Category Archives: Madeira applique

Brother Bishop & ME Design


Do you have a favorite project with which you are completely satisfied?  This  size 3 bishop dress is one of only a  few that fall in that category for me.    It was a pleasure to make and if I were to do it again, I wouldn’t change a thing.





Made of cotton batiste, the dress and shoulder ruffle are blue while the neck binding, sleeves and Madeira applique’ hem are champagne colored. The smocked sleeves and shoulder ruffle are trimmed with champagne French  lace.




Pin stitch, feather stitch, and machine embroidered flowerettes further embellish the sleeves, shoulder ruffle and hem.


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Re-Run: Alastair’s Little Lamb Daygown


Things have been incredibly hectic around here for these past few days. My few free hours have been spent working on this blog, enlarging the pictures and trying to insert a custom photo at the top of each page. Apparently, WordPress gremlins are foiling my efforts because sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

I have a pit bull personality. Long after determination and perseverance becomes nothing more than beating my head against the wall, I bang on. But after many of my own wasted hours trying to insert the custom header, then fruitless consultation with my computer scientist daughter (#1 Tech Support), I’ve stepped away from the issue. #2 Tech Support, my computer genius son-in-law, was not even approached as he is up to his USB port designing complicated stuff beyond my ken.

So now that I’ve put it aside, I’ve moved on to getting a “store” up. I’m doing this on my own, without above mentioned tech support, so it will be fairly primitive. But it should work. My original purpose for this blog was to have an outlet for my excessive sewing chit chat and to sell some of my excessive sewing supplies.

As of today, I have written 414 posts. See what I mean about excessive chit chat?!? Surely NO ONE has read all or even most of these. So while I continue to scan, photograph, describe and price store inventory, some of the earliest posts will be re-run.  This is a stroll down memory lane for me. It’s probably a walk down a new path for you.

So here it is—Alastair’s Little Lamb Daygown………… Continue reading

Another Recycled Heirloom


Alastair, 13 months 2010

This Madeira appliquéd outfit, a gift for my son’s first birthday in 1975, is one of the first heirloom garments I had ever seen. Nilda, a dear friend of Cuban and Puerto Rican ancestry, had purchased it in Miami, where clothing of this sort was readily available.

I was instantly smitten by the classic design and detailed embroidery,  as well as the absence of Sesame Street characters. On either side of the tiny red teddy bears are clusters of greenery and French knot flowers. The collar is embellished with a row of red cross stitches. Side tabs allow for a custom fit.  It is just sweet as pie.

Ryan, 21 months, 1976

Ryan wore the suit at every appropriate occasion.  With his little white high top shoes, he was adorable. Nilda told me that all of her aunts spent their days embroidering similar clothing for the babies in their family. I desperately wanted a Cuban/Puerto Rican auntie for my son! Continue reading

Babylock Christening Gown

gown all

This christening gown was the main project for the Babylock school I taught at Martha Pullen’s school in Huntsville, AL, a few years ago.

The ecru and white combination has always seemed the height of elegance to me. Also, since photos had to be posted on the school web site, the ecru embroidery showed up much better than if the embroidery had been white on white.


bodice center


It seems to me that anytime Swiss batiste, imported trims and heirloom sewing techniques are combined, the result is likely to be something beautiful. In this case, the classic christening gown is a melange of Swiss batiste, French lace and entredeux.


full bodice

Elaborately embellished, it includes classic details such as point de Paris, Madeira appliqué, shaped French Val lace, feather stitching, pin tucks, twin needle shadow work, and delicate embroidery. Also incorporated into the gown’s design is Lace Tape, a recently rediscovered heirloom trim, applied as a shadow appliqué on the wrong side of the batiste.



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Bee Happy


I saw a bee today. After what must be one of central Florida’s coldest winters ever, it’s finally warming up. I doubt this is the end of the nasty low temps, but at least now that I’ve seen a bee, I can believe that spring WILL come. I’m buzzily planning Easter outfits for my grandchildren and wish I could buzz as fast as the bees.

A moment of contemplation…..

