Tag Archives: Brother Dream Machine

How-to: Garments for Ghana

Required disclosure:  I am a paid Brother Ambassador.  Not required:  I absolutely love Brother Machines.

Several readers have written asking if they may participate in the Garments for Ghana project.   Others asked how our project operated so they might do a similar event in their own community.  When I mentioned in response to a comment on this topic that I might write this post, at least one promised that she (sweet Sandee) would not find these details boring.  I hope she is not the only one because I am going ahead with this.

Before I began, I was given some direction from the mission team leaders.  The request was for bright colors, since the landscape there is pretty bleak.  We did that. Check.

Second, there must be no buttons or closures  that might break or need replacement. Such replacement is not an option for mothers in these areas.  Check.  Elastic at the neckline was the only closure notion.  I know elastic gives out after a couple of years, but I expect these garments will be worn out long  before the elastic is.

Third, in many African nations and apparently in Ghana, bare shoulders for girls and perhaps adult females, is taboo.  So we needed some sort of sleeve.  Check.  I did notice early on that many photos of pillowcase dresses for Little Dresses for Africa showed the girls wearing a  tee shirt under their dresses.  Now I see that the site offers a free pattern that has a sleeve, much like the pattern I used.

Fourth, each garment must be marked with its size.  I had a bag of labels for sizes 1-5 and for the others I embroidered sizes on grosgrain ribbon in the hoop.  Ladies who worked from home used a sharpie to write on ribbon, which like the others,  was tucked into the elastic casing at the back.

As mentioned in the previous post, one of my goals was to make a dent in my huge fabric stash.  I announced to our church membership that we would begin sewing garments for Ghana, for the medical mission team to deliver in June (NOW!!!).  Then it started–bolts and bolts and yards and yards of lovely fabrics were carried in every Sunday morning.  Granted,  in came 2 or 3 old curtain pieces, but I felt no guilt in not using them.

If you would like to do this as a community project, I suggest that you announce it a  few weeks before you begin.  Of course, permission to reserve the facility (church fellowship hall or whatever) must be given.

Then assemble necessary power cords and strips to reach the machines.  Of course, you can do as you please, but I anticipated more participation if the ladies didn’t have to pack up  their sewing rooms to participate.

Several boxes of supplies were packed, one for scissors, one huge box with threads in every color and wound bobbins in several sizes for different machines, one for pins, pin cushions and extra machine needles, one for other notions such as fray block, marking pens and bobbins for a variety of machines and a jar of size labels.  This is all not necessary, but it was very helpful even for ladies who they brought their own supplies.  “Oops–forgot my scissors.”

Our church owns 3 basic sewing machines, which had been stored and unused for several years.  My dear husband and I spent several hours cleaning, oiling and readying them for use.  I also brought along two of my own machines so it was not necessary for at least 5 ladies to bring their own.

As for patterns, it took me a little while to get what I thought was the perfect one. I did not want to purchase a pattern for each sewist, preferring to purchase just one for all the dresses. Making all the kits myself guaranteed no copyright infringements. Many individuals, however, have their own patterns which could be used outside a community project.

At first, I chose this cute pattern and sewed it for a sample on our mission display board.

 

I quickly learned that this pattern absolutely required a serger.  The underarm 1/4″ seams were to be serged and folded under and stitched in place.  All instructions referred to serging the 1/4″seams rather than sewing them.  It’s a great pattern, but not do-able for my group as I didn’t want to involve a serger.   There were many beginner sewists who could not work around that need with satisfactory overcasting.  Again, the sleeve ruffle and pockets were not a part of the pattern.

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Christmas Fawn Daydress

Christmas is just around the calendar corner and it’s rush, rush, rush for me and many of you.  I’ve just finished this Swiss batiste dress for Baby Beatrice.

I’ve written in earlier posts about Baby Bea, our new granddaughter via our church. Neither of her parents’ mothers is living,  so months before she was born they asked me to be her official Nana.  That was a happy day!  And, of course, she is a doll, just now 4 months old, which for me has been at least 120 more happy days.

Her daddy is an avid hunter, especially for deer. Bea’s little daydress is a reminder NOT to shoot Bambi or his antlered  father.

But back to the dress……the pattern is Old Fashioned Baby‘s Baby Daydress.

 

 

Like all of Jeannie B’s patterns, this one is a delight to sew and offers several design options.  I love the Scriptures and embroidery designs she places in the blank space around the pattern pieces.

 

 

 

The shadow work fawn is from Joy Welsh’s Applique for Kids.  It stitches just beautifully with her instructions.  The greenery beneath the fawn was extracted from another design which I cannot recall right now.

