Sunday, August 22, 2010

Miss Cindy's Baby Doll Part 3

Yippee! The dress is finished and I will be able to deliver it to Cindy tomorrow! Life got in the way of this little project. I had a baby shower to go to that required a handmade gift and school started for me last Monday. There were lots of meetings and the classroom to arrange and organize. I didn't stitch anything when I got home! Too tired!

I had to adjust the vintage pattern bodice pieces to fit this doll and I made the dress a little longer than her original dress. (See here.)  I changed the shape of the sleeves to accomodate smocking.  I wanted to eliminate elastic from this outfit and the smocking pleats and stitches provide the ruffled gathers perfectly without elastic.  I really liked the embroidered panel that goes down the center front of the original dress with ribbon waist ties beneath the panel so I duplicated that look with embroidered ribbon.

The dress is made of fine cotton batiste and French cotton lace.  I love working with such nice materials.  Everything came from my stash, even the little antique mother of pearl buttons, the ribbon, and the entredeux (veining at the neckline).

The dress is open down the back and closes with two little buttons.  I just realized when looking at the photo of the dress back that I hadn't adjusted the skirt pieces with the right side overlapping the left.  You'll just have to believe me when I tell you that it really does overlap properly.  (It is too hot to go outside to take more photographs!)

"Baby" looks pretty in her new dress and pan*ties (see last post), doesn't she?  Ten (or even 50) years from now her outfit will still fit her arms and legs.  With minimal care the materials in the dress should last a very long time.   Perhaps Cindy's future granddaughters will play with her!
PS:  Rett asked what type of floss I used in the smocking.  I used three strands of DMC cotton floss.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Miss Cindy's Baby Doll Part 2

Two little sleeves and two little pan*ty legs all pleated up, cut out, and ready to smock for Miss Cindy's baby doll. The pleating threads have been pulled out from the seam allowance, drawn up, and tied off.

Doesn't the lace look pretty all 'squished up'?
 The next picture shows the simple pink smocking design for the sleeves and the white smocked sections for the pan*ties.

The pleating threads have been pulled out and the hand smocking is holding the pleats nicely all by itself.

The white smocking on the legs will have white ribbon woven under the smocking and tied into a bow to tighten on the legs of the doll.

Here is the finished pair of pan*ties on the baby doll.  There is a tiny button hole in the center of the casing at the waist with ribbon inserted to draw in the pan*ties at the waistline.  You can clearly see the ribbon under the smocking at the legs in the last photo.  Now to work on the dress!  Part 3 will be up in a day or two!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Miss Cindy's Baby Doll Part 1

"Miss" Cindy and I have a long history. Her son Donnie was in my kindergarten class 18 years ago and her daughter Christa was in my kindergarten 12 years ago. "Miss" Cindy had a licenced daycare in her home when her children were very young. When my children came along, Cindy took care of them when they were toddlers and preschoolers. My son called her "Miss Cinny" for years! The children were clean, fed, and well taken care of when I would pick them up after teaching but most importantly, my children were loved all day long.  There were NEVER any tears about being left at "Miss Cinny's" house!  What a blessing!

Mine were the last two little ones that Cindy took care of in her home. She then started working as a teacher aid at my school. Last year was the first time I had the pleasure of working with her directly because she was assigned to help with the little boy with Down's Syndrome who was in my class.  Such a blessing!  Again!

This is Cindy's baby doll that was given to her shortly after she was born. The doll itself is in great condition but the clothes have deteriorated. The elastic has 'given out' in the waist, legs, and sleeves of the outfit and the fabric of the little dress tears with the least pressure. I have draped the dress over the doll because I don't want to damage it any further just to dress her for photos.  I offered to make her 'baby' a new set of clothes as a 'thank you' for all her help.

The picture above shows the inside of the dress and the one below shows the outside.  I love the panel down the front with the gathered lace edging and the lace around the neck.  The little ribbon ties are attached under the panel.  I want to incorporate these details in the new outfit.

I am using this vintage pattern for a 16" doll that I am redrafting to fit Cindy's doll who is smaller and a bit thiner than the dolls this pattern was designed for but it is the closest that I can come in my pattern stash.  I have redrafted the sleeve to accomodate smocking.  In this way I will eliminate the need for elastic that will loose its 'oomph' over the years.   I am also making pan*ties that will have smocking at the legs and a ribbon drawstring at the waist...again to eliminate  elastic.

