V store bought smocked close

Available from CiaoBebeBoutique    Now I see that it is offered in pink and with sleeves.


I did not make this dress.  It was ordered from CiaoBebeBoutique and I love it. When I saw it posted on Pinterest, I found it to be irresistible.


Vivian Rose, our toddler granddaughter, has big blue eyes and would be spectacular in this, I knew.


Vivi bat

Her blue eyes are exactly like her mother’s–not at all bat-like.



But I can smock.  And I can embroider–and sew.   But I wanted it now.  So it arrived in the mail and now Vivian Rose is wearing it.  I have decided that I don’t have to make everything she wears.  Buying this dress freed me up to sew other things for her.


V smocked alegria

Vivian Rose in her beloved pink Crocs. She loves them because she can put them on herself.


The 100% cotton dress is very well made.  I shortened it considerably to her mother’s preferred length.

Here she is wearing the dress at pre-school which she attends two mornings a week.  Vivian Rose is a very intense, busy little girl.  And cute as a button.

I have no regrets or guilt for making this purchase.


The grandchildren were all here last weekend to decorate gingerbread houses.  I tucked 5 yo grandson Alastair into bed, read him a story and then kissed him goodnight.

“Good night, Alastair.   You must be very tired after that long drive to Nana’s house.”

“No, I’m not tired.  I took two naps in the car.  Do you know why I could take two naps?”

“No, why?”

“Because I hate Jesus.”

“What???  Why would you say you hate Jesus?”

“Nana, I didn’t say I hate Jesus.  I said I ate Cheezits.  A whole bag of them.  They made me sleepy.”

Whew!  Clarification is sweet.






Toddler Harvest Dress and Gingerbread Houses



This little top was made for toddler granddaughter Vivian Rose to wear to her brother’s kindergarten Thanksgiving program and then to Thanksgiving dinner.

It is another Children’s Corner Jane, my current go-to pattern, especially for garments which have a limited wearing season.  It is so quick and easy.

Jane patt

The cute little pocket is a free pattern creation of Children’s Corner designer Lezette Thomason.  The top will be paired with a pair of snug black or orange leggings.  These are still required for our little darling who can be counted on to release the velcro on her cloth diaper and remove it but for this wardrobe addition.  “Naked Baby” is her signature fashion statement.

It has been more than two weeks since a new Janice Ferguson Sews post has appeared, but not because I have done no sewing.  Enormous, terribly frustrating computer problems have plagued me as I struggled through two computers-my old one and then a defective new one.   This third one (second new) seems to be functioning well so now I am back to blogging.   Hurrah!


4gingerbread kidscr

Houses feature Golden Graham roof shingles, caramel chimneys and pillar posts, and two yellow landing lights on a roof.

We had a fabulous family fun weekend with all four grandchildren.  Decorating gingerbread houses was the major event and, as was often said in our small town newspaper, a good time was had by all.

Inexpensive, pre-constructed Wilton houses made this an easy activity.  They can be found at WalMart, JoAnn’s and probably many other places.  The houses are very sturdy and come with some candy.   But more is needed to satisfy the all the creative ideas children come up with.


Should I eat this one or that?

“Should I eat this one or that?” she ponders.


While Cousin Laurel was hard at work, toddler Vivian Rose did little decorating, instead spending most of her time eating candy.  After this smocked dress was covered in chocolate chip smears and various other confection stains, a wardrobe change was required.


boy builders

The boys are getting started.


The boys sought the advice of Granddad who checked in periodically  during Gator football game time-outs.

When my children were little, we always baked our gingerbread, laboriously constructed the houses and spent as much as a week elaborately decorating the sweet dwellings.  With Florida’s high humidity, well before Christmas the structures would tumble down like the walls of Jericho.  My son and daughter were always helpful and obliging as they ate the collapsed gingerbread.

Sweet memories.

‘Tween Purses

Lately, I’ve been busy checking off a few items on my to-do list by making purses requested by my 10 yo granddaughter,Laurel.  She is delighted with each and every one.   Most were sewn using  Zippy Designs in-the-hoop purse patterns.  I really like this collection which comes in three shapes and multiple sizes.


gator shirt purse cr

From Zippy Designz Rik Rak purse design, I made this Gator purse for granddaughter to carry to the big game. It goes with the vest shown below. After I took this picture I remembered that I had a card of gator button from Farmhouse Fabrics. Now one of those buttons hangs from the orange ribbon loop.


