Opinions Change–Hurrah!

Children’s Corner Gwen with lengthened sleeve ruffles.

 

Granddaughter Vivian Rose, 4 yo, has always had strong opinions about her wardrobe.  Her taste in fashion has been less than classic, requiring bribes  for her to wear many of the garments I have made her.

But now she has changed her mind!!!!  She is asking for more Nana dresses!

It’s like she is recognizing her femininity, the flip side of her (Tarzan’s) Jane or Moana Strong Female persona.

 

 

I love this picture, taken when the family was on a camping trip last weekend. She looks like an Amazon girl, bringing home the 5 yo “man” she bagged!

Last week, I sent a package with Harry Potter clothes for her 8 yo brother, Alastair.  This lace trimmed second-hand Rose confection was included just so there would be something for her.  Better to receive something she did not like than to receive nothing at all and assume Nana didn’t love her as much as Big Brother.

Her mother was shocked when Vivi squealed, “I love it!”  Hurrah!  She would wear it at her school program in a few days.

When Vivi came to breakfast the next day wearing the pink smocked bishop, Rebecca reminded her that they were saving that dress for the school program.  Vivi was not happy. She wanted to wear it to school that very day.

 

This is not a face you want to see at the breakfast table.

 

But Rebecca relented and Vivi was delighted, willingly posing for pictures before heading off to preschool.

 

The ruffle sleeve edge is trimmed with lace, pinstitched in place.

 

Back is closed with plastic snaps. Ribbon bows are tacked to the snaps at the end of each ribbon inserted into the smocking.

 

Of course, I was thrilled with this change of opinion.  I was doubly pleased because the dress has been hanging in the nursery closet for some time, waiting for Vivi to grow into it.  When I showed it to her when her family was here for Easter, she told me “no, thanks.”

But as she said when she called to thank me, she said, “I didn’t like it then, but I love it now!”

 

The same lace was inserted above the hem, also pinstitched.

 

The lace is one of my dearest treasures. Mr. Russell, owner of the renowned lace wholesaler M.E.Feld Co., always generously shared his wealth of knowledge about the kinds of lace and its history. He always patiently answered my many questions when we spoke on the phone as I placed my order. It was his practice to send his customers a huge box of lace from which to choose. The unwanted, or in my case, over budget items were then returned.

 

 

In one of these boxes, whose arrival usually put me into a state of hyperventilation, there was a bolt of lace, wrapped on a blue card and marked “Made in France,” just like the others. But this one said “100% nylon.” Mr. Russell explained that these were called “levers” lace (though I have since seen it spelled “leavers”) and were just as fine as the cottons, but intended for lingerie or other items which would be subjected to heavy and/or frequent laundering.

Technically a galloon with a decorative edge on both sides, it is straight enough to be used as an insertion as well as an edging.  For more information about galloons, check out this post Antique Lace Galloons.  You will see that other galloons have been used as edgings as well as insertions.

This is especially appropriate for a dress for Vivian Rose.  Her mother’s aversion to ironing (I’m talking about my daughter–this is clearly a genetic mutation) means that not only the cotton batiste which tumbles nicely but the lace will be presentable right out of the dryer.

The dress was made about 20 years ago for our god child whose mother returned it for Vivian’s use.   So I was doubly pleased for the dress to have a second chance at being worn.

FYI, Rebecca asked Vivi’s teacher for mercy with regard to the dress.  This sweet lady directed Vivi in such a way that the dress came home on our rough and tumble little student from school totally unscathed and intact.  It required nothing more than laundering to be ready for the school program.  What a miracle!

Sigh…I am one happy Nana.

 

More Harry Potter

Harry Potter Gryffindor crest on shirt and Hp golden snitch on shorts

 

Grandson Alastair, 8 yo, is still enchanted with the Harry Potter series.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, prior to HP, this 2nd grader was a good but unenthusiastic reader.  Now he can’t put the books down and is an excellent reader with a greatly enlarged vocabulary.  His college English major Nana couldn’t be more pleased.

