Bees for Bea

 

This is longed for and long-awaited baby Beatrice, whose name means “she brings happiness.”  And she surely has!  Our church, family and friends prayed long and fervently for her safe arrival into the loving arms of her adoptive parents.

The afternoon of her baptism a few Sundays ago, friends hosted a barbeque for the entire church and other family friends in Beatrice’s spacious country back yard.

This sign greeted guests.

 

Did I mention that the theme of Bea’s nursery is Winnie the Pooh? Can you tell?

 

Of course, it was HOT!

I made the smocked bee sundress for Bea, complete with bloomers and a hat. She is  tiny, born 2 weeks early at just 6 lbs. Even the newborn size is huge on her. But babies grow and there is still plenty of steamy summer weather left here in central Florida.  It should fit her soon.

Using black on such a tiny baby gave me pause.  But there is no way around it when you are dealing with bees.  The picot edged bias softened it a little but I much prefer white or pastels for newborns.

At the top of her hat sits an adorable little bee which I found on the facebook Smocking DeStash site.  I bought 20 because I knew there would be many opportunities to use them for Baby Bea.

 

This country barbeque in a huge yard with pet goats and chickens was just the sort of fun children love. Still, they needed a few special activities. So while they were eating I discreetly hid bees all around.

With the children gathered I told them to look closely at the top of Bea’s hat.  Then I explained that when I made the hat with the bumblebee on top, the rest of the of the hive escaped! I needed their help to capture 18 runaways.  Off they went on a bee hunt.

Then one little 5 yo rushed back to me asking, “The bees are not real, are they?”  Reassured, he was back on the prowl. There was a prize for the most successful bee hunter.

Another fun activity was guessing how many honeycombs were in the jar. The guesses ran from 15 to 10 hundred.  A lot of thought went into their guesses.

 

The winner came away with a jar of breakfast cereal with a $1 bill in a ziplock tucked in.   That’ s big bucks to these little ones.

Bless her sweet little heart, Bea slept through the entire afternoon, waking just for a bottle and a diaper change.  She was passed around to scores of open arms awaiting their turn to hold her.  Whatever, she slept.

 

 

 

Her wonderful mama was teacher of the year this past school year. Her daddy is equally awesome.  She is a lucky little girl.

 

Sewing for babies is such a joy.  Because neither of her grandmothers is living, I have been chosen to serve as her official Nana!!!!!  (I would have thrown out the all other applications if I had to!)  So now I have a wee one to baby sit,  to sew for,  to see and hold at least every Sunday. Hurrah!!!

I have lots of garments planned and a few things finished for Baby Bea.  Stay tuned to see her new church dresses.

All About Lace Tape Part 2a

There have been some questions lately about the use of lace tape. I completely forgot that I had not finished my intended Part 2 post, as I meant to stitch up a few more samples.  But I didn’t.  So here is an incomplete–there is so much more!– but informative post about lace tape, especially for Georgia.  I hope that when life slows down, if it ever does, I’ll show you more about this fabulous product.  But for now, this is all I have.

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Here is Part 2 about lace tape, with more posts to come.  Aside from being very busy with life in general, I’ve put this off because so much time is required to stitch out samples that illustrate the techniques.    So instead of covering several applications, future lace tape posts will deal with one or two techniques.

To begin, I want to show the two types of lace tape and their differences.  The product I sold and used in my classes was made in Japan.  The newer variety of lace tape  is made in Switzerland.  Both kinds are available from Farmhouse Fabrics.

Why is it so important to know the difference?  Because there are many uses for which one or the other is better.  As the techniques are detailed, my suggested preference will be noted.  FYI, I have updated Part 1 with these suggested preferences.

 

3/8" cotton lace tape, made in Switzerland. Pink, white or champagne.

3/8″ cotton lace tape, made in Switzerland. Pink, white or champagne. Photo courtesy of Farmhouse Fabrics.

 

The Swiss tape is denser and a tad wider than  the Japanese. To the best of my knowledge, it is available only in the three colors shown.

 

seafoam LT-Japanese

8mm (approximately 5/16″) cotton lace tape, made in Japan. “Seafoam Green”. Delicate and sweet – this has a pull-thread in the “header” for shaping or gathering. Makes a pretty little flower when the thread is pulled!  Photo courtesy of Farmhouse Fabrics.

 

The Japanese lace tape is a bit narrower and more sheer.  In the photo you can see the table through the tape.   It is available in 10 colors: white, seafoam, ballet pink, peach, deep peach, dark celery, light lavender, maize, rich buttercream, and Wedgewood blue.

This scan shows a little more detail of the density.  I would describe the Swiss as broadcloth weight and the Japanese as batiste.

 

facing  from Easter slip

slip-armscyexx

Upcoming: how about lace tape for making colored entredeux?

Or shadow sharks  teeth? (no photo)

Or piping?

I hope this is enough to get you interested and using lace tape you have on hand.

 

 

Church Dress for Beatrice

OFB Smocked layette dress pattern on white Imperial batiste.

