Summer Fun Sewing

flower top



Busy, busy, busy!  What ever happened to the “lazy, hazy,  crazy days of summer?”  Is that another thing of the past?  We’ve had crazy but no hazy or lazy.

In addition to lots of sewing, I’ve enjoyed  two weeks at our cabin in the mountains of North Carolina, one  week with our daughter, sweet Alastair and whirling dervish Vivian Rose, as well as one week with Bob. What great getaways from Florida’s hot summer!

This floral top was made for dgd Laurel, 10.  The quick and easy commercial pattern lent itself to a variety of embellishments.  In addition to piping and rick rack,  crocheted flowers  purchased from  Farmhouse Fabrics were added into the mix.


floral top crochet



Learning to crochet these little cuties has been on my bucket list for some time. But the way my life has been racing by, that list is would fit better in a 50 gallon drum than a mop bucket.  So when I found these crocheted motifs on-line at Farmhouse, I stocked up.





Another notion I enjoy having on hand is matching spaghetti bias and piping, as seen  on the  loopy flowerette above the bias and rick rack trimmed ruffle.

Laurel loved every minute of the 3 week long acting camp she just completed.  To show her appreciation for a special intern assistant, Laurel embroidered a bag for her with the traditional drama masks image and a monogram.


M bab


She is the proud owner of a Brother 300SE machine which she has used extensively for the past 4 years.  But somehow always manages to select a design that requires the use of my beloved Brother Quattro.  Hmmmm…I think she is hinting that it’s time for an upgrade.

A few other projects have been completed–a white linen CC Lillian church dress for Laurel, an embroidered bathing suit and CC Jane outfit for Vivian Rose, and more.

What have you been sewing?


Frilly Kindergarten Shorts Set



This is another outfit in the kindergarten wardrobe Suzanne Sawko is making for her granddaughter.   It seems to meet all the requirements of primary school wear in Florida–the outfit is cool, comfortable and allows for active play.

At the same time it satisfies a little girl’s desire for feminine clothing, as well as her Mamaw’s own desire for a pretty back-to-school wardrobe for this 5 year-old.  And what teacher wouldn’t love to see a new student in a smocked garment?  Clearly, this is a winning 2-piece set.

The shorts are made of leftover scraps from the old brown linen tablecloth Suzanne recycled into the Burda Style dress made for this same child.  Notice how Suzanne highlighted the pin stitch that joined the heirloom cotton lace to the hem of the shorts.


shorts hem


You might question the practicality of lace on  the shorts.

Wavey pink

Kindergarten, here she comes!

This little redhead will make certain that no harm will come to her clothes.  She plays rough and tumble, but is always mindful of her clothes, especially the ones which her grandmother makes for her.




The lace is repeated on  the sweet pocket on the smocked  top.

pocket 2When I told Suzanne about the gorgeous NYLON heirloom laces I recently pordered, she was very interested.  It makes the use of lace on garments such as this more practical for most children.    The nylon lace arrived recently and is absolutely gorgeous, nearly indiscernible from the cotton heirloom laces.  The prices are very reasonable and shipping from The Netherlands is free.

UPDATE:  The link is now active!  I thought you, too, might be interested in this lace,  but suddenly the web site, is unavailable.  Hopefully, this is a temporary closure.

At the Sewing and Quilting Expo which Suzanne and I attended earlier this year, the owner of Cotton Lace Company, Luc Smiers was marketing his extensive inventory of heirloom laces.  Though we shared no common language, his elderly mother and I had a bit of a chat.  A common passion for needlework   helped us circumvent that communication barrier.

From her collection of antique needlework publications, mostly in French, I purchased one magazine with a spectacular embroidery alphabet that could be digitized.  I’ll share that with you another time.

With Luc’s help,  I learned that she has treasured those magazines, much as we treasure our Creative Needle   and  Sew Beautiful   magazines.  But she felt it was time to let them go.  She especially liked meeting the new owner of each piece of her collection.

You might recall from an earlier post that in order to use Suzanne’s projects, I was forbidden to gush about how gorgeous they are.  So let me just say that I hope you enjoy seeing this outfit.  There are more to come.

Patterns~Embroidery Machine Covers

There is good news!  Many readers were interested in the embroidery machine cover   I made for my mother’s Babylock Ellageo several years ago. But the pattern was no longer available.




