Beach Bubble

A young woman in my daughter’s office is having a little boy.  When I saw this adorable boat fabric (by Fabric Finders) in The Sewing Room, I had to buy it.  What a great fabric for a little boy.  I picked up matching piping and buttons for a cute beachy bubble.


The pattern is Taylor by Children’s Corner.  For a girl, you can add lace or eyelet edging to the legs.  I bought the piping already made and had a little trouble getting close to the cording when I was attaching the front and backs to the lining. I was using my zipper foot but found it was better to use the monogramming foot that came with my machine.

And what would be a perfect addition to the outfit?  A sun hat!  Recently I started making bonnets to go with bubbles for girls but didn’t have any ideas for boys.  This bucket hat is simple to do and can be for girls or boys.  It isn’t just for babies either.  The pattern has sizes from 6 months to 8 years.

This adorable hat pattern is free from Oliver + S.   The only difficult part was matching the two crown pieces.  I did the stitching on the brim 1/4 inches apart and would make that bigger next time, maybe 1/2 inches apart.  Also, if you were using a solid fabric, the stitching could be done in a contrasting color for fun.

Boat Outfit

This is a perfect outfit for any tiny beachgoer!  All you need to add is sand, bucket and shovel.


Blankets, Blankets and More Blankets

Recently, I was going through my sewing room looking at unfinished projects and found some pink flannel and pink toile that I bought to make a blanket.  After sewing the two together, I hemstitched around it to make holes for crocheting the edge.

I had forgotten how little time it takes to do the blankets and enjoyed it so much that I couldn’t stop at just making one!  This next one is for a boy.  I found the crochet pattern here.

I love the soft green flannel with the pale pink satin batiste and pink edge.  So sweet for a little girl.

While most of these blankets are backed with satin batiste, it isn’t necessary.  This flannel with the gray design from The Sewing Room is single layer only.  It is a great design for a boy or girl.

This cute bee flannel fabric also came from The Sewing Room.

These blanket projects are so easy and portable and they make great gifts!  There are endless combinations of fabric and crochet thread you can use.

I bought the brushed twill in pink and blue from The Smocking Bird, the gray flannel and the bee flannel along with the backing came from The Sewing Room.

I also purchased some blue flannel along with this anchor flannel from Children’s Corner Store.  The elephant flannel and some white flannel were purchased from Zig Zag Sewing Studio.

The only issue I have right now is what to do with all these blankets!!

Basic Bishop

My husband asked me to make something for a friend of his that has a new little girl.  He wanted a smocked dress in a small size.  I decided on the classic bishop dress in a size 12 month.  I took a trip to the Smocking Bird for fabric in a nice floral print.  I used Chery William’s Baby Bishops Pattern and Ellen McCarn’s Olivia Grace smocking plate.

Geometric smocking design for bishop.

I really liked using this plate because it also has designs for smocked sleeves.  Smocking the sleeves takes a little bit of extra time in the beginning but makes the construction phase go faster.  This plate is also great for anyone new to smocking since it is only 5 to 6 rows.


The finished dress looks like summer to me and I hope the little girl enjoys it.


Ready for Summer

Here in Alabama, Spring lasts about a week at most so it is already getting hot here.   My daughter’s friend is due in August with a baby girl.  They live at the beach so sunsuits were my first thought.  Fabric Finders has an adorable pique fabric with ducks, one in blue and one in pink.

Baby Duck Fabric - White Ducks on Pink | Rubber Duck Fabric               Baby Duck Fabric - White Ducks on Blue | Duck Print Fabric

My daughter loved the pink so I picked it.  I used the Taylor pattern by Children’s Corner and lined it in white broadcloth.   I bought more than I needed (just in case I cut wrong) so with the leftover fabric, I made a bonnet using the Le Petite Enfant pattern by Wendy Schoen.

The bonnet cap is reversible so it can match the outfit.

This outfit is a 12 month thinking the child could wear it by next spring/summer.   The baby’s nursery theme is flamingos and after hearing this, I found some left over flamingo fabric in my stash.

It was only enough fabric for a 3 month outfit

While looking for the flamingo fabric, I ran across some embroidered seersucker fabric that I bought two years ago but had not done anything with it.  Next to it was left over navy gingham that worked perfectly with the embroidered seersucker.  Using the Bonnie Blue pattern Elyse, I made a little sundress with matching panties.

