“Thankful for…” dishtowels

 

At Thanksgiving, with so many blessings,  I think it is especially meaningful and important to express your appreciation and love to the important people in your life.  Make a phone call, send a card or make a dishtowel for Turkey Day.

For those who are far away, a towel or a pair of towels can be mailed easily.  Those in town will be delighted to receive this token of gratitude.

For family

for friends

 

for neighbors

and for any others for whom you are thankful–your pastor, mailman, teachers, school bus drivers.  The list goes on.  You can be sure it will mean a great deal to them.

Simply prewash a cotton dishtowel then starch and press it.  Arrange the text over a design, confining it all to a 5×7 frame.  Using water soluble stabilizer saves time that would be spent picking out tearaway behind the text.   Then stitch away and express your thankfulness to the people you appreciate.

There are so many gorgeous designs from which to choose.  The one I’ve used on the towels shown is from Autumn Wreaths Collection by Kreations by Kari.

For more whimsical text designs, the very popular “subway art” is available on several sites. These were made so many years ago that I cannot recall where I got them.  But they were very well received, along with the more traditional design.

Even in this last minute rush before the cooking begins, I encourage you to stitch up a few of these expressions of love and appreciation.  It’s fun and you deserve a little relaxation before the kitchen marathon begins.

I appreciate you, Dear Readers.  I wish I could make each of you a dishtowel that says “Thankful for Blog Readers.”  Happy Thanksgiving!

Required disclosure:  I am a paid Brother Ambassador.  Not required: I LOVE my Brother sewing machines!

Thanksgiving Napkins

Burlap napkin ring with freestanding lace acorn from Embroidery Library’s Fall Favorites collection. I’m going to have to press that burlap runner into flat submission with heavy starch and my press!

Thanksgiving is such a joyful holiday.  Gathering with family and friends, counting our many blessings, retelling stories of earlier celebrations of plenty, remembering loved ones who joined us before, and enjoying delicious food.

It’s always a happy  time.  And it always reminds me of a scrap patchwork quilt, with diners coming from locations all over the map, ages from the elderly to the very young.  This year our table will seat guests from 86 to 18 years old, from Nebraska, Indiana, Florida and we hope from New Jersey.  Conversation will come from a pastor, school teacher, retired missionary, engineer, college student, and me, a babbling needleworker/passionate grandmother/blogger/gardener/etc.

This year we are looking forward to welcoming a crowd of out-of-town family for Thanksgiving week and to our harvest table.  They hail from Nebraska, Indiana, Florida, and perhaps (we do hope!) New Jersey!

So many preparations are being made for this big holiday.  New curtains for 7 windows in one guest room have been sewn as well as new pillowcases, and more home dec projects. A sewing room clean-up has even begun, but that is a years’ long process!

When Embroidery Library posted a photo of a napkin with a freestanding lace acorn resting on a dinner napkin, the image spoke to me.  It was just what I wanted for my Thanksgiving table.  The collection includes a turkey, chrysanthemum, and a maple leaf in addition to the acorn, another leaf and pumpkin which I chose. After my selection of these, 3 of each were made for my 9 napkins.

Burlap napkin ring with freestanding lace pumpkin from Embroidery Library’s Fall Favorites collection. That waffling burlap runner WILL be flat very soon, if it takes a full can of starch!

It is recommended that the same thread be used in the bobbin and needle.  It takes some time to wind matching bobbins, but the finished look is worth it.  DMC 50/2 cotton machine embroidery thread was used for a slightly lighter look. This generates a LOT of lint, so it required very frequent cleaning of my Brother Dream Machine. FYI, 2 ornaments fit in a 5×7 frame.

If you have never done freestanding lace before, Embroidery Library has an excellent free tutorial.  I embroidered on two layers of Brother water soluble stabilizer which worked perfectly. Excess was cut away and the stabilizer washed away easily and completely.

Burlap napkin ring with freestanding leaf pumpkin from Embroidery Library’s Fall Favorites collection. That waffling burlap runner WILL be flat very soon, if it takes a full can of starch!

After folding my napkins, I determined that a 1.5 x 11″ wrap of burlap sufficed.  With three strands of burlap, one vertical stitch was taken through the overlapped ends of the burlap with a tapestry needle.   It was then threaded through the ring at the top of each ornament and tied into a bow.

Looking back at one of my earlier Thanksgiving posts, I came across these images which I think you might enjoy.  Norman Rockwell’s traditional holiday feast reflects my personal preference for the mood and setting for this day of gratefulness.  The other shows a more contemporary observance.

