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 NCcabin@aol.com


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 NCcabin@aol.com 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

Free Patterns~Quickie Summer Top and Puffy Pocket

summer top all


Now here is a GREAT modern project for old fashioned Nanas.   The free pattern, available at The Purl Bee, consists only simple directions/measurements so there are no pattern pieces.

It requires just a bit of elastic and 1/2 yd. of fabric—and who doesn’t have cute scraps that are too small for another project?   It’s quick–the basic top can be made in about an hour.  And better yet, it is a blank canvas that can be gussied up with applique’ or embroidery or whatever–or not! Continue reading

Coming soon: Smocking Arts Guild Convention in Orlando!

SewCation cover

You must be a member of SAGA to sign up for the SEWCATION classes. Membership fee will be reduced by half on July 1st to $17.50. Join then and sign up for Sewcation classes. There are many classes still available. You will have a fabulous experience with some of the best teachers and greatest new friends.

Wow!  This is a great opportunity for needleworkers around the country–and beyond!  Not only is this historically a fabulous event, but this one in particular seems to be among the best ever offered.   You could bring the whole family and combine a great vacation with this great learning opportunity.  And it is in my backyard–Orlando!  Take note you Florida gals.

Every quality needlework event I have ever attended has given me new skills, years of inspiration, many new friends, and priceless memories.  This SAGA convention will offer all that and more.

Classes range from pattern drafting, alterations, heirloom sewing, beginning smocking, silk ribbon embroidery, and so much more.  There is a WeeCare competition with a grand prize of a hand embroidered sewing hussif.  Raffle baskets, table top clinics–well, the list goes on and on.  Rental sewing machines are available.

I encourage each of you to attend if at all possible. I was just freed up from a non-optional activity over those same dates so now I certainly plan to be there.  It would be just wonderful if we could all meet in person!  Yeah!!!

I’m babbling.  Click here to check out the brochure for yourself.

Look at some of the classes on the schedule. Continue reading

Jo’s Summertime Temily



Is this not the ultimate summertime outfit?  Comfortable, loose fitting and colorful as the tropical fruit smocked on the front.   It goes so well with  the  Noel’s gorgeous red mane.

With Kathy Dykstra’s Temily pattern from Australian Smocking and Embroidery, Jo created an outfit as refreshing as a glass of cold orange juice on a hot July day.  The child just looks cool.  I love the contrast of the orange gingham against the pure white shirt. Continue reading