Category Archives: picture smocked dress

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!

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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!!!

“Beautiful Beautifuls”

One of our granddaughters calls her smocked, fancy, twirly dresses her “beautiful beautifuls” and requests to wear those quite often.  Of course, I love that!  Well, I’ve just returned from teaching at Peanut Butter ‘n Jelly Kids in Mobile, AL where I saw some of the most “beautiful beautifuls” ever!!!   Everywhere that you turn you can see a beautiful dress that Anna Marie has made and put on display for inspiration.

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Each dress is as beautiful as the next and lace is used extensively!!!  What eye candy!!!
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At every opportunity (breaks, lunch, before and after class) I walked around the shop taking in all the pretty things displayed throughout the shop.

Anna Marie is a woman of many talents.  Not only does she draft/sell her own patterns and smocking plates, she is now re-creating the beautiful 1752 laces and having them made here in the US on perhaps the only vintage machine left in this country.  These laces are just scrumptious!!!  Here’s a small sampling of the laces.

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I am going to have to dream up a “need” to buy and use some of these.  They are produced on delicate netting – oh, how I loved them!

There’s no lack of inspiration in this shop!  You definitely need to visit if you are ever in AL.  However, if you cannot get there in person, her online shop carries all these pretty things as well.

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I had a wonderful time teaching at this shop!  The students were enthusiastic and eager to learn and try new techniques.  They hardly wanted to stop for lunch – however, Anna Marie tempted all of us with a delicious offering each day.  🙂  They worked hard and I’m sure will have their projects completed in no time.

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Do you see the lavender and blue hoop skirts in the back of the classroom – these are the “in progress” works of Anna Marie’s gowns for the Azalea Trail Maids of Mobile. Some pretty amazing dresses with multiple pieces and HUNDREDS of yards of ruffles!!! She makes several each year. She sewed ruffles while we sewed heirlooms. 🙂

It was lovely getting to know each of these ladies and helping them learn some new things!  Anna Marie was a delightful host and ready to jump in and help where needed – even volunteering to do a bit of embroidery on a bodice.

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I stole a picture from FB – they were a lovely group of students and I enjoyed getting to know each of them!

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All things have to come to an end, and the ending was just as sweet.  I had a car tour of Mobile and saw the majestic trees, stately homes, the bay and other attractions and then finished the evening with a delicious dinner at one of the local restaurants.  It was a wonderful weekend.

I did have to snap a picture of one of the displays at the airport. It was so fitting – royalty.  🙂

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Now, after I get my things put away, I’ll have to decide what to sew next.  I think I may finish up the hand embroidery I started while I was gone.

 

A New Group of Stitchers

I just returned from Minnesota.  It was my first visit to that state.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, but after spending a few days there, I have decided that the people of Minnesota are warm and inviting.  I had a wonderful time during my visit.

I had the privilege of teaching the Lakes and Prairie SAGA Guild in MN.  What a great bunch of ladies there!  They were an enthusiastic group and they extended such a warm welcome to me. The weather was cool, which was definitely not unusual.  But we had beautiful sunshine every day, which made our meeting room nice and bright.

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We had a wonderful meeting space at an assisted living center.  During the course of the class, a couple of the ladies stopped in to see what we were up to.  🙂

After working hard on day 1 with their sewing and pleating, we spent day 2 doing embroidery.  Notice our open windows – LOL!  We stayed rather warm as the assisted living facility keeps the room temperature quite high.  We resolved that by shedding layers and opening the windows.  Hahaha!!!

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This was a talented group of ladies and they did so well both days.  They were a delight to teach!

I stayed with a lovely couple and had a room with the most beautiful hand-made quilts.  These were family heirlooms.  Of course, I had to examine them.  The quilt hanging on the wall was completely hand stitched together in a most unique (to me) way as well as hand quilted!  What a treasure!!!  They were displayed beautifully.

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While I travel, airport waiting time = stitching time.  I normally work on Wee Care gowns, but this time I took along a jacket I was already working on and managed to get it close to completion.  Upon my return home, I finished up the stitching and I’m pleased with the results.  I hope that my MN ladies will see this and be inspired to stitch up some jackets of their own!

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I’m back home, unpacked and have put away the suitcase for a couple of weeks.  Today I may choose some summer fabric and start on a few summer things for the little ones.

Of course, this is Easter week and I’m looking forward to our worship service on Sunday.  I love seeing everyone in their Easer finery.  However, all the finery pales in comparison to the celebration of our Savior, His resurrection and all that this means for us as Christians.  I hope everyone will enjoy a blessed Easter weekend reflecting and celebrating our Savior’s sacrificial love for us!

