turned out so cute!  I do think that this pattern runs slightly larger than their other patterns, but maybe that’s my imagination!  LOL!

Then I completed a Bonnie Blue “Claire” outfit with an insert that I had smocked years ago.  I love this flamingo smocking design from Frances Messina Jones.  It is called Fancy Flamingoes.  I was thrilled to be able to finally use this smocked insert!  I do find that the Bonnie Blue patterns run significantly larger than the Children’s Corner ones and need to remember that before I use them again.  The outfit has been a big hit with Ella and she wears it quite regularly.

My last sewing venture prior to the beach was making up a “test” sample dress of the Felicity pattern called Sunny Dress and Bloomers.  I made this several years ago for the girls and they looked adorable in it, so I thought I’d try it again.  I remembered it running very wide, so I made a size 4 dress for Ella (she wears a size 6X).  It has plenty of growing room in it!  I will have to see what it looks like on her before I make more of these.  I love the ruffles and it’s a cute dress.  As always, the larger sizes look better on the little girls rather than on the mannequin.

While at the beach, I was able to get a cute picture of Livvy in her mermaid outfit made from my Mermaid Dress and Top pattern.  She looked adorable!!!

Eva had her mermaid outfit as well, but it was harder to get a picture that shows it off.  They were having such fun with the telescope, even though it wasn’t working!  (we didn’t put the money in it!!!)

Since being home, I’ve enjoyed some relaxing sewing and have been able to be creative.  I finished up 20 sets of diapers from the Teeny Tears pattern.  You have to request the pattern from them to sew these up.  Our SAGA guild includes these diaper sets with the tiny gowns that we make.  While these are tiny, so one would think that they are a quick sew, they actually take longer than you would think.  They are quite fiddly to stitch, clip/trim and turn and then topstitch, but I still enjoy making them.  My friend gave me all of these scraps of flannel that she had left from her quilting projects, and there were enough to cut out about 100 diapers!!!  Obviously, I still have more to sew.  LOL!

Then I had Ella over this week for her first sewing lesson.  She was so excited about it and couldn’t wait to start a project.  I chose a pillowcase as her first project and pulled out 6 different complimentary fabrics for her to choose from.  She did such a great job with her sewing and was quite proud of the finished pillowcase!

Ella was totally focused on stitching straight.  She went nice and slow and was very accurate.

She told me that this was going to be her favorite pillowcase!!!  ❤️  She can’t wait for her next lesson.

I hope that all my sewing friends are enjoying a wonderful summer and stitching up some pretty things!!!

 

Princess Slippers

I’ve finished my next set of 3 matching dresses for the girls.  This time I chose the Children’s Corner “Mary De” dress – one of our favorites!   I have the older version, so I have to adjust the bodice when I do an insert.  The newer pattern has been revised so that the insert option is in the pattern.

While I know that princess shoes aren’t necessarily a beach theme, they are always popular with little girls.  That, however, wasn’t the driving factor in my smocking choice.  😂  What drove the choice was that I had 2 matching inserts that were purchased from Beaux Et Belles when they used to sell inserts after the season was over.  I am thankful that I still have some that I can use.  It makes for a quick sew when you don’t have to do the smocking!!!  I always get questions about where to purchase the inserts.  They don’t sell them anymore, so the only place is on the second hand market (Ebay, Etsy, etc.).  You’re on your own if you wish to find inserts to purchase.  They always had original smocking designs, so that is nice as well.

Thankfully, I had the smocking design from Frances Messina Jones that is also a princess slipper!  It is called A Perfect Fit.  I chose to do different borders only because I’m trying to make it a point to try things that I haven’t done before, and this seemed to lend itself to trying out curved smocking.  I’m happy with the way it turned out – the plate is adorable and I enjoyed the curved smocking.  Frances has the cutest smocking designs – you need to check them out if you enjoy picture smocking!!!

I know that I’ve mentioned this before when I’ve shared inserts that I’ve purchased from Beaux Et Belles.  I find it amazing that the picture smocking on these inserts is done with TWO strands of floss rather than the 4 that we normally use!  Amongst the smocking community, both new and seasoned smockers, there is always discussion regarding how many strands of floss to use for picture smocking and such.  Most often today, 4 strands of floss are used.  However, I have seen many comments suggesting that 5 strands of floss are needed for good coverage.  As you can imagine, there are as many opinions as there are smockers!  LOL!  And many of the opinions are quite strong.

