Garments for Ghana

This is the first of 7 clotheslines that hung from the walls in fellowship hall.

Required disclaimer: I am a paid Brother Ambassador.

UPDATE:  The first picture is in from Ghana!  Though this little girl is not needy, I think she is the daughter of Ghanese pastor who hosts the mission team.  Gayle had said this child would be given first choice.  She certainly looks pleased. Her father reported that she didn’t want to take off  the dress and slept in it!

 

What an exciting, satisfying project this has been!  Since the end of Feb. a group of ladies and 4 children of River City Church, EPC, have gathered every Thursday to sew for the needy children of Ghana. Our goal was to make 100 garments. We finished the last week in May with 76 dresses and 44 pairs of shorts!

Getting started with basic instructions.

 

Starting a pair of cargo shorts.

Our efforts were in support of this summer’s second medical mission trip to Ghana, led by a church member Dr. Lyle Wadsworth and his nurse wife Gayle.

NOTE:  Please excuse the wrinkled dresses.  The garments were pressed before being hung on the clothesline. But after being packed for shipment to Ghana, many were unpacked to be photographed.  It was just too time consuming to iron all of them.

Overturned yo-yo’s created puffy balloons. The teepee bag covers a runaway balloon.

Last summer, this couple and their 17 yo grandson Stephen embarked on the first self-directed medical mission to this impoverished country.  A small team of others joined them, including another nurse.  In less than 10 days, more than 600 patients were treated.

Like most missions, it was a life changing experience for each of them.  Stephen has decided to be a doctor specializing in infectious diseases!

This dress includes a headband with a yellow bow.

After hearing about their mission,  I wanted to help.  With absolutely no medical background nor any desire to leave home for this scorching hot equatorial African nation, I thought use of my sewing skills would be my best contribution.  And–big bonus!!!– I could use up some of my ridiculous fabric stash.  Yippee!

We didn’t forget the boys. A dear friend made 5 pairs of these colorful cargo shorts at her home 30 miles away. Each pair has a fun finger trap in the pocket. The shorts pattern we used is Fuddie Duddies “Casey.” 

Alas, as our generous church ladies became aware of the upcoming project, bolts and yardage of lovely fabrics were donated.

This contributed fabric made such a sweet little dress. A headband with a hairbow goes with it.

Bessie, a retired home ec teacher, would love to have joined us.  Instead, she has spent the last 12 years lovingly caring for her stroke patient husband and has donated the fabric she intended to sew through her retirement.

Her contributions included several bolts of quality fabric–pique’, polka dots and even Africa prints.

Bessie brought us a bolt of this fabric, used for this size 12 dress and some shorts.. Each garment has a size label.

Here is more of Bessie’s fabric put to good use.

Note the attached headband with matching yo-yo blossoms.

Others brought so many yards of quality fabric that I used only about 5-6 yds. my fabric, country plaids for the little boy (sizes 1-4) shorts and contrasting fabrics for sleeves and shoulder ruffles. So much for reducing my stash!

On my Brother Dream Machine2, I embroidered pockets for the size 1-4 shorts. These were included in the kits.  Sizes 1-2 each sported a pocket with a matching “keychain” for a toy. A car embellished sizes 3-4 with a matching push-pull toy car for the pocket.

To encourage participation, I announced that extra machines, scissors, threads, pins and pincushions, and all sewing accessories would be provided.  Complete kits for each garment would also be provided.

Most ladies, like Rachael, brought their own machines.

This kit was made at a member’s home from her own fabric. I think it’s fabulous.

cargo shorts with a finger trap in the pocket

Each dress kit included the front, back, sleeves, trims, matching thread and elastic, all cut to the proper length.  Little brass safety pins marked the front of each sleeve, the dress front and the front of each shorts leg.  This streamlined the process and allowed us to accomplish more.

Every week I cut 10-12 kits, thinking this would provide enough for two weeks.  But each Thursday these dedicated ladies asked to take the remaining kits home, then returned them finished the next week.

This is one of my favorites. Almost classic in style.

A few other ladies who were unable to join us sewed at home, usually with kits I provided.  This sweet concoction was made at home by a very talented sewist who used her own pattern and fabric.  She added so many delightful embellishments.

I began with an etsy .pdf pattern from 5berries called Cecelia.  It is sized from 1-12.

