Saturday, March 28, 2009

Hippity Hoppity Easter's On Its Way!

As of nine o'clock this morning this is what Kellen's dress looked like on my sewing table.  By noon, the bodice was finished.  Notice that I decided to put a pearl at each intersection of the woven ribbon.  That took ALOT of time, but I think it was worth it.  Then I decided to make ribbon embroidered flowers on the collar.  I happened to have the solid lavender, lilac, or whatever color you would call this, in my stash.  I decided to make the sleeves with pleats rather than gathers.  Then I thought the green ribbon would finish the look of the sleeves.
I really like the look of the pleats on the bottom of the bodice as it shows on the pattern that I used (blue version).  But, with the woven ribbon and pearls that obviously wouldn't work so I made a pleated sash instead.  Just the front is pleated, of course.

Since Kellen doesn't like hair bows, I made her a head band instead.
For the skirt, First I measured how long the finished skirt needed to be, and then I went ahead and hemmed the floral fabric before attaching it to the bodice.  Then I hemmed the lining an inch and a half shorter.  I took Gwen's   advice and used my machine's decorative stitches to hem the lining.  I used dark green and made a row of a leaf design, then I went over it with the lavender with a flower design. I layered the skirt with the lining, a layer of netting with ribbon sewn along its edge, then the floral.  Once it was all together it didn't have the fullness I was after so I gathered a 6 inch wide strip of the netting that was three times the width of the skirt and sewed it to the netting on the outside between the netting and the floral fabric.  This gave it just a little more fullness.  It looks a little cockeyed in this photo, but it really isn't.
Here's the finished dress with front and back views.
Sister dresses.  I've got to get them in the mail so they'll have them in time for the Easter Bunny!

More dresses that I need to mail back to my DD so her girls can be wearing them.  These are previous years' Easter dresses that I borrowed.  Our Area Arts Council has a wearable art fashion show each fall and my things have been featured in it the past two years.  These are the dresses that some little models wore.  

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Our little Emory has FOOD allergies.  I capitalized FOOD because she's allergic to so many things: corn (so anything with corn syrup or corn starch, etc.., like cake mixes, icing, and even a lot of medicines!!), apples, pears, peaches, eggs, nuts, carrots, etc....  I didn't list MILK because as of Monday, when my daughter took her in for some new tests they have decided she can now have milk products!!!!   YEA!!!!  This will make life a little easier for my DD.  Here's a picture of my little MILK PRINCESS!!  We've not seen her since Christmas!  I can't believe how she's grown.  The organza dress with the lavender slip/sundress is for her.  

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

One More For The Easter Parade!

First of all, I decided that Jenna would need a slip under her dress.  The fabric was very sheer, and the style not conducive to lining.  So,  Here's what I came up with for her.  I used the same pattern that I used for the dress for sizing.  I just cut the neck line and arm openings lower.  I had one embroidered flower left over after finishing the dress, so I embellished the slip with it.  I simply cut out an oval shape around it and satin stitched it to the bodice.  If I'd been thinking I probably would have used stabilizer, but it did ok without it.  The trim on the slip is the same as on the dress.
I, of course, have to make hair bows to go with each dress.  The red is for Jenna.  The lavender with the yellow center is for Emory; remember the organza with the embroidered flowers and ribbon streamers to match the smocking?  The pink is to go with Riley's.  Hers is the yellow with the tea towel collar.  I don't know what I'll do for Kellen.  She doesn't like hair bows much.

Now for Jenna's dress.  I took all kinds of photos because I thought I was finished, but then all of a sudden it hit me that it needed something else.  So, I added the red ribbon trim around the bottom.

As I've said before, I never really know what I'll end up with till it's done.  I totally meant to use lace insertion to attach the scalloped piece to the dress, but when I got to that step, I decided the lace I had planned to use just didn't work with this fabric, so instead I found this scalloped trim in my stash.  Perfect, I thought.  Then, when the dress was almost  all done, I decided that it needed a sash.  Guess what else was in my stash?  This great scalloped eyelet trim.  I thought it made a perfect sash, and believe it or not, the piece I had was the right length and everything.
I ended up having enough of the embroidered flowers left to do the sleeves this way.  I wasn't sure if I would do cap sleeves, sleeveless, or regular puff sleeves from the fabric.  The pattern I was using was sleeveless, but I like sleeves and felt that this dress needed them.  Since I had 4 scallops left over I decided to make these cap sleeves.  I just made a  biased binding to finish the underarm area as well as to finish the sleeve seams.   This seemed to work pretty well.  