It’s always hot for the first games of the season so she wore this retail vest with a Gator blue shirt.


Gator vest



After the Gator bag, Laurel asked me to make purses to go with her church dresses.  She has asthma and allergies so she needs to carry an inhaler and  handkerchief with her, along with the required hair brush.  I always pack her purses with Dove chocolates which she shares with her friends at Sunday School.


French girl pure


This purse was made from black ultrasuede.  The thickness of that with the lightweight batting and lining made me decide to skip the usual monogram.


french girl purse


I was tickled pink to find just the right piece of lace in my scrap stash to make this purse.  It matches the bodice of the dress almost perfectly.


lace top dress n purse




The embroidery design is from Martha Pullen’s Paisley Alphabet collection. The design comes with fill, but I prefer the lighter look without the fill stitches.


The same basic style could be made not in-the-hoop which is how I made the first purse. That purse was the first of the church bags and she loves it.





It’s been way too long since a new blog post has shown up here at Janice Ferguson Sews.   But we have been away, enjoying the breathtaking autumn colors at our cabin in the mountains of North Carolina.





Three of our grandchildren and our daughter-in-law were with us making fabulous memories.  But I’m back now and headed for the sewing room to attack my very long to-do list.


3 behind cabin

Here they were in shorts and no coats on a sunny 75 degree day. Three days later it snowed.


So what have you been sewing?  Has anyone started on Christmas clothes?

Halloween “Jane”

corn pump cr

“Candy Corn Cutie” design is from Embroidtique.

Children’s Corner Jane has got to be one of my all-time favorite patterns.  When it comes to play clothes or holidays with a short-wearing season, this is my go-to.

It is so quick and easy that I made two Jane tops for toddler granddaughter Vivian Rose.  Two!!!!

candy corn emb

Poor placement of text on fabric.  It would have been so much more readable if it had been embroidered on the almost white stripe.


This same design was used on a Halloween outfit for my older granddaughter a few years ago.

The fabric for the first is made from subtle candy corn stripe with glittery sprinkles.  I was pleased with myself for thinking ahead to match those stripes at the raglan sleeve seam.  But it never occurred to me to take into account just where in the stripe pattern the embroidery, specifically the text,  would fall.  So now Vivian Rose has a top with a lot of candy corn and an almost hidden message tucked into the darker stripe.

Oh well, it’s only a Halloween project.




The second Jane, to be worn with the orange leggings which had been sent with the first top, is made of grey gingham and embroidered with a design from Sew Many Designs, Boo to You collection.


grey emb


I had fun with this, using a white voile for the ghosts.  If you look closely, you will see the grey gingham shadows through.  That detail will be lost on Vivian Rose but it makes it fun for her parents and for me.

A pillowcase was included for Alastair in the package but I didn’t get a picture of that.  He is into bats now so the turn tube hem was made from a bat fabric and a big bat was appliqued above the hem.

My sweet daughter loves anything for her new house.  This dishtowel made her a happy hausfrau.  Kreations by Kara has some of the most beautiful designs I have ever seen.  The Autumn Wreaths collection is just spectacular.


Embroidery design is from Autumn Wreaths collection, Kreations by Kara.

Embroidery design is from Autumn Wreaths collection, Kreations by Kara.


I am absolutely, positively done with Halloween projects.  Probably.  How about you?



Novelty Bishop~A Novel Technique

nov bish all


This little novelty bishop and two others were loaned to a friend many years ago.  I had forgotten all about them until they were returned last week.  Of course, they will end up in the closet of our toddler granddaughter, Vivian Rose, though most of them will have a bit of a wait until she grows into them.

Vivi will probably be 4 or 5 before she wears this classic plaid school dress.

nov bish plaid all

Excuse the ugly section of my potting shed shown in the background.   It really is nicer than that.  See here.


I don’t know what happened to the Liberty bishop shown below.  Continue reading

Halloween Projects~Quick and Easy

candy jar pumpkinscr



Halloween has never been a favorite holiday of mine but our grandchildren get absolutely giddy with the fun it brings.  This year, I’ve joined in the celebration with sewing projects.

This candy jar was so quick and easy.   Our grandchildren are all big Disney fans so the embroidery design with Mickey and the pumpkin seemed perfect.  It was embroidered on orange felt then glued to a fringed circle of black burlap.  This was glued to a strip of fringed black burlap  then adhered to the jar with double sided tape (one of my all-time favorite sewing notions).

