Thursday, March 31, 2016

A Long Time Coming

There is a sense of accomplishment that comes when you finish a U.F.O. that has been lanquishing in the pile for quite some time, also known as FOUR years. I first started this sweet bishop to have some handwork when I went on my trip to Israel four years ago.

I was drawn to this plate because of one the few sewing regrets that I have. When my #2 daughter was a preschooler, I made her a sweet floral bishop. I was married to a 2nd Lt in the Air Force, that translates to not having two nickles to rub together. My mother sent me a piece of calico that had been aging in her stash for many years. I had never made a bishop nor had I been smocking for very long. I was determined to conquer it. I found this plate from my favorite heirloom shop for about $2.50, bought $.50 worth of floss and $1.50 worth of buttons. So I was into this dress for $4.50. In 1985 that was a lot of money for us. I finished it and my daughter LOVED it. Loved it so much that she would cry in front of the dryer until it was dry. She wore it 3-4 times a week. By the time she outgrew I was so. sick. of. that. dress! I threw it away. I know, what was I thinking? Oh how I wish I had kept that dress for Princess. So I pulled out the plate, found this piece of cherry print lawn in the closet and got ready to recreate the bishop.

I had a wonderful time, got the bishop smocked on the plane over and while I was there. Just had a few stitches to finish on the way home. When the worst stomach flu known to man struck. The flight between Tel-Aviv and Philadelphia was 15 hours that felt like 300. That dress had sat on the seat next to me all the way back as I got up and down between the airplane bathroom and my seat. All. Night. Long. It is understandable that I never wanted to see that dress again when I got home. So the bottom of the pile it lived for four long years. 

It now fits Little Girl. So I soldiered on to finish it. 

As I so often like to do, I used gingham for the neck binding, piping and cuffs. I have no idea what pattern I used. Looking at the sleeves I wonder if I used Gail Doane's Sew Cute Couture bishop.

And red buttons down the back.

It looks so sweet with her red shoes and great big red bow. She also has some grow room. I'm sure she is singing in this photo momma snapped with her phone. So get those UFO's out of the pile. You will be glad you did.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

"B" is for Birthdays

There are decided advantages to being way behind on your blog. You have a TON of projects to share to catch up! So here is one of those projects.

To say that First Birthdays have taken on a life of their own is an understatement of mammoth proportions. At least around here. Little Girl's first birthday was in the fall. She really couldn't have chosen a better time to be born because the weather here in October is delightful.  Momma decided to celebrate her birthday here instead of NOLA. This Mimi was only too happy to oblige.

Her cake came from Sarah's Cake Shop. I have ordered a few birthday cakes in my time, and they were one of the easiest to deal with by far. And sooooo nice.

White: as defined by Webster's Dictionary is "free from color." Don't anyone tell LG's Momma. It is her favorite color! And don't go trying to spruce up her white either. I have a stash closet full of some realllllllly nice fabric. Some tone on tone, some white dimity, some Swiss leno windowpane, and some quite expensive too. No, Momma wanted plain white. She did agree to Swiss Flannel. SO that is what we went with.

I love how it turned out but still, I could have used a little lee-way.  I inserted more color with the Swiss eyelet insertion and edging at the sleeve. This dress is a pretty close copy of one a friend did several years ago for her daughter. I loved it so much, I filed the idea away for later. I hate that the dress doesn't have a slip under it in this picture. It looks much better with the slip under it.

It is smocked in different shades of pink. I used "Baby Blue" as my smocking plate from Australian Smocking and Embroidery and the neckline is piped with pale pink pique, I think.  The pattern I used is from Gail Doane's book Sew Cute Couture. The Swiss flannel came from Farmhouse Fabrics.

It buttons all the way down the back and is closed with more antique mother of pearl buttons. At the time the buttons didn't look too big, but now they look huge to me. Oh well, she was adorable in it with her pink t-strap shoes.

By Bentz Photography

For her portraits Momma had her go barefoot. Which I love. Happy Girl.

By Bentz Photography

I love those tooties covered in grass. If only they would stay this little.

I have more birthday sewing (of course I do) in a day or so. Until then, keep stitching.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter Parade

Happy Easter Sunday. Many blessings to you and yours. Easter Sunday is kind of quiet for us. No one but my husband and I home and no plans on deck. I'm okay with it. Would love to have all the kids home but sometimes quiet is good too.

Big changes will appear here in the next few days. New design coming your way. I'm really excited about it.

Ok, on to what you came here for. Don't these pastels just scream Easter Parade?