 

At last Baby Bea’s church dress is finished. So many things I wish I had done differently, but it is done.  The pattern is OFB Smocked Layette, made from white Imperial batiste.

I used this pattern with the little bit of smocking because I wanted to focus on  the cross embroidered trim at the hemline.  It would have looked better, I think, with short sleeves.

 

 

Because the cross embroidery is Swiss, I felt compelled to use Swiss for the other trims. Do you ever mix heirloom laces with Swiss on the same garment?  I’d like to know your opinion on that.

The tiny Swiss trim at the neckline and smocked sleeves should be short enough to avoid irritating her delicate newborn skin.  It has a built in entredeux stitch so I wove that with floss  to add a little color higher on the daygown.

The cross trim at the hem was 6″ wide.  After attaching it to the entredeux beading there just seemed to be too much blank space.  So I removed it, trimmed the cross piece to 4″ and rejoined it to a new piece of entredeux beading,  threaded with pink ribbon.

 

It still looked to plain so I added twin needle “shadow work” in pink on either side of the beading.

This is the first bonnet I have ever made with the ruffle behind the smocking.  I’m not sure I like it, but Bea is so tiny, just now 7 lbs. that I thought the ruffle might obscure too much of her precious face.

 

 

The twin needle work was repeated on the back of the bonnet near the drawstring ribbon.

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“It’s done! She’s ours!”

the happy family

 

That was the text that brought me to tears.  Newly adopted Baby Beatrice, who was expected to be delivered at 30 weeks,  was born at 38 weeks weighing a whopping 6 lbs. 14 oz!  My prayer that she would never need either of the the preemie isolette shirts I made was answered  The sweet blue ribbon shirt and  the gingham duckling shirt (thanks again for the design, Lisa) were donated to the NICU at the hospital where she as born.

There were many twists and turns which made the success of the adoption very iffy.  Only the grace of God and a multitude of prayers saw this to completion just late this afternoon.    From North Carolina, South Carolina, Colorado, Virginia, Indiana, Illinois, Nebraska, Missouri, Washington, New Hampshire, Alabama, Texas, Arizona, of course, Florida, and many other states as well as New Zealand, prayers were lifted that this baby would be delivered into the loving arms of her parents.  Now Beatrice has made her family complete.

 

 

We are all grateful beyond words.  And now……I have another baby to sew for!  Thanks be to God!  And thanks to all the dedicated, devout prayer warriors who stormed heaven with their supplications.

New picture, just in today, Beatrice 1 week old.

Beatrice project #1 will be posted soon.

 

 

Magical Parade Dress

This sweet little dress is my third Ode To Joy from Maggie Bunch’s Sew-Along.  What a great class and what a perfect little dress!  The length was for a tunic, but Maggie’s pattern is so adaptable that I added a wider border at the hem to make it a dress.

Can you see the “prince” is riding a unicorn?

Who doesn’t love Sarah Jane’s truly magical prints for Michael Miller?  Many are borders, with the the fun part running along the selvage.  That allows for two 22″ widths of delightful borders. Most have coordinating prints that can be used for the hem, sleeve and neck binding.

My first Ode to Joy was poorly made, as I was in a hurry and did not read the directions carefully.  But I loved it anyway and so did my then 4 yo granddaughter.   MM/Sarah Jane’s “Swan Lake” print,as shown, is still available.

 

 

Notice how nicely the smocking lies across the bodice.  On the Magical Parade dress shown at the top, I brought the smocking to a point at center and the control was lost.  The skirt ripples.  How many of these will I have to make before I pay close attention?  I’m a slow learner, for sure.k

My second OTJ, again made in a hurry, had the neckband applied incorrectly and it rippled.  The sleeves were left ungathered which gave a look I liked.    Again, the straight across smocking along the bottom row kept the bodice flat–flexible but flat.  The whimsical cat print is my cat-loving granddaughter’s favorite.

 

Maggie B’s Ode to Joy dress

 

Maggie’s on-line class is very comprehensive.  She  take beginners from pleating (though she will provide pleated kits for novices without pleaters), to construction to smocking.  If she offers it again, I cannot recommend it highly enough.

So the pink and gray gingham Magical Parade at the top is my latest creation for 5 yo Vivian Rose, though I have purchased yet another MM/Sarah Jane border and companion print to make another.  Little girls love it because it just pulls over their heads, no buttons to deal with.  Mothers love it because little ones can dress themselves easily, no muss, no fuss.  And I love it.  Can’t you tell?

 

Hostess Gifts

 

These towels were a hostess gift to an incredibly generous couple at our church who recently returned from a medical mission trip to Ghana.  The doctor and his nurse wife invited a group of friends for dinner and a photo show of their experiences.  It was an amazing evening in so many ways!

But first let me tell you about the towels.  I have expounded in earlier posts on the suitability of dishtowels for gifts.  They are always the right size, always useful, and even if the recipient does not like them, they needn’t be displayed.  It’s not so small as to be insignificant like thisnor so extravagant as to make the recipient feel beholden as this would.

