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

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The "UGLY??" Christmas Suit!

Every year, I have special pictures done for Christmas. Originally, I was going to do a glittery-retro-turquoise/pink/purple theme. I had a hard time finding anything that fit that bill. Some years, I have made special shirts- the "M-E-R-R-Y" theme and the "Greetings from Around the World (and Star Trek)" theme. 
Then inspiration struck. I found this "Ugly Christmas Suit" on Amazon!!
Perfect for Hubby and the 3 sons!! They didn't want to do it, but I was determined. I ordered them in November (and it's a good thing because they are a lot more $$ now). They arrived and are actually really nice quality- if you don't mind the slick polyester fabric. I don't mean slick as in smooth, I mean "slick" baby, with attitude.
Then, a new dilemma- what will the 2 daughters and I wear?  A seach for the "tacky Christmas dress" ensued. I ordered some shiny vintage Christmas scene dresses on Amazon, but they weren't right. (aka truly ugly). I was now calling my theme "1950s Kitsch"- it sounds so much better than "ugly Christmas." I felt I must remain true to the elegance of the men's suit and tie. Younger daughter wanted to go full-on knit Santa dresses or elf suits, but it just wasn't right. 
Internet searches and sleepless nights
Good thing I started hunting at the beginning of  November, because Prime Shipping wasn't going to save me this time!
Enter "Rose Gal" The totally elegant, "kitschy" skirts were perfect! And cheap!!

What to do for my little boy Andy who is 7? Still plenty of time to make a suit!! I bought "Logan's Suit Jacket" on Create Kids Couture and 5 1/2 yards of Santa and Rudolph fabric at Joann's.

I literally finished it the morning of the pictures. What else is new? I work well under deadlines!

It turned out we had a blast doing these pictures. The entire studio (in the mall) loved them! People were asking where we got them, what a great idea, awesome!!
We were all laughing so hard doing this and the silliest one of all was my Hubby! He is usually a quiet, straight-laced kind of guy, but he was cracking up, joking around, and had us laughing too! My kids dubbed it the "Magic Christmas Suit" and isn't that what Christmas is really all about? The Magic!!
These outfits may have been tacky, kitschy, whatever but we made some really "Magical" Memories!! And I have photos to prove it!! (Maybe I'll share the family ones soon!)m

Monday, November 13, 2017

Fingertip Towels

I don't know where October went, but here we are quickly heading for Thanksgiving. I embroidered several items to sell for extra Christmas money. If they don't sell, they will become gifts eventually! Today I'll share some fingertip towels I did.
The first one has a cute, colorful snowman.
I did 2 of this one with an elf clothesline.
This one is pretty with a wintry snowman design.
Finally, this one has lanterns stitched in gold thread.

My Mom loves fingertip towels to put in the bathroom for guests. They are a festive touch at this time of year and I love how easy they are to stitch.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Knit Rosebud Bishop Dress and Fancy Diaper Cover

I was invited to a baby shower this weekend for my friend's sister. She is having her fifth child (yeah for Moms of 5!) and it is a little girl. Since my last 2 children are boys, it was fun to plan some pink sewing. My daughter suggested a knit fabric for the "modern" Mom.

I thought that was a good idea and had only smocked on knit fabric once before. I had made my little guy a romper from AS&E, but I used a very lush Sea Island Cotton, which was a disaster to pleat. Many broken needles were the result. This fabric was purchased from Hancock online before they went out of business and I have plenty, so I thought I'd give it a try. It is a lovely quality and very soft, but not as thick as the Sea Island knits.

It went through the pleater beautifully. I smocked a very simple design in 2 shades of a purply-pink to match the rosebuds. I used a free Wee Care Bishop pattern from AS&E in newborn size. I don't know if it's still available, but it was in one of their old issues, too. I think it will be more of a 3 months size, which doesn't surprise me as I find their patterns run large.

I did take some fullness out of the front and back pieces, to accomodate the heavier fabric. I removed 2" on the front and 2" on the back. I originally took 1" from the sleeves, but they were too skimpy, so they are the original pattern. I still think they look skimpy and would have liked them a little fuller.

I thought about using a woven fabric for the neckband and sleevebands, but I ended up using the same knit. I used some german interfacing on the bands and they were a delight! The knit folded over (as usual) and was hand-stitched to the back. The bit of stretch made it so smooth with none of that ugly "twisted" look you sometimes get on neckbands. Of course, they were cut across the grain, not on the bias.

The little diaper cover was purchased in a destash group for $3. It has a double-seat and eyelet, elastic legs. Worth every penny to save the time! It is a truly little size- probably 0-3 mos and I think it will go well with the dress or would be so cute for those "diaper-only" newborn photos.

The monogram is done by machine. The design is from Attic Treasures. I've had this set for awhile and finally got to use it! I love, love, love it! Definitely I will use this one again.
The new Mom really liked the set- I hope I will see pictures of "Baby K" in it soon!!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Linny's Pinny on American Girl!

My daughter Katie made this "Linny's Pinafore" for the American Girl Doll. I love her version- it was a surprise to me!
She machine-embroidered a cross-stitch insert for the yoke. Aren't the colors perfect with the pretty floral fabric?