 

Finishing up Another UFO…

I am not a fan of having a bunch of UFO’s (Un-Finished Objects), but it’s inevitable to have some of them – at least, that’s the case for me.  So, this outfit was next on my list of things to finish.  Sadly, I think I’ve missed the window of opportunity to have this sweet jacket be worn.  It’s perfect for our southern spring church mornings.  However, I finished the set on Saturday and the temperatures were in the 80’s this past weekend.  Unless we have some unseasonable cool temperatures, this will go into the “Closet Creations” closet until there’s another little girl to wear this.

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While I was in Michigan a couple of weeks ago, I finished up all the embroidery on this jacket.  It is quite time-consuming, but well worth the effort and very enjoyable!  The ensemble was started at a Gail Doane seminar that our SAGA Dogwood guild hosted last year.  Gail is a very talented designer and an excellent teacher.  If you enjoy heirloom sewing & smocking and haven’t taken a class from Gail, you definitely need to put that on your bucket list!!!  You’ll be glad that you did.

This past week I’ve been on the “rest and recuperate” mode after a busy time watching our grandchildren.  Who wouldn’t love spending time with these sweeties!!!  We had such fun with them, but we certainly felt our age trying to keep up with all that energy!  LOL!

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The R&R involved some no-pressure  sewing and I was able to finish up both the jacket and the dress.

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Although Gail offers a lovely smocking design with her pattern, I decided to do something slightly different on my dress and was happy with the results.  I opted for a bullion bow rather than the beautiful silk ribbon bow.  I thought that it would hold up nicely to all the washing that I expect this dress will get.  Isn’t the fabric a beautiful print!!!  I love paisley.

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These embroidered jackets are some of my favorites.  You’ll remember the one that I finished late last year – it was different, but equally beautiful.

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The time embroidering this new jacket was relaxing and enjoyable.

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I certainly got plenty of practice with bullion stitches on this jacket!  I’m sure that you’ll agree that the finished jacket is one of the cutest ever!!!  So sad that I missed the boat on this one being worn.  🙁

Thankfully, the dress will be worn, but not until next year.  I tried both the jacket and the dress on our granddaughter and the jacket was a perfect fit, but the dress was quite large.  So, I will reserve hemming the dress until next spring and I’ll be ahead of the game next year!  I know she will look adorable in this!

Next week is a new week!  With this warm weather, I’m thinking about doing some spring/summer sewing.  How about you?  Ready for some spring sewing?

 

Preparing For Classes

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I recently received my SAGA News with the announcement of the upcoming fall convention, which got me thinking dreaming about upcoming classes and what I could attend.  (If you’re not a current member of SAGA, you are missing out – SAGA has a lot to offer members, both in local guilds as well as with retreats and conventions.)  I’ve been both a student as well as a teacher, so have a pretty good idea about preparing to take a class and thought I’d share what I’ve learned over the years.  I hope to be a student at some of the sewing events this year.

SAGA includes a list of “basic sewing supplies” for students to take to classes, as does Sewing At The Beach and as did the Martha Pullen School of Art Fashion when they had their schools in Huntsville.  I combined the lists, since the things on the list would be helpful necessary to have at any/all sewing schools.  Of course, understand that these things are for schools that cater to heirloom sewing, which is what I love to do.  A quilting school would have a different set of required supplies.  🙂

Basic Sewing Supplies to Take to Classes:

Scissors (fabric, paper and embroidery), glass head or fine silk pins, fine line and ultra-fine line water soluble-blue marking pens, #2 pencil and sharpener, tape measure, rulers, white sewing thread, assorted hand sewing needles, seam ripper, pen/paper for taking notes, task lighting and magnification with extension cord and power strip.  If a machine is required, bring machine, power cord, foot petal, manual, extra bobbins and assorted pressure feet as well as a variety of machine needles/sizes.

Heirloom class supplies should also include a lace shaping board and corresponding scissors.  For air travel, I prefer this smaller board, but if I’m driving to a class, I definitely would include the larger lace shaping board.

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Hand sewing/embroidery class supplies should include 4″, 6″ & 8″ embroidery hoops.  I have a handy carrying case with zip pockets that hold just about anything I’d need for a hand sewing class.  It keeps everything in one place and has been a great organizer for these things.

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Suggested machine needles should include #60, 65, 70, 75 & 80, twin needles 1.6/70, 2.0/80, #100 Jeans needle and wing needle.

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Suggested threads are white in 60 wt. Mettler, 50 wt. Coats and Clark, 50 wt. DMC, 80 wt. Madeira Tanne cotona, 70 or 100 wt. YLI Heirloom thread.

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Suggested pressure feet are 5 groove pintuck foot, open toed foot, edge stitching foot, lace joining foot, piping foot & 1/4″ foot.

Refer to specific classes for additional supplies needed.

