Bunny Dress for Bunny Lunch

bunny callie CR

One more Easter outfit finished.  This is for Vivian Rose to wear to the Bunny Lunch/Easter Egg Hunt at church on Saturday.

The pattern is Children’s Corner Callie, made from some anonymous pink fabric from my stash and trimmed with this sweet vintage Liberty bunny print.  It has been aging in my stash for so long that these playfl rabbits are elderly by now.

More details later.  I still have Easter sewing to finish.  Tick  tock tick tock…..


Baby’s Easter Slip & Tips

slip 2

slip for Baby’s Easter bow dress


This pink slip was made to be worn under granddaughter Vivian Rose’s white batiste Easter dress.  It create a soft pink shadow effect.


dress pink2

The slip bodice was monogrammed with white thread.

mono light


There are some interesting construction details on this slip.   As big fan of lace tape, I tried using it for the armscye facing and the placket.


slip armscye

lace tape facing


Having developed this product many years ago, I was surprised that the lace tape  recently purchased from Martha Pullen is very different from the original lace tape product.  Wendy Schoen bought the business from me, but she has recently closed her shop.   So I bought a good bit from Martha so I would have plenty on hand.

The new lace tape has a  heavier texture.  It is better for some uses like facings and shadow applique’ but is less suitable for some of my favorite heirloom techniques like lace insertion substitution.

Are you always trying something new?  Sometimes a “new” technique works out and other times it does not.  I was happy with the lighter finish to the armscyes, but the placket didn’t work out so well.  I won’t bore you with the details of that attempt, but the fix required a fold over much like Debbie Glenn’s Painless Placket.



Bow covers lace tape placket repair stitches.

Mindful of an heirloom sewing “rule”  learned years ago, I had to cover those visible machine stitches.  Desperately short of time, I simply tacked a bow over the exposed stitches. I have every intention of stitching a bullion rose in its place after Easter….hmmmmm…wishful thinking?




The fancyband at the hemline of the slip skirt was a leftover from the dress.  After joining this lace to the dress skirt, I decided that a single row of insertion was better.  But I hated to waste the lace and fancy entredeux.  So I removed it with one of my favorite sewing room tools, an Olfa Art Knife.


Olfa Art Knife2

After it was removed from the dress, a band of regular entredeux and edging were added to the slip fancyband.


Releasing the lace from the fancy entredeux would have been a colossal effort without the use of the  art knife.  I will be forever grateful to Mildred Turner for introducing me to this great tool, as well as other gems of knowledge she shared with me.

You can see that the header of the narrow insertion has been cut at the point where the art knife intersects it. This rarely happens but was likely due to my failure to follow Mildred’s careful instruction to “hold your mouth just right as you cut.”  Do you think she meant “hold your breath?”

I still have more Easter sewing to complete.  Almost finished is a Children’s Corner Callie with a vintage Liberty print with brown bunnies which will be shown soon.  I’m loving this pattern.  Also, I will be sharing some lovely photos of readers’ Easter garments.   Are you all finished with your Easter projects?


Was this mother up all night making her daughter's heirloom sewn Easter dress?

Was this mother up all night making her daughter’s heirloom sewn Easter dress?  She doesn’t look tired.  Maybe she ordered it from artist Esther Conrad Grant at Tiger Swallow Tales. It looks like batiste with a Battenburg collar.


Baby’s Easter Dress

dress pink2

Vivian Rose’s white Easter dress with pink slip

NOTE:  Please excuse the poor quality of these photos. They were taken midday, making it nearly impossible to get a shot without shadows.  The breeze was blowing and the dress kept moving.  And photography is not my strong suit.

Are you all busy with Easter sewing?  Busy, busy, busy has been the status around here for some time and it’s not been all about sewing.  With Aunt Rheeta’s visit,  Rebecca’s 3-day visit with Alastair and Vivian Rose,  and sleepovers with our other two grandchildren, progress on Easter outfits is way behind schedule.  But I loved every minute of these visits and have no regrets.

During that time, however, I did manage to make some progress on  Vivian Rose’s holiday finery and now that things have quieted down, I  have just finished her dress and slip.


dress no slip

dress without pink slip


The high yoke dress is made of white Swiss batiste (Nelona)  while the slip is made of pink Imperial.  Since I first saw Martha Pullen’s first heirloom sewing book which showed a white Heirloom Party Dress with a colored slip peeking through,  I have loved the look of subtle color.