Now they are back!  Missi of Skeldale House  went the extra mile to contact the pattern designer, Monica Aderton.  Her site, Monica’s Miscellany, has been down for some time.

This is Monica’s response to Missi’s inquiry:

Thank you for your interest in my Quattro/Ellisimo machine cover pattern package. Two different covers are included in this pattern package; you can choose the one-piece cover or the two-piece cover, depending on your needs….
…Complete instructions on how to construct the cover is included.

Please be aware that the pattern prints out in sections on regular-size
( 8″x11.5″ ) printer paper and you will need to assemble the sections to get
the full-size pattern pieces. Instructions for doing this are  included.

The price of the cover pattern is $12.00 for delivery by email attachment.  If you would like to purchase, you can order as follows.

1. If you have a PayPal account, I can send you an invoice from PayPal, or,
if you prefer, you can use PayPal’s “send money” function and send the funds
to my account using this e-mail address
If you would like me to send you an invoice from PayPal, I need to know the
e-mail address you use for your PayPal account.

2. You can order by postal mail with a check or money order. Please send
your mail order to
Monica Anderton,
29 Patrick Blvd.,
Toronto, ON
M2J 3K7

It is so nice to have a fitted cover like this for your machine.  My poor Quattro has been sleeping  uncovered since she moved in with me.  I’ll be making one of Monica’s covers very soon.

When I ordered my pattern, Monica offered patterns for several different embroidery machines.  If you are interested in something other than the Brother ULT, Babylock Ellageo, Brother Quattro or Babylock Ellisimo, check with Monica.  No one wants to be reported to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Sewing Machines.


Dressed up Play Top

eyelet 1

Doesn’t this look cool and comfortable for a Florida toddler?


I seem to be stuck on the simple, free, gathered play top pattern from The Purl Bee.   (See Mountain Sewing Getaway and Free Patterns~Summer Play Top)  There are so many variations dancing around in my head that I doubt this will be the last one I make.  I  really hope to make some for Operation Christmas Child.

For this version, the top is cut to a dress length–at least for an 18 month old– and given a more elegant look with the  a finer fabric.  The contrasting casing of which I am so fond and is embellished with stacked  yo-yo’s, a single leaf and a tiny pearl button.


eyelet top


The good quality domestic dress fabric has been hanging around my sewing room for such a long time.  Some was used on the Troublesome Diaper Shirt made for #1 granddaughter, Laurel, more than 10 years ago.

The floral print is a lovely lawn.  I love the tiny pink flowers.

This little outfit just looks so breezy, especially nice for our hot Florida summers.  With Vivian Rose’s curls and big blue eyes, she will look fresh and  sweet in this.

When we were in North Carolina, Bob and I stopped at a craft fair where I saw a rack of these garments.  I had just finished this little frock and was interested to see how they were made.  Almost all were dress length, many with contrasting hems and all with a gathered, ruffled strap, rather than ties.  There is no limit to the variations you could come up for this cute little stash buster.

But I’m moving on.  Laurel needs new church clothes so I have nearly completed a simple white linen shift style Children’s Corner Lillian for her.

lillian pattern

Sadly, I think there are no more smocked dresses in her future.  My Rebecca will declare that I made her wear smocked dresses until she was 14, but don’t believe her.  She wasn’t a day over 12.

Thank goodness I have 8 more years to smock for Vivian Rose.

At what age did you stop smocking for a daughter or favorite little girl?


Mountain Sewing Getaway



My dear husband and I just returned home from a week at our cabin in the beautiful mountains of the North Carolina “High Country.”   This time it was just the two of us.

We wanted a break from the hustle bustle of our very busy-but very happy!- life here in central Florida.  And we reeeeally wanted a break from the sweltering heat here at home.  We surely got that!   To keep from freezing, I wore a sweater everyday and we slept under two hand stitched quilts.

Of course, my plan was to get some uninterrupted sewing and smocking done.  So on the first morning after we arrived, Bob set up my sewing table and I set up my trusty Brother ULT 2003D.



After making the first summer top from the  The Purl Bee  free pattern for our toddler granddaughter, I was eager to make one or two more with some modifications.

