Category Archives: antique/vintage textiles

Antique Featherstitch Extravaganza

“Needlework is a way to capture Love, Beauty, Peace & Time.” unknown

antique woolen petticoat, heavily embellished with surface embroidery, feather stitching and moth holes

 

Antique needlework has always intrigued me.  So when I spotted this petticoat in an antique shop many years ago, the owner was surprised when I smiled and purchased this moth-eaten slip.  Her eyes said “Why would you want that?”  but her mouth said, “THANK YOU!”

First, I’ve always wondered who made this and who wore it?  Whoever kept warm in this petticoat was either a beloved child or a tiny young lady.  The satin waist band measures a scant 22,”  has a lovely hand stitched buttonhole and a pearl button.  The length is 24″.  My first thought was just who would go to all this trouble for a child’s under garment?  Then, as a mother and grandmother who has spent countless hours on a single garment for a precious little one,  I laughed at that absurd thought.  And I know many of you are laughing, too!  At any rate, I’ll never know for whom this was stitched, but it’s obvious she was well loved.

Needlework is a way to capture Love, Beauty, Peace & Time.” unknown

Well, clearly there is little to be done with this moth-meal leftover other than study it.  And it certainly is worthy of careful scrutiny, with the exception of the moth holes.  Just look at the features.

The hemline design is just spectacular.  Worked with a heavy silk or rayon cord, the embroidery is heavy and elaborate.  Can you see where the hemline is faced? The wool is very lightweight, embroidered only through the top layer.  But the cutwork edge is stitched through both layers.

 

 

The tucks are deep and secured with feather stitching.  This decorative stitching is applied throughout the garment.

 

 

Three 1″ tucks are held in place with feather stitching, which also covers the seam of the hem to the skirt.

Feather stitches were applied along the center back placket to hold it in place.

 

Note the fullness of the skirt is drawn up with pleats instead of gathers.

 

There is only one seam, along the side, which I would have expected to be at the center back.  The seam allowance been pressed open and secured with even more feather stitches.

 

 

Moth holes and all, I find this to be a lovely garment.  I might just try to duplicate the wide. open feather stitch with the My Custom Stitch feature on my Brother Dream Machine.   It is also on Brother top-of-the-line machines from the original 8500 (not the 8500D), the ULT 2002, 2002D, 2003D, Duetta 4000D, Duetta 4500D, Quattro 6000D  and  likely more.  Other machine brands may also have a design-your-own-stitch feature.  I’d love to have that stitch.

That’s all I know about this petticoat which was made with so much love.  I have really enjoyed gazing at it through the years and fantasizing about the adoring grandmother with a gray bun and a white apron who made it.  Of course, she was sitting in a rocker in front of the fireplace drinking a cup of tea, humming hymns, and adding love to each stitch.  What a pretty picture.

That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

Beautiful Easter ’17

What a hambone! This little girl in her smocked Swiss voile bishop loves the camera.

 

I hope you all had a joyous Easter.  Ours was beyond fabulous, with a beautiful worship service and all four grandchildren and their parents for the weekend.  It could only have been better if our pilot son had not  been flying out in the wild blue yonder.

It was a non-stop celebration.  Saturday morning a church family hosted an Easter egg  hunt for 40+ children.  Wonderful as the hunt and the huge bounce house were, the highlight for most of the children was fishing in the pond.  Those fish were hungry and hit on every line.  Every child caught at least one fish. Grandson Alastair, 8, caught 4!  He was ecstatic.

 

 

Vivian Rose also caught a fish but she seemed more disgusted than thrilled.  She was happy to have her daddy’s help dealing with her catch.  She looked so cute and comfortable in her Petite Poche Penny. Continue reading

Opinions? Easter Dress in Progress

Pink Swiss voile, ivory entredeux, cherub medallion, heirloom laces and bishop pattern from Mimi’s Heirloom Sewing Book Two.

 

My life is absolutely wonderful but SO busy!  These new puppies chew up a lot of time… and a lot of everything else.!  They are adorable and we are crazy about them.  But they are one of the big reasons it’s been so long since I’ve posted.

 

Samson and Delilah, each 21 lbs, 10 weeks old

 

At this late date I am starting on Easter dresses for 4 yo granddaughter Vivian Rose.  One, of course, is for Easter Sunday.  The other is for the church egg hunt on Sat.  But that is on the back burner until Sunday’s dress is finished.

For several years I have had a piece of what must have been an exquisite tablecloth featuring cherubs and roses.  You probably figured out that roses are a bonus for anything I make for Vivi.

I’m thankful that someone had the foresight to save the remnants.  From the first time I saw it, I imagined one of those cherub medallions in a granddaughter’s dress.   Finally, the time has come.

 

each cherub is 3″ tall

 

The plan is to modify a bishop with several inches removed from the front.  That would leave a flat area on the Swiss voile for the single cherub.  As you can see, it is already pinstitched to the voile.  I love love love pinstitch and use it whenever possible.  This time a #100 needle was used instead of a wing for fear that a wing would cut through the dense portions of the lace.

