Tag Archives: Madeira applique

Satisfaction~Sewing for Boys

Alasair's Easter outfit, under construction

Alastair’s Easter outfit, under construction

 

Anyone can go to Strasburg Children www.strasburgchildren.com  and buy gorgeous heirloom clothing.  Their collection of smocked and heirloom sewn apparel for little ones is unrivaled.  But even in Strasburg’s oasis of classic beauty in the world wide desert of classic children’s clothing , the selections for girls far outnumber those for boys.  That’s a realistic reflection of the market.

I could buy their lovely outfits for my two grandsons and they would look so classically handsome.  But that would not satisfy my urge to create unique garments just for them. I want to do it myself.  I want to bring life to my personal, unique vision of beautiful children’s clothing for my unique and beautiful grandchildren.  And I don’t recall ever seeing train duds in the Strasburg catalogue.

So I sew.  The satisfaction of sewing for the boys is even greater than sewing for granddaughter Laurel. The challenge to design classic attire for little guys is greater, given the constraints of practicality, comfort and local standards of acceptability.

 

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shadow work by embroidery machine design from Suzanne Hinshaw’s Teddies and Toys

 

  For Easter, once again I am coordinating outfits for all three grandchildren- almost 7 year old Laurel, 5 1/2 year old Robert Charles, and just 2 year old Alastair.  This year, the only unifying component is the color blue.

Laurel’s dress and petticoat are standard heirloom, Swiss batiste, heirloom laces, embroidery.  To look presentable, it requires starch, my beloved 1946 Betty Crocker football iron (would you like to hear about it?),  a puff iron, a ham, and about 20 minutes on the ironing board.   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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Mayflower Dress

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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

Little Lamb Daygown

Alastair's Lambs

This is NOT a modern project for an old fashioned Nana.  It is as  traditional and old fashioned as it can be, made of 100% cotton Swiss pique and hand embroidered with enough French knot sheep to fill an Irish hillside. But I loved making it and love seeing him in it.

This design is from Wendy Schoen’s  book, Embroidery for Boys.  From the moment I laid eyes on “Counting Sheep”  when the book was first released about 15 years ago, I knew I had to make it.  Finally, Alastair, the baby boy of our dreams,  wears the gown of my dreams. Continue reading