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.


There is nothing especially interesting or creative about this project, but not everything we make is.  Sometimes it’s just a “git ‘er done” sort of task and we get whatever satisfaction we can.  I was satisfied knowing that Vivian Rose looked adorable at her swim lessons.

I had forgotten all about the swim suit until I came across it in my sewing journal along with all my other 2014 projects.


journal page


Do you keep a sewing log?  In January Jerry Nix Roberts posted on SewForum a list of all the things she had made the previous year.  It was astounding!  I doubt I’ve ever made in one year as much as Jerry did—and believe me, EVERYTHING she makes is just spectacular.  Still, it made me realize  that I could only recall a few projects even though I was sewing alllllll year!


This journal was a Sewing at the Beach teacher gift from a few years ago.  I love it.

This journal was a Sewing at the Beach teacher gift from a few years ago. I love it. And I love this fabulous workshop.  Check it out.


Motivated by Jerry’s carefully maintained log, started a journal of my own.  I find it very useful to list details of a project and to recall things I have made.

Here is another one I had forgotten.



Grandson Alastair’s store-bought stocking was embroidered 3 years ago to serve as a temporary Christmas goodie sack before I got around to making his official stocking.

Vivian Rose’s Nana-made stocking was ready for her first Christmas.  But when her mother found this matching stocking, she wanted it as a back up for her specially-made sock.  She declares that if we go to our mountain cabin or anywhere else for Christmas, she would never take the children’s “good” stockings for fear of loss or damage.   Gosh, I love that girl!

So my recommendation is that you start a sewing journal if you have not already.  You probably don’t realize just how much you have accomplished.

Do any of you keep such a record of your sewing?  How does it work?

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 front yoke



SWISS HANDLOOM blue bow edging yoke overlay on back

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

This handloom is also one of my all time favorites.


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.

Kreations by Kara‘s  heart and a simple monogram were quickly embroidered, a piece of iron-on batting was applied to the back of the linen an a scrap of white pima cotton was used for the lining.  The zipper and ribbon were in my stash so in no time at all, the purse was finished.  She loved it.



Then I moved on to her shoes.  The straps of her new sandals cut into the top of her foot but there wasn’t much extra length on the strap.   By picking out the stitches, repositioning the fold-over as far as possible, and resewing the strap together, the 1/2″ gained was enough to make her sandals comfortable.  I used a #100 needle and polyester thread.



I wish I had gotten a photo of her wearing all ready for church.  But it is always so hectic that I don’t remember until after we have taken her home.  Maybe next time.

So why have I been so rushed?  In the past three weeks this is what I have done:

  • 2 comforters for 5-year-old grandson Alastair’s new bunk beds (one double,one single
  • 6 turn tube pillowcases to match the comforters
  • a kindergarten rest mat
  • new linen valances for the living room
  • hem turned up 8″ on a very challenging curved skirt on a dress for Vivian Rose
  • worked up three lettering designs for a fabulous young doctor/friend
  • worked up design for Operation Christmas Child dish towels. Eight of these will  then be embroidered for the local director to  hand out to her team leaders.  Soon–I’ll get to them very soon.
  • serged and removed 4.5″ from twelve 132″ tablecloths for a friend who was hosting a huge birthday party for her sister
  • embroidered a Christmas stocking

There must be more, but that’s all I can recall now.  But for now, I am FREE  AT LAST!!!  Off to cut out another Children’s Corner Jane for Vivian Rose.  Yeah!

So have you all been doing fun sewing or MUST sewing?

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

Elephant “Jane”


Children’s Corner “Jane” with elephant applique


This was made while spending a week at our mountain cabin.  With our daughter and her two children and all their activities, it was a busy time.  And yet, I managed to finish this Children’s Corner Jane for 18 month old Vivian Rose.


Jane patt

What a terrific pattern this is!  Fast as a New York minute, easy as pie and cute as a button.  How’s that for a lot of cliches?  But it’s all true.  This may be the perfect pattern for our 18 month old granddaughter Vivian Rose.

I love a pattern that is simple enough to alter easily for different looks.  For the size 2, the basic top required just 1/2  yd. of 60″ wide fabric.  On this gray gingham top, a lace edged ruffle was added over the regular elasticized sleeve.  An appliqued gray ultrasuede elephant adds textural interest.  The loose tail is a bias tube made from the ruffle sleeve pink fabric.  I hope she doesn’t pull it off. Continue reading

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


Continue reading

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. Continue reading