Category Archives: heirloom sewing

Moving on…..

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It seemed that I would never finish this simple little pini-4, but at last it is checked off on my to-do list.  There were no technical complications, but rather just a matter if life getting in the way.  Entire days passed when I did not sew and that makes me cranky.  I feel better now.

The original plan was to add a row of cable under the beaded ribbon, but in my eagerness to finish this up I just forgot.  Of course, it’s not too late and I could still do it.  It  really would look better.  But I am tired of this project.  It’s done. I’m ready to move on.

The pattern is the same one I used for the Liberty of London popover for granddaughter Vivian Rose.  But I look forward to when Lisa at Mommy’s Apron Strings releases her very similar pattern.  She has so many improvements, like sizing. Continue reading

Shadow Embroidery by Embroidery Machine

I just can’t seem to catch up with my must-do’s so that I can write a new post.  I won’t bore you with ALLL the details, but one obstacle is time spent supervising 7 year old grandson Robert as he works the book he has written, Football Frenzy (soon I HOPE to be for sale @ $7, at least until Amazon or BooksAMillion pick it up ;-)). After I printed up two copies for his perusal, he decided that it is too short. So he is back to composing, adding a chapter on recipes for football watching snacks and more.

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Additionally, I have been substitute teaching Sunday School for 1st-5th graders, a satisfying but time consuming task.

So until I finish the little popover pinafore (Pini-4) which is almost done, I resort yet again to putting up a post from the past.

Shadow embroidery by machine continues to be of great interest.  Though you probably have a greater chance of winning the lottery than of laying hands on any one of Suzanne Hinshaw’s to-die-for collections, you just might get lucky.  There are other designers mentioned below with sets or individual designs.

So here is the old post, with a few photos of projects done since putting this one up.  A  real, new, fresh post should be up very soon.


grandson’s Easter outfit with shadow embroidery from Southern Stitches’ Shadow Work Baby Collection

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Desperation Bubble

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Have you ever been  desperate to smock and thwarted in the effort?  Desperate to stitch hand embroidery and been hampered? Desperate to sew in a power outage?  I bet the answer is yes.

It reminds me of my crazy friend Catherine who, 25 years ago, had taken her boys to the beach.  Settled down in the sand on an old quilt, under her beach umbrella, she pulled out her smocking only to discover that she had everything but a needle!  Desperate, like me, she walked up and down Daytona Beach asking each sunbather if she might have a #7 crewel needle that Catherine could borrow or buy.  That, my friends, is desperation.  To no one’s surprise but Catherine’s, she came up empty handed.

How this bubble came to be is a result of such desperation.  It didn’t turn out as planned, it didn’t turn out great,  it didn’t really please me.  But it did scratch my itch  for some form–any form!– of needlework. Continue reading

Smocked Pini-4 for Vivian Rose

Coming soon! Grandbaby Closet Sale–All those special items too small too soon or just plain outgrown need to go to a new closet  At least one of Vivian Rose’s daygowns has never been worn.  Also coming soon (we hope), hair on her pretty head!

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Rebecca, baby Vivian Rose and I are quite pleased with this little Pini-4.   The smocked skirt is Liberty of London and the machine monogrammed, self-lined bodice is hot pink microcheck.

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There are no buttons or buttonholes, only ties at the neck, center back and underarms.   With a little careful planning or by following the pattern exactly (I just can’t do it!), this super quick and easy pattern COULD be a joy to stitch.   So I neeeeeeded to add piping, sure and how about some  tatting–oh yeah!  And I wanted to line it with my preferred method rather than as directed. Continue reading

Feather Stitched Bows

There are so many projects and ideas I want to share with you, but time is just too short right now.  Vivian Rose is the proud owner of a sweet little  smocked popover that I will share with you later and another major project is underway.  For now, this re-run~fro, 2010 will have to do.   This T-bonnet is a great little project with some interesting techniques, especially for those who do not use an embroidery machine.  I hope new readers will find something of value and those of you who have already seen this post will not mind it the second time around.


