Category Archives: heirloom sewing

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!

 

 

 

 

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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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

Birthday Tea at Sea and Free Designs

I’m sorry it has been sooo long since a new blog has been posted.  Hip replacement, shingles and husband’s shoulder surgery has kept me too busy.  Now, at last, I can share this bit of Nana fun with you.~~~~

Grandchildren are just sooo much fun!  Fun is what we had recently on a cruise to Cozumel with our daughter and her family, including 10 yo Alastair and  Vivian Rose.  The occasion was to celebrate Vivi’s 7th birthday.

There, on board and overlooking the aqua blue Caribbean, she was the guest of honor at a genuine Fancy Nancy afternoon tea. It was pure delight!

Vivian Rose, wearing her smocked Ode to Joy dress (Maggie B pattern) and flaunting a purple boa, looks on the tea table set for the celebration. Note the lollipop centerpiece.

The birthday tea was a huge success.  Refreshments included pastries and dessert treats from the ship’s buffet accompanied with  Fancy Nancy Tea.  Feather boas and a chest of costume jewelry added to the elegance of the fete.

We had a fine time, or,  as was often said so many years ago in the Glenwood News column of our tiny local newspaper, “a good time was had by all.”  Several other ship passengers as well as servers stopped by to ask about the gala affair and offer Vivi birthday congratulations.

The tea also offered several opportunities to teach proper, ladylike behavior.

Vivian delicately wipes her mouth with her napkin–with no reminder!

She learned  that it is  impolite to discuss politics, religion or her health at a tea party or in any “polite” company.

“What’s politics?” she asked.   “Don’t worry about that now.  Just don’t talk about it when you find out.”    “Okay,” she obediently replied. What a good girl!

She listened attentively as her mother read Vivi’s new Fancy Nancy’s Tea Party book.  Little did we know she was already planning to soon host her own little tea party.

As her mother read, Vivian listened raptly to her new Fancy Nancy Tea Party book.

The idea for this event came about during her latest visit to our home.   We had been rummaging through boxes of my treasures in the garage when she came across a  few doll size tea sets. She was enchanted and asked if she could keep one.  We promptly had an impromptu tea party with her mother’s old Cabbage Patch doll (wearing a smocked dress) and a teddy.  Of course, she went home with the doll set, but I had this another in mind for her.

Having put aside this little porcelain set for her years ago, I presented it to her for her birthday at sea.   At the tea party she saw it for the first time. To me it has a distinctive Mary Engelbreit look.

Several years ago, Cousin Laurel was presented with the identical set and put it to use for several tea parties. At her Second Annual Tea Party,  guests were invited to bring their dolls.  It added a whole new dimension to the festivities.

To accompany Vivian’s service for 6, I made coordinating tea linens with monogrammed napkins.  The centerpiece is a painted flower pot loaded with jelly beans and lollipops.  Card stock leaves were added to the sticks to create a sugar illusion of a pot of sugary flowers..

Even before I was blessed with the grandchildren of my dreams, this tea set was the inspiration for a class I taught many times around the country.  Detailed instructions and the recipe for the Kindergarten Tea (now renamedFancy Nancy Tea) are included in this post http://www.janicefergusonsews.com/blog/2009/08/30/tea-party-time/ 

The perfect machine applique’d bow design was ever so kindly digitized by Mary Alice Smith of Alabama.   The hand-look embroidered napkin corners are part of a set digitized by my dear friend, Suzanne Sawko.  If you would like the free tea linen designs (available only in .pes), please leave your request as a comment below.

Just hours after returning home from the port, Vivian insisted on hosting an impromptu tea party in her yard under the Florida sunshine.  I asked my daughter if she had reminded Vivi about forbidden conversation topics.

She replied, “I didn’t have to.  Vivi firmly instructed her guests what not to talk about.”  Her previously informed too cool brother, attending only for the Oreos and banana slices, just rolled his eyes.

 

 

Angel Lace Cloud Pillow and Unique Technique

“If you wish success in life, make Perseverance your bosom friend, Experience your wise counselor, Caution your elder brother and Hope your Guardian Angel.”  Joseph Addison

Very appropriate for the Advent season, this heavenly angel pillow could also serve as a guardian angel baby gift or angel of appreciation.  I stitched this on 7 linen hemstitched guest towels which hung as banners as a Christmas gift for each of my beloved PlayGroup Mamas.

Scraps of lace are stitched on a grid and secured with a feather stitch. Grids in two sizes are free downloads at  Brother’s blog, Stitching Sewcial. It may make you re-evaluate the size of scraps too small to save.

A detailed tutorial with step by step photos is posted at Stitching Sewcial.