The dress will be a lovely white cotton batiste with French cotton lace edging.  I had a length of a pretty embroidered pink ribbon in my stash that I will use as the panel and ties.
This next picture shows the lace machine rolled and whipped to the batiste and then zig-zagged again from the right side for the sleeves and panties.  I often attach the lace before rolling into the pleater.  (A pleater is a hand cranked machine that you feed the fabric into that pleats the material for hand smocking.  The rollers remind me of those really old washing machines with rolling 'wringers' on the top.  The rollers push the fabric onto threaded needles that hold the pleats.  The pleating threads are removed after the smocking is complete.)
 Right side.

Wrong side.

I usually add lace and pleat the sleeves together and the pan*ty legs together before completely cutting them out.   It saves some time both at the sewing machine and the pleater.

These are now ready for the pleater!  Tomorrow I'll show you the pleated sections and then the pieces smocked.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Beautiful Gracie in Her Petal Knot Dress

What can I say?  Gracie would make a paper sack look good!  Gracie's grandmother, my friend Karen, took these gorgeous shots of Gracie in the dress I made (details here).

These next shots were extras that Karen sent my way. Gracie's big brother Allister is towing her around in their wagon. Don't these photos look like they could have been taken 30-40-50-60 years ago? Timeless childhood fun!

This last one is my favorite!  Gracie is just about to kiss Chloe, one of Grandma's dogs.  Charming!  Thank you, Karen for sending me these photos.  I love them!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Chloe's Vintage Pillowcase Ensemble from 'Hazel's' Pillowcase

This little 12-18 month ensemble was one of the three sets I made to sell just before school let out for the summer.  I was thrilled when one of my co-workers purchased it to give to Kaye (the expecting Pre-K teacher) for baby Chloe (due next month).   I used one of a set of pillowcases that I found in an Antique Mall in downtown St. Petersburg several years ago.  The cases were snowy white and I don't think they had ever been used!
Just look at that beautiful crochet work and the hemstitching in purple!  The crochet work extends all the way around to the back of the case.  The fabric is a great cotton.   Some wonderful needle artist did that gorgeous work years ago and no one used it!  What a waste!  As I worked on turning this into a little outfit that will be used and enjoyed, I thought about this unknown woman and blessed her for having made something so beautiful.  I also thought of my maternal grandmother who knit, crocheted and tatted the most fantastic things.  I decided to give this lady a name:  Hazel, after my grandmother's original name.  (My grandmother changed her name in the 1920's to Elizabeth!)

So here's my made-up story about Hazel and the pillowcases:
Hazel was born in 1915 and loved to do the hand work that her mother and grandmother taught her.  She even enjoyed sewing the hems in her five brothers work pants and embroidering the monograms on their vests and large handkerchiefs.  When the necessary work was complete, she would work on the items for her hope chest.  She made lovely edged pillowcases, sheets, table runners, and even embroidered tablecloths and napkins!
Hazel fell in love with Tom, the boy next door, when she was 16 but had to wait until she was 26 (gasp!) to marry because times were so hard and work was scarce.  As the eldest child in his family, Tom quit high school to do odd jobs so that he could help his family out.  He eventually went to work for a carpenter who trained him to do fine cabinetry work.  They were married in 1941 and Hazel happily used everything she had been making for years to beautify her home.
Hazel and Tom were were very happy together and eventually had three strong handsome sons.  Hazel's only regret was that she didn't have a daughter to share her love of needlework with.  When the boys finished school they went into their dad's business.  They married well and Hazel loved all her daughters-in-law.  Unfortunately, they were all too modern for Hazel's old-fashioned needlework and she knew better than to make such things for them.  She continued to make lovely things, however, with the idea that maybe a granddaughter would like the 'old' things.  When variegated threads became available she had the best time making crocheted edgings like these lavender/purple edged pillowcases.  You guessed it....Hazel was the proud grandmother of 7 grandsons!  When she died the chest of lovely linens was sold for a song to an antiques dealer who knew the value of the pretty things.
This is where I come in and the story is no longer fiction!  I bought 7 of these lovely cases from the dealer who didn't even remember where he had gotten them!  Just that he had gotten them all from one estate.

