I hope to inspire and entertain you with a lot of sewing and a little of everything else!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Smocking: 1940s Style






I tried something fun this week. I learned English Smocking when I was 10, but I had never tried "American" Smocking. I had some vintage smocking transfers from the 30s and 40s and I used one!



With English smocking, you pleat the fabric first, then do the hand smocking stitches. With American smocking, you pick up the transfer dots in a pattern, which creates the smocking.

This transfer is about 75 years old, so I guess I was thinking it would be very faint. I just slapped it down and ironed and it transferred beautifully. Not straight, because I didn't plan well!
I used pink Imperial batiste. I smocked with a darker pink, aqua, and purple. I wanted to do something colorful and how I imagined it might have been done in the 40s.
Here's a close-up. The pleats are not as defined as in English smocking and it is stretchy, but not as much as English smocking. It also has less of a gathering ratio, working out to 2.5 or 3 to 1 versus gathering of 3 or 4 to 1.
These are the supplies I put aside to finish a size 1 yoke dress with this piece. I have some perfect purple Imperial that was part of a mystery box. It just so happens to match exactly! I found the crochet thread in the exact right color, too- I couldn't believe that find! I am thinking of crocheting a little edge on the collar and cuffs. I also had the pink piping from a mystery bag of piping! Whoo hoo- I just want to do something fun and colorful with this. 
I probably spend longer choosing the dress pattern than it will take to make it, but I found a 40s yoke dress in size 1 that I can use.

THE VERDICT: I think doing English smocking is easier because you can see each pleat. The dots get a bit lost as the row above gathers up. I like the look of English smocking better, too. However, this is an awesome way for someone to try smocking without investing in a pleater, it still looks great, and it was a super thing to work on while my boys played at the beach. I will definitely do this again!! WHAT DO YOU THINK??


Sunday, June 21, 2015

Andrew's Starboard Suspenders



This little doll is my friend's baby Andrew. He is 6 months old and a very happy little fellow.

When an opportunity to test the Starboard Suspenders for my friend Sharon Knowles at Ellie Inspired came up, I thought of what a cute model Andrew would be!



The pattern includes a sailor collar bodysuit and suspendered shorts or skirt, in sizes NB-3. I made the 9 months size.




Here is the front of the set. I love the functional front pockets!



Here is the back of the set. I chose to do a machine embroidery on the back of the collar and trim with piping. The toile ship is from Embroidery Library.

The front waistband is straight and the back is elasticized for a good fit.



This shows how the bodysuit snaps underneath to keep things neat and tucked-in.






This little guy is always happy. We see him a few times a week and he smiles and giggles. He's the littlest "brother" in the group of friends my boys have!





The fabric I used is Khaki seersucker stripe from fabric.com. It is a cotton/poly blend for easy care. The shirt is white cotton/poly broadcloth.

The problem with this pattern is that it doesn't come big enough for MY Andy!! I hope a big kid's version will come out soon! You can get it at Ellie Inspired later this week!!


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Linny's Pinny for Rose!

I was contacted by a very sweet Mom who wanted a custom made "Linny's Pinafore" just like the one on the pattern cover. I usually don't sew to sell, but this lady was a really easy customer, so I agreed.
We are both very happy with the result!
I only had a little of this wonderful strawberry fabric left. I found the last 2 yards online and bought them! It is just the softest, yet crisp beautiful fabric. The bows are the same cotton pique, too. However, the ruffles are made from Imperial gingham (cotton/poly) because when I washed the other one with the all-cotton ruffles, they came out very wrinkled.



These ruffles should be wash & wear! This is a size 3 and I used over 200" of fabric to make the ruffles. Thank goodness for the gathering foot! Still, I had to do a perfect rolled hem on all those inches first. I think it raised my blood pressure!
I like the rolled hem ruffles because I think they are fluffier than the folded ones. The folded ones would certainly be quicker, though!!


I smocked the skirt one day while my boys were at a game league. It took about 4 hours. There is one "shadow" row of green at the bottom, but it is mostly red. It shows up well on the strawberry print.


The placket is from the red gingham, which just adds a pretty touch. I like the red flower buttons I got too!
The piping is red gingham as well.



Here's the view of the whole back.






Simple bloomers complete the outfit. I added a fold of ribbon at the back so my little customer will know which way they go.


I hope Rose's Mom will send some pictures of her in this darling outfit. I think I like it even better than the original!!


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