Sunday, July 18, 2010


I finally put the first shipment of things for Korea into the "mail" today!  I sent only the things for our one little girl at this time.   I have two other finished quilts ready to go, and only the binding to put on two others, but I decided to hold those until I get back from vacation.

I want to do at least two more "juvenile" themed quilts before shipping any more if at all possible.

I had never decided what to do with my first class-project quilt--the reversible baby quilt.  I decided to send it for a lap robe for our little girl.  So I sent her big quilt, the lap robe/baby quilt, her dolly and it's quilt and outfits, the yellow and black 2-piece outfit I made for her, etc.  Then I stayed up until 3 a.m. this morning writing a story for her about her "American Family".  (oh my.....)

Isn't she adorable?

Our shipper is from Korea, so he was an amazing help to me.  He checked all the options to see whether I should ship them to someone to take back with her in August, or whether to use Korea Express to ship them directly.  I will decide for sure when I see how big a box it takes and how heavy it is.

I decided to go into the educational store almost next door to search for a very simple "sticker book" to include.  I was delighted to discover they had sticker books in Korean--as well as other books and games, etc.  So I got a book, plus an educational toy/game to send at Christmas.  The lady kept saying, "they have the BEST sticker books in Korea, you don't need to send them THERE!"  I explained that I didn't know if the orphanage had a great deal of money to spend on such things.  I think she was so excited about what I was doing, that she gave me a Korean alphabet book to include in the shipment!  What a nice lady!  I will definitely patronize her store...  (I should "yelp" it, shouldn't I?)

I think there are about 20 residents in the little girl's house, so I plan to make at least that many quilts.  Then I found that a lot of people could use "lap robes" as there are many in wheelchairs and they have to move long distances between buildings in the winter.  It gets very cold.  So my work is cut out!

[I am also supposed to be getting on with my family history/family trees projects, and transcribing my husband's "book" from his letters mailed from a 5-month trip to the Middle East in 1965-66.  Where will I get the hours and still have time to spend with my precious grandchildren???]

Anyway, my bags have been packed for three days (except for one liquid med and this computer)!  My paperwork is nearly done (I would be finished, but one website is down tonight), the shipments to Indonesia and the Congo are done, the stuff for Korea has gone.  I still have a note to write for our cleaning lady (seems a silly thing to call someone who is a "friend"), and I will not be able to finish some sewing projects I had hoped to complete before leaving, but I'm doing pretty well.

Speaking of our sweet lady, she is now raising six children all on her own.  Her husband passed away just about the time her last baby was born. She is godmother to three children whose mother abandoned them.  So she imported the children, for a total of six.  I don't know how she is doing it.  What a great lady!  My Christmas sewing includes three quilts for their beds as well!

My hand became really unhappy because the "steam" button on my fabulous iron began to stick (I think it got tired of ironing and steaming quilt fabrics!).  My thumb especially was unhappy--so I aim to give it all a rest for three weeks and have some fun!

You all have fun while I'm gone,and do some sewing or quilting!

Piggies and Gators

Someone else needed dolly clothes -- and her dolly is BIGGER so I had to re-design all my modular patterns!

My greatniece has an "American Girl" doll, 15-inches tall.  She needed dolly clothes for her birthday.  I didn't want to try anything too exotic until I am sure they fit, so here's what I sent.  Hope she likes them.  (More to the point, hope her MOTHER likes them...)

They are shown on my granddaughter's 15-in. doll, but it is shaped differently with a big bulgy stuffed tummy, so I'm hoping they will fit the American Girl better.

Her mother is a Gator fanatic!   And the theme for her daughter's 4th birthday has a piggy pinata involved.  So there you go--piggy nightie with Gator colors...  What more could she ask for?

Close up of piggies and Gator colors  (The decorative stitching is two strands of thread--one of each Gator color)

Front and back views.   I created the "paneled" effect by stitching from the bust to the hem

This nightie does not have matching diaper/panties.  I made them plain white flannel for comfy sleeping.

I don't know how this one will go over.  The pink fabric brings out the pink in the center person's costume, but my granddaughter seemed to not care for the pink fabric at all.  It has some kind of little critter on it, but she just doesn't like it for some reason.

