Seaside Madeira Table Linens



Making these  table linens was a nice break from sewing for my granddaughters. Fine white linen is paired with lime green and embroidered with a fun blue fish.  This color combination reminds me of the beach, just 30 miles away.

Sitting on the screened breakfast porch, looking out over our front yard with this table setting made me just as happy that I was not roasting on Daytona Beach and scanning the waterfront for sharks.  It’s very peaceful on my porch.  I enjoy pulling out dishes and napkins that coordinate with the setting.

Linen is one of my favorite fabrics and Madeira applique’ is one of my favorite sewing techniques.  Add pinstitching and embroidery–well, just let me tell you I was having a big time!  I never once missed lace or a girlie  angle.  If there is any interest, I would be happy to put up a Madeira applique tutorial.  Let me know if you would find that helpful.


corner tablecloth 2


A square tablecloth was added to this imagine-you’re-at-the-beach set of table linens.

I really enjoyed stitching these new Brother designs.  The unique stitches create marine life with the kind of irregular, spiny edge that you see on shells found on the beach.  A different sea creature was stitched on each corner.  Note the  texture.


crab corner


This reminds me just how tasty the blue crabs are in this area.


corner fish


Except for the color, this could be a delicious Red Snapper.  When we were newlyweds, we rented a little house one block from the ocean.  We reveled in the beach life, enjoying picnic dinners in the sand, walking along the shoreline as we talked about our day and falling asleep each night to the sound of the surf.

We soon discovered that by 3:30 or 4:00 in the afternoon the fishing boats came in to dock at the inlet a few miles away.  By 5:00 I was buying fresh snapper from the nearby fish market.   And by 6:00 even the novice cook that I was managed to have a fine dinner on the table.


corner starfish


As a young couple, Bob and I often found prickly starfish and stinky horseshoe crabs as we walked along the gulf beach when we visited my parents in Sarasota. Since then we have enjoyed sun and surf with our children and grandchildren.

This tablecloth evoked lot of sweet memories.  And it was a refreshing diversion from little girl clothes.


beach sign2

Cute  beach story:

A few weeks after we married and moved to the beach, Bob bought a little sailboat.  We had met the previous summer in the Berkshire Mountains at a children’s camp where he taught sailing.   So he was thrilled to be so close to the water and to be able to sail.

We were hardly settled in our little house when 8 year old neighbor Teddy came calling.  Immediately he was a fixture at our house.

One Saturday, Bob was sailing with his brother Chuck and our Border collie, Clio.  Shortly after they all returned from their outing, Teddy came rushing in, fresh from fishing at the big pier.  He was breathless and firing non-stop questions.

“Bob, were you just sailing?”  “Yes, Teddy.”

“Did you sail by the pier?”   “Sure did.”

“Was Chuck with you? ”  “Yep.”

“Did you have Clio in the boat?”  “Uh-huh.”

“Were you wearing a red hat?”    “Yeah, Ted.”

“Was Chuck wearing blue trunks?”   “He sure was.”

With an explosive grin and his arms flailing wide he declared, ” I SAW YOU!”

Teddy was a kid who did not jump to conclusions.


New Ariel Design and Outfit

Ariel 1

This bright little outfit features one of Disney’s favorite princesses, Ariel.  Another new Brother design, it is impressively fresh and current.

The pattern for the top is the girl’s jumper from Applique, Martha’s Favorites.


MP applique book

I’ve used this pattern so many times and still find new uses and variations for it.  Directions for the quick and easy jumper include instructions for lining the garment. I chose not to do that, instead lining only  the bodice with orange polka dot fabric which was also used on the pant ruffle.

The fabric is white Swiss pique,  trimmed with piping made from the Ariel fabric used for the pant’ ruffle.  Orange rick rack was also added into the mix.


Ariel embroidery


The embroidery is embellished with turquois  “gems” hot fixed to many of the bubbles.  Finding the starfish buttons in my stash was a nice surprise.

I’ve got about 10 projects going now.  What are you sewing?

Modern Minnie Chills

minnie chill

Have you seen Brother’s  new Disney designs?  I absolutely love them.  So many of them are fresh and contemporary, so well suited to the styles of the day.  As you can see, Minnie is not just black and red any more, but she could still rock those colors  if you like.


Minnie chill emb close


There are so many other charming, light designs.  This Pooh design is one I look forward to embroidering for my toddler granddaughter.


exd03 01

The Minnie Chill dress shown above was made from one of my favorite patterns, Callie by Children’s Corner.  Here is an excellent review.




I made my granddaughter Vivian Rose this little bunny dress  with the Callie pattern.


bunny callie CR

Ask for the free bunny design if you like it. Post your request in the comment section.

There are so many other charming, now sort of designs.  I look forward to enbroidering  this one Vivian Rose on an outfit I saw on Pinterest.

Fishy Swim Suit & Sewing Log


This little ready-to-wear swim suit was embroidered for granddaughter Vivian Rose early in the summer.  Like all Florida children, it is vitally important that she learn to swim and her lessons were beginning in earnest.  Of course, wearing this she was one cute little fishy, but I have no photos of her wearing it.

UPDATE:  My sweet daughter just sent this photo.

