Tag Archives: smocking

Maggie B’s Ode to Joy Dress

 

 

Maggie Bunch has created a new classic with her Ode to Joy pattern.  I love everything about this dress–quick smocking, easy construction, use of coordinating print and the comfort of a pull-on dress or playtop with no buttons to fuss with.  It is smocked front and back with only about 90 pleats sleeve to sleeve.

 

 

Ode to Joy was first taught by Maggie as a class project at Sewing at the Beach and she is now offering it as an on-line sew-along class.  She has given several sew-along, smock-along classes, reasonably priced at $25.  They are a bargain at any price.

Step by step, Maggie sews along with you and posts even more detailed photos in the process.   She is also  is available to answer questions.  The class begins mid- June.  Registration is limited so if you are interested, check it out ASAP on her website here.   

I learned so much making this little dress.  Sewing and smocking on a border print requires some special considerations and Maggie addressed them all.   Reading how she adjusts the garment pattern to accommodate the border fabric pattern others was so comforting.  I don’t EVER want to go  through trying to match side seams and the front button closure as I did on CC Jenni Leigh.  Now I can figure out a way to match the print more easily on most patterns.

 

Note the side seam near the yellow dashed line.

 

I first saw this dress made up in the same Michael Miller Swan Lake fabric on one of the smocking/heirloom sewing lists and just fell in love with it. I wish I could recall who made the dress so I could thank her for the inspiration.  The dress was modeled by an absolutely adorable,  curly red-haired child.  I HAD to make it. Already, my plate was full to overflowing, but sometimes you just have to do what you have to do.

Locating the fabric required an hour-long internet search.  Everyone, it seemed, was sold out of this charming print. Finally, I located a shop in Washington state which had both Swan Lake and the coordinating print in stock.

Vivian has been adamant that she only likes garments with kitty cats, hearts and rainbows.  To my surprise, the success of the pink bishop for which I had no hope, was due to the fact that there were hearts in the smocking.  Hearts in the smocking?  I can do that!

You can see  that the Swan Lake smocking is heavy with hearts, just what Vivi loves.  I expect she will wear this dress quite happily.  She arrives her on Memorial Day for a week of Nana Camp.  Film at 11.

NANA FUN:

Meanwhile, I sent the photo of the little red-haired girl wearing the dress to my Rebecca and gave her some persuasive arguments to convince 4 yo Vivi that this was the dress for her.  Yeah!

“Tell Nana no thanks.  I only like dresses with kitty cats, hearts or rainbows.”

Rebecca went to persuasion #1.  “Nana says if you will wear this dress and be happy, she will then make you another kitty cat dress.”

Vivi:  “Tell her to just make the kitty cat dress.”

Rebecca went to persuasion #2:  “Nana really wants to make this swan dress and if you don’t want it she will give it to Eloise (our pastor’s 4 yo daughter).”

Vivi: ” Ok, ok, ok.  I’ll wear the dress and be happy.  I don’t want Eloise to get the kitty cat dress.”

The fine print of that proposal went right over her curly head.  Whew!

 

Easter Dress: Disaster Averted

Easter dress for 3 yo Vivian Rose

Easter dress for 3 yo Vivian Rose.  The pattern is Children’s Corner Betsey.

Okay, I’m done whining about missing out on Easter with the grandchildren this year.  As I mentioned (or wailed) in the previous post, this year’s Resurrection Day garments remain undelivered.  And no, that is not the disaster to which I refer in this post title.  There is no recovering that missed celebration. But the Easter dress suffered a real near disaster which I dodged, more or less.

 

27" wide with 10" embroidery

27″ wide with 10″ embroidery

 

First, the details of this dress.  The gorgeous fabric, a 27″ Swiss embroidered flounce purchased from Farmhouse Fabrics, has languished in my sewing room armoire for many years.  It was meant to be used for granddaughter Laurel, who was too small at the time to use this length.  The embroidery extends 10 inches from the hemline.  Then, like so many other projects, it was pushed down on the “make soon” list.

Now with 3 yo Vivian Rose in the family, this beautiful fabric’s day in the sun has come.  Though it was a late start, the smocking was well under way before disaster struck.

Thinking to use my time wisely, 3 days before Easter. I brought the dress along to the hairdresser’s and did some smocking while my…uh…color enhancement set.   BIG MISTAKE!!!

 

stain

ugly stain

 

Janice Ferguson’s custom color #1234 was smeared on the dress.