After looking at this photo of the back view I realize that I need to go back and add a snap at the neck line above the first button.  Oh yeah, I decided to finish the neck line with piping.  I love piping and the finished look it gives.
For some reason the dress had more fullness in the bodice than I expected.  That's one reason I decided it needed the sash.  However, it kind of doesn't look exactly like I wanted it to across the smocking.  Perhaps I needed to do the smocking tighter.  I don't know, but I think it looks ok with the sash. 

Here's the finished dress: front and back. 

 I love big bows on the back of little girls dresses and it drives me crazy if the sash isn't tied correctly.  Not that I'm a perfectionist by any means of the word, but it is so easy to tie a bow.  If anyone is having trouble making a pretty bow and would like for me to do a tutorial on this I will be glad to.

Thanks to those of you who gave me well wishes.  It helped, and I think I'm back to normal, well, my DH and DDs would argue that I've never been normal, but normal for me, anyway.   I am still going to be VERY careful about what I eat, but I have some energy back today.  Getting down to my last little dress is helping me feel better, too.  I have really been looking forward to making this one with the woven ribbon bodice.   
Thanks also to those of you who gave me encouragement about my mom.  She seems to have fared very well while I was out of town last week.  My brother and cousin checked on her throughout the week, and all went well.   I can almost always count on any problems occurring when I go somewhere, but not this time!!!  I thank God for that.  I do cherish the time I have with her.   I know that it sounds like I'm whining about the things I do for her, but my gosh! I just remember all she's always done for me, and I get over it!!!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Week of Highs and Lows

I'll list the highs first because they were so awesome and far outweigh the lows!!!:

1.  Got to be with one of our daughters and Little Man!! Our DD loved the Easter suit for Little Man.  I took lots of photos of him.  He is so, so, so cute and crawling everywhere.  He has the most engaging smile and eyes.   We met them in Washington D. C. where our daughter was doing research for her doctoral dissertation.  We got to babysit!! It is so much fun seeing him learn to recognize his Granmomma and Grandaddy!

2.  Got to visit my niece, her husband, and their two adorable little boys.  They are 2 1/2 and almost 4.  These are my sister's grandsons.   

3.  Got to tour some sites in D.C. we haven't been to before.  We went to the Space Museum.  I'd been there but my DH hadn't.  We went to a couple of the art museums we hadn't been to.  We went to Union Station.  We stayed near George Washington University.  My DH and DD went to a grocery store in the Watergate Hotel.  I stayed outside with the stroller; it wouldn't fit on the escalator.

4. Got to visit my DH's cousin.

5.  Got to go to Fort MacHenry in Baltimore.  The flag in the photo is from there.  This is not the flag they normally fly, which is a replica of the original one that is in the American History Museum.  The wind was too high.

6.  I got some of my hand work done on Jenna's dress.  Not as much as I'd hoped, but some just the same.
7.  I lost some weight!!

Now for the Lows:

1.  My sciatica and my DH's heel spur were acting up.  We looked pretty sad limping along the street to the Metro stations.  

2.  I got sick with what I guess is a stomach virus.  I say, I guess, because aren't these little buggers supposed to go away after 24 hours or so?  Also, so far, no one else has gotten it.  Aren't viruses supposed to be highly contagious?   Anyway,  since Tuesday night (let's see that's Wed.,  Thurs,  Fri, Sat, and now Sun.), I have eaten nothing except crackers, toast, crackers, bread, crackers, and finally last night (Saturday) a little broth and jello, which immediately made me sick!!  I tried some more today, though, and kept it down.  I am   a little weak today, but surely to goodness this is the end!!
So, even though we were with our DD and Little Man, I stayed back in the room some while the others saw the sites and ate meals.  Or, I went with them and watched them eat and scoped out the restrooms everywhere we went.  

