Thursday, April 30, 2009

Marking off Projects! And Adding New Ones!

Here's my original list that I made right after Easter.  After marking off some projects and adding others, I couldn't read it anymore.  I rewrote it and tried to put everything in the order that I needed to do them.  I've marked off 3 of the projects on my new list.

I made this sundress for Emory, the 20 month old who lives out West.  Since she's a "desert baby" she needs a sun bonnet.  I made these completely from fabrics, mostly leftovers from other projects, that were in my fabric closet. These are the patterns I used.  The bonnet is Simplicity 2908 and the dress is a McCall's Easy stitch 'n save 5369.  I made the dress almost exactly to the directions.  I added a lining to the bonnet.  I like things to be finished on the inside and out.  My Univ. of TN Smokey  is coming in handy for displaying some of my creations!!!
I took the dress to show my mom at the nursing home last night and took orders for 4 of these in just a couple of minutes.  

Two of the employees want them for their grand daughters (2 each).  They also want the sunbonnets, even though they haven't seen one.  I'll take this one today to make sure they do want one for each dress.  They both want me to just pick whatever fabrics I want.

I probably have enough fabrics in my stash to make these, but I think I'm going to go purchase fabrics expressly for these dresses so I can keep up with exactly how much $$ I have in them.  

In the past I have just come up with a price that was based on very little reasoning.  If I intend to get into the business of sewing for $$$  I've got to actually make some profit, right?   

How do I know how much to charge for my time???
I got my labels made, too.  These aren't what I plan to ultimately use.  I need to purchase some professionally made ones, but I made these on my computer and printed them out on iron-on fabric sheets that are designed for going through the printer.  They are supposed to be washable, etc...  So, they will do for now.  Notice I made different ones for my grands and for other folks.  he one for my grands says, "Made by Granmomma with love in every stitch!"  The other says, "Julia's Sew Sweet and Special Occasion Clothing for Children."
I am showing the inside of the hat with the label ironed in it.
The other project I have completed is the towel head wrap for my little Emory.  I posted once about how I made these as Christmas gifts for my DDs and SILs.  Emory wants to use her mom's so I made her one of her own.  I'll need to make them for the other DGDs too. 

 I thought I could get at least two from this towel and I probably could have if I had been smart about how I cut it out.  The ones I made as gifts before were made from regular thin towels (you don't want a bulky towel for this), but I saw this when walking through Walmart one day and thought I'd try it.  What a mess it made when I cut it!!!  Blue fuzz all over my sewing room!  You can see it on my ironing board.   It'll vacuum up, though. 

 I, of course made Emory's much smaller than the adult size which is pictured here.  Emory's is the blue one with the binding.

This is the easiest thing I've ever made.  There is a button on the part that fits over the forehead and a loop of elastic on the other end.  There is a loop of ribbon on the crown of the head part to hang it up by when you aren't using it.  You simply fit it over your head and twist it turban style and loop the elastic over the button.  Voila!  It isn't bulky like a regular towel and stays in place.  I actually purchased mine years ago.  I bought two sets of two and split them for my 3 DDs and one for me.  Mine is so stained and old that I decided the girls needed new ones.  I haven't made nyself a new one, yet, but I will, maybe, sometime, when I get all these other projects done.  

Now, I've got 4 more little dresses and bonnets to add to my list.  This is what I said I wanted to do, didn't I??  I  really am excited; I'm just nervous about the time involved.

 It's on to the cutting table to work on Kellen's and  Little Man's outfits for their birthdays that
 are coming up very soon.

Monday, April 27, 2009

De-construction, Re-construction, and More-Construction!!!