 

reading Harry Potter while waiting for  his orthodontist appointment

 

So I’m feeding his literary enthusiasm with Hp embroidered items, like the Gryffindor crested shirt and the shorts with the prized golden snitch shown above.  The designs were all found on Etsy.

 

 

 

He was absolutely delighted with the 9 3/4 applique shirt I sent last week.

 

This  is Alastair modelling his shirt just moments after he opened the package. This design I arranged myself in my Brother PE-Design is free for the asking. Just leave your request in a comment below.

 

This black shirt  was also included in the package I sent today.  The Marauder’s Map embroidery really tickles me because I love the fun that comes with glow-in-the-dark thread.  The footprints are stitched in Superior’s NiteLite but I couldn’t wait until dark to take a picture of the glowing tracks.   You can use your imagination.

FYI:  from http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Marauder%27s_Map— “The Marauder’s Map is a magical document that reveals all of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Not only does it show every classroom, every hallway, and every corner of the castle, but it also shows every inch of the grounds, as well as all the secret passages that are hidden within its walls and the location of every person in the grounds, portrayed by a dot.”

 

 

I thought this sleeveless black tee was perfect for the bad boy image the design projects. It’s funny because our compliant,responsible,  obedient, well-behaved little guy is anything but a bad boy.  He can do a little role playing while wearing this.

 

 

He can do a little role playing while wearing this.

Just in:  Alastair playing the bad boy.

 

It’s really ridiculous that I spend so much time trying to get exactly the look that I want.  It’s likely that Alastair neither notices nor cares that the applique’ fabric is fussy cut to show the vintage compass.

It is part of a fabric collection celebrating the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ discovery of the Americas. The print is of an antique map, much like the one  explorers used when–you know what’s coming—

“In 14 hundred and 92 Columbus sailed the ocean blue.  October 12th they sighted land, And set their feet upon new sand.”

I wasted precious time searching unsuccessfully on-line for old map fabric, then studied all the tan fabrics in my stash, even checking the wrong side hoping to find an old parchment look.   My thoughts returned to an earlier post, How Good is Good Enough?     I was so pleased when I found just what I wanted right there on a shelf in my sewing room, a piece I had long since forgotten.

The footprints caused me no end of grief.  That thread does not like short stitches and each footprint has a multitude of tie off stitches at the beginning and end of both the foot and the heel.  For each of the first two footprints, I rethreaded at least 5 times after the thread broke.

I soon figured out that one or two tie offs was adequate, then advanced the design stitch by stitch until they were longer.  Still the back is messy and there were some thread breaks.   The design includes 18 footprints, 9 above and 9 below the text and map.  In frustration, I skipped the last two which would have completed the circle next to  “I”.    In retrospect, I would have had fewer problems if I had resized the footprints a bit larger.

Now I’m off to embroider more Crookshanks (Harry Potter) kitty cat shirts for Vivian Rose.  I had to include something in today’s package for her so an unphotographed Second Hand Rose pink smocked bishop dress was included.   But without a cat, rainbow or leopard skin component, I doubt she will wear it.

So what are you sewing for summer? for your children or grands?  I’d welcome the sight of some stitching other than Harry Potter.

 

 

Free Harry Potter Design

free applique’ design 9 3/4, the train platform where students board the Hogwarts Express.  Request the designs by leaving a comment at the end of this post.

LEAVE YOUR REQUEST FOR THIS DESIGN AND THE SLEEVE TEXT IN A COMMENT AT THE END OF THIS POST.

Our daughter and her family recently spent the day at Universal Studio’s Harry Potter World in Orlando.  What a grand time they had!

 

“I don’t want to share with my sister.” “Ok, Daddy can drink it.” “I want to share with my sister.”

 

It’s no surprise that Alastair would be so smitten with Harry Potter.  Both of his parents are rabid readers and great fans of the books and movies.   Before Alastair, their first child, was born they asked me to sew a Harry Potter themed nursery for him.

