Category Archives: girls

Beach Portrait Dress

My beach portrait dress project was just posted at Brother’s blog Stitching Sewcial. This is a tutorial, complete with pictures and detailed instructions.

It’s a little late in  the season, but there was a change in servers or something so for more than 3 months there were no new posts.  Still, the Brother Ambassadors and writers kept sending in projects resulting in quite a backlog.

At last, my beach dress reached the head of the queue and is now posted.

Titled “Sea and Sand,” the Imperial batiste dress is white with white lace, like the foam of  crashing waves.  It is trimmed with ecru entredeux, ecru feather stitching,  and ecru pearl buttons, the color of  beach sand.

This was a fun, learning experience for me.  I’ve wanted to make a beach portrait dress ever since my dear friend Judy Day attended a Lezette Thomason school and made this dress for her granddaughter.

When the time to make one, I contacted Lezette.   Generous as always, she not only gave me permission to use the dress for inspiration but shared the notes for the beach dress class.

Of course, I modified the dress considerably and added at least one new technique.

One modification included adding tucks to the first tier of the skirt.  This added considerable construction time and if I were to make another, I think I would have left that tier simply gathered. Also, more tucks were added to the other two tiers.

You can see these as my granddaughter models the beach dress which is still too large for her.  I used CC Louise size 8, the same basic pattern I used for Vivi’s Cruise Dress made  18 months ago.  Her mother declared  that she wore a size 8 then and the dress was too large. I thought given 18 months of growth it would fit her now.  But in 18 months she only grew longer legs.   The armholes still gap. I plan to take an underarm tuck for a better fit.

The new technique was using the white edging for insertion.  Having many yards of this edging, including the matching wider edge which I could use for the hemline, I wanted to use it for insertion.  In a future blog, I will give detailed instructions on how this was achieved.

Vivi loved the dress and loved hamming it up for the camera as she modeled.  We were vacationing in the NC mountains in an area famous for its white squirrel population.  The ceramic squirrel is just a prop, a “resident” of the wonderful back deck where I spent a lot of time smocking.

Maybe next summer when the dress fits her better we can take a real beach portrait with this dress.  But isn’t she fun?

Required disclaimer:  I am a paid Brother Brand Ambassador.  Not required:  I LOVE my Brother sewing/embroidery machines!

 

 

3rd Birthday Dress for Beatrice

This beloved, long-awaited baby girl will be 3 years old in a few days!  In celebration of the occasion I have made her birthday confection of batiste, lace, embroidery, feather stitches, ribbon and entredeux. As her official church Nana, I embraced this privilege.

This child is pure joy for her family and our entire church congregation.  We prayed so fervently for her safe delivery into the loving arms of her adoptive parents.  With her sparkling brown eyes and bouncing curls, she is all girl while at the same  rough and tumble.

Beatrice romps with her big dog and both of mine (weighing 100+ lbs).  She is friendly with the three family goats

and fearless with huge horses when she visits the stables. shhh..but just between you and me, she is a little frightened by teeny tree frogs!

She exudes personality and strength of character, even at her tender age. So this fluffy dress is perfect for fancy affairs and Sunday church where she sits quietly and prays with her little hands folded.  But denim overalls suit her just as well.

The birthday dress pattern is a modified version of Children’s Corner “Jodi” which was included in the pattern package with the Spring 2019 Classic Sewing magazine.  The bodice was lengthened to accommodate the antique Swiss beading above the gathered skirt.  It would have been much easier to use a dropped yoke pattern but I came up empty handed when I searched for size 3 in my drawer.

An embroidered monogram is centered with featherstitching and bordered with  Swiss beading, pink ribbon and Swiss embroidered insertion.

The skirt repeats the pattern of beading, Swiss insertion and featherstitching, edged with entredeux, woven with perle cotton and Swiss trim.

The fabric is white Imperial batiste lined with pink Imperial batiste. The lining is also edged with Swiss trim.

Sleeves are simply puffed and bound with Swiss beading, tied with ribbon.  Five rows of identical featherstitching run from shoulder to beading.

I can’t wait to see our curly-headed darling wearing this.

This was made on my beloved Brother Dream Machine 2.  Required:  I am a proud, paid Brother Brand Ambassador.  Not required:  I LOVE my Brother machines!

 

 

 

 

Bambi Play Set

This little pique’ playset features a sweet Bambi embroidery design built into Brother’s Dream 1 and Dream 2 machines, located in the Disney Tinkerbell menu.

 

I’ve always loved this design and thought Bonnie Blue’s Riley pattern was the perfect place for it to wear for spring and summer.

The ruffled back is especially charming.

The Riley capris were wider than I preferred so used Children’s Corner Parker’s Pants.  A ruffle was added to match the Riley top and the Bambi design was manipulated (with a LOT of effort) to place the floral design near the ruffle. Lime green piping was a nice accent between the ruffle and the body of the top and the capris.