My opinion is to do what works best for you.  That said, the evidence is clear that 2 strands of floss do a wonderful job – it is a matter of technique and practice to get the 2 strands to lay smooth and do the job well.  Pictures don’t lie!  Here is a close up of the 2 strand smocking.  It’s beautiful!

A while back (and shared in a previous post) I did an experiment to see if I could picture smock with 2 strands.  The answer is a resounding YES!   But, the results will vary if you take a smocking design that was designed for 4 strands and then use only 2.  Here is my experiment picture.

For the experiment, I chose a smocking design by Creative Keepsakes.  This design recommended 3 strands of floss for the sailboat.  The center boat is smocked with 3 strands. The boat to the right is smocked with 4 strands and the boat to the left is smocked with 2 strands.  As you can see – ALL have adequate coverage on the same piece of broadcloth.  The only difference is the size.  I do not “treat” my floss in any way other than separating the floss into individual strands and then putting them back together, threading the needle and stroking the threads as many times as is needed to remove all the kinks.  You can feel the thread becoming more smooth as you stroke it more.  In addition, some of the oils from your skin will aid in conditioning the floss.  I don’t starch, iron, use wax or any other of the numerous methods that are done.  30+ years of picture smocking has given me plenty of practice.

I’m looking forward to the beach trip and I hope to get 3 more outfits finished next week!  Fingers crossed…….

Happy stitching!!!

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

 

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!!!

R & R

My super busy spring schedule has finally wound down and I’m now in R&R mode.  While I had planned to get some rest after this busy season, I am forced to rest now due to recovering from being ill.  Not my favorite rest, but rest nonetheless.

I enjoyed a lovely time with the Seaside Smockers guild in Virginia Beach.  What a wonderful group of ladies!!!  We had such fun stitching and sewing the Annalise top and then practicing picture smocking.  I’ve already seen some pictures of finished garments!

This group of ladies were ready to go!

I kept them working hard!

After returning from this workshop, I headed to Michigan for a visit with my folks and my sister.  I’m so blessed to have both of my parents still living on their own and I treasure the time that I get to spend with them.  Mom isn’t doing well and doesn’t get out much, but the promise of a visit to the ice cream store seemed to be just the right motivation for her to “feel better” one evening.

We visited “Norm’s Ice Cream” shop and they served the biggest small cone I’ve ever seen!!!

I love this picture of my mom and sister!  It was a moment in time where mom could forget her pain and enjoy her favorite treat.

Another afternoon we were able to get mom out of the house and we visited the temporary shops along the Lake Michigan shore.  These are the cutest little shops with unique gift items.  We walked along the row and checked out each shop during this non-busy time, which is very rare.

During this visit with mom, my sister and I took out mom’s entire collection of vintage, hand painted Bavarian cups & saucers and luncheon/dessert plates.  What a gorgeous collection!!! We put together 8 groups of these beautiful dishes – one group for each of her 8 granddaughters – and then my sister and I wrapped them up and boxed them for shipping.  Mom wanted each of the girls to have some special pieces that will remind them of her whenever they use these.  I wish we had thought to take a picture of all the pretty sets lined up – there were so many of them and each as beautiful as the next!

Our girls opened their gifts when we got together for our Father’s Day celebration.  They loved the beautiful dishes!!!

Check out all the beautiful cups and saucers on the counter!!!


So, after a lovely visit in MI, I returned home rather sick and have been faithfully taking my meds and resting since then.  We’ll be heading for the beach for some more R&R next week and I’m looking forward to it!  I hope to gather some stitching to take along with me so that I can get in some relaxing stitching time while I’m away.  I know I’ll enjoy that!

What beautiful things are you stitching during your summer vacation???

 

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

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!

Sewing Accessories!!! Sew Much Fun!!!

It was time for something new and different to sew – something fun, relaxing and non-garment.  For some time now I’ve wanted to make some sewing accessories – especially the ones that are invaluable when you go to workshops or seminars.  I knew that I’d saved patterns or links to patterns that I wanted to make, so the search began.  I found them quite quickly.  Whew!   I chose to make a sewing machine mat/cover, a travel needle case and an iron caddy/mat.