When granddaughter Laurel was 6, her white batiste Easter dress featured a yellow slip, showing color just like lemon meringue pie.   Two years later, her white Judith Dobson Tea Dress was highlighted with a blue slip.

The fancyband includes squares of shadow work pink bows, cut from yardage of a Swiss handloom.

Alternating with lace insertion and fancy entredeux, the bows are the focus of the fancyband.


pink bows insert




Matching pink bow edging serves as the yoke overlay.


pink bows edge




The beauty of these shadow work bows never fails to make me sigh.  In pink, blue and white, I’ve collected and then hoarded the yardage since I  first laid eyes on the bows.  If I never use them up, just handling and gazing at them have given me years and years of pleasure.


blue bows insert CR


I can’t help but wonder just how the authentic shadow work stitches were done.   A look at the back of the blue bows might make you wonder as well.


blue shadow wrong side


When I happened upon these pieces in my handloom stash my mind wandered back to the first bow dress I made which was for 5 year old Rebecca.


my 5 year old Rebecca

my 5 year old Rebecca


A second identical dress was made for 8 year old Joanna Pullen and a third, done in blue, was commissioned by a friend.

Mimicking this dress for Rebecca’s baby girl pleased me.   Vivian Rose is too small to carry all the details of the pattern so her dress is scaled down.  Her’s has a yoke overlay instead of fancyband, gathered edging at the hemline instead of   a flounce, binding at the sleeve instead of beading and wide, circular lace.



The sleeves are bound with a layer of pink fabric beneath the white batiste to shadow through.  They were inserted with the same fancy entredeux as that used in the fancyband.

Working on the dress piecemeal fashion in every scarce free moment, I recalled Elizabeth Travis Johnson’s directive.  I needed to add something pretty to the back.  It lo0ked pretty plain.  But I thought of stitching a matching shadow work bow only after the lined yoke was attached to the skirt.


back bow

I simply scanned one of the bows, traced the outline then reduced it by 10% on my copier.   Working from the front of the fabric was a challenge as I tried to keep the stitches on the surface and between the two layers of batiste without penetrating the lining.  But the bow is small  and worked up quickly.

The pink slip was another project and will be detailed with some helpful hints in my next post.  Meanwhile, I’ll be back in the sewing room working outfits for  other grandchildren.

So how are your Easter projects coming along?


I love vintage cards.  Doesn't this little dress look like it's smocked?

I love vintage cards. Doesn’t this little dress look like it’s smocked?

Rheeta’s Visit ~Sweat Shop or Working Vacation?


Aunt Rheeta has fallen in love with my Brother Quattro.

What a fabulous time we have had with my dear Aunt Rheeta.  She and her little apricot poodle, Molly, visited us here in Florida to escape the bitter Indiana winter and do a little sewing.  As it happened, she did more than a little.  In fact, my sewing room was like a sweat shop.  She accomplished so much!  Having an in-house sewing buddy was such fun.

We worked together, with most of the design arrangement done by me and most of the sewing done by her.    She is no newcomer to machine embroidery, only new to my Brother Quattro which she loved.

Rheeta has several major projects under her belt, including a spectacular embroidered linen communion cloth for her church, an exquisitely embroidered Bible cover and more.

Her primary goal was to finish high school graduation gifts for her granddaughter Alexa, a rising freshman at Texas A & M.  Rheeta’s first project was the requisite college fleece throw in school colors.

Edges are finished with a 3-thread wide serge.

Edges are finished with a 3-thread wide serge.  We didn’t worry about the wrinkles as the blanket was soon be packed tightly into her over packed suitcase for the trip home to Indiana.


The embroidery is Applique Market’s College Double Applique Alphabet.  As you can see, Rheeta used only the outline.  I love this versatile collection which comes with letters in

Since her acceptance letter,  Alexa has dressed her 4 lb. dog in a tiny, maroon, Texas  A & M shirt.  Certainly, she will be pleased with this fleece blanket.


Rheeta's granddaughter is, indeed, Princess of Quite a Lot of Laundry!

Rheeta’s granddaughter is, indeed, Princess of Quite a Lot of Laundry!

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Expo Inspiration+Free ME Yo-Yo’s

Pattern: Flamingo Cove

Pattern: Flamingo Cove    Notice the yo-yo’s on the fish, turtles, crab, pelicans, flamingos, bush and more.  My favorite is the sun yo-yo, surrounded by rick rack.


