Making a Scene~Bassinette Skirt and “Francesco”

Side 1 is almost finished. A pretty bow will be made from the wad of ribbon sitting above the pleat.  A 3-dimensional bell will be hung from a silk ribbon and tied around the neck of the plain sheep on the far right.

Though it is not yet finished, this bassinette skirt has been such fun to embroider.  It is for our daughter who is expecting her second child and first little girl.  When she bought the bassinette, she saw the blank, unadorned side panel skirts as blank canvases.

Knowing they could be transformed into any style she liked, she chose lambs as the theme and let me run with it. She usually gives me carte blanche when she requests a project.  I am always so appreciative as it makes the creative process so much more enjoyable.

I love making a scene from a set of designs.  In addition to a few components from other collections, these landscapes are made of the Plush Pals Lambs  from Amazing Designs.  Minkee, polar fleece  and other specialty fabrics are used for the applique’d lambs.

A 30″ skirt attaches to each side of the contemporary bassinette which has wooden head and foot boards. A 7″ pleat is centered on each skirt.  I thought it would be fun to see a hidden vignette when the pleats are opened.   One pleat shows a clothesline hung with baby girl laundry.

Pleat opens to clothesline.


The second side is started but only the center pleat is done.  From the beginning, I planned to include a black sheep, but it took a while to work out a setting and situation.

This is the baaaaahhhd black sheep in time out.

The pleat seemed to be just the place to send a misbehaving lamb.  By copying, pasting and mirror imaging a fence section, a corner was created.  The lettering on a sign, extracted from another design, has been replaced with “time out.”  The flowers used throughout were added for cohesiveness and to maintain the mood and style of the rest of the skirt design.

Creativing these bucolic settings, I was taken back in time to when our 4 year old reluctantly moved out of the nursery into his own big boy room.  We were in our Mother Earth phase, with a big vegetable garden, chickens, ducks, geese, dairy goats and Ryan’s very own pony.  In his new room, one wall was papered with kiddie farm scenes much like those in his little world.

Bedtime stories were woven from those illustrations–tales of the blue polka dot pony who jumped the fence to play with the goats,  the pompous geese who made fun of the ducks’ short necks, etc.

For Alastair, I have already spun yarns of these lambs and their antics.  When Baby Girl is born, that will be special story time for the two of us while his mama is nursing the baby.

Making scenes like this can be challenging and fun.  The process requires  a sizeable design folder, careful measurements and printed templates.

First, on my computer I created a “bassinette” folder and copied into it every design I had that could possibly be used.  Then after planning a few basic landscapes, some designs were eliminated.  On the computer, I combined the selected designs in BuzzEdit2.  There I could shorten or lengthen a row of flowers, scoot a lamb closer, etc.

When I was pleased with one 15″ side, the designs were arranged into the required number of frames.  Usually, this was accomplished with two hoopings for each scene beside the pleat.  Next templates were printed out so the positions could be marked.

The scene’s center is where I prefer to start.  For this project, the pleat is at the center.   So I created the clothesline and the bad black sheep scene so that each measured 7″, the size of the pleat.  For the sides,  I arranged and rearranged the templates, edited and measured until I had 15″ of design for each side.

The clothesline posed a special challenge because it was just freestanding with no posts.  For my purpose, it had to hang from something.  Using a tree from Sue Box’s Woodland Treasures, on the right,  a branch was added for the clothesline to tie onto.   The birdhouse sits on a shelf which was lengthened to reach the clothesline on the other side.

Initially, I was pleased with this.  But when the pleat is closed, the two tall features of the landscape seem to be ridiculously close.  And who ever saw a birdhouse taller than a tree?  Of course, what isn’t ridiculous about pink lambs and bulky sheep jumping fences?  But it just isn’t as pleasing as I had expected.

The other side will be better because that bad black sheep is just isolated, not joined to the scene outside the pleat.

This whole project would have been sooooo much easier with the use of the snowman and scanner on my Brother Quattro.  But it is in the shop for routine maintenance.  I can’t wait to bring it back home.

I’ve had a few interruptions on this project.  Grandson Alastair, 3, called me 4 days ago to tell me the exciting news that he got a “Francesco” character car of Pixar Cars fame.  He was just ecstatic and gave me a very lengthy and detailed description of its wonder.  I knew a shirt was in order.

Jerry Nix Roberts makes the cutest short/applique’d shirt outfits for her grandson Charlie who is about Alastair’s age.  Her pictures posted on SewForum and Facebook made me want to do more sewing for our precious little boy.

So with the Brother Cars  design card on hand (a gift from my dear friend Terri . Thanks again!) and several blank shirts in his size, all I needed was fabric for shorts.  As luck would have it, I was going to my favorite local shop, The Sewing Studio in Maitland the next day.  There I found Cars fabric for shorts.

Wednesday, they were mailed.   Friday night I got this picture and a call from Alastair,  bubbling with excitement.  He kept saying “Thank you, Nana!” and  telling me he loved his shirt and he loved me over and over again.  That melted my heart.

He asked me to make him another Cars shirt, commanding, “Do it tomorrow, okay Nana?”

I guess the bassinette skirt and all the baby dresses I want to make will have to wait a little longer.  I’ll do anything that little guy asks me to do.  Because I love him right back.

11 responses to “Making a Scene~Bassinette Skirt and “Francesco”

  1. WOW! All I can say is……absolute genius! Love it all!

  2. The embroidered skirt is so sweet. What a show stopper!

    Love Alastair’s outfit….he is such beautiful little boy!

  3. Thanks, Judy. The skirt has been fun to work on. Right now, I am more excited about making that little boy so happy. Monday, I’ll be sending him another shirt and a turn tube pillowcase with the cars hem and cars embroidery. I can’t wait for another phone call like that one. Rebecca had no idea what was in the package, but they had gone to a beach birthday party for dinner. When they came home, she made him take his bath before opening it, but then he had to put it on. Even with wet hair, he is cute.

  4. Also coming in just to say I love it too! Especially that last part from Alastair! Wonderful job, Janice. I can tell you had a great time!

  5. The bassinet skirt is a work of art, Janice. Everything you make is, for that matter. Most people have no idea how much time is put into designing the layout, changing, etc, before you take a stitch. I wish we had a Janice cam to watch you at work!

  6. WOW! Too cute and all the love that is sewn into that skirt will be like wrapping the new baby in LOVE! Glad you could use that card, my boys have all outgrown wearing disney creatures on their clothes!

  7. Alastiar is so cute! My little boys are now big boys. I miss having a little one around. The embroidery is just beautiful.

  8. Sue, you made such wonderful things for those boys! Now that they are older Im looking to you for big boy ideas for my growing grandsons. I KNOW you can’t stop being creative!

  9. I love reading your post about how you created this design for the bassinet skirt! It’s nice to see that I’m not the only one that is a bit over the top with things like this. LOL! The skirt is adorable and I love all the sheep and the way you’ve arranged them. So cute. Of course, the outfit for Alastair is just perfect for him – what a cutie! Great job grandma!!!

  10. How sweet! Won’t Alastair have fun looking at the time out lamb! Good job on the shirt. He might like a car on a washcloth, too. Mine enjoyed that.

  11. Oooh, I like the washcloth idea–quick, easy and enough to make him happy. I’m putting that on my list. Thanks!

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