Fall/Back to School Sewing

Vacation is over and this week some of our schools start up again.  Hard to imagine when the temperatures are in the 80º’s and expected to hit the 90º’s this week.  So, with the new season and anticipating cooler weather – eventually – I thought it was time to start on some fall clothes for the little girls.  Like all children, they seem to grow like weeds!

My first sewing projects of the week were for our oldest granddaughter, Ella.  She is 4 and will start back at preschool right after Labor day.  An executive decision was made to use the tried and true Children’s Corner “Lucy” dress/jumper pattern.  This dress provides an excellent canvas for embroidery or other creative accents and goes together very quickly.

All of these dresses will be able to be worn alone while the weather is still hot, but then can be worn with short sleeve blouses or t-shirts when it begins to get cool and with long sleeves or sweaters later on when it is really fall outside.

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The first dress is a bright floral twill with only a monogram and ruffle in a coordinating fabric.  The monogram is the from Hang To Dry and is such a cute and girly font to use.  This dress went together very quickly.  I had the light turquoise polo shirt in the stash – it matches better than the photo seems to show.

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The second dress was so fun to plan.  The fabric was purchase online several years ago from a seller in Holland.  The smocked insert (Beaux et Belles) was purchased on Ebay well before the fabric.  How serendipitous to find that they were such a compliment to each other.  It allowed for a quick smocked dress to be made.  I bought several different inserts, so have plans for more quick smocked outfits.

This dress was piped and lined in black micro check and accented with rick rack above the ruffle.


This dress turned out to be my biggest challenge!  I don’t normally use black for children – it seems to be a harsh color for them.  However, when I saw this sweater with the crocheted edging – which I LOVED – I had to buy it!  I knew that I would pair it with something colorful to minimize the black color.  It took quite a bit of “stash diving” to find just the right piece of fabric.  This floral print is a soft corduroy, but with 3% lycra.

My first attempt at adding embroidery to the fabric was a fail!  I forgot to interface behind the embroidery, though I did stabilize.  As the design stitched out (a different design than what I ended up with!) the fabric stretched, coverage was poor and the fabric bubbled around the embroidery.  Ugh!  Thankfully, after walking away and returning to the dress the following morning, I realized my mistake (thanks to the advice of my sewing friends!) and cut a new dress front and tried again.  The first stitch out made me realize that I wasn’t thrilled with the design I had chosen, so I picked a different one and proceeded.

The embroidery design is the Shabby Rose Font from Planet Applique.  With proper stabilization and interfacing, this stitched out beautifully and compliments the fabric nicely.  The dress hem is trimmed with 2 different sizes of rick rack.


I just had to show a close up of this pretty sweater!  It is a handmade (Peru) sweater and the crochet edging and border really make this sweater stand out from the crowd!  The pretty flowers have a 3-d effect.  Love it!



With 3 dresses completed for the oldest granddaughter, I moved on to the next “victim”.  LOL!  This dress was just completed and again uses a pre-smocked insert, so was just a matter of sewing the dress.  I had the purchased blouse which had lime green piping detail.  I knew I could find a lime green gingham that would match as I have several different pieces of lime green gingham.  LOL!  I used another Children’s Corner pattern – the Mary De.  It has been a long time favorite of mine.  It wraps in the back and closes with 2 buttons for quick sewing and easy dressing.

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I made an interesting discovery about these beautiful inserts – while we normally picture smock with 4 strands of floss, presumably to get good coverage, these are smocked with 2 strands of floss!!!  I may have to attempt that and see what kind of coverage I can get.  I do know that it is easier to have more detail with fewer strands of floss, but I don’t know of anyone that has tried picture smocking with 2 strands.  Sounds like a challenge to me!

I am still busy working on getting my kits ready for the SAGA convention in September.  However, sometimes you just need to stop and create something pretty.  Remember that as you go forward this coming week.  Take a little time to do something creative that you enjoy!


5 thoughts on “Fall/Back to School Sewing

  1. Debbie

    I know I have commented before, but I just LOVE looking at your creations so much! You are such an inspiration. Thank you so much for sharing your abilities.

  2. GamGam

    Your creativity is inspiring. I always look forward to your weekly blog.
    And thanks for including the source of the appliques.


  3. Shirley

    Kathy, I love all your outfits. They are adorable and sew creative. I have that Japanese Lanterns smocked insert by Beaux et Belles and love your fabric. Since you bought this fabric from someone in Holland, was it an American made fabric? Would love to find a piece to use with my insert of the same. That crocheted edged black Peruvian sweater is just gorgeous and goes so well with your fabric!!! Love them all!

    1. kathy

      The fabric was not an American made fabric, rather, made in Holland. It’s been aging in the stash for a while, so I’m not sure that it’s still available Shirley.


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