Category Archives: lace tape

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?


All About Lace Tape~Part 1

Lately, there have been considerable discussions and questions about lace tape, its origin and uses.  The history is quite interesting, as its development involved a salvage warehouse and an unraveled sweater for my Rebecca and midnight transatlantic phone calls. That was in 1987 when I first brought this product to the heirloom sewing public.

Most of this history is detailed in this post.  Because lace tape is one of my favorite sewing products, I’d like to share some applications and techniques.  For many years I taught a 6-hour class around the country.  So there is a lot of material on the subject, too much for one post.  Lace tape can be used for shadow applique’, colored entredeux, colored shark’s teeth, tiny piping and so much more. So stay turned for details.  A few future posts will feature projects with detailed directions.


Approximately 3/8″ wide and available in a rainbow of colors, lace tape is a loosely woven 100% cotton trim.  It has a gathering thread on each side and is wonderful for lace shaping.  It also can add a bit of color to an heirloom project.

lt 2 examplesrecol

Now there are two varieties of lace tape:  Japanese and Swiss.  The lace tape shown above and used on each of the items pictured below is Japanese.


1.  for lace insertion substitute joined to lace edging or other insertion


Peach lace tape was joined to lace edging and then stitched to flat bishop before smocking. See Molly’s Lace Tape Nightie for more pictures and information.


preparation:  Like heirloom trims, lace tape is easier to work with after being starched and pressed, unless it is being shaped.  Use the finest thread, preferably 80/2 Madeira Cotona,  and  the smallest needle appropriate to the thread size.

technique:  Butt lace tape to lace.  Zig zag the two pieces together with an approximate stitch setting of W 1.5-2.0, depending on width of lace header, L .8-1.0 edging.  NOTE: An edge joining foot makes this much easier.


1-lt to lionsxx

Lace tape joined to Aesop’s Fables Binche lace.

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

Blossom Basket Blouse

blossom basket blouse


I hope 2012 is off to a good start for all of you.  For us, the new year was kicked off in the midst of chaos rather than the cozy family gathering we had planned for our Christmas #2 celebration.

First our pilot son was called away for a last minute flight to Denver. Then after the bonfire and s’mores, the grandchildren’s plans for a loud welcome to the new year were foiled by 6 year-old Robert’s battle with croup and Laurel’s virus.

Finally, after unsuccessfully trying to soothe his cough with the cold air humidifier, my son-in-law and I left at 2 a.m. and drove 40 minutes each way to Robert’s home to retrieve his croup medicine.   The remaining adults tended to Robert and Laurel. Being on the roads at that time was a little worrisome, but we arrived home safely.

The best part of the new year was that our daughter and her family were here for a whole week.  However, this left me not a free moment as 2 year-old Alastair claimed my undivided attention. I loved every minute of it, but there was no time for blog writing, sewing or picture taking. Consequently…

For Faded Charm’s  White Wednesday, this is a rerun of an earlier post. I hope you find a tidbit or two that interest you.
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Second Annual American Girls Tea Party

Molly in her party dress, ready for tea

Molly in her party dress, ready for tea


Last year, my darling daughter-in-law hosted a tea party for her very own American girl, Laurel, , and some little misses in the neighborhood.  She even provided gloves and hats for dress up before tea.



This is last year’s party, the first AG doll tea party. After plundering through the dress up box, they were ready for tea.


This week, by popular demand, the event will be repeated and likely will be remembered as  the Second Annual American Girls Tea Party.  Shelly and Laurel will entertain eight little girls and their dolls.




When I asked Laurel what I could do for the occasion, she requested that I make these hats for party favors.  Of course, I jumped at the opportunity and tackled the task with the enthusiasm and delight that comes only from meeting a grandchild’s request.  I declare that child could ask for the moon and I would try my best to arrange for delivery, probably through Amazon. Continue reading

Lace Tape Wedding Ring Dress~White Wednesday

Note:  This was posted some time ago, but I have 2 year old Alastair underfoot and there is no time.  It’s 11 p.m. and he just went to sleep!#$%*! His parents are out of town so we have our sweet grandson for four days.  There is a reason why God gives babies to the young!