Swiss Voile from Farmhouse Fabrics

I found this Swiss Voile windowpane check when I was at Sewing At the Beach in January.  Farmhouse Fabrics had a booth there. I spotted this fabric and loved it. I had to tote it around, put it back, come back to it and finally took the plunge. I love the color, the windowpane check, love everything about it. I will admit it was pricey. But once again, for these little ones it only takes a tad over a yard. I wasn't making a prom dress with five yards. All that aside, I love it.  Brother's is from Imperial broadcloth and pique also from Farmhouse. The color isn't an exact match but a nice compliment.

Brother's is made from Imperial broadcloth and pique also from Farmhouse. The color isn't an exact match but a nice compliment. Nugget is almost three so it was time for a sailor outfit.

For the shirt, I used Children's Corner Basics for Boys I. Since it wasn't going to be a button on I lengthened the shirt. The shorts are once again Children's Corner Parker's Pants. If you do not have this pattern I suggest you get it. I have used it to death and while my daughter was home she cut out 8 pairs of shorts for her two kids.

I love the pique stripes on the shirt. I may have to do a tutorial on how I did that.

I used one of these and lots of starch. I recently told a friend that I use almost as much starch as I do thread.

Little Girl's dress from the Swiss voile, with a satin batiste collar. That pink shadow underneath is the slip.

Grammie's Attic

The slip is a happy accident. I had purchased a pink and a white slip from Grammie's Attic to go under LG's birthday dress. Momma didn't like the petticoat slip under the bishop. I felt this dress just had to have it or it would hang kind of limply from so much fullness. I had intended to use the white one but could not lay my hands on it. That left the pink. Slipped it under there and loved it. I love that little shadow of pink that shows through the aqualine colored voile. It is a very sheer fabric and has to have a slip under it.

Children's Corner

I used Children's Corner Bessie for her dress. A first time for me. Love it.

The satin batiste collar is trimmed with entredeux and tatting. I smocked the dress with rayon floss. Must have had a weak moment of madness there. I love the little bit of shine again the texture of the fabric, so I used the same floss for the collar embroidery. In retrospect I should have shifted those side bouguets forward a smidge. Something I didn't realize until the collar was on.

More antique mother of pearl buttons from The Old Fashioned Baby. In this photo they look more yellow than they are in person.

Doesn't this sleeve just make you want to squee? I love tiny puffed sleeves on little ones. I had intended to pipe the sleeve band but forgot. Either way, I love this tiny sleeve.

They will be just as sweet from behind as they walk sweetly into church. (I know, who are we kidding?) I don't often smock the back of a garment but just felt compelled this time.

Momma sent quick phone pics from this morning. Too sweet.

I truly hope you and your loved ones had a blessed Easter holiday. Have a bite of a chocolate bunny to celebrate.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Bunnies and Bows

Its time for the Easter Bunny! As promised here are the big kid's Easter frocks. These were a lot of fun and I enjoyed making them. Except for the seersucker for Wildman's shorts, this was all from stash. How cool is that? Don't worry I made up for it with the little kids.

First for Princess, fabric is Swiss pique. I've used it before for a *Freezing play dress. It is a dream fabric. I didn't realize it when I made that play dress but the more you handle it the softer it gets. The previous dress was a down and dirty so I didn't realize how yummy it would get as I handled it so much.

Children's Corner Inc.

Pattern is Children's Corner Lee. Amazingly enough, I didn't have this pattern in the larger sizes.

Smocking design is "Yummy Bunnies" from Creative Needle Magazine Feb 2008. This magazine is long out of print but many issues are available on both eBay and Etsy. In this particular issue there are two bunny plates. I have stitched them both.

I have wanted to make this dress for a couple of years. The only thing I would change is I would stitch the bunnies closer together than the 35 pleats apart as called for in the design. Other than that, I love the dress. Collar is Spechler-Vogel pique and all is piped with whip stitch piping.

The design in the magazine stated that the belt was from CC Anne. If it is, it was not with my pattern, so I drafted my own. I should have taken a photo of the belt pieces before I inserted them, I whacked off about 6 inches from each one. Not sure what I was thinking when I cut them out. Wasted piping. Oh well.

I used some antique mother of pearl buttons I have had for years. I bought them from Jeannie B at The Old Fashioned Baby. I love them and longed to find the right project. I think they fit the bill perfectly.

She loved it and it fit well. You can't ask for more. Growing into a big girl. She is almost six years old.

On to brother. For Wildman, a monogrammed shirt of Imperial broadcloth and khaki striped seersucker shorts.

Ginger Snaps Designs

I used Cameron by Ginger Snaps Designs for the shirt and my go to CC Parker's Pants for the shorts. The shorts were lengthened by 1/2". A size 4 still fits in the waist but Wildman has long legs.