The side ties are ribbons and they co-ordinate with the navy polka-dot bloomers underneath.

Here's a front view of the bloomers. I just love this outfit!! If you want to know how she did it, I will do another post with the details. Click here to buy the Linny's Pinafore pattern in sizes NB-4.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

American Girl Doll Quilt

A couple of weeks ago, my daughter Katie and I had a "girl's day out." Part of it was lunch at American Girl Place in Boston. Actually, we had the afternoon tea. It was great.

Image result for american girl place boston afternoon tea
There were all sorts of minis: cheeseburger, hot dog, cucumber sandwiches, fruit, desserts, and of course, a pot of tea! We even got goody bags with crafts and doll tea cup and saucer. I left there inspired to do some American Girl sewing.

I have an Addy doll bed, but it doesn't have any bedding. So I started with a quilt. I used some of my favorite scraps. It is weird that I keep making scrap quilts (one was even King sized) yet my scrap bag gets fuller and fuller. How is that possible? I just cut squares, rectangles, and triangles and made random blocks, which I kept adding to other blocks until it was the right size.

The backing is a pretty "Rose & Hubble" print that was on clearance at Walmart! I wish I had seen it before there was only a yard left.
The binding on this quilt was charmed! I cut two strips of the pink and trimmed all the ends at 45 degrees. I stitched the 2 together and ironed in half. I assumed I would have plenty, but as I went around, it was getting tight. When I got to the end, the two 45 degree cuts lined up PERFECTLY with a 1/4 seam. I don't think that's ever happened in the history of quilting!!
I used one true vintage print in this quilt- the others are repro or new. The one I used is from the 1940s. Can you tell which one it is??

Friday, August 11, 2017

Dancing Chickens Dress

This fun smocked dress was an online class offered by Maggie Bunch. The pattern is called "Ode to Joy" and I liked the different neckline, which is elastic and doesn't need snaps or buttons. The dress was intended to teach matching border fabrics in a circle. I ordered this chicken print from fabric.com because I love chicken-y things since we have them for pets. I agonized way too much over the co-ordinate for the neckline, but I do love the red dot I chose.

Here's a better picture of the funky chickens. I'm not usually a fan of cartoony fabric, but this did strike my fancy.

The smocking is a simple scallop design. It is smocked front and back. I want to make some shorts or bloomers to go under this, but I haven't done it yet. We've been having way too much fun at the pool and lake to do much sewing. This is a size 3-4. I don't have a model for it, so it will be stored away with my other creations.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Vintage Lindsay Maid Boy's Suit

I recently purchased this darling vintage boy's suit. It is probably from the 1930s. The smocking is beautifully done.
The trim stitching is all done by hand, but the construction appears to be on the machine.
Isn't that collar precious? Very simple,  but lovely.
This is the tag. It was made in Scotland for Henry Morgan & Co. Apparently, Henry Morgan was a Scot who opened a very successful store in Montreal in 1845. They expanded to other locations in the 1950s and were bought by the Hudson's Bay Co, in 1960. This doesn't really help dating this suit, does it?
I am not sure what size 16 is either, but I'll bet some of my UK friends on facebook will know.
Here is the hang-tag. The only thing missing is the "button insurance" that was originally in the little window. Don't you love that? Button Insurance!!
Here's a view of the back. I love the bubble button-on pants. This suit is in perfect condition, apparently never having been worn.

Thursday, July 20, 2017


Here is one of my recent creations. I found a large piece of yellow chenille at a thrift shop when we were at the beach. It inspired me to try this combo I had seen awhile ago. Someone made a peasant dress using a vintage embroidered pillowcase with the chenille sleeves.

I was going to use one of my vintage animal embroideries, but then I decided to use this larger floral spray, which seems like it would have gone on a pillowcase in the "olden days."

The white is poly/cotton broadcloth, because I didn't want it to need ironing. The eyelet is an inexpensive poly/cotton as well. I usually prefer the Swiss, but I intended this to be playclothes, so I wanted to keep it easy care. Can you see how I wove yellow floss through the holes in the trim? I love that little touch, though it is hard to see.

It isn't as wrinkly as it looks, but I had to add highlights to the photos to bring out the details. Do you like my title? Who remembers Laverne & Shirley? Apparently a schlimazel is someone who is the recipient of the klutz's bad luck (the klutz is the schlemiel). I can't figure out the connection to my outfit, but hey, it makes a catchy title!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Row Robin Reveal 2017, part 1

