Monday, December 6, 2010

Baby Charlotte

I have my nose to the grind stone right now, but I wanted to share something I just finished.

This is a Baby Bishop for my daughter's teacher. The baby is due during Christmas break.

The fabric is a brush micro-check from my stash. The pattern is Cherry Williams Baby Bishop size 3 months.

I will try to have the smocking plate posted in a couple of days. I am having "bonding issues" with a new computer. :-)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Just Ducky!

Last week, the parents-to-be in my family had another ultrasound. The doctor wanted to check something. Their concerns turned out to be nothing.

But at the end of the ultrasound the doctor said "Nothing to worry about your DAUGHTER looks great!". It A Girl!

So since they knew, they decided to let everyone else know. I am doing backflips I am so excited! I would have loved a grandson also but a granddaughter is beyond words. :-)

Well, this is what I was working on the day I got the news. It started out as a Michaela bubble by PrimRose Lane. I had the boy sleeves cut out but I hadn't gotten that far yet.

The Boy's sleeves got filed away and I cut out puffed sleeves instead. Since I know that this baby has a good possibility of being tall, I decided to go with a dress instead of a bubble. I need to finish up the white pique bloomers to finish the outfit.

The Smocking Plate is Ellen McCarn's "Duckin' Duckies". The fabric is white pique and yellow pique ducks from my stash.

Also with this photo I wanted to show you a pattern change I always make on this pattern. I hate to have to fold over pleated fabric. I especially do not like to fold over pleated fabric at a neck line. The neckline never looks perfect and it is just too thick (IMHO)

So instead, I add a small 1" yoke (+ seam allowances) at the top of the smocked panel. I used the lining pattern piece as my template for the yoke and add piping along my holding row.
PS- When I let my family know it was a girl, my SIL texted "Doomed to a life of beautiful Handmade dresses by her Grandmother!!!!!!". Her two nieces were my first models when I was learning to smock.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


  • My niece Angie had more surgery yesterday to repair her shoulder that was shattered in a car accident on Father's day. She is doing better but still has a long road ahead.

  • Here is the link to the previous post.

  • The man that hit them was deported.

  • Our area Girl Scouts are having a Mother /Daughter Mad Hatter Tea Party in March. I am trying to convince my daughter to let me make something for her to wear.

  • I feel my inner Red Queen coming out! :-)

  • My cell phone contract is up next week and right on schedule my phone is going toes up.

  • I like my phone. I don't want to have to learn how to use a new phone.

  • Is there such a thing as a technology saturation point?

  • The UPS man delivered a package today. The weird thing was I was not at my house. I was waiting at the end of a country road for the school bus when he stopped and gave me the package.

  • Speaking of UPS....I saw the UPS truck making a delivery at the local Post Office. It was backed up to the loading dock. I wish I had taken a picture!

  • Since my family is made up of a lot of ministers, military and lawyers (with a few artist and engineers thrown in) The Supreme Court hearing today of Snyder verse Phelps made some interesting discussions tonight.

  • I saw first hand the pain that the Westboro Church causes at a local funeral a few years back.

  • Here is a link to the transcript of the Supreme Court hearing today.

  • I am shipping two dresses to SB in the morning then I need to clean my sewing room before I get nominated for an episode of "Hoarding -Buried alive". My next project was in the package that UPS delivered. I am excited!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Baby Pictures

I have been sitting on my hands for the past couple of months trying not to share some exciting news............I am going to be a grandmother!

Here are the baby's first pictures

The parents do not want to know if it is a boy or a girl until the baby is born. I tried to explain that I have baby clothes to make but that did not sway them. I guess I need to work on my guilt trip a little more. I am slipping.

So I will let you join in the guessing game. This picture the baby is stretched out across the top part of the picture. Any experts out there? Any educated guesses? Any gut feeling? :-)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Even More Smocking Challenge Results

Katherine Dillender sent me these photos of two outfits she made for her daughter using the Smocking Challenge Bishop plate.

I love the colors she used!

Here is a purple version. I love how soft and sweet it looks.

I can just imagine how huggable her daughter looks in this bishop.

Katherine, Thank You so much for sharing your photos. You really made my day!!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

More smocking challenge photos

Well, after seeing Debra's photos it gave me a push to finish a baby bishop I had been working on for a baby gift.
The pattern is Cherry Williams baby bishops in a size 3 month. The fabric is Martha Pullen Victorian Batiste . The lace is from "Luc the lace guy". I picked up 5 yards of the Angel lace at the last Smocking Convention.