After working till 1:00 this morning trying to finish the cousin outfits, I finally went to bed.I wanted to take them to the grandmother today, but I guess tomorrow will have to do.  Did I sleep?  No, of course not.  I kept thinking of things I wanted to change about the two outfits.  I kept thinking about how the sleeve openings on the vest were not as big as the sleeves on the shirt. Also, I wasn't wild about the three-button-front of the vest.  I felt that it only needed two 
and shouldn't come up so high.   See photo.
So, the first thing this morning I started using my "little friend" that I LOVE to HATE, my seam ripper.  I cut the arm holes larger and lowered the front of the vest.
I really am glad that I went to the trouble to do this because I think it looks so much better.  Don't you?
Another thing I did was move the pocket up a little higher on the shirt.  I don't have a good picture that shows that it was too low, but trust me, it was.
Now, for the dress.  I posted about the bodice yesterday.  I sewed the organza trim to the skirt with a very narrow close-together zigzag stitch across the top edge of the top yellow ribbon. Then I did the same across the bottom edge of the top ribbon.  Can you see the zigzag stitches? I can, but not easily.  Good, I don't want to see them.  Then I used my applique scissors and cut away the organza and  eyelet underneath - very closely- to the zigzag stitching.  I don't have a photo, but I used my rolled hem foot to hem the edge of the organza.  I hate using that foot, but it turned out pretty well.  Very tiny!
Yesterday, I decided to use grosgrain ribbon as a sash.  During the night I envisioned a sash made from the fabric that goes all the way around, across the front, as well as the back.  I'm so glad that I changed this.  I do like grosgrain ribbon sashes, but felt this dress needed a fuller bow.  What do you think?

The sash doesn't really show across the front because the collar hides most of it, but I still like it better than just the seam where the bodice and skirt meet. 
 Yesterday I decided to put one growth tuck in the skirt and lining.  The mom had measured her baby and said the length was 26".  After giving this some thought I realized that she had measured from head-to-toe, not a dress length.  So, I hemmed it where the pattern was marked, but I knew it would still be too long. So I added a growth tuck to the dress and the lining.   During my restless night I decided that it needed two growth tucks.  There's no way this "not even a year old baby girl" is that tall.  So, today I added another tuck to both the skirt and lining. 
 By the way, I hemmed the lining with a yellow heart decorative stitch.  I don't know how well it shows up in this photo.  I just love to add little details like this to my little dresses.  I would have used a contrasting color, but since you can see the lining through the eyelet I figured yellow-on-yellow would be best.  
Then, it hit me that this little lady would need bloomers.  I made some from the eyelet and lined them.  
This fabric that I used for the lining has great body.  It is a cotton blend that JoAnn's had on one of their displays out in the aisle so I couldn't miss it.  It really isn't a  lining fabric, but who cares?  It works very well.  It needed some extra body for this eyelet fabric.  
Here's the completed dress.   I'm anxious to see what the grandma thinks. 

 Here are the two outfits together.  Do you think they coordinate well enough?  The green of the vest and shirt aren't exactly the same as the green of the collar, but I couldn't match it exactly.  It is slightly darker, but the same hue.  The yellows are the same.  The boy's outfit is a cotton linen look blend that can be washed and won't wrinkle very badly.  His shirt is a quilt cotton. That's a headband with a bow made from the eyelet and encased with elastic hanging on the top of the dress.   
My Mother likes to see everything I make so I took them to show her at supper time.  She approved.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Little Cousin's Dress, So Far

My friend really liked Riley's Easter dress and wants her grand daughter's dress to be similar.

Do you remember the trim that I used for Riley's Easter dress?  I made it from the fabric that had the embroidered flowers on it that I also used for Emory's Easter dress.  
I cut strips of the embroidered flowers for Riley's.  I don't have any of the flowered strips left, but this open heirloom stitched design ran between the rows of flowers, so I.......
zigzag stitched very narrow, yellow, grosgrain ribbon on both sides of the heirloom stitching.  Then........
I stitched down the center in green using the antique quilt stitch number 39 from my Pfaff.  Next......
I stitched over the green stitching in pink with the decorative stitch number 40.  I thought this made it look kind of like a vine of flowers running up the center.  (I have plans for the rest of these strips of organza for an outfit for Kellen for her birthday. I don't believe in wasting any of this precious fabric.)  Finally, so far, anyway .......