Next was choosing fabrics.  All the patterns that I had chosen used several co-ordinating prints.  I’m not as clever as quilters with matching prints, but I managed to come up with some combinations that I liked.    It did involve some serious stash diving!  Does that count as exercise?  I settled on the brown/aqua combination – these fabrics are left overs from making the nursery decor for our first granddaughter  (she’s 6 now!).  Win!!!

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The first pattern I selected was a sewing machine mat, which doubles as a sewing machine cover when the machine isn’t in use.  You can see the ribbon ties on the sides that keep the cover secure on the machine.  There are lots of sewing machine mat patterns, but I chose the free one from Lillyella, which you can also get as a free download from Craftsy.  It looks beautiful and the instructions turned out to be excellent.  I would highly recommend this pattern!  You’ll also enjoy all the pictures of all the different mats and their fabric combinations!!!   Lillyella also has a removable thread catcher that buttons on to the front of the mat.  There’s plenty of pockets on the front of the mat to hold your scissors, rulers, marking pens, threads, etc.  I was really pleased with how this turned out.

To sew on the doubled bias, I followed this tutorial from Moda Bake Shop.  I was familiar with sewing the double bias, but turning the corners was new to me and her instructions for that worked out perfectly!

The only recommendation that I would have for anyone that wants to make this pattern up is to measure your sewing machine (front, over the top to the back) to make sure that this is long enough to cover your machine.  So many machines are much bigger today and this might be skimpy as a cover if you have a taller or bigger machine.  Changing the dimensions for a taller machine is simple, but changing the width dimensions will require that you also change the pocket dimensions.  🙂

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I also stitched some travel needle books.  These make wonderful gifts for your sewing friends!  The needle book is about the size of a paperback.  Again, I used a free pattern for this and the instructions for the needle book were very well written!  I love that it has a zipper pocket inside to hold things that would otherwise easily fall out and get lost.  With a place for your thread, scissors, needles and pockets for the rest, this is a well thought out pattern!  You can see that I enjoyed both patterns so much that I made them twice!

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The last project that I tackled was an iron caddy that doubles as a mat for ironing.  I love this caddy!!!  It has the heat resistant fabric so if you take this to class to carry your iron, when you’re ready to pack up and go home, you don’t have to wait for the iron to cool off – you can pop it right into the caddy and carry it home with you.  Perfect!

This was also a free pattern download.  I first saw this pictured on a chat forum years ago by someone that had made up the pattern.  Everyone on the forum was so thrilled with her caddy that she generously shared the pattern instructions and dimensions on the forum.  I cannot remember which forum it came from, however, I believe that this woman eventually  made a pattern available for this caddy because I’ve seen it for sale several different places and it looks like the exact same pattern/design.   There’s also a pattern for the mini irons available.  I used the free pattern that I’d downloaded, but there are some corrections that were needed on that original free pattern.  It turned out great and I love that it doubles as an ironing pad!

I promise – the pattern is correct – I didn’t realize until editing the pictures that I didn’t have the caddy closing situated nicely.  Perhaps that’s due to the fact that it’s stuffed with a huge roll of gift wrapping tulle and not an iron!  LOL!
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I still need to make a second iron caddy and also another thread catcher.  I wasn’t sure I was going to do that, but the sewing was such fun, I have the supplies on hand, so I’ve decided to complete the second set with these last 2 items as well.

The mental break from designing, drafting, writing instructions, etc. but still doing what I LOVE – which is sewing – has been very refreshing.  I have a plan for one of these sets and will probably either keep or save the second set.  I hope to make a 3rd set out of different fabrics that I pulled out during the stash dive.  😛  Then I’ll chose which set to keep and which one to put away for future use.

The best part of all of these projects is that with the exception of the heat resistant fabrics, everything else has been made from my “stash”.  I’d like to think that this was a stash buster project, however, with the size of my stash, that’s not the case.  It’s more like a drop in the bucket!  LOL!  That said, I do enjoy having enough fabrics in my stash that I could start sewing and not have to stop to make a purchase of something in order to complete the project!

So, if you still need a little last minute gift for one of your sewing friends, you may want to consider one (or all) of these!  They stitch up quickly, don’t take a lot of fabric and are really fun to make!  The added bonus of free patterns with great instructions make these just perfect in my book!