The Lakeland Quilt and Sewing Expo in Lakeland was the highlight of last week for Suzanne Sawko and me.  We were swamped with inspiration!  Our last minute trip was scheduled too late for us to register for classes, but the vendors and quilt displays made the trip more than worth while.


Lion's Den

Lion’s Den pattern

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Fundraiser Pre-School Cot Sheet

cherry sheet all


Each of us who sews is asked occasionally to make something for a fundraiser.   It feels good to use our skills for a worthy cause and reminds us that we have the power to make this world a better (if only slightly) place because we can sew.


woman sews

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Free Grass & Easter Baskets

5 basketsA


My struggle to break away from spring gardening was put to rest when two days of much needed, non-stop rain fell on Glenwood.  As it poured, I planned Vivian Rose’s size 2 Easter dress, pulled out all the goods needed and even did a little work on the fancyband.

In the midst of planning the granddaughters’ Easter finery, a huge, eagerly awaited box arrived with these 5  baskets.   That box changed my direction right then and there.  I had to get them personalized and out of my way.  They will be used at our church’s Bunny Lunch and egg hung as well as Easter morning.


Harry 1


One is for the 6 month old Harry, first grandchild of a beloved friend who has waited what has seemed like an eternity for a grandchild.  The little guy won’t be hunting eggs this Easter, but his grandmother wanted him to have a special basket for his first Easter. Continue reading

I’m not sewing now because……

Spring has sprung in central Florida.  I’m not sewing now because this is the most glorious time of year in the most glorious place to live.  I’m not sewing now because I love to be outside in the midst of blooming azaleas, dogwood, and roses with the sweet perfume of citrus blossoms in the air.  And I’m not sewing now  because there is just so much gardening that needs to be done!

Az W drive

Orchid pink azaleas border one side of the driveway from the road until it gets to the Confederate jasmine climbing a palm tree.  The leafless shrub to the right is a gorgeous oakleaf hydrangea who is slow to awaken from winter. Those leaves need raking.



My sewing room looks over this bed of roses, but the view is better from outside. These bushes need fertilizer.


This is what I see from that lattice window in my sewing room.  But again, seein the bouganvillea from outside is better.  It needs to be tied up to the porch.

This is what I see from the latticed window in my sewing room. But again, seeing the bouganvillea from outside is better. That thorny climber needs to be tied up to the porch.



Another bouganvillea grows on the opposite end of the back porch and hangs down to the kitchen windows.  An aggressive climber, it is trying to get into Bob’s upstairs study.  It needs to be cut back.

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A Happy Little Dress

happy dress front

Children’s Corner Katina pattern.   Extra buttons were added so the strap length could be easily adjusted when the dress is tried on. If not needed, the upper MOP buttons will be removed.


With its cheerful colors and simple design, this dress just makes me smile. The combination of Liberty of London tanna lawn, blue gingham checks, and yellow whipstitch piping seems to chirp predictions of happy days filled with warm sunshine, blue skies, and colorful flowers.


smocking up close


A bit of smocking front and back makes Katina just the sort of cute and comfortable  frock I’d like my 14 month old granddaughter to wear all summer long.


happy dress back

Katina back


I’d like to have added a cute hairbow to the ensemble but Vivian Rose has expressed a very strong dislike for anything on her head—except for strawberries and other food she rubs in.    Sigh…

Of course, a pair of ruffle bottom bloomers was needed to finish the outfit.  The edges of the 2 1/2″ wide ruffles are serged with a 3 thread rolled edge, using wooly nylon in  the upper looper.


bloomer ruffles Continue reading

My Mother’s Porcelain Dolls for Sale

Bonnie Babe Bow



My mother, Dollie Manning, was a very talented doll maker.  For several years, she teamed up with Lezette Thomason who sold the Lilliputian dolls at sewing events such as the Martha Pullen School of Art Fashion.  Most of the dolls are signed, but a few were missed in the rush to meet a deadline.



This illustration is on the front of an old Needlecraft magazine. I love those old covers.  I’m not sure what the crutch is about, but the image reminds me of my mother surrounded by her dolls.


The prices are shown but do not include shipping or insurance.  If you would like any of these babies, just leave your request as a comment or send an e-mail to NCcabin@aol.com.

I’ve held onto these dolls for several years, gifting some to my granddaughters and putting others away for future birthdays and Christmas presents.   But these naked babies need to be liberated from the drawer in my sewing room.  They also need some clothes!

Bonnie Babe Bow (there is another just like her but without the bow, shown further down) is just a precious little girl and so cute when she wears a smocked bishop dress. Continue reading