Category Archives: heirloom sewing

Children and Puppies=Inevitable Damage

Children and puppies–I do love and enjoy them.  Damages are to be expected and the children who are the light of my life  never fail to deliver in their younger days.

 

 

Recently, Vivian Rose, 4 yo, was here for a week of Nana Camp.  She is a scamp so I rarely let her out of my sight.  But one  day she slipped away while I was on the phone.  She was wearing her back-to-school Children’s Corner Jane.

 

At the top of her head is what Vivi calls her “fountain.” This was her signature look for a few weeks at the beginning of the last school year. She loved it.

 

As I turned away from  the kitchen sink, Vivi stood behind me, looking quite artificially serene.  Her outfit was streaked with what looked like peach sidewalk chalk marks.

 

Vivi’s back to school Jane.  After laundering the stain remains

 

“What’s on your shirt, Vivi?”

Smiling sweetly, “Dirt.  Umm hmm.  Brown dirt.”

“It doesn’t look like brown dirt.”

Big blue eyes widen as she replies, “Well, the red polish was vewwy vewwy high u—uh, I mean…. it’s brown dirt.” She smiled and walked away.  End of subject.  What she lacks in honesty, she makes up for in creative explanations.

After laundering, the “brown dirt” still remains.  I can’t imagine what she got into in such a short period of time.  She had to leave the kitchen, run through the dining room, down the hall, up a flight of stairs, across that hall, through our master bedroom, and into the master bath.

The red polish is, indeed,  “very, very high up”  in  a wall cabinet above an antique wash stand. Vivian Rose travels fast and climbs high.  But the outfit is a year old so the loss was not great.

We had a grand time.  She loves to dump out  my button jars to sort and play with the novelty buttons, especially those which are heart shaped.  She sewed a kitty cat keychain.  Sewing is always a favorite activity with all 4 of my grandchildren.

 

Getting started on a keychain.

 

While she was here it was time to have pictures taken for our church directory.  She happened to have with her a white smocked pinafore that her mother had worn 35 years earlier.  It’s a little too big, but I loved seeing her wear it.

 

35 year old Little Sunday Dresses pinafore, smocked with Ellen McCrn’s monogram.

 

That Little Sunday Dresses Pinafore  pattern by Florence Roberson is a treasure.  Notice the armscye.  It is wide and square, with ties to draw it up to fit the child.  It can be worn for at least two years.

And she loved playing with our Shepherd/Great Pyrenees mix puppies.   Samson and Delilah are crazy about her.

 

4 month old Delilah is kissing Vivian all over her face and neck. Vivi is squealing with delight. Crabby 11 yo yellow Lab Rastus looks on with disgust at Delilah’s unseemly behavior.

 

But these pups, too, have taken their toll.

Confined to the utility room for a short while, they helped themselves to a few books from my homeschool library shelf around the corner.  I guess they wanted a good read that they could really get their teeth into.  Anne of Green Gables and  Greek Legends  are only legendary now.

 

The plastic bin of puppy chow covers a large area of unraveled carpet.Who needs carpet?

 

They’ve eaten the upholstery off the back of one dining room chair.  But dear Bob says not to worry! We can just put that chair in the hall against the wall.  They have chewed the binding and fringe from the dining room rug and eaten shoes and slippers.  But that still seems like small potatoes to me compared to earlier pups Jacob and Esau.

Those  black Labs were Olympic gold medalists when it came to damage.  Their biggest score just broke my heart.

A year prior to the “incident,” Capitol Imports had asked me to make an heirloom quilt for their traveling trunk show.  They sent a king’s ransom in laces, Swiss batiste and all manner of  trims.  Six weeks of work later, the 60″ square quilt was lovely in my humble opinion.  Capitol agreed.  It toured  the world with them.

 

 

I loved their champagne Swiss and trims.  Combined with pink lace tape and pink satin ribbon, and free motion quilting, the scrappy design was elegant.

 

I asked if I could borrow the quilt to show at a class I was scheduled to teach in Orlando.  Somehow, the dates were mixed up and the quilt had not arrived when I left for class. Later the FedEx delivery person simply threw the box over the fence. and drove off.  Dum da-da dum….

On my way home after class. I called my husband.  He said that Jake and Esau had chewed something up.  “What?” I asked.

“I don’t know what it is–something white and fluffy.”  I had no idea that it was my quilt.  At home, the quilt was a pile on top of the freezer, with nothing much to identify it but all the batting that had spilled out.

