Monday, December 31, 2012

My Heart Sister's Stocking

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on the photo.
 "When a friend looks out a window of your life, she sees the same world you do.  Your happiness is her happiness. Your success is her success.  Such a friend is the best sort to have.  Every good thing multiplies when it is shared by two with the same heart."  (Treasured Friends by Heather Harpham Kopp and Sandra Kuck)
Vintage Red Work Cross Stitch on linen.
Friends are precious treasures to be cherished.  Those friends who truly do "see the world as you do" and consider your blessings and trials to be their own are rarer than the finest diamonds.  I am lucky to be blessed with a precious handful of such friends.  Jana is one of those jewels in my life.  She is the sister of my heart.  We have been friends since our freshman year of high school.  She is the friend I've had the longest.

I made and filled this stocking as my gift to her this year.  I used two vintage (really antique) small table cloths.  One was a heavier weave linen with Red Work Cross Stitch and the other was a finer weave linen with the most amazing handwork.  Both cloths were stained and had holes so I didn't feel guilty cutting them up to make something new.  I used an old cotton bed sheet for the lining and dainty whipstitch piping.  The back of the stocking is made with a pretty holiday print cotton fabric.  
Check out that gorgeous hand satin stitched scallop work around the perimeter!
The initial tag is made with some of the left-over fabric and attached with red cording, red jingle bells, and three little silver charms.  The one on the tag says 'love' and there is a tiny teapot(she LOVES tea) and a little "J".

Jana loves the stocking and has made me promise to make one as much like it as possible but with the initial "K" for Karen.  She wants to start a new tradition of filling stockings for each other!  She lives in Georgia so when I visit her this summer we will trade stockings so that we are ready for Christmas 2013.  I love it!
The back of the stocking.  My husband like this side the best!
 "I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father." 
 John 15:15 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Quick Holiday Pillowcases

Well... these would have been quick if I had made only one or two... or even three or four!!!  No, I made sixteen of them!  And I helped my daughter make four more!  Goodness!  I used up a LOT of holday fabric from my stash, though, and didn't buy anything new for this project!  Yippee!  All were made for gifts and made the little people happy.  Hopefully, they have been using them this whole month to dream of the   'sugarplums' and toys to come.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Quick Holiday Skirts For Little Girls

 These were cute, easy skirts made for a friend's three girls.  For the older girls I used the tutorial found here:  Don't wait to check it out because she may not have her blog available for viewing after the holidays.  They are so easy,  that if you are a confident sewist, you probably won't need directions for making these anyway.
 For the baby's skirt, I just added a skirt to the top of a little pair of puffy pant*ies.  Easy, quick,  and cute!  The pant*ies (spelling adjusted so that I don't come up in a google search for unmentionables!) pattern is my 'go to' pattern from AS&E #53 (Australian Smocking & Embroidery).  Happy Holidays and Happy Sewing!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Delaney's Holiday Dress

This was made as a gift for a beautiful blonde blue-eyed angel to wear with a white blouse or red or white mock turtleneck.  I used another wide holiday border print from my stash that I absolutely love.  You can't see it in the pictures, but the sugar on the sweets sparkles like real sugar!  The background is a dark blue, not black.  It's a dark print for a very small little girl but I think the bright and busy border makes up for it!
The pattern I used is 'Baby Annie' by Primrose Lane.  This is the little sister version of 'Annie's Sundress and Jumper'.  The big difference in the pattern is the back.  This one opens with a buttoned back bodice and lapped placket.  I like this addition to the pattern for the aesthetics as well as the practicality of getting a wiggly, uncooperative baby into the dress.  The dress also features a romper version which is adorable, too.

