Christmas ’15

V face on

Vivian Rose, almost 3yo, on Christmas Day in her CC Betsy

I hope December 25th was fabulous for each of you.     I was so overwhelmed with preparations that there wasn’t a spare a moment to say merry Christmas.   So now I’m sending belated but heartfelt holiday wishes to you. If you just want to know about the Christmas sewing, scroll on down past all my happy holiday family prattle to interesting features.

Christmas 2015 was almost picture perfect for the Ferguson Family.  We missed our pilot son who was called to fly off into the wild blue yonder.

At a church event, Vivian Rose wore last year’s Swiss flannel smocked bishop.  The pattern is Betsy by Children’s Corner.


VR SA tree cr

Bishops fit for so long.  That’s just one more reason to love them. Christmas Eve, a huge group of family and friends enjoyed a delicious dinner of shrimp gumbo and barbequed ribs at the home of our son-in-law’s mother and husband.  They are excellent cooks!  We ate and laughed and had a big time there.

Grandchildren Vivian and Alastair played and delighted us all. Christmas Day most of the same group and a few others gathered at the home of our super organized daughter and her computer genius/gourmet cook husband. Son Ryan had to leave early for the airport after opening gifts and celebrating with his family.  But the children and their mother joined us across the state after he left.


A santa hat V shin guard

From the moment she unwrapped them, Vivian wore her new shin guards and soccer cleats most of the day, declaring again and again, “I’m ready for soccer!”


Vivian was thrilled with her pink shin guards, pink soccer ball and orange “cleats.”   She pranced around showing them off to everyone, saying, “I’m ready for soccer!”  She wants to do everything her big brother does.


VR A shin guardsCR

Big brother helped her put on her gear. He is so attentive and patient with her.


A voracious reader, 10 yo Robert was well into his new book about wolves as we listened to Christmas carols played on the piano.


R reads

Alastair played a solo and then a duet with his grandmother who gives him a weekly piano lesson.


A C piano duet

With three years of piano instruction, Laurel also played and was then accompanied by Vivian, self-taught.


L V piano duet


Roast goose and baked ham were on the dinner menu, along with too many sides to list.  But Vivian couldn’t wait for it to be served.


V hamCR

Caught red handed!


She was hungry.  In her signature do-it-myself manner,  she served  herself to a few samples of ham.  It was  delicious.


all four grandchildren at the kids' table, waiting for their plates

All four grandchildren at the kids’ table, waiting for their plates.  They had already had fun with the crackers at each place setting and were ready to eat.  The big guy on the left is my dear husband, their Granddad, who chose to sit with them instead of with the adults. Two tiny gingerbread houses made by Alastair and Vivian decorated the table.


Because I got such a late start on Vivian Rose’s dress, it is not Christmas themed.

V tree duplo cr 2x

The aqua blue silk dupioni bishop, again Betsy  pattern by Children’s Corner, can be worn year round.

With all the activity, I didn’t get a good photo of the dress, but these show it in action.  Vivi loved to twirl in it.


Vivi gift

Six year old Alastair had a matching silk bow tie with a tiny circular monogram on the knot.  I really like the quick and easy free bow tie pattern/tutorial from Make it and Love It.


A V tea table smile

After dinner, Granddad walked the children down to the lake.

G and kids to lake

What a beautiful Christmas day!

Vivian swapped her new soccer duds for her beloved yellow boots.  Before starting on her Christmas dress, I asked Rebecca for suggestions.  She said, “Make something that will go with yellow boots.”

dress features: lace–the lace is 100% nylon from Luc Smiers in The Netherlands.  I am so grateful to Linda S. for tipping me off about this great product.

It looks almost exactly like cotton lace and is just as soft.  It has the added benefit of needing little or no ironing.  My busy daughter rarely gets to ironing, so this is a great feature for Vivi’s clothes.

There are a few disadvantages.  The edging has a bit of a heavy  thread scallop at the top which makes it impossible to find a pull thread for gathering.  I ran a straight stitch at a 3.0 length and that worked just fine.  But the scallop makes the header bulky.

The insertion has a suitable pull thread for shaping but after about a yard, it broke.  The skirt needed almost 4 yds. of insertion so again I had to insert a gathering thread.   For shorter lengths, I think the built in thread would hold up.

gimp work–I love pinstitch for securing lace to fabric, but silk dupioni is not a good candidate for that stitch.  With the heavy header, it needed more than just a satin stitch. Zig zagging over gimp with 80 wt. thread gives a nice effect, and looks even nicer if you can see .

scalloped hemlineCR

This is really substandard. Vision problems have plagued me for the past several months. I’ll sew and see much better after next month’s surgery.


fabric–silk dupioni is a joy to work with, once you beat the ravels into submission.  I wanted to bind the sleeves and neckline with a different fabric and gingham always comes to mind. In my stash I had some silky synthetic aqua gingham seersucker whose color matched pretty closely so that’s what I used.


The smocking design is a variation on Ellen McCarn's Buttercream.

The smocking design is a variation on Ellen McCarn’s Buttercream.



spaghetti bias— with a size 3 dress, there isn’t much room for a wide fancyband.  The scalloped edging and insertion  seemed to need more and I wasn’t up to featherstitching between the rows.  So I made spaghetti bias with the same gingham. These tools made short work of the job.


spaghetti bias tools

spaghetti bias tools–Fasturn and Tiger Eye


Fasturn has been around for a good long while, but the Tiger Eye is a new, marvelous companion.



Because I wanted 1/4″ spaghetti bias, I used the smallest tube.  I was not able to fit more than about 3.5  yards of that very sheer bias through the fasturn tube.  And I had to work really hard compressing that much to fit on the tube. It pleases me to know that for all the Whimsy projects I have envisioned, I can easily make spaghetti bias of any fabric I choose.

I’m sorry this post is so long.  It’s hard for me to stop rambling about family celebrations and the sewing I do for them.

Please share pictures of your Christmas projects.  I would really love to see them.  Send to me at Happy New Year to All!



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