I skipped the ruffle on the panties because I didn’t want it to be too busy.  Also, discovering how quickly and easily I made the bonnet, I made another on for this little dress.

These are two great summertime patterns for little girls.  The Taylor also has a boys version as well.  I would love to hear what summer patterns are your favorites.


Hippity Hoppity Easter is on it’s Way!

A friend told me that his granddaughter loved bunnies and that his daughter was looking for an Easter dress with bunnies on it.  I contacted his daughter and asked if I could make a dress for her daughter.

Her daughter is 2 but very petite so all the bunny smocking plates for yoke dresses would be too big.  I concentrated on bishop plates and after about week of debating, I picked Cottontail Bunnies by Mollie Jane Taylor.


For fabric, I chose blue satin batiste to match the little girl’s eyes.  The bunnies were done in white as pictured but instead of trying to make the fluffy tails, try little pom poms.  They work great and are much easier.


For the sleeves, I chose to do lace, beading and ribbon.


To keep it simple, I only did three sets of bunnies, one set center front, and then a set on each shoulder.  The back is just the grass and borders.

I added a slip made from broadcloth of the same color.

I hope this little girl enjoys this dress and maybe next year we can do a yoke dress with bigger bunnies.

What are you sewing for Spring?


My husband suggested a trip to Italy for our 30th wedding anniversary and I loved the idea. He suggested Rome, Venice and Florence.  The second he said Venice, I thought lace!  We left on the late afternoon/evening on the 15th and landed in Rome the next morning.  We spent five days in Rome, staying in an apartment near the Trevi Fountain.  It was centrally located and allowed us to walk to anywhere we wanted.  The fountain itself is beautiful!


We also toured the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Baslica over the next couple of days.

Just a couple of pictures of the beautiful artwork in the Vatican Museums.

Pictures were not allowed in the Sistine Chapel but Michelangelo’s frescoes were breathtaking! So on to St. Peter’s Basilica.

Next destination – the Pantheon and then the Colossuem.

Finally the Roman Forum before heading to Venice.

Venice was much cooler than Rome but still beautiful.

The canals were lovely and we loved walking around.  On the second day in Venice, we took a boat to the island of Murano and watched a glass blowing demonstration before traveling on the the island of Burano.  Burano is where they make the lace.  There is even a lace museum with the most gorgeous lace and tatting.  Below are some pictures from the museum.

The wonderful concierge at the hotel was able to give me the name of a place on Burano that sells lace by the meter that was authentic.  The store also has hand smocked children’s clothes which is nice to see.  Here is the lace I picked out from La Perla.

Now my husband was not thrilled that I was insistent on going to Burano but when he saw the colorful, quaint fishing village, he loved it.

We moved on to Florence from Venice.  Florence was beautiful as well with the Uffizi Gallery, containing paintings by Botticelli, Michelangelo and Da Vinci, and the Galleria dell’Accademia with Michelangelo’s sculpture masterpiece, David.  I also recommend a visit to the Pitti Palace Gardens.

It was the trip of a lifetime and I would go back in a heartbeat.  Wait….well maybe after I recover!

I would love to hear any recommendations for fabric and lace where you live!

Basic Bishop

Whenever I see a pretty floral, I can’t resist buying it.  For this bishop dress, I decided to change a little and do the front opening version.  Also, I spent a little extra time at the beginning pleating the sleeves so the construction would be quick.  For the pattern, I used Miche Mooney’s Smocked Bishop and the plate is Ellen McCarn’s Mary Elizabeth, Round Yoke Design II.

Because the dress is a size 2, the rows to be smocked were adjusted to seven.  The smocking design is one of my favorites because it is easy to do and looks great on anything.  I have used it on many different patterns.


The placket was much easier than I anticipated as well.  The instructions were well written and easy to understand.   I thought the sleeves looked so sweet too!

Many thanks to the sweet ladies at The Smocking Bird for their helpful suggestions!  This dress will be a staple for some little girl’s closet for years, or at least until she out grows it!



Meet-Up in Vicksburg

Over President’s Day weekend, my friend Melissa and I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Vicksburg, MS, for a meet-up hosted by the Magnolia Stitchers.  A meet-up is a chance for members of the Smocking Arts Guild of America to get together and enjoy learning new things.  I had attended one last year at Farmhouse Fabrics and had a great time meeting new friends and shopping for fabric.  A co-worker, Caty, at my office happens to be from the Delta area of Mississppi and helped plan our road trip.

