Category Archives: girls

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.

The day after the fabric was ordered, Vivian was here to finish her quilt (a future post).  She loves plundering through my sewing room and the nursery closet where she came across cousin Laurel’s Christmas dress from 2010, just waiting for her to grow into it. That was the nutcracker themed Christmas before Vivi was born, when Laurel was the Sugar Plum Fairy, Robert was the Nutcracker and little Alastair was the Mouse King.

 

Surely, I  thought, Vivi is too small for this.  But she insisted she wanted to try it on. Lo and behold, it fit!   She desperately wanted that dress.  When I explained  that the fabric for the white lace dress, which she also desperately wanted, was already on its way, she replied, “Nana, a girl needs more than one Christmas dress!”  Who could argue with that, even during a pandemic.

But the beading on the bib was damaged and needed repair, so I could not send it home with her.  I put it off and finally mended the lace with 80 wt. Madeira thread.   The dress was sent to her priority mail a full week ago.  It still has not made it 150 miles across the state, but the poor USPS has been swamped this holiday season.  I expect it will arrive before Christmas and one of those other 2 hairbows will match the pink ribbon.

So I’m feeling pretty smug right now, knowing that my little granddaughter is all set for Christmas 2020 AND for Christmas 2021!  I bet not many sewist can feel that relaxed!

Meanwhile, I wish all of you dear readers a very merry Christmas and holiday season.  Also I wish you all a happy, healthy 2021!

 

 

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

Garments for Ghana

This is the first of 7 clotheslines that hung from the walls in fellowship hall.

Required disclaimer: I am a paid Brother Ambassador.  Not required:  I genuinely LOVE Brother machines.

UPDATE:  The first picture is in from Ghana!  Though this little girl is not needy, I think she is the daughter of Ghanese pastor who hosts the mission team.  Gayle had said this child would be given first choice.  She certainly looks pleased. Her father reported that she didn’t want to take off  the dress and slept in it!

 

What an exciting, satisfying project this has been!  Since the end of Feb. a group of ladies and 4 children of River City Church, EPC, have gathered every Thursday to sew for the needy children of Ghana. Our goal was to make 100 garments. We finished the last week in May with 76 dresses and 44 pairs of shorts!

Getting started with basic instructions.

 

Starting a pair of cargo shorts.

Our efforts were in support of this summer’s second medical mission trip to Ghana, led by a church member Dr. Lyle Wadsworth and his nurse wife Gayle.

NOTE:  Please excuse the wrinkled dresses.  The garments were pressed before being hung on the clothesline. But after being packed for shipment to Ghana, many were unpacked to be photographed.  It was just too time consuming to iron all of them.

Overturned yo-yo’s created puffy balloons. The teepee bag covers a runaway balloon.

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What has been keeping me busy!

My goodness but life has a way of keeping me busy and away from writing blog posts!  But I have been sewing.  Here us a sampling of some of my projects.

I found this heart headband slider as a freebie (for a short time only) for Valentine’s Day at Tattered Stitch.  It makes up quickly and was a big hit with my granddaughter 6 yo Vivian Rose.  She wore it to the family’s special Valentine breakfast and then to school.

Vivian Rose at the family’s special Valentine breakfast.

 

It was so quick and easy to make that I made 18 for the little girls at church.  They were delighted.  This is just the first batch I made.

 

 

Then Aunt Rheeta made her annual pilgrimage to Florida to escape Indiana’s bitter cold winter weather.  She sewed and sewed, making 10 mug rugs.  Unfortunately, I did not get pictures of all of 12, but she made a set of 4 hunting themed mug  rugs for each of two of her sons, one more feminine design for her daughter and one for her house/dog sitter.

Then she made these two for Joanne and Kyle, parents of precious baby Bea.  She said she has been praying for them since March so they almost feel like family.  She went to our Bible study group at their home and was so pleased to meet this lovely couple and spend time with darling Beatrice.  Kyle loves to hunt so one is for him and the fall print seemed to go well with Joanne’s home decor.

 

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Back at Last!

First, let me wish you a happy Valentine’s Day!  My latest post at Brother’s blog Stitching Sewcial is all about embroidered cards, specifically Valentines. I wish you all joy and happiness on this special day of love.

 

 

The tutorial gives all the ins and outs of embroidering cards, from choice of cardstock size and attaching embroidery.  Check it out and please leave a comment at Stitching Sewcial if you find it helpful or inspiring.  Here are a few of the other samples.  Details of each are included at Stitching Sewcial:

 

 

The front embroidery is covered and inside text is Minnie’s quote.  It reads:

 

This one is for our 6 yo granddaughter.  The inside text reads, “Vivian Rose, you are our favorite princess.”

More are posted.  I had a hard time stopping, since these are so much fun to make.

But much more has been going on since I last posted here at Janice Ferguson Sews.  Of course, Christmas was pure joy, with both of our children joining us with all four of our precious grandchildren.  It doesn’t get any better than that.

Many gifts were stitched. Mug rugs caught my attention and I made several for my daughter-in-law, but didn’t manage to get a photo.  These are so much fun and make great gifts.  She is our nature girl and really liked the apron I embroidered for her with this fabulous bear from Urban Threads. Continue reading

Magical Parade Dress

This sweet little dress is my third Ode To Joy from Maggie Bunch’s Sew-Along.  What a great class and what a perfect little dress!  The length was for a tunic, but Maggie’s pattern is so adaptable that I added a wider border at the hem to make it a dress.

Can you see the “prince” is riding a unicorn?

Who doesn’t love Sarah Jane’s truly magical prints for Michael Miller?  Many are borders, with the the fun part running along the selvage.  That allows for two 22″ widths of delightful borders. Most have coordinating prints that can be used for the hem, sleeve and neck binding.

My first Ode to Joy was poorly made, as I was in a hurry and did not read the directions carefully.  But I loved it anyway and so did my then 4 yo granddaughter.   MM/Sarah Jane’s “Swan Lake” print,as shown, is still available.

 

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Summer Picnic Dress

Originally plain white with drawn thread work at the hemline, this versatile dress from All About Blanks can become something very special. Adding a shirt makes it suitable for chilly, windy kite-flying days.

 

This “blank” linen/cotton blend dress from All About Blanks is, indeed, a blank canvas awaiting embellishment. With embroidery, ribbon and topstitching, it steps out from “blank” into the realm of special.

Its patriotic kite and images of sunshine and water seem to broadcast and celebrate the joys of summer.  For a picnic, family  reunion or any such occasion, a little girl would be the center of attention.

The embroidery design is from Brother’s embroidery site, ibroidery.com.  It is so sweet and versatile, capturing the magic of childhood summers.

 

Brother’s ibroidery.com design BIC-MTGSAS008

Another little touch was swapping out the white utility buttons with  eye catching red ones.

 

 

A complete tutorial post for this project is at Brother’s blog Stitching Sewcial.

*Required disclaimer:  I am a paid sewing consultant for Brother.