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

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Shirley's Wedding Dress

This vintage wedding dress belonged to my mother-in-law, Shirley. Unfortunately, she passed away in 2002 when Rosie was a baby. She never met Davy or Andy, but boy she would have loved them! One of the things I remember the most about her was that she really loved her boys. She had 2 sons, 5 years apart. When we visited, she would talk about when they were little. She remembered how much they weighed when they were born and the big pram she would put them in for walks around the city where they lived. We didn't have a lot in common, but our love for our children was a bond between us. I wish she could visit us at our new house and meet all the children, but when I have a hard time, I think of her up in heaven looking out for us.
Shirley married on her birthday in May, 1958. The wedding was semi-formal as is reflected by this dress. It is tea-length satin and was stored for years in a black trash bag in the attic. My father in law was going to throw it away after his wife died, but I told him I'd like to save it. It is as yellowed as it looks in the first picture.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Little Vintage Summer Sewing

Happy Easter to all my Blogger Friends! I thought I'd be back before Easter to share Andy's bubble, but as it turned out, I was so busy getting ready for Easter that I didn't finish it. He wore a smocked Peter Cottontail bubble that my older boys wore and it looked adorable. I will finish the other one for his first birthday at the end of May. This little sun suit is from a vintage Advance pattern. I love the wrap-around buttons and the bias binding. The yoke would be perfect for a little hand or machine embroidery. I hope to make this soon. Here's the whole pattern cover: 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Great Minds Think Alike...

I had been planning to share this little Easter dress for a few weeks now. It's been hanging on my coat rack, waiting to be photographed. Imagine my surprise when I saw this post at Michie's blog a few days ago! Her sweet little dress is like a bishop version of mine. I always loved this smocking plate done with brown bunnies on yellow fabric. I guess Michie likes that combination, too!

I made this dress for Katie's first Easter and Rosie wore it for her first Easter 2 years later. They were both 12 months old and this dress is a size one from the Chery William's Basic Yoke Dress pattern. The fabric is Imperial batiste.

Here is a close-up of the smocking. I am still working on the little Drew Bubble for Andy and it is turning out well. I hope to finish it before my Thursday night Guild meeting and I'll post pictures when I do. I hope your Easter sewing is going well, too!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Guess What Followed Me Home?

...and a little Easter inspiration.

A children's clothing store near me is going out of business. It is not a heirloom shop; we don't have those in my part of the country. It is a nice shop, though, and I am sad to see it go. I bought Rosie's kindergarten graduation dress there and the cutest little Christmas elf suit when Davy was a baby. Anyway, they are selling the "fixtures" as well and this included 3 children's dress forms. I had spotted them a few weeks ago, but at $100 they were too expensive. I went back yesterday and bought this tiny (about size 1-2) form for $50. This will be a fabulous tool for photographing things to share with you!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Most Scrumptious Chocolate Cake

 Last weekend I posted about Herbal Kitchen Towels I made as a hostess gift. Well, the weekend was a bit of a bust, as the other couples were more interested in what was in their glass than what was on their plate (and hubby and I don't drink alcohol). Anyway, we had to leave right after dinner, at 9:30, to get back to Andy, so we left without dessert. The weekend was even more of a bust when, one by one, the kids got the vomiting again (and one case of strep throat). This has been a long winter for us, but the forecast is for 60-80 degrees this week, so I am going to open all the windows and drive out the germs! Since we never got to try the chocolate cake, I decided to make another one for us to enjoy.
Have you ever seen the movie Matilda? Well, I love the scene where Miss Trunchbull makes Bruce Bogtrotter eat an entire chocolate cake as punishment for stealing a piece earlier. She says, "That was the most delicious, most scrumptious chocolate cake, and it was MINE!" If you make this recipe, you'll be saying the same thing to your family, I guarantee.
This recipe is from my Mom. She didn't make it often, but when she did it always disappeared quickly. It is easy to make and  because it is baked in a 9x13 pan, it is great for potlucks, guild meetings, etc. The frosting is poured over the hot cake and cools into a fudge-like layer. Yum!
My Mom's Scotch Chocolate Cake
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
8 TBS butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup Crisco shortening
5 TBS unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup water
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 400. To make the cake, combine the flour, sugar, and soda. In a saucepan, combine the butter, shortening, cocoa, and water and bring to a rapid boil. Gradually pour it over the flour and sugar mixture and combine thoroughly. Mkix in the buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes, till top springs back.
8 TBS butter (1 stick)
1 tsp vanilla
4 TBS unsweetened cocoa
6 TBS milk
1 lb confectioner's sugar
1 cup chopped pecans (optional-I leave these out)
About 5 minutes before the cake is finished, make the frosting. In a saucepan, combine the butter, cocoa, and milk and cook until butter is melted. Remove from heat and beat in the vanilla and confectioner's sugar. Stir in the pecans. Pour the hot frosting over the cake as soon as you remove it from the oven. Let cool before cutting.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Treats in the Mail!