Vivian Rose ready to take the plunge.

Vivian Rose ready to take the plunge.

Continue reading

Blue Bows~Handlooms and Swiss Embroideries


Originally posted in 2011…

Stitching a nightgown is always a pleasure.  Often made as gifts for birthdays, holidays or bridal showers, pretty sleepwear is appreciated by ladies old and young.


This gown was made for my daughter when she was a teenager.  The pattern, Mary Lydia, is an old, all time favorite of mine.

Its versatility allows you to use goods of any width.  The armhole curve is placed over the finished fancyband and dips into the skirt fabric.  It is also suitable for a sundress.


SWISS HANDLOOM blue bow insertion on back yoke




SWISS HANDLOOM blue bow insertion on front yoke


Made of all Swiss goods–batiste, galoon beading, blue bow handloom insertion and edging–it is guaranteed to present sweet dreams.

This handloom is one of my all time favorites.


SWISS HANDLOOM. It is exactly like hand stitched shadow embroidery.

SWISS HANDLOOM. It is exactly like hand stitched shadow embroidery.

————– Continue reading

Tween Church Ready

mall-purchased dress,  Nana made purse

mall-purchased dress, Nana made purse


There have been so many must-do projects in my sewing room that I’m way behind in clothing my granddaughters.  Ten-year-old Laurel has outgrown almost all of her church clothes so we shopped for dresses at the mall.

Clearly she is a “tween” now and  not our little girl.  The mall is definitely where it’s at for clothes now.  The good news  frees me up to sew for 19-month-old Vivian Rose.  I have had to search  hard to find a silver lining in that black cloud called growing up.  Whew, I tell myself!  I needed some help.

But as always, even with ready-to-wear,  some sewing was still required to pull the outfit together.  Before Laurel went to bed Saturday night, we added the white flower but she really wanted a purse for the outfit.


purse LF

The lacy heart design is from the Let There Be Love collection by Kreations by Kara. The monogram font is from the 2007 Internet Embroidery Club alphabet by Martha Pullen.


She wanted one that would hold her inhaler, a handkerchief and hair brush.  A 6″ x  42″ scrap of heavy linen was lying on the cutting table  along with huge piles of other remnants from earlier projects.  I was lucky that was on top because it was just perfect for the body of the bag.  Had it been buried a little deeper, I might not have found it until the big Spring Sewing Room Clean Up. Continue reading

Back to School ’14


Five years ago, my  5 year old granddaughter wore a CC Frannie school dress for our first day of homeschooling.


With the start of another school year, I can’t help but look back.  Most retired school teachers, I suspect,  do  the same.  This post was written 5 years ago as we began our first year of homeschooling together.

Now, she begins 6th grade.  Wow.  If she’s getting older, I guess that means so am I.

Laurel, 10 going on...?

Recently, she wrote a play which she will direct and has cast with friends. It will open at the public library in due time.


Perhaps you will find some of  these school sewing projects useful for your special students.  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Continue reading

Tutorial: Disney Project & Fun for All

I’m getting ready to post some new garments I made using a few of  the delightful new Disney designs.  They have really updated the characters and created very contemporary designs.  I stitched a new Minnie on CC Callie, Ariel on a two piece play set, and Nemo on a beach scene baby outfit.

With the new Brother machines being introduced there is a lot of  Disney excitement.  I thought you might enjoy this old post with my daughter’s tutorial for her castle pin/bulletin board.   This is a great back-to-school activity for kids and parents.


It was a fabulous weekend, full of fun.   Rebecca had a project in mind so after the downtown Mardi Gras Dog Parade (details below the tutorial), this is was our family project.  It really is useful to anyone, young and old.  It would be great for teachers.

What is it for, you might ask?  Well, read her explanation below. Continue reading

ALERT!!! Hinshaw Shadow Embroidery


Christmas 11 collar centerCROP2

design from Suzanne Hinshaw’s Charming Embellishments collection. Collar featured in post  Shadow Work Christmas Collar


Look what I found on eBay—a  CD of Suzanne Hinshaw’s exquisite machine embroidery shadow work designs  Shadowed Bouquets posted for bids.  Click here to see the listing.

This gorgeous set includes many designs of flowers,  often tied up with a bow, koi fish in a frame arrangement, a wreath of holly, small single flowers, grapes, and one of my personal favorites, a frame filled with shadow worked bows as well as many other files.  The sizes range under an inch to 5.5 x 9.12″.   Her designs inspire so many ideas.

The auction includes  only the original cd without instructions, so that might give you pause if you’ve never done any of her designs.  But I would be happy to help any reader who purchases this.

A few days ago I was tickled pink to win the auction for her last collection,  Ladies and Babies,  the only one I didn’t already have.  And I was the only one who bid on it!  I have not yet received this cd but as the seller has a 99% approval rating, it should be delivered as expected. Continue reading

Church Dress for Laurel

Children's Corner Lillian in white linen

Children’s Corner Lillian in white linen


Almost overnight, Laurel has grown into a young lady and outgrown all of her church dresses.     She is taller and definitely matured beyond the little girl dresses I love to sew.  I am grateful that there are patterns for tasteful big girl dresses like this Children’s Corner Lillian. Continue reading