Whichever suits you, I hope on November 25 you will have reasons to celebrate the many blessings we enjoy.

Traditional Thanksgiving

Contemporary Thanksgiving

Required disclosure:  I am a paid Ambassador for Brother USA.  Not required: I genuinely love my Brother sewing machines.

 

Quickie Bishop for Beatrice

Beatrice wearing her aqua broadcloth ready-to-smock bishop.  The smocking design is Allison Leigh by Ellen McCarn.

This is my precious church granddaughter, Beatrice, wearing a bishop dress I completed for her in a relatively short time.  FYI, she is truly a granddaughter in my heart, but when I don’t identify her as my “church granddaughter,” I have to field questions as to which of my  almost middle-age children have had another child.

Ready-to-smock garments are readily available from a number of sources.  Most of my purchases have been from a few members of the Smocking Destash facebook group.  They do a fabulous job of pleating and constructing the garments using quality fabrics.  This garment was complete, from neck binding, to buttons and buttonholes to the hem.  Others are often in various stages of completion.

White lace trimmed the sleeves but I had something else in mind so the lace was removed and replaced with this.  Unusual lace and trims have always caught my eye, and this one certainly did.

This lace is one of the most useful, versatile pieces I have. Just 1/4″ wide, the edges are straight enough to be used as an insertion or edging. Floss woven through the entredeux-like holes makes it a tiny beading.

The sleeve was pleated with only 3 rows.  So using a Swiss trim with entredeux seemed too wide, overpowering the narrow smocking.  This 1/4″ trim still allowed for the addition of color to match  the smocking.  Additionally, I had it on hand.

I was pleased to get this dress ready for Beatrice pretty quickly.  Several other ready-to-smock garments lie in wait in my drawer of upcoming projects.  Now I just need a drawer full of time for all the projects I want to do!

 

 

Free Brother MCS Design & Pink Baby Blanket

Swiss flannel daygown, bonnet and blanket for baby's homecoming

Swiss flannel daygown, bonnet and blanket for baby’s homecoming

NOTE:  The free design can only be used on Brother machines with the My Custom Stitch feature.  You must download the design and then import it to your machine via memory stick or floppy drive.  It cannot be opened on a computer or accessed any way other than through a Brother model which offers this feature.

It has been busy, busy, busy around here.  I’ve embroidered and framed more scripture verses for church, sewn a denim gored skirt for 9 yo Laurel from a fabulous pattern,   embroidered my son’s hiking back pack, altered his “thunderware” (YIKES!) and done a variety of other “utility” sewing projects.

 

This photo has been edited/darkened to better show detail.

This photo has been edited/darkened to better show detail.

While  trying to get some blogging done, I came across the forgotten post below in my draft folder.  Since two of my earlier posts on Brother’s  My Custom Stitch  feature,  Heart Swag Baby Shawl  and  T-Bonnet ,  there have been several inquiries asking about the zig zag feather stitch I created.  So once again, I am offering it to readers.  It can be saved to a memory stick or floppy disk or whatever device you use to transfer information to your sewing machine.  It is not a .pes hooped embroidery design.  This is done on the sewing side of the machine.

Swiss flannel bonnet, blanket and daygown for baby's homecoming

close up of zig zag feather stitch, worked with 30 wt. cotton thread

This  soft pink set was made for granddaughter Vivian Rose’s homecoming in January.  But she was a smaller newborn than our other three grandchildren so the size I chose was too big for her.  Now, 8 months later, the gown has been worn and outgrown.

 

This shows the feather stitch with greater contrast to better show detail.

This shows the feather stitch with greater contrast to better show detail.

Read on about this useful stitch and post your request for it in a comment.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Continue reading

Beach Portrait Dress

My beach portrait dress project was just posted at Brother’s blog Stitching Sewcial. This is a tutorial, complete with pictures and detailed instructions.

It’s a little late in  the season, but there was a change in servers or something so for more than 3 months there were no new posts.  Still, the Brother Ambassadors and writers kept sending in projects resulting in quite a backlog.

At last, my beach dress reached the head of the queue and is now posted.

Titled “Sea and Sand,” the Imperial batiste dress is white with white lace, like the foam of  crashing waves.  It is trimmed with ecru entredeux, ecru feather stitching,  and ecru pearl buttons, the color of  beach sand.

This was a fun, learning experience for me.  I’ve wanted to make a beach portrait dress ever since my dear friend Judy Day attended a Lezette Thomason school and made this dress for her granddaughter.

