Easter Outfits from my Past

Is there any more joyous occasion for sewing than Easter? It’s time to get started but instead of pulling out the lace and batiste, I find myself looking back at those confections from the past. For me, it’s not about seeking inspiration so much as it is about enjoying the memories all over again, like re-reading a very good book.

Among these outfits, there might be some inspiration for those of you who have not yet jumped into this special sewing season.

Who doesn’t love babies in daygowns?  And with a sweet big brother they are even more precious.



If daygowns interest you, details are posted here Happy Easter ’13.  This post details the daygown with fagotted lace and a hand embroidered front placket


The next year Big Brother Alastair wore this little suit.

Another hurry-up outfit, made for my grandson Alastair.

This hurry-up Easter suit  was made for my grandson Alastair.


It seems like I am always in a rush to get Easter outfits finished.  This one for Alastair was no exception.

Making this dress was pure joy.  I love the Swiss handloom and laces.

dress pink2

Baby’s Easter Dress, made for Vivian Rose last year. It was a modification of a dress I made for her mother 31 years ago.


And I love this picture of her strolling through the grass.


Vivian Rose, 15 months old, Easter 2014

Vivian Rose, 15 months old, Easter 2014


One year my  two grandsons wore matching shorts and shirts with machine shadow work collars.  Robert’s featured sailboats while Alastair had a train.


sailboat easter suit

For our first grandchild’s first Easter, she was just crawling.  So she wore a bubble.


The baby bunny bubble was perfect for a fast-crawling baby.

The baby bunny bubble was perfect for a fast-crawling baby.


Eight years later she wore this dress for Easter and for her baptism.



Details and more photos are posted here.


There are many more, but the ones I’ve shown are probably more than you care to see at one time.  Still, I have to share one of my all-time favorites,  this peach Swiss batiste dress made for my own baby girl 30 years ago.



My own baby girl wore this peach Swiss batiste dress 31 years ago.


In the post I explain why the formerly peach satin ribbon is now yellow.  It all has to do with a black magic marker.

I’d love to hear about your Easter projects.  Send picture, okay?

Happy sewing!


Happy Valentines Day Celebrations

I hope your Valentine’s Day was filled with


Our family had wonderful celebrations, both at our home with the older two grands and across the state where our littlest darlings live.

The younger ones marked the occasion in their own special way.  While she prepared things to take to the school Valentine party, Rebecca asked her 5 yo Alastair to sit with his sister, 2 yo Vivian Rose, and to please make sure she didn’t leave the table with the markers.

“No problem, Mom,” said Big Brother.


VR and A

True to his word, she never left the table with the markers.


At school on the big day, Alastair spent a whole dollar to have a carnation delivered to the darling girl who sits next to him in kindergarten.  According to his mother, who volunteers in his classroom every week, this little gal runs and wrestles and roughhouses with the boys.  Many are as smitten as Alastair.


A carnation

When he was a toddler, it was obvious that he would be a charmer.  For that Valentine’s Day, I embroidered this shirt for him.


A package was sent to them with goodies from Nana and Grandan (their name for Bob) and this towel was included for the adults.  It’s just a tiny reminder of our enormous love.



Design is from Be My Valentine collection from Kreations by Kara.



Our two older grandchildren, Robert and Laurel,  arrived Friday with flowers, chocolates and heart cookies for me, their grandfather and visiting Aunt Rheeta (the cookies were eaten before the picture was taken).




Saturday morning they presented me with more goodies from Granddad.


R flowers candy

Robert Charles, looking forward to sharing the chocolates.


I really love that man.

Sweet and Happy


Then 10 yo Laurel Cade cooked and served heart pancakes for breakfast for all 5 of us.


L cooks

They were delicious.



It was a fun filled day.  Later Laurel and I baked my Valentine his very favorite treat, a cherry pie.  Aunt Rheeta embroidered more dishtowels for friends.  Robert and Granddad played basketball in the driveway.

After dinner, we had a big bonfire, roasted marshmallows and made s’mores.  Then the guys watched the Gator basketball game.

All things considered, it was a fabulous day filled with fun and love.