This was such a pleasure to make, especially since it was for my almost 3 yo granddaughter. Doesn’t she look adorable wearing it?

More information and details about construction of this garment are posted here at Brother’s Stitching Sewcial blog.

Required disclaimer: I am a paid Brother Brand Ambassador.  Not required: I LOVE my Brother sewing/embroidery machines!

 

Repeat: 2 Free Easter designs and Upcoming Easter ’18

I’m busy finishing up Easter dresses for my granddaughters, so once again I am repeating an old Easter post from years ago.  It’s not  too late for you to use the two free Easter designs.  Just post your request in the comment section and they will be e-mailed to you.

If I don’t get a follow up posted, I wish you all a very joyful Easter.  It’s such a beautiful, meaningful holiday.

 

free Bunny trio applique pattern Children’s Corner Callie

 

As usual, I am way behind with Easter sewing and sewing in general.  I thought this might be a good time to share some earlier Easter features–dresses and free designs.

This little chocolate bunny dress was made for my 15 month old granddaughter to wear to the church “bunny lunch and egg hunt.”  I was so pleased to finally have the perfect use for my small piece of brown bunny Liberty of London tana lawn.

When I could find no embroidery design that suited me, I bumbled through the digitizing process to create this beginner design.  It is yours for the asking by leaving a comment below.

The second free design is one I used on several Easter baskets.  The name, of course, is not included but the design itself is Easter eggs nestled in grass

For the free grass and eggs design just leave your request in the comment section below.

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Whimsy Dresses

Since renowned sewing expert, dear friend, and Children’s Corner pattern designer Lezette Thomason posted a comment on the Sew Classic facebook group about this dress, it seemed timely to rerun this again.  She also added a file to the group files.   If you are a member of that wonderfully helpful group, which discusses exclusively Children’s Corner patterns, you might want to check it out.~~~~~~~

I’m still reeling with ideas from Kari Mecca’s classes at the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo ’15.  Fortunately, while there I had stocked up on spaghetti bias, so I was ready to go full steam ahead on this dress along with a matching one for an AG doll.

Kari’s books are treasures, so full of patterns and inspiration.  I purchased these books and am so glad to have them.

Sewing with Whimsy by Kari Mecca Paperback (9781878048523)

But back to the first dress she inspired……..

The ladybug button just tickled me. I was especially happy to find a tiny bug button for the doll dress.

sleeve2I started with a Simplicity pattern but wish I had found one without a yoke. NOTE:  CC Eleanor would have been perfect if it had been available at the time.   It left precious little room for the applique’ and I doubt the rick rack would have fit even if I had thought about it.  Also, I find the separation of bodice to skirt distracting, even with the coordinating lime green whipstitch piping.  Oh well.

dress back

I thought  of Elizabeth Travis Johnson’s admonishment to her students to put something interesting on garment backs. So I added a decorative button and an extra one at the bottom of the opening.  The top button should have been moved to the left so the back opening would close properly.

The doll dress was just as much fun, as I learned a few things about working in miniature.

Kit's dress is a little short, but that seems to be the style now.

Kit’s dress is a little short, but that seems to be the style now.

Kari often uses ribbon trim made from her Whimsy Sticks to outline the spaghetti bias.   I had no suitable ribbon (I’ll remedy that soon!) for the girl’s dress but even if I had some on hand, it would have been too large for the doll dress.

doll dress close

Notice that tiny, proportional ladybug button, about half the size of the one on the girl’s dress. It is just the right size.

Instead, the doll dress applique’s were outlined with baby rick rack which I did have on hand.  Hmmm…woulda shoulda coulda used rick rack on the girl dress, which I did have on hand, but that idea came toooo late. Next time, I’ll do that.

The doll size was a bit small for applique leaves, so I just fray-checked the ends of baby rick rack and made them into leaves.

doll dress sleeve 2

So  this is what I have done for fun.  What are you up to?  Easter sewing updates?  I’ll post mine when they are finished.

 

 

 

Christmas 2020

 

Not exactly a Griswold house, but it was enough to please us. And there is more in the back around the pool. Bob really wanted to please the children with all the lights. Lighted reindeer are perched on the garage roof, 4 snowflakes hang in front of the breakfast porch, candles are in the windows and my sewing room on the right is lighted up like an airport runway. Should have turned that off before Bob snapped this shot.

This is our 46th Christmas in this house and it seems each one gets better as all of our dreams have come true.

Well, the Most Wonderful Time of the Year has come and gone and it was a glorious time. For at least a few days of the week both of our children and  their families were with us and the house was filled with laughter, music, good food, dogs, and chaos.