The Harry Potter  books have had such a great impact on 2nd grader Alastair, 8.  Before he began the Harry series, he was a good reader but he did not enjoy it.  Every night as he sat down to read for the required 20 minutes, he dreaded it.  Once he began reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, he couldn’t wait for reading time, finishing hoework and chores quickly to have extra time.  He read on the school bus, at the orthodontist office, and at every possible opportunity.

He even reads to his beloved NanNan when he visits her.  Of course, his wand is at hand.

 

Alastair and his beloved NanNan

 

His reading comprehension, speed,  vocabulary,  and spelling skills have sky rocketed.  He is just finishing book 6 and can’t wait to move on to book 7.

At Universal, Alastair bought his very own Hogwarts robe.  Just where he plans to wear it outside Harry Potter World I can’t guess.  But he loves it.

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Style Conflicts

CC Charlotte top and Parker Pants shorts–she likes it!!!!  I love the Confederate jasmine in bloom.  The scent is heavenly.

 

I doubt I’m the only Nana who has issues with what I want to sew and what a child wants to wear. My passion for sewing for my grandchildren and the fashion preferences of 4 yo Vivian have been at odds more and more frequently as she grows.  Even at a very early age she had strong preferences for her outer wear.  As you can tell from the name of my blog, I am an old fashioned Nana.  Vivi is a modern child, 2 generations removed.

 

enjoying Butterbeer at Harry Potter World

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Beautiful Easter ’17

What a hambone! This little girl in her smocked Swiss voile bishop loves the camera.

 

I hope you all had a joyous Easter.  Ours was beyond fabulous, with a beautiful worship service and all four grandchildren and their parents for the weekend.  It could only have been better if our pilot son had not  been flying out in the wild blue yonder.

It was a non-stop celebration.  Saturday morning a church family hosted an Easter egg  hunt for 40+ children.  Wonderful as the hunt and the huge bounce house were, the highlight for most of the children was fishing in the pond.  Those fish were hungry and hit on every line.  Every child caught at least one fish. Grandson Alastair, 8, caught 4!  He was ecstatic.

 

 

Vivian Rose also caught a fish but she seemed more disgusted than thrilled.  She was happy to have her daddy’s help dealing with her catch.  She looked so cute and comfortable in her Petite Poche Penny. Continue reading

Opinions? Easter Dress in Progress

Pink Swiss voile, ivory entredeux, cherub medallion, heirloom laces and bishop pattern from Mimi’s Heirloom Sewing Book Two.

 

My life is absolutely wonderful but SO busy!  These new puppies chew up a lot of time… and a lot of everything else.!  They are adorable and we are crazy about them.  But they are one of the big reasons it’s been so long since I’ve posted.

 

Samson and Delilah, each 21 lbs, 10 weeks old

 

At this late date I am starting on Easter dresses for 4 yo granddaughter Vivian Rose.  One, of course, is for Easter Sunday.  The other is for the church egg hunt on Sat.  But that is on the back burner until Sunday’s dress is finished.

For several years I have had a piece of what must have been an exquisite tablecloth featuring cherubs and roses.  You probably figured out that roses are a bonus for anything I make for Vivi.

I’m thankful that someone had the foresight to save the remnants.  From the first time I saw it, I imagined one of those cherub medallions in a granddaughter’s dress.   Finally, the time has come.

 

each cherub is 3″ tall

 

The plan is to modify a bishop with several inches removed from the front.  That would leave a flat area on the Swiss voile for the single cherub.  As you can see, it is already pinstitched to the voile.  I love love love pinstitch and use it whenever possible.  This time a #100 needle was used instead of a wing for fear that a wing would cut through the dense portions of the lace.

 

cherub medallion secured to Swiss voile with pinstitch W 2.5 L 2.5

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Beauty and the Beast Spa Wrap

 

This cute spa wrap isn’t green, but there is a bit of the color in the trim.

 

 

What a fun little project this is!  My older granddaughter loved her monogrammed wrap and  those I made for her Spatacular 8th birthday party guests.  There was also one for each girl’s American Girl doll (see that tutorial here).

