Monday, May 30, 2011

Hand Me Down!

This little dress has seen 6 years of wear and 5 first birthday parties. It represents my reentry into the world of sewing children's clothing. If my blog were The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, this dress may not be ugly, but yes, it is bad. It reminds me of the old Glamour Magaziine Do and Don't shots. The poor little collar needs some serious repair. My lace wasn't nearly wide enough for the space that I left...oh dear. But live and learn I have, so hopefully I will show progress on future peter pan collars.
The little yellow polka dot fabric was handed to me over the back fence by Lin from her stash, the tiny birthday cake was from the Martha Pullen Sweet Baby CD, and the dress was made from Children's Corner Carol, which is an old favorite. And there is something about this traditional dress with its soft colors and puff sleeves that I love in spite of its imperfections!
Sarah didn't seem to mind that her collar was a little wonky. She is just happy to be on Mommy's lap.

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Friday, May 27, 2011

In Flanders Field

In Flanders field the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
~Lt. Colonel John McRae

There won't be much time to sew over the busy weekend with family and friends. But it does give me time to think about loved ones who fought for our country. My father and Uncle Earl, who were veterans of WWII. My brother who was a veteran of the Vietnam War, who now rests at Arlington. As a woman who has not served, it is hard for me to imagine the hardships and heartaches they had to bear as a part of a war; let alone the daily longing for family and familiar surroundings.

My memorial day will be filled with burgers and sunshine, but it will also be filled with thoughts of those who gave so much so that I might live this life that means so much to me.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Sarah's Onesie Dress

Little Sarah is turning one! She is there and we are here, so this little dress is shown without a smiling face.
My first step was to tear my fabric. This soft lawn is a remnant from the dress that I made for Issa in my very first post, from the Children's Corner; it is a beautiful lawn in pinks and khakis.
I measured around the onesie and doubled the measurement. If I do this again I will add another half length of fullnes. I folded the onesie in half from the arm to the snaps, and marked a line around the waist with my blue soluble marker.
The next step was a rolled hem with my #68 foot. I used this foot years ago when I was making smocked bonnets, and the technique does take some time to perfect. I seem to do this hem best while holding my breath, holding my mouth in the right postion, holding the fabric at just the right angle to the left, and sewing very slowly. The results are worth the effort. I got an even rolled hem on both edges. (with a few inches exception)

Next I used the ruffler attachment, and ruffled the strip leaving about a half inch at the top. I attached the skirt to the body of the onesie at my blue marker, and zig zagged all around on top of my ruffle seam line, using the #37 foot. The onesie had long sleeves when I began, so I cut them short and thought I would try my hand at a lettuce edge finish. I used the #8 jeans foot and a teeny tiny zig zag stitch, with a length of .4 and a width of 1.3. This foot holds the fabric, but the zig zag has to be tiny in order to fit in the small stitch hole. I stretched as I sewed and have a little pink detail on my frilly sleeve.

My very last step was to add a little crown applique and her name. Happy Birthday Sarah!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Apron Strings

I am wondering if there is a little bit of June Cleaver way down in a little spot in my heart. I have always loved aprons, and this shower gift gave us a chance to decorate another one! We hope that this bride-to-be is just like any other, and enjoys seeing her new name in print.

We did this kitchen shower gift using the Classic font in a bright pink; it really shows up on the lime green apron.

Just for fun we added a few buttons on the top of the pocket, using the #18 foot. It is not a foot to use on one of my dresses in a delicate batiste, but it was quick and easy on the apron which is a heavier cotton. The middle finger in the foot adds some play in the thread, giving a little shank as you button your button. I could have used another open toe foot for this task, since the button was simply decorative. And I am kind of thinking apron strings may have gotten a bad rap through the years. I might have sung along with Helen Reddy in the seventies, I am Woman, Hear Me Roar but this symbol of motherhood and family connections is a wonderful thing!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

a place for piano plunkers

Here is one more product of the dreary weather. I sat in my dining room looking out the window and glanced at my piano bench cover, which was just screaming for a little embelllishment.

I used stablestik stabilizer; the batting was going to make the cover difficult to hoop, so I hooped the stabilizer, scored it with a straight pin, peeled back the paper and pressed the cover on it, being careful to center it. (I wish that I had thought to pin through the layers because the top layer shifted slightly.)

