Saturday, February 25, 2012

My Funny Valentines

Is life not a hundred times too short for us to stifle ourselves.
                                                          ~Friedrich Nietzsche

I am thinking that stifle is not a word that I would ever use in the same sentence with either of these girlies in their Valentine t shirts!

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross
To see a fine lady upon a white horse
With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes
She shall have music wherever she goes.

Kathy and I were able to go to Nashville to attend the Children's
Corner pre-day sewing school with Debbie Glenn.
We signed on to make this pique
sundress with a new method for shadow
embroidery.  It was a time consuming task, and I am not sure that it is a technique that I would use again, but I think that the dress will be precious on little Sarah.  Debbie Glenn is a true perfectionist and this fact is reflected in the craftsmanship of her garments.  We spent the entire morning working on the little rocking horse; tracing it, cutting out the individual colors from batiste, then anchoring it on the pique before applying the sheer batiste that would give the "shadow" effect .

  The dress in the photo to the right doesn't actually have a puff sleeve, one is hanging behind the sundress.
I am not entirely happy with my shadow rocking horse, and Kathy and I are considering doing our inserts over with a monogram or applique .  I will have to see how much trim I have left, and look closely again at my little horse .
     The sewing school at Children's Corner was, as always, well organized and fun.  The new classroom is roomy and well lit, with plenty of tables, and the walls are decorated with garments from the visiting instructor.  After the class there is time to shop for patterns and fine fabric 

Of course, a good portion of the fun is girlfriend time and sipping wine!  There is a story to trying to open a wine bottle without a corkscrew but all I can say is that it takes considerable time and for me was not successful.  (See photo with paper clip and Nivea lip balm)

I am looking forward to another sewing school with the wonderful Children's Corner teachers!

Monday, February 20, 2012

So Precious Girls

If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. ~Nadine Stair

This spring jacket (if you live in Birmingham, Alabama) or fall jacket (if you live in Auckland, New Zealand)  was fun and easy to do.  I did the first one for little Mae, and will put it in the mail when I finish Issa's.  I used Fabric Cafe's  So Precious Sweatshirts, and started out with the Flowers and Bees jacket, but then found myself going in a different direction.

The first step was to remove the the waistband and sleeve bands from the sweatshirt.  I cut as closely as I could to the seam so that I kept plenty of length.  The rest of it was so easy I am mad that I didn't think of this myself!

Next I did the hem, fusing a piece of fusible woven interfacing around the length of the inside bottom .  I chose brown and pink polka dots thinking of Mae Mae's flushed cheeks and pretty brown eyes. I cut a strip of fabric about an inch wide, folded down the top edge a 1/4 of an inch, matched the raw edges of the strip right side to the wrong side of the jacket, stitched and flipped it to the inside and pressed it well.  Then I top stitched along the edge with my #10 foot.  I didn't like the seam around the bottom so I used some large rick rack to cover the seam.  This would have been the time to do it,  but I wasn't thinking that far ahead .
Once again, I love my ruffler!  Using a 1 1/2 inch strip this time,  I folded my pink and white polka dot length wrong sides together and pressed it well.  I did enough to go around the cuff and neckline.  It was easy to lay the ruffle around the seam of the neck edge, and then just turn down the ribbing to cover the raw edges of the ruffle.  Then, the ribbing is top stitched down.
I changed up the sleeve a little bit.  At first my trim was added to the outside of the sleeve, but I just didn't like the look.  So I changed the trim to the brown polka dot and added it to the inside of the sleeve.  After 3 tries, I had a look that made me happy.
     The strip down the center front was done like the bottom strip, turning the edges under on the top and bottom.  The buttonholes were a little bit of a pain...the bottom 4 went in like a charm with my automatic buttonhole foot, but it took several tries to get the top one.  I finally went to the manual 6 step buttonhole on my machine and it worked fine.

I finished up with the Twirly monogram, the m in the pink polka dot and the brackets in the brown.

Issa and Katelyn have requested pink and green, so I will see how my mood strikes as I complete their little spring (or fall) jackets!

Friday, February 10, 2012

peewee Kiwis

Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life! ~Albert Einstein

Bibi's girls arrived safely in Aukland and after a good night's sleep were ready to explore.  While Bibi is curled up in her fleece jacket and thick socks, the girls have discarded the leggings that went with these little dresses and walked in the surf in 80 degrees.  
 Nana got these  little knit dresses for them before they left and Mandy wanted to personalize them.  This was a different font, Twirly, and I modified it a little bit.  The original version is enclosed in brackets and was just a little too much for the stripes.   Each letter is then outlined in a little lacy stitch that I could have deleted also, but you can't really see it on the white stripe. I used a layer of polymesh, a layer of tearaway beneath the hoop, and solvy on top.  Nary a pucker!   