 My Quilt Guild did another row robin project this year. Each person makes a row for their own quilt and then we pass them among our group (of 6) each month. Everyone makes a row for each person's quilt. So, everyone makes 6 rows, for 6 different quilts, then gets back all the rows that go with their original row/theme.
So, I originally thought I would do something "geeky" for my husband. Then I was afraid people wouldn't know enough about the theme. I thought of a few other ideas, then at the last minute, decided to do a "Mommy's Apron Strings" Quilt. I wrote a long history of my blog/business for my group. I also supplied many of my style fabrics, including many 1930s prints and florals.
My row is the pinwheel row (4th down). It has my vintage machine embroideries between the pinwheels.
The top row was made by my talented quilting and heirloom/smocking friend. She recreated Linny's Pinafore and Ella's Bonnet in miniature. She also added string blocks, which are special because when we went on retreat, she ran the retreat and I organized a string quilt project. To say I love her pinafore and bonnet would be a total understatement!!
The next row uses many of my favorite fabrics in a geometric pattern. Then we have a row of tiny Easter baskets! Next is my row, then my friend made a row of chickens pulling a wagon with a clothesline nearby. Her row is a nod to my pet chicks/hens. She is also a chicken lover, though she doesn't have them as pets. She always uses chicken fabrics, etc in her decor.
The bottom row is a clothesline of vintage aprons. For a short time at the beginning, I had a photo of aprons on a clothesline, so my friend recreated this. It is special to me, because just as we finished this project, she moved to TN. I will remember her when I see her row!

 Now on to the other quilts from my group!
This next one was themed "Neighborhood". When I got it to work on, it had 3 rows of houses. I wanted to do something different, so I made the row with the Church. I was excited to use some of my custom "Stained Glass" fabric from Smoogie on the windows. I worked on this at our Retreat in April. It was my most work/most fun row.

This quilt was fun to work on- the theme was "My Grandchildren" for a friend who has 4 grands: 2 girls and 2 boys. She wanted to make a quilt to have in her guest room for when they visit. She provided tons of really nice kids fabrics that I wanted to steal loved sewing with! Her original row is the second one, where she cleverly incorporated a calendar with each child's birthdate in a lovely pieced block. My row is the top one. I decided to machine-embroider a "stacked" name for each child. Then I made reverse-star blocks, meaning the star is white and the background is the print. It turned out just as I hoped and I thought it was important to have their names to go along with their birthdates.

 Next up is the Rainbow Quilt. The friend who moved to TN loves purple! She did the very intricate purple row and wanted each person to add a different colored row. I did blue because I had a bunch of blue charms from a swap. I cut them down to 2.5" squares and added some dark blue appliqued butterflies randomly over the top. She intends to finish this quilt and donate it to be raffled for a cause dear to her heart.

This quilt is by my friend who loves chickens. She also loves cats. Her design is a quilt about her cat, "Nicholas". She made the center and wanted each of us to do a row to go around it. Mine is the cat playing with a ball of yarn, but it's supposed to be on the bottom. I also machine embroidered the "Home Sweet Home".

The final one of our group is a fun theme: "Grandmother's Curio Shelf". The top row is the original and we had to add 4 blocks on a pre-cut background. Each item should represent what might have been on our grandma's curio shelf. My grandparents didn't have curio shelves, so I chose to represent my parents and myself. My row is in a separate picture at the bottom, because I rant late and didn't get it in one shot. It is the same size as the others. 
My Mom has made many beautiful cross-stitch samplers, so I made a sampler for her. It is actually machine embroidery on Aida cloth and I love how it turned out. My Dad used to make wooden clocks from scratch, so the clock represents him. The face is embroidered and surrounded with a wood-grain fabric. I wanted the case to be fancier, but I wasn't sure how. For myself, I wanted to do a pile of my favorite books and a doll. I lost ambition and time at the end, so I did 2 dolls from a paperdoll fabric. They do represent my love of babies, children, vintage clothing, and the 1930s. 
Back soon with the next batch of Row Robins!!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Shrimp on the Baby!

Don't you love that title? It came to me while I was sewing!
Yes, finally some sewing. This end-of-school-year has been especially busy. Maybe it's because I've been working 2 (very) part-time jobs or is it the 5 kids having field trips, concerts, field days, recitals, writer's festivals, book fairs, science fair, and even a 6th grade graduation! Never mind that yesterday I had 27 quilting friends here for our Guild Potluck! Add in a generous dollop of dentist and doctor visits and you can see we've been busy! It all ends on the 20th though- the last day of school for my kiddos. I am totally sleeping late on the 21st!!
But back to the "shrimp on the baby" outfit. I had to say it again- so clever!
This top was a free pattern over at Grammie's Dolls Facebook Group. Theresa ran a sew-along and gave us all the free smocked peasant top in sizes from NB-ladies! It was a quick, fun sew and I love the result!
This picture shows the color a bit better- it is a pretty turquoise background. The fabric is called "Bento Box" and I found it on clearance at one of my favorite quilt shops- I think it was $3/yd. Now that I have used some, I will have to buy more, of course!
The top has a bit of smocking on the front and I added piping under the little bias binding. The rest of the neckline is elastic, so no need for buttons or plackets! Easy peasy!
I made the "top" length rather than "dress" length, as I felt the shrimp fabric was very summery. So, I made these very quick shorties to go underneath. The top and shorties have a ruffle of red poly/cotton broadcloth. I love 100% cotton, but I don't like ironing ruffles, so the broadcloth is a nice compromise.
We are finally getting some hot weather here, after weeks of 50s and 60s. It will be in the 90s for the next few days. Sounds like time to visit the lake! Enjoy!!