More Updates... April and May

More updates, as promised. Let’s talk little girl dresses. I have a niece and a great niece who both turned two this May. They are only 20 days apart in age. A lot of times I will use the same pattern for both of them for Christmas and birthdays, only with modifications of fabric, or perhaps sleeve length or embellishments. This year, however, I went completely different.

For my great niece, Everyn, I chose to use one of my own patterns in a size 2T. I used the Estherlyn’s Jumper pattern. For the apron flap, I used a pair of my husband’s old jeans that he hasn’t worn in years because of rips in them. I left the raw edge unfinished so that it will fray in the wash. Then I found a lovely fat quarter in my stash that was given to me by my friend, Amanda, several years ago and another small piece leftover from another project. I appliquéd a cute little bird on the front with a button for the eye. It was sort of an exercise in challenging myself to use what I had on hand. I love how it turned out.

For my little niece, Quinn, however, I went completely the opposite direction. Some of you may know that I have my roots in what is known as Heirloom sewing. Heirloom sewing incorporates high end fabrics and laces, a lot of hand embroidery and smocking and very old fashioned techniques. The dresses are very soft, classic, lacey and elegant. I have always admired them from afar. I’ve learned and used the techniques in other dresses, but I had never REALLY made what I would call an Heirloom dress with fine fabric and lots of lace. So… that’s what I set out to do. It was a challenge to myself to see if I could really do it. I bought some lovely soft organic cotton batiste. It was so soft and sheer and floaty that it was like sewing a cloud, LOL. However it pressed and sewed up beautifully. I used my own Clarissa pattern and modified it slightly to take the pleats out of the front. I hand embroidered a center panel with purple flowers and then set that in with insertion lace and entredeux. Instead of making a lining, the sleeves and skirt are set in with entredeux and the edges inside are rolled and whipped on my machine with a zigzag stitch. Click here to see that technique if you are interested in how that is done. The neck opening is also trimmed with entredeux and lace.

I also embroidered an inset panel for the sleeves using the same technique and trimming the bottom of the sleeve with entredeux and edging lace.

I also created what is known as a “fancy band” for the bottom of the skirt. This is created by edge joining two or more strips of lace with a zigzag stitch. I used lots of wash away stabilizer to keep them from getting eaten by my machine.

And finally here is the finished dress. I closed the back with antique mother of pearl buttons that came from this child’s great grandmother’s stash of buttons which I inherited a few years ago. It was so very sheer, that I also made a simple slip to go under it as well. The whole process was a bit of a challenge, but it was also a fun one, mostly… lol. This little dress was going to a little girl who was headed into a hot Texas summer, so I hope it was nice and light and cool for her to wear.

I think that’s where I’ll wrap up for now. My creative juices took a bit of a radical turn in June, so that seems a good place to pick up next time.

So I Promised Some Updates

So I thought I’d approach this a couple of months at a time seeing as I have a lot of ground to cover and I don’t want these to be super long posts. LOL.

I think I left off with my Good Fortune quilt top back in January. That is done, but I don’t have it quilted yet. I want to have it done by a long arm quilter and that is pretty expensive, so I have not yet bitten the bullet and had it done.

In February, my mother-in-law, Burdette, organized an outing for all of us girls on the Lehn side of the family to go and paint bowls for a charity event called “Empty Bowls”. It’s a dinner that people pay to have a bowl of soup and they keep the bowl as a reminder that other’s bowls are empty. The proceeds all go to a local homeless shelter. We had a lot of fun. I painted mine with blue and yellow and put on it a quote from Maya Angelou that says “Let nothing dim the light that shines within.” Writing on the bowls with the little squeeze bottles of paint is a bit tricky, but I managed to make it work.

At the end of February, I met my sister, Janet, and her daughter, Kayla, down in Clearwater, Florida for a little vacation. My sister both sells Dixie Belle Paint and refinishes furniture with the Dixie Belle Paint. She had a conference in Tampa. We met up after her conference was over to spend a few days of beach time and girl time together. I got my first tattoo on that trip. I had been considering one anyway and we had a rainy day, so my niece talked us into it. I got a sand dollar on my ankle, my sister got an otter on the top of her foot and my niece got a narwhal on her arm. They were done by Emily Elegado from Foolish Pride 2 Tattoo in Clearwater.

We had a nice time catching up with each other. It had been a long time since the three of us were together.

In March I finished up a quilt that I had been working on for my niece, Lexi. Her 18th birthday was in April so I gifted it to her for her special day. A long time ago when Lexi was probably preschool age, I got the idea to save scraps from all the things that I made for her and “someday” use them in a quilt. Well, “someday” finally arrived and i finished out the quilt for her birthday this year. There is a little bit of everything in this quilt and I hope that it sparks fun memories for her. I used purple on the back as that was one of her high school’s colors. Lexi loves to play basketball and was part of her varsity team this year that went to the state finals.

That’s the highlights for those two months and that’s probably enough for now. I’ll be back later with more.