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

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dolly Darling Original Barbie Clothes Kits

 I spotted these interesting kits a few weeks ago at a reasonable price. A quick search found a few listings for reproduced "Dolly Darling" patterns, but no original patterns or kits. I took a chance on them and when they arrived in the mail, I was not disappointed. I bought 3 kits and each one contains patterns, fabric, and trims to make about 5 Barbie Doll outfits. From the styles shown, I think these are from the 60s. 
 Here is a flyer that was in one of the kits. It shows some of the available sets. Notice the original price of $1.50 per set or any 3 for $4!
 This is the "Bridal and Honeymoon Ensemble" which has patterns for: Sweet Dreams nightgown, Inside Story lingerie, Off on the Honeymoon suit, Lacy and Lovely robe, and the Bridal Gown. The fabrics, trims, and patterns are shown below, but I didn't want to take them apart too much for photos.
 This set has a Mix and Match pant/skirt suit, Suited for a Busy Day suit, Evening Glamour gown, Cover Story coat, and Anytime Dress up Dress. Below are the patterns and fabrics.
 This "Here Comes the Bride" set has more fun pieces for: Off on the Honeymoon, Dinner for Two, Lady at Home, Fancy Foundation, and the Wedding Gown and Veil. Below are its parts.
I think you can find almost anything on the internet, but I could not find any information about the history of these patterns or any originals offered for sale. There are plentiful copies available on ebay, but I didn't see any of my sets reproduced. 
Does anyone remember these kits? They are from before my time, so if you know anything about them, please leave a comment or send me an email; I'd love to know more about them!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Rosie's Recital Review

Rosie is 12 years old and will participate in her 10th recital in a few weeks. She got her costume today and it prompted me to look back at all her past recital photos. A walk, no...a dance down memory lane...
Rosie was the cutest duckling ever at barely 3 years old! She was in Baby Ballet that year. Have you ever seen anything so cute? 
At 4, she had a fluffy fuschia tutu. So adorable!

At 5 years old, she was a little Hula dancer. I call this shirt the "Chiquita Banana" costume.
6 years old and she was a tap dancer to "We are Siamese" from Lady and the Tramp.
7 years old and starting to look grown up! This was a theater dance number. 
Rosie's first year of hip-hop at 8 years old. This is one of her favorite moves: the Baby Freeze.
She was even better at the Baby Freeze the next year, at 9 years old, in Hip Hop again.
At 10, she took 2 classes: Irish Step Dancing and Hip Hop. The Irish was so pretty to watch and we were surprised at what a workout it gave!
11 years old and getting very good at Hip Hop. She's been with the same teacher for years and really enjoys it!
This year's costume is very glitzy and Rosie loves the gold lame. This one will look good under the stage lights!

Wow, it's amazing to see my girl grow up in these photos! It's funny that she got her costume at dance class today, just after we went to have professional photos taken. I hope you enjoyed seeing these pictures! I have been doing some yard work, planning Andy's birthday party, and the kids have tons of end-of-school activities, so I haven't done much sewing. As always, I have lots of ideas, so back soon!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Preemie Daygown Pattern Test for the Pattern Outlet

I had a fun project this weekend. The Pattern Outlet offered customers the chance to be a part of their Summer Design Team and make a sample of a pattern in exchange for getting the pattern free. I love a bargain AND I enjoy a challenge, so I thought this would be fun and it was!! I chose 5 possible patterns, with an eye to what would be easy to complete in time. The Pattern Outlet sent me Gingersnaps Preemie Daygowns Pattern.
This pattern has kimono sleeves and offers several cute variations. I thought about doing an heirloom gown, but then I found some yellow and red gingham in my closet and thought it would be very summery. I would like to try the sacque version sometime, but in the summer frame of mind, I decided to make the bias-bound version with machine embroidery. This pattern went together beautifully. I added the optional tucks at the shoulders to make a better fit. It was very easy and turned out cute. The embroidery is from Attic Treasures, "Bugs & Blooms". I got it during their $1 hunt recently.
I reduced these designs by about 50% in Embird, yet they still stitched perfectly. I love Attic Treasures designs! The ladybugs are cute with the red gingham.
Sizing always seems to be an issue with newborn patterns and unfortunately, this pattern was no exception. Even having my fifth baby, I forgot how tiny a newborn really is! My babies were all around 8 1/2 pounds, yet the clothes that truly fit for the first 3 weeks were all preemie sized (supposedly for 5 pound babies). This pattern comes in 4 sizes, for 1-2lb, 2-3lb, 3-4lb, and 5-6lb newborns. I made the 5-6lb size, figuring it would be perfect for a full-term newborn, though it is geared towards a preemie. Here is a comparison with a "truly newborn sized" daygown I made that fit all of my 8 1/2lb babies perfectly.

This daygown is a 3 month size, based on my experience. I would like to make the 3-4lb size, which I am guessing would really be a newborn size. I love this pattern and would highly recommend it, but do be aware of the sizing issues. Check out The Pattern Outlet, which has nice heirloom patterns for less than retail price, plus free shipping over $35. I enjoyed being a part of their summer design team and hope I can design for them again!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I Spy Elmo...Trucks...Dora...Halloween...Doggies... Picnic...Babies...FUN!