I hope yours was just as grand.

Love one another


True Friends

towel 1


I have a sweet story to share with you.  It’s a story of a daughter’s love and the loyalty of her friends.  And there is a sewing connection.



Aunt Rheeta, 73


Many of you may remember my dear Aunt Rheeta who has stitched many projects featured on this blog. (See  Aunt Rheeta’s Communion Cloth, Vacation or Sweat shop,  Bible Cover, My Heroine, Patient Pillowcases.)

Just before she left her home in Indiana to come visit me, Aunt Rheeta celebrated her 80th birthday. Continue reading

More Church linens

eucharistic corporal (2)ED

The photo has been darkened to show the detail in the design.


Needleworkers–or sewists if you prefer–so often share their time and talents with friends and relatives and charitable organizations. I am especially touched when I hear from readers who do faith-based needlework.  Some have sent pictures which are shared below.

After the previous post about church linens, reader Sandra commented that she too had made eucharistic corporals for relatives. I was delighted to read that  she is, in fact, my Sigma Kappa sorority sister!  That’s just one more benefit of writing this blog!

I asked Sandra if she would send pictures to share and hurrah!  She did.  Here’s what she had to say about the exquisite pieces she made.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Continue reading

Church Linens

nap lavabo CR


I was honored to make these church linens for a mother to give her son upon his ministerial ordination this very Sunday.  This thoughtful mother has made up a gift package that includes these and other items her son will need as he pursues his calling.

Made of very fine linen, two communion napkins (or “veils”) to cover the elements were embroidered, hemstitched and edged with tatting. The napkin corners were rounded because mitering tatting is way above my skill level.

Pin stitch was worked around the perimeter with a #100 sharp needle.  I’ve learned that using a wing needle with tatting is a recipe for disaster.  But stitching slowly and carefully with the sharp, there were no tatting casualties.


slightly modified design is from ABC  Christian Symbols collection

slightly modified design is from the spectacular  Christian Symbols collection of ABC Embroidery Designs


The baptismal lavabo is made from a blank linen guest towel with three rows of hemstitching.




I had a hard time coming up with a design that suited me.  What I wanted was a simple baptismal shell with three water drops symbolic of the trinity.  After an extensive and unproductive search of both my design library and on-line designs, I finally bought this  design from Embroidery Library, deleted the green scroll and rotated the shell. Continue reading

Look Whoo’s 2

2 dress


Our granddaughter, Vivian Rose, that’s who.  And what a time she had all day.

Her mother likes to start the celebration at wake up with a special breakfast. For Vivi, it was her favorite English muffins with nutella.




A corduroy jumper from a pattern in the book Martha’s Favorite Applique’s was worn for her party.   Continue reading

Wisteria Lesson Photo Transfer



This little piece is one of my favorite projects.  Embellishing any worthy image is incredibly rewarding but with today’s technology, it could be done so much more easily.  When I stitched Wisteria Lesson, each of the embroidery designs was positioned one at time with a printed  template then stitched one at a time.

Now with my Brother Quattro I can scan the image and then position all the designs on the computer.  By using the sort feature,  most of the design using the same color, such as the dark purple, would be stitched at the same time.  This would eliminate a huge number of thread changes.

With this advance in technology, I could more quickly and easily embellish a photo of my grandchildren romping through a field of bright pink phlox and black eyed susans and one of my garden and one of the treehouse with the azaleas blooming nearby.  And as soon as I finish sewing Vivian Rose’s 2nd birthday dress, mending my daughter-in-law’s couch pillows, resizing my daughter’s tablecloths, making new pillowcases to match Alastair’s new bedding, and….and….

Well, there are a few other must-do’s but I definitely plan take on one of these photo transfer projects as soon as possible.  Read all about it in this earlier post.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This project surely must warm the heart of anyone who has shared the joy of needlework with a child. When the 1913 edition Embroidery Lessons with Colored Studies was added to my library of vintage and antique needlework books, I was enchanted with the cover illustration.

