Category Archives: doll clothing and accessories

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.





All About Lace Tape~Part 1

Lately, there have been considerable discussions and questions about lace tape, its origin and uses.  The history is quite interesting, as its development involved a salvage warehouse and an unraveled sweater for my Rebecca and midnight transatlantic phone calls. That was in 1987 when I first brought this product to the heirloom sewing public.

Most of this history is detailed in this post. Because lace tape is one of my favorite sewing products, I’d like to share some applications and techniques. For many years I taught a 6-hour class around the country. So there is a lot of material on the subject, too much for one post. Lace tape can be used for shadow applique’, colored entredeux, colored shark’s teeth, tiny piping and so much more. So stay turned for details.  A few future posts will feature projects with detailed directions.


Approximately 3/8″ wide and available in a rainbow of colors, lace tape is a loosely woven 100% cotton trim. It has a gathering thread on each side and is wonderful for lace shaping.  It also can add a bit of color to an heirloom project.

lt 2 examplesrecol

Now there are two varieties of lace tape:  Japanese and Swiss. The lace tape shown above and used on each of the items pictured below is Japanese.


1. for lace insertion substitute joined to lace edging or other insertion


Peach lace tape was joined to lace edging and then stitched to flat bishop before smocking. See Molly’s Lace Tape Nightie for more pictures and information.

preparation: Like heirloom trims, lace tape is easier to work with after being starched and pressed, unless it is being shaped. Use the finest thread, preferably 80/2 Madeira Cotona,and the smallest needle appropriate to the thread size.

technique:Butt lace tape to lace. Zig zag the two pieces together with an approximate stitch setting of W 1.5-2.0, depending on width of lace header, L .8-1.0 edging. NOTE: An edge joining foot makes this much easier.

1-lt to lionsxx

Lace tape joined to Aesop’s Fables Binche lace.

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Christmas Outfits Past Part 2

I hope you have all finished your Christmas sewing.  I’ve moved on to baking and gift wrapping and hope to finish up in time for our big family celebrations.

Here are a few more Christmas outfits from the past.  These gingerbread outfits for my  two older grandchildren were favorites of mine.   A few years later, new grandson Alastair wore Robert’s suit.



Ready-to-smock gingerbread outfits were paired up with a Creative Needle smocking plate.


One year I planned to make matching Thanksgiving outfits for the children.  The Viyella brown plaid garments were made but before I began the bibs, plans changed and the older two would not be with us that day. So I decided to use the garments for Christmas.  But that was a stretch—brown plaid for Christmas.  I made it work.



Alastair’s Christmas outfit, Children’s Corner Glenn with linen bib embroidery from OESD’s Current Critters Continued.


Laurel’s basic yoke dress was trimmed with tatting, as was her linen bib.




Laurel also had a tie-on bib with a Current Critters Continued design.


These Current Critters embroidery designs are so charming. Continue reading

Christmas Outfits from the Past


Hand embroidered Sarah Howard Stone collar and velveteen dress for my daughter, 1983. It was worn a few years ago by my older granddaughter, Laurel.


They say time flies when you are having fun and, let me tell you, I have had a good bit of fun making holiday outfits for my children and grandchildren.  Like many of you, Christmas and Easter clothes are my favorite and most memorable projects.



This collar reminds me just how hard I  tried to get the stitches just right as we drove to my brother’s house for Thanksgiving.   It was a two hour drive along bumpy back roads and I poked my fingers more than once.  But I couldn’t waste the time. As the family sat and visited after the pumpkin pie, I continued to embroider.

Who knew that 15 years later it could be done on an embroidery machine?  Who knew there would be home embroidery machines? Certainly not me.


R L Stetson puffing

Robert and Laurel all ready for the Stetson Christmas concert. She is wearing recycled heirloom from her Aunt Rebecca’s closet.


A few years after the shadow work collar was made, my daughter wore a burgundy velveteen dress (just like this one) with this very puffing collar.  Then Laurel wore the collar on a new burgundy velveteen dress. Continue reading

Christmas Baby Doll for Baby


4 1/2" baby doll

4 1/2″ baby doll


For Christmas, one of 11 month old Vivian Rose’s gifts was this porcelain baby doll.  Nestled in a tiny wicker Moses-in-the-bulrushes style basket, the Dream Baby doll antique reproduction was tucked in looking like a classic heirloom clothed infant.