Scan-3 Continue reading

Christmas Finery for Sister and Brother

2 outfits

Hurrah!  Christmas clothes for our two younger grandchildren were finished, shipped and received late last week.  Toddler Vivian Rose’s white Swiss flannel bishop has the neck and sleeve bound with in red gingham pima cotton.  Heirloom lace is hand whipped to the bias binding.

 

smock close

 

The smocking design is just a simple diamond pattern that I made up as I stitched. Continue reading

A Happy Little Dress

happy dress front

Children’s Corner Katina pattern.   Extra buttons were added so the strap length could be easily adjusted when the dress is tried on. If not needed, the upper MOP buttons will be removed.

 

With its cheerful colors and simple design, this dress just makes me smile. The combination of Liberty of London tanna lawn, blue gingham checks, and yellow whipstitch piping seems to chirp predictions of happy days filled with warm sunshine, blue skies, and colorful flowers.

 

smocking up close

 

A bit of smocking front and back makes Katina just the sort of cute and comfortable  frock I’d like my 14 month old granddaughter to wear all summer long.

 

happy dress back

Katina back

 

I’d like to have added a cute hairbow to the ensemble but Vivian Rose has expressed a very strong dislike for anything on her head—except for strawberries and other food she rubs in.    Sigh…

Of course, a pair of ruffle bottom bloomers was needed to finish the outfit.  The edges of the 2 1/2″ wide ruffles are serged with a 3 thread rolled edge, using wooly nylon in  the upper looper.

 

bloomer ruffles 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

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

Desperation Bubble

bubble front all

 

Have you ever been  desperate to smock and thwarted in the effort?  Desperate to stitch hand embroidery and been hampered? Desperate to sew in a power outage?  I bet the answer is yes.

It reminds me of my crazy friend Catherine who, 25 years ago, had taken her boys to the beach.  Settled down in the sand on an old quilt, under her beach umbrella, she pulled out her smocking only to discover that she had everything but a needle!  Desperate, like me, she walked up and down Daytona Beach asking each sunbather if she might have a #7 crewel needle that Catherine could borrow or buy.  That, my friends, is desperation.  To no one’s surprise but Catherine’s, she came up empty handed.

How this bubble came to be is a result of such desperation.  It didn’t turn out as planned, it didn’t turn out great,  it didn’t really please me.  But it did scratch my itch  for some form–any form!– of needlework. Continue reading

Pink Antique Lace Daygown

ant pink lace daygown all2

 

I love antique laces.  I love the extra detail in the pattern, the unusual colors, the history of previous owners and previous uses about which I speculate while I am sewing.

I love this daygown.  I love the materials, the techniques, the details that I so enjoyed adding and the daydreams I entertained while fantasizing about grandchildren in my future.  Can you tell I love heirloom sewing?

Yet again, this is not a modern project for an old fashioned Nana.  I needed grandchildren before I realized the importance of easy care.

Through the years, I have sniffed out some incredible finds.  This lace was one of them.  At the end of this post, I will tell you about how I became the final owner of this unused, antique lace. Continue reading

Shadow Smocking How-to

shadow-dress

 

My granddaughter’s shadow smocked Easter dress was inspired by Kay Guiles’ article in Sew Beautiful, Easter, 1998.  In fact, the dress is nearly identical to one of the sample garments shown in that article.  I take no credit whatsoever for the design or technique.

 

SB pic

 

The only changes made to Laurel’s dress are the addition of lace insertion in the skirt and the substitution of a different embroidery design that included both silk ribbon and DMC floss.

Shadow smocking is a very unique technique and not at all difficult.  But I learned a lot that I would like to share with anyone considering such a project. Continue reading

Goodwill and Good Grief!

bishop all

 

Shop Goodwill!!!   And here’s why…

A few days ago, I dropped into Goodwill in search of knitting needles. Michaels, Joann’s and even WalMart were all out of size 6!  pssst….Is there some to-die-for new knitting project that requires #6 needles?  Is that what is causing a  run on this size?  If so, please share!

Walking past the children’s clothing I spotted this white broadcloth smocked dress.  It’s a perfect Christmas frock, loaded with bullion roses, priced at $1.49!

 

bishop close

 

Just behind that was a 24 months pink smocked bubble, also marked $1.49!

 

romper all

 

The white insert on the pink seersucker romper is smocked with the most detailed little girlie pigs.  The bullion ring snouts just make me smile, as do the French knot necklaces. Continue reading