Enjoy your holiday stitching!!!

Kathy

Convention Fun!

Last week I attended the SAGA convention in Hampton, VA.  What a fun week it was!!!  I had the opportunity to take classes from some wonderful teachers – Phyllis Brown, Claudia Newton, Jeannie Baumeister and Vaune Pierce.  I took home some tips from each one of them.  I can highly recommend each of these teachers!!!  They are all professional, knowledgeable and excellent teachers.  If you have the opportunity to take a class from any of these ladies, jump on it!!!

Here are some pictures of their class projects that I hope to get finished:

Claudia’s diaper shirt set:

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Phyllis’ classes:

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Now, if only I can get my bullion stitches to look as fabulous as hers!!!

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Jeanie’s class – I have serious doubts that I’ll ever get my featherstitching to be as tiny as hers is!

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As you can see, I focused on handwork/embroidery type classes.  I have a long ways to go before my embroidery is as beautiful as any of these ladies!  😛  Of course, now I have several UFO’s that will need to be stitched up at some point.  LOL!

Since I’ve been home, I’ve worked on my sample dress to get the shadow work embroidery finished.

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What you probably don’t realize is that I only stitched the bows on the front of the gown for the picture and to submit the class to SAGA for approval.  🙂  So, there were several bows that needed stitching.  I’m happy to report that they are all finished now!  Whew!!!

Now I’m anxiously waiting for the next Classic Sewing magazine to arrive.  Think Christmas!!!  Don’t you just love silk!  It’s one of my favorite fabrics!!!

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If you haven’t subscribed yet, you’ll want to!

As you can see, I’ve been busy.  🙂  I hope everyone enjoys the weekend!!!

 

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.

Preemie Sewing Pattern Available!!!

Well, I’ve done it – I’ve ventured into selling a PDF version of my diaper shirt outfit.  I had many people express interest in the pattern, so I’ve ventured into this new arena!  I added a girly version and had to add plenty of lace!!!  I do love how they all turned out and hope that there will be some beautifully dressed tiny babies wearing special clothes made from this pattern.

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I had to get some picture advice from hubby since my other pictures didn’t look great.  These look better.  Here’s the “cover” picture for the pattern.

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I’ve listed this pattern in Etsy, but cannot seem to add the link.

If you happen to buy the pattern and have any problems (or even suggestions), please let me know!  This is a first for me, so I’m sure that there’s room for improvement!

Hope everyone enjoys a beautiful weekend!!!

Vintage Treasures!!!

I recently visited some Estate Sales.  I’ve never done that before.  It seems to be a different class of garage sale – maybe a bit more classy than a garage sale.  It was quite the experience.  I visited 3 different sales in 3 different neighborhoods and came home with some treasures.

The first plea that I would make to everyone that has beautiful garments or linens that they are saving is – do not store these things in the attic!!!  People save things in the attic that they treasure and wish to pass on to future children/grandchildren/generations.  However, saving anything made of cloth in the attic = not treasuring them at all!  The extreme temperatures in an attic wreak havoc with cloth – it deteriorates the cloth, the cloth becomes brittle and weak, discolored, etc.  It is the worst possible place to store cloth.  This doesn’t even touch the problem caused by the dirt, dust, etc.  Please find an alternate storage place other than the attic if you treasure these baby clothes, family heirlooms and other beautiful things.  I have some gorgeous treasures that are beyond help and hope due to being stored in the attic.  So sad.

At the first sale, I snagged a tin of buttons and a box of assorted textiles.  I spent a total of $13.  It appeared that everything had been stored in the attic – for many years.  It all was stinky and dirty.  The box had some hankies and some laces – both lovely and cheap ones.

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I thought that the button tin was quite pretty, though inside it was a bit rusty – again, attic storage.  After getting home, I cleaned both the tin as well as the buttons – they had a thick layer of dirt/grime on them.  There are some really interesting pieces from this tin.

There’s a variety of belt buckles – a mother of pearl one as well as a bone one and the burgundy/cream one is a type of plastic – maybe bakelite? Also there are pairs of either buckets or coat clasps.  the metal clasp at the top of the picture has some green “stuff” on it – not sure about how to clean that, but that is also a result of attic storage.

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There are quite a few different Mother of Pearl buttons – usually at least 2 of the big ones.  These are all over 1″ – closer to 1-1/2″.