It was fun to use this same technique on a whimsical version on a dishtowel.

Seeing this photo now, an embroidered gingerbread man would have been more appropriate.  Oh well, hindsight and all that.

I hope you are all finished with your Christmas sewing, but I doubt it.  We Sisters of the Needle seem to keep on keeping on until the last hour, with more ideas for more gifts for more dear family and friends.

I’d love to hear about your projects and see some photos.  So carry on, Sewing Elves!  We still have 13 days!

 

 

Christmas Fawn Daydress

Christmas is just around the calendar corner and it’s rush, rush, rush for me and many of you.  I’ve just finished this Swiss batiste dress for Baby Beatrice.

I’ve written in earlier posts about Baby Bea, our new granddaughter via our church. Neither of her parents’ mothers is living,  so months before she was born they asked me to be her official Nana.  That was a happy day!  And, of course, she is a doll, just now 4 months old, which for me has been at least 120 more happy days.

Her daddy is an avid hunter, especially for deer. Bea’s little daydress is a reminder NOT to shoot Bambi or his antlered  father.

But back to the dress……the pattern is Old Fashioned Baby‘s Baby Daydress.

 

 

Like all of Jeannie B’s patterns, this one is a delight to sew and offers several design options.  I love the Scriptures and embroidery designs she places in the blank space around the pattern pieces.

 

 

 

The shadow work fawn is from Joy Welsh’s Applique for Kids.  It stitches just beautifully with her instructions.  The greenery beneath the fawn was extracted from another design which I cannot recall right now.

 

 

 

The holly at the neckline is another design whose origin I cannot recall.  I need to keep better records of what I embroider.

 

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Lacey Heirloom Bonnet

When I did my stitch rehearsal for the flowers, I couldn’t decide if I preferred the lighter or darker pink. So I alternated them and was pleased with the result.

 

Who can resist gazing at a baby in a bonnet?  The site warms the heart of every mother, grandmother, auntie or friend.

The pattern for this linen confection was included in Simplicity 8024, though it was modified greatly.   The addition of lace, embroidery, hemstitching,  and sculpted antique pearl buttons on the ties removes this from the realm of boy caps.  Embroidery floss was woven through the hemstitching holes to add a little more color.

 

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All About Lace Tape Part 2a

There have been some questions lately about the use of lace tape. I completely forgot that I had not finished my intended Part 2 post, as I meant to stitch up a few more samples.  But I didn’t.  So here is an incomplete–there is so much more!– but informative post about lace tape, especially for Georgia.  I hope that when life slows down, if it ever does, I’ll show you more about this fabulous product.  But for now, this is all I have.

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Here is Part 2 about lace tape, with more posts to come.  Aside from being very busy with life in general, I’ve put this off because so much time is required to stitch out samples that illustrate the techniques.    So instead of covering several applications, future lace tape posts will deal with one or two techniques.

To begin, I want to show the two types of lace tape and their differences.  The product I sold and used in my classes was made in Japan.  The newer variety of lace tape  is made in Switzerland.  Both kinds are available from Farmhouse Fabrics.

Why is it so important to know the difference?  Because there are many uses for which one or the other is better.  As the techniques are detailed, my suggested preference will be noted.  FYI, I have updated Part 1 with these suggested preferences. Continue reading

Church Dress for Beatrice

OFB Smocked layette dress pattern on white Imperial batiste.

 

At last Baby Bea’s church dress is finished. So many things I wish I had done differently, but it is done.  The pattern is OFB Smocked Layette, made from white Imperial batiste.

I used this pattern with the little bit of smocking because I wanted to focus on  the cross embroidered trim at the hemline.  It would have looked better, I think, with short sleeves.

 

 

Because the cross embroidery is Swiss, I felt compelled to use Swiss for the other trims. Do you ever mix heirloom laces with Swiss on the same garment?  I’d like to know your opinion on that.

The tiny Swiss trim at the neckline and smocked sleeves should be short enough to avoid irritating her delicate newborn skin.  It has a built in entredeux stitch so I wove that with floss  to add a little color higher on the daygown.

The cross trim at the hem was 6″ wide.  After attaching it to the entredeux beading there just seemed to be too much blank space.  So I removed it, trimmed the cross piece to 4″ and rejoined it to a new piece of entredeux beading,  threaded with pink ribbon.

 

It still looked to plain so I added twin needle “shadow work” in pink on either side of the beading.

This is the first bonnet I have ever made with the ruffle behind the smocking.  I’m not sure I like it, but Bea is so tiny, just now 7 lbs. that I thought the ruffle might obscure too much of her precious face.

 

 

The twin needle work was repeated on the back of the bonnet near the drawstring ribbon.

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