The pattern can be found at:
(I have no affiliation with the company.  I just love her patterns!)
Happy Holidays and Happy Sewing!  I hope you are having fun and trying to reduce the stress this season sometimes (often?) brings.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Lauren's Holiday Dress Set

This was made for a friend's little girl last year.  I love using border prints, especially wide borders. They make such a lovely built-in embellished effect and are time savers when you need a pretty dress but you don't have a lot of time to sew.   I used my all-time favorite pattern Primrose Lane's "Annie's Sundress and Jumper" for the dress and a simple peasant blouse pattern for the blouse. It is a classic style that always meets with the approval of the little girls I sew for.   I used a wider skirt width for the skirts for more 'twirl' and added a sash. Lining in a contrast fabric makes for pretty ties at the shoulders.

You can find this pattern and many more lovely designs at .I hope you are finding some time to do a little holiday sewing, too!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Holiday Smocking for Baby

 Well, my good intentions about posting more often went astray.  I am blessed with a rich and varied life with lots of ups and downs and lots of "busy-ing" as my beautiful grown-up daughter used to say when she little.  My wonderful husband had another surgery in September that derailed my plans a bit and, to be honest, it is hard to get back into the swing of blogging when you step away for a while.  So....Everyday is a blessed new beginning and I begin again.  I have been 'busy-ing' and have lots to share that have never been blogged about before.  First up is a smocked baby ensemble I made as a gift for a sweet friend's first granddaughter.
 I used Jeannie Baumeister's pattern:  The Old Fashioned Baby:  Baby's Smocked Layette for all three pieces.  This was my first time using this pattern and I am enthralled with it.   I adore making traditional baby clothing and Jeannie's pattern was wonderful to work with!  I decided to make the shorter dress version but with lace edging like the daygown.  Lovely French lace, vintage pearl baby buttons, and silk ribbon are always a dream to work with.  Imperial batiste was the fabric of choice for it's ease of care for the modern mama.
Back of dress with the tiny vintage buttons.
I chose to use a different smocking design on the front of the dress than that in the pattern because I wanted the smocking to make more of a holiday statement.  I used a simple design by Ellen McCarn:  "Kelly".

Cable smocking on the sleeves with French knot flowers and lazy daisy leaves.

Gathered lace added to the hem.

The bonnet was smocked with a design I made up to coordinate with the dress.  I love this bonnet! It frames an infant's face so beautifully.   I have another pattern that I really like, too (Anna's Smocked Bonnet)  that has a folded back ruffle that is a bit more complicated to make up than this one but I think this one is my new favorite.  I think that I might like to combine my favorite features of both bonnets someday.  The baby slip was made with only one shoulder button closure.  The pattern has two. 
Another shot of the bonnet closes this edition.  Jeannie has the most gorgeous patterns for babies.  You can find her store at  and her blog at .

Saturday, September 8, 2012

English Garden Vintage Linen Sundress

Click on photos to enlarge.
 I love roses and beautiful English style gardens full of roses.  I think that you can really get a sense of how much I love old-fashioned English roses when you read my daughter's first name:  Victoria-Rose.  Unfortunately, I do not have a green thumb working with them in my hot, muggy, humid, buggy Florida garden.  I've tried...repeatedly.  I do have satisfying success in the sewing room, though.
Buttons are from the stash of that same elderly sewist.
 For the last of the most recent donations for my school music teacher's fund raiser, I used a lovely small piece of fabric full of gorgeous roses.  I do not know it's age or manufacturer.  It was gifted to me when a dear friend's elderly sewing friend died a couple of years ago.   I paired it with a vintage off-white linen hand towel with the most beautiful drawn thread work of primroses.  I used the Children's Corner Paulie for the sundress in a size two.  It was the first time using that pattern and I liked it.  It is a simple dress to sew.
Double tucks at the hem.
I am toying with the idea of playing along with the new sew along challenge at .  I know a couple of the challenges will take me out of my comfort zone and trying to complete an outfit on a strict timeline isn't easy for me but I think it would be fun to try.  The first challenge is to use the bias skirt tutorial at .  This is one of the challenges that is pushing me a bit because it isn't vintage, heirloom, smocked, embroidered, or traditional.  I have begun a little skirt set for a friend's two year old daughter.  I love the idea of Week Three's White Sheet Challenge and have just the right sheet to use.