I’ve been told that in that and many other cultures, girls’ shoulders are to be covered. Often the pillowcase dresses are shown worn with a tee shirt. This pattern met that requirement.

One of its most appealing features for me was the complete sleeve.   There is no need for bias binding at the underarm.  Only 3 pattern pieces are needed and it is easily modified.  Contrasting fabric was often used for the sleeves and the added shoulder ruffle and occasional pockets.  Fabric that was too short for the body were joined to another fabric. Rick rack covered the seam.

This double border print was only 22″ long when split down the center. That was long enough for two skimpy size 1’s. A similar green fabric was added to the hemline with rick rack stitched over the seam allowing the border fabric to be used for larger sizes. The extra item for this dress was a pair of panties, pinned to  the dress.

Aside from the delight of sewing for Ghanese children, I took special satisfaction in introducing 4 children to the joy of sewing.  7 yo Tyler was just fascinated by the machines and fell in love with sewing.  He made a pair of shorts as well as a teepee bag.

This was also 9 yo Maryanne’s first sewing adventure.  It took her, her 7 yo sister Elsa and their beginner mother the entire 3 months to finish this dress, learning about sewing every step of the way.  They chose this kit, but I  should have encouraged them to select an easier, smaller sized kit, without the added contrasting hem. Still, they did a great job and were justifiably proud of this pretty frock.

 

7 yo Elsa was just minutes from finishing a pair of shorts when her family had to leave.  So we took this picture of her almost finished denim shorts.

This teepee bag is 9 yo Valerie’s first sewing project.

The children learned so many skills and are genuine sewing enthusiasts now.  Additionally, they loved making yo-yo’s.

Over the 3 months, our group bonded with one another and enjoyed fellowship while answering the call from Luke 3:10-11

10 “What should we do then?” the crowd asked.  11 John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”

Gayle mentioned that she would love to have a matching dress to wear when the garments are distributed. I was able to find a nearly identical adult pattern and at the last minute finished this for her.  She was pleased.

The dress will be gifted to one of the clinic’s patients.  I was told that the women carry all manner of things as they go about their day.  Thus, the extra large pockets were added to the pattern.

This is a very long post, but I had so much to share with you.  There are many charity sewing projects in which you readers and friends participate.  I commend you all and encourage others to find the time to do so.  The satisfaction is enormous.

 

 

What has been keeping me busy!

My goodness but life has a way of keeping me busy and away from writing blog posts!  But I have been sewing.  Here us a sampling of some of my projects.

I found this heart headband slider as a freebie (for a short time only) for Valentine’s Day at Tattered Stitch.  It makes up quickly and was a big hit with my granddaughter 6 yo Vivian Rose.  She wore it to the family’s special Valentine breakfast and then to school.

Vivian Rose at the family’s special Valentine breakfast.

 

It was so quick and easy to make that I made 18 for the little girls at church.  They were delighted.  This is just the first batch I made.

 

 

Then Aunt Rheeta made her annual pilgrimage to Florida to escape Indiana’s bitter cold winter weather.  She sewed and sewed, making 10 mug rugs.  Unfortunately, I did not get pictures of all of 12, but she made a set of 4 hunting themed mug  rugs for each of two of her sons, one more feminine design for her daughter and one for her house/dog sitter.

Then she made these two for Joanne and Kyle, parents of precious baby Bea.  She said she has been praying for them since March so they almost feel like family.  She went to our Bible study group at their home and was so pleased to meet this lovely couple and spend time with darling Beatrice.  Kyle loves to hunt so one is for him and the fall print seemed to go well with Joanne’s home decor.

 

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Back at Last!

First, let me wish you a happy Valentine’s Day!  My latest post at Brother’s blog Stitching Sewcial is all about embroidered cards, specifically Valentines. I wish you all joy and happiness on this special day of love.

 

 

The tutorial gives all the ins and outs of embroidering cards, from choice of cardstock size and attaching embroidery.  Check it out and please leave a comment at Stitching Sewcial if you find it helpful or inspiring.  Here are a few of the other samples.  Details of each are included at Stitching Sewcial:

 

 

The front embroidery is covered and inside text is Minnie’s quote.  It reads:

 

This one is for our 6 yo granddaughter.  The inside text reads, “Vivian Rose, you are our favorite princess.”