Just 4 1/2″ long, she seemed to be just the right start for our grandbaby’s doll collection.  Of course, it will be some time before she is allowed to handle this tiny treasure.  But it’s not too early to begin collecting. Continue reading

Smocked Nighties for 2 American Girls

L M stand


For Laurel’s 9th birthday I finally finished smocking this nightie.   The matching gown for her American Girl Molly had long since been done.   But when little Vivian Rose was born I was wrapped up making baby girl things, so this project was pushed to the back burner.  I was so glad to have both pink things out of my sewing room.


L close smocking


Like the Molly’s nightgown, Laurel’s has a machine embroidered heart in the unsmocked area at center front.  The designs are from Martha Pullen’s Little Pleasures collection which includes two nearly identical hearts in two sizes.  A little editing made them match almost perfectly.  Laurel notices and appreciates details like that.


L M sit cr


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Easter Outfits by Judy Day~~Going with the Flow



Many of you have been there—that place in time where your idea of what your child or grandchild should wear differs from that child’s opinion.  Selecting fabric, pattern, smocking design, etc. is so easy when  they are little, but as they develop their own personal taste you have to go with the flow.




Judy Day has done just that with fabulous results for her 9 year old granddaughters. Judy has always made holiday outfits in groups of 4, one for each girl and one for  each girl’s doll.   But this year, she recognized and acknowledged her girls’ growing sense of individual style.  Well, at least their different color choices.

Here is Judy’s story about the Easter outfits.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Continue reading

Lighting Candles, Playing Dolls, This and That


crying Karoline

My mother, Dollie Manning, was a very gifted doll maker. Years ago, she made the as many as 80 porcelain dolls for each of the Sewing for Dolls events that Mildred Turner, Terri Johnson and I held around the country. Additionally, she provided dolls for several similar schools sponsored by Ellen Nickerson in the San Francisco area. Mom also made tiny 3-8″ dolls that Lezette Thomason marketed and for which Lezette had drafted patterns. Then there were the dolls she made for our daughter Rebecca. That’s a lotta dolls.

When 8 year old granddaughter Laurel discovered that there are 3 storage bins of dolls in the garage, she just had to see them. She was allowed to select one to keep and she chose this very unique baby who had lost a shoe through the years.

You don’t often see a doll crying but Karoline (the name given her by Laurel) had tears that looked real.

tears cr

The sheen on Karoline’s tears is from clear fingernail polish.

Then I told Karoline’s story to Laurel. Continue reading

American Girl Doll~~Free Cash and Hobo Bag Pattern!

Check this out--free printable doll-sized cash! From Doll Clothes Patterns.

Check this out–free printable doll-sized cash! From Doll Clothes Patterns.

This great site offers a free, downloadable hobo bag pattern. Within a few days of registering (free) and downloading the pattern, you will be sent a link to printable—on both sides!–doll sized dollar bills! The page includes denominations from $100 to $1. It prints perfectly on both sides!

I’ve printed the cash but haven’t yet made the bag. I can’t wait to sew it up and load it with cash. My granddaughter Laurel will love it. Continue reading

Cutest Halloween Costumes

Halloween has never been my favorite holiday, but I must admit I have warmed up to it since our grandchildren joined in the festivities.  Both of my children have October birthdays and each had at least two parties every year (school, family and sometimes neighborhood).  By the time Halloween came around, I was out of creative energy.  They were told to scrounge around to find whatever they could for a costume.

My three grandchildren, however, had fancy costumes that did not come from the dress-up box.  Three year-old Alastair was resplendent in his Incredibles  costume, his current favorite Super Hero.  It arrived at Nana’s house while he was here a month ago.  Thank heavens for Express Delivery!I got big points (read lots of hugs and kisses) for pulling that one off!

Alastair Incredible flexing his muscles at the office of his adoring paternal grandmother, “Oma.”   There was an office party for the children and he loved it.

His mother had to hide it after they returned home so that it would still be wearable by Halloween.  And it was.

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