This evening I have a wonderful date with my husband.  We are going to the famous Vinoy Hotel in downtown St. Petersburg to spend the night and then have their renowned Sunday Brunch.  Our Victoria-Rose will be home from college and will be playing the piano for four hours in the center of the restaurant.  To say I am proud is quite the understatement!  Victoria-Rose is talented and works hard but she is also the sweetest, gentlest, and kindest soul with a perfectly positive outlook on life.  She teaches me something everyday and has since her dear birthmother placed her in my arms.  What a gift!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Vintage Pillowcase As a Smocked Toddler Dress

 This was such a pretty vintage pillowcase with lovely pink, blue, and green hand embroidery! Just check out that gorgeous hemstitching on the hem.  Love it!  (Click on the photos to enlarge.)
 I had no one in mind when I found this beauty in an antique store in St. Petersburg earlier this summer but it 'called to me' and I decided to play with it.  I wanted to do something a little different with this one so I began looking through my AS&E collection (Australian Smocking and Embroidery magazines and books) for inspiration.  I found it in Designer Smocking for Tots to Teens.  I took the "Trendy Tot" halter top and lengthened it so that it would be a little above the knee sundress.
 I just used a simple trellis smocking design using the colors in the hand work at the bottom of the pillowcase. Then I added some blue flowers below the smocking.  I had some lovely pink micro check that went well with the pink in the embroidery and used that for the bias binding and ties.  I wish I had taken a picture of the back but it has a casing with elastic.  The bodice is lined with some of the pillowcase fabric that was left.
 I used the remaining pillowcase scraps to make a little sun bonnet.  I first drew a little line of flowers like those in the pillowcase and then traced the design onto the traced triangle shapes for the hat.  I again hand embroidered the little flowers using the same color floss as that in the pillowcase.  As you can see, I alternated the little embroidered wedges with more of the pink micro check.  The panties were made using a pattern in AS&E #53.  It is my 'go to' pattern for full panties.  I loved the ensemble and had intended to put it in my 'Grandmother's hope chest' but I took it to show one of the hairdressers at my favorite salon.  (He had spotted the stack of vintage linens, thought of me, and told me to go to the antique store where I purchased this pillowcase and several others.)  It caused a bit of a stir in the salon and I sold it within minutes.  (Quite a  wonderful surprise!)  I was in the midst of buying all those extra things a college girl needs/wants for her dorm room for my sweet daughter and was glad to sell it.  One of these days I will recreate the ensemble using another pillowcase for me to save.
All pictures are clickable to enlarge.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Ashley V's Suntop and Fancy Pants

A blue bow was attached to the center of the fancy pants before I gave it to Ashley's mommy.
This was another "Thank you"  outfit for a wonderful parent volunteer in my classroom.   This cute little cross over top and fancy pants were made using patterns I have used many times and they always come out so cute!  The top was made using the same pattern as this outfit and the fancy panties were made using the Tie Dye Diva Ruffled diaper cover.  The only change I made to the pants was to use bias binding in the leg openings instead of folding them over to make the elastic casings.  After Ashley tried it on, I moved the buttons up to make it a little shorter.  I wish I had made the top reversible but I didn't think of it at the time.
Such a little cutie-pie!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Reunited Vintage Linens

Click on the photos to enlarge for viewing!
 Aren't these just gorgeous?  What a lot of handwork went into the embroidery and the crocheted edging!  The tablecloth is a small one that has the hanging baskets in each corner.  It is perfect for a little tea table or to layer over another cloth on a larger one.  The four little napkins have the lovely matching work on one corner and the edging all around.  I found these little lovelies on two different days in two different antique shops!  It is obvious that they were made by the same needle artist.  The thread tension and formation of the stitches is identical.  How did they get separated? My best guess is that they were picked up by two different dealers at the same estate sale.  Perhaps they were in different boxes or set up on different tables.  However it happened, they were meant to be found by me and reunited.  They will grace my table...together!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Vintage Linen Dragonfly Petal Knot Dress