More are posted.  I had a hard time stopping, since these are so much fun to make.

But much more has been going on since I last posted here at Janice Ferguson Sews.  Of course, Christmas was pure joy, with both of our children joining us with all four of our precious grandchildren.  It doesn’t get any better than that.

Many gifts were stitched. Mug rugs caught my attention and I made several for my daughter-in-law, but didn’t manage to get a photo.  These are so much fun and make great gifts.  She is our nature girl and really liked the apron I embroidered for her with this fabulous bear from Urban Threads.

I replaced the topstitching with brown thread.

Many loved ones received my standard gift of dishtowels and homemade jams.

Our precious church granddaughter Beatrice was a vision of baby beauty in her Old Fashioned Baby  Christmas dress.  Her headband had a feltie with a tiny deer to match her dress.

 

Now, after months and months of worry and frustration, her adoption is complete and joy abounds.

I really got into felties and made one to go with granddaughter Vivian Rose’s dress.

The stacked cats Christmas tree design is from Apex Embroidery designs. Their designs are great! The gifts below were added from various other sites.  Cute white leggings with big red and green polka dots went with the dress, but I missed a picture of that.

 

It was almost a repeat of last year’s smash hit Christmas frock but it was an enormous upgrade with the new lining.  She wanted to wear it with the lining on the outside, but that was not allowed.

 

 

The whole feltie obsession came as a result of the felties offerred at this etsy site,  Mommy’s Apron Strings.  I downloaded the snowman and gingerbread boys (offered free for a short time) and attached them to 25 hairbows for all the little girls at church.  Of course, I had to have something for the boys, so I made pencil toppers for them, using the same designs on the blank pencil topper included in the set I offered here.  But did I take pictures?  No!  I was stitching late into the night and handed them out  the next morning.

The other winner Christmas gift was a set of two fleece quillows for my son’s twin Comanche plane, embroidered with just the tail numbers.  He had asked for them and was so pleased!

Again, this is probably more than you wanted or needed to know, but I am so far behind that I wanted to let you know I have not given up sewing or blogging.  I hope you will check back to see more, posted more frequently.  But then again,

 

 

Angel Lace Cloud Pillow and Unique Technique

“If you wish success in life, make Perseverance your bosom friend, Experience your wise counselor, Caution your elder brother and Hope your Guardian Angel.”  Joseph Addison

Very appropriate for the Advent season, this heavenly angel pillow could also serve as a guardian angel baby gift or angel of appreciation.  I stitched this on 7 linen hemstitched guest towels which hung as banners as a Christmas gift for each of my beloved PlayGroup Mamas.

Scraps of lace are stitched on a grid and secured with a feather stitch. Grids in two sizes are free downloads at  Brother’s blog, Stitching Sewcial. It may make you re-evaluate the size of scraps too small to save.

A detailed tutorial with step by step photos is posted at Stitching Sewcial.

It was fun to use this same technique on a whimsical version on a dishtowel.

Seeing this photo now, an embroidered gingerbread man would have been more appropriate.  Oh well, hindsight and all that.

I hope you are all finished with your Christmas sewing, but I doubt it.  We Sisters of the Needle seem to keep on keeping on until the last hour, with more ideas for more gifts for more dear family and friends.

I’d love to hear about your projects and see some photos.  So carry on, Sewing Elves!  We still have 13 days!

 

 

Christmas Fawn Daydress

Christmas is just around the calendar corner and it’s rush, rush, rush for me and many of you.  I’ve just finished this Swiss batiste dress for Baby Beatrice.

I’ve written in earlier posts about Baby Bea, our new granddaughter via our church. Neither of her parents’ mothers is living,  so months before she was born they asked me to be her official Nana.  That was a happy day!  And, of course, she is a doll, just now 4 months old, which for me has been at least 120 more happy days.

Her daddy is an avid hunter, especially for deer. Bea’s little daydress is a reminder NOT to shoot Bambi or his antlered  father.

But back to the dress……the pattern is Old Fashioned Baby‘s Baby Daydress.

 

 

Like all of Jeannie B’s patterns, this one is a delight to sew and offers several design options.  I love the Scriptures and embroidery designs she places in the blank space around the pattern pieces.

