Another Contemporary Heirloom?

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Four-month old Vivian Rose is growing like the national debt, so I am busy, busy, busy sewing for her.   The pink Imperial broadcloth “apron” is paired with bloomers of black floral lawn, which was a stretch for traditional me.  Black for a baby???  I keep reminding myself  that this blog’s subtitle is “modern projects for old fashioned Nanas.”  But can an Old Fashioned Baby pattern be  a modern project?


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Coming soon–black buttons and buttonholes.


The pattern is Baby’s Summer Clothes by Old Fashioned Baby, the largest size of which is 6-12 months.  The sleeveless apron with the scalloped hemline is the version I chose. Surely, I thought, it would fit a 4 month old baby for a few months.  But not this queen-sized baby girl.




Chubbalicious Vivian Rose is now wearing 12 month clothes!  I expected that she would wear this at least through 4th of July, which is why I invested the time to stitch a little hand embroidery.  OFB patterns just seem to scream for a simple needle and embroidery floss, so this time I listened.


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The hand embroidery was such a pleasure to do.  I wish I weren’t in such a hurry all the time and could do this more often and gain some skill.  Fortunately, the designs included with the pattern were simple and the stitches basic.


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I love this pattern.  It includes so many styles, each of which is a picture of pristine, classic beauty.  The  embroidery designs, which are included, are simple and sweet.  Especially nice is the simplicity of each style, allowing you to make whatever embellishments you like.

Using this pattern, I stitched a  bubble for Vivian Rose in the smaller size, adding ruffles to the seat (her mother’s favorite girlie feature).   She looked precious in it until she outgrew it by the time she was 10 weeks old.  New, longer elastic and a 3″ crotch extension gave it a few more months of wear.

When Rebecca gave me an update on Baby’s size, I was in the middle of constructing this “apron.”  Fortunately, the pattern pieces were traced onto the fabric and not yet cut out as I stitched the embroidery.  It was not too late to make major alterations to the pattern.

Moving the cutting line over 3/8″ from the pattern line added 1 1/2″ to the chest and widened the armscye.  The 1/4″ neckline seam allowance was increased to 3/8″ giving a little more room for a chubby neck.  Then rather than folding the button extension in the back as directed, I left it flat and faced it.  This added a little more width to the back and the neckline.

It seems to me that this apron needs 3 small black buttons.  I couldn’t believe it when I dug through my gajillion buttons and found nothing suitable.  Tomorrow, I’m off to JoAnn’s and then I can finish this.

The ruffle bottom bloomers always take longer than I expect.  Finally, I have finally found a satisfactory way to attach them.  First, I finished both sides of a fabric strip with a tiny serger roll and whip.    Then it was gathered 3/8″ from one finished edge and stitched onto a marker line on the bloomers.

Working with gathers is about my least favorite thing to do.  But with the help of my Brother Quattro’s knee lift and my trusty needle trolley, it is much less annoying.  If you have a knee lift and don’t use it, you are really missing out on a great feature.

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One interesting feature of this outfit is the lace.  In my stash I had a small bolt of 100% nylon French lace, soft as cotton and in a classic pattern.  It won’t wrinkle up and will look as nice after being washed as it does now.  Like most busy young mothers, Rebecca has little time for ironing baby clothes.  But in my humble opinion, freshly laundered crumpled heirloom lace looks so sad.  So this lace makes both of us happy. I wish I had more.

So is this is modern enough to qualify as contemporary?  I doubt it.  But Rebecca  selected the fabrics and requested ruffled bloomers, so I expect it will please her.  Both she and her husband are always so appreciative of anything I make for the children. Additionally, the set has enough heirloom to suit me and Rebecca loves heirloom almost as much as I do.

I do wish I could have pinstitched the lace to the apron.  But many years ago the realization came to me that there is nothing I can do to make hemstitching look good on easy care fabrics.

Next, I’m moving on to another outfit for Vivian Rose.  What are you all sewing now?

12 responses to “Another Contemporary Heirloom?

  1. Janice, the outfit is just charming and I love the hand embroidered details you added. The bloomers are adorable. I think that it is the perfect blend of ‘old’ and ‘new’ for an heirloom for today’s busy families. Thank you for stopping by ajennuinelife to check out my guest post/tutorial there. It was so nice of you to leave a comment!

  2. As usual this is absolutely gorgeous!

  3. I think it’s adorable, Janice. I love the diaper cover ruffle feature too. So sweet on a little one. So fun to hear about your sewing, trying to keep up with Vivian. Sewing for a baby can be like going after a moving target! 😉 I wouldn’t have thought of black for a baby, but I always liked a mix of colors amongst the Pink! I’m not letting myself think about how much I missed in sewing for little Ben here. (He had lots of cardigan sweaters, but not as many smocked bubbles! Now he’s on the run and nearly 2!

  4. Hi Hope! I see you continue to do great things. Your embroidery conferences look great! I miss seeing you!

  5. Thank you, Karen, I did enjoy the hand embroidery. I would like to have made the bloomer ruffles in the black print, but that would require ironing and ruffles are no fun to iron even if you like time with spray starch and a hot iron. Your post was just wonderful. I might even do some honeycomb smocking for a change!

  6. Thanks, Connie. You, of all people, can appreciate the effort it takes to keep up with a growing baby. I loved seeing Ben in all his hand knit sweaters and you still have some time left to sew and smock for him–if you can find the time. I don’t know how you keep up, but it looks like your beautiful family thrives under your care. I wish you more happiness in your new home.

  7. Love it. Not too much of the black print, so I think that it is perfect!

  8. Thanks, Beckie. The black is pretty, but IMHO, a little black goes a long way on baby clothes.

  9. So cute. I love the little pop of black that shows from the back!

  10. It’s absolutely adorable. To me, the print reads pink, not black and looks great. I love all of the OFB patterns, and making it in Imperial really does help keep it looking nice. I totally agree about the wrinkled clothes looking sad.

  11. Thank you, Cynthia, for your sweet comment as well as seeing that print as pink and not black. I was on the fence about which color was stronger, hoping pink would win out. I’m glad in your well trained eye that is how it reads.

  12. Janice, Thank you for your kind words, especially the compliment that my kids appear to thrive under my care. That is encouraging. Keeping up? Hmmm, I think it’s more doing what I can, when I can. I’m thankful for my husband’s involvement in encouraging the kids to help as well. It’s amazing what gets done when everyone works together. Your comment brought to mind an old Creative Needle when the question was asked, “How do you make time for sewing.” One mom of young children said, “I get everyone involved.” That has stuck with me all these years. Ultimately, God is Great. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Thanks again for your sweet words.

    I also enjoyed Cynthia’s thoughts on the color.

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