This list is the combined list from all these schools.  I realize that it is a long list, but if for the student that is a smocker and does heirloom sewing many of these supplies will already be in the “stash”.  If the student is new to heirloom sewing and hopes to advance their skills, these will be things that will be needed for future projects, so definitely things that should be in the “stash”.

As a student, I always have all of these things (in multiples) with my traveling supplies to the school as well as everything that the teacher has on the list for the specific classes being taken.  I want to get the most out of class and so I prepare well ahead of time in order to acquire all the needed supplies.  With no heirloom shops in the area, most things have to be ordered online.  Like most students, I want my project to look as much like the teacher’s sample as possible, so using the same supplies that she used makes sense to me.

As a teacher, it is my hope that all the students will have the required supplies for the classes.  Students that come unprepared bring unnecessary challenges to the classroom/teacher.  When compiling the list of supplies required for a class, every supply listed IS required and used.  Sometimes there are supplies that are listed as “optional”.  I can assure that I would ALWAYS opt to have these supplies, however, there are “work arounds” if you opt not to bring that supply.

Once you’ve secured all the necessary supplies, it’s nice to have a plan for organizing these supplies so that they are readily visible and on hand when you need them.  I have a great little holder for my supplies.  What I particularly love about this organizer is that it swivels around for easy access to the tools.

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There’s still a few more things on my “wish” list for class supplies.  One of those things is a rolling tote for my sewing machine.  It sure would make toting a machine to class easier!

I hope that this post is helpful to anyone that plans to take classes at upcoming sewing venues, local SAGA guilds or shops where heirloom classes are being taught.  I also hope that many of the blog readers will have the opportunity to take classes this year.  While it is possible to learn many things online or from books, nothing is quite the same as being able to take a class in person.  In person, you will get little tips/technique demonstrations that aren’t necessarily in the books as well as have the opportunity to have the teacher make suggestions to fine tune your skills/techniques.  Consider one of the many sewing venues available for heirloom sewists this year – you’ll be glad that you did!

Have I missed a necessary supply???  I do bring other supplies that aren’t listed here, but I thought that might be a bit overwhelming to add more things to the list!  LOL!

Kathy

Edited to add – Don’t forget the bandaides!!!  Am I the only one that needs those?  LOL!

Enjoying the Lakes!!!

The last couple weeks have been busy!!!  I made an impromptu visit up to MI to see my folks a week ago.  As you can imagine, it was C.O.L.D.!!!  However, it was so nice to be able to spend some time with my folks as well as my sister.   I enjoyed a lunch out with mom one day.  Time with my folks is precious and I am so thankful that I got to sneak in an unplanned visit.

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An unexpected bonus to the visit was that I enjoyed soaking in the hot tub with my sister in the evenings. I never thought I’d like that, but was glad that she was able to prove me wrong. LOL! It’s pretty spectacular to see the stars at night from the hot tub.  Thankfully, you won’t be seeing a picture of us in the hot tub!!!  Hahaha!!!

The frigid temperatures warmed up as the week progressed and the last day there I took this picture of the lake on my early morning walk!  What a beautiful sunrise!

The first picture is from the back of their condo and the second picture on my walk.  What a wonderful view they have!  The sunrises are stunning!

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Then it was back home long enough to do some cleaning, laundry and organizing around the house and I was off again – this time to teach a class in VA.

I travelled to VA on a day that bad weather was expected.  Thankfully, I just had drizzle and fog for the drive, but after all the students arrived at the beautiful lake home of the hostess, the weather took a turn for the worst.  We were able to enjoy class in the afternoon, but had to head to the basement family room due to tornado warnings!!!  Yikes!  Of course, we all grabbed our needlework (and snacks) and stitched while we waited out the storm.

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The room was spacious and comfortable – we weren’t suffering a bit!  LOL!  We all got quite a bit of stitching done during our time in the “shelter”. Thankfully, the storm and tornadoes took a little jaunt around the town and we missed the worst of it.  My husband had been watching the storm on the radar and said that this jaunt in the storm could be attributed to nothing other than God protecting us!  So thankful for His protection.

The remaining days were spent either doing handwork in the upstairs living area which had a beautiful view of the lake and great lighting or at the sewing machines in the front of the house.   It’s a good thing that it was cold or I know I couldn’t have kept anyone inside!

The ladies hard at work……

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Who wouldn’t love stitching in this room?  We all enjoyed our beautiful location for the handwork!

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Sunrise over the lake was as pretty here as it was in MI.

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The students were delightful and I believe that it is safe to say that we all had a great time!  Our hostess was wonderful, the meals delicious and we all enjoyed stitching and laughing together.  🙂

So, that’s what I’ve been up to.  I hope you’ve enjoyed some fun stitching as well.  Easter will be here soon!!!