This is one of my favorite projects.  It’s not really a modern project for this old fashioned Nana, but it could have been!  With only a few changes, this dress could be easy care.  As a matter of fact, if my daughter gives us another granddaughter in the next few years, I will probably make an easy care version of this frilly frock.  I’ll detail my suggestions for a wash-and-wear version at the end of this post.


There is a lot to love about the dress: Chery Williams graceful Wedding Ring Dress pattern, Capitol Imports champagne Swiss batiste, champagne Swiss beading, peach lace tape, miles of hemstitching, both pinstitch and entredeux, and a nylon French lace which requires almost no ironing.

The pattern calls for lace insertion and is beautiful when made up as directed. But my infatuation with lace tape and an urge to market this product which I developed led me to use it rather than lace. There are several advantages of this substitution.

One is the addition of soft color to the monochromatic palette of the champagne fabric, beading and lace edging. Another advantage is that the foundation fabric need not be cut away behind the lace tape, as is normally done with lace insertion.  By leaving the fabric intact,  the structural integrity is not compromised. This makes the garment much sturdier and less likely to tear when there is stress on the fragile lace.

Yet another advantage is that lace tape is far less expensive than heirloom lace.  And yet, lace tape meets many of the heirloom characteristics: it is imported, 100% cotton, has pull threads on either side for shaping and is of fine quality.




I did have some trouble with the collar pattern. Mine is an old version and it may have been revised by now. But placing the lace or lace tape on the line indicated allowed no space whatsoever where the rings overlapped. So I redrafted the collar pattern and then all was well.

 zLTwedringovalintersection (2)Brite

This dress shows quite clearly the difference between the pinstitch and the entredeux stitch. The top of the lace tape ovals or “footballs” at the hem and the rings on the collar were pinstitched. At the bottom of skirt, which was straight with the footballs hovering above, the entredeux stitch was worked.

Next the fabric was cut right to the edge of the entredeux stitches, just as is done with commercially made entredeux. The gathered lace was then butted up against it and joined with a tiny zig zag. The collar was worked in the same manner, with entredeux worked only on the bottom where lace edging would be joined.


The lace is one of my dearest treasures. Mr. Russell, owner of the renowned lace wholesaler M.E.Feld Co. in New York City, always generously shared his wealth of knowledge about the kinds of lace and its history. Without fail, he patiently answered my multitudinous questions as I placed my order.

It was his practice to send customers a huge box of lace from which to choose. The unwanted lace was then returned, though in my case almost none of the lace was “unwanted” but simply over budget.   In one of these boxes, which 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 read “100% nylon.”  What?

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.

Now, this is something with which I could build an entire wardrobe of easy care heirloom clothes!  I wish I had bought more.  As you can see,  this galloon has no gathering thread.  I simply butted 30 wt. cotton thread to the picot edge and did a tiny roll and whip over the thread.  This gathered the lace perfectly.

I have a few pieces of such lace, but this is my favorite. It is technically a galloon, with a decorative edge on both sides. But the pattern is straight enough that it also can be used as edging or insertion. The color is a true ivory and works just as well with white as it does with the champagne color.

When the dress was new, there were no hand embroidered bullions. I didn’t have time and kept putting it off. But the dress cried out for something more and I was much happier with it after I had finally done this. Now, I wish I had used more bullion knots to make a prettier rose, but the effect of this rose is certainly is better than nothing.


The web rose in the entredeux vine has its spokes laid down in the design. Several strands of thread are twisted then woven around the spokes. This is much easier and quicker than a hand embroidered bullion rose. Even a hand stitched web rose requires time to lay down the spokes.


If it had been available at the time, Suzanne Sawko’s web rose in the machine embroidery collection  Fil Tire’ and Fancywork Elements  would have been used.  The dress would not have been plain Jane for so long.

Using the machine embroidery would have taken this dress into the realm of “modern projects” for this old fashioned Nana.  By substituting rice colored Imperial batiste for the champagne Swiss and using the same lace, the dress would have been easy care.  With the polycotton blend fabric the hemstitching would have to be eliminated.  But a narrow zig or machine feather stitch  would give a satisfactory look.  Adding the embroidery machine worked web roses would be the finishing touch for a thoroughly modern heirloom.