Enchanting as I find this T-bonnet to be, the techniques used in its creation hold even greater interest. At an Elna Convention outside Minneapolis, Melissa Stone, daughter of renown Sarah Howard Stone,  taught this project to an eager group of students, including me.

Mind you, this was before the advent of the home embroidery machines. So for anyone who does not have an embroidery machine, this technique is gold. For those who do, the technique has applications beyond this project.

The T-bonnet is de rigueur, standard heirloom sewing. For directions and measurements for a basic t-bonnet, refer to my earlier post, unimaginatively entitled “T-Bonnet.”

In the class with Melissa Stone, we used the pattern measurements  from her mother’s book, French Hand Sewing.   But Melissa’s innovative idea for embroidering the bow, without the use of a water-soluble marking pen, was very creative. Continue reading

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

Alysha’s Birthday Dress


Happy Mother’s Day to each and every one of you who has mothered a child of your own or a child of another. (Frankly, I cannot imaging anyone who sews or reads this blog who has not reached out to children and grandchildren of their own and/or others.) The love and attention showered on our precious children is the best use of our precious time.

I’m at that happy time of life when I can enjoy my beloved adult children as well as the beloved grandchildren they have given us. My daughter Rebecca and daughter-in-law Shelly are both incredible, wonderful mothers whom I admire and love dearly. I wish each of you a happy day filled with appreciation from and for your loved ones.

Around here it has been busy, busy, BUSY!!!! We’ve been blessed with almost back to back and overlapping visits from our four grandchildren and even more happy chaos.  In a future post I’ll tell you all about Laurel’s luau 9th birthday party, new fleece blankets for each grandchild and the progress of our newly tamed feral cats and the kittens.

So once again, I am rerunning an old post, though I do have a few new thoughts and plans.  I hope  to make a very similar dress for new granddaughter Vivian Rose before her first birthday.  FYI, Alysha is almost 5, adorable and the apple of her grandparents’ eyes.


1st birthday dress

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Jo’s Family Easter

Jo's family in their Easter finery. Every one (except Jo!!!!) is wearing one of her creations.

Jo’s beautiful family in their Easter finery. Every one (except Jo, unless she made the lavender sweater) is wearing one of her creations.

I just love seeing what you all have sewn up for holidays–or everydays!  So it really pleased me to see photos of Jo’s family all decked out in the Easter garments she made.   They are all color coordinated in lavender and yellow, with a paisley print used on several outfits.  Living in the cold, cold north, Jo chose corduroy for the little ones in the family.

As so often happens, in the midst of her rush to finish up, there were complications.  Most of the family came down with a terrible virus requiring huge amounts of laundry, at the exact time that her dryer died.  So while she tended to the sick, she was running back and forth to the home of a good neighbor whose dryer was put at Jo’s disposal.  All the while for those several days, Jo awaited delivery of her own new laundry appliance.


In spite of these roadblocks, she finished everything up–dresses for the girls, a smocked Children’s Corner Johnny for little Gideon and ties for the big boys and her husband. Continue reading

Readers’ Easter Outfits

While it’s unlikely that I am the only Nana or Mama stitching right down to the Easter Sunday deadline, it’s nice to know that some readers are contentedly dying eggs, sampling gourmet jelly beans and buying chocolate bunnies.  Ahhh, I wish.


Courtney finished this gorgeous brother-sister set more than 10 days ago!

Courtney finished this gorgeous brother-sister set more than 10 days ago!  And  these aren’t even their church clothes!  See below.


Courtney shared  pictures of TWO brother-sister sets that she has made for Easter.

Her daughter’s first dress is cut from one of my all-time favorite patterns, Maggie  by Children’s Corner. The smocking plate is Bunny Luv by Ellen McCarn.  I love that she mirror imaged the chocolate bunny on the dress so they are facing one another.    Her color choices are as  lovely as her smocking. Continue reading

Antique Baby Bibs and Grandbabies

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Antique textiles offer so much creative inspiration.  Suzanne Sawko and I found this elaborate antique bib at the once-in-a-lifetime estate sale mentioned in earlier posts.  It appears to have both machine and hand stitches on a fabric similar to light weight pima broadcloth or a heavy weight Swiss batiste. Continue reading