3.  I was too nauseous most of the time to read blogs, my book , or do my hand sewing.

I have done a little hand work on Jenna's dress. I have done a little of the smocking and most of the embroidery.  I haven't gotten any work done on Kellen's, but I AM ON SPRING BREAK THIS WEEK AND GET TO STAY HOME EVERY DAY, Recuperate and sew!!!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Preview of final two episodes of "Easter Sewing Saga"

Dress for Jenna Ruth

This is the basic pattern I'm using for Jenna.  She's six and in the first grade.  She's a real girly girl who likes to look beautiful!!

I'm going to smock the bodice.  I may make a separate bodice like the pattern shows, or I may make it  more like the dress in the Sew Beautiful Magazine picture that I posted earlier in February titled,  "Decision, Decisions, Decisions!" ( I tried to link to my earlier post, but it didn't work.  I'll have to figure out how to do that.)  (The picture on the bottom row on the left.)  That dress is a bishop style.  Jenna's won't be, but you get the idea. 

To continue the look of that dress, I'm using the edge of a tablecloth that I had in my antique stash.  The border is scalloped like the dress in the photo.  I'm doing a hand embroidered flower in each scallop.

These are just close up views of the embroidery.  I still have more to do.  This is so much fun.  I just make up what I'm doing as I go.  The flower or the left is Shadow Embroidery.  On the right the flowers are done with a Bullion Stitch and French Knots.

These two are done with a Satin Stitch, Outline Stitch, and French Knots, again.
Here's more Bullion Stitching, Outline Stitch, Straight Stitch,  and of  course, French Knots.  I plan to attach this scalloped border to the hem of Jenna's dress using lace insertion between the border and the dress fabric.   I will scallop the top of the border to match the bottom, I hope.  I'm not sure about the sleeves, but I do have the corners of the tablecloth edge.  They are bigger scallops and might make really pretty ruffled sleeves if I also embroider on them.  Or, I may make regular puffed sleeves from the dress fabric.  We'll see.

Now, for Kellen Marie  

She is 8 years old, but will be nine in May!  She likes Math, Science, and horses.  She isn't as girly as Jenna, but she still likes to dress up and look pretty.
This is the basic pattern for her.  I wove ribbon of two shades of lavender for her bodice.  Remember weaving paper in elementary school?  This is the same idea.  I made dog jackets by weaving orange and white ribbon once as shown in my January post titled, "My Grand Dogs are Ut fans."
A friend of mine bought a flower girl dress recently that had a bodice woven from ribbon like this.  I thought it was very pretty.
Weaving the ribbon wasn't too hard.  I used the big sheet of card board that I use for a cutting surface on top of my 2 ironing boards pushed together at their tallest height.  I first drew a square that was bigger than the bodice needed to be.  I then pinned the lighter shade of ribbon to the card board at a diagonal.  Then I wove the darker shade.  I had to keep pinning and unpinning as I went.  I also had to keep adjusting the ribbon so there wouldn't be gaps.  It was slippery.

 Once I had it all woven, I taped around the edges, turned it over and sewed stabilizer that I cut from the bodice pattern piece on the back side of the ribbon.  

I then cut it out.

 I am planning to sew pearls where the ribbons intersect.  On every intersection???  I don't know yet.  I may also embroider very small flowers in some of the diamond shapes.  

The flower girl dress I saw also had a ribbon pattern around the hem line.  I may or may not do that.  It may be too much.  We'll see when I get to that stage!

Now, it's time to go help my mom eat her dinner.  It must be awful not to be able to feed oneself.  I hate seeing my mother in this shape.  She's 84 and will be 85 in May.  She's so weak she can't even turn herself over in the bed.  She is completely wheelchair bound.  She has a really bad tremor; that's why she can't feed herself.  She has a better memory than I ever did, though.  She was a very independent lady who raised the three of us and some of my cousins with very little help.  She worked as a lab tech after getting a degree from UT in  microbiology!!  Then she taught science.  She hated teaching.  Then, she worked for the Department of Human Services with children and families.  She dealt with lots of abusive situations.  It is strange, though, to hear her say the words, "I love you," to me every day.  She never told any of us that she loved us.  She was not an affectionate person.  That's strange, because all of us kids, my siblings and cousins,  and all of our kids are very affectionate.  I believe in a HUG a day, or more!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Little Man's Suit All Done!!

