Tag Archives: heirloom sewing

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.

CHALLENGES

LACE–There were many challenges while making this dress.  First, I was inspired and compelled to use this exquisitely detailed, dark tan galloon lace purchased from Sue Stewart at the facebook group,Smocking Destash. It just looked perfect for a fawn themed dress. Of course,  the pattern calls for insertion and edging, not a galloon.

 

galloon lace with leftover from the roll and whip

 

The edges are really quite straight so it worked for an insertion.  It was pinstitched in place on my Brother Dream Machine with a #100 needle rather than a wing.   That might have damaged the heavy cordonnet which outlines this lovely lace pattern.   At 3/4″ wide, it was twice the 3/8″ suggested for the insertion.  But by placing the extra width to the center of the pattern, it worked just fine.

SLEEVES–To be used as sleeve edging this 3/4″ lace is wider than I like for a baby.   Also it has no pull thread for gathering  My solution was to rotary cut the galloon down to 5/8″.  Next, the raw edge was rolled and whipped over a quilting thread, reducing the width to a generous 3/8″.  Close enough for me.

Because the lace is fairly stiff, I used far less edging than suggested.  It gathered reluctantly and with more bulk than I would have liked.  That cordonnet is heavy.  The rolled, whipped and gathered lace was then joined to a large-holed entredeux.

 

 

Neither of my granddaughter’s would tolerate snug binding sleeves against their arms.  I expect Bea might be the same.  And she has some deliciously chunky arms with those precious fat rolls we love to squeeze.  So if the sleeve opening is wider than suggested.  If it is too big I can weave a narrow silk ribbon through the large entredeux holes.

 

 

 

The sleeves were inserted with the same entredeux as used on the neck and sleeve edge.  This is not a difficult technique and one which I  think adds a great deal to the heirloom look of a  garment.

NECKLINE–This was another challenge.  The pattern called for gathered lace standing up against entredeux.  But. again, this lace is stiff and likely to be scratchy against silky, delicate baby skin. The entredeux was applied so as to fold to the front with the gathered lace lying against the dress instead of the baby’s neck.  But it would not lie down.

The solution to this challenge was to weave strands of the featherstitching thread through the entredeux as well as the dress itself.

 

 

 

That convinced it to cooperate.

Obviously, the hand stitched weaving looks quite messy.  If I had more time I would remove it and use more strands of thread.  But tick tock tick tock.  It is what it is.

BUTTONS–This was an interesting challenge.  I have a tote bag full of MOP buttons-pink, blue, yellow, green dark brown, ecru and white of course.  But I had these single hole button that were just the right color.  But how to attach  a button with just one hole?

 

Neckline lace has been flipped up for better visibility. The lace almost covers the top button.

 

First I tried French knots in a variety thread weights and number of wraps.   All fell through the single hole or were so bulky as to be unsightly.

Then I thought about a bead.  A single red seed bead worked beautifully.  I was so pleased until……….

 

 

 

Oops!  In my enthusiasm I sewed the button on  the inside of the placket.  Oh well, it was just one button, easy enough to fix.

So the dress will be handed over to Baby Bea tomorrow.  Perhaps she will wear it to the children’s Christmas program at church tomorrow evening.

It’s been way too long since I’ve posted but life gets so busy!  We had our two younger grands, 5 yo Vivian Rose and 9 yo Alastair, for 5 fun-filled days, returning them to their parents and other grandmothers on Thanksgiving Day.  It was a delightful time.

Then I was laid low for a week with my winter foe bronchitis,  all the while trying to muster energy to finish up my Christmas project for Brother’s Stitching Sewcial blog.  I’ll tell you about that project as soon as it is posted on the blog.

Meanwhile, happy stitching to all.  I have 2 Christmas dresses and many, many gifts to embroider before the big day.  I hope to finish before Santa comes down the chimney or he will have to help me finish!  Frankly, his sewing skills seem a bit questionable.

 

 

Required disclaimer:  I am a paid sewing consultant for Brother sewing machine company.

FREE Heirloom Baby Dress Sew-Along

Heirloom Baby Gown Sew-Along presented by Brother International Corporation

 

Classic Sewing Magazine  is offering a FREE Sew-Along.  I made this sweet little dress/daygown for Brother’s submission to the magazine and it is being offered to you. The instructions have been broken into 4 lessons.

Written for beginners, it also includes tips and suggestions that might be useful for experienced heirloom sewists.  Techniques such as lace insertion, lace shaping, pin stitch, joining gathered lace, etc. are included.

The first two lessons have been posted so go sign up!  You must be signed up to get notification of the next lessons.

I do hope you will join us.  Just click on the link in  the opening photo and you will be taken to the site to sign up.  The sleeves on this pattern (Simplicity 8024) are just precious.

Let’s sew along!

 

 

1st Birthday Dress

birthday dress

Made 11 years ago,this first birthday dress was for now 12 yo granddaughter Laurel. Of course,  I still love sewing for her.

It’s birthday time for our older granddaughter, Laurel, so I’ve been spending some time reminiscing about her birth and infancy.  So here is a re-run of a post about her first birthday dress.

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Laurel was our first grandchild, and a girl at that.  Our son had been married for 9 years and our daughter was still a single career gal. After nearly 15 years of Granny Lust, mitigated only by gathering fabric, patterns and trims for my Grandmother’s Really Hopeful Chest, I was ready to sew as a genuine Nana.

That first year went by so quickly! Smocked daygowns and bonnets, embroidered diaper shirts and onesies, monogrammed bibs and baby Gator duds flew out of my sewing room.  It seems that for almost 12 months, I did nothing but sew and snuggle that baby.