When the time to make one, I contacted Lezette.   Generous as always, she not only gave me permission to use the dress for inspiration but shared the notes for the beach dress class.

Of course, I modified the dress considerably and added at least one new technique.

One modification included adding tucks to the first tier of the skirt.  This added considerable construction time and if I were to make another, I think I would have left that tier simply gathered. Also, more tucks were added to the other two tiers.

You can see these as my granddaughter models the beach dress which is still too large for her.  I used CC Louise size 8, the same basic pattern I used for Vivi’s Cruise Dress made  18 months ago.  Her mother declared  that she wore a size 8 then and the dress was too large. I thought given 18 months of growth it would fit her now.  But in 18 months she only grew longer legs.   The armholes still gap. I plan to take an underarm tuck for a better fit.

The new technique was using the white edging for insertion.  Having many yards of this edging, including the matching wider edge which I could use for the hemline, I wanted to use it for insertion.  In a future blog, I will give detailed instructions on how this was achieved.

Vivi loved the dress and loved hamming it up for the camera as she modeled.  We were vacationing in the NC mountains in an area famous for its white squirrel population.  The ceramic squirrel is just a prop, a “resident” of the wonderful back deck where I spent a lot of time smocking.

Maybe next summer when the dress fits her better we can take a real beach portrait with this dress.  But isn’t she fun?

Required disclaimer:  I am a paid Brother Brand Ambassador.  Not required:  I LOVE my Brother sewing/embroidery machines!

 

 

3rd Birthday Dress for Beatrice

This beloved, long-awaited baby girl will be 3 years old in a few days!  In celebration of the occasion I have made her birthday confection of batiste, lace, embroidery, feather stitches, ribbon and entredeux. As her official church Nana, I embraced this privilege.

This child is pure joy for her family and our entire church congregation.  We prayed so fervently for her safe delivery into the loving arms of her adoptive parents.  With her sparkling brown eyes and bouncing curls, she is all girl while at the same  rough and tumble.

Beatrice romps with her big dog and both of mine (weighing 100+ lbs).  She is friendly with the three family goats

and fearless with huge horses when she visits the stables. shhh..but just between you and me, she is a little frightened by teeny tree frogs!

She exudes personality and strength of character, even at her tender age. So this fluffy dress is perfect for fancy affairs and Sunday church where she sits quietly and prays with her little hands folded.  But denim overalls suit her just as well.

The birthday dress pattern is a modified version of Children’s Corner “Jodi” which was included in the pattern package with the Spring 2019 Classic Sewing magazine.  The bodice was lengthened to accommodate the antique Swiss beading above the gathered skirt.  It would have been much easier to use a dropped yoke pattern but I came up empty handed when I searched for size 3 in my drawer.

An embroidered monogram is centered with featherstitching and bordered with  Swiss beading, pink ribbon and Swiss embroidered insertion.

The skirt repeats the pattern of beading, Swiss insertion and featherstitching, edged with entredeux, woven with perle cotton and Swiss trim.

The fabric is white Imperial batiste lined with pink Imperial batiste. The lining is also edged with Swiss trim.

Sleeves are simply puffed and bound with Swiss beading, tied with ribbon.  Five rows of identical featherstitching run from shoulder to beading.

I can’t wait to see our curly-headed darling wearing this.

This was made on my beloved Brother Dream Machine 2.  Required:  I am a proud, paid Brother Brand Ambassador.  Not required:  I LOVE my Brother machines!

 

 

 

 

Bambi Play Set

This little pique’ playset features a sweet Bambi embroidery design built into Brother’s Dream 1 and Dream 2 machines, located in the Disney Tinkerbell menu.

 

I’ve always loved this design and thought Bonnie Blue’s Riley pattern was the perfect place for it to wear for spring and summer.

The ruffled back is especially charming.

The Riley capris were wider than I preferred so used Children’s Corner Parker’s Pants.  A ruffle was added to match the Riley top and the Bambi design was manipulated (with a LOT of effort) to place the floral design near the ruffle. Lime green piping was a nice accent between the ruffle and the body of the top and the capris.

This was such a pleasure to make, especially since it was for my almost 3 yo granddaughter. Doesn’t she look adorable wearing it?

More information and details about construction of this garment are posted here at Brother’s Stitching Sewcial blog.

Required disclaimer: I am a paid Brother Brand Ambassador.  Not required: I LOVE my Brother sewing/embroidery machines!