 I cut the seamed bottom of the case off and used it to make the bodice of the little sundress.  I used a hand embroidery design that I found in an Australian magazine called "Handmade" that I found in JoAnn's.  I used a favorite pattern to make pant*ies to match the ties on the bodice top and a 1952 pattern to make the sun bonnet.

I like to think that Hazel was smiling in heaven when she saw me embroidering the bodice.  I am sure she gasped when I cut into the pillowcase but I hope that she relaxed and smiled when she saw the finished product, knowing that a little girl will finally be enjoying the lovely case she made so long ago.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Gracie's Petal Knot Dress

This little dress was made because I fell in love with a fat quarters bundle!  Yes, I know.  I shouldn't even look in that section!  I just loved the pretty pastel colors and the prints.  The little ballerina girls were so darling in their colorful outfits that I just HAD to buy the one and only bundle they had of these prints.  (Not like I don't have any fabric in my closets, right?)  As soon as I got home I had to see what went with it in my stash and I found the pretty mottled blue and yellow mini print pieces in my fat quarter stash.  
I knew immediately that I wanted to make another Petal Knot Dress (pattern "Claire" by Portabellopixie).  I love the planning process.  I love deciding what pattern to use, what fabric to use for what piece, what trims, etc.  The size of the fabric quarters pretty much determined that this would be a small size dress so I went with size 2.  I sketched what I wanted the dress to look like with the sections labeled with the fabric names, washed the fabric, and placed everything in a plastic bag to 'cure'  Really, I had so many more things to do and this wasn't earmarked for anyone special that it was just put away on the back burner.
Just before school let out for the summer I made a couple of things just because I wanted to and to see if I could sell them. I brought them in to school and all three items sold within 15 minutes! I was thrilled! My friend Karen bought this dress set for her youngest grandchild.  Gracie is little Emma's younger cousin.  (See Emma Models here.)  Photos are coming of beautiful Gracie modeling her new dress.  Karen takes wonderful photographs!
 Aren't the little ballerinas cute?

This knot is what sold me on this pattern!  I love the petal shape!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Skirted Diaper Sets for Charm and Chloe

In my quest to make sweet Charm some more modern, less fancy clothing I went to to check out the baby epatterns posted there.  I was delighted when I came across a darling skirted diaper cover in multiple sizes.  It is by Tie Dye Diva Designs & Monkeysbug Tees and is titled "How to Sew Skirted Diaper Covers".  The directions are clear with great photos and the little skirted covers come out just as cute as can be.  The only thing that I changed when making my versions was to apply the bias seam binding the way I am familiar with:  trim 1/4 inch off leg openings, open seam binding, place atop the leg opening right sides together, stitch in the crease of the seam, turn, press, and stitch close to edge of the binding.  (Leaving an opening at the seam of the crotch for the elastic.)
This time I took a onesie and tiny socks and just added bows and a button (very securely fastened!).  The pink polycotton  gingham, lace and ribbons were all in my stash.  I washed all the clothing and fabrics first to preshrink and to remove any chemicals that might harm a baby's sensitive skin.

The shaped and lined bidie pattern (burp cloth) was another 'find' on I liked the idea of shaping a cloth diaper and lining it in the outfit fabric. This pattern will definitely be made many, many times again!

Can't you just see this covering a sweet little diapered tu*shie? It's frilly and feminine but easy to put on, wear, remove for changes, and completely washer and dryer friendly! Using polycotton makes ironing unnecessary, too!
When Charm goes to preschool at our school she will have already made a great friend.  Baby Chloe is due to another one of our teachers next month.  She will have a 10 year old sister who is a friend of Charm's oldest sister Ashlyn and a 15 year old brother who is one of my son's best friends.  The little girls will know each other well by the time they get to school!  I made a few outfits for Choe's baby shower.  This little yellow gingham and lavender set is made using the same patterns I used for Charm's ensemble.

You can see the underside of the skirt section and the bias binding inside the leg openings in this photo.

 I think that I am rather liking this modern sewing for little babies!  The outfits are uncomplicated and faster to finish.  Nice for a change but I still love the more traditional clothing best.  I do love hand work like smocking and embroidering!  I even like to hand stitch hems (when there are no time constraints)!  Check out the You Can Make This website and have fun sewing!
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