You have to love this little flannel print for her jamies.

Back view

I often use tiny satin ribbon for trim on dolly jamies.  I zig zag it down, and so far it seems to be wearing pretty well (although I suspect my granddaughter's dolly clothes don't go into the washing machine too often--ours certainly didn't).  It gives it a nice finished look.  Sometimes I also run it down the front, but with this brown I didn't want to stitch the velcro onto the back of the ribbon after putting it down, so decided not to use it down the front.

I stitch the little bow down firmly with the machine--I don't want them coming undone!

I will make her other outfits for Christmas after we see how these simple things fit.  (And, of course, now that I know we have a "resident dolly" of a similar size, I am SURE it needs some clothes!)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Amy Butler Hat - Class Project

I knew this class project was doomed before it began, but I did it anyway because I wanted to learn how to do it.  

The pattern pieces make a very nice hat and the instructions work well.  I learned how to do a better job of attaching the brim.  HOWEVER, they wanted us to use Amy Butler fabric (heavy) and follow their recommendations for heavy duckcloth for the interlining (to make it strong).  I knew I would detest a heavy hat, and I do.  (After a year of stewing over it I put it in the fundraiser yard sale my daughter had to raise money for their pre-school.)

It was TERRIBLY heavy, and the silly thing is that one can do it just as effectively WITHOUT making it heavy.  (Please see the one I made in December 2010, which I love: )

I won't go into any more detail because I do not like to wear the hat, and I don't believe anyone should issue instructions to make such a wretched item. 

Inside (my lining was not at all tidy, but by then I didn't care; it was all too wretched)

Lovely, but HEAVY

It actually looked nice on, because it is a good design.  It looked even better on my little granddaughter.  It's STILL heavy.

(from sometime in summer of 2010)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Shirts for Sweet Peas

It's been a big day!  After finishing the Princess nightie and making a new smaller cowboy jamie shirt, then I made each of them long sleeve shirt.  

He needed another sun shirt, so I made it from plisse (or seersucker) so it would not be too hot while covering him up.  I added 1-1/2 inches to the sleeves that were already cut the length of "Large" on the pattern.  He wears a "Small" (size 7); he does have long arms, and is tall and thin, but I doubt any 14-year old has arms that short!.

back view

And for her, there IS NO darted shirt pattern for a little girl!  So I traced a Target shirt body to get the size right.  Then I rummaged through shirt patterns and started with gridded pattern fabric (I don't know it's proper name).  I have adapted the design to darted and non-darted, pointed collar and Peter Pan, long and short sleeve, etc.

Pattern close-up

This is how it turned out

Close-up for darted front

Back view

I actually bought this fabric to match her new cowgirl outfit, so it will be useful all year long!

Of course we won't really know how it turned out until she tries it on!\

[That was a L O N G day!  That was 17 buttonholes and buttons!  (I counted...)  There was a day when one of those garments would have clobbered me by the time I did the buttons and buttonholes--gotta love modern machines!  And when all was said and done, I cut out his "racing" jamies.]

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Princesses Galore - for our very special Princess

She loves nightie's and I've had this fabric for months.  I couldn't decide how to make it.  It is soft enough for a nightie, but I had problems coming up with a pattern that would not be utterly boring.  This one seemed to do.

Front -- oops!   I carefully centered the princesses.  I concentrated on not making them too near the seam when the skirt was attached, and oh my!  the ruffle covered them all the way down to their chests.  In the end, I couldn't stand having "headless" princesses right in your face, so I tucked up the ruffle which helped a bit.

The ruffle is a little "odd"--it doesn't ruffle all that much.  And the sleeves are gathered at the top, but it barely shows--once again--poor pattern making.  I also added an inch to the sleeve length so the elastic would fall further down her arm.

Next year I may add a ruffle to the bottom, as it is likely to continue to fit.  They made the pattern really, really wide.  (I am already an expert at lengthening arm openings for a "comfort kind-of girl"!)