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There there are quite a few really large buttons that are different and interesting.  Most of them are pairs.  What on earth do you use only 2 large buttons on?

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I had to take an individual picture of the floral button at the bottom of the picture.  It is so interesting.  On the back of this button the flowers are carved into the plastic and then painted.  There’s only one of these.  Isn’t that different!!!

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However, the best treasure in the box was what I initially thought was a mother of pearl necklace or charm.  It was horribly dirty and pitted – so much that I almost didn’t realize that there was something inside – a blade!  It was almost impossible to get it open.  Thankfully, my husband spent some time working on it and cleaning it up for me.  🙂  Though it is not perfect, it is significantly better than the way that I found it!

I’ve done a bit of research on this tiny knife and have found that it is a quill or pen knife.  These were hung on a watch chain and used to sharpen the quill pen when needed.  I’ve had a couple different opinions on the age of this piece.  There’s a seller on Ebay with an identical penknife stating that it is from 1890 and made by the Sheffield knife company in England.  However, I’ve contacted a couple other knife experts inquiring about it and  have had different opinions.  One believes it is from 1910 – 1940’s and indicated that without a stamp to identify the knife, it could have been made by any of the numerous knife makers, not specifically Sheffield.  Another believes that it is a German-made piece.  Either way, it’s pretty old and it is hand crafted and it seems that they aren’t all that plentiful.  I think it is delightful and that this was a definite score!!!  A ladies mini-knife.  LOL!  Who knew?

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The next stop was in a very posh neighborhood (million dollar homes!) and I snagged a magnifying floor lamp – out in the garage lean to.  There was no door on this structure and I’m sure that a strong wind would knock it over.  LOL!  The lamp was covered in dirt, but a good cleaning fixed that.  I was thrilled to find that even the light bulb worked!  Inside I found a vintage darning egg for $2.  I don’t ever plan to darn a pair of socks, but I do like having a piece of history.  🙂

The last stop was at a home where the lady of the house was a seamstress.  I got quite a few treasures there.  Several cutting mats and quilting rulers, all for $1/ea.  What a deal!!!  But then, in her storage room, I discovered a box of laces and hankies and another box of little boy outfits!!!  Score!!!  I bought both boxes and as I wove my way back to the cash register I picked up a book of children’s poems by Silverstein.  It was an autographed copy.  I wanted it to read to the grandkids.  When I got home and checked out my purchases, I discovered the previous owners name in the book and it turns out that she was someone who I knew back in the early 70’s when we first moved here.  She was a member of the church we attended.  I love that I have some of the beautiful things that were previously owned by someone who I actually knew!

All of the items I purchased at the sales were really dirty – I mean, really, really dirty!!!  However, the last 2 boxes were unbelievably filthy!!!  After 2 washes, the water was still brown and gross.  I wasn’t sure if these laces and outfits would be able to come clean or not.  However, I persisted and did the best that I could with laundering and then finished them with a soak in Retro Clean.  Some items cleaned up beautifully, but I cannot seem to get all the stains out of the outfits.  They were just about black to start with.  They may have to remain with light stains on them – I’m afraid to soak them much more.

This is a sampling of some of the laces that I got from both the first as well as the last house.  The second from the left is a beautiful piece of heirloom lace and there’s a couple of yards of it and no holes – I hope to use it on a special outfit.  The tiny lace in the middle is also an heirloom lace and there are at least 7+ yards of this lace.  The lace on the right is a gorgeous piece of embroidered cotton netting.  There are several pieces of this, but it is very fragile and brittle.

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Then there are the pretty hankies.  The hankie on the far right is of such fine/thin fabric that I cannot imagine it being useful as a hankie.

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Note just how sheer that hankie is!  I doubt that we can even buy fabric this fine anymore.  It is more sheer than Swiss voile!

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The hankies in the middle have some beautiful drawn thread work along with delicate embroidery.

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The next group of treasures I rescued from a trunk in the ladies storage room – all collars.  They all appear to be things that either may have been from her family that had been saved, or she salvaged them from vintage pieces that she had acquired.

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You have to know that I just drool over this beautiful lace!!!  The first collar has beautiful laces as well as cotton netting laces – notice that the netting is on the bias.  I don’t know if the holes appeared after the collar was laundered or if they were present prior to the laundering.  As previously mentioned – everything was so dirty that I hardly wanted to touch them.