Since our son was about 10, the Noel proclamation has been mysteriously rearranged on the mantel with our boy neither pleading nor looking guilty, offering only an innocent smile.  Now his son Robert has taken up the gauntlet and another Noel has fallen victim to the prank.

We never know what the mantel or the mirror will proclaim.  Some days it’s NOLE or OLEO, though LEON seems to be favored–you just never know.  Some speculate that it’s  the work of the Elf on the Shelf.

Meanwhile, the piano seems to be playing non-stop, whether it be Ryan, Laurel or Robert at the keyboard, with only cookie breaks in the music.  When Ryan was a child, his job was to play after dinner as Rebecca and I cleaned the kitchen.   It made her want piano lessons.

My boy loves music as do his children.

Sweet, sweet memories.

It was to be a great puzzle. 11 yo Alastair grins at his success, while mama Rebecca holds well-behaved Mendel and Robert FINALLY gave in to have his picture taken.

We worked on a Christmas puzzle on the back porch in 80 degree weather.  Then in one brief, unsupervised moment, Sebastian, our 1 year old Pyrenees pup, nicknamed The White Devil,  pulled the unfinished puzzle off the table and chewed up several pieces.  Oh well.

Gingerbread houses were built and decorated, basketball was played in the driveway, football games were watched,  driving lessons were given to 15 yo Robert,  eggnog was chugged, stories were told, cats and dogs were played with and loved on, church was zoomed and life was merry at the Ferguson home.

Our dinner table was festive, set with the traditional Christmas menu.  Along with pumpkin pie, Laurel made a divine cranberry cake, with cream cheese frosting sprinkled with chopped walnuts, decorated with candied cranberries.

As expected, Vivian’s white lace Christmas dress was too big, so she wore cousin Laurel’s 10 yo black velveteen Sugar Plum Fairy Christmas dress which had been hanging in  the nursery closet waiting for her to grow into it.  Finally she did.  Brother Alastair was dashing, as usual, in his  holiday finery.

I wish I had taken more pictures, but I got so wrapped up in the wonder of it all.  My wish is that you all had a joyous Christmas and celebrated the reason of the season.

From our house to yours, I wish you a happy and healthy 2021.

 

 

2021 Christmas Dress..Oh Well

Are you all set for Christmas?  Cards sent, house decorated, gifts wrapped and sent, sewing finished?  Congratulations if you’ve answered yes to more than one of these questions.

My cards are sent and some house decorating is done, but my greatest accomplishment is finishing my granddaughter’s Christmas dress.

The white lace dress pattern included in the latest Classic Sewing magazine was   made for almost 8 yo granddaughter Vivian Rose.   It is lovely but was just waaaaay too big for her.  She is tiny, though her mother declared she wears a size 8 and I went with it. Big mistake. Even with the accurate and current measurements I had for her, the lace has some stretch.   I should have taken that into account. The silver lining for this disappointment is that now her Christmas dress for 2021 is already finished! I’ve never been ahead of the game like this!

Here she is with the shoulder seams falling off her shoulders, with her handsome 11 yo brother.  He’s had such a growth spurt that his mother just discovered that the only dark shoes that fit his newly enormous feet are his soccer cleats.  So that’s what he wore for this picture. Fortunately, the shoe laces match his vest.  With any luck, Amazon will deliver his new black dress shoes this week.

My two younger grandchildren in their Christmas clothes. It’s likely they will only be worn for at home Christmas dinner with grandparents in their bubble. But they will look spectacular, especially if Vivian has a monumental growth spurt or wears her soon-to-arrive Sugar Plum Fairy dress (see below).

 

Farmhouse Fabrics, as always, came through with the white lace fabric. I ordered a few hours after their on-line Gab and Gush featured this lace and at that time  there were only 6 yards left!  The ever-helpful staff matched up ribbon for the sash with the satiny rose slip fabric I chose.  The hairbow, also ordered on line,  was a perfect match.  Of course, I ordered 3 bows hoping one would match and it did!

Vivian Rose with her beloved rescue dog, Mendel.

This dress was relatively quick and easy to make, with 4-thread serged seams and a Swiss batiste bound neckline.  There was no hemming at the sleeves or on the skirt. In the Farmhouse Live video Sally suggested a crocheted thread loop at the shoulders, attached with a snap to secure the slip shoulders.  That was a great tip, especially when the dress turned out to be too big.  That slip would have fallen off the child’s shoulders and annoyed her all day. Another set of crocheted loops was added to the waistline for the optional ribbon sash. Continue reading

Vivi’s Cruise Dress

Almost 7 yo Vivian Rose is tiny. A size 5 Children’s Corner Louise would have fit her ever so much better. She poses in Central Park on Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas cruise ship.

Life has been a whirlwind for us these past few weeks.  Of course, Hurricane Dorian was expected for a very long time and preparations were non-stop.  With 3 acres of patio furniture, potted plants, a standing basketball hoop, pool, and other miscellany, it seems there is always more you can do to prepare for a Cat 5 hurricane.