The goal of the teacher to inspire and instruct, the challenge of the eager young student to succeed, the scent of the wisteria, sweet and heavy….I experienced all of this as the intimate vignette drew me in.  Under that idyllic arbor, I dreamed of teaching my fantasy granddaughter to sew.  (Hurrah!  I have TWO and 10 year old Laurel is already an accomplished little sewists!  Vivian Rose’s turn comes up in a few years.) I went so far as to plant a wisteria vine right then and there, though I had planned to do so for some time.



Wisteria Lesson, my title for this charming scene, has been transferred from the booklet cover to a sheet of specially treated silk which was bonded to paper and run through my inkjet  printer.  The silk image was layered with thin cotton batting and a backing and machine quilted.  It is embellished with machine embroidery and a few hand embroidery stitches.  This really fun project was made possible by the very talented and creative Sue Lord.

The first time I met Sue Lord was at a workshop.  She showed samples and offered detailed instructions on photo transfer to fabric at a workshop. In her musical Georgia (pronounced “Gaw-ja”) accent, Sue drawled so much new information and so many creative ideas that I returned for the repeat session in  the afternoon.

Coming back would have been worth it just to hear her talk again, regardless of what she said,  but Sue seems incapable of simply repeating a class.   She added new material and even more inspiration to the re-run! Or maybe I was just getting the hang of the drawl.  Whatever.  At any rate, my head was spinning when her lecture/demo was over.  Raring to go, I left with enough handouts and confidence to tackle a photo transfer project.   I knew Wisteria Lesson would be that project.

Continue reading

Just one more reason…

Lately, my thoughts have turned to a little unicorn girl, though you probably wonder why.  It’s all about what we do for love, specifically, sewing.

We’ve been very busy with family activities and demands and are so grateful to live near our children so we can be closely involved in their lives.   Spending time with them is such a blessing.  So I’m not complaining.

But as I strive to find time to sew a little of this and that, to begin Vivian Rose’s 2nd birthday dress, and to tackle some long overdue home dec projects, I have given considerable thought to why I feel such a drive to sew these projects.  It reminded me of this post from almost two years ago and think it bears repeating.  I often find myself wondering just how that sweet little unicorn is. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So here is just one more reason…..

to sew.  Not that we need another one, but a recent event really gave me pause to think about sewing and why we do it.  It has taken me some time to digest and organize my thoughts, to say what I want to say, so please bear with me.


Laurel,3 days old in "gender neutral daygown," made especially for her.

Laurel,3 days old in “gender neutral daygown,” made especially for her.


Like mothers and grandmothers before me, I was sewing for Laurel long before she was born.  The daygown shown above was made before we knew the gender of our first grandchild, but I couldn’t wait to start sewing for our long-awaited bundle of joy.  Announcement of a new baby will chase even the least productive needleworker to the sewing room.  The ambitious hopes and heartfelt dreams we have for baby’s future are in our thoughts with every stitch.

Last week  I had one of those gut-checks that make you stop and think.  This gut-check (or reality check) was initiated indirectly by Laurel, our first grandchild, just turned 9.    As we watched her portrayal of Lucy in a little production of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe last week, I was overcome with gratitude for this loving, gifted, hearty, and hale child. I couldn’t help but think back to the day she was born.


Laurel, on the left with characters Susan and Peter

Laurel, on the left with characters Susan and Peter


Of course, we were so pleased with her acting and clear, audible speaking. And we enjoyed the entire production.  But that’s not the point.

The playbill, as usual, featured ads placed by parents, congratulating and encouraging their children.  One caught my eye–a photo of a pretty little girl whose parents declared their pride in her dramatic participation now that she can hear, and looking forward to her future accomplishments.

Yes, this child, who appeared to be about Laurel’s age, apparently had been deaf her entire life until some recent surgical or technological breakthrough.  Though she had only  two or three short lines, one can only imagine her parents’ pride in their daughter. Continue reading


I hope you all had wonderful Christmas and New Year  celebrations.  After the church Christmas Gala 10 y0 granddaughter Laurel was so happy that she literally danced along the path to the parking lot.  Her delight ended when she twirled and fell, breaking her wrist.   Thank heavens for the Children’s Urgent Care Center!  She’s on the mend now and other than that unfortunate incident, it has been a joyous holiday.