 

 

 

The shadow work fawn is from Joy Welsh’s Applique for Kids.  It stitches just beautifully with her instructions.  The greenery beneath the fawn was extracted from another design which I cannot recall right now.

 

 

 

The holly at the neckline is another design whose origin I cannot recall.  I need to keep better records of what I embroider. Continue reading

Give Thanks Decor

 

This is a fun and relatively quick project that will be a special reminder of the season of Thanksgiving.  A complete step by step tutorial is posted at http://blog.brothersews.com/holiday/give-thanks-tutorial/

Children could be involved in this project and will be delighted to help with pulling burlap threads and stuffing the jars with the fairy lights.

 

 

It will be easy for you but I had  to struggle with various steps while making this.  Double sided tape has always been a staple of my sewing supplies, but now it is my new favorite.

Did you know it is described as permanent?  That’s good news for Give Thanks as it beautifies your mantle, piano, bookcase or anywhere.

We always celebrate fall in a big way, but Thanksgiving is the crowning glory of the harvest season.  So hop over to Stitching Sewcial and see just how this comes together.  If you like it, I would really appreciate it if you would leave a comment there.

FYI, there are so many fabulous ideas and tutorials posted at Stitching Sewcial.  You needn’t have a Brother machine to enjoy and reproduce many of the projects.  Take a look!

Required disclosure:  I am a paid and proud ambassador for Brother sewing machines.  I LOVE them.

 

 

Mug Rugs~What I’ve Learned

I’ve always thought mug rugs were a great idea and always meant to stitch some.  Finally, a need arose and a set of these unusual “rugs” seemed like the perfect hostess gift for a perfectly gracious host and hostess.

The second set was made for the guest of honor and speaker, extraordinary Pastor James of Ghana.  So two gift sets of 4 mug rugs were made.  I don’t enjoy stitching identical designs again and again, so I changed the thread color of the background stitching and some of the lettering.

 

 

At a lovely dinner at the home of members of our church, Pastor James spoke passionately to a large group of  guests about the challenging conditions in Ghana.  Our host and hostess, a physician and nurse, had gone there on a medical mission trip this past summer.

As he described conditions in Ghana-no running water in the schools or even the police station, only one hospital several miles from the town of 1.5 million people, accessible only by foot or one of  the few motor scooters–one thing he repeated more than once stuck in my mind.  He said, quite vehemently, “You in America have absolutely NO reason to complain. I and people in my country have good reason to complain, but you have NONE!  Every day you should drop to your knees and thank God for all the blessings you enjoy here!”

In retrospect, the mug rug gift seemed a bit paltry relative to the delicious dinner and the moving testimony from Pastor James, but I had decided a gender neutral item would be best and mug rugs is what it was.

As always, I was rushed and finished these in barely enough time to arrive to dinner at the scheduled hour.  Consequently, the picture is really not good at all.  I should have had a cup and cookie resting on a single rug and the 8 spread apart.

So much was learned on this relatively simple project.  First, I began with a mug rug from Kimberbell Designs, Holiday Mug Rugs.  This collection is wonderful with delightful designs and background stitching.  But I just needed a background and a blank canvas for my Ghana design.  I selected the Cardinal for its background but eliminated the cardinal itself and the snowflake. There are several background patterns in this collection.  Now I want to sew some for Christmas gifts.  And I will use what I learned on this project!

 

I really wanted an applique’ design of Ghana so I could use that souvenir  fabric from my daughter’s trip to Africa.   But what were the chances of finding that?  Surprise!!!!  On Etsy, you can find anything.  This site, Pixels to Threads  has applique’s of several exotic countries! I was thrilled.

The tribal fabric made in Tanzanika was used for the applique’ and for the backing.  I’ve had this fabric for 12 years now and often wondered if I would ever have a use for it.  Now I am so glad it was in my stash!  The Ghana lettering was done in Brother PE-Design.

Instead of using two fabric, as shown on the cardinal mug rug, just one was used, and that background  fabric choice was my first mistake.  It is a relatively heavy, almost coarse linen like piece that seemed perfect for the design.  But these rugs, I expect, were designed for quilt weight fabric, not one so heavy.  It was difficult to press the seams flat after turning the rug right side out.  Note to self: use quilt weight fabric next time.

Next, the instructions were to use a very light weight batt.  But wouldn’t you know, I had a medium weight scrap that was just the right size to make all 8 rugs.  I love using up scraps! How important could the batt weight be?  That was my second mistake.   It IS important.