 

DIY Get Well Card

Design from Embroidery Library but appears to be no longer available. Text added on PE-Design. This was stitched on my Brother Dream 2 machine.

Sending a get well card to an ailing friend is always a thoughtful and meaningful gesture.  Making a personalized card card is even more meaningful.

This was made for a dear friend who recently had shoulder replacement surgery.  the card opens to a personalized message on printer paper, cut out and attached to the card stock with double sided tape.

At a time when we are encouraged to stay home, making a get well, birthday, anniversary or thinking of you card is a wise alternative to making a trip to the store to purchase a ready made card.

There are so many ways to embroider cards–directly on card stock, on fabric which is stitched onto card stock or as shown above, onto felt which is stitched onto card stock.

They truly are fun and almost addictive to make.  I’ve stitched Christmas cards,

Valentines

and other get well cards, all which have been very well received.

All you need to get started is some card stock, rotary cutter, cutaway stabilizer and double sided tape. Instructions are detailed in an earlier blog post here.

Required disclaimer:  I am a paid Brother Ambassador sewing specialist.  Not required:  I LOVE my Brother sewing machines.

 

 

 

Repeat: 2 Free Easter designs and Upcoming Easter ’18

I’m busy finishing up Easter dresses for my granddaughters, so once again I am repeating an old Easter post from years ago.  It’s not  too late for you to use the two free Easter designs.  Just post your request in the comment section and they will be e-mailed to you.

If I don’t get a follow up posted, I wish you all a very joyful Easter.  It’s such a beautiful, meaningful holiday.

 

free Bunny trio applique pattern Children’s Corner Callie

 

As usual, I am way behind with Easter sewing and sewing in general.  I thought this might be a good time to share some earlier Easter features–dresses and free designs.

This little chocolate bunny dress was made for my 15 month old granddaughter to wear to the church “bunny lunch and egg hunt.”  I was so pleased to finally have the perfect use for my small piece of brown bunny Liberty of London tana lawn.

When I could find no embroidery design that suited me, I bumbled through the digitizing process to create this beginner design.  It is yours for the asking by leaving a comment below.

The second free design is one I used on several Easter baskets.  The name, of course, is not included but the design itself is Easter eggs nestled in grass

For the free grass and eggs design just leave your request in the comment section below.

Continue reading

Valentine Gifts-Quick and Easy

NOTE: 2 FREE designs!  Heart balloons at Embroidery Library and Lace Heart applique’ at GG Designs.  Links below.

Hooping the towel on the left through the check border was very difficult. Consequently, the towel on the right was hooped above the thicker hem. Much easier.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, you might think it’s too late to make gifts.  But these quick and easy projects can be stitched in time, though you may have to ship them priority mail.  Just take a look.

I’ve always been a big fan of tea towels—no need to worry about the size or even getting the color right.  No matter what, anyone can dry dishes with your gift towel and frankly, the towel is less expensive than most greeting cards.  And no one needs to feel beholden.  I like that.

When I saw this high-flying free design at Embroidery Library, available in 4 sizes, I was on it.  I pulled out my prewashed stash of towels from All About Blanks and set to work for my friends, near and far.  I was very pleased with the results.  Embroidery was done on my Brother Dream Machine 2.

Another quick gift is this little pocketbook I made for my purse-loving 2.5 yo church granddaughter.

The sweet heart applique’ is another free design, in 6 sizes from GG designs,  The monogram B is from Brother PE-Design.  The heart was embroidered on my Brother Dream Machine.

Of course, tradition dictates that neither purse nor wallet nor any money carrying vessel shall be gifted without some token currency.  So Beatrice’s little purse was loaded with a little change for her Winnie the Pooh bank, some candy to share with her parents, a small handkerchief for which she sees no use now and a lollipop which she popped in her mouth immediately.

The very simple purse is included in this adorable pattern, though I’m sure there are others just as quick to make.

I’m not the only one who thinks tea towels make great gifts.  This painted towel was lovingly made by our younger grandson, the handsome boy pictured on the mugs we enjoy for drinking our coffee.  One of his other dedicated grandmothers, “NanNan,” always works with him and his younger sister to craft Christmas gifts for family members.  We treasure this one.

Tea towel Valentine gift made by our grandson a few years ago.

I’m sure any Valentine gifts you make, quick and easy or time consuming, will be appreciated for the love that you put into it.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you, Dear Readers!

 

Required disclaimer: I am a paid Brother Brand Ambassador.  Not required: I love my Brother machines!