The smocking plate is rows 3-7 of my Smocking Challenge bishop.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Smocking Challenge pictures

I was so excited to receive an email from Debra Parker with pictures of her bishop dress that was smocked with my Smocking Challenge Bishop!

Debra gave me her permission to share the photos

Her Smocking is perfect!

Here is a close up. Look at her bias neck band! Wow!

Debra, Thank you so much for the pictures. You really made my day!

Here is a link to the free smocking plates if you missed them.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Just wanted to share some updates of my life......

Alex is doing much better. A cast on each arm has not slowed him down much. ......Oh to have the energy of a 6 year old again. (sigh)

Angie is having a much harder time because her injuries are more severe. It is estimated that she will have a year of therapy to help her recover. Her spirits are very good.

Thank you again for all your continuing prayers and positive thoughts.

Tonight is our last softball game. Our team is in the finals of the local softball tournament. I thought I was going to be able to sit on the sidelines and cheer my daughter and my husband on during this summer ball season.

Nope, I have been the "Dug Out Mom". A military background has helped. Some of my responsibilities have been.....

  1. Keeper and administrator of the first aide kit and ice packs.

  2. Stylist for the catchers. I can switch out catcher's gear and adjust all the straps at a speed of a Nascar Pit boss.

  3. Monitor of all ponytails/braids and shoe laces. I keep a pocket full of ponytail holders and extra shoe laces.

  4. Keeper of the sunscreen/ bug spray / wasp spray/and Benadryl cream.

  5. Monitor of the ice water and marker of cups/bottles/and equipment.

  6. Gate Keeper of the Dug Out, keeping players in and everyone else out (one puppy can result in total loss of focus). Potty monitor goes along with this responsibility. Determining how fast can a player get to the bathroom and back before she is up to bat is important.
  7. Watcher of the weather and lightning forecast.

  8. Keeper of the lineup card.

  9. Dryer of tears.

  10. and biggest cheerleader!

Next week I will have a week off before we start into basketball camp then the start of School softball. Just the thought of being able to sit and smock/sew is exciting!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy 4th of July

Wish everyone a happy and safe 4th of July!

Monday, June 28, 2010


Angie and her son are finally home from their separate hospital stays.

Alex's main complaint about being in the children's hospital in St Louis............Too many Cardinal baseball fans! :-) Alex and his family are die hard Cubs fans but we still love them. Go Cards!

Alex has a short cast on his left arm and a high cast (up to his shoulder) on his right arm. The right arm is also braced with a sling and a Velcro band that secures his upper arm to his body.

So needless to say getting a shirt on him is impossible right now. After visiting with them yesterday I did some alterations to a couple of shirts for him. I pray that these directions and ideas never are needed for your family.

I picked up some shirts from his closet and I went out and bought some too. The first shirt I altered was this Star Wars sleeveless shirt. I went up a size in the shirts to help deal with the bulk of the cast.

I took out the right side seam and sewed a 12 inch zipper in the seam. I also added side zippers to two other sleeveless shirts. I did not bother with adding a hook and eye at the top of the zipper like I would have done if this was an evening dress.

This shirt is a cotton button down from his closet. Again I took out the right side under arm and side seam. But this time I added 10 inches of snap tape to the seam.

All the alterations are reversible. When Alex gets back to normal, all I have to do is remove the snap tape and zippers and sew up the side seams.

Continued prayers for this family are greatly appreciated as they heal physically and emotionally.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Prayers needed

I was going to post a sweet old photo of my father and myself yesterday for Father's Day but we had an emergency in my family.

My niece Angie and her family were in a head on collision yesterday after church. They were in their brand new van heading for Springfield IL. A man with a revoked driver's licence crossed the yellow line and hit them head on.

Here is the article

Their 6 year old son was air lifted to St Louis. He has been operated on for a broken arm and a broken wrist and separated shoulder. His head injury was not as bad as they first thought.

Their 6 month old son was in an infant car seat and was not harmed.

Angie's husband , Matt had moved to the back seat to give the baby a bottle. He just has cuts and bruises.

Angie (who was driving) is in surgery as I write this for a broken shoulder and a broken arm and a fractured knee.

The miracles in this accident was someone had already called the police about the other driver because he was driving erratically. So the police were on the scene of the accident almost immediately.

The other driver was treated and released pending toxicology reports.

