Category Archives: picture smocked dress

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.

Pattern Cover

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!

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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

 

 

Vacation Dresses for the Girls!!!

For the last several years, I’ve made matching outfits for the kids to wear at our beach vacation.  They are all young enough that they love matching.

After all my sewing for Liam, I couldn’t leave out the girls.  🙂  So, I’ve been busy getting some summer dresses finished up for them.  Oh my – sewing for 4 little ones can certainly keep one busy!  I’d have it no other way.  What fun to be able to sew for all of them and have their moms love what I make!!!  I’m so blessed!  🙂

The first set of dresses that I made came as a result of finding these Beaux Et Belles smocked inserts in my stash.  I remember buying 2 of them quite a few years ago.  My dear friend Lane Edwards also bought 2 of them.  When she was no longer able to sew, she gifted me with much of her fabric and with it came some of the inserts that she had purchased as well as a couple that she had stitched herself.  What a wonderful surprise.  So, I had 4 of these inserts in my stash.

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Needless to say, they were perfect for our upcoming beach trip!  I made all 3 girls a Children’s Corner “Lucy” dress.  I prefer a one button shoulder – actually, I think that their mom’s prefer that for quicker dressing.  LOL!

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I probably should have fussed with them a bit more before pictures, but you get the idea!

Then I moved on to the next set of dresses.  I had cut out the dresses and then went looking for some lace to put down the front of the dress and pulled out a beautiful lace.

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However, as I scoped out the sewing room, I felt that the lace was a perfect match for a different fabric, so I quickly cut out more dresses.  This time I used the Children’s Corner “Lillian” pattern.  It is so similar to the Lilly Pulitzer style dresses that the girls love.  This beautiful lace was purchased at the Orlando SAGA Convention – I suspect maybe from Luc, the lace guy from Holland.  The dresses turned out just as I’d hoped!

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The final 3 were made from the fabric that I had cut out first.  I just love this fabric!!!  This is a beautiful poly/cotton soft line piqué that I purchased in Europe last year at Kolomka Fabric store – an absolutely wonderful store with every fabric you could imagine for sewing.  If I hadn’t been limited by suitcase size and what I could carry as we walked back to the train station, I would have come home with so much more!!!

I thought that this fabric only needed a monogram to complete the dress.  This elegant font is from Kabo designs (#039).

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These dresses are much cuter than they photographed.

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So, now I can sit back and relax – sort of – and get ready for the upcoming beach vacation!!!

I do love these quick sewing projects.  Instant gratification.

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

 

 

 

Fun Play Clothes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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