This is the first project I finished while we were there.  The cherry fabric is left over from the Sweet Baby Jane bubble I made for her last summer.  The vintage 36″ gingham was purchased at an estate sale a few summers ago.  It was a small piece but with carefuly cutting I squeaked it out.  The remaining scraps were so small that cherry fabric had to be used for one side of the ties.

cherries 2


The result is kind of scrappy looking.  I wish I had not added the cherry ruffle to the bloomers.

The cherry top is much like the yellow floral and blue gingham one made earlier with with the sweet pockets free pattern.  This outfit, however, has a contrasting fabric for the elastic’s casing and the pockets have been enlarged.


The tops of the pockets have been reinforced with a red button.

The tops of the pockets have been reinforced with a red button.


Vivian Rose’s mother commented that her little dynamo loads her pockets with rocks and toys and pretty much anything that will fit~or anything that Vivian Rose THINKS will fit and works at it until something gives.   tRebecca predicted that the dainty pockets on the blue and yellow outfit would be torn free in a short time.  I’m sure Lezette Thomason did not design them to be used as cargo holds.

This should be a sturdy, cool little outfit for our baby girl.  Playtime is serious business for Vivian Rose so she needs this sort of clothing.  I hope that soon I will have photos of her modeling this.  It is so much cuter on a child.

What children’s  summer clothes have you made?

P.S.  If anyone would like to make their own sewing getaway at our Mountainside Cabin, it now comes equiped with the above sewing/embroidery machine, basic threads, rotary mat, ruler and cutter, as well as a few other sewing supplies.  Just drop me a note at


French LuLu Shirt

L paris 2

granddaughter Laurel feeling Parisienne

This fun French outfit was a quickie project.  Just finishing a growth spurt, Laurel needed some new play clothes.  Of course, that was all the excuse I needed.  And I just love this cute design from Great Notions  LuLu in Paris  collection.

The inexpensive shirt was paired with a  white tank top and hot pink leggings.

Paris closer

   One of her closest friends recently returned from a 6 week visit to Paris with her grandmother.  Between the stream of e-mail photos Ava sent and all her chatter about the wonders of the romantic city, Laurel’s interest in Paris and all  things French is piqued.

Of course, the shirt is a poor substitute for a glamorous trip to France, but it’s the best this Nana can do.

After studying French for several years, our daughter, Rebecca, speaks the language fluently.  For two consecutive summers while she was in high school,  we housed two French foreign exchange students.   Their English and her French improved enormously.  Later, Rebecca spent two summers in  France.  Each experience improved her French.

One of those summers she studied in Paris at La Sorbonne where her room looked out on the Eiffel Tower.  Later, as a young career woman, she was sent to Montreal for 8 weeks to represent the Florida office of her French-based company for meetings and business sessions.  I flew up for a fabulous week of   les bons temps  with my world traveling daughter.

With all these connections, the Lulu collection has been put to good use for a variety of projects.

It’s such fun to use embroidery and sewing to recall special memories.  I hope some day Laurel will have a memory of something more French than this little shirt.  Maybe she will study French and see the Eiffel Tower for herself. Or maybe she will just remember that her Aunt Rebecca and her friend Ava BOTH saw it in person.  Life is not always fair.


Mama Fun: When our French student Olivier was with us, we wanted to show him as much of our country as possible.  One of the trips we planned was to my brother’s ocean front home in Cedar Key. (Technically, is it a gulf front home, as it faces the Gulf of Mexico~just a waterfront detail that seems to be important to the residents of Cedar Key, especially my brother.)   “Cedar Key,”  I explained, “is surrounded by water and is connected to other keys with bridges and causeways.”

Later that day, he asked, in his very heavy French accent, “Is Cedar Key in Iceland?”  I tried and tried to explain that a key is usually a small body of land, all or mostly surrounded by water.   Often it is connected to other keys by bridges and causeways.  And Cedar Key is IN FLORIDA.  We will be driving there.  In the car.

But he persisted and asked again, “Is Cedar Key in Iceland?”

After a lot of time and explanations, we figured out that he was pronouncing island phonetically.  He was asking, “Is Cedar Key an island.”

Foreign languages are tough.  Even English.

Anyone want this stuff?