 

cherub medallion secured to Swiss voile with pinstitch W 2.5 L 2.5

Continue reading

Christmas Tidbits

Truly, this is the most wonderful time of the year.  And it’s just around the corner.

Meanwhile, the black velveteen for Vivian Rose’s Christmas dress (because black is this child’s best hope for an all-day appearance of cleanliness) is still in the package from Farmhouse Fabrics.    I’m still returning china, laundering and pressing 140 dinner napkins while recovering from Thanksgiving.  We were deeply involved in a fabulous almost family wedding Thanksgiving weekend.  FYI, the groom is almost family–there was nothing” almost” about the wedding!  That’s what the 140 dinner napkins were all about.

For 5 days of Thanksgiving and 5 days with so much for which to be thankful,   our house was filled with the families of both of our children, including all 4 of our precious grands.  It was a glorious time, but exhausting with the wedding thrown in there.

But back to Christmas……

Tidbit #1:  Do you all know about Jacquie Lawson‘s electronic greeting cards?  They are just spectacular.  For a small fee you have unlimited access to cards all year long. I share this with you now because of the advent calendar she offers each year.  Members, for a very small fee (as little as $2 each for 10 or more) can give a daily magical electronic Christmas experience to children or anyone.

This year there are two versions, a Victorian Christmas

 

This year's Jacquie Lawson electronic Victorian Advent Calendar

This year’s Jacquie Lawson electronic Victorian Advent Calendar

 

and a Seaside Advent calendar. Continue reading

Finished Christening Gown for Baby Shrek!

“I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted what I asked of Him.” 1 Samuel 1:27

After earlier disappointments, people around the world prayed for this baby during the difficult pregnancy.  God hears all prayers and answered with the safe delivery of this precious baby into the arms of his loving family.

So here are the details of the renewed heirloom gown Baby Shrek wore for his baptism. ~~~~~~

Photo taken between rain and wind gusts from tropical storm Hermine.

photo taken between rain and wind gusts from tropical storm Hermine.

 

It’s been so long since my last post that faithful readers probably think I have dropped off the face of the earth.  A more accurate explanation of my absence is that I’ve been buried deep in my sewing room.  Sooooo much has been going on, the highlight being the completion of this gown for Baby Shrek and spending some time with him.  Details of a weekend with 4 rabid embroidery enthusiasts, ages 3.5-9, nearly a week of sewing with our two older grandchildren before they moved to New Jersey, and more will be posted later.

 

Little Shrek on my dining room table

Little Shrek on my dining room table. His adoring grandmother is captured in the mirror wearing a white blouse.

 

First let me answer a the question many have asked about why he is called Baby Shrek.  His parents very graciously gave me permission to use any photos of him, but asked that I not use his name.  So the hasty endearment from his maternal grandmother, “beautiful Baby Shrek,” is used in place of his very lengthy, good Christian name.

These pictures are not great, but he had passed up his noon nursing due to the distraction of my two dogs and his watchful, attentive fan club.  Then when he was dressed for the photos, he was good-natured, but very actively squirmed and flapped his little arms as he pleaded for his dinner.

 

arms-raisedxx

 

Continue reading

Baby Shrek’s Christening Gown~A Work in Progress

Now this is FUN!  And even more than that, it’s a meaningful challenge.   For a family friend of more than 40 years, I am lovingly adapingt a 100+ years old family christening gown.  Requiring many special considerations,  this baptismal robe is for an especially precious baby boy.

 

UFO bodice

UFO bodice + one sleeve

 

His mother, whom I have known and loved since she was 4 years old, grew up a mile from our home.  Her parents are two of our dearest friends.  But now this young mother  lives in New Zealand with her French husband.  They were blessed with this beautiful son after many disappointments.

beautiful Baby Shrek

beautiful Baby Shrek

 

His parents want him to be surrounded by family and close friends at this milestone in his life.  So in a few weeks they will be making the long trip from Down Under all the way to Florida, then on to France.  Their son will be christened at one of these locations.

Here is the complication.  The heirloom family gown, like most, was made for a 0-3 month old baby.  But this baby will be 9 months old when he is baptized. Continue reading

Rebecca’s Home Garden Wedding

Guests gathering before the ceremony.

Guests gathering before the ceremony.

 

With all the upcoming June weddings, I thought you might enjoy our family’s adventures preparing for our daughter’s nuptials,  as well as all the sewing I did for this important event.

10 years ago Rebecca and her Louisiana-born fiance traveled each corner of the county exploring venue options for their Cajun themed wedding.  After checking out virtually every possible location, the groom-to-be said he would like to be married at our home.  (dab, dab, dab my leaky eyes!)

We had almost 10 months advance notice so my husband and I went into high gear to spruce up the house and garden,  get the preacher and musicians on board, hire a photographer, rent a tent, etc. etc.  Stetson University’s string quartet set the mood for a joyous but solemn occasion.

 

 

It was perfect until just before the bride marched down the aisle with her father, the musicians broke into Darth Vadar’s Death March!!!!  That surprise was the work of my new son-in-law.  It certainly lightened the mood.

Meanwhile, the bride and groom-to-be were living and working across the state where they met.

