Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Jana's Tea Time Linens

I have been busy embroidering and constructing a first communion dress as a gift for a former student.  I'll be able to share the dress later this week but I wanted to share these darling linens with you.  None of them were embroidered by me and most are vintage linens found in antique shops in Georgia.  They belong to my sweet friend Jana.  The red work on the left in the photo above is similar to designs republished in a book by EllynAnne Geisel called The Kitchen Linens Book.  Isn't it charming?  The one on the right is more recent.  I believe it was embroidered for Jana by another friend of hers.

The bluebird with the kettle below is a vintage design you can find on the web where people scan vintage (out of copyright) patterns to save for posterity and to share.  There is a whole group of these wonderful ladies on Flicker ensuring that these precious designs aren't lost forever.

 This last one is just too cute with the basket of cherries spilling into the pot to make jam or jelly.
Have a wonderful day!  Do something that makes you happy!  Have more fun!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sydney's Blue Birds

 Isn't that outfit just adorable?  It was not made by me.  It was made by Kathy Berry, a dear friend of my dear friend Jana, for her only granddaughter.  The whole ensemble is just beautiful!  The sun bonnet ties with fabric ties under the chin and has ribbon in a casing in the back to draw it to size.  There are hand embroidered flowers all along the outside of the brim.  Please notice the little matching beach pail.  Yes!  Kathy made that to match the ensemble, too!
 Kathy used a floral cotton print with lots of flowers and butterflies and then coordinated the embroidery of the sunsuit bodice to match.  The floral spray is her own design.  I tried to enlarge the photo I have in the next picture.  It is not as clear as I would like.  The embroidery is really stunning.  Check out the wooden hanger.  You guessed it!  Kathy made that, too!

 The vintage pattern in the next picture is the one Kathy used for the sunsuit and bonnet.    It's charming and quite old.  It was published in the earlier 1940's and sold for .25 cents.   When people were making only an average of  $16-30 dollars a week, the $.25 wasn't the deal we would think it was.  Minimum wage in 1945 was just .40 cents per hour!  A forty hour week would bring in just $16!  ( When my dad proposed to my mother in 1950, she said that they had to wait until he made $50 a week to get married!  They were married in 1951.)

 The following pattern is one you can purchase today from Wendy Schoen Design and from many online heirloom sewing shops.  It is obviously a remake of the pattern above with lovely added heirloom techniques (lace work, applique, embroidery).  It comes with  sizes 1-6.  I have this pattern and plan on making some cute little sunsuits to add to my grandmother's hope chest!

I hope you enjoyed seeing Kathy's lovely little beach ensemble!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Smocked Eyelet Ensemble for Spring Formal Wear at PR&P

Just click on the photos to enlarge them.
 When I think of 'formal wear', I think of bridal party, prom or ballroom attire.  Therefore, when Project Run & Play announced that that would be the challenge for this week, I didn't think that I would be able to participate in the sew-along.  I just didn't have any flower girl dresses or wedding attire to sew and share.  However, I adjusted my thinking when I saw what was being posted for this week.  For me these sweet clothes translate into "Dressy Sunday Clothes" and I DO have something I have been working on to share.  This is for the baby girl cousin of a young friend of mine.

This little size 6-9 months ensemble consists of four pieces but I forgot to photograph the ruffle back pant*ies.  The little bonnet is  from a Petite Poche pattern that is a copy of a 1930's  sunsuit and bonnet pattern.
 It buttons at the back with one button and has a sweet Swiss eyelet edging ruffle around the brim.  It is completely lined and ties with lavender ribbons.
 I embroidered the flowers around the brim to coordinate with the ones I embroidered n the smocking.
 No two sprays of flowers are exactly the same.
 The little dress has a square neckline and a very full skirt.  Lavender ribbon was woven through the eyelet holes of the skirt and match the lighter lavender of the geometric smocking.
 The geometric smocking is rows 14-20 of of "Fairy Dust" from Australian Smocking & Embroidery #51.  I did not do the embroidery shown in the magazine but 'did my own thing'.

