Thursday, September 29, 2011

I want my Mummy!

Robbie had a book parade a couple of years ago at school, and he wanted to be a mummy.  The idea behind the book parade is to dress up as one of your favorite characters.  He chose the book "Where's my Mummy?"  Of course, my only notice came the day before!!!!  So I had to think super fast on my feet and scramble to get his costume ready.  I grabbed an old king size sheet and started ripping it into strips.  I used 3" strips for his arms and legs, 4" for his head and shoulders and about 6" for the torso.  I just started wrapping these strips around every inch of his body.  He absolutely did not want anything on his face except that one little strip across his nose which totally frustrated me, but it was his costume.  I let him do it his way.  I had to be very careful, especially around his neck, not to get the strips too tight around him.  Of course, it made them really loose, so they would fall. I had to put safety pins in certain areas to keep it from falling down.  I would loved to have soaked these in tea to get that old vintage mummy look, but I simply had no time.  I even tried to convince him to replicate this for Halloween so I would have time to tea soak the strips.  But he was having none of that.  He wanted to be a vampire.  Sheesh, can't I get a break.  Why on earth can't they wear these costumes more than once??  I still have the strips though.  And one of these days, I'll soak them.  I believe if he sees how good it looks, he'll be more inclined to actually wear it again.  Plus, I'll have much more time to tweak the whole outfit.   He did look really cute and got tons of compliments which thoroughly pleased him.  I guess that's all a mom could really ask for.   This year he wants to be a werewolf.  That will be easy.  We've already bought the mask and shirt.  A ripped pair of jeans and a little make-up should finish the look quite nicely.  Angela

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sleepy Time!

When I had my first child, a close friend made two baby blankets for me for each child that I absolutely loved, and I still have 2 of these left out of 4.  They were soft, original and much larger than the store bought ones.  They measured almost 45" square.  So I thought why not make these as gifts for new babes.  I began making them with lace around the edges sometimes weaving ribbon through french lace beading.  Once I was quite comfortable, I experimented with other styles.  I've used blanket binding (super easy), and I've also used fabric to simulate a binding as shown in these pics.  I simply cut the inside fabric roughly 3 inches shorter all the way around.  Then "encased" the top fabric with the bottom mitering the corners.  Stitch very close to the edge of the "binding" and right on top of the mitered corner to keep it in place.  I'll have a tutorial on these very soon.  I have to make one first so I can post pictures. 
And right now, I have no new babies on my list.  I use 100% cotton fabrics so they are super soft.  I will normally make two for each baby.  One for summer using light weight cotton fabrics, and one for winter using flannel fabrics.  The flannels have gotten the best overall reviews.  The pink one pictured is made from light weight cotton, and the blue one is flannel.  There are so many variations from which to choose.  Just use a little imagination.  I always pre-wash my fabric before cutting to minimize shrinkage.  They are machine washable in cold water and dry on low heat.  I've accidentally dried mine on high heat before with no problem.  But there is always that chance.  So better to err on the side of caution.  Angela

Monday, September 26, 2011


I had tried my hand several times at quilting.  I have a queen and king size put away, and I recently made one for Robbie for his room.  But I thought I'd like to try one for a baby, plus I wanted to try my new embroidery designs I had just gotten from bigB.  Rob's cousin had just had a baby boy, so I thought the timing was perfect.  And I knew if it wasn't perfect, they would never tell me.  So I first chose the designs I wanted to incorporate, then cut the interior squares.  I had just gotten the Amy Butler Daisy Chain fabric and was excited to put it to use.  I gathered all my scraps and went to work.  I was not happy that two of my middle squares did not line up at the points, and my miter corners left a lot to be desired.  But for my first mitered corners, I guess it wasn't hideous.  It certainly could have been a lot worse.  I will definitely make one of these again.  A

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Smocked Nightgown

This is one of ten smocked nightgowns I made for Christmas last year.  This is Gracyn.  She is the daughter of my friend, Angie.  Isn't she sweet?  These are very versatile in that you can use just about any bishop smocking design.  The sleeves can be capped, short or long.  I've even used lace for the sleeves.  You can get the nightgown pattern here and here.  There is a child's pattern sizes 1-6, a girl's pattern sizes 8-14, and an adult pattern sizes 6-16.  I love this pattern because it is super easy to construct, and both front and back are smocked.  I also love that you can make a matching robe or just the robe by itself which I did for Rob's grandmother.  She doesn't wear nightgowns, but she always wears a robe, so this gift was perfect.  And the small adult size fit her frame quite nicely considering she is very petite.  I should have another pic of my little friend, Gracie, wearing her nightgown soon.  I used lace for her sleeves.  Oh, it's super hard to see in this pic, but Gracyn's sleeve were done using a wing needle on my machine and encasing a piece of DMC floss.  I have a setting on my Viking that allows me to basically make the edges look almost like entredeux.  Make sure you use silk thread with this technique; otherwise, the heavier thread will "fill in" your holes.  There is a name to this technique, but it escapes me right now.  Getting older is for the birds!


