Category Archives: Binche Lace

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.

11 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. The color added by the gold, solid pink and pink floral squares was a pretty addition.

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

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Wedding or Holiday Chair Backs

 Another wedding repost.  Quick and easy to make, these chair covers could be embroidered for birthdays, Christmas or other holidays.  Any event that calls for a guest’s special recognition is a good reason to whip up a few.

The BRIDE and GROOM chair backs lived with the trunk show samples I displayed when I taught classes.  At every event, they got a lot of positive attention, with students measuring and making notes on the construction.  

Have you ever made chair covers?  Please share pictures.




Sewing for a wedding is just about as much fun as sewing for babies.   It’s like the prelude to grandchildren. Continue reading

Lion and Mouse Suit




Do little boys in your area wear heirloom clothing?  I hope so.  This little suit is for my 18 month old grandson who will wear this as soon as he grows into it.  I am always so pleased that my daughter and her husband enjoy seeing Alastair in classic clothing.

The blue suit fabric is a very fine wool challis, no heavier than broadcloth.  It is lined with blue microcheck and closed at the shoulder and side tabs with pearl shank buttons.  I was tempted to embroider a little mouse on the front of the suit, but chose instead to leave it plain so that it would be more versatile.  I may make another shirt, perhaps with a wide, embroidered collar.





The shirt is made of ivory combed batiste.  A box pleat at center front allows for more ease of movement.  Pearl 4-hole shirt buttons close the back opening.  Continue reading

Picture Lace Pinafore



Finding this dress and pinafore made me so happy.  I had long since thought the fall Liberty print dropped yoke dress was lost.  As it turns out, I had forgotten that my friend Suzanne Sawko had made another pinafore to go over the dress for a Sew Beautiful photo shoot some time ago.  Both garments were recently retrieved from the bottom of my antique blanket chest where specially sewn items are stored.

The dress was originally made to go under the Little Fawn Pinafore.




The picture lace pinafore shown above is made of a medium weight champagne Swiss batiste and edged with ivory lace tape and antique picture lace or AEsop’s Fables lace.  It’s unique characteristics include the colored cordonnet that outlines a figure and is worked into the lace edge.  It is an antique Binche lace, made some  time prior to 1926, though the exact year is unknown.  Continue reading

Second Hand Roses




I’m really into recycling Rebecca’s dresses that have been packed away for 25+ years.  It’s amazing how timeless a smocked dress can be and how well they hold up.

Some, like Barbra Streisand,  may turn their noses up “second hand,” but neither Laurel nor I mind.

I had to drop the hem, as little girls’ skirts are longer now. Fortunately, when the dress was made, I followed the standard recommendation of putting in a 6″ hem so  I had a good 3″ to drop.

This basic yoke has a sash that ties in the back.  It is smocked to just above the waist and meets the back yoke at that same depth.  The sash snugs the dress up and feels more like a big girl dress.

The intriguing smocking plate is Chinese Chippendale by Barbie Beck, an almost ancient design.  If you blow up the photo, you will see how interesting the design is. Continue reading

Pin Pillow

This is my favorite kind of crazy patch quilting,using otherwise useless pieces of old needlework.  One reason is that I love antique textiles and another is that I like to recycle.

The Victorian style dresser pillow for favorite mementos was created from a medley of vintage handwork,  from doilies to table linens, antique laces, ribbons and trims.

This 8″ x 10″ oval pin pillow, outlined with piping and antique lace edging, is a daily reminder of happy days in the past. A felt pad cushions the pin backs and prevents scratches on the dresser. Continue reading

“In the Pink of Life” Quilt

NOTE: This post is from an article I wrote for Creative Needle magazine some time ago. Made for my daughter Rebecca, this is one of my favorite projects.

French ribbon, Swiss basket embroidery, Grannie-made tatting

Heirloom Sewing Goods and Techniques~~~Long identified as the preeminent tone of femininity, pink is often the color of the daygown, embroidery, hair ribbons and other loving embellishments in a girl’s life. The pieces used for the crazy patch squares in this quilt include pink remembrances of my daughter, Rebecca, as well as other gourmet leftovers from earlier projects.

Chinese tatted medallion, pink lace tape, silk rosebud, antique lace

The pink damask napkins represent adulthood–the pleasures and responsibilities of hospitality, graciousness and family celebrations.

antique lace, Swiss butterfly, drawn thread napkin lined with pink batiste

The quilt shows extensive lace-to-lace joining, tucks and other techniques long-practiced by heirloom stitchers. Bits of leftover handlooms and embroideries from baby dresses, lengths of tatting from Easter dresses, pieces of a fancyband of champagne laces and pink lace tape used in a pillow, and salvaged pieces from Grandmother’s cutwork tablecloth are joined in crazy patch harmony, much like crazy patches of memory. The resulting patchwork creation is of a very different genre than the countrified bed coverings shown in living color in quilt magazines.

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AEsop’s Fable Quillow


Quillows have been featured in previous posts, but most were of polar fleece. I find quillow projects to be universally useful and always fun to make.

Recently, while plundering through my Liberty of London scraps, I was reminded of this little quillow.   It is currently  among the missing and presumed to be residing in the depths of one of my grandchildren’s dressers.  An all-points-bulletin has been issued and I hope soon to have news of its whereabouts.




Some time ago, it was featured in an article I wrote for Creative Needle magazine.  All of the photos and parts of that article are included in this post.


A uniquely contemporary version of the Great American Quilt, a quillow is a small quilt which folds up into its own pocket to create a pillow. One of simple design, such as a whole cloth with no piecing, can be made in as little as three hours.

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Memories in Lace Quilt

A daughter is the happy memories of the past, the joyful moments of the present and the promise of the future.~ Author Unknown

This is certainly true of my daughter Rebecca, though she has alrealdy fulfilled all the future promises  for which I had hoped—and more.    This quilt holds happy memories of the past, some mine, some hers, some which she cannot possibly recall. 

Made in the traditional snowball pattern, this quilt is composed of alternate blocks filled with applique’d hearts.  Lace scraps from skirt fancybands and remnants of Rebeca’s little dresses make up the bulk of the hearts.   Continue reading

Binche Elephant Doll Bib


Binche elephant lace

I came across this little doll bib today as I was going through some old teaching samples.  This will be included with 5 year-old Laurel’s Christmas doll, the  American Girls Molly.

Made on my Elna Diva, circa 1994,  the bib was, to me,  a miracle of machine embroidery. I know I am easily impressed, but the perfect decorative stitch of elephants was strong testimony to the quality of the sewing machine. It still is a fine  machine, but its embroidery has long been surpassed by hoop embroidery capability.

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