 The back of the dress closes with button loops and two lavender flower buttons.
 After sewing the buttons on I added pink bullion loops and some green lazy daisy leaves so that the rather plain back of the dress would be more interesting.
 The next picture is of the little bib I made using a vintage handkerchief and a white cotton flannel lining.  I assure you that it was symmetrically cut but I draped it over the hanger crookedly.  The hankie colors matched the smocking colors perfectly so it just had to be used for this project!
 The neck binding on the bib is a vintage piece of shiny bias binding of unknown fiber content that I inherited.  I added  more embroidery, of course, where the lavender ribbon is attached at the back of the bib.
I hope you like my baby "Formal Wear" and will stop over to see the other wonderful entries at Project Run & Play" HERE .

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Smocking and Lace Details for Project Run & Play Sew-Along

You can enlarge the photos by clicking on the images.

 This week Project Run & Play has challenged it's designers, and those that 'sew along', as I do, to make something that showcases details.  This project was made for a friend to give as a gift to a relative's new baby girl.  The little outfit is full of details but smocking and/or embroidery and French lace are featured on each piece of this 5 piece outfit.  The delicate, faerie lace on the bonnet, dress, and pant*ies is so airy and pretty.   I had the lace in two sizes and used the widest piece on the bonnet.  Can't you see a sweet little face framed in that lace?!  It was so pretty to work with that I smiled each time I touched it, just imagining it on the little recipient!
I used the Smocked Baby Layette pattern by Old Fashioned Baby for the little dress and slip and an old Grace Knott pattern for the bonnet.  The outfit is made in a 6 months (or so) size.

I designed the smocking design for the bonnet myself using two pink floss colors to echo the pink rosebuds in the dress fabric.
I embroidered the full-blown roses on the bonnet ties to hide the stitches attaching the ribbon to the bonnet and to add a little more embroidery.  (I can't help myself!)
The full-blown rose and little French knot flower buds complete the design at the center of the smocking.
The dress is made with a sweet little fine cotton print that I bought online a while ago.  I am sorry that I can't remember the site.  The neckline is edged with entredeux and the gathered French edging is applied by hand.
The smocking design is taken from Ray of Sunshine in issue #25 of Australian Smocking & Embroidery.  The rosebud is my addition to the design to complement the fabric print.
The little puffed sleeves are smocked with the same pattern.  What is truly magnificent about smocked sleeves is that they 'give' with the wearer.  This little sleeve will fit close around the baby's arm but will not leave marks like elastic does when it is too tight.  Smocking 'gives' because the pleats are held together at the top third of the pleats.  My own daughter had many smocked sleeves on otherwise unsmocked dresses because she hated the tight feeling of elastic but loved the look of puffed sleeves with edgings.
The back is closed with embroidered buttons!  This is a detail that will get noticed a lot because of the way babies are carried.

I used the hem facing for the fancy hem on the pattern but straightened out the scallops as they wouldn't show enough through this fabric.  Tiny French seams were used throughout and the hem was put in by hand.
The little pant*ies were made using the Ray of Sunshine pattern from the AS&E magazine mentioned before.  I added the little rose at the center front to indicate the front of the pant*ies but also as another excuse to embroider.  The little socks were embellished with the last of the lace and a little more embroidery.
With the smocking, these pant*ies will never leave marks on chubby little legs.  The only elastic on this outfit is in the waistline casing.  Twenty or thirty years from now the elastic will be useless and can easily be replaced for this little girl's own baby.
The little slip has a different, narrower French lace and the baby's first initial embroidered on the front.  Two tiny, tiny antique shell buttons close the slip at the shoulders.  The buttonholes had to be so small that I had to do them by hand!  Truth be told, that was the most difficult detail for me on this entire ensemble! I redid them three times!
Here is the whole ensemble together.  My daughter's question when she saw this when she came home from college was,  "Ooooo, I like this!  Is this going in your grandmother's hope chest? No?!! Well, you can make one just like this anytime you like... for me!"  Needless to say, I have already put the fabric I have left aside in a drawer with others she just loves and now just have to find more of that lace!  (I can not tell you how glad I am that she likes smocking and heirloom style clothing!)
I hope you enjoyed all the details on this little set.  Check out all the creations made by the other sew-along designers HERE at Project Run & Play!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