Like a virus, periodically a need to destash sewing items that I know I will never use comes over me.  If any of these look like something you need,  send an e-mail to or leave a comment.  I had such BIG plans for these things—many years ago.  So it’s time to let them go.  Prices do not include shipping or insurance.


Luscious Onkaparinga wool for baby blankets.  Purchased in Australia, the piece is approx. 40" x 62".  I always wanted to make a hand embroidered blanket like the one shown on the cover of the Inspirations magazine.

$50   Luscious Onkaparinga wool for baby blankets. Purchased in Australia, the piece is approx. 40″ x 62″. I always wanted to make a hand embroidered blanket like the one shown on the cover of the Inspirations magazine below. Since the family is fresh out of babies, I’ve taken that off my bucket list.


Inspirations 8

SOLD   $8 Inspirations #14.  The blanket on the cover inspired me to buy the Onkaparinga. $8 + postage for magazine.


collars 1~4 $2 each

#4 SOLD $2 each + shipping.  These collars were purchased from an upscale children’s clothing manufacturer. #2 has a sweet buttonhole for a button to hold the bib front down. #3 is a padded, quilted knit. They were not marked with sizes.


collars 5~8 $2 each

#5 SOLD $2 each plus shipping

Martha Pullen baby bracelet, never opened, $5.

$5 Martha Pullen baby bracelet, never opened.


Marcy $8

SOLD  $8 Marcy by Bonnie Blue. Cute, cute, cute. Uncut but includes several traced-off pattern pieces. Shadows are from the scanner.


$5 per yard.  Swiss edging

$5 per yard. Swiss edging used on the Mayflower dress shown below.




Drop me an e-mail or comment if you would like any of these items.  Paypal is preferred, but personal check or money order is fine.


Suzanne’s Whimsy Dress


Here is another  outfit my friend Suzanne made for her granddaughter’s kindergarten wardrobe.  Of course, also she made the tights, the fabric flower on the leg,  and the hairbow.  This tall, gorgeous,  little redhead would be a knock out in a gunny sack, but when wearing the sweet things her grandmother has made, she will stop traffic.

There is so much detail and a surprise everywhere you look.  And yet, it is perfectly unified.  The pink gingham  outfit was inspired by Kari Mecca’s  book,  Sewing with Whimsy.


pink gingham top


Suzanne is an avid crocheter and can whip up a flower in a flash.    Notice that the button in each flower’s center is the same.  That gives an element of unity to the varied embellishments. Continue reading

Suzanne’s Kindergarten Dresses

brown dress


I think I need a 12-step program.  Farmhouse Fabrics just confirmed my second order of the week for Children’s Corner patterns.  I need help!

Friends of  Sew Classic for Children on Facebook  flood that page with ideas, photos and inspiration from Children’s Corner patterns.  I try to limit my purchases but this group gets me so excited.  Lezette Thomason posts daily and includes little lessons.   I already have way too many patterns and way too little sewing time to keep up with them.  And yet I go on.

Meanwhile, every few days another spectacular outfit for her granddaughter’s  kindergarten wardrobe emerges my dear friend Suzanne Sawko’s sewing room.   She has patterns aplenty herself, but somehow, she sews most of them up.

Her Classy Casual short set was posted last week.  Now we see this brown beauty, as well as the blue dress shown further down.  Both were made from this Burda Style pattern. (Pattern–that is the connection to the first paragraph.) Continue reading

Happy Independence Day and Cornfed Cutie



I hope you all are having a fabulous 4th.  We’re grilling burgers, hot dogs and corn on the cob while waiting to watch a Capitol 4th on tv tonight.




Granddaughter Vivian Rose tucked right in to a traditional 4th of July dinner–fried chicken and corn on the cob.  Notice the bare chicken bone–that little girl can eat!  She is loving that corn on the cob.




So this is a relatively quiet celebration for us.  Holidays always cause me to look back on good times and good years gone by.  So I am sharing with you some of my fondest memories and grandchildren outfits from earlier Independence Days.



This is on my to-do list. I’d love to hang this when we have another 4th picnic.


When our children were younger, we hosted an annual  4th of July picnic for family and friends at our home (scroll down to the bottom if you’d like to read about the picnic).  Fun, fun, fun! Continue reading