I finally finished my Little Man's Easter suit.  Here it is being modeled by the University of Tennessee's mascot, Smokey.  He's cute, but not nearly as cute as our real Little Man.  His arms and legs aren't nearly long enough.  We'll have to get some cute shoes for LM to wear.
( I forgot to put a label in Emory's dress, and I already sent it.  I will mail one to be ironed on.)
These are the patterns that I used for sizing.  The bottom view of the hat is sort of like the "cabby" hat that my daughter wanted for LM. I didn't know what these hats were called so I looked up "hats" on the internet and found out they are called "cabby driver's" hats.  I studied the way one like it was made at Walmart the other day.  So, it went together pretty quickly.  The tie is a fake one with a velcro fastener in the back under the collar.

Thank goodness the jacket, tie, and hat went together easily and quickly.  Today was my day off, and I woke up sick with a stomach bug.  Several of my students have had this bug this week, so I guess it was inevitable that I would get it, too.  I sewed all day anyway.  I didn't go to the chiropractor, to visit my mom, or to church tonight, though.  So, since sewing is my therapy, I feel better this evening.
Now,  I plan to  get everything ready to start on Jenna's and Kellen's dresses.  I am really excited about them.  I try to do something I haven't done before on a lot of the things I make.  I have a couple of new ideas for these dresses.  These are my big girls.  They are old enough to tell me how much they appreciate what I make for them.  I dread the day that Kellen, the oldest, thinks she's too old to wear the styles I like to make.   I also dread it when she doesn't think it's cool to wear home made things.  

Spring is upon us!!  This is one of my forsythia bushes.  It isn't at full bloom yet, but I couldn't resist posting a photo of it.  It's been so warm here this week - upper 70s.  But, today it started getting colder, and we're supposed to get rain tomorrow and Friday
Prayer request - 
The principal at my school  had a very severe heart attack on Saturday.  He's in his early 60s.  He's had heart issues in the past, but nothing this serious.  He's in the intensive care unit at  the Univ. of TN Hospital.  He's on a ventilator.  His kidneys are not functioning properly.  They are struggling with getting his BP stabilized.  Perhaps you can say a prayer for him.  His wife, son, DIL, grandson, and our faculty and students would appreciate it alot.  

On a lighter note:  the girls' basketball team at the high school that my school feeds is in the state finals this week.  They play tonight!!  I taught most of these girls.  The baseball team has 6 boys who have already gotten college scholarships for next year.  The cumulative academic average of the team is 3.64!!  I taught most of these boys, too.  I guess it's all because of me,  lol!!!   

Monday, March 9, 2009

"Fifty" in honor of Mary !!

I read Mary's blog about how she and Barbie are both turning 50 this year, and I remembered this poem that I wrote (not that I'm much of a poet, but it's fun anyway) for my friend the year she and I hit that milestone!!

So here's to Mary:  (That's funny,  my friend I wrote the poem for was a Mary, too!)


Fifty - a birthday we thought would never be.
Our moms are fifty - not you and me!
We were to be forever and eternally young,
'Cause when you're old you can't have fun!

But, then we got married and had our little ones.
Fun wasn't over; it had just begun.
Our families kept us busy, running here and there.
We hardly even noticed our thirtieth year.

Thirty was actually a pretty good decade.
We were so busy, we didn't notice when our waists began to fade.
We were so slim and cute, there was no way
Our figures would go, and our rears would splay.

Forty was the beginning of our wake-up call.
The kids were getting older and didn't need us  at all.
We sat up waiting for them to come home.
We worried and fretted when they would roam.

Oh my gosh!  We're acting like our moms did.
Remember how lame they were when we were kids?
They got on our nerves and embarrassed us so.
Now, it was our turn to say. "No!"