A Tiny Bit of Embroidery and Friendship in a Cup

 These face cloths have just a tiny touch of embroidery but they are stitched with a ton of love.  You see, my darling daughter went away to college this year and I had to get ready.  I needed to do something that would let her know that I love her and miss her every day.  So... I embroidered a dozen face cloths and half a dozen napkins and packed them last August with a pretty new white tea set, a rose embossed stainless tableware set, an electric kettle, loose tea, infuser, another vintage set of embroidered napkins and a vintage table cloth.
The tea set, napkins, etc. were for making new friends.  They have done their job!  She regularly brews tea for friends and I have replaced three broken tea cups/saucers already so I know they are getting used!  I bought plain but pretty white ones at Home Goods last spring because I knew that it would be easy to replace those that got broken with other white sets.  I didn't want her to be concerned if they broke because then she wouldn't have the pleasure of using them without fear.  She even set up a tea station in her dorm lobby last semester during finals for anyone in the dorm to stop and have a cup and a treat during their long study hours.  Both boys and girls loved it. There is magic in a cup of tea.
Rosebuds for my Rosebud on purchased napkins.
The gloves below are those I purchased and then embellished for my dear friend, Jana.  Again, there is just a touch of embroidery but stitched with lots of love.

 These little gifts don't take a lot of time but they are sweet little 'hand-mades' that let the recipient know that they are loved.  Perhaps they could be Mothers' Day gifts or even stocking-stuffers next Christmas.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Little Boy Blue Come Blow Your Horn

A Suit for Beautiful Blue-Eyed Luke

Click to view the photos in a larger format.
 As some of you may already know, I am a teacher and have been teaching since 1975.  For the first 9 years of my career, I taught learning disabled students in a resource classroom on the east coast of Florida.  Then I taught in a private Armenian school in California for several years.  I taught fourth and fifth graders and one semester I had the pleasure of teaching seventh grade English there.  I have had the privilege and pleasure of teaching kindergarten children here on the west coast of Florida since 1987 and have been in the same school since 1988.  Obviously, I love what I do!

This little suit is for a 'grand-student'.  Luke is the first son of Marlee, a former kindergarten student of mine whose parents are my dear friends.  I first met Marlee when she and her twin sister were just 18 months old!  I remember that sunny day like it was yesterday.  The staff of the new school we were opening got together for a family picnic and Jil and Bob arrived with their three blonde, blue-eyed beauties.  Time is so relative, isn't it?  It seems like I blinked my eyes and almost 25 years have gone by!
 This little suit was made with Marlee's wishes in mind.  She chose the pattern 'Reagan' by Primrose Lane (you can find it HERE) and asked for blue with a white top.  The little suit is just one piece although it looks like a two-piece romper and shirt.  The straps are only attached at the bottom in the front and back adding to the illusion of one piece.  The pattern is beautifully drafted and allows for some nice detail work.  I used self-made mini piping everywhere I could, to fancy this up a bit.
 The bottom closes with snaps that I hammered into the crotch.  One of these days I am going to get a fancy snap setter.  I always hold my breath when setting these in!
Sewing for boys doesn't allow me to add all the heirloom touches I love doing but it has it's own charm.  I sure did love seeing Luke wear this!  (Sorry, no photos to share.)  Laurie Anderson of http://sewnso.blogspot.com/ has posted many really adorable little boys' outfits.  Her recent nautical suit (HERE) and her smocked romper set (HERE) are darling and worth checking into.  Martha Broyles of http://southernmatriarch.blogspot.com/ also makes some charming little guy things.  Most recently she made matching Easter outfits for her grandson and granddaughter.  You can see them HERE.

Are you sewing things for the little boys in your life?

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