Category Archives: heirloom sewing

Seaside Madeira Table Linens



Making these  table linens was a nice break from sewing for my granddaughters. Fine white linen is paired with lime green and embroidered with a fun blue fish.  This color combination reminds me of the beach, just 30 miles away.

Sitting on the screened breakfast porch, looking out over our front yard with this table setting made me just as happy that I was not roasting on Daytona Beach and scanning the waterfront for sharks.  It’s very peaceful on my porch.  I enjoy pulling out dishes and napkins that coordinate with the setting.

Linen is one of my favorite fabrics and Madeira applique’ is one of my favorite sewing techniques.  Add pinstitching and embroidery–well, just let me tell you I was having a big time!  I never once missed lace or a girlie  angle.  If there is any interest, I would be happy to put up a Madeira applique tutorial.  Let me know if you would find that helpful. Continue reading

Blue Bows~Handlooms and Swiss Embroideries


Originally posted in 2011…

Stitching a nightgown is always a pleasure.  Often made as gifts for birthdays, holidays or bridal showers, pretty sleepwear is appreciated by ladies old and young.


This gown was made for my daughter when she was a teenager.  The pattern, Mary Lydia, is an old, all time favorite of mine.

Its versatility allows you to use goods of any width.  The armhole curve is placed over the finished fancyband and dips into the skirt fabric.  It is also suitable for a sundress.


SWISS HANDLOOM blue bow insertion on back yoke




SWISS HANDLOOM blue bow insertion on front yoke


Made of all Swiss goods–batiste, galoon beading, blue bow handloom insertion and edging–it is guaranteed to present sweet dreams.

This handloom is one of my all time favorites.


SWISS HANDLOOM. It is exactly like hand stitched shadow embroidery.

SWISS HANDLOOM. It is exactly like hand stitched shadow embroidery.

————– Continue reading

Frilly Kindergarten Shorts Set



This is another outfit in the kindergarten wardrobe Suzanne Sawko is making for her granddaughter.   It seems to meet all the requirements of primary school wear in Florida–the outfit is cool, comfortable and allows for active play.

At the same time it satisfies a little girl’s desire for feminine clothing, as well as her Mamaw’s own desire for a pretty back-to-school wardrobe for this 5 year-old.  And what teacher wouldn’t love to see a new student in a smocked garment?  Clearly, this is a winning 2-piece set. Continue reading

Suzanne’s Whimsy Dress



Here is another  outfit my friend Suzanne made for her granddaughter’s kindergarten wardrobe.  Of course, also she made the tights, the fabric flower on the leg,  and the hairbow.  This tall, gorgeous,  little redhead would be a knock out in a gunny sack, but when wearing the sweet things her grandmother has made, she will stop traffic.

There is so much detail and a surprise everywhere you look.  And yet, it is perfectly unified.  The pink gingham  outfit was inspired by Kari Mecca’s  book,  Sewing with Whimsy.


pink gingham top


Suzanne is an avid crocheter and can whip up a flower in a flash.    Notice that the button in each flower’s center is the same.  That gives an element of unity to the varied embellishments. Continue reading

Timeless but Expendable Heirlooms

Vivian Rose at nursery school

Blue bishop, 2014–Last week at nursery school, Vivian Rose was cute and comfortable.  She is wearing a bishop dress made 32 years ago for her mother, Rebecca.  True to the adage that any bishop is good for 3 sizes, this size 3 dress fits our 16 month old just fine after the hem was taken up.  And it will fit for a long time.


Recently, I’ve changed my thoughts and opinions about the use of heirloom/smocked garments. From this post title, it’s likely you can tell  where I now stand on the issue of packing away my lovingly stitched heirlooms.

With their almost timeless appeal and classic style, they can be worn in any fashion era.  Until recently, my plan for their future was that they be carefully packed away in acid free tissue and then be passed  down to the next baby in the family–whenever that might be.  I felt certain that the style and stitchery would still be appropriate.   Often,  that is exactly what happened, i.e. the Imperial batiste bishop dress shown above and below.