 

 

I was actually nauseous when I realized what had happened.  How could I tell Capitol?

 

 

How much would it cost to replace the materials and of course, the time recreating the quilt?

 

 

 

Monday morning Capitol called, cheerfully asking if the quilt had arrived in time for my class.  I didn’t even have time to prepare mentally.   I just blurted out that my puppies destroyed the quilt and I’m soooo sorry!!!!

There was a brief silence and then….and THEN…this lovely lady said she understood.  Her puppy had eaten a new shoe that morning.   I hardly thought that crime compared to Jacob and Esau’s evil act.  But her kindness was so appreciated.

She went on to say that if at any time I wanted to remake it, just let them know and they would send replacement supplies!  How amazing was that???

I never did remake the quilt.  It still lies folded up in my linen closet, a reminder of another day, another time, another beauty lost to puppy teeth.  Beauty is fleeting, don’t they say?

But the damage of children and puppies, as I said before, is small potatoes.  It does not make me any less eager to see them and to have them included in our lives.  It helps me focus on bigger issues, like what will I sew next?

What will you sew next?

 

Opinions Change–Hurrah!

Children’s Corner Gwen with lengthened sleeve ruffles.

 

Granddaughter Vivian Rose, 4 yo, has always had strong opinions about her wardrobe.  Her taste in fashion has been less than classic, requiring bribes  for her to wear many of the garments I have made her.

But now she has changed her mind!!!!  She is asking for more Nana dresses!

It’s like she is recognizing her femininity, the flip side of her (Tarzan’s) Jane or Moana Strong Female persona.

 

 

I love this picture, taken when the family was on a camping trip last weekend. She looks like an Amazon girl, bringing home the 5 yo “man” she bagged!

Last week, I sent a package with Harry Potter clothes for her 8 yo brother, Alastair.  This lace trimmed second-hand Rose confection was included just so there would be something for her.  Better to receive something she did not like than to receive nothing at all and assume Nana didn’t love her as much as Big Brother.

Her mother was shocked when Vivi squealed, “I love it!”  Hurrah!  She would wear it at her school program in a few days.

When Vivi came to breakfast the next day wearing the pink smocked bishop, Rebecca reminded her that they were saving that dress for the school program.  Vivi was not happy. She wanted to wear it to school that very day.

 

This is not a face you want to see at the breakfast table.

 

But Rebecca relented and Vivi was delighted, willingly posing for pictures before heading off to preschool.

 

The ruffle sleeve edge is trimmed with lace, pinstitched in place.

 

Back is closed with plastic snaps. Ribbon bows are tacked to the snaps at the end of each ribbon inserted into the smocking.

 

Of course, I was thrilled with this change of opinion.  I was doubly pleased because the dress has been hanging in the nursery closet for some time, waiting for Vivi to grow into it.  When I showed it to her when her family was here for Easter, she told me “no, thanks.”

But as she said when she called to thank me, she said, “I didn’t like it then, but I love it now!”

 

The same lace was inserted above the hem, also pinstitched.

 

The lace is one of my dearest treasures. Mr. Russell, owner of the renowned lace wholesaler M.E.Feld Co., always generously shared his wealth of knowledge about the kinds of lace and its history. He always patiently answered my many questions when we spoke on the phone as I placed my order. It was his practice to send his customers a huge box of lace from which to choose. The unwanted, or in my case, over budget items were then returned.

 

 

In one of these boxes, whose arrival usually put me into a state of hyperventilation, there was a bolt of lace, wrapped on a blue card and marked “Made in France,” just like the others. But this one said “100% nylon.” Mr. Russell explained that these were called “levers” lace (though I have since seen it spelled “leavers”) and were just as fine as the cottons, but intended for lingerie or other items which would be subjected to heavy and/or frequent laundering.

Technically a galloon with a decorative edge on both sides, it is straight enough to be used as an insertion as well as an edging.  For more information about galloons, check out this post Antique Lace Galloons.  You will see that other galloons have been used as edgings as well as insertions.

This is especially appropriate for a dress for Vivian Rose.  Her mother’s aversion to ironing (I’m talking about my daughter–this is clearly a genetic mutation) means that not only the cotton batiste which tumbles nicely but the lace will be presentable right out of the dryer.

The dress was made about 20 years ago for our god child whose mother returned it for Vivian’s use.   So I was doubly pleased for the dress to have a second chance at being worn.

FYI, Rebecca asked Vivi’s teacher for mercy with regard to the dress.  This sweet lady directed Vivi in such a way that the dress came home on our rough and tumble little student from school totally unscathed and intact.  It required nothing more than laundering to be ready for the school program.  What a miracle!