Laurel would love one with the Beauty and the Beast design, available from iBroidery.com for Brother Disney embroidery machines.

She is our little drama queen, but not in a bad way.  Laurel has been performing in local stage productions since she was 7 and acting as narrator in Beauty was one of her favorite roles. Continue reading

How good is good enough?

children with their teepee bags at my grandson’s 8th birthday party

 

This is a question I have struggle with frequently.  Does EVERY project require or deserve perfection?

Most recently, my struggle focused on the party favor bags for my grandson’s 8th birthday.  The party had a sports theme, with a football pinata and soccer field cake.  My contribution to the festivities was 12 teepee bags  (click here for the post with the free pattern) 3 each  from football, baseball, basketball and soccer novelty fabrics.  After enjoying the bounce house and the girls swapping clothes and changing again and again with the garments in the dress up box,  the bags were stuffed by the children with the spilled contents of the smashed pinata.

Like most of you readers, I am very, very busy.    But I am also very, very fussy about my sewing.  Often I ask myself, is it better to sew more with a few imperfections or better to sew less and get my projects as close to perfect as possible?  In fact, I rarely achieve results even close to perfect.

I wrestled with this question when making the quick and easy bags , which take 10 minutes each without finishing touches.  Two of these touches include topstitching the zipper, finishing the seams and trimming stray whiskers from the seams. Ultimately, taking time to cut out and make each bag unique (who wants mass produced?) with different colored zippers and handle loops, winding different colored bobbins and changing threads, I spent about 20 minutes each.  But was it worth it?

 

Do the seams really need to be finished for a candy bag? Must the stray thread be trimmed?.

 

In search of the answer, I did not sit in my Adirondack chair under a freshly leafed oak tree on a sunny Florida spring afternoon.   Remember, I am very busy. Oops, I think I already mentioned that…  Instead I contemplated the quotes  below while folding laundry, feeding the cats and scouring the kitchen sink.

Confucius said, “”Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.”  Hmmmm….

But Aristotle said,  “Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.”  I have an abundance of pleasure in the job, but I don’t get perfection.  Hmmmmm…

Plato really muddied the waters with his declaration, “Better a little which is well done, than a great deal imperfectly.”  Hmmm…again and again.

Then, many quotes addressed the subject of excellence along with perfection.

“Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better.” ~ Pat Riley

“Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives – choice, not chance, determines your destiny.” ~ Aristotle

Ultimately, it was the wisdom of a football legend who spoke to my heart.

“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” ~ Vince Lombardi

As you can see from the photo of the single soccer teepee bag, the seams were finished, the zipper was  topstitched,  and finally the stray threads. were trimmed.  I’m not sure it was the wisest expenditure of my time, but I couldn’t help myself.   I’ve decided that I am in search of excellence in all I sew rather than demanding or expecting perfection.  Whew!  That’s a relief!

So what would you do?

 

 

 

Laughter

Laughter is the shock absorber that eases the blows of life.  Anon.

 

I just came across this old post and thought it bears repeating.  My life is great, rich and full of joy, and I hope yours is as well.  But laughter is good for everyone.  I hope this makes you a good chuckle.

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This post has only the most tenuous link to sewing.  But some days tenuous is all I’ve got.

There has been a lot of illness among my elderly relatives and, sadly, a recent death.  But life goes on.   We accept as God’s blessing the merciful  death of one and  celebrate the recovery of another.

When my Uncle Richard, 92,  healthy and fit, stopped by my home after visiting his hospitalized sister, my sweet Aunt Aileen, his sadness and depression were palpable.  I steered the conversation to the past, leading him to talk about his career as a restaurantaeur.   He and his long-departed wife spent many years as owners, managers and sometimes cooks for this restaurant.

Ahhhhhhh, I thought. A true, funny restaurant story should give him some distraction and a good laugh.

So I told Uncle Richard……..

