Christmas Outfits from the Past


Hand embroidered Sarah Howard Stone collar and velveteen dress for my daughter, 1983. It was worn a few years ago by my older granddaughter, Laurel.


They say time flies when you are having fun and, let me tell you, I have had a good bit of fun making holiday outfits for my children and grandchildren.  Like many of you, Christmas and Easter clothes are my favorite and most memorable projects.



This collar reminds me just how hard I  tried to get the stitches just right as we drove to my brother’s house for Thanksgiving.   It was a two hour drive along bumpy back roads and I poked my fingers more than once.  But I couldn’t waste the time. As the family sat and visited after the pumpkin pie, I continued to embroider.

Who knew that 15 years later it could be done on an embroidery machine?  Who knew there would be home embroidery machines? Certainly not me.


R L Stetson puffing

Robert and Laurel all ready for the Stetson Christmas concert. She is wearing recycled heirloom from her Aunt Rebecca’s closet.


A few years after the shadow work collar was made, my daughter wore a burgundy velveteen dress (just like this one) with this very puffing collar.  Then Laurel wore the collar on a new burgundy velveteen dress..


puffing collar L

The puffing collar is another hand-me-down.


Not all Laurel’s Christmas dresses were hand-me-downs.  Two of my favorites were brother-sister outfits.

One set was red baby cord embroidered with Santas and worn over white shirts.


This was their candy cane Christmas. I love those candy hoops with Santa.  Buttons were pending.


The hoops rolled all around the little suit.


candy cane back

That center back seam didn’t match up as I had hoped. But at Robert’s standard break-neck speed, no one else noticed.


Laurel loved the twirl factor of her jumper.





Don’t you just love all the holiday activities and festivities?  This stroll down Christmas Memory Lane is probably long enough for one post.  I’ll continue next time.

Do you have a favorite Christmas outfit to share with us?  Just shoot me an e-mail at with a photo and some information.

Meanwhile, sew on!  There are still  4  days to Christmas!

Christmas Apron How-to


Don’t you love my vintage painted sifter and the kiddie sized rolling pin?

It’s time to bake everyone’s favorite Christmas cookies.  Children love to “help” though even with youthful assistance, really delicious holiday treats CAN be made.

We all know that if you start too early, the goodies are all eaten up before Dec. 25.  (Be sure to read the cookie storage tip at the end of this post.)  “Helpers” often love to be “tasters,” and require great quantities of cookies to be certain they are fit to serve.

A special child’s apron, whether plain or gussied up with embroidery, will make the experience even more fun.  Plain, personalized or embellished with embroidery–whatever–a child will love it.

Here’s how this one was made. Continue reading

Christmas Pillow–not ME

no embroidery machine needed!

no embroidery machine needed!


It’s not too late to whip up a holiday pillow.  Brother asked me to design a simple Christmas project that did not require an embroidery machine and this is what was created.    A dishtowel with a decorative hem is  teamed up with a bevy of buttons to create a whimsical Christmas tree pillow. It’s a quick and easy way to add a fresh look to your holiday décor and have fun doing it.

The template is at the end of this post, but you could just as easily draw your own.  If you download the .jpg and print it, you can resize as needed.

I really enjoyed making this.  I hope you get a chance to stitch one for your home.
Materials and Supplies
• Dish towel 18”x27” with 1-2” contrasting border–this one is from All About Blanks
• Pillow insert 16” x 12”
• Thread- variegated green for tree, brown for trunk, white for construction,
gold metallic for tree top bow
• Buttons-30-50 tiny round (no shank), 5-8 medium, 5 large round, 1 gold star button or charm
• Notions: 1 sheet white tissue paper, spray adhesive, washaway marker


1. Iron a crease at towel’s vertical center.

2. Trace tree template at center and just above decorative hem border. Reduce machine tension.

3. Fill in tree trunk with straight stitches in brown thread, following curve of trunk.

4. Select feather stitch,  adjust to W 5.0~ L 5.0. Another decorative stitch would also work.

5. Apply spray adhesive to tissue paper. Adhere paper to back of towel, covering area of tree outline.

6. Sew feather stitching with green variegated thread beginning at lower left corner of tree. Sew over the bottom line then pivot and sew side to side. Do not cut threads. Follow the curve of the previous row. TIP: Because right side of tree is shorter than left, it helps to start rows which begin on the left a little higher than on right.

7. Remove tissue paper, wash out marker lines and iron when dry. Return machine tension to normal.

8. Sew buttons to tree and metallic thread bow to top. TIP: With towel on flat surface, place buttons in a pleasing arrangement. Take a picture and refer to that as you stitch the buttons.

tree top
9. Hand stitch bow and gold charm in place. Sew large buttons along contrasting hem.

10. Sew ends together with 2” seam allowance. Overlap plain end with decorative hem by 3”.

11. Trim seam allowance to ½” and finish raw edge with zig zag. Turn right side out and insert pillow form.

12. Yeah! You have a 2014 Christmas pillow.


Christmas Finery for Sister and Brother

2 outfits

Hurrah!  Christmas clothes for our two younger grandchildren were finished, shipped and received late last week.  Toddler Vivian Rose’s white Swiss flannel bishop has the neck and sleeve bound with in red gingham pima cotton.  Heirloom lace is hand whipped to the bias binding.


smock close


The smocking design is just a simple diamond pattern that I made up as I stitched. Continue reading

Stetson Mansion Christmas Tour



My–Oh–My!!!  How I wish you all lived close enough that together we could all visit the breathtaking Stetson Mansion in my hometown DeLand, Florida.  The historic (1886) Victorian home of John B. Stetson is  gloriously decorated for Christmas.

dining room


Even I,  whose Indian name surely would be “Woman of Many Words,” cannot begin to describe it.  Make Room for Quilts by Nancy Martin features one style entitled “Too Much is Seldom Enough.”  That’s as close as anyone could come to accurately describing the look.  In a 10,000 square foot home, how could too much be enough?

The 1-hour Christmas tour with my PlayGroup Mamas was so spectacular that I am returning for another visit with my older grandchildren and other family members this weekend.

Tour guests waited on the veranda until the tour began.



The Frozen-themed reception parlor was so realistic that it gave us Florida gals a chill. Continue reading

Thanksgiving Fun v.’14

3 towels ed

Brown gingham checks (not black, as it appears) border the towels, embroidered by 10 yo granddaughter, Laurel. The towels are from All About Blanks, my favorite on-line source for blanks.


Another Thanksgiving has come and gone and I hope it was your best one yet.  We all have so much for which to be thankful.  No matter what our circumstances, we all can look around our town, our country and around the world to see others so much less fortunate.  So we Americans celebrate our many blessings with family and friends, around  a table heavy laden with favorite holiday food.



Norman Rockwell captured the spirit of the day in this 1946 picture.



Some celebrate in the traditional manner, as shown above.  Others dine in a more contemporary style, as shown below.



Someone else captured another way to celebrate Thanksgiving.


Either way, most of us celebrate our good fortune. Continue reading



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.

c9785395487876a52079168a280d37f4 Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

‘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 bag 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. Continue reading

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.

Continue reading