Easter Finery

Spring is here!


I enjoyed sewing coordinating outfits for my children for as long as they would tolerate it!  This has to be one of my all-time favorite photos of them together.  It was taken in 1990.

Easter 1990

Their outfits were made of Imperial broadcloth, and the smocking plate was “Cottontail Bunnies 3” by Mollie Jane Taylor.


David’s pattern was (maybe?) Children’s Corner Jeffrey, but it is not lined, so I’m not sure if that was the pattern I used.


I used tiny piping on the collar and fake cuffs, as well as along the top and bottom of the smocked insert.


I omitted the top and bottom rows of the smocking plate.  Aren’t those fluffy little tails cute?!

Here’s a picture from 1997 of my nephew in the outfit.

Mark Sweany 1997

I’m not sure what, if any, pattern I used for Annie’s blouse and dress.


(I’m also not sure what that glare is on the lower part of some of these photos.  It’s my photography abilities, not the garments!)


Her bunnies had pink tails, and the collar and cuffs were trimmed with gathered Swiss edging, as well as piping.


And even though they weren’t visible when worn, her dress had mother-of-pearl flower buttons.

The next two outfits were from the next year, I think, and probably the last time they wore matching duds.


This dress was (maybe) a New Look pattern, but again, I’m not sure.  The fabric was a print cotton, and looking back, I think, “Wow, why didn’t I pick a prettier color than that grayed-down lavender?!”


The collar shadow embroidery is from a Wendy Ragan design in an early issue of Sew Beautiful, stitched on, and lined with, Imperial batiste.


Then, turn around!



I made the collar to fit the Swiss motif.


What a sweet embroidery design!

David’s shirt is double-breasted to match Annie’s dress.  He probably had blue pants or shorts to go with this.


It is Imperial broadcloth, and the collar is Imperial batiste. I have no idea of the pattern, if any.


The light blue trim along the collar is not an applied edging, but a narrow shadow embroidered strip.


The back has boy bunnies instead of girl bunnies!

Now, I haven’t sewn Easter outfits in a long, long time.  But a few years ago, I did dress up some Peeps for a surprise package for Annie! 🙂

Easter Peeps 2012-2

French lace and pearl buttons, of course!


Another Rose

In my previous post, I featured variations of my Rose pattern. This is another dress made from that pattern.  I thought this one needed its own post!


This dress was made from white and gray Robert Kaufman Radiance fabric.  This fabric is a silk/cotton blend, and it is one of my favorites for both garments and quilts.  You can see some of my quilts made with this lovely stuff in some of my previous posts here, here, and here.

I’ll go through some of the adaptations I made to the pattern.  First of all, I added godets to the skirt, for the most wonderful twirliness.


To do this, I divided the rectangular skirt front into four equal sections, and the back into three (there is no godet at center back, not at the side seams.)  The godets are segments of a circle – the legs of the godet are the length of the finished skirt.  I used a quick-rigged compass – a pin, pencil, and string of the correct length – to draw the curve at the hemline.  While I allowed a deep hem (4″) on the white sections, that wouldn’t work on the curves of the gray, so I allowed for only a narrow hem (1″) at the lower edge.


I stitched the skirt sections together, then embroidered over the seamlines with thread to match the gray fabric.  The embroidery designs are from the Martha Pullen Kent State Museum Collection, Volume 2, Disk 1.


For the front bodice, I reshaped the neckline, then added an appliqued yoke that echoed the neckline shape.  Again, the embroidery was stitched over the seam.  The bodice back is unchanged from the pattern, and the bodice is lined with batiste, which finished the neckline.  Oh, yes, I also interfaced the neckline with silk organza.


The cap sleeves from the pattern have a small embroidery stitched on them, and are also lined with batiste.


The front “belt” is FSL embroidery from the Martha Pullen/Zundt CD, Vol. 3.  The lace was stitched on WSS, soaked, and then stitched on top of the finished waistline seam.


The back waist is finished with a big silk organza sash.

Then, to top everything off, I added some hot-fix Swarovski crystals.  You can see them in the previous photos accenting the embroidery on the skirt front (I didn’t add the crystals to the skirt back,) sleeves, bodice, and belt.