 As girly-girl as I am, I am fascinated by insects.  Butterflies are, of course, my favorites but I also adore the jewel colors and lacy wings of dragonflies and damselflies.  They hover like helicopters and can fly in six directions.   They are considered lucky in China and associated with prosperity and harmony.   Did you know that they are helpful to humans?  They are eating machines!  "They can eat food equal to their own weight in 30 minutes."  They keep mosquito populations down.  There are lots of interesting facts about this wonderful insect at: .  If you have children (or you are a kindergarten teacher) you really need to visit this site.
 If you click on the photos of this Petal Knot dress you will see the cotton skirt fabric is printed with rows of dragonflies making stripes across the material.  I paired the print with lime green gingham and a vintage linen dresser scarf with the most gorgeous handmade eyelet flowers and basket.  This piece was perfect and therefore was used on my table for a couple of years.   When making this dress as a donation for a fund raiser for the music department of my school,  I remembered this lovely piece in the linen closet.  At first I talked myself out of using it because it was in such beautiful condition but nothing else would do once I saw the pieces together.   Isn't the cluny lace lovely, too?  Do click on the photos to see the long ago needle artist's beautiful eyelet work.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Sweet Baby Booties from Embroidered Linens

 Cross stitch is an easy hand embroidery stitch but it takes patience and practice to make all the stitches even.  The needle artist who did this work many decades ago did a lovely job combining cross stitch, French knots,  lazy daisy, and stem stitch onto a linen dresser scarf in shades of pink and lavender.  When I purchased it about 30 years ago it had several rust stains that I could not remove in the center of the cloth.  I used it on a sideboard in my dining room with a silver tray over the spots!  Perfect!

About 15 years ago I was making a birthday gift for a friend's little girl:  a lavender gingham dress with puffed sleeves and a full skirt... when I remembered the cloth in the linen closet.  I couldn't stop thinking about how pretty it would be as the collar on that dress.  So.... it was quickly cut (quick is less painful when cutting up something beautiful) and the dress ended up with a gorgeous large round collar.  The dress turned out prettier than it would have with my original design and my friend's little girl adored the dress!   It was worn for her birthday and for Easter and many, many Sundays.  The linen scraps were saved, of course, or their would be no post today!
 I came across the linen scraps recently and I started to think about what I could make with such a small piece of embellished cloth.  Baby shoes!  I had to stop everything to trace a ballet bootie pattern from an older Sew Beautiful magazine and move the pieces around on the linen.  Then I had to sew the wee shoes up right away to see how they would come out.  The shoes are not identical but I think that they are more charming because of that.  They are lined with soft white lawn and tied with lavender ribbon.  I really love them!
Underside of the baby shoes.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Emma B's Very Hungry Caterpillar Dress and Allister's Caterpillar Shirt

Photos are clickable to enlarge.
Another Eric Carle dress!

 My friend Karen has four of the most beautiful grandchildren!  I have sewn for both Emma and Allister in the past.  This little outfit was a request as part of a trade for watching my sweet puppy girls (8 year old shih tzu sisters) when we went on vacation this summer.  I made an almost identical dress before for my godchild Cassidy when she was in kindergarten and Karen loved it.  You can see by looking at the picture in the blog heading that just the ribbon and rick rack trim on the apron and the binding on the hem is different.
Dress Back
 I used the Petal Knot Dress by Portabellopixie again and four different Eric Carle prints from his Very Hungry Caterpillar line referenced in the last post.
 Allister and Emma are only a year apart and both go to my school.  Allister will be in my kindergarten class this year!  I just took a caterpillar from another of the prints in the line to applique onto a purple shirt so that he can wear it when 4 year old Emma wears her dress.
Both children will be reading Eric Carle books in their classrooms so it will be fun for them to wear their special things during the year.  I would love to see how other people have used this fabric line.  I have several more items to share soon!
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