For months we sweated in the yard by day

garden xx

and I sewed in the house all night.  I sewed and sewed and loved every minute of it.

Table toppers were made for the cocktail hour before the vows were read.  Guests sat around the pool and at the side garden enjoying hors d’oeuves.

seating in the side garden

Seating in the side garden.  Under the floral square is a pink twill square, much brighter than shown here.

The edges were simply serged.  That’s no big deal but, trust me, with 15 pink twill and 15 pink floral toppers, each 60″ square,  that’s a lot of serging mileage.  And there were more to be done.

 

guests seated around the pool

guests seated around the pool

 

For the reception dinner tables, 14 gold toppers were made, not to mention those made for the serving tables.  More miles of serging!

 

gold table toppers for the reception dinner

gold table toppers for the reception dinner

Continue reading

Vintage Wedding Napkins

F35~06brideor 37 years now the 8 women who make up PlayGroup Mamas have served as a sisterhood/support system that has enriched each of our lives.  The group also hosts bridal and baby showers for each of our 23 children and does the heavy lifting for their weddings.

Sweet Melissa, the youngest of the PlayGroup Kids, is getting married this weekend.

 

 

PGM's host a baby shower for my daughter-in-law Shelly, the young one in the center with the long hair

Here we are, minus one who was out of town.  PGM’s hosted a baby shower for my daughter-in-law, Shelly, the young lady in the center with the long hair. The group includes a university media specialist, veterinary assistant (to her husband), assistant manager of a major airport, four teachers and one passionate needleworker (that’s me).

The troops have been called up to active duty, having already pulled threads for  24 burlap table runners and worked on centerpieces.  Friday and Saturday we will gather at the reception site to set up.

My major responsibility is decorating and I always start with the table settings. As you may already know, I love, love, love textiles and have an extensive “resource center” of household items.

The past few days, many hours have been spent ironing 150 napkins and once again enjoying the beauty and workmanship of these vintage treasures. Some are family pieces, though most were purchased but never bought new.  Each had served on many a  table before it moved to my house.   And of course, they do not all match.  I think that is an advantage as the variety adds interest and elegance to the overall appearance of the dining room.

I spent a lot of my ironing time speculating and daydreaming a biography for them.  Here are a few of my favorite napkins and a bit of their histories, some true and some not.

 

wed nap set

 

These lovelies just scream WEDDING!!!  to me.  Each measures only 17″, a tad short of the average dinner napkin size of 20″.  But I don’t care.  I always use them for weddings. Continue reading

Expo Inspiration+Free ME Yo-Yo’s

Pattern: Flamingo Cove

Pattern: Flamingo Cove    Notice the yo-yo’s on the fish, turtles, crab, pelicans, flamingos, bush and more.  My favorite is the sun yo-yo, surrounded by rick rack.

 

The Lakeland Quilt and Sewing Expo in Lakeland was the highlight of last week for Suzanne Sawko and me.  We were swamped with inspiration!  Our last minute trip was scheduled too late for us to register for classes, but the vendors and quilt displays made the trip more than worth while.

 

Lion's Den

Lion’s Den pattern

Continue reading

Celebration

NOTE:  Several antique baby dresses and other items will be posted for sale Wednesday morning. 

“Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God.” Leviticus 19:32

photo-1

All set up and waiting for the 11:00 service to be over (faces obscured because I for got to ask permission to post).  Gold  table toppers and table numbers were left over from our daughter’s wedding.

Today at our church there was a gala luncheon celebration for members of our congregation who are over 90 years old.  Sponsored by the deacons, this was an especially lovely event!  Twenty-two of the 46 eligible members were in attendance with their family and friends as guests. Almost 125 dinners were served.

Bob and I were both busy serving, so this is the only photo that we took.   After our church photographer posts photos, I will include more.  Fellowship Hall really did look very festive.  The theme was “fall,” though I thought for an event with so many elderly guests, “Don’t fall” would have been a better choice.

As each honoree entered Fellowship Hall, a boutonniere or corsage was pinned on and a photo taken.

The lady on the left, above, decided the honorees should have a goody bag as a sort of party favor.  On her own and with the help of her 11 yo granddaughter, she filled gaily wrapped bags with a word search booklet, a Bible scripture bookmark, a picture frame for the photo that was taken today, some hard candy, and a daily devotional booklet.  Each honoree was also give a souvenir booklet with a bio of each of the over 90 members.

I was in charge of decorations and was pleased to be able to reuse many things made for our daughter’s wedding and– much to my dear husband’s dismay– still stored in our garage.   Twenty gold table toppers, some sheer and some tapestry weight, were placed over the green cloths and the embroidered table numbers were once again put into use.

056

at Rebecca’s wedding— same tapestry table cloth, same gold chargers, same embroidered table numbers, same linen napkins

When the table numbers were made, I knew it was a lot of time spent on a small detail, but Rebecca and I both liked the idea.  Since the wedding, these same numbers were used for four Mother’s Day teas at the church of my daughter’s mother-in-law and then for the wedding of a sweet family friend.  And in the next year, they will be used again for the wedding of another family friend.  So the numbers have been put to good use. Continue reading