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The second collar is a gorgeous piece!!!  Again, there is embroidery on the cotton net and then the outer lace is attached to the net.  It is just exquisite!  The netting on this piece also has some tiny holes.  So sad that the poor storage of these items has resulted in damaging the fibers.

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This 3rd collar is very different – almost like a bib, but definitely sized for a woman.  It is really an unusual piece.  Again, beautiful cotton netting with laces.

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Close up of the details.

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The last collar isn’t exciting, but the laces are so pretty!

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I’ve saved the best lace piece for last!  This is the “pièce de résistance”!!!  This piece is completely round and the lace is some of the prettiest and most unusual that I’ve ever seen!!!  Perhaps it is from the hem of a petticoat or Christening gown?  Possibly from a tablecloth?  Though it is fragile, there are very few holes in it.  I have no idea what the bridging lace is between the other laces (I’m no lace expert) – maybe needle lace?  I’ve never seen anything like this before and have asked a couple of friends that are much more knowledgeable than I am about lace.   All agree that it is quite unique.

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As you can see, there were many treasures found at these sales.  I haven’t even shown everything.  There are other pieces of lace, including yards of handmade tatting, there are 2 sheet sets with tatted edging, etc.  I’ll save some of these other things for a future post.  🙂  This was pretty cheap entertainment for a morning and I have found some beautiful treasures – some that I will use and some that I will hold on to just for pleasure.  I’ll probably let go of other things that I will not ever use.  It’s been fun.

Hope everyone will enjoy some special stitching during the remainder of the summer months.  Maybe even stop and check out an estate sale when you pass one of those signs!

Kathy

 

Happy 4th of July!!!

We just returned from our beach vacation with all the kids!  What a fun time we had!!!  The weather was beautiful and staying in a home on the beach front was a real plus.  As the first person up each morning, I enjoyed the sunrise every morning.  Such beauty in God’s creation!

As I promised, I’ll show picture of the kids in the outfits made for this trip.  Sorry – you’ll be bombarded with my family pictures!  LOL!  We went out to eat one evening and had to entertain the kids for quite some time while waiting for a table.  We found some good entertainment!

These are the girls in their Children’s Corner “Lillian” dresses. 13524548_10153716502091769_532481176654240926_n

The hanging shark (plastic) was also a point of interest for the kids.  Liam is wearing the Children’s Corner “Johnny” with firetrucks smocked from Junebug Designs.  He especially liked the shark’s teeth.  LOL!

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The day we arrived, 2 of the girls were wearing their paisley “Lillian” dresses.  I brought the 3rd dress that day for Livvy.  🙂

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The ocean front porch was a fun place to hang out.  Liam in his Children’s Corner “Johnny”.  Vintage Little People and bubbles were enjoyed on the porch!

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The Monday before we left for the beach I decided to make up 3 ready to smock sundresses and smock them at the beach.  I got them all sewn together and started stitching on the drive (3.5 hours) to the beach and then continued stitching while I was there.

Stitching on the ocean front porch proved to be quite the challenge!  Hahaha!!!  While I loved the breeze, I really had to hang on to my needle and thread.

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This is a poor picture of the 3 dresses finished.  I chose to smock a simple geometric on the backs and not the sailboats.  The dresses are Children’s Corner “Katina” and the smocking design was Creative Keepsakes “Easy Sailing”.

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Needless to say, they looked much cuter on the girls.  The beach sign for our daughter’s house arrived while we were there.  Can’t wait to see this sign up on the house!

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We enjoyed having all the kids and grandkids around for the week.  I’d post pictures of the adult kids, but since most of them are in bathing suits, I think they would prefer to not have them posted.  Instead, I’ll share a picture of the entire family that “gramps” took on our last evening there along with a couple other favorites.

Love each and every one of these kids and grandkids and my husband!!!  I’m so blessed.

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Honestly, could they be any cuter???  Such personality!!!

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Liam’s Children’s Corner “Jeffery” (out of print) is smocked with Junebug Designs “Whale of a Tail”.

I hope everyone enjoys a wonderful 4th of July!!!  We are so blessed to live with the freedoms that we enjoy.

Keep on stitchin’ ……

Kathy