We left on Friday morning but didn’t have to be in Vicksburg until Saturday morning, so we decided to head to Merigold, MS, to go to McCarty’s Pottery.  McCarty’s has beautiful pottery made from the Mississippi Mud.  We arrived in Greenwood around noon and had a wonderful lunch at Fan and Johnny’s.

After lunch, we drove down Grand Boulevard to see the beautiful  homes.  Some of these houses were used in the movie, The Help.  We headed to Merigold on Money Road.  We passed a beautiful old white home that was Skeeter’s house in the movie, the cemetery where Robert Johnson (a blues artist) is buried, and the Tallahatchie Flats, cabins for rent on the river.


An hour later, we reached Merigold and McCarty’s pottery.  The pottery is beautiful and we enjoyed looking around the small show room.

Afterwards, we took our new treasures and headed for Vicksburg.  The Delta has been called the “most Southern place on the earth” with its wide open cotton fields and quaint little towns.  We passed through several of the little towns on highway 61 to Vicksburg.  When we came to Leland, Mississippi, I just couldn’t resist stopping for a picture.


The trip to Vicksburg took about two hours.  We made a stop at Stitch-N-Frame to check out all their quilting fabric and then had dinner at Walnut Hills, a restaurant with wonderful southern food.

On Saturday, we met several of the Magnolia Stitchers for a tour of the George Washington Ball home, one of the oldest homes in Vicksburg.  Our tour guide was the owner herself, Betty Bullard, and she even laid out some of her outfits she wore as a baby.  They were all beautiful!

I would love to replicate the dress, above left, with white Swiss batiste and ecru lace.

After our tour, we all enjoyed lunch at Rusty’s and then continued on to The Sewing Boutique,, for a photo tour of the island of Madeira, a viewing of vintage Madeira embroidery collection and, of course, shopping.  Unfortunately, Melissa and I had a four hour drive back to Birmingham so we could not stay for the photo tour but we did get some shopping in.

Many thanks to the Magnolia Stitchers and Linda Patterson for a wonderful time and to our Delta trip planner, Caty Bragg!


Class Project

The Smocking Arts Guild of America (SAGA) has several correspondence courses you can take to learn new things or to hone your skills on a particular subject.  I took the Beginning Smocking Course with Nancy Malitz.  Although I have been smocking for years, it was great to perfect my stitches.

This past year, I took the Advanced Smocking Stitches and Design course with Nancy.  I loved learning new and interesting stitches that I could incorporate whatever I chose to make.  For our final lesson, we had to design a plate using some of the stitches we learned in class.  It took several tries but I finally came up with this design.


Row 1 is the wheat stitch, row 2-3 is the honeycomb stitch and rows 3 – 7 is the barbed trellis.  After drawing off the plan, I had to do a sample of the design.


I chose to do a bishop dress, size 2 for the project.  The smocking was finished back in April of 2016 but sat on my sewing table until last weekend when I finally took time to finish the dress.



It isn’t perfect but I think it turned out well.  Since this is my first time (and maybe last) creating a smocking design, I will be keeping this dress for my future granddaughter!


Dream Baby Gifts

I am always happy when my daughters ask me to make something for a baby shower.  My daughter, Wynn, has a co-worker that had a little boy earlier this month.  While cleaning my sewing room, I ran across some soft, blue micro checked gingham flannel.  How perfect for a sleeper!

I pulled out my Dream Baby pattern by Wendy Schoen and got to work.  The mom is from Portugal and the dad is from Spain.  Since this may be my first outfit to travel internationally, deciding what to embroider was more difficult than usual.  My daughter and I finally settled on this precious dog from the book Mastering Shadow Work Embroidery with Wendy Schoen.


Since I chose white satin batiste for the top, I used light gray floche instead of white.  I also changed the bow from red to blue to match the blue sleeper pants.


Also, our dear friends in Philadelphia welcomed a new granddaughter this month.  Being in colder climate, another sleeper with flannel pants would be perfect.  Back to my favorite book mentioned above, I decided on this sleeping kitten design.


As you might have noticed, the top only has three buttons.  The top and pants are meant to be worn over a onsie which provides extra warmth.


The pattern is so versatile and as you can see, can be for a boy or girl and you can put any design you choose on it or no design at all.  Below are the finished outfits.

Have you tried this pattern?  If so, I would love to see your design!