But I hadn’t expected that they would be put in service for everyday use, like at Vivian Rose’s pre-school.  There, painting, bib-free eating, and rough and tumble playground time are daily events.  And no child tumbles more roughly this little dynamo.


Vivian Rose's mother, Rebecca, wearing the same dress 32 years ago

Blue bishop 1982–Rebecca, Vivian Rose’s mother,  wearing the same blue bishop dress.

Continue reading

Gallery of Readers’ Easter Projects


Children's Corner Johnny

Julie’s Children’s Corner Johnny–how many French knots do you think there are?


It seems like forever since there has been a new post at Janice Ferguson Sews.  Busy, busy, busy is what I’ve been but only some of that busy-ness has been sewing. Sigh….

Now the distractions and other responsibilities are mostly behind me so I can share more sewing projects and chat.  Before the joyous Easter celebrations are even further in our past, I want to share some of the Easter outfit photos I received from our creative and talented readers.

Julie shared these photos and information about the precious, classic Johnny she made for her nephew.  She also smocked a dress for her niece.  I’d love to see that. Continue reading

Alastair’s Hurry-up Easter Suit

A Easter suit

I know this outfit is crooked on the hanger. There was a stiff breeze blowing and I could not keep the shirt hanging properly.


We always talk about how busy we are, but I have never let other things make me cut it so close with Easter outfits for the grandchildren.  Just like when my children were small, I was up until after midnight Saturday before Easter.




But I finished all four outfits.

Alastair’s Easter suit was a very satisfying project.  Like few hurry-up projects, it finished up quite nicely, leaving me  generally pleased.   I learned that sometimes surrendering my picky-ness for a rush project is okay.  It is more important to have an  OK outfit done for Easter than an up- to-my-picky-standards outfit done a week later.  This was made in about a day and a half, and those were busy days aside from sewing.


goods A suit Continue reading

Easter Bunny Lunch~Casual Garments



I hope you all had a joyful Easter.  We had a beautiful weekend-long celebration with a houseful of laughing adult children and grandchildren.  Our daughter, Rebecca, her family and our son Ryan’s family were here.  He is a pilot and, sadly, was unable join us.  We’re happy that he loves his work, but we miss him at so many family gatherings.




Friday night, while taking a break from my sewing, I made more than 100 little raisin bread/cream cheese/jelly sandwiches for Saturday’s Bunny Lunch at church.  My dear, helpful husband sat with me and cut away the crusts from 5 loaves while I spread the filling.  The sandwiches were topped with cream cheese carrots sprinkled with a little orange sugar which pleased the children.


tie design from Linnie Pinnie, with single bunny from

Tie design from is Linnie Pinnie, with single bunny extracted from Bernina’s Warm Wishes from Ingrid collection.

Continue reading

Baby’s Easter Slip & Tips

slip 2

slip for Baby’s Easter bow dress


This pink slip was made to be worn under granddaughter Vivian Rose’s white batiste Easter dress.  It create a soft pink shadow effect.


dress pink2


The slip bodice was monogrammed with white thread. Continue reading

Think Spring Dress

UPDATE:  There have been several inquiries about the sleeve finish so the process is detailed at the end of this post (below the groundhog eating wolf).

It’s been so long since there has been a new post at  Janice Ferguson Sews that  faithful readers might have thought that I was missing in action.  I’ve been tending my dear husband who had knee replacement surgery two weeks ago.  Post-op he spent a week at the same rehab center where I recuperated  from my joint surgeries and gained some valuable insights into life.

So I have been spending time with him, running errands and doing his many, many household chores.  Whew!  That man does more around here than I ever realized!  He’s my grocery shopper, gardener, pool boy, morning feral cat feeder, garbage hauler, very best friend, and more.  I have really missed him.

At last, he’s back home, stepping lightly with his gentleman’s cane and walking the fast track to a complete recovery.


That's not really him.  And it's not really me.

That’s not really him. And it’s not really me.


And I’m back too, with a finished project to share with you.

This cheerful little dress just makes me grin.   Looking at it reminds me of our Florida springtime with raspberry pink azaleas, white dogwoods and the bright turquois waters of nearby Blue Springs.  The fabric says spring to me.


think spring dress all recol Continue reading