I stitched the new trim to the bottom front of the tea towel, and I made the cuffs for the sleeves from the trim, as well.  It will also embellish the skirt.  Since the little recipient of this dress is not quite one year old yet, I adjusted the size of the tea towel to fit.  Otherwise, it would have extended over the tops of the sleeves and would have come halfway down the length of the dress.  I love this yellow eyelet that I'm using since there was no more of the fabric that I used for Riley's.
This little dress is to coordinate with the little green and yellow boys outfit from my last post.  The wearers are cousins.
I'd better get to the machine to finish.  I hope to take these to my friend tomorrow.  

Saturday, April 25, 2009

I Did It! and Completed DF's GS's Outfit

I did it!  
I'm so proud of the computer skills Im learning through having this blog!  I worked for several days to get a slideshow on my blog sidebar.  I asked Cindy  how to do it.  She told me how she got hers on and then encouraged me to persevere until I got it.  So I did and I got it!!  Yea!!

Limerick - "There Was An Old Sewer"

There was an old sewing blogger who wanted to show what she could do,
But about anything technological she didn't have a clue.
She wanted a slide show on her site.
She worked and worked till she got it right.
Now her sewing creations can be seen on her sidebar, Woo-Hoo!


I'm finished with my friend's grandson's outfit, almost.  I haven't made the buttonholes or sewn on the buttons on the shirt.  I wanted to get this post done so I could start sewing and not stop. Now, I've got her grand daughter's dress to make.

These are the patterns I used.  I made the vest and the shorts from Butterick 6894 and actually followed the pattern almost exactly.  That was weird, because I never do that.  I read the pattern directions and everything!  I made the shirt using Simplicity 3852 which had this bubble suit kind-of shirt.  I didn't put the bands abound the legs and I cut it up a little higher on the sides of the leg openings.  I lined the back yoke which was not in the pattern.  I added cuffs to the sleeves.  I used velcro as the crotch closure.  I also finished the seams with bias tape as shown above.

Friday, April 24, 2009

A gun-toting woman scorned! LOL!

Here's the dress in action.  This play was really cute.  The young lady I made the dress for played the part of a gun-toting woman who thought she was betrothed and arrived just in time to stop her intended's wedding to another.   Doesn't she look pretty?   

Here's what I've gotten done so far on my friend's grandson's outfit.  I'm in the process of making him a onesy type button front shirt from the fabric that lines the vest.  I am really excited to be making this and the coordinating dress for this little fellow's cousin.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dedication To The Ones I'm Leaving Behind

I have a couple of teacher friends who have been reading my blog.  I'm surprised anyone other than a sewist would find anything remotely interesting here, but I'm flattered, and I thought I would dedicate this post to them.
Both of these ladies are very special to me for many reasons, but the main one  is because they were both there to help one of my daughters when she really needed it.  I truly believe without a doubt that God put them in my DDs life for specific reasons.  

These two ladies are very special for other reasons, too, but when it comes to someone special in your child's life - well, you know how it is when this happens.  I feel this way toward others who were special in all of my girls' lives.  

As I wrote about already, tomorrow is my last day teaching, ever.  Well, at least it's my last day in a public school setting.  I hope the sewing classes will work out.
I know that many of you sewists are also teachers so I wrote this little poem as a goodbye and in honor of these two special ladies, other teachers at my school, and for all you bloggers who are also teachers.

                "A Shout Out to Teachers"

From deep down in my heart, this poem sends
A shout-out to my dear teacher friends.
You are so loving, compassionate, and kind,
Even when the @#$% paper work gets you so behind.

What happened to the days of the 3Rs to teach,
When parents were behind you and were easy to reach?
It seems that every single year, or should I say "day," 
Brings on more and more responsibility your way.

You are held accountable for your students' well-being,
From what clothes they wear to what they are eating.
It doesn't matter what their IQ happens to be,
Their scores should be high for all to see.

I missed you and the kids when I left before,
But when I returned I found I needed more.
The time has come for me to pursue a new path.
No more teaching of reading, writing, or math.

I will think of you as your work load is growing
While I'm at home reading, painting, blogging, and sewing.
I'll think of you in your times of stress
While I'm choosing a pattern for a new dress.