Sweet Issa in cooler Atlanta

I measured my little ones carefully before they left, no fittings for dresses for a year or so!  I love this family of adventurers!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

My sweet angel

Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth Unseen,
                 both when we wake and when we sleep.

                                                            ~John Milton, Paradise Lost

I found this picture of Mae in Issa's angel dress. This was the Christmas dress that made me hang up my smocking need for a good while.  I did 3 of these angel dresses, and the knot on my right thumb joint has never been the same!  Issa, Mae and Katelyn all looked very sweet in them though, and I might rethink my decision.  This bishop dress is made from a very tiny micro check, with a placket in the back and one pearl button.  The smocking plate is an old one from Molly Jane Taylor, and it is still one of my favorites.  I smocked it for Mandy about 30 years ago and did blue angels on white batiste.
I love that my sweet girls all had angels on their shoulders!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Shades of John Sebastian, Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead and Issa

"Don't ask her why she needs to be so free. She'll tell you it's the only way to be.
 ~ Rolling Stones
   Ruby Tuesday

Depending on your age, you will either think that this shirt has a serious case of  UGLY, or that it is REALLY cool.  I think the former, Mandy and Issa think the latter.
Issa tie dyed it at school, and it was decorated with a red felt triangle with a cotton ball glued to the top. And it had google eyes.  Issa didn't like it, so we came up with this design to cover up the HOLE left after we tried to remove the red felt.

The applique is from Designs by Juju, the font is Sugar and Spice and yes, the shirt is ugly. I wore tie dye back in the day, and I guess I'm just too old to appreciate it now.  Let's just hope this is a sleep shirt.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Winter is the time for...home.

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home. ~  Edith Sitwell

Peggy needed a housewarming gift for a young friend with her first home.  She decided on kitchen towels.
The towels are a nice size, a little larger than usual, and are from Dunroven House.  I cut the fabric trim a little wider than the towel, about 5 inches deep, and stitched the wrong side of the towel to the right side of the fabric, following the hemline on the wrong side with the #10 foot.  Then I wrapped the fabric around to the front, turned under the raw edge a 1/4 of an inch on top, turned in the side edges under the trim., and topstitched it around the three remaining sides.  Pressing each seam after it is stitched makes the project much easier.

  Karen's housewarming gift is complete!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Behold the turtle...he only makes progress when he stitcks his neck out. ~ James Bryant Conant

Big, Issa and Mae's grandfather, told the girls that NOW they are polywogs, but after they reach New Zealand they will be Shellbacks, since they have crossed the Equator.  Uncle Justin was in the Navy and can tell them all about Polywogs and Shellbacks.

Here are 2 more t shirts for the girls to take with them.  They are the same Cherokee t shirts that I have been using, the applique came from Designs by Juju, and the font is Alice. This time I remembered to add underlay to the lettering; I went to Object Properties, Effects, Underlay, and did a double zigzag then an edgewalk.  The letters look much clearer and sharper.  I narrowed the satin stitch around the shell.  On the first shirt, I did not change the satin stitch on the legs to a step stitch, and the machine seemed to struggle as it jumped from one side to the other.  For the second shirt, I added underlay and changed to a step stitch; it looks much nicer.  And I think I have FINALLY remembered Marian's rule....Always use two layers of stabilizer!

I put the applique in my software first, and after I typed in the letters,  I went to the curved ABC icon so that I could curve my lettering around the applique.   Daddy has his Visa, and now we are all waiting to see when they will board the big jet for  Issa and Mae's Great Adventure!

Friday, February 3, 2012

100% Pure

That is how New Zealand promotes itself, 100% Pure!  Mandy and Jake have the opportunity to spend 10 months there while Jake completes an assignment for his company.  It has been no small task, but the little family is all packed up and  ready to head out.  They will be sorely missed, but I could not be happier for them.

My girls needed a t-shirt to mark the occasion, and since there are almost as many as sheep in New Zealand as there are people, this sheep applique from Lynnie Pinnie was just the thing.  I did the sheep's body in Warm and White batting, the face is linen and the eyes are white batiste.   The lettering shows up a little better in person than it does in my photgraph, but it is in soft pink and says 
Bibi's girls
New Zealand bound!
What is a bibi to do without these beautiful smiles down the street?  I know that my Birmingham girls had better stay put, and it seems that there may be a trip to Auckland for me  in the near future.