I even added them to the dark gray pearl buttons after they were sewn on!

I no longer have this dress, so I’m glad I took lots of photos.  I hope this and the previous post give you ideas on how to take a basic existing pattern and change it up in lots of ways.


Lots of people have enjoyed my “Rose” pattern, available in girls’ sizes 2 through 12. Here are several versions of the dress for your viewing pleasure! 🙂

This was one of the two original dresses I made for my pattern. It appeared in Sew Beautiful Issue 134 in 2011.


It was made of soft white cotton sateen, with silk organza at the neck, sleeves, and hem, trimmed with Maline lace.

This is the other version of the dress in the pattern

035a 036

It is bubble-gum pink Thai silk, with cap sleeves, a bubble skirt, and smocked inserts at the neckline and sleeves.

Here is another version I made a couple of years later


016 015

You can see that this is made like the soft white dress, but in casual fabrics, a cotton print from Fabric Finders and tiny cotton gingham. The fringe flowers are an OESD embroidery design.

Finally, here is a dress from the pattern which I taught as a class a couple of times. It has the bodice and skirt of the first dress, with the cap sleeves of the pink dress. It is made of white Swiss cotton sateen and silk organza. Instead of lace, I embellished with Zundt embroideries, with careful placement across the seamlines.


Zundtdress2 Zundtdress3

Zundtdress4 Zundtdress5

Teeny, Tiny Squares

All of my previous posts have been about my work from the past.  This is a current project.

I made this needlepoint for my Dad in 1978.  I was finishing up college, and for some reason made needlepoint projects for my family that year.  This was from an illustration in a farm magazine!


As a tribute to him, I decided to do this in fabric – pieced – about 6 squares per inch – then quilted!  I know, crazy!  This is hanging on Mom’s wall, so all I have to work from is this photo.

Here is the completed sunflower from the lower left.  You can see how tiny the squares are!


Here, I’ve worked my way up to the cornstalk.  Even doing some strip-piecing, this is tedious, painstaking work!

Don’t sneeze!


The squares are cut 1/2″, then trimmed slightly after piecing. After the squares are sewn into strips, the strips are added to the slooooowly growing piece.   I try to match every single seam – 22 seams per strip in this section.  Here is a strip pinned to the right side of the piece.


Then I flip to the wrong side…


and stitch, using the previous seam (not the raw fabric edges) as a guide, with my needle in the far left position.


Then I check the right side to see if the seams line up.  At least half the time, there are sections of the seam that don’t, so I have to take out some stitches and re-stitch.  Now mind, these stitches are only 1mm long – they have to be that tiny to keep the eensy weensy seam allowances from fraying.  And they are stitched with Superior Threads Bottom Line thread, which is a very fine 60wt. poly thread.  I use this fine thread because I wanted a thread that took up less space in the seam than regular 50wt. piecing thread.  I did what I could to reduce the bulk, and the Bottom Line is strong enough for this particular piecing. Those stitches are hard to un-stitch!

Once everything is lined up as well as I can get it, I trim the seam allowances a bit, then press those seam allowances open on the wrong side.  Oh, by the way, the seam allowances on the squares were pressed open, too.  I thought the ridges created from pressing to the side would be too noticeable on these tiny squares.  Again, not an easy task!  Each seam allowance is 3 layers of fabric, and I’m pressing them open over the previous seam allowance.  Altogether, each square is 9, yes 9, layers of fabric thick.


I found that running my thumbnail down the seam, separating the seam allowances, then pressing with lots of steam worked best.  Here’s the right side of that strip.


Then repeat, and repeat, and repeat, seemingly ad infinitum…

I have finally finished the sunflower/cornstalk panel.  Twenty-three squares by ninety squares – 2070 squares, and this is only about one-fourth of the project!  Whew!


I have a great ability to tolerate tedium, and I usually work on only one project at a time, but this calls for a break!  I embroidered, pieced, and quilted my Craftsy quilt in less time than this 4″ x 16-3/4″ panel took!

So for now, I’m putting these teeny, tiny square away and working on something bigger!