My wonderful Mom gave me gift certificates to some of my favorite Heirloom Shops for Christmas. I decided that I want to make Andy a new bubble for Easter. I have 2 "rabbit" smocked bubbles from my other boys, but one is too small and one is too big, since they were younger for their first Easter. I had a ball making my selections at Bessie Mary (hi, Jan!) and Farmhouse Fabrics. I filled and emptied my cart many times before finally placing my orders. Here's what I chose from Bessie Mary:
This is a beautiful spring green check, 100% cotton with a beautiful feel. I'm not sure what I'm going to make from this (yet).
The blue is Imperial broadcloth with matching piping. I bought it to go with the colorful plaid I already had. Andy couldn't resist grabbing the package of piping.
The fabric on the left is cotton pique. I love this for boy's shirts, collars, and cuffs. I can't buy any nice fabrics locally and my small stash of pique has been used up, so this will be great. On the right is white Skip Dent. It is a poly/cotton with a subtle woven stripe. I have been wanting to try this ever since I saw it on Southern Matriarch. I think it would be nice for a shirt or bubble for Andy and I love the easy-care of poly/cotton. Jan sent along some swatches to tempt me!
And from Farmhouse Fabrics:
I've been coveting this fabric for a long time! I bought pre-made matching piping, which will save me a lot of time. I can try my new Piping Foot for the first time, too. Sewing piping without a piping foot is NOT fun! Here's what I'm going to make with this fabric:
I'm planning to make the smocked version with the shaped collar. This is one of the disgusting number of several patterns I've been wanting to try for a long time.
The blue is a cotton broadcloth by Calvin Klein. I thought it would be nice for a romper or shirt. I don't have specific plans for it yet. The 2 wrapped white fabrics are special interfacings. The much recommended German interfacing and a good-quality Baby interfacing. The German interfacing is fusible 100% cotton and doesn't pucker like some fusibles.
Last but not least, some Swiss Wale Pique, 100% cotton.
I am hoping to start Andy's romper tomorrow. I already traced my pattern and I'm ready to go. I look forward to sharing the finished bubble with you!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I Love Vintage Patterns!

This pretty dress pattern arrived in the mail today. I purchased it on ebay because I love the style. I like the side-button opening, the simple collar, and the flared skirt is flattering. I would like to make this in a pretty floral 30's print. I thought this pattern was from the 1940's, but its copyright is actually 1956; more June Cleaver than Olivia Walton. When I opened up the envelope, I found an extra treat. There was a 2-sided advertisement for other pattern styles. I think you will enjoy seeing it.
Some of these are so pretty; I love 8108 and 8109. The dresses in the top row look more 50's to me. That very full skirt is what I think of as a 50's look. The other side of the ad has girl's patterns.
Do you collect vintage patterns, too?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Herbal Hostess Gift

Tomorrow, Hubby and I are going to a dinner party at his boss's house. It will be fun to go out alone, though it took a lot of organizing to do it. Because we have to travel an hour AND we'll be out all evening AND the baby is still little and wants me at night AND my Mom and chief babysitter has a broken foot, we rented 2 hotel rooms near the house at which we are having dinner. My Mom and Dad will take the kids to the pool, have dinner, and watch movies while we are out, so it will be a mini-vacation for all of us!
I wanted to make a special machine embroidered hostess gift and my sewing friends thought kitchen towels would be nice. I have a small stash of nice towels that I ordered from Embroider This. I used 2 white waffle weave cotton towels. They are quite large, soft, and have a nice loop in the corner for hanging (and I even remembered to ME the other end!). I thought about my favorite vintage designs from Sew Weird, but since I don't know this couple, I wanted something that would appeal to a wide range of ladies, so I chose Toile Herbs from EmbLibrary for the designs.
 I used oregano and parsley because we are having chicken parmigiana. I thought about making them both green, but I liked their example in tan, so I made them different.
 I love designs in one color, because once you get it going, it stitches very quickly! These designs were only 9 to 10 thousand stitches each, so I was done both towels in less than an hour.
Tomorrow morning I will bake my Mom's recipe for Scotch Chocolate Cake. It is DELICIOUS! I'll try to post photos and the recipe on Sunday. I hope this Hostess Gift is enjoyed!

Linking to Sew Darn Crafty!