Tag Archives: smocking

Smocked Dresses for Dollies!

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

More Tiny Sewing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sewing For Preemies…….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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!!!

Some Simple Sewing Projects

This past week I’ve been doing some simple sewing projects.  Having found a completed top as well as a partially completed top, both which would fit one of the little girls right now, I thought I should finish some pants or capris to wear with the tops.

This first top was partially completed.  It was rather plain, so I added some hand embroidery to it.  I thought it was sweet, but Ella – well, she wasn’t sure about it.  We’ll see.  LOL!

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The second top was sewn many years ago when I sold children’s clothing online.  This wasn’t sold due to the initial.  I was thrilled when I went stash diving and found the polka dot pique that was a perfect match to the top!  Of course, this is for Livvy (Olivia).

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Then I also finished up a couple sweet Wee Care gowns.  The white one is simple and will work for a boy or girl, but I loved smocking the tiny rocking horse on the second one!  I know it will be sweet for a precious little boy.

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The smocking design for the horse is Tiny Rocking Horses by Ellen McCarn.

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In addition to some of the enjoyable sewing, I’ve had fun with the grandkids this past week, having some “sleep-overs” with some of them!  That trumps sewing any day!

I’ve been busy sewing other things as well, but those have yet to be photographed.  I’ll save that for the next post.

I hope you’re enjoying some relaxing sewing these days as well!

Pretty Pillow

This past week I’ve been busy getting ready for the Sewing At The Beach retreat.  I’m so thrilled to have been asked to teach at this event.  One of the classes I’ll be teaching is a North American smocking technique – otherwise known as fabric manipulation – on a sweet halter top.

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I recognize that not everyone sews for little girls, so it had been my earnest desire to make another sample that was on a pillow.  I could see this on pillows made in a variety of fabrics.  Silk is one that comes to mind.  I have yet to try this on silk.

However, I did make the time to do the smocking on a piece for a pillow, using the same white sateen fabric as I used for the top.  I finished up the pillow and am quite pleased with the results.  Of course, the pillow was much more smocking than the halter top!

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So now I have something to show with this interesting technique that anyone could make.  If I had more time, I’d be bringing samples of the technique on different fabrics.  But alas, I am making up some last-minute kits, so that’s not possible at this time.  Maybe next time.  🙂

I head to the beach tomorrow and will be there for a week.  I know this will be a fun event and I’ll be sharing it with many other women that love all types of sewing and needlework.  Hope to see some of you there!!!

 

 

Meet The New Girl ….

I’m still around – sewing, designing and such.  There’s always something going on in the sewing room and the drawing board.  This weekend I managed to get 3 Christmas a-line dresses made for the little girls.  I’ll work on the matching little brother outfit soon.

The dresses are all made from the Chez Ami twill fabric, bought when they were getting rid of a lot of fabrics.  It has  a bit of spandex.  Not my favorite to work with, but I loved the weight of the fabric and the colors.   I have the same large gingham in a royal blue/light blue combination for the little brother outfits.  I love when that all works out!  Before you’re too impressed, I have to let you know that the smocked inserts were purchased.  I didn’t make them!  They sure are cute though!  Of course, the dresses are the Children’s Corner “Lucy” – my go to pattern.

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Do you see the new girl???   I scored big with this purchase and am so excited about it!!!  I happened to be on Craig’s List this past weekend and imagine my surprise when I saw a Wolf size 5 dress fitting mannequin listed for sale.  I’d love to own an Alvanon professional fitting form, but that definitely isn’t in my budget.  So, this was the next best option.  I was a bit skeptical about completing the purchase – you hear some pretty scary stories about purchases that are scams.  But, the form was being held at a bait and tackle shop.  She was quite out of her element there.  I’m sure that she will be much happier here!  Honestly, it looks practically new.  Sadly, the arm wasn’t with the form, but I took her anyway.

Other exciting news is the smocking design that I’ll have in the new Classic Sewing Magazine that is scheduled to come out in December.  You’ll definitely want to subscribe to this magazine!  It promised to be a beautiful magazine dedicated to quality heirloom and classic sewing with many favorite designers included.  Signing up now also will allow you to get in on the beautiful machine embroidery monogram design that they are giving to subscribers.  It’s beautiful!  Here’s a sneak peek of the dress…

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You’ll have to wait for the magazine to see the rest of it!

So, that’s what I’ve been up to this last week.  Have you started your Christmas sewing yet?

 

 

Birthday Sewing and More!!!

I’ve sadly neglected my blog!  For the last couple months, I’ve been gone more than I’ve been home, so not much sewing (or blogging) has happened.  However, I’ve been home now for over a week – yippee!!! – and have been able to sew some things again.  It’s been great to get back to sewing.

The first things on order for sewing were birthday outfits for Livvy and Liam.  Both have birthdays this first week in October.  Their birthday party theme is a Circus theme, so circus outfits were in order.  My daughter sent me ideas for appliqués and I had the exact appliqués in my “collection” of embroidery designs!!!  Score!  Her color scheme is aqua and red.