Sigh…I am one happy Nana.

 

Beautiful Easter ’17

What a hambone! This little girl in her smocked Swiss voile bishop loves the camera.

 

I hope you all had a joyous Easter.  Ours was beyond fabulous, with a beautiful worship service and all four grandchildren and their parents for the weekend.  It could only have been better if our pilot son had not  been flying out in the wild blue yonder.

It was a non-stop celebration.  Saturday morning a church family hosted an Easter egg  hunt for 40+ children.  Wonderful as the hunt and the huge bounce house were, the highlight for most of the children was fishing in the pond.  Those fish were hungry and hit on every line.  Every child caught at least one fish. Grandson Alastair, 8, caught 4!  He was ecstatic.

 

 

Vivian Rose also caught a fish but she seemed more disgusted than thrilled.  She was happy to have her daddy’s help dealing with her catch.  She looked so cute and comfortable in her Petite Poche Penny. Continue reading

Opinions? Easter Dress in Progress

Pink Swiss voile, ivory entredeux, cherub medallion, heirloom laces and bishop pattern from Mimi’s Heirloom Sewing Book Two.

 

My life is absolutely wonderful but SO busy!  These new puppies chew up a lot of time… and a lot of everything else.!  They are adorable and we are crazy about them.  But they are one of the big reasons it’s been so long since I’ve posted.

 

Samson and Delilah, each 21 lbs, 10 weeks old

 

At this late date I am starting on Easter dresses for 4 yo granddaughter Vivian Rose.  One, of course, is for Easter Sunday.  The other is for the church egg hunt on Sat.  But that is on the back burner until Sunday’s dress is finished.

For several years I have had a piece of what must have been an exquisite tablecloth featuring cherubs and roses.  You probably figured out that roses are a bonus for anything I make for Vivi.

I’m thankful that someone had the foresight to save the remnants.  From the first time I saw it, I imagined one of those cherub medallions in a granddaughter’s dress.   Finally, the time has come.

 

each cherub is 3″ tall

 

The plan is to modify a bishop with several inches removed from the front.  That would leave a flat area on the Swiss voile for the single cherub.  As you can see, it is already pinstitched to the voile.  I love love love pinstitch and use it whenever possible.  This time a #100 needle was used instead of a wing for fear that a wing would cut through the dense portions of the lace.

 

cherub medallion secured to Swiss voile with pinstitch W 2.5 L 2.5

Continue reading

Free Fil Tire’ Heart design

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I so appreciate the support and encouragement you dear readers have given me  through the years.  For the some time now I have been extraordinarily busy and posts have been few and far between. And yet you still stop by to read my infrequent chats. I thank you for that.

For this day celebrating love, I am offering this free machine embroidered fil tire’ heart, along with wishes for love each day.  Just leave your request for the design as a comment at the bottom of this post.

The wing needle design is very versatile.  I’ve used it in combination with other designs on thees baby pillows.

 

 

It stitches beautifully on Swiss flannel, as seen on this baby shawl.

 

This is how it really looked.  Below the image is shown with contrast to show more detail.

 

The design was reinterpreted on the bodice of Judith Dobson’s tea dress.

 

 

I wish each of you a happy Valentine’s Day with lots of love.  And spread some around, ok?

 

 

 

Sweet Dreams, Baby Girl

While spending the past weekend with our daughter and her family, we celebrated her birthday and her husband’s.  After running across this post, I decided to put it up again.  Daughters are wonderful!! (But so are sons.)

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pc shams vert

Monogram is Dazzle from OESD. Tthe floral design is from Brother’s Holiday Card #77. This is a beautiful collection, with a pretty companion design for this one.

 

With a teary eye for the quick passage of time and a proud heart for the woman she has become, I celebrated my daughter’s birthday by making this pair of pillowcases for her.  With these and the wonderful life she has made for herself,  I expect she will have sweet dreams.

 

DSC07077

The monogram is  Dazzle   from OESD.  It’s certainly convenient that she and her husband have the same initials.The floral design is from   Brother’s Holiday Card #77. This is a beautiful collection, with a pretty companion design for this one.

 

Luxurious bed linens have always been a priority for my girl.  As a freshman moving into a dorm at University of Florida, she asked me to custom make pima cotton sheets for the non-standard dorm bed, and, of course, matching pillowcases.    She confided that she was a bit like storybook character in the Princess and the Pea.  How could she get a decent night’s sleep on anything but pima cotton?  Oh dear, I thought.  Have I raised a “pima” donna?   But of course, two sets of fitted pima sheets were packed.