Even with very close trimming of the batting at the seam line, pressing those thick seams was an even greater issue in combination with the heavy top fabric.  Ultimately, monofilament was used to straight stitch very, very close to the rug’s edge to flatten it.

Frankly, I was doubtful that the mug rugs would be much of a hit.  But when I saw our friends a few days ago, our hostess confided that she had kept only 2 of her rugs.  Two of the Ghana mission helper/organizers who were at the dinner were so taken with them that she shared the other two.  Pastor James, seeing their appreciation for the rugs, gave them two of his.  Of course, he might just have had no use for them.  Still, it was touching.  So each of four Ghana interested people now have 2 rugs each.

At our hosts’ home that night, I was so pleased to see what they had done with the  dishtowel hostess gifts I had made for the first “Ghana” dinner we attended when they shared their mission experience.  I regret not including a caduceus.  I even have one in my design library, but didn’t think of it in my usual rush rush project sewing.

 

 

I doubt these towels will ever see a wet dish.  But I am so pleased with how they were arranged and displayed.

A quick laugh—I texted a picture to a friend who asked what I was working on.  Somehow, only the Ghana applique’ showed up and not the text.  Perplexed, she asked her adult daughter what she thought that was.  “Cheese?” she replied.  Then the next photo came through and the question was answered.

Again and again, I am amazed at how much personalized gifts like the simple dishtowels and mug rugs can be so appreciated.  I appreciate my Brother Dream Machine which enables me to make these appropriate gifts.

What are you sewing?  What do you use for hostess gifts?  I’d love to hear about your projects.

Required disclaimer:  I am an official “brand ambassador” for Brother.  It’s a title of which I am proud.

 

 

Halloween Projects~Quick and Easy

 

NOTE: This is reposted from several years ago, but still has some good ideas for quick and easy Halloween projects.  I hope you find something you like.

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Halloween has never been a favorite holiday of mine but our grandchildren get absolutely giddy with the fun it brings.  This year, I’ve joined in the celebration with sewing projects.

This candy jar was so quick and easy.   Our grandchildren are all big Disney fans so the iBroidery.com design with Mickey and the pumpkin seemed perfect.  It was embroidered on orange felt then glued to a fringed circle of black burlap.  The embroidery was glued to a strip of fringed black burlap  then adhered to the jar with double sided tape (one of my all-time favorite sewing notions).

 

candy jar alone

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FREE Peekaboo Pumpkin Treat Bag

 

Now here is a quick, easy and fun fall project for you.  Since orange gourd designs are appropriate through Thanksgiving, you can stitch up a whole pumpkin patch of these to share. Even without an embroidery machine, you could trace a pumpkin and stitch the entire project on your sewing machine.

A detailed photo tutorial and the free design in 4×4 a d 5×7 are available at Brother’s blog, Stitching Sewcial. You can be very creative with this little pumpkin, using various colors of felt, burlap or even a sturdy fabric.

I especially liked using my Brother P-touch Embellish ribbon and tape printer  to print BOO! for the black pumpkin tie.

black love the imprinted ribbon

 

There are so many great projects posted at Stitching Sewcial, like Angela Wolf’s lovely burlap jar covers embellished with Scan ‘n Cut letters FALL.

 

 

Having recently purchased a Scan ‘n Cut I was especially interested in this project.  Check out Angela’s post and her tutorial here.  I just love the long fringe at the top and bottom of the jars.

And here is another fall project from Joanne Banko, Fall Wreath–a great post, great project, great tutorial with a great free sunflower swag design.

 

Happy Fall to you all!  Enjoy stitching for this colorful season.

 

 

 

Lacey Heirloom Bonnet

When I did my stitch rehearsal for the flowers, I couldn’t decide if I preferred the lighter or darker pink. So I alternated them and was pleased with the result.

 

Who can resist gazing at a baby in a bonnet?  The site warms the heart of every mother, grandmother, auntie or friend.

The pattern for this linen confection was included in Simplicity 8024, though it was modified greatly.   The addition of lace, embroidery, hemstitching,  and sculpted antique pearl buttons on the ties removes this from the realm of boy caps.  Embroidery floss was woven through the hemstitching holes to add a little more color.

 

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