With these considerations in mind, I thought a set of dishtowels would be just the right hostess gift for a delicious dinner and a most entertaining evening.

Several years ago when my daughter and her husband toured Africa, they brought me a few yards of African fabric, made in Tanzania.  At the time I wondered if I would ever find a use for it, but AHA!  It was perfect for this applique and the towels. Continue reading

Summer Picnic Dress

Originally plain white with drawn thread work at the hemline, this versatile dress from All About Blanks can become something very special. Adding a shirt makes it suitable for chilly, windy kite-flying days.

 

This “blank” linen/cotton blend dress from All About Blanks is, indeed, a blank canvas awaiting embellishment. With embroidery, ribbon and topstitching, it steps out from “blank” into the realm of special.

Its patriotic kite and images of sunshine and water seem to broadcast and celebrate the joys of summer.  For a picnic, family  reunion or any such occasion, a little girl would be the center of attention.

The embroidery design is from Brother’s embroidery site, ibroidery.com.  It is so sweet and versatile, capturing the magic of childhood summers.

 

Brother’s ibroidery.com design BIC-MTGSAS008

Another little touch was swapping out the white utility buttons with  eye catching red ones.

 

 

A complete tutorial post for this project is at Brother’s blog Stitching Sewcial.

*Required disclaimer:  I am a paid sewing consultant for Brother.

 

 

Duckling Preemie Isolette Shirt

 

Another preemie isolette shirt is finished and delivered for soon-to-arrive Baby Beatrice.  Her adoptive parents are now 5 states away from home awaiting the birth.  It was planned for her to be delivered via C-section at 30 weeks, due to the birth mom’s earlier pregnancy complications.

The good news is that Baby might not need this or the other diaper shirt I made for her! At almost 36 weeks in utero, she may be bigger than the 4-5 lb. size of these garments.  That’s something to celebrate!  Our church has been praying and eagerly waiting for this lucky baby to be delivered into the arms of her fabulous parents.  We can’t wait to see her.

I really, really like this pattern by Nancy Coburn of Ginger Snaps Designs.

It come in several  sizes from micro-preemies all the way up to regular size newborn. Recommendations are included from NICU nurses for this sweet, specialized sewing.   Variations of  the single fabric design are included, such as this one made from two tiny scraps of pique’ and gingham.

 

 

The darling vintage duckling embroidery designs are from MommysApronStrings Etsy shop.    They stitch out beautifully and are perfectly digitized and proportioned for this little diaper shirt as well as other children’s projects.  There are several other charming designs that I will be using for future projects.  The “buttons” were also machine embroidered before the soft velco  was sewn to the shirt at the front and shoulders. Continue reading

Wrapped in Love

Swiss flannel with pinstitch joining lace to fabric. Pinstitch is woven with pink perle cotton.

 

I can’t seem to stop thinking about Beatrice.  She is the soon-to-be-born, soon-to-be-adopted baby girl whose waiting parents are active members of our church.   So I sew.  When she is in their arms, she will be wrapped in love, with or without this shawl.

Soft, luxurious Swiss flannel is perfect for any baby.   Especially here in Florida where winters are usually moderate, a tiny one dressed in this fabric can go out on the town without being bundled in a parka.  The blanket coordinates with a bonnet and smocked daygown featured in earlier posts.  I hope to duplicate them for Baby Beatrice.

Pinstitch and Swiss flannel go together like peas and carrots.  The holes were perfectly clear and clean, as always, but were woven with perle cotton because I wanted a little more color near the perimeter.

 

 

The lace edging is my favorite blanket trim as it can withstand heavy laundering and still flaunts its heirloom ancestry.

Six inches from the lace is a zig zag feather stitch frame, interspersed with embroidery. That stitch is worked in soft green, but I was unable to get a good scan of it.  It shows up clearly in this photo from another project.  With 30 wt. cotton thread, it works up nicely.

 

 

This stitch is one I designed several years ago in Brother’s exclusive My Custom Stitch feature.  If you have a Brother machine which includes MCS, I would be happy to share it with you.  Just leave your request at the end of this post.

 

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From Sea to Shining Sea

 

My latest blog post at Brother’s Stitching Sewcial is up, named From Sea  to Shining Sea.

Yes, the embroidery design Born in the USA  is crooked and I just now noticed!!!!!  Oh, dear,  I was so focused on the concept of “sea to shining sea” –from the Statue of Liberty in NY to the Golden Gate Bridge to the Lone Star State of Texas,–that I was oblivious to the skewing.  Sigh….

Anyway, the design is darling and so appropriate for Independence Day.  There is plenty of time to whip this up before the celebratory parades, picnics and pyrotechnics.

With white shorts embroidered with a starburst,  a child is a walking, talking poster for patriotism.  I just love this.

 

 

A detailed tutorial and more photos are posted at  Stitching Sewcial.

Have you stitched any July 4th outfits for the little ones in your life?

And now for the requisite disclaimer:  I am a paid sewing expert/consultant for Brother.  And I love it.