We enjoyed Christmas Eve dinner, gift exchange and church with our son and his family then drove across the state to spend Christmas Day with our daughter and hers.

This is her  2 yo carnivore,  Vivian Rose, enjoying her Christmas goose drumstick, collard greens, sweet potato casserole, corn pudding and mashed potatoes.  She loves to eat!




Vivi drumstick 1


She is wearing her Christmas dress and ate so carefully that nary a drop nor food stain left a blemish on the Swiss flannel.  A few days later the grandchildren and their parents gathered at our house for a few days of post-Christmas family fun and a big New Year’s Eve celebration.  My ears are still ringing from son-in-law Harvey’s pyrotechnic displays.  Good news!  A few days ago the dogs and cats emerged from their hidey-holes and stopped shaking!

But it has been a lonnnnnng time since my last blog post.  Because it actually was possible for me to have put up something in these past two weeks, I should probably be listed as AWOL.  Then again, there was a whirlwind of activity so I think I’ll plead Missing in Action.  That seems more honorable than AWOL.

As soon as everyone left yesterday morning, I got right on the first item on my must-do list, 12 aprons for my sorority alumnae group.  (Second on the list is this post!)  These will be worn when the group cooks at the Ronald McDonald House this month.


aprons for my sorority alumnae group

aprons for my sorority alumnae group


The design is the same but the colors have been varied somewhat, though each embroidery includes lavender and maroon, the sorority colors.



Designs are from Thread Artist Designs Wild Violets collection. The company must be discontinued as I cannot find them on the internet.


Now I’m moving on to Vivian Rose’s birthday dress.  That should be fun.

Now that the holiday rush is over, what wonderful sewing projects have you planned?  As Mary Engelbreit, one of my favorite philosophers, has said, “Welcome the New Year with things that have never been.”  I bet your 2015 “never been” creations will be deee-vine.

new year

Christmas Outfits Past Part 2

I hope you have all finished your Christmas sewing.  I’ve moved on to baking and gift wrapping and hope to finish up in time for our big family celebrations.

Here are a few more Christmas outfits from the past.  These gingerbread outfits for my  two older grandchildren were favorites of mine.   A few years later, new grandson Alastair wore Robert’s suit.



Ready-to-smock gingerbread outfits were paired up with a Creative Needle smocking plate.


One year I planned to make matching Thanksgiving outfits for the children.  The Viyella brown plaid garments were made but before I began the bibs, plans changed and the older two would not be with us that day. So I decided to use the garments for Christmas.  But that was a stretch—brown plaid for Christmas.  I made it work.



Alastair’s Christmas outfit, Children’s Corner Glenn with linen bib embroidery from OESD’s Current Critters Continued.


Laurel’s basic yoke dress was trimmed with tatting, as was her linen bib.




Laurel also had a tie-on bib with a Current Critters Continued design.


These Current Critters embroidery designs are so charming.




The next year, because they would be attending the traditional holiday Nutcracker Ballet,  the children had Nutcracker themed Christmas clothes.  Laurel, of course, was the Sugarplum Fairy.



Laurel’s black velveteen dress, CC Hope, and heirloom bib with embroidered Sugarplum Fairy.


She loved the graceful Sugarplum Fairy from A Bit of Stitch.


Christmas Dress bib fairy


But she especially loved the matching dress for her first American Girl doll, Molly.




Robert’s shirt featured the Nutcracker himself.  It was paired with black pants.



The crooked embroidery drove (and drives) me crazy. But it was too late to redo the shirt.


Little Alastair was appropriately decked out as the Mouse King.  I was especially pleased with his outfit.  Those pants from Martha Pullen’s  Heirloom Sewing for Jack and Jill  are so classic.




The embroidery was perfect.





This is more than enough looking back and it’s too late for any of these to offer inspiration for your Christmas sewing.  But I do hope you have enjoyed these posts from the past and that you have enjoyed making wonderful holiday clothes for your own children, grandchildren, and other beloved children.

Merry Christmas to you all.