I'll be back for visits. Now, this will sound rude,
But be sure to call me when there's going to be food.
I'd love to be there when you have special lunches
Food or not, I will miss you bunches and bunches.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Aprons and new patterns

These are the three aprons that I made for  three of my friends who are always doing such special things for me.
 One of my friends gave me fabric from her mother's stash after she died.  This first apron is made from a piece that was in that gift.  It is polished cotton, and I thought it was perfect for a vintage style apron.  I think my friend will enjoy having an apron from fabric that was once her Mother's.

The next two aprons are from cottons that I had in my stash.  The first is left from Kellen's Easter dress from a couple of years ago. I used the binding for a tie on this one rather than fabric as the pattern shows.  This is for the friend who makes the best cookies in the world.  She makes cookie bouquets, etc... She brought me a huge flower shaped cookie just the other day.  I was worse than a little kid.  I couldn't wait to eat it.  YUM!!!
The other, well, I don't remember where I got this one.  This is for my friend who makes such beautiful quilts.  She has had breast cancer and now is diabetic.  I'll never forget the day she walked in my class room with a hand full of her hair with tears in her eyes.  She is the most generous person I know.  She is also an avid gardner and puts up veggies all summer long.  On this one I made a big pocket that goes all the way across and stitched it to make three sections.  I also did not put the darts in this one. I did not make the top yoke piece as large on this one either.
This pattern is "one size fits all."  Ballooie - I am a size 14 usually, not that big, right?  It fit me, but it couldn't have been smaller.  The ties at the neck were supposed to cross over and velcro to the opposite side near the sash.  Whatever,  no way would that happen.  So, I will suggest that my friends just tie it at the neck.
I still have one more friend to make an apron for .  Her birthday is in June so I have time.

These are some patterns that I bought at JoAnn's last Saturday.  The Simplicity ones were just $.99.  I bought several boy patterns.  Since we only have the one little grand son, I haven't bought lots for boys, but I will from now on.  I needed some ideas for my friend's grandson, too.  I am going to use the Simplicity 3852 on the far right and the Butterick 6894 on the top combined for him.  His grandmom wants his shirt to be a onesy.  The Simplicity pattern actually has a bubble suit like shirt.  I'm going to adapt that and use techniques from Little Man's Easter shirt to make it into a onesy.  She also wants him to have shorts and a vest.

Notice I bought one adult sized pattern, a simple wrap dress, for me.  We'll see how and when that gets done.  The others are just really cute little girl things.  You can see a sneak peek of the fabrics that I bought for Kellen's and Little Man's outfits for their birthdays at the top right of the girls' pattern picture.

Friday, April 17, 2009


These are some of my favorite sewing help books.  The Graced by Lace by Debra S. Bonito isn't really a help book, but it is beautiful!!!  The Fine Machine Sewing by Carol Laflin Ahles and Heirloom Sewing by Martha Pullen are wonderful. The embroidery book was published by Better Homes and Gardens and has some interesting techniques.

I have some questions that only you, my blogger friends, can answer.   
First, I'll tell you that yesterday was my last official day as a math interventionist.  Next week I'm going 4 days to help with the TCAP (Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program), and then I'm through.  I cannot believe that I went back after being retired for a year.  But, I taught for 32 years, and it has been hard to get it out of my system.  I missed the kids and my teacher friends.  I'm over it now, though.  I really do want to concentrate more on my sewing.

My plans are to:
1. teach some beginning sewing classes.  A friend has a dance studio with extra rooms.  She wants me to rent one of her rooms and has already lined up students for me (adults and children).  
2. sew for myself again. I need a dress form.
3.  sew more for profit.  I especially want to sew for children.  I mostly want to make one-of-a-kind special occasion type things.  To start with, though, I'll probably sew about anything that someone will pay me to make.
4.  get myself and my sewing room even more organized.  This is something I've worked on for the past year and a half.
5.  sell my design for the wrap that I made for my Mom to some company.  I've had numerous people tell me that I should.