Angie and her father are Methodist preachers.

All prayers are greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Updated to add a picture. Thank you so much for your prayers and support!
The person that hit them is now in jail for driving with a revoked license. Which probably means he did not have insurance.
One of my next sewing projects will be altering clothes to accommodate casts~janet

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Coaches Lost..........

And the team won!

Our softball team colors are Hot Pink and Lime green (chosen by our sponsor, the local Subway restaurant and not the coaches).

For the last year the girls have been bugging the two coaches/dads about why they were not wearing the team colors.

So a bet was made.........If the girls won then the coaches would wear pink pants.

So here they are in their pink "loud mouth" shorts from (The one in the red hat is mine.)

So now if the girls win then the coaches wear the pink shorts. If they lose then they don't. So far they have won 4 out of 5 games.

I want to finish this post by making a public service announcement. Every Youth softball and baseball program should make it mandatory to wear a face shield on their batting helmets!

It has been required in our county for years. We played a team in another county last night where it wasn't required to wear face shields. Pitchers from both teams accidentally hit their batters.

When our player got hit in the head, the ball bounced off her face shield and she walked to first base. When their player got hit in the head, she went to the emergency room and lost two teeth. Nuff Said.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Continuous Bias

I am working on several projects right now that require a large amount of piping. Instead of piecing several bias strips together I prefer to make a continuous bias strip.

First, I start with a piece of fabric. I am using white pique. I have pulled a thread to find the horizontal straight of grains. I do not want to tear my fabric for this because it will distort the fabric edges a little.

Then I cut the fabric on a 45 degree angle. The longer my bias edge is, the fewer seams I am going to have. This is great for sewing because I don't want to have a seam line in the middle of a collar edge or the front of a bodice.

For this tutorial my bias fabric is 15 1/2 inches wide and 17 1/2 inches long.

On the wrong side of the fabric I have marked bias lines that are 1 1/4" apart. Notice on the left side that I have a little bit extra. Not a problem. This will be trimmed off later.

Now for the tricky and the most important part. I am going to match up my bias lines, but I am going to offset the first row. If I don't do this and match up my lines perfectly, I will end up with pretty little circles instead of a continuous bias strip.

Here is a close up of how I pinned the lines together. My straight pin is going through the middle of both lines, 1/4 inch from the edge.

After everything is matched up, I stitch a 1/4 inch seam. The seam is pressed opened, then it is trimmed down to about an 1/8th inch. My sleeve board works great when I am pressing open little seams.

With a good pair of shears I start cutting on the lines. I start on one end and just follow the lines that I drew.

To make the piping I place a cord in the middle of the bias strip. In this tutorial I have used gimp cord. I am using my #3 foot on my Bernina. This foot is actually a button hole foot but it works great for piping. My needle position has been moved over to the left and my stitch length has been set to longer stitch.

And I end up with 138 inches of piping! That is almost 4 yards.

Don't need piping? Here is my tutorial for making double fold bias tape

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Smocking Challenge

It is almost my first Blogiversary! As a gift to y'all I am posting a smocking challenge.

Here is a smocking plate and the bishop version. The designs should be clickable so you can enlarge and print them. Please let me know if they are not.

The plates are in black and white so that you can use your imagination. There are also areas to embellish if you want to.

There really is not a prize for doing this challenge but I would love to see every one's interpretations. I will post my own version of these smocking plates in a couple weeks.

Please feel free to use these smocking plates for your smocking guild/group.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Narrow Hem

Once again I am apologizing for not posting anything here. It is First Communion and Wedding season here. So between that and Sew Beautiful assignment I am super busy.

I have been doing several narrow hems in the past weekend. I do not use a narrow hemmer foot. We just don't get along very well.:-(

I tried to explain how I do a narrow hem to Angie over the phone, who was working on my "Little Heart of Mine" dress from SB.

A picture is worth a thousand words so here it goes......

  • I first stitch a basting stitch about 1/4" from the raw edge. I am using a contrasting thread for photographic reasons....Honest. :-)

  • I then fold the fabric on the stitching line and press.

Next, I thread my sewing machine with water soluble thread. I love this stuff but if you lick the end of your thread like I do before you thread your needle, it doesn't work.

  • With the water soluble thread I am stitching very close to the fold line (about 1/16").

  • The next step is very important! Remove the water soluble thread from your machine and put it away. You don't want to accidentally use it to make a bathing suit or something.