 

Sending off our French foregin exchange student days before Rebecca (in red) headed to University of Florida.

At  the airport, sending Claire, our French foreign exchange student,  home to France.  This was just a few days before Rebecca (in red) headed to University of Florida—along with her mama-made pima cotton bedding.

 

From the dormitory to the sorority house to her first college-girl apartment to her first little bachelorette house and now in her lovely marital home, she has always had pima cotton bedding. Continue reading

Alice Tea Linens Tutorial

image 1 panned set all shadowed

This child sized tea linen set features Alice in Wonderland characters.  With the heavenly scented Confederate Jasmine in full bloom on my front porch, a sweet tea party could be held, if only I had a few grandchildren in house.

 

Making this linen tea set was such a pleasure.  The project and accompanying tutorial were just posted on Brother’s Stitching Sewcial  blog.    This is especially timely with the recent release of Disney’s new movie, Alice through the Looking Glass. A whole new generation of children will meet the characters through this movie.

The tutorial includes .pdf downloads for the corner templates (a smaller one for the napkins and a larger one for the tablecloth).  It also includes a link to download the zig zag feather stitch which I created in My Custom Stitch,  available on many Brother machines.  I find this stitch useful for many projects–baby bonnets,   baby shawls,   blankets and more.

If your machine has this feature, you might want to download the zig zag feather even if you are not planning to whip up an Alice tea linen set.  Instructions for getting this stitch from the download to a memory stick to your machine are included in the tutorial.

When I began this project, my biggest challenge was to select the designs from  the 13 designs available at iBroidery.com.   Somehow, they would be have to be color coordinated with sweet Alice’s dress because the Madeira tablecloth corners just had to be blue.

 

 

Alice napkin close

 

Finally, I decided that the napkin corners would have to coordinate with its many colored embroidered characters. Continue reading

Alice in Wonderland Tea Party

napkin panned AliceCR

 

It’s busy, busy, busy in the sewing room.  My current project is an Alice in Wonderland linen tea set and I’m loving every minute of it.  The new Alice designs at Brother’s iBroidery.com got me so excited that I had to make this.  Soon there will be a tutorial for the project which includes a 30″ tablecloth, and 4 napkins.

Baby tatting edges the Madeira applique’ on each corner of the tablecloth which features a Brother My Custom Stitch zig zag feather stitch.   The same corner embellishes each napkin.  All four sides are pinstitched.

Along with Alice, the tea party guests include the White Rabbit, Mad Hatter, Queen of Hearts,  three different Alices, TweedleDum and his twin TweedleDee.

 

napkin panned White Rabbit

 

I love having tea parties with my grandchildren.  It’s a great situation for talking about manners and etiquette, proper table linens and more.   There’s nothing like cookies to motivate a child to hang around the tea table and chat.

Laurel started partying when she was very small.  As she grew older and we had a little tea time break during the 3 years I homeschooled her and her brother.  I even managed to work the Boston Tea Party into the conversation.  It was just too good an opportunity to miss giving a little history lesson.

 

Lteaparty1

We often tea partied on the back porch. Apple juice and cookies were always served.  For more photos and info about this set click here.

Continue reading

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.

10 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.

 

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

Continue reading

1st Birthday Dress

birthday dress

Made 11 years ago,this first birthday dress was for now 12 yo granddaughter Laurel. Of course,  I still love sewing for her.

It’s birthday time for our older granddaughter, Laurel, so I’ve been spending some time reminiscing about her birth and infancy.  So here is a re-run of a post about her first birthday dress.

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Laurel was our first grandchild, and a girl at that.  Our son had been married for 9 years and our daughter was still a single career gal. After nearly 15 years of Granny Lust, mitigated only by gathering fabric, patterns and trims for my Grandmother’s Really Hopeful Chest, I was ready to sew as a genuine Nana.

That first year went by so quickly! Smocked daygowns and bonnets, embroidered diaper shirts and onesies, monogrammed bibs and baby Gator duds flew out of my sewing room.  It seems that for almost 12 months, I did nothing but sew and snuggle that baby.

 

birthday dress cf

center front embroidery

 

As her first year drew to a close,  I did manage to pull myself away from the enchanting child long enough to make her first birthday dress. Of course, it was made with my finest Swiss batiste, carved pearl buttons, treasured Maline lace and other hoarded trims. Continue reading