 

 

 

The holly at the neckline is another design whose origin I cannot recall.  I need to keep better records of what I embroider. Continue reading

Elegant Table Linens and Precious Memories

This project and a detailed tutorial are posted here at Brother’s blog, Stitching Sewcial.

 

I loved embroidering this elegant set of table linens for Brother’s blog, Stitching Sewcial.  Aside from the sewing details in the tutorial posted  there,  many “back stories” go with it that I just have to share with you.

First, I have loved these designs since I first saw them on my Dream Machine.

 

 

Like the design used on the quilted bed footwarmer, I was so eager to find the perfect project for them.  Then….I did!

THE LINENS BACK STORY #1:  BARGAIN!!      One day I came across this single gorgeous linen set in the clearance section.  The price was an enormous bargain, $15.99 for the 60 x 102″ white tablecloth with a hemstitched gray border!  Next to it sat two sets of 4 matching napkins, each for $6.99!!! (triple exclamation!!) The store was not crowded, but I snatched up those packages in a heartbeat and headed for the check out counter.  I love a bargain! Why they had not been sold I could not fathom.  I rushed home and planned this set.

HEIRLLOM CHINA BACK STORY #2:    My first thought was that these linens were a perfect compliment to my daughter’s fine china, which had belonged to her paternal grandmother.  With 5 children and large family gatherings, the service for 12 was barely large enough.  The china had first come to me and when Rebecca was old enough to handle it, she had always loved setting the table for holiday meals.

For her wedding, I was able to purchase more pieces on-line, giving her a service for 24, which was used at the reception. Doesn’t it go perfectly with her china?

 

 

I knew my long-admired designs had found the perfect resting place on these linens.  The  colors were tweaked just a little to match the colors in the china.

SILVER SERVICE BACK STORY #3:  The gorgeous 12-place sterling flatware was gifted to Rebecca by her doting godmother, Karen.  In the late 1920’s, they were a wedding gift to Elsa,  Karen’s mother.  Upon her engagement, Elsa’s future mother-in-law directed her to Tiffany & Co. of New York, known then as “the purveyor of luxury items.”  Elsa was directed to choose her silver pattern there, a task which she relished.

Just after the wedding the service for 12, including everything from the basic setting to fish forks, butter knives, serving pieces, and more, arrived at Elsa’s new home beautifully monogrammed with the appropriate “B”.  But it was not the silver pattern she had chosen!

Upon alerting her mother-in-law about the error, Elsa was told that in fact there was no error, her MIL had selected “a nicer” design!

Elsa, always the perfect lady, just smiled and offered thanks for the gift.  But in quiet rebellion, she refused to use the silver for any meal but those at which her in-laws were present!  I’m guessing that they were infrequent guests.

Elsa’s only child,  Karen, who preferred farm life with her husband, never used it.  Elsa had no grandchildren and always showered Rebecca and her brother with love and gifts as if they were her own.  Godmother Karen decided that Rebecca was a perfect recipient for Grandma B’s monogrammed sterling.

So the rarely used flatware became Rebecca’s oldest and most extravagant wedding gift, one with an entertaining history.  This second bride treasures that silver gift along with many sweet memories of Grandma B.  One of her favorite 5 yo recollections is hanging a May basket on Elsa’s door, ringing the bell and hiding in the azaleas with her 9 yo brother so they could see Elsa’s (forewarned) “surprise.”

The retired kindergarten teacher, with her white curls and wire-rimmed spectacles, looked and played her part beautifully.  She stood in the doorway of her wooded cottage wondering aloud.   Who had decorated these beautiful paper cones?  Who had delivered them filled with freshly cut flowers at dawn?  The faeries?

That’s when Ryan and Rebecca rushed out of the bushes for hugs and a few freshly baked cookies that Grandma B just happened to have on hand.  Ahhh, those long gone sweet days…..and that long gone precious woman.

When you sew, do you stroll down Memory Lane, as I have done with this project?  Things we have sewn both create and recall precious memories.

“Memory is the diary that we all carry with us.”  Oscar Wilde

 

Disclaimer:  I am required to inform you that I am a paid “sewing expert” for Brother.

 

 

Quilted Bed Foot Warmer and Free Design

 

No one likes cold feet–not at a wedding nor in bed.

There are many ways to keep your toes warm, like this.  Who wouldn’t love that?  But you need a lot of puppies.

 

 

Or you could do this:

 

There are risks with this method. Mildred “Mimi” Turner almost burned down our hotel (and her feet) when we were teaching in Australia’s cold Blue Mountains.