But, now our kids are grown and gone.
We have time to think because we're alone.
But, thinking at 50 is not easy to do;
We find our brain cells have become few.

Not only our brain starts to go at our age;
Sight and hearing also leave at this stage.
There are hormones to take so our bones won't be brittle.
Our waists aren't fading; we've doubled our middles!

Those cute clothes we once liked to wear,
Let's face it - we just don't have the flair!
Dentures, arthritis, aches, and pains
Have all become part of our game.

However, all is not so bad at this time in our lives.
We've made wonderful friends and lifelong ties.
Our children are young, responsible adults.
We've done our job with good results.

Life is much slower  at this stage of our life
Perhaps we'll have time to relax with no strife.
We can renew old friendships now that there's time
I hope this is true of yours and mine!

We've always know the other was there.
Now, we can take time to visit and share.

by Julia

What was I thinking -life will be slower!   time to relax!  no strife!!  
What planet was I living on when I thought these thoughts?  I've never been busier.  Oh well, I guess I wouldn't have it any other way.  
I will need to start work on our 60's poem in a few more years!  Yikes!!  Maybe, life will be slower then.  Hummmmm?

Happy birthday to Mary, Barbie, and any other 50's bloggers!!

New Little Man Shirt

I am so much happier with this shirt.  I had more photos, but my camera has not been working right lately, and not all of my photos will upload on my computer.  Also, it just now quit altogether!!  It won't turn on.
The collar on this shirt lays better and I made the sleeves a little fuller.  I also made the double seams like on a regular man's shirt.  It's like blue jean seams.  Anyway, they lay better, too.  This fabric is going to wrinkle more than the other.    I had this fabric.  I decided not to wait till I could got to the fabric store to get more, because then it would be Wed. before I would get to remake this shirt, and I didn't want to wait.  Now for the jacket, hat, and tie.  I may not be as ambitious as I thought I was going to be on the jacket.  It may be simpler than I first had in mind. 
I've got to get to bed.  I'm so tired, and tomorrow is a long day with no sewing time!!!!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Pants Done!!

Here are Little Man's pants.  My seam ripper got more of a workout than my sewing machine on these.  I, uh, accidentally, uh, sewed the zipper closed and had to, uh, rip out the stitching.  Then, I decided to do French seams because this fabric is loosely woven like linen.  Because I had double sewn seams I had to rip out double the stitching when I messed up on the pockets twice.  I wanted to make set in pockets instead of the ones sewn on the outside like the photo says, so needless to say I had to play  around a bit to make them right.  Uh, oh, I forgot to put pockets on the back.  I guess I'll do those tomorrow.  I'm through for today.  My sister is here and my DH and I are going out to dinner with her.  I'm wearing sweats right now.  I guess I'd better change!!

Little Man's Big Boy shirt

First I want to say thanks to Cindy, Knitmachine Queen, and Pamela for being my "blogging sisters" and sending me the Sisterhood award!!

Here's the first of a five piece outfit for Little Man for Easter.  He's getting pants, of course, a tie, a jacket, and a hat.  I did not have a pattern for this.  I had a shirt that he had outgrown that was made kind of like this.  I had so much trouble with the collar.  First, I got it way too small, then I got it, not so much, too small, but too small, nevertheless.  Then, I got it too big, but almost right.  Then, I got it okay.  I'm not sure how this neck will fit.  I hope it's ok.

Now for the pants from a pattern that has a fake zipper.  I'm putting in a zipper.  

Then for a jacket from a pattern without a collar.  I'm going to try to make a lapel and all.  

Then for a hat that is sort of like my daughter wants it, but not quite. 

 I'm going to wing it on the tie.  I made him one at Christmas, but I want this one to be better.

My DD and SIL don't want their Little Man to dress in the cute little one piece overall shorts with smocked ducks, etc... Now, those, I could find patterns for.  That's alright I like a challenge.  
I need a dress form for each grand that would grow with them.  I have the two that my daughter gave me for Christmas, but they are really just for displaying, not for fitting.  I love them, though.  They make picture taking easier, except for this shirt which wouldn't fit on either of them.

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