UPDATE:  A cute Halloween Treats design with a pumpkin for the ‘O” is available for free here from Lindee G Embroidery.  She has some lovely designs and lots of freebies.


candy jar alone

Continue reading

Trick or Treat Bag

treat bag

This sparkly trick or treat bag is a sweet girlie spin on the holiday that is rife with ghoulish images.  What little girl doesn’t love feminine Minnie Mouse, on a broom no less, wearing a coral colored witch’s hat?  And do you know anybody who doesn’t love candy corn?

This project began with a basic black tote 14″ x 14″.  The side and bottom seams were opened first and then the Trick or Treat text was embroidered.


bag  top

Since the embroidery unit was still attached, the next step was to hoop up orange felt and embroider Minnie as she sails past the moon. The design was inserted into one of the built-in frames on my Quattro.  The excess felt was cut away near the black satin stitching and the piece was put aside. Continue reading

Vintage Wedding Napkins

F35~06brideor 37 years now the 8 women who make up PlayGroup Mamas have served as a sisterhood/support system that has enriched each of our lives.  The group also hosts bridal and baby showers for each of our 23 children and does the heavy lifting for their weddings.

Sweet Melissa, the youngest of the PlayGroup Kids, is getting married this weekend.



PGM's host a baby shower for my daughter-in-law Shelly, the young one in the center with the long hair

Here we are, minus one who was out of town.  PGM’s hosted a baby shower for my daughter-in-law, Shelly, the young lady in the center with the long hair. The group includes a university media specialist, veterinary assistant (to her husband), assistant manager of a major airport, four teachers and one passionate needleworker (that’s me).

The troops have been called up to active duty, having already pulled threads for  24 burlap table runners and worked on centerpieces.  Friday and Saturday we will gather at the reception site to set up.

My major responsibility is decorating and I always start with the table settings. As you may already know, I love, love, love textiles and have an extensive “resource center” of household items.

The past few days, many hours have been spent ironing 150 napkins and once again enjoying the beauty and workmanship of these vintage treasures. Some are family pieces, though most were purchased but never bought new.  Each had served on many a  table before it moved to my house.   And of course, they do not all match.  I think that is an advantage as the variety adds interest and elegance to the overall appearance of the dining room.

I spent a lot of my ironing time speculating and daydreaming a biography for them.  Here are a few of my favorite napkins and a bit of their histories, some true and some not.


wed nap set


These lovelies just scream WEDDING!!!  to me.  Each measures only 17″, a tad short of the average dinner napkin size of 20″.  But I don’t care.  I always use them for weddings. Continue reading

Halloween already?

Mickey pumpkin tabletopper outside


As I’m sure you have noticed, the stores have been jam packed with Halloween costumes, decorations and jack ‘o lanterns for a month now.  With all that pumpkin exposure, I couldn’t help but get in the mood to make something to celebrate the season.

I’ve always found that the orange and black signature color scheme just too grim.  But with the addition of purple, the entire Halloween mood is lifted, at least for me.

And my goodness, the fabrics!!!!  In addition to the adorable prints, the currently very popular burlap is available in a rainbow of colors, printed with text, and to my delight, with orange polka dots.  Now that was something I could work with. Continue reading

Beach Baby Outfit

Marcy pattern

I like the way the rick rack bordered yo-yo sun turned out but wish I had placed it further to the side.

Though we’ve been extraordinarily busy, we took a moment to enjoy our first sort-of fall day here in Central Florida.  We actually turned off the AC and our hairy dog Hannah enjoyed napping on the breakfast porch instead of inside.

But after that brief moment, I was off to our son’s house to work on costumes.  Our 10 yo drama-loving granddaughter, Laurel, has written a woodland play which is in high gear production now.  As director, she had her cast of 8 girls alternately rehearsing and working on their leafy, nature-themed costumes.   I was busy sewing a shaggy white fleece stripe down the chipmunk’s brown hoodie and making a pastel colored mane for the unicorn. Who knew that 25 years after purchasing a fringe fork I would finally need and use it?

It was such fun to see all those junior thespians alternately rehearsing their scenes and working on their fairy, gnome, and evil witch’s outfits.  They had scored big at the local Goodwill where they found most of the foundations for their costumes.

But back to fall and the beach baby outfit. Continue reading