The I Spy Quilt for the little boys is almost done. I sandwiched the top, batting, and backing; then pin-basted it and machine stipple quilted it. 
The top has 100 different themed fabrics. I knew Andy would like finding things on it, but even Davy has fun with it at 7 years old.
I wanted the back to be educational and fun, too. I was so excited to find this US/Canada map at JoAnn's. It is bright and colorful!
Davy chose the rainbow fabric at the top and I found the fish in matching colors. Katie says it's...well...BUSY, but I think it's fun. I am amazed that I was able to get the top onto the backing straight and centered. I put it together on my kitchen table by myself.
I don't have much experience with free-motion quilting, but I do enjoy doing it. I think with more practice, I will improve. I was happy that the back stayed smooth with no puckers.
 I meandered across one row at a time, being sure to overlap other rows so that it was very random.
I found the rainbow and fish fabrics at Walmart! I bought extra of the fish print because I thought it would make a cute summer outfit for Andy. I will bind the quilt with the rainbow stripes, cut so that the strips will be narrow on the binding. I hope to finish the binding tomorrow so that I can show it at my Guild meeting tomorrow night.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Little 50s Suit...So Adorable!

I finished the 50s shorts yesterday. The pattern was terrific. Everything went together easily and I love the way they are constructed. After I finished, we took Andy outside to take some pictures. He loves wearing his dressy shoes and loves to "tap" around the house in them. I'm really happy with this whole outfit. It fits perfectly and just looks so cute! I think he will wear it for Mother's Day tomorrow.

Here's a view from the back. There is elastic in the back waist, which makes the fit very nice. We are really good at cultivating dandelions! Andy liked picking them and blowing the fluff from them. I was experimenting with some of the photos and did this black and white version with a colored dandelion. I may share more views tomorrow. Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Cutest Little 50s Shirt

I managed to nearly finish the "Will" smocked shirt today. I just have to finish the buttonholes and sew on buttons. I LOVE the way it turned out. I kept it very simple, with no piping or cuffs. I struggled with not using piping, since it does make a pretty finish, but it wasn't on the 50s pattern (for the shirt that goes with the shorts) and I didn't have any cotton navy fabric, so I decided the plaid was fine on its own. I think the little bit of geometric smocking is adorable and it will fit with the V-front shorts really well.
I am cutting out the shorts now. I hope to finish them by the weekend. Katie surprised me with tickets to a local performance of Anne of Green Gables on Saturday and I'll be doing something fun on Sunday, too, so I'm going to have a great Mother's Day weekend. I hope you do, too!

Monday, May 7, 2012

What I'm Working On

Well, I've been super-busy and I don't know where the days go! I have done only a little bit of sewing. I still have to quilt and bind the boys' I-Spy Quilt, I have to make the apron for the Titanic Project, I was supposed to make a small raffle quilt for my Guild by Friday (but that's not going to happen!), and I also have to take care of my family and house! Here's what I have had time to do:
 This plaid is going to be a "Will" shirt with a bit of smocking at the center front. I did a simple geometric design because I like that for a boy. The plaid is a soft, Nashville Cotton. The navy faux-linen will be the pointed-front suspender shorts from the vintage Advance pattern. I have loved this pattern since I first saw it! It is going to be very easy to make. I must have bought yards of this fabric, because I made a Maggie's Classics double-breasted shortall for Davy when he was about 4 and I still have a lot left.
 I hemstitched around this flannel to make a blanket for a friend who is having a baby in December. We don't know yet if it's a boy or a girl, so I started with blue in case it's a boy, but I also have the same flannel in pink ready to crochet for a girl. I made up the edging pattern myself. I thought it looked good for a boy. This is the little bit I finished while we were on vacation last week.

This project is still in the planning stages. I wanted to do a simple 20s or 30s romper from a repro 30s print. There is a quilt shop near where we were on vacation and I chose this yellow bunny print while I was there. The brown is a Kona cotton. I might use the MP Dainty Designs pattern or one of my antique romper patterns. I'm not sure yet.
Proving that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, my Rosie made this cross-stitch for her Religious Ed teacher. She loves these little kits and has made about 6 of them. I think it looks very pretty!
Today was the 21st anniversary of my first date with my husband. We went out to dinner and saw Dances with Wolves. Gosh, it would probably take a week for me to make it through a 3-hour movie now! Anyway, it was very appropriate that this beautiful grandfather clock arrived today to mark the passage of time in our home. My husband has been with the same company since he graduated from college (though it has changed names 4 times!) and this is a loyalty gift from them. You can see Andy is very interested in how it works. My Dad built a clock very similar to this when I was little and I used to love pulling the weights to wind it and the chimes. It will be nice to hear the chimes ringing in our home! I hope you are all well and having some free time to work on fun projects.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Embarking on a TITANIC Project

My friend Lillian told me about the Titanic Fashion Project at the Vintage Pattern Lending Library (VPLL). I took a look and knew it was right up my alley! The ladies there try to restore and sell antique patterns to keep them available for the future. Since this is the 100th anniversary of the Titanic disaster, they are doing a year-long project to scan and produce patterns from a French fashion magazine from 1912. They are making these patterns available to sewists to make, whether keeping to the original or updating it for today. A few days ago, I got my first pattern. I thought I should start with something very simple, so I chose this child's apron. I have been thinking about it and decided to make it in white pique with pink gingham binding. I want to stay as true to the time period as I can, but I am thinking of digitizing a redwork-type design for the pockets or the front. I'd like to find a bunny or kitty perhaps. I'll have to look around. Here are some other images of Titanic-era children's fashions.
I'm looking forward to starting this project, but I'm also in the middle of a few others. I'll share the progress on those next!