 

This quilted foot warmer is risk free, readily available, pretty, and fun to make.  It is also my latest project for Brother’s blog, Stitching Sewcial, for which I am a paid sewing specialist (this is a required disclosure).  The blog post includes a FREE download link for the quilting design used for the spaghetti bias Celtic knot in the center of each square.  But more about the special use of that later.

 

The design measures 7.76 x 7.87″.

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Bubbles for Brother and Sister

Mickey Roadster bubble

Minnie Roadster bubble

 

What fun I had stitching these bubbles with the new Brother iBroidery.com Mickey Roadster designs!  The digitizing is just excellent, with so much detail and such appealing, bright colors.  Children will love these.

The bubbles are featured at Brother’s blog, Stitching Sewcial, with detailed instructions, especially for the applique’ function on their Dream and Quattro machines.

Embroidery is straight stitched in place while in the hoop before it is completed with a satin stitch surround.

 

Minnie’s design is applique’s in place with with a straight stitch.  The fabric was cut closely to the stitching.  Then the satin stitch was worked flawlessly around the design, as shown on Mickey’s bubble.

Mickey’s roadster is very masculine.  Note the perfect tracking of the satin stitch around the unique shape of the design.  This was all done in the hoop.

 

 

 

The pattern is another delight, including two versions each for boy and girl.  I’d love to make every one of these.

 

 

Babies are so cute in bubbles.

Now that these are finished, I’m back to embroidering more camp logo shorts for 8 yo Alastair’s return to summer camp.  I just grin when I work on these, remembering the happy times I had at Camp Watitoh more than 50 years ago.  Bob and I met my ssecond summer there when we were counselors.  He taught sailing and I taught water skiing.  It just tickles me that Alastair is enjoying the specialof the Berkshire Mountains and having a wonderful camp experience.

So what are you sewing now?  Summer projects?  Or are you already on back-to-school garments?  I’d love to hear about it.

 

Jungle Book Cot Sheet

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During my lengthy absence from this blog, I did get some sewing done.  This cot sheet is a fun little project.  It can be plain or fancy, utilitarian or heavily embroidered as is this one.

First, I have to be up front with you all–my name is Janice and  I am a textile snob.  My linen closet has nothing but pima cotton sheets.  My master, guest and children’s beds have always been made up with silky pima cotton.

Many years ago, there was a brief and almost sleepless few days when my 8 yo son slept on stiff and scratchy Garfield sheets.  They were a gift for which he had begged his grandmother.  After a week, he wanted his old sheets back.  “They just don’t feel good, Mama.”  From the mouths of babes–raised on pima.

Before she even moved into her freshman dorm at University of Florida, my daughter begged me to custom make two sets of pima cotton sheets for the odd sized mattress.  She was like the Princess and the Pea.  “Mama, I won’t be able to sleep on anything else!”

So what does this have to do with Disney’s Jungle Book themed cot sheet shown above? Continue reading

I’m Baaaack

It has been a wild ride in the time I’ve been out of the loop. After 5 days of Hurricane Matthew preparation, hunkering down with no internet, tv, cell or landline service and then clean up, we headed to Mayo Clinic.  My husband underwent a minor cardiac procedure, as if ANY cardiac procedure can be minor.  He’s just fine, we’re back home and now I’m back to blogging and sewing.

 

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First, I want to share this cute, quick and easy Halloween faux-pieced wallhanging that I really enjoyed making just before Matthew made his unwelcome visit.  A complete photo tutorial is posted here at Brother’s new blog, Stitching Sewcial.  The designs are from the new Disney Halloween Collection at ibroidery.com

There is still time to whip up this kid-pleaser for the increasingly popular Halloween season. Unlike corn stalks or hay bales, this decoration can be packed away for next year and more years to come.

Children love this, especially when they see Goofy’s skeleton glow in the dark.

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Goofy by day

 

Goofy by night

Goofy by night

 

I especially like the yo-yo pumpkins that dangle from each side. Continue reading

Fun Halloween Projects and Lessons Learned

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Check the UPDATE below. The ghost and skull glow in the dark.  Happy Halloween towel V.2 below is a great improvement.

 

NEWS FLASH–Urban Threads is running a sale on their designs especially designed for glow-in-the-dark threads–$1.29 each with a neat bonus set that comes with a purchase of $10 or more.  That’s just 8 designs.  I finished these towels just about an hour before I found out about this sale.  I had spent a lot of time searching my design library for files that would be suitable for glow-in-the-dark. Oh well.  Children are crazy about this stuff.  I  look forward to stitching my new designs for the older grands.