Today’s honeymaker sighting reminded me of this little Bee Happy outfit I made for my granddaughter, Laurel. The bright colors, breezy style, bee theme and sun hat reminded me of fun, easy summer sewing and I am surely looking forward to some of that.

A moment later….

The sunsuit is made of cool, cotton pique’, trimmed with black baby rick rack. The yellow gingham used for the Madeira applique’  hemline (not in the pattern) was repeated in the hat and bubble pants.

The pattern is Ducky Daisy Sunsuit from Wendy Schoen’s book, Creating Heirlooms for Baby. The pattern centerfold includes the sunsuit top, bubble pants and sun hat. It’s one of those fabulous basic patterns that can be embellished countless ways. Can you tell that I love it?

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Butterfly Towel Sundress


Children’s Corner Katina pattern

Using linen towels for sewing is not a new idea, but it is one which I think is worthy of repetition. The sundress Laurel is wearing is made from an Irish linen bath towel. Measuring 29″ wide by 42″ long, it is a generous size for a skirt front. These imported towels are such a bargain. Not only does the buyer get a lot of linen for a relatively small price, the extensive handwork is quite lovely.

The towel was cut in half, rendering two pieces each 29″ x 21″. Cut from Children’s Corner Sissy/Katina pattern, the size 4 sundress uses the embroidered half for the front and the plain half for the back. Scraps of linen from other projects were used to cut the narrow front and back yokes as well as the straps. Blue piping outlines the yokes.




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Machine Shadow Embroidered Pillowcase

design from Shadowed Bows 2.


This pillowcase combines two of my favorite techniques, shadow embroidery by machine and Madeira applique by machine.  I doubt the appeal of either will ever fade for me.

By hand, shadow work  is a soothing needleart that creates stunning results.  By embroidery machine, it is a quick, exciting effort that creates  the very same delicate result.  In earlier posts, I’ve detailed the process by which designs can be worked in a snap with the aid of an embroidery machine.  Suzanne Hinshaw developed the technique and has several collections on the market.  This design is from one of her earlier sets, Shadowed Bows Two.  Continue reading

Mayflower Dress


The dress fabric is a very pale peachy pink, but it just doesn’t show up in the photo.

Everyone wants their sewing efforts to be put to good use. Holiday sewing poses a problem because the garment may be appropriate for a very short time.

The Swiss embroidered edging appealed to me because when I first looked at it, I saw Columbus Day, 1492, with the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria all sailing toward the New World. When I looked again, I saw the Mayflower with pilgrims sailing across the Atlantic Ocean in 1620. The next time I looked, I saw the pirate ship at Sea World. Hmmmmm….. a dress with this trim could be worn almost year round here in Florida.

The color is enhanced to show detail.

The color is enhanced to show detail.


In fact, when my granddaughter, Laurel, was two, she wore this dress to Sea World, later for Columbus Day and then again for Thanksgiving.  It was a particularly warm fall so the sleeveless cotton dress was comfortable.  To me, that was enough bang for my sewing buck.

I thought about using it for July 4th, alluding to the Boston Tea Party, but without red, white and blue, it seemed like too much of a stretch. Continue reading

Turtles Pack ‘N Play

For some time now, my grandson Alastair has needed another set of Pack ‘N Play sheets. Finally, these were finished and mailed to him a few days ago. This time, instead of pima cotton, I used a heavy cotton flannel, which I thought would be cozier  as the weather turns cooler.

This set was really fun to make , especially playing with the Terrific Turtles designs from Dakota Collectibles. As I stitched the turtles, I imagined Alastair enjoying these same activities when he is a little older. 

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Linen Machine Shadow Embroidered Pillow




I love projects for babies and this is one of my favorites.  From design to execution, this linen pillow has some interesting details. The open ends of the pillowcase offer the opportunity to give more balance to the overall design, with color and embroidery at both ends.

The handwork techniques used on this baby accessory look convincingly like they were stitched in the traditional manner, but they were all done entirely by machine. Thanks to the miracle advances in sewing notions and machine technology, Madeira appliqué, feather stitch, pinwheel roses and shadow embroidery are quickly, easily and quite perfectly done.

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