I chose ecru tones and the Gothic font from an Embroidery Arts cd. As I put the cover back on the piano bench I had to smile...I noticed that it was smudged with pink and lavender sidewalk chalk. Just the look I am going for!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Turn around....

It has been a cool dreary day so I found myself in my sewing closet deciding what project to do next. Mae's birthday is coming up, and I had some more of the bright cotton blends, so she gets a birthday t-shirt and skirt. The applique looks much better in these brighter colors; it seems that the first girlie to get a new project gets the one that is sometimes improved upon!
I did another variation on the little no pattern skirt. This photograph shows that I could have introduced it to the iron once more, but I was in a hurry because Mae was on her way over and I need to catch her when I can! The first strip is about 5 by 30, the bottom two are 5 by 45. I gathered the middle one and attached it to the top strip, then sewed the bottom polka dot to the middle strip, right sides together, turned it under, pressed a 1/4 inch under and stitched in the ditch to attach it to the skirt with no hand work. Yay!

Mae has the car keys; I have often said that these girls will be asking for the car keys before their parents know it. Where are the years going?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Miss Mermaid

This is one of those outfits that seemed to just happen. Issa loves mermaids, like most little girls her age, so I knew she would like this cute applique.

She will sit forever in my little den, slowly turning the pages of this book, The Mermaid's Treasure. It is full of pretty pictures and she is fascinated by it.
The mermaid is from Designs by Ju Ju, I am fairly certain. (when I order online and don't have a CD cover to look at, it is hard to remember) The font is Fishtail...perfect! And I was happy with the way the mermaid looked in pink and green. I use a product from Floriani, Dreamweave, on the back of the applique, it makes it nice and soft up against her skin.

Now I need a little skirt. Looking through my stash, I found the rest of the fabric that I had used to make Katelyn's little spring dress. It just needed a little something extra, and I have been itching to use my new ruffler, so back to the stash. I found a perfect little spring green gingham, tore strips, sewed them together, pressed it over lengthwise, then over to the ruffler.

My Feetures book says that to ruffle, you put the lever on number one, which is all the way to the right and turn the screw counterclockwise to lessen the depth of the pleat. I zipped through several feet of gingham in a few minutes! It was a Birthday Miracle! I don't think I would want to use the ruffler for a fine batiste, but for cotton playclothes, this is the ticket!

P.S. I got up this morning and took the fabric and ruffle outside. I just don't like them together. I will have to go to plan B for the skirt...stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Happy Birthday dear Issa

Mandy is getting ready for Issa's party on Saturday. Busy mommy is working so I volunteered to make the cake for her little family dinner tonight. In my mind, this is what my birthday cake for issa will look like. Colorful and fun! Fairly symetrical! Festive! No gaps or holes! She will love it!

Now this vintage cake keeper is hiding Issa's birthday cake. I bought it many years ago at Lakewood, and I have always loved the little acorn on top. Through the years it has kept many pound cakes, and I appreciate the fact that I am not haunted by the image of cake every time I pass through the kitchen, like I would be if it were glass! Mandy wants the birthday party guests to decorate aprons with fabric paint, so I put names on them in a variety of colors and fonts. I don't know what happended to little Amelia's apron. Puckers. I used the same stabilizer, same thread, but something about the font, I guess, made the stitches pull. The white aprons are a little more lightweight so they are not as smooth as the cream ones. Marion's rule of 2 layers of stabilizer would have fixed this, I am sure, but I did it the easy way and just used one. Live and learn!

This would be the birthday cake. Why oh why can't I make a pretty birthday cake? Why is one side a full 2 inches shorter than the other? It is a vast improvement on Birthday Cakes Past, and it is not leaning the way mine tend to do, but it is a very strange shape. I can usually bake a cake, but if I put the word birthday in front of it....forget it. It is going to be wop sided. Just like this one! But Issa likes chocolate, and this frosting has a bag of chocolate chips and half a stick of butter in it, so (as Ina Garten says) how can that be bad? Maybe some sprinkles will help...