  • With applique scissors, trim the excess fabric as close as you can to the stitching line without cutting through the stitching line.

  • Rethread your machine with matching thread. (Remember I am using a contrasting thread.) If you have an edge foot for your sewing machine go ahead and put it on.
  • I then turn the edge of the hem up and stitch on top of the water soluble thread stitching line.

  • When I press the finished hem with a steam iron, the water soluble thread will disappear. Or I can spritz it with a little bit of water and press.
  • And I am done!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Old pictures

I had been talking to Michie of "Creations by Michie" about her collar that is in the newest issue of Sew Beautiful that is inspired from a vintage garment.

I sent her a 1936 baby picture of my mother wearing a very similar collar.

We sent several email back and forth discussing the dress, the collar and the front placket.

I gave permission to Miche to post the picture on her blog so we could share it with everyone.

Here is the link.

PS. Every baby in my family is born with an extremely full head of hair. :-)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

20 Innings!

We spent the day (and the night!) watching the Cardinals play 20 innings yesterday.

For my daughter's birthday she wanted to go to a Cardinal game. We arrived about 1pm when the gates opened.

Neither team scored anything till the 19th inning. It was interesting hearing the entire crowd groan each time the ball was caught. :-)

Around the 17th inning (9PM) my daughter and her best friend bought "Build A Bears". I really appreciated that the store was still open. Everything else in the stadium (except one Hot Dog stand) closed down after the 8th inning (5:15 PM).

The game ended after 10pm. Cardinals 1- Mets-2. :-(

It was a very long day but, we all had a great time!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sew Beautiful Freebies

A while ago I posted some pictures of my great nephew's christening gown. Here is the link to refresh your memory.

The hand embroidery design was from Sew Beautiful's subscription gifts that was offered several years ago.

Sew Beautiful has just revamped their web site and is now offering several freebies that you can download including the embroidery design I used on Josh's christening gown.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Dress

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter. We all went to church in the morning then spent the rest of the day moving my youngest son into his new house.

Here are the photos of my daughter's Easter Dress.

The pattern is Sew Beautiful's Mary & Morgan. Here is the link.

I added a smocked insert band between the bodice and the skirt. I also added side seam pockets because of the cell phone that is permanently attached to her hand.

The fabric is from my stash. I desperately need to thin out my stash a littler bit ( well actually more then a little bit) before I get nominated for an episode of "Hording, Buried Alive". LOL :-)

Sorry the dress in this photo is wrinkled because I took this photo after church when I realized I hadn't gotten a picture of just the dress.

The jacket is my shrug pattern from Sew Beautiful #114.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Joining Piping

I am working on some Easter Clothes right now. I wanted to share with you how I join two pieces of piping together.

Before you start thinking "Boy , she is using strange combinations for an Easter dress". All the materials I am using for this tutorial are scraps that I have put together for photographic reasons.

The first step on joining piping is to decide where I want the join to be at.

I do not or at least try not to join piping at the seam line for two reason.
  1. It would add more bulk to the seam line.
  2. It would just be one more thing that you need to line up perfect. Why add stress to your life?

I usually pick a spot beyond the seam line...about 3/4 inches. It is not an exact science. I just want the join to be where it is not very noticeable. If this was an arm hole that I was adding piping to, I would make the join towards the back of the dress.

I have marked my join line with a blue wash away marker. You do not need to mark the point as dark as I have done for this tutorial.

When I cut my piping I want to have about an extra 1/2 inch or so on each end (1 inch total +) so I have working room.

I stitch the piping down, stopping about 1/2 inch from my target point for the join. I am using two different colors of piping for photographic reasons .......Honest! :-)

I trimmed down my piping on the right to about 1/2". I then unpicked the stitching threads on the blue piping so that the piping is exposed.

The piping cord on the blue piping is trimmed down to about 1/8-1/4 " beyond my target point for the join.

The raw edges of the blue piping are turned under and pressed. I want the fold line to match up with my target join line. You could also add a touch of water soluble glue to keep the folded edge turned under.

The pink piping is placed on the inside of the blue piping. It is trimmed down so that the piping cord of the pink piping kisses the piping cord of the blue piping. I do not want any gaps or for the cords to overlap.

Pin the two pipings together with the pink piping sandwiched in between the blue piping..

Stitch the joined piping together.

And I'm done. It is slightly off my target point but once I wash out the blue marker who is going to tell? I certainly am not. :-)