Now, for some questions:
1.  What does TNT stand for?
2.  Are the dress forms that JoAnn's has on sale for $99 worth it, or should I hold out for a better one?
3.  How do I decide how much to charge people?  I have trouble charging what something is worth.  I mostly sew for friends, now, and I just can't bring myself to charge what I should.  
4.  Should I have my clients buy the fabrics and patterns or find out what they want and buy them myself?  I'm afraid that they won't know what to purchase.  
5.  I want to incorporate some of my antique linens, etc... into some of my creations.  I guess I would have my clients come to look through what I have and choose what they want.  What do you think?  The lady I'm sewing for now (for her grandchildren) is trusting me to do whatever I think will work.  She told me some of the things she wants me to do, but is giving me leeway, otherwise.  This is what I'd really like to do.
6.   How much do I charge to teach sewing?  By the class? By the series of sessions?  I think it would be best to give them a materials list and have them purchase their own and have extra of everything in case someone buys the wrong thing or forgets to buy something.  Is this best? My friend Cindy has given me some advice on this already.  She has an awesome shop and teaching studio.  Check her out!!  Her husband makes sewing tables that would be perfect if you don't have much space to devote to your sewing!!!!
7.  Do I need to get a business license at this point?  I guess I will if I advertise and use my friends space in her studio.  Hum?
8.  How do I go about selling my design to a company?  I was told I would need to patent it first.  I thought about making several of these and taking them to a convalescent store near me.  I really don't like making the same thing over and over, but I guess if it would be a money maker it would be ok.  No more dance costumes for a bunch of growing kids who are all different sizes though. 
9.  Should I have a separate blog that Only has photos and descriptions of things I've made, or do I need a web page? Or, would a slide show on my sidebar be enough.  (If I can figure out how to get it on there)
10.I'm sure I will come up with lots more questions and I feel sure you will answer them for me. I am soooooo glad that I found this sewing blogger world!!!  Just think, people from all over the world with similar interest who are helping and encouraging each other.  I love it! 

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Pillowcase Projects

I've had these done for a while now, but I've just not had time  (or the "want-to") to post till now.  But, now I'm ready.  Thanks for the kind comments and prayers about my former student and his family.  

When my mother moved to Assisted Living my cousins decided it was time to sell the house (she moved into their house when her sister died to take care of my cousins who were still at home).  We all went through ALL of the STUFF that was in that house.  There was stuff that belonged to my aunt and uncle, my grandmother, grandfather, and another aunt(who never married and lived with my GPs).  There was stuff that belonged, of course, to my mother, as well.  This could turn into a long story, and I won't tell anymore of it now, just picture this house that had so much STUFF that no one but Mother knew to whom any of it belonged!!  

The was a real treasure - pillowcases, tablecloths, and all kinds of other tatting and other types of lace adorned, vintage, linen, hand embroidered, you-name-it kinds of things.  Some were lovingly made by the hands of my aunt, my grandmother, and I'm sure, my great grands and great aunts.  

These pretty green pillowcases were amongst the treasures.  They aren't all that old because there is actually a JC Penney's tag in them, but my grandmother made the tatting and my aunt did the embroidery.  
Two years ago I made a BUNCH of pillowcase dresses!!  I made one for my two oldest GDs and DGNieces, one for a friend's daughter,  and one for each little daughter of any teacher at my school who had girls.  That was a whole lot.  I used inexpensive Walmart pillowcases for those.  They were cute, though, and so easy!!
When I found these I decided that my great nieces needed to have something special from the family besides just the one little dress I made with some of our DGMs tatting.  I've made all the new little ones in our family one item with her tatting.  I'm being stingy with it because there are more little ones to come, I'm sure.  Plus the fact that I have 4 DGDs and there were only 2 pillowcases, helped me decide to make these for my DSs DGDs.

