Category Archives: hand embroidery

Another Contemporary Heirloom?

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Four-month old Vivian Rose is growing like the national debt, so I am busy, busy, busy sewing for her.   The pink Imperial broadcloth “apron” is paired with bloomers of black floral lawn, which was a stretch for traditional me.  Black for a baby???  I keep reminding myself  that this blog’s subtitle is “modern projects for old fashioned Nanas.”  But can an Old Fashioned Baby pattern be  a modern project?


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Coming soon–black buttons and buttonholes.


The pattern is Baby’s Summer Clothes by Old Fashioned Baby, the largest size of which is 6-12 months.  The sleeveless apron with the scalloped hemline is the version I chose. Surely, I thought, it would fit a 4 month old baby for a few months.  But not this queen-sized baby girl. Continue reading

Ruffled Smockable Bubble

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The six month size fits her perfectly with a crotch extension.

This past week with our grandchildren has been delightful—and exhausting!  Laurel wants to teach two of her friends to sew, so she did a practice lesson.   Robert spent an entire afternoon with his grandfather assembling a free standing basketball hoop.  Alastair spent time with his cousins handling and socializing the feral kittens we have housed in the old chicken house.

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Alastair with one of his favorite kittens and one of his favorite bandaids.

Each day, I thought surely tomorrow this bubble would be completed!  Finally it is, after this special time with Robert, Laurel, Alastair and baby Vivian Rose. Continue reading

Tiny Baby Vests

baby undershirt vests

baby undershirt vests


These little shirts and a few more were purchased on my last teaching trip to Australia in 1997.   I had never before seen anything like them for sale in the USA so I snatched up a half dozen in two infant sizes– small and smaller.  I wish I had bought more. Continue reading

Pink Petal Daygown

Vivian Rose, 5 days old, in vintage pink petal daygown.  Her gorgeous blanket was knit by her paternal grandmother, Oma.


Vivian Rose is wearing a vintage Swiss batiste daygown from my little collection of antique and vintage baby garments.  Unlike everything I have made her, it fits  perfectly.

Some time ago, the gown was featured in an earlier blog post.  In case you missed or forgot all about it, here are the details of this pretty little dress.



This sweet antique daygown hangs with its age-appropriate companions on one of the two the twig swags in my upstairs grandbaby nursery. Continue reading

Vivian Rose and Her New Smocked Daygown

Vivian Rose 2 hours old


Hurrah! Baby Girl arrived today, Monday, via C-section weighing in at 8 lbs. 7 oz., measuring 21 “.  Mother and Vivian Rose are both happy and well.  We are thrilled!

From the moment she was placed in her mother’s arms, she latched on and nursed for almost 2 hours.  Of course, it was not non-stop, but she never let her little mouth stray from the source of her contentment.  She screamed when she was moved to the opposite side and then went silent when she was in the vicinity of lunch.  So she was 2 hours old before we got a good look at her and took this photo.

Rebecca was very pleased with this pink Swiss flannel bishop daygown.



It matches the bonnet made earlier.

Continue reading

Pink Antique Lace Daygown

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I love antique laces.  I love the extra detail in the pattern, the unusual colors, the history of previous owners and previous uses about which I speculate while I am sewing.

I love this daygown.  I love the materials, the techniques, the details that I so enjoyed adding and the daydreams I entertained while fantasizing about grandchildren in my future.  Can you tell I love heirloom sewing?

Yet again, this is not a modern project for an old fashioned Nana.  I needed grandchildren before I realized the importance of easy care.

Through the years, I have sniffed out some incredible finds.  This lace was one of them.  At the end of this post, I will tell you about how I became the final owner of this unused, antique lace. Continue reading

Troublesome Diaper Shirt





I’m still frantically making  toddler toys for Operation Christmas Child so I haven’t had time to write up a new post.  Getting all 50 of these in-the-hoop stuffed dolls and animals out the door is my highest priority right now.   As soon as they are finished, I can get back to stitching baby girl things for our newest granddaughter, due at Christmas.  So this re-run will have to do for now.

It seems especially appropriate, since it is our daughter Rebecca’s baby we are eagerly awaiting.  Read below to see why.

This little diaper shirt will be pulled out of the special items packed away after granddaughter Laurel outgrew them.  To go with it, I’m going to make a pair bloomers with an eyelet edge.  Do you think yellow gingham or solid?

Oooh, I cannot wait to see this precious, long-awaited baby in smocked and heirloom clothing.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Babies are always more trouble than you thought – and more wonderful. Charles Osgood

Even 5 year old Laurel is well aware of the first part of this sentence.  Babies are, in her words, “a LOT of trouble!” Recently, for a homeschool social studies lesson, Continue reading

Baby Slip

Swiss flannel Old Fashioned Baby slip with hand embroidery—yes, I embroidered this by hand!  Here at the cabin, this quilt was the only thing I could find to use as a background.

While we at here our cabin in North Carolina, I am enjoying some uninterrupted sewing time.  This is the first project I have finished (except for buttons and buttonholes) for Grandbaby Girl #2, due around Christmas.   December weather in Florida could be 28 or 90 degrees.   So for a start, I am planning several daygowns and at least one Swiss flannel slip for cool days.

This should have been a quick and easy project, but it has taken me several days.  Once again I am actively pursing the achievement of an acceptable feather stitch.  I think I just barely made the grade this time, but it took me FOREVER!!!!  First, I had to study all my embroidery books and then go to on-line tutorials and finally YouTube demonstrations. Continue reading

Contemporary Cute~Knot Dress



Jo creates the most adorable clothes, like this dress,  for her girls.  She also takes fabulous pictures! Photography is another of her passions.

Often, Jo chooses contemporary patterns, always adding her own classic touches, like the hand embroidery on the apron.




On this dress, she added an especially unique and clever detail, a label made from the fabric selvage. This is an idea she gleaned from Pinterest.  CORRECTION:  Jo says it was a Flickr idea.


selvage tag

How cute is this?


Continue reading

Puerto Rican Diaper Set



This diaper shirt was returned to me in a bundle of infant clothing I had loaned a friend for the use of her first grandchild.  It is another treasure I brought back from one of my teaching trips to San Juan.  As I looked over this sweet garment and tripped through the memories of those special sewing schools, I was reminded of the beautiful baby clothes those Puerto Rican ladies make.

With the sweltering tropical climate, island babies need simple garments to keep comfortable.  The shops in San Juan are well stocked with exquisitely made garments embellished with delicate handwork. Continue reading