Category Archives: Madeira applique

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 TwoContinue 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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Madeira Monogram Pillowcases

Madeira mono green


My daughter has always appreciated fine bedding.  In fact, she admits to being a “textile snob.”

When she moved into the dormitory at University of Florida, I custom made pima cotton sheets to fit her non-standard size bunk mattress. Then for each subsequent housing situation, from the sorority house to apartments, each year through graduate school, new pima cotton sheets and pillowcases were made and monogrammed, often with a matching quilt.

I loved making them and she loved sleeping on them. But then I got busy with grandchildren so it has been a long time since she has had any new pillowcases.

This pair, pima cotton of course, is for her birthday. The scalloped Madeira applique hem is pinstitched in place, crowned with her new married -lady monogram.   The design is from Martha Pullen’s 2003 Internet Embroidery Club alphabet.


mono green


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Machine Shadow Embroidery~ Baby Pillow



This sweet little baby pillow was a joy to stitch and makes such a pretty and practical baby gift.  With its shadow embroidery,  featherstitching and Madeira applique hem,  it looks delicate and delightful.

Made of good quality domestic cotton batiste, it needs no lace or trim to complete its tender look.

In my humble opinion, shadow embroidery is one of the prettiest embellishments that can be added to a project.  For babies, children, ladies or linens, its delicacy is stunning.  Much as I have always enjoyed doing it by hand, I was absolutely enthralled when my friend Suzanne Hinshaw developed her techniques for achieving the identical look with machine embroidery.



The technique is so simple that it’s hard to go wrong.  You simply hoop up a very sturdy water soluble stabilizer with no fabric and then stitch the portion of the design that, when done by hand, would have been on the back of the fabric.  Think of it as the fill pattern.

Then, after placing strips of double sided tape around the embroidered design, you press sheer to semi-sheer fabric to the stabilizer such as batiste or even light weight linen.  Of course, you would have marked where you want the design to be so you can position the design perfectly.   And Suzanne’s instructions make it clear just when the fabric is placed on the stabilizer.  In fact, all of her directions are very clear.

The next step is to stitch on the fabric.  The design is sized such that the underlay portion of the design which is stitched only on the stabilizer is just ever so slightly larger than the outlining stitches that are worked on the fabric itself.  The top stitches catch the underlay stitches which create the shadow effect.

Finally, you remove the piece from the hoop and gently peel the stabilizer away from the linen where the double sided tape has held it in place.  Cut away as much of the remaining water soluble stabilizer away as possible.  Then immerse the piece in water and let the stabilizer dissolve away.  When all signs of stabilizer are gone, let it dry and then press.

When it is finished, you will have shadow embroidery so credible that no one would even think to examine the back side.  And if they did, they would be hard pressed to recognize the slight difference in the look.

In subsequent posts, I will have more shadow embroidery, some by hand and more by machine using Suzanne’s gorgeous designs.  I might even persuade her to make her designs available again.