I made my own bias tape to bind the arm holes.  I had enough of the fabric because one of my GNs is only two so I cut a large portion off the closed end of the pillowcase.  I guess I got ahead of myself.  I had my DN measure how long she wanted the girls' dresses to be.  I measured from the open end of the pillowcases, subtracted 3 inches (because of the ribbon straps), and then added back the amount I needed for a casing.  Then I cut off the excess from the closed end.  
If I hadn't had enough of this fabric I would have used a purchased binding or made some from a coordinating fabric.
To make my bias binding I folded the piece of fabric catty-cornered with the short end lined up with the long end.  That makes a perfect bias fold.  I then cut, and I didn't measure exactly how wide the strips are (I know I should, but I cut corners wherever I can).  I cut as many strips as I thought I'd need.
Then I folded both edges into the middle and steamed them flat.  Then, I folded that strip in the center and steamed again.  Watch out for your fingers!!  That iron and its steam is HOT!
I cut down both sides of the pillowcase as far as I deemed they needed to be cut for their little arms remembering that there will be ribbon making the top of the arm hole.  I sewed the binding on the edge of these cut edges.  
Next, I folded down the casing along the cut edge.  I made it the depth I needed for the ribbon I had.  This was one inch ribbon, but whatever you have that matches will work.  I inserted the ribbon which I made long enough to tie in a pretty bow on the girls' shoulders.  I gathered the casing and stitched on both ends next to the arm holes to keep the ribbon in place. 

Voila!  My neices have cute little dresses.  
I'm sure most of you have seen these. They were all the rage, according to my DD on ebay a couple of years ago.  That's how I got into it.  My mother said that they wore these as children for night gowns.  I have seen them made into tops and skirts, too.  They could even be worn as jumpers with blouse of some kind underneath.

Now for the pillowcase I made for my cousin's DW (she's been my friend for years before they got married) so I would have made this for her even if she wasn't officially family.  
I'm not sure if this table runner was in the treasure we found that I mentioned above or if this is something she had.  It has a gorgeous open worked design.  I'm not sure if it was hand done, but it looks like it was.  AMAZING!  The lace trim that was absolutely hand made was on a round linen tablecloth.  The linen was not in good enough to shape to use so I just cut this trim off of it.  My DC'sDW found the pillow that had been hers when she was a baby.  That makes it ????? years old.  She's one year younger than I am so I guess it's almost 56 years old!!  
I know these photos are not easy to see, but I wanted to show close-ups.  It is unreal that someone had the time and talent to make this trim. I left the "flaps" on the edges of the pillow because I couldn't bring myself to cut off any of the beautiful open work.  I made this pillowcase with a fold over opening on the back so she can take it off and wash it.  I will suggest that she soak it in Oxy Clean or something equally as safe for older fabrics.  The Oxy Clean suggestion was made by my SILs aunt who deals with antique fabrics all the time.   This project didn't take any real sewing challenges, but is satisfying just the same.

Now, on to other things!!  My DH and I didn't go to Knoxville on Friday night because that is when the tornadoes where swirling all around.  so, I went by myself on Saturday.  That was probably better anyway.  He doesn't enjoy JoAnn's.  Luckily, there is a Dick's Sporting Goods nearby that he usually goes to while I shop.  I was able to look longer and be more relaxed than if he had been with me.  I was looking for more of the same fabric that I made Riley's dress because that's what my friend wanted for her GD.  But, of course, Jo's had it in every color but yellow.  So, I found this really pretty yellow eyelet, which I love!! For the coordinating GSs outfit I got some linen look blend in yellow and green.  I am using the other green tea towel like the one I used for Riley's dress.  I was so lucky because I forgot to take the tea towel with me and I was able to find a good match.  His is slightly darker but in the same hue.  Jo's had NOTHING to make a shirt for the little fella's  outfit.  He live in Mobile, AL so I'm making shorts and a vest with a short sleeved shirt.  I mean I looked at every piece of fabric in JoAnn's and there was NOTHING!!  On the way home I happened to remember this new quilt shop that is on the way.  So, I stopped there and found this stripe. It is perfect.  
I took these to school to show my friend and she loved all of my finds, so it's on to my machine!!
I also have 3 aprons cut out waiting to be sewn.
I have also been working on some new puppet stuff for our Earth Day celebration  that we are having on Sunday.  One of the puppets is singing a Miley song so I made a loooonnnnngggg blond wig.  I'll post it and the t-shirts that I cut down for the puppets to wear after Sunday when I take pictures.
The young lady from church took her dress to try on, and she seemed very happy.  She's supposed to bring it back tonight so I can hem it.
Whew this was long!  Sorry!

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