Tag Archives: hemstitching

Easter ’11 ~Laurel’s Dress



In desperation, I’ve tabled all my to-do’s and should-do’s then surrendered to MUST-do, which is sewing. Not only is Easter just around the corner, but also I am in serious need of  a powerful sewing fix.   So I’ve retreated to my textile cave, AKA Sewing Machine Garage and Stash Storage Facility,  for needle and thread therapy.  If ever I were to fall seriously ill, I’m pretty sure an heirloom sewing session would cure me.

Laurel is first in line for Easter finery.  Handling Swiss batiste, heirloom laces and stitching embroidery does for me what baby cord and Imperial broadcloth cannot.   Those items, by the way, are the components of the grandsons’ outfits that I have planned.




Since Judith Dobson’s Tea Dress appeared on the back cover of Sew Beautiful in the January 1989 issue,  I’ve wanted to make this beauty.  At the time, my Rebecca was already 14 years old so I knew that making the Tea Dress was not a project I would take on  in the foreseeable future.

Now that my precious granddaughter Laurel is nearly 7, the Tea Dress seems like a perfect transition between little girl high yokes and big girl waisted frocks.  The design and lines just seem a little more sophisticated to me.  Nonetheless, this confection would sweet on girls of any age–but not 14. Continue reading

American Girls Addy Nightie

Addy all


Here I am, so busy I can hardly find time to comb my hair.  Meanwhile, granddaughter Laurel has been waiting somewhat patiently for the smocked nightgown I’ve started for her Molly doll.  Finishing this nightie has been an urgent request of Laurel’s because,  she tells me, “Molly has to sleep in her CLOTHES, Nana!”  Outrageous, I know. If there were a DPS (Doll Protective Services) agency, Laurel would be panicked.

But yesterday I came across a stash of doll clothes I made many years ago and, whoopee!  they fit the American Girls dolls!  They were projects for doll schools that Mildred Turner and I organized and  taught around  the country some years ago.  In these schools, students sewed a wardrobe that Mildred and I had designed for 20″ porcelain dolls.   This, I think, was the nightdress for Melanie, our Gone With the Wind character doll for the Atlanta school.  What fun we had at those schools.




At any rate, the bias bound neck is a little snug and the gown touches the floor on the 18″ American Girls dolls, but Addy is not complaining.

In order to draft an American Girls bishop pattern I had borrowed Addy from my godchild, Caitlin,  for whom I bought this doll 16 years ago.  Her 2 1/2 year old daughter Alysha, has been dragging Addy around the house for more than a year now.   Continue reading

Zig Zag Bonnet II

bonnet stand


Another class project for Sewing at the Beach is finished along with the kits and handouts. This Swiss organdy zig zag bonnet is a summer version of the Swiss flannel bonnet featured in an earlier post. Appearing in Creative Needle magazine many years ago, the 1920’s pattern has always intrigued me.  That recreation was made of a single layer of Swiss batiste.

Working with the organdy was such a pleasure.  Having modified the pattern to include a lining, I was pleased to see  the delicate lawn print peeking through the organdy.  It is much more visible than it is through the Swiss flannel.  Additionally, the organdy required no starch before hemstitching.  This is a bonus in a classroom situation.


lining fold back

Basically, the pattern consists of a single piece of batiste 15″ X 9″ with deep zig zags along the front and back. This measurement allows a little excess around the edges for hemstitching.

I was not surprised at how difficult it was to trace the pattern onto the organdy.  It would have taken too much time in class, so I used a technique that has worked on other projects that require tracing.

First, I taped the paper pattern to the cutting board.  Then, a sheet of quilting template plastic was placed over that and also taped to the cutting board.  Next, several lengths of double sided tape (my absolute favorite, must-have non-sewing notion) were placed around the perimeter of the pattern and through the center.  Finally, the organdy was pressed against the tape and smoothed flat.

Not only does this prevent shifting of shifty fabric, but it also prevents the possibility of transferring some of the ink from the pattern onto the fabric when the marking pen traces over it.  And it is so much more accurate than tracing over unruly fabric.


If you would like this wide V floral machine embroidery design, post your request as a comment below.

If you would like this wide V floral machine embroidery design, post your request as a comment below.

The machine embroidery within the front points is from Fil Tire’ and Fancywork Combinations collection.  Lining is joined to the organdy with spray adhesive up to the brim fold line.

Machine made entredeux outlines the perimeter and slightly gathered English lace edging is butted up to it.  Lace edging is joined all around.

The embroidered points are folded back to serve as a brim and the back zig zags are tacked together. Ribbons can be attached quite simply at the sides.   Machine embroidered lace rosettes to cover the ribbon stitching takes a little more time but I was pleased with the results.


bonnet back

Five inches of 3/4″ edging was machine zig zagged together.  By pulling the gathering thread from both ends, I had more than 2″ of sturdy header thread to knot off, holding the rosette’s gathers.  Still, there is a small hole in the center.

Water soluble stabilizer was hooped in my smallest embroidery frame.  With spray adhesive, a scrap of white lace was placed against the rosette, over the hole.  Then, with another application of spray adhesive, the lace rosette was placed on the stabilizer.  The carefully selected design was sized to reach beyond the little hole in the center of the rosette.

I love baby bonnets. What is your favorite bonnet pattern?



Aunt Rheeta’s Communion Cloth

The linen is white, but the lighting was so poor that I had to edit the picture to show details.



Very few sewing projects have given me as much pleasure and satisfaction as this one. Made 2 years ago, in collaboration with my dear aunt, Rheeta Booth, for her church, this set of liturgical linens includes an altar cloth (cover) and communion veil which covers the elements before communion is served.





Aunt Rheeta was so excited about this project. The exquisite Swiss liturgical lace had been purchased several years before, from Farmhouse Fabrics.    At the time, I had no specific plan but felt certain this exceptional lace it would fill a very special need.




Several years ago, when Aunt Rheeta returned from Russia, where she had served as a missionary, she brought with her a lovely hand embroidered cloth. She donated it to her very small church for use as a communion cloth, but through the years, it had become worn.

During her visit two years ago, we were plundering in the sewing room when I happened upon the lace. The light in her eyes told me it had found its purpose.

Continue reading