Monday, September 19, 2011

Mary De by Children's Corner

This is one of my very favorite dress patterns.  This is the second one I've made, and it's roughly 16 years old!  I actually messed up the first one; although, I still have it tucked away in a drawer.  I've tried to go back and correct it without totally ripping the dress apart to no avail.  One day, I'll do just that.  But for now, I have a ton of other things I'm working on.  I've made this dress 3 or 4 times since the original for my little friend, Gracie.  These are some of her favorite dresses, and she is definitely a fashionista, so I'll take that as a compliment.  I'll have to post some pics of her wearing them very soon.    I think I'm going to have to invest in a dress form to get better pics of my work.  I'm just not crazy about my latest pics. :(    ......Angela

Friday, September 16, 2011


These are one of the first outfits I made for my oldest two nearly 20 years ago.  I'm surprised they are still in great shape.  The very first dress I made was awful!!  I didn't even keep it.  Everything after that first one is still hanging in a closet at home.  I had the embroidery done at a specialty shop in Savannah, since I didn't have a machine that could do it.  I always made matching outfits for the two of them every Easter and Christmas.  I'll have to see if I can dig up my santa pictures with them wearing these and post them too.

I made these the following year.  The collar is removable from the dress, so it could have been used on another dress if I had chosen.  The pattern is out of an old copy of Sew Beautiful Magazine.  I still have the copy!  The ribbon on the boy's outfit will have to be replaced, as it has taken a beating.  I just love these button on shorts.

This is a Christmas nightshirt I made for Britt when she was about 4.  Wow how time flies.  There used to be ornaments on the trees and ribbons on all the presents, but they have long since been gone.  I'll have to fix that when I hand this down to the future grandchildren.  Sheesh, I don't even like saying that.  It's too soon for grandchildren.  They need to wait a few more years.  The one on the right is one of my WIPs.  I will be adding "ho-ho-ho-ho" just above the ornaments on the right side on the diagonal.  I haven't found the right fabric yet.


This is a Strasburg pattern I made for Brittany for a wedding.  She was the flower girl.  I have to find the pictures.  She looked so sweet.  This was the second one I've made.  The first was a mint green for Easter.  I'll have that one posted soon too.  This one has not held up.  She didn't wear it very much, so I knew when I put it up, it was in great shape.  When I pulled it out to take pics, I noticed the lace and some of the batiste is turning colors. :(  I really hope I can fix that, so it can be passed down.

This is a matching Easter set that I made roughly 15 years ago for Britt and Austin.  They wore these 2 years in a row.   I simply moved the buttons down on Austin's shirt, and Britt just didn't grow that much.  I was lucky she was always so petite as a little girl.  This was the first dress I had ever made with lace.  This was also the dress that forced me to buy my Viking sewing machine.  My old machine ate roughly $40 worth of lace trying to get it on the dress.  I was so mad.  The new Viking Computer 500 was a dream.  No more ruined projects, and it has more than paid for itself over the years.  The dress has held up well except for the lace around the collar.  I wove a small ribbon through the french lace beading, but I should have tacked it in several places to keep it in place.  The way it's done, it tends to move around too much.  Both of these could certainly be passed down in another....oh say 10 years or so. hahaha 

This is the first nightgown I made nearly 15 years ago for Britt.  It has held up very well considering how many times it went through the wash.  She wore it all the time.  I made two others for my friend, Suzanne's, 2 girls.  She always passed down all her smocked dresses, so I reciprocated by making them a few nightgowns and dresses.  Incidentally, I have always washed these items in cold water on delicate and dried on low heat in the dryer except the lace collars.  I always hung those.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

No ordinary pillow!

I found this pattern online here (although I modified it a bit) and thought it was a fabulous idea.  I could use fabrics I already had on hand, and it was super easy!  I put this together from start to finish in less than an hour.  I used a 12x12 pillow insert purchased from Joannes with a 40% off coupon for about $7.00.  Voila!  One present down, 100 to go. This is the view of the back.  I used a decorative stitch on my machine on both edges of the envelope enclosure.  In hind sight, I probably should have done just the outside edge.  I didn't realize it would show through until I had it put together.  No harm, no foul!

Finally finished!

I am so happy I finally finished this little bishop, so I can start on the next!  My sister swears her granddaughter wears a size 3, but she must be incredibly short, because this only measures 18" from neck to hem line.  It makes it look a little wide.  Oh well, I put a hefty 6" hem in it, so they can certainly hang on to it and let it out later if needed.  I have made this watermelon pattern before on a white pique dress, and it was beautiful.  This one is a baby blue batiste.  Although the colors are not as bright, it is still very sweet.  I've been smocking since my daughter was a year old.  She, of course, has outgrown these little heirlooms, so I make them for others.  My friend, Tawaney, has a little girl, Gracie, who has no problem being my guinea pig for new dresses.  And, like my little guy, she has very specific ideas of what she likes.  The best part is seeing her reaction when she sees them for the first time.  I'll have to post some pics of her in her dresses.  Tawaney is always sweet to send me pictures of EVERY dress I make.  She's the only one who does that, and it really means a lot to me.  In fact, the white watermelon pique dress was one I had done for Gracie.  She has outgrown it, so Tawaney wants me to turn it into a top.  I've been working on that now for quite some time.  I thought it would be really cute to smock right about waist high, but it is a pain to run through my pleater.  I need another pair of hands to help pleat the bottom to keep it straight.  But that's for another post!

