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

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Vintage Pattern Love: A Rare Romper!

I found a gem to add to my pattern collection this week. It may be my rarest pattern yet! For a few years in the mid to late 1920s, McCall made patterns with distinctive covers. They had photos of the garments on models: they must have hand-colored and edited these photos and they are quite beautiful. The patterns just so happen to be pretty amazing, too!
Here's the one I scored this week! It is a darling romper with a pretty scalloped detail at the waist and embroidered flowers. Look at the little girl's socks with ribbons at the top. This seems to have been a common decoration back then. Maybe they were elasticized to hold up the stockings?
I just love everything about this: the pink gingham with white, the embroidered flowers, the collar and cuffs, and the precious little model. This is one I would like to make someday!
I have the pink and turquoise overalls cut out and I'm hoping to finish the embroidery tomorrow! Are you ready for Thanksgiving yet? I am getting off easy this year- going to my parents' house! Yahoo- easy peasy and bound to be a delicious feast made by my MOM!

Monday, November 18, 2013


I am working on Andy's Christmas outfit for the pictures we have on Sunday. I finished his knickers today and I will be smocking a shirt to go with them. Meanwhile, the weekend after Thanksgiving, we are having a first birthday party for my goddaughter Ella! I was despairing of finding time to make her a dress, when I had a middle of the night inspiration!
I will use these patterns by Footloose:
Reversible Aline Jumper Dress Pattern PDF Sewing Pattern 6M-6CH Handmade Children Pattern Instant Download
to make co-ordinating overalls and a-line jumper for Andy and Ella. I decided to use featherwale corduroy and I ordered 2 color combos from fabric.com:

I'm not sure if I'll go with the pastels or the brights. Obviously, Andy will have blue and Ella pink.
This is the snowman applique I will use. It's from Planet Applique. I think I will do fun prints for the scarf and hat on each snowman.
Now that I have everything planned, I just have to wait for the fabric to arrive to get busy. I had t send my machine in for a tune-up today. It just wasn't running well. I can still work on my daughter's machine, though- phew!
Oh, yes, I have a little blouse waiting for Ella that I picked up when MP had a big sale and I also have a white shirt for Andy, so I think we will be all set!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Tenille's Beautiful Baby & Bonnet!

Today's post is my favorite kind to write: I get to share the lovely work of a facebook friend! Tenille Brien shared pictures of her version of the Ella Kathryn Bonnet pattern on facebook. I asked her if I could share her gorgeous girls and bonnet with you and she graciously agreed!
Here is the bonnet on her little girl Veronica, 9 months. She is shown with sister Mathilda. These lovely ladies are from Australia, where it is warm!
Here is some info from Tenille:
The fabric came from an unused sheet, I also made the piping to match. The lace was flat lace that I gathered slightly. The smocking itself started out to follow a design from Australian Smocking & Embroidery because I was going to have it match a dress, but I deviated from that and just sort of made it up as I went along, I’ve only been smocking for about 3 years and I’m self-taught so I don’t do bullion roses or most of the other fancy stitches, I just like the neat geometric patterns, so I kept it quite simple. I did also make the dress that Veronica is wearing, and the blouse that Mathilda is wearing.
 I have to disagree that it's "quite simple"! I find the white on white absolutely stunning and the eyelet trim is so girly and pretty! Did you note Tenille's statement that she also made the dress and blouse shown here? Where does she find the time with 3 children: 4, 3, and 11 months!?
And one more...
Wonderful!! Thank you, Tenille, for sharing your beautiful family and stitching!
If you want to download a free "Ella Kathryn Bonnet" pattern, just click on the pattern picture on the right of my blog.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Re-enacting Wardrobe: Civil War Gathered Bodice

I finished my Civil War Bodice! OK, I do still need to hem the sleeves, but I really love the way it turned out! I used 100% cotton from Walmart. At only $3/yd, the bodice and skirt fabric only cost $27. I used Past Patterns #701 and it lived up to all the great reviews I've read. I shortened the bodice per recommendations and I think I could have left it. The waist is supposed to be high and it is.