A package of fun Halloween items will go out in tomorrow’s mail to my two younger grandchildren.  A fingertip towel for each child should make them smile.  When the children were here a few weeks ago, they were so pleased to have embroidered personalized towels for their bathrooms.

Three year old Vivian Rose is infatuated with cats so the cat and hat towel is for her.  Seven year old Alastair was equally infatuated with glow-in-the-dark threads when he discovered them during that same visit.  So that is the fun factor on his towel.

It looks pretty ho-hum until the lights are out.

 

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Be sure to check the UPDATE below if you haven’t already.

 

LESSON LEARNED:  When dealing with glow-in-the-dark, areas outside the glow are best stitched in regular colored thread.  The ghost mouth and nose were stitched with orange thread. That looks good.  I mistakenly thought that having the ghost and skull eyes glow in a different color would give a great effect.  Wrong.  It would have been so much nicer with the lights on or off if I had used black or orange thread for those features.  Live and learn.

UPDATE: After this post was written,  I couldn’t live with the Happy Halloween towel.  I knew the fix would be easy.  So the towel was rehooped and the scan feature on my Dream Machine was engaged.  After the embroidered towel was scanned, the original design was opened.  As it appeared on the screen, I dragged it over the existing design with the stylus.

After scrolling through the first few colors, I came to the skull eyes and then the ghost nose.  They were re-embroidered with black thread.

 

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The fix took less than 3 minutes and towel looks much better in daylight— even better in the dark.

 

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Restitching those elements of the design in black was a huge improvement.

Even more was learned on the next project, a pumpkin door hanger.

 

Fun project! Pumpkin Door Hanger from Hang To Dry. The applique' font and the text were from Brother's PE-NEXT editing program.

What a fun project! Pumpkin Door Hanger from Hang To Dry. The applique’ font and the text were from Brother’s PE-NEXT editing program.

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Finished Christening Gown for Baby Shrek!

“I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted what I asked of Him.” 1 Samuel 1:27

After earlier disappointments, people around the world prayed for this baby during the difficult pregnancy.  God hears all prayers and answered with the safe delivery of this precious baby into the arms of his loving family.

So here are the details of the renewed heirloom gown Baby Shrek wore for his baptism. ~~~~~~

Photo taken between rain and wind gusts from tropical storm Hermine.

photo taken between rain and wind gusts from tropical storm Hermine.

 

It’s been so long since my last post that faithful readers probably think I have dropped off the face of the earth.  A more accurate explanation of my absence is that I’ve been buried deep in my sewing room.  Sooooo much has been going on, the highlight being the completion of this gown for Baby Shrek and spending some time with him.  Details of a weekend with 4 rabid embroidery enthusiasts, ages 3.5-9, nearly a week of sewing with our two older grandchildren before they moved to New Jersey, and more will be posted later.

 

Little Shrek on my dining room table

Little Shrek on my dining room table. His adoring grandmother is captured in the mirror wearing a white blouse.

 

First let me answer a the question many have asked about why he is called Baby Shrek.  His parents very graciously gave me permission to use any photos of him, but asked that I not use his name.  So the hasty endearment from his maternal grandmother, “beautiful Baby Shrek,” is used in place of his very lengthy, good Christian name.

These pictures are not great, but he had passed up his noon nursing due to the distraction of my two dogs and his watchful, attentive fan club.  Then when he was dressed for the photos, he was good-natured, but very actively squirmed and flapped his little arms as he pleaded for his dinner.

 

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For the Boys

He asked that his face not be included. That's a shame because he is so handsome. But I respect his privacy.

Grandson Robert, 10 yo, embroidered this fleece poncho on my Brother Dream Machine.

 

Shops, internet and sewing groups inundate us with beautiful and adorable projects for our girls.  Items for the boys appear far less frequently. Yet we want to shower them with the same love that is stitched into items made for our girls.

My friend Judy Day faithfully and thoughtfully includes something for her grandson in packages she sends with garments for her granddaughter. See one example in her Even Steven post.

When our delightful 10 yo grandson Robert spent the night recently, he spent a lot of time cuddled up on the couch, wrapped in a fleece throw.  March Madness was well underway, watched intently by Robert and his Granddad.

As Robert trekked into the kitchen for a drink refill, with his blanket dragging the floor and slipping off his shoulders,  Sonia Showalter’s poncho   came to mind.  That’s just what Robert needed!

He agreed it was a great idea and wanted to help.  The technology of my Dream Machine fascinates him and he always asks a lot of questions about its capabilities.  In my experience, kids love sewing machines.  Robert chose a dragon from the built-in designs.

 

R dream dragon

 

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