Monday, May 9, 2011

Betty Crocker would be proud

Oh my goodness. I just love this happy little girl! She is 4 years old, and making cupcakes in her chef attire that she got from her Aunt Mandy, Issa, Mae and me! I embroidered her name on the little polka dot apron, but it is difficult to see in this photo. Aunt Mandy did the chef's hat and tucked it in a mixing bowl with cake mix, spoon, cup cake liners and icing. I wish I had been there to sample one of the cupcakes! This is the best thank you note I have ever gotten!
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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Sewist's Helper

This is such a funny little tip, you have probably already seen it but it was new to me. I heard about it in one of Sandy's classes at the Sewing Center.
What to do with the gently used needle that is not yet ready to go in your little throw away jar? You get a little tomato pincushion and with a sharpie marker, write the sizes of the needles that you most often use. I divided my little sections again with a dotted line and marked each size with an S and BP. Now I can find the right sized needle without getting out my magnifying glass!

As I look around the chaos in my little sewing closet, I think....It looks unorganized to anyone but me, but there is one little thing I have control of...My Sewing Machine Needles!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Ruffles without the #86 foot

This romper was made for Mae, who will soon be 4, and it looks like it is going to fit Issa, who will soon be 6. We thought she was a little old for this style, but when she put it on she seemed to like it. I need to remember that Bonnie Blue designs run a little large. And I have to confess a real bias here. I understand that all these ruffles are quite the fashion for little ones, but they are just not to my liking. I like a more traditional look, even in their playclothes. If I make this again I might try cutting some of the fullness out of it, and cutting down the size of the ruffle.

I made two of these little rompers today, in a production line. The pattern was easy; it is made much like the little pillowcase dresses, but made into pants instead. I had some coordinating fabrics in the sewing room, and thought the style might look good on Katelyn and Mae.I was hoping to try my new ruffler attachment. It is a very strange looking foot; it attaches easily, you just have to make sure that the cone is inserted like all Berniina feet, and that the fork goes around the screw on the right of the shank. The lever and screw in the front of the foot make the adjustments. Here are two samples of ruffles I made using my new #86 foot. I figured out that
with the method used to attach the ruffles to my little romper, this attachment just wasn't going to work. When you use this attachment, you cannot adjust the ruffles, they are stitched in place. It would be WONDERFUL to use for long strips of fabric. I almost think though that it should be called a pleater....the first sample shows the pleats with the setting on 1, the second on 6. You can vary the depth and length of the little pleats. But for the romper I had a circle of fabric to insert at the bottom of a little leg and it had to be exact...I just wasn't sure how it would fit. So I put it back in the box, stitched my 2 rows of long gathering stitiches, and gathered the ruffles the old fashioned way.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sarah, Sarah, God claims you. He helps you, protects you and loves you too. We this day, do all agree, A child of God you'll always be.

The lovely month of May. May 1st is the day that sweet Sarah is to be dedicated. It turned out to be a busy weekend, with Katelyn's birthday party, help to Brent and Rachel's family and friends after one of the worst storms in history, and Sarah's dedication at the Church of the Highlands in Birmingham, Alabama.

I had to get busy to remove some stains, patch a hole in the lace, and reweave some ribbon in my Hearts of Love christening gown made from a Martha Pullen pattern. I made the gown shortly after Issa was born, and Sarah was to be the fourth precious granddaughter to wear it. The hole in the lace was easy to repair with some DMC 50 wt. cotton. The loosely woven stitches blended in with the lace, especially with the little slip behind it. The gown needed a soak in Biz, and I gently washed it and hung it to dry. I added Sarah Rose and her dedication date to the other 3 names already embroidered on the slip. It was actually fun to press. All ready for a trip to Birmingham.

Initially we were in Birmingham for Katelyn's birthday and Sarah's dedication, but the weekend turned in to a busy work weekend for this little family. Rachel and Brent spent most of Saturday in devastated Pleasant Grove, Alabama, helping family and friends begin to recover from their nightmare.

Beautiful Sarah and beautiful Mommy after the dedication. There were no Issa, Katelyn or Mae burp stains on the front of the gown, no hole in the lace! We were all smiling this morning. I love this handsome family on an important day.

So we ended our weekend at Brent and Rachel's home, with a family picture. The pink birthday princess stood amid all her wonderful birthday surprises. We were worn out but happy. The big screen behind us had a purpose. Sarah was asleep upstairs in her crib, and we clicked her camera on so that she could join us via a live feed. Great idea, but she didn't show up on screen. I hope she will make the next family photograph!
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