Monogram is Francisco font from Apex Designs. It stitches beautifully and is elegant without being too girly. Collar and sleeves are trimmed with seersucker piping. I used the alternative to setting in sleeves with a pleat on the sleeve cap instead of easing. I don't like it. Buuuuuut it was after midnight and I was tired so I ran with it. Live and learn.

Getting a photo of this boy is next to impossible. This is the look you get when you implore him to be still.

This was as good as Mimi could get. I love his khaki colored saddle oxfords. I wish I had captured a photo of the moment we discovered he had rolled his knee socks down to his ankles, maw maw style. This was discovered as we browsed the Coach and Tory Burch stores. Geez Louise!  Wildman is 4 and half. I fear this may be momma's last year for knee socks and short pants. She would have loved to have put him in a jon-jon. That ship has sailed.

He was very happy to see the Easter Bunny,

Happy boy.

Tomorrow will feature the little ones Easter finery.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Easter Egg Hunters Part 2

The big kids were coming here for spring break as well as to attend Beauty and the Beast at the Fox. While they were here Momma decided to take them to the UA Easter Egg Hunt.

I have to admit, I had never been to an organized Easter Egg Hunt unless you want to call the ones we did with the kids in the back yard organized. The alumnae association did a great job.

I have had this Fabric Finders bunny pique in the closet for a few years. I initially had intended to use it for the Lucy challenge I spoke of yesterday. I just couldn't make it come together in my mind and was also afraid LG's momma wouldn't like it. I used CC Sara's Skort. A first for me. It went together so easy though it did make me a little sad to realize Princess is big enough to wear skirts now. I would rather she still be in a size 24 mos Lucy like her cousin.

The ruffle and shorts were made from a "hunk" of black/white gingham that was just barely big enough to squeeze the shorts from.  You can't tell but the pleated ruffle is pieced together.  T shirt is machine embroidered with Flower Letters from Fun Stitch. Excuse the dark, shadowy photos, this was late at night and the lighting in my sewing room is not conducive to photography.

As I said, I had no black gingham left for a pair of shorts plus it was stinking cold here that day. I had purchased him a pair of khaki shorts but it was too cold. He has an embroidered t-shirt with a cute carrot totin' truck from Planet Appliqué. Actually I made this shirt twice. Bless his heart he dumped an entire cup of coffee (cold, thank goodness) on himself trying to protect his basket from a perceived interloper. He loved the truck so much, Mimi quickly made him another one and zipped it off in the mail.

This was on the way out the door. They had fun before having to say a sad goodbye to return home. They are growing up too fast.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Easter Bunny has Come and Gone!

Do you see this poor tired bunny? That is this bunny right here! I mailed the little's Easter finery yesterday. Before I show them to you let me tell you a story-

I race into the UPS Store yesterday morning before a meeting, with not only Easter garments carefully wrapped but also a bag of "Easter Bunny" for momma to slip into their baskets. This is a UPS location very near my home and I will admit that I am there too often. Nothing against regular mail but sometimes I trust UPS more or let's be honest, on more than one occasion I have not had time to get the box ready myself and they will do it for me. All that being said, I walk in 👣👣👣

and the clerk who looks about as old as this sweet young man greets me with a warm hello followed up with "I bet you have Easter dresses that need to get there on time!" Said with a knowing smirk I might add. If I were his momma I might have washed his mouth out with soap! Don't go pointing out the obvious young man! I think I may have a reputation. Oh well someone has to don't you think? I will do this in a few posts but here is the first.

I had the crazy idea to make two sets of Easter outfits this year. Ones for Easter Bunny pics/Church and ones to wear for fun to school/daycare/Easter Egg Hunt. What the heck was I thinking?

I kind of know where the thought came from. Our SAGA chapter decided to do a Children's Corner pattern challenge using Lucy and/or Johnny and I wanted to participate. That is where this garment that started it all came from.  This is CC Lucy using a color block method I had seen on another website. The bunny appliqué is from Planet Appliqué.

My inspiration was these shorts came from The Beaufort Bonnet Company.  If my memory serves me right, big IF there, they have offered these in seersucker in the past. I went diving into the stash closet and came out with some seersucker and got to work. 

 I traced, chopped and added seam allowances to the front and back pieces and put them back together again. The biggest challenge was making sure I cut out corresponding mirrored pieces when cutting out the garment. Added piping, of course, covered buttons and we were good to go.

It fit to perfection. I made an 24 mos coupled with a purchased top from RagsLand.

Brother had an embroidered t-shirt to match (minus the bow) and a pair of CC Parker's Pants shorts. Judging by the loot in that basket, I think they had a good time.

Look for the big kid's outfits tomorrow.

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