 

birthday dress cf

center front embroidery

 

As her first year drew to a close,  I did manage to pull myself away from the enchanting child long enough to make her first birthday dress. Of course, it was made with my finest Swiss batiste, carved pearl buttons, treasured Maline lace and other hoarded trims. Continue reading

Christmas Outfits Past Part 2

I hope you have all finished your Christmas sewing.  I’ve moved on to baking and gift wrapping and hope to finish up in time for our big family celebrations.

Here are a few more Christmas outfits from the past.  These gingerbread outfits for my  two older grandchildren were favorites of mine.   A few years later, new grandson Alastair wore Robert’s suit.

 

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Ready-to-smock gingerbread outfits were paired up with a Creative Needle smocking plate.

 

One year I planned to make matching Thanksgiving outfits for the children.  The Viyella brown plaid garments were made but before I began the bibs, plans changed and the older two would not be with us that day. So I decided to use the garments for Christmas.  But that was a stretch—brown plaid for Christmas.  I made it work.

 

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Alastair’s Christmas outfit, Children’s Corner Glenn with linen bib embroidery from OESD’s Current Critters Continued.

 

Laurel’s basic yoke dress was trimmed with tatting, as was her linen bib.

 

 

yella

Laurel also had a tie-on bib with a Current Critters Continued design.

 

These Current Critters embroidery designs are so charming. Continue reading

Blue Bows~Handlooms and Swiss Embroideries

bluebowgownwhole

Originally posted in 2011…

Stitching a nightgown is always a pleasure.  Often made as gifts for birthdays, holidays or bridal showers, pretty sleepwear is appreciated by ladies old and young.

BlueBowsMaryLydia

This gown was made for my daughter when she was a teenager.  The pattern, Mary Lydia, is an old, all time favorite of mine.

Its versatility allows you to use goods of any width.  The armhole curve is placed over the finished fancyband and dips into the skirt fabric.  It is also suitable for a sundress.

bluebowgownFyokeBrite

SWISS HANDLOOM blue bow insertion on back yoke

 

 

bluebowgownbackyokeBrite

SWISS HANDLOOM blue bow insertion on front yoke

 

Made of all Swiss goods–batiste, galoon beading, blue bow handloom insertion and edging–it is guaranteed to present sweet dreams.

This handloom is one of my all time favorites.

 

SWISS HANDLOOM. It is exactly like hand stitched shadow embroidery.

SWISS HANDLOOM. It is exactly like hand stitched shadow embroidery.

————– Continue reading

Alastair’s Hurry-up Easter Suit

A Easter suit

I know this outfit is crooked on the hanger. There was a stiff breeze blowing and I could not keep the shirt hanging properly.

 

We always talk about how busy we are, but I have never let other things make me cut it so close with Easter outfits for the grandchildren.  Just like when my children were small, I was up until after midnight Saturday before Easter.

 

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But I finished all four outfits.

Alastair’s Easter suit was a very satisfying project.  Like few hurry-up projects, it finished up quite nicely, leaving me  generally pleased.   I learned that sometimes surrendering my picky-ness for a rush project is okay.  It is more important to have an  OK outfit done for Easter than an up- to-my-picky-standards outfit done a week later.  This was made in about a day and a half, and those were busy days aside from sewing.

 

goods A suit Continue reading

Think Spring Dress

UPDATE:  There have been several inquiries about the sleeve finish so the process is detailed at the end of this post (below the groundhog eating wolf).

It’s been so long since there has been a new post at  Janice Ferguson Sews that  faithful readers might have thought that I was missing in action.  I’ve been tending my dear husband who had knee replacement surgery two weeks ago.  Post-op he spent a week at the same rehab center where I recuperated  from my joint surgeries and gained some valuable insights into life.

So I have been spending time with him, running errands and doing his many, many household chores.  Whew!  That man does more around here than I ever realized!  He’s my grocery shopper, gardener, pool boy, morning feral cat feeder, garbage hauler, very best friend, and more.  I have really missed him.

At last, he’s back home, stepping lightly with his gentleman’s cane and walking the fast track to a complete recovery.

 

That's not really him. And it's not really me.

That’s not really him. And it’s not really me.

 

And I’m back too, with a finished project to share with you.

This cheerful little dress just makes me grin.   Looking at it reminds me of our Florida springtime with raspberry pink azaleas, white dogwoods and the bright turquois waters of nearby Blue Springs.  The fabric says spring to me.

 

think spring dress all recol Continue reading

Sewing up Foster Love

foster-care-kids-need-love-too

NOTE:  Some readers have requested advance warning of an upcoming Nursery Closet Sale, so here it is.  Coming soon, probably Monday morning,  Nursery Closet Sale #8 which includes a linen shadow work burp cloth, pique hand embroidered sunsuit, pink bubble smocked with Scotties, sweet flannel wide brimmed bonnet, and more.~~~

Recently, a reader of this blog sent a heartwarming e-mail which is posted below.  It details the thoughtful efforts of Jennifer, a foster mother, and her husband who have opened their home to foster children.  This couple goes far beyond providing food, clothing and shelter and Jennifer’s sewing contributes mightily to the children’s loving care.

“A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove . .  But the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.” -Forest E. Witcraft

Charity sewing is not a new topic and many of you readers are actively involved in a multitude of worthy, meaningful causes.  But Jennifer takes an entirely different approach than I have ever read or heard about.  She stitches love into garments and goes even further to make permanent photo memories for the children in her temporary care.  Her expression of love for foster children has been a powerful inspiration to me.

“And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me.” ~ Matthew 18:5 Continue reading

Moving on…..

all w headband2BR

 

It seemed as though 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.

 

pini4-patt Continue reading

Feather Stitched Bows

t bonnet

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.

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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.”

 

bonnet side

 

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