After teaching for seven full days at Martha Pullen’s school in Huntsville, Alabama, I was tired and eager to get home to Florida.  I’m like a long distance trucker on these road trips.  With 650 miles to travel alone, I make every infrequent stop count–1) gas, 2) bathroom and 3) food —then back on the road.

Somewhere near the Florida state line, I stopped at one of those huge truck stops that could pass as a mini-mall.  On one side was a sub shop and a sit down restaurant.  A turkey sub sounded good to me.

Directly inside the door was a sub sandwich counter and a few small tables.  To the left was the large dining room of the restaurant.  I waited at the unattended sub counter for a few minutes then went into the restaurant to see if I could get some help.   Two or three tables were occupied with diners, but no wait staff or attendants were visible.

Tick tock tick tock…….I don’t wait well.  But I called up all my patience and gave it a little longer, a total of 6 minutes from my arrival.  I had my gas and bathroom break but no lunch.  I needed to get on the road!

So stepped behind the counter, washed my hands, put on a pair of plastic gloves and started on my sandwich.  I had the roll sliced, the condiments slathered on and had just plopped the meat, cheese and veggies on the bread when a lady came out of the restaurant shrieking, “What do you think you are doing?!?!?!”

Very calmly, I replied, “I’m making a sandwich, of course.  Since no one was here to do it for me,  I assumed this was a self-service shop.”

“Well, it is not!!!!!”  She wrapped up my sandwich, I paid her and then sat down at a table by the entrance. The Shrieker disappeared into the sit-down restaurant’s dining room and through a pair of double doors at the back, practically in the next zip code.

Just a few minutes later, two HUGE biker guys came in–you know, with doo rags on their heads, sleeveless tee shirts, bulging arms, big ring of keys on their Levis belt loops, heavy boots.  They waited just a minute then asked me if anyone was there.

Then I thought, you just have to get your laughs when and where you can.

I said, “This place is self service.  I made my own sandwich.  Just leave your money by the cash register.”

As they clumped back behind the counter and picked out their bread, I picked up my sandwich and walked quickly to my car.  But I was laughing then and chuckled as I drove for the next 200 miles, picturing a continuation of the scenario I had left behind.  I’d love to have stayed to watch The Shrieker take on those tough guys and give them what-for.  But as they say, “Discretion is the greater part of valor,” though I’m not sure valor is what I was going for.   Clearly, in this situation, discretion was the wiser choice.

Hearing this story, Uncle Richard laughed, too.  As he guffawed and chortled some more, I could tell it had been a very long time since he had had anything to laugh about.  But that day, for a little while, he did.

This YouTube video of a baby will make you laugh…..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPtuekvJdhs

Meanwhile, happy sewing.

Pete’s Dragon Sleepover Set

Part 1 of the 3-part detailed tutorial for the set is now posted here at Brother’s blog, Stitching Sewcial.

What a fun project this was!  Disney’s machine embroidery designs at iBroidery.com  reflect the awesome and  mighty protector Elliot who has greater appeal for today’s action hungry youngsters.  While the ’70’s version featured  the sweet but goofy purple cartoon dragon Elliot, this 2016 dragon is the real deal.   See the trailer here.

The set includes an a stippled sundry bag for his toothbrush and personal grooming items, embroidered shirt and shorts pajamas set, and a pillowcase with a burrito/turn tube hem.  A drawstring makes it a tote for carrying all his gear to a sleepover.

You can see that the buttonhole is empty.  For the child’s safety, the drawstring must be removed when the tote becomes a pillowcase.

 

The fun part of this design is the glowing fire spewing from Pete’s angry mouth.  After the design was embroidered, I went back over that section with glow-in-the-dark thread.  The design is positioned so that as a child lays his head on the pillow, he is looking at the dragon.  In the dark, this is what he sees:

 

Each of my 4 grandchildren are fascinated and delighted by glow-in-the-dark embroidery.   Why not try it on this pillowcase/tote? Part 1 of the tutorial is now posted here at Brother’s blog, Stitching Sewcial.