IMG_9617The appliqués were a combination of a couple different designs – the tent came from Embroitique, the #1 came from Planet Appliqué and the name was the circus font from 8 Claws and a Paw.  The shortfall pattern is Children’s Corner “Johnny”, slightly modified for out chunky monkey!

Making an outfit for Liam required just a little tweaking since he is a bit wider than patterns in the appropriate size.  LOL!  We also wanted to see his chubby legs, so I raised the leg on the sides.  The result was exactly as I envisioned.  His birthday was last Friday, so he arrived dressed in the outfit.  Can I just say A.D.O.R.A.B.L.E.!!!

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This was the best picture that we could get of the little guy – he’s always on the move!!!  However, the most fun of the day was watching him devour his birthday cupcake.  LOL!  He’s never had cake/icing before – let me tell you, he was a fan!  He dove into that cupcake with determination.  He started a bit timid, but quickly realized that he had a prize.

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Next up was a matching dress for Livvy.  However, I had in mind something other than gingham.  So, after teaching a class at MaryJo’s, I did some shopping.  I didn’t find exactly what I was looking for, so only purchased 2 fabrics.  Next stop was the quilting shop, also in Gastonia.  Oh my – what a stop that was!!!  I found several fabrics and had the clerk cutting some of them, when she (cleverly) suggested some others.  Well, the “others” were even better, so I had to have those as well.  I ended up with 8 pieces of fabric from the quilt shop.  My shopping spree for the “perfect” fabrics ended up costing $150!!!   Good thing that I love all the fabrics and will use them in other things.  Hahaha!!!

Her dress turned out so cute and I wish that I’d snapped a picture of her dancing around in it.  She was so silly and excited when she got her twirly circus dress!  Maybe I’ll have some pictures after the party.

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Obviously, the appliqué information is the same.  I didn’t think about the fact that the red letters for her name would be over red polka dots and don’t show up as well.  Hindsight.  Ugh!  Should have used yellow.  Oh well.  She loves it!  I used and OOP Children’s Corner pattern called “Libby” for the bodice pieces and just added the skirt tiers and bottom ruffle.  I’m sure it would be easy to substitute a similar pattern if someone wanted to copy the style.

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After completing the circus outfits, my SAGA News arrived in the mail.  It was the Wee Care issue and had such a cute gown that was designed by Joy Welsh of Appliqué for Kids.  I wanted to try that gown pattern – it looked very quick to make and particularly nice for boys.

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I had contacted Joy and asked her if she would be able to digitize an anchor design – I wanted it for a special little baby – and she did it that very evening!!!  What a big heart she has!!!  Thank you Joy!

I made a blanket to go with the gown.  Love the way that the gown and blanket turned out.

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If you haven’t tried out these shadow work embroidery designs, they are so quick and the end results are beautiful!!!  I could kick myself for not trying them out sooner.  I’ll definitely be using more of these.

IMG_9638This anchor was stitched on Imperial Batiste and was even stitched on the bias of the fabric on top – no puckers!  Typically poly/cotton fabrics always have puckers, but that’s not the case with her shadow work designs.

I followed that quick and easy design with a smocking design on another Wee Care gown.  It turned out sweet.  I love the way that the beads look in the design.

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I’ve submitted the smocking design to SAGA to use in a future magazine.

This week I’ve been working on fall outfits for Liam and Livvy and wanted them done for their birthday party this coming weekend.  🙂  I’m too lazy to make the shirts for under the outfits.  These were really pretty quick to make as I used purchased (Belles et Beaux) smocked inserts that we bought last year.  I made the long pants version of the Children’s Corner “Johnny” for Liam.

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The fabric for his outfit is a really great fabric – a twill from Chez Ami when they were discontinuing fabrics and clothing.  While I’m a fan of the cotton with a hint of spandex for wearing comfort, I’m not particularly a fan of sewing with it.  After pre-washing the fabric, it remained a bit off grain, so in order to get all the gingham matching at center front and back and sides, the  area just underneath the smocking is a bit off kilter.   I did try to straighten the grain and tugged for quite a while, but in the end, this was the best it got.  I don’t know if the spandex is the culprit or what.  I have several pieces of their twill with spandex.  I’ll have to see how the others do.

Livvy’s outfit is a cotton gingham – definitely liam first birthday3liam first birthday3liam first birthday3easier to sew on and get wonderful results.  For her dress I used another OOP Children’s Corner pattern for the bodices – the “Elliott”.

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I added a skirt to the bodice of this pattern.  It was an easy adjustment.  I thought about using the Mary De pattern, but wanted something that buttoned on the shoulder and was closed in the back.  I know she’ll love the twirly dress for this as well.  They are big football fans, so I hope these outfits will be a hit!

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So, as you can see, I’ve really enjoyed getting back into the sewing this past week and hope to do some more things in the next few weeks!

What have you been stitching???