My fabulous husband, Bob, up on first story roof to put up storm shutters on second story windows. Already the skies were gray.

 

Additionally, I spent more hours in front of  the television than I have in the past year.  The weather and each of Dorian’s tiny turns to the east and then the west were monitored vigilantly.  The weather  had never seemed so important.

But living 30 miles inland from the coast, we were spared. Our damage amounted to two downed palm fronds and a few clumps of Spanish moss.  But days were spent waiting and watching Dorian’s painfully slow progress as it viciously battered the Bahamas and inched up the Florida coast.  We thanked God for His mercy, prayed for the poor Bahamians who were suffering bitterly, and prayed for those still in the storms path.

We had a cruise to the Bahamas scheduled for Sept. 2 and that was cancelled, of course.  By the time the storm passed, we were rebooked on a cruise which departed from Port Canaveral Sept. 5, just 30 hours after we received confirmation.

The purpose and highlight of the cruise was spending time with our two younger grandchildren, 10 yo Alastair, 6 yo Vivian Rose, and their parents.  We had a fabulous time.

The “cruise” dress I made in such a rush for Vivian Rose was done well before the hurricane was due to make landfall.  Inspired by a gorgeous dress made by famous smocking plate designer Terry Collins, I ordered the fabric the very day she posted her dress on-line.  The pattern is Children’s Corner Louise.

 

This is a terrific pattern, a blank canvas for a variety of embellishments.  Or it is lovely as shown as a jumper or sundress.  The bodice is fully lined.

While making this, I faced many of the problems familiar to those of you whose grandchildren do not live nearby.  Though Vivi soon will be 7, she is very tiny. Yet her mother declared that she wears a size 6 and that’s what I should make.  So I did.

Obviously it it too large in every respect except the length.  You can see  the gaping armholes in the first picture.

 

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Family Cruising

How’s this for a Cozumel tropical paradise?

It’s been way too long since a new blog has been posted but I’m  trying to catch up.  To say we have been busy is a gross understatement.  But let me tell you one of the many events that have kept us running– our wonderful Royal Caribbean cruise with our daughter and family.  There are some sewing projects to see but lots of fun to report.

I had packed a bag of smocking projects which I expected to complete while enjoying the view and sea breeze from our balcony.  Some smocking was done but I packed way too many projects with way too many great expectations.

My good friend Carol, our daughter’s fabulous mother-in-law, was with us and had the same idea.  She knitted and I smocked.  So we sat and stitched, but only for short periods of time.

 

 

There were so many activities.  Vivian Rose wore “Nana clothes” every day.  Here she is leaving an activity wearing a bishop Easter dress from a few years ago.

 

 

The dress was generously sized for her two years ago and desperately needed a tuck under the arm.  It still needs the tuck and the only other fitting problem its short length.   Regardless, she loves the dress.  I really need to make those tucks. Why she is wearing her backpack under the dress is a mystery to me. She wore this dress to dinner one night.

 

 

For dinner each night she was dressed in smocking. This dress was made for her mother 30 years ago and was worn by cousin Laurel before Vivi for a few years. Now it’s another one of Vivian’s favorites.  It’s still in perfect condition, another hurrah for Spechler-Vogel’s Imperial batiste Continue reading

How-to: Garments for Ghana

Required disclosure:  I am a paid Brother Ambassador.  Not required:  I absolutely love Brother Machines.

Several readers have written asking if they may participate in the Garments for Ghana project.   Others asked how our project operated so they might do a similar event in their own community.  When I mentioned in response to a comment on this topic that I might write this post, at least one promised that she (sweet Sandee) would not find these details boring.  I hope she is not the only one because I am going ahead with this.

Before I began, I was given some direction from the mission team leaders.  The request was for bright colors, since the landscape there is pretty bleak.  We did that. Check.

Second, there must be no buttons or closures  that might break or need replacement. Such replacement is not an option for mothers in these areas.  Check.  Elastic at the neckline was the only closure notion.  I know elastic gives out after a couple of years, but I expect these garments will be worn out long  before the elastic is.

Third, in many African nations and apparently in Ghana, bare shoulders for girls and perhaps adult females, is taboo.  So we needed some sort of sleeve.  Check.  I did notice early on that many photos of pillowcase dresses for Little Dresses for Africa showed the girls wearing a  tee shirt under their dresses.  Now I see that the site offers a free pattern that has a sleeve, much like the pattern I used.

Fourth, each garment must be marked with its size.  I had a bag of labels for sizes 1-5 and for the others I embroidered sizes on grosgrain ribbon in the hoop.  Ladies who worked from home used a sharpie to write on ribbon, which like the others,  was tucked into the elastic casing at the back. Continue reading