 I did have to call Saundra once for technical support to figure out the front closures, but she helped me get it right and they look so neat! Here you can see the front edges turned back:
Here is a close-up of some of the 14 hand-stitched hooks and eyes:
 I decided to make the "coat sleeves" which are a very typical sleeve of the 1860s. They look a bit strange laid flat, but they give a pretty rounded silhouette when worn. I've seen them called "hand-shaking" sleeves because your arms naturally take that position.
I will get modeled pictures soon, but I didn't want to take the time to get all "corseted" and I don't have someone here to take pictures right now. I have to make Civil War Gowns for Rosie and Katie, too- and all before December 21, when the whole family is attending Fezziwig's Ball!! I have a bolt of blue "silk" that will be Rosie's gown and I'm also working on Andy's Christmas outfit for pictures on November 24. Busy, busy! What are you working on? Please leave a comment so I know someone is still reading!!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Biggest Project Ever: Chicken Tent!!

If you have been reading for awhile, you know I like to do some odd craft projects. Remember my leather baby shoes? And my recent corsetry work? Well, today's project may be even stranger. My 3 little chickies have a very basic wooden coop. I'm not sure it's great for a cold, snowy winter, so I decided to make a lean-to tent to protect it!
I was thrilled to find Sunbrella fabric at a discount store for $5/yd. I got a total of 10 yards in various pieces and it was just enough. Stitching such a large, cumbersome piece was difficult.
I used flat-felled seams for strength and I added a large vinyl skylight.
My Dad installed it this morning. It is attached to a header board which is screwed into the board over the back garage door.
Here's a view from the other side. The corner of the house is next to the tent. The side looks wavy because I have it pulled up to let the chickens enter their run. The hay bale is keeping them from escaping.

Here's a look from inside the garage. The tent is 4 feet wide and about 5 feet deep. The skylight works perfectly! I think the sloped roof will work well to let snow run off.
This picture shows where I moved the tent fabric to let them get to their run. I have to figure something out over there. Tent stakes hold the tent down at all the corners, so it is quite secure.

What do the chickens have to say??
Bennie: I love my new tent. It is so warm and cozy and keeps out the wind!
Shelly: Ooooh, sunflower seeds in a warm garage...yum!
Blackie: This will do for now, but I hope you're planning to build us a bigger coop in the spring!

I'm working on my Civil War Dress, so I hope to be back with progress soon. I am really glad to have the Chicken Tent Done!!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Happy Halloween...and on to Thanksgiving!

Hope you had a Happy Halloween! We sure did, despite rainy Trick-or-Treating! I hoped to post sooner, but the past week has been CRAZY! Ear infections, Halloween parties, parades at school, 3 teens having friends over for Halloween, costumes, a dislocated toddler elbow, friends and playdates and lots of CANDY! I have been flat-out, but it has been FUN!!
I think I might have shared this quilt before, but maybe some of you missed it, so here it is again! Before I had Andy, I went on weekend stitching retreats with my Quilt Guild. One Fall, this was the project I brought. I think it's from an old McCall's Quick Quilts magazine. The ghosts are made from hankies and the orange and purple are pockets to hold Halloween candy.
I hang it by our front door each Fall and it's one of my favorite seasonal decorations. It was fun to make, too!
This is the pumpkin Rosie carved! It's done by shaving the pumpkin skin and carving a face. The pumpkin she picked was super-lopsided, which worked perfectly for this. I think she did a great job!
Parting shot: some of our Halloween Goody Bags. These are a Martha Stewart Kit. I love her kits: they always look so nice.

Well, I have been sewing, believe it or not. And knitting. I will have a cool "Chicken Awning" and "Civil War Knitted Cap" to share soon!