Make-up pouches anyone?

These are make-up pouches I began making right before last Christmas.  I gave several monogrammed ones as gifts.  They are quilted and very roomy.  They are easy to make using scrap fabrics you have lying around.  I actually got this pattern from Colonial Quilts in a class I took after buying my Bernina Serger.  This bag can be constructed completely with a serger; no sewing machine required.  Although, I use my sewing machine to attach the zipper, then serge the edges for a clean look.  The original bag was much smaller and was used to hold all of my serging accessories.  But I thought it would be great as a make-up pouch, so I modified it to make it larger.  This was the end result.  I guess you could use one color fabric, but I kinda like the different colors and prints.  It gives the bag a little character, don't ya think?  I'll have some posted on my Etsy account soon.  I posted some last Christmas, but I ran out and hadn't made anymore until this year.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Amy Butler Weekender Bag

This was by far the hardest project I've tackled.  My daughter had been looking for the perfect overnight bag and wanted one she could monogram.  After a lot of searching, we came across this pattern from Amy Butler.  When I actually looked at the pattern, I'll have to admit, I was a bit intimidated.  Then I discovered that there were about 3 different patterns for this same bag - all with different material requirements!  Really?!?!?  Undeterred, I sent an email to one of the staff at Amy Butler Designs, and she graciously sent me the correct material requirements.  She went on to offer me encouragement as I was really terrified.  It took me several weeks to get it completed, but I was only able to work on it for an hour or two during the week and several hours on the weekend.  Plus I had a ton of other projects I was working on.  I put my seam ripper through the works on this bag.  I bet I ripped out seams 10 times.  I did not have my sewing machine (it was in the shop), and I had borrowed a friend's.  It did not have the presser foot I needed.  It was really hard using the zipper foot to crowd the piping when sewing the side of the bag to the front.  The first side made me say some really ugly words.  But I was finally able to use a different presser foot that worked - not the zipper - to attach that side.  Once I had the piping safely in the right position, it was easy to go back with the zipper foot and really crowd it.  The second side required no ripping of seams - hallelujah!  And it took a lot less time than the first side - and no bad words. lol  Fabrics used were Daisy Chain Sweet Jasmine Mist outside and Daisy Chain Daisy Bouquet Turquoise for the lining, handles and decorative piping.

The bag is finished except for the monogram, and I was pleased with the end product.  I have some material left over, so I'm thinking of making a matching make-up bag or jewelry case.  I'm working on a new design now for a make-up bag that would also accommodate make-up brushes.  I'll have to post on that when I get it finished.

The one complaint with the pattern is I did not like the way they finished the piping ends on the bag, so if I do another one, I'll handle the piping much differently.  I'll have to post on that at a later date too.  There is actually a way you can make the piping appear seamless rather than crossing it over at the ends.  I would definitely make this bag again.  It should be much easier the second time around.......yeah, right!


Monday, September 12, 2011

Christmas is just around the corner.

Last year I decided to get creative with Christmas gifts since our finances took a nose dive thanks to our economy.  I sewed everything for every girl on my list.  I made smocked night gowns, purses, make up bags, and smocked dresses.  I had so much fun, I decided to do it again this year only with more interest in making things unique.

One of my first projects was this purse with a daisy embroidered on the front.  I started with this pattern and modified it to a different size and changed the width of my fabric strips to accommodate my embroidery.  I bought the daisy embroidery pattern here.  I had never done ribbon embroidery, so I thought I'd give it a shot.  I was so pleased with the results.  The only thing I don't like is the fabric is so thin, you can see my green thread on the back. :(

I also decided to add the boys to my list.  I'm making them boxer shorts.  You can find the pattern here and here.  They are available in adult and kid sizes.  These are terrific because they have a panel in the back that keeps them from riding up.  I've made 5 so far.  I put 3 of them together yesterday in about 2 hours - maybe a little longer.  They are also great for girls.  In fact, I've already had requests.  My 7 year old had to have his now, so I relented.  He loves them. 

Speaking of my 7 year old.  Last year he wanted me to make him a lion costume for a book parade at school.  At first he said I wasn't that talented. lol  He said: "Mom, you are talented but not that talented!"  Can you imagine?  With no pattern and only very specific ideas from a 7 year old, I went to work to prove him wrong.  It was really challenging, and there were times when I thought "I give up."  But I just kept hearing his words in my head over and over again.  I finally got through it, and the finished product satisfied my very opinionated and picky little guy.  He loved it.  Only I created a monster.  He's come up with all sorts of things now he wants me to make.  And now he says; "Mom, is there anything you can't sew?"  And that's the reason for my title.  Just give me a needle, and he thinks I could sew just about anything.

I hope you enjoy my blog.  It's relatively new, and I'm still working on getting photos posted.  Feel free to email with questions.  It's fun to share ideas with others that share my passion.