This “old fashioned Nana”  is getting excited thinking about making up this  “modern project!”  Maybe that could be a later White Wednesday post.

Lace Tape : its History and Peggy’s Daygowns

Lace tape is a fabulous new~old product.  Its history is as lengthy and varied as is its uses. While not as widely used and recognized as it should be, lace tape  is growing in popularity nonetheless.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this produce, it  is a 100% cotton, loosely woven “tape,” approximately 3/8″ wide.  Available from Wendy Schoen  in 11 colors, lace tape has a pull thread on either side just like heirloom lace insertion.

Because lace tape lacks the transparency of  lace, it is unnecessary to cut away the foundation fabric beneath the lace tape.  Consequently, the integrity of the fabric is not compromised and the garment is sturdier.

Its uses run the gamut from a substitute for lace insertion to shadow applique’ when applied to the underside of sheer fabric to tuck filler for shadowed shark’s  teeth and more.

PEGGY’S DAYGOWNS:  Evidence of this growing awareness of its charms can be seen in Peggy Dilbone’s precious daygown projects for Martha Pullen’s Sewing for Baby school. Viking educator Peggy always comes up with to-die-for projects and these daygowns are as sweet as anything she has designed.

The pink daygown features shaped lace tape bows and machine embroidery.  Gentle gathers offer enough fullness for comfort but not so much as to make the lace tape bows disappear in the fabric folds. What mother would not love this for her baby girl?  It would be as much fun to make this puff sleeved pink confection as it would be to dress a little darling in it.  Continue reading

Robert’s Christmas Shirt



Finally, 5 year-old Robert’s Christmas shirt is done.  His long black pants are pressed and ready to wear as soon as I buy a belt to keep them up.  Then he will be ready for The Nutcracker.

After all the interruptions and delays, I am glad to have this project finished.  The fabric is Martha’s Favorite Linen from Martha Pullen and  shirt pattern Hudson’s Sunday Suit  is from Ginger Snaps.  Like all Nancy Coburn’s Ginger Snaps patterns, the directions are very clear with great photo illustrations and many design options.


emb close

That crooked embroidery design drove me crazy. But it was too late to redo it.


The nutcracker design from A Bit of Stitch  is surrounded by a candy cane frame from Adorable Ideas, narrowed in my heavily used BuzzEdit2 program.

Black lace tape, run vertically on either side of the embroidery, is embellished with a decorative stitch from my Brother Duetta 6500D.  The same stitch is worked on the back , around the collar and on the mock sleeve cuffs. Continue reading

Knicker Suit



I’m really on a roll with classic children’s clothing. This 2-piece suit is quintessential heirloom for boys, with knee length Viyella pants and a buttoned on ivory linen shirt.  Sadly, Viyella is no longer available.  The wool blend is as fine and soft as Swiss flannel, but warmer with a similar hand.

My shortcomings as a photographer are obvious here, as I managed to cut off the neat little cuff at the bottom of the knee length pants.  The suit is also crooked on the hanger.  But after trying to find a flat spot to hang the suit on the 12″ deep Confederate jasmine that climbs up a palm tree, I neglected to straighten the suit on the hanger.




Linen is a joy to sew.  Every heirloom technique works wonderfully well on this natural fabric.  The front features hemstitching, tucks and inserted lace tape.

Continue reading

Picture Lace Pinafore



Finding this dress and pinafore made me so happy.  I had long since thought the fall Liberty print dropped yoke dress was lost.  As it turns out, I had forgotten that my friend Suzanne Sawko had made another pinafore to go over the dress for a Sew Beautiful photo shoot some time ago.  Both garments were recently retrieved from the bottom of my antique blanket chest where specially sewn items are stored.

The dress was originally made to go under the Little Fawn Pinafore.




The picture lace pinafore shown above is made of a medium weight champagne Swiss batiste and edged with ivory lace tape and antique picture lace or AEsop’s Fables lace.  It’s unique characteristics include the colored cordonnet that outlines a figure and is worked into the lace edge.  It is an antique Binche lace, made some  time prior to 1926, though the exact year is unknown.  Continue reading