Christmas Finery for Sister and Brother

2 outfits

Hurrah!  Christmas clothes for our two younger grandchildren were finished, shipped and received late last week.  Toddler Vivian Rose’s white Swiss flannel bishop has the neck and sleeve bound with in red gingham pima cotton.  Heirloom lace is hand whipped to the bias binding.


smock close


The smocking design is just a simple diamond pattern that I made up as I stitched.



The back opening features matching gingham buttons.  Buttonholes were stitched on the embroidery side of my beloved Brother Quattro with this easy-peasy techniqueBut why does a  stiff breeze kick up every time I try to take blog pictures?



The red gingham buttons are from Farmhouse Fabrics and come in three sizes and other colors.  The top button is just mother of pearl instead of gingham because the shank button made the lace stick out.


The bloomers are white broadcloth trimmed with the same red gingham and heirloom lace. Because Vivian Rose is a rough and tumble little gal, Swiss flannel did not seem like a good choice for her diaper cover.  Not yet 2 years old, she recently was shimmying up a potted palm on the patio and fell to the ground.   She took the fall about as well as Swiss flannel bloomers would have taken the climb.



Monogram is from Embroitique’s Fancy Monogram 1 collection.


After seeing its frequent use on Cheryle Cole-Bennet’s always spectacular projects, Embroitique’s Fancy Monogram 1 has become  my go-to alphabet.    I was disappointed in my too-high placement of the lettering.  What was I thinking?


ME it can't be

Maybe it was the Christmas carol I was singing along with—Angels We Have Heard on HIGH.  Maybe if it had been LOW (Lo) How a Rose E’er Blooming the position might have been better. Whatever.   It still will cover her diaper.


bow tie


Big brother Alastair’s bow tie coordinates nicely with the dress.  Since finding this nice tutorial on line, I can whip one up in a short time.

Now, the children are ready for the annual Christmas pictures.  I hope they turn out better than this.


funny xmas photo

As always, I learned a few things on this project.

#1 ALWAYS  ALWAYS  always put washaway thread AWAY in its specially marked container after use.  I was pretty upset after rinsing out my blue marker lines and discovering that the bishop sleeves were held in place only by the smocking.  Groan……..

#2.  You cannot back smock red floss on white Swiss flannel at the bottom of a bishop.  As the pleats spread, the loose weave of the flannel shows every red back stitch.  I had to pick out the entire bottom row of red flowerettes and satin dots and re-stitch them tying off at each place.

With these holiday garments ready for Christmas pictures, I am moving on to more holiday projects.  What are you stitching?


ME sewing

14 responses to “Christmas Finery for Sister and Brother

  1. Do you know what I love about your blog? You are not afraid to point out your “mistakes”. I know we are admonished not to do that since most people would never notice. However, it is reassuring to me to know that someone with your vast knowledge and skill can still be disappointed in an outcome or have one of those “where was my brain” moments once in a while. (I have them often!)
    Having said that, the outfits are absolutely beautiful and I feel no apologies are necessary!

  2. LOVE them! And that’s a good point about not carrying the red thread on the back between flowers. I’m bookmarking that bow tie tutorial because the one I used last Easter, though it looked just fine, was apparently designed to be worn directly on the neck and not with a shirt collar. It wasn’t quite long enough.

    All my Christmas stitching, and there is a tiny bit, is on hiatus until after our annual Christmas party.

  3. Jane, thank you for your comments. I’m so glad that sharing my mistakes gave you reassurance and perhaps some new insight. So much of what I have learned from others has come from their sharing of “mistakes” in classes and conversations. With the internet now, we can all improve our skills and understanding much more easily. I guess I should google “monogram placement on bloomers.” Thanks, also, for your sweet compliments.

  4. Thanks,Jo. That bow tie tutorial is great and allows for whatever neck size you might need. Her measurements are for a 5 yo, but you will see that enlarging or reducing the size is very easily done. You must be up to your elbows in butter and sugar getting ready for your big party. I’m sure it will be a great success. And whatever you stitch after that will meet your exacting standards!

  5. Beautiful outfits!!! I had to laugh at the wash out thread story – makes me feel as if I’m in good company when I have one of those moments. LOL! The grandkids will look beautiful!

  6. Thank you so much for this blog. I did not know you could buy buttonholes for the embroidery machines, so good to know, I always put projects down for a day or two when it’s time for closing. I am so happy to find your blog and loved this article. Thank you.

  7. Thanks, Kathy, for making ME feel as if I’m in good company. I’ve taught the Madeira magic hem class at least a dozen times and each time I stress the importance of putting that washaway thread AWAY. But it was, as you said, one of those moments.

  8. Kay, I’m so glad to read that the info about the buttonholes is useful for you. Making up a color coded sampler makes it so easy to get the proper size. Thanks for your kind words about the blog. I really appreciate you taking the time to read it.

  9. Janice, the babies will look precious in your outfits! I love the white on white smocking with the touch of red. So pretty! Merry Christmas!

  10. Thanks, Patrice. I can’t wait to see them wearing their Christmas clothes.

  11. I love gingham. Love the sleeve treatment and the buttons. Even the hanger! I am not a sewist that has ever tried smocking. I have so many UFOs that I told my husband I can never die — too much to finish! I may try smocking since I have seen this adorable outfit. Thanks.

  12. Pat, I’m so glad you like Vivian Rose’s little dress and hope it inspires you to try smocking. With all those UFO’s you surely have many, many years of needlework ahead of you. Squeeze in smocking. You will love it.

  13. Finally getting caught up on SF and saw your beautiful grandchildren in their finery so I had to come check out your blog. The dress is gorgeous!

  14. Cheryle, I’m so glad you like it. Your stamp of approval is gold! Thanks for checking it out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.