For the back the instructions said to make a button loop with thread.  That would last about 5 minutes with this girl thrashing around in her sleep the way she does.  So I made a little "tab" and put it on the right side.  I put the buttonhole on the left, sewed the button to the tab--so no thread button loop!

Stay tuned later in the year for more--I think the fabric will be a BIG favorite!

As I ponder the things I have made her this year, I wonder if next year might prove to be a bit boring for her???   I don't think so, cute fabrics and ideas continue to surface.


(And, of course, she LOVES it!   She surrendered it only because she was afraid of the safety pins holding the elastic in the sleeves--so Nana had better scurry in there and fix that right now!)

I won't be surprised when this appears as a "dress" from time to time!  And Nana really MUST learn which Princess is which.  She will be glad to help me with that!

Cool "Not-Shorts"

It's going to be really, really hot and humid on my vacation.  (And I LOATHE humidity!  Dry heat is fine.)

My daughter said, "Make some shorts."

I said, "Not me--I'm too big to be out of the backyard in shorts these days.  I'll just wear my capri's."  (But most of them are not THAT lightweight.)

After mulling it over, I snatched some grand-kid jamies fabric (ultra-lightweight,cotton, tee-shirt) from my "stash" and cut out some capri's.  They are shorter than my "sleeping" ones, because that is one HUGE pattern repeat (if it ever does!).  Actually, they are probably just right for July in the Southeast!

It's a real pill to keep these lightweight knit stripes "matching", but here they are!

I see the pattern worked out rather cute in the photo--which is amazing because it was the ONLY way I could get them out of that piece of fabric!

The pickin's are mightly slim in the knits department these days!  I've got white, and black, and both of those fabrics are a little heavier than I want.  And fabric stores have maybe 5 bolts, if that, of the lightweight cottons.

(Ok, so my new yellow tank top is the wrong color of yellow, the new blue one is also the wrong color.  I guess it will be my old white ones.   I have a new red one, but it's patterned--not sure I can handle that--we'll have to see...)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

SOFTEST jamie Capri's for me

I may NEVER find another fabric so perfect for sleeping in as this one!  (Sooooo soft, light weight, high "thread count"--I want some MORE like this!)

Bright and cheerful, although I'm not in to some of the things people who wear peace symbols support--the rest of it is great!  It was colorful, light weight, and pretty soft  (SO hard to find...)

Sweet dreams!

Couple pairs of "Leisure Pants"

I HATE the fashionable "short stride" and it is very hard to find even jamies which have full length stride, so I made myself a couple of pairs to wear while I sew and relax in the evenings.

I especially like the "pins"

And the border is fun here

Hey, that is RED, not orange--lighting again!

Anyway, they are comfortable and easy to make...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Quick Afternoon's Work

Her Mommie decided she needed something to cover her undies when she spends half her time upside down, so about 3 in the afternoon I started an "assembly line" and made six pairs.  

I was finished before 7 p..m.  (I HAD made this pattern before, so I didn't have to worry about size.)

A dolly needs to be able to dress like her "Mommie"

After accidentally beginning a series of dolly outfits from different countries and cultures (shown in a previous post--see "Dolly for a Sweet Girl in Korea"), it occurred to me that I really should include a traditional Korean costume as part of the first shipment.

This my first attempt at creating a kid-friendly "hanbok" for a dolly

It would look more authentic if the bodice were a tad shorter and fitted under the arms snugly.  But I won't make things so fitted as I want kids to be able to dress their own dolls.  The shoulders should be narrower for this dolly and the sleeves should be longer, but both things make it harder to put it on the dolly, so I have avoided those details.  It would be more gathered at the waist that way, too.  But it's not too bad for a first try, especially given my constraints.

The bodice is a polyester blend "shantung", so it's all been washed.  The stripes are a designer fabric I found on a sale table.  

I'm rather hoping the piece of designer fabric will be large enough to make something for the princess, but she's growing so fast I'm not sure if that will be possible.  I don't know what it is, but I'm pretty sure it is partly cotton.  The black part is almost sheer--very unusual.

I don't think the braid will do too well being washed very much, so hopefully it won't be necessary too often?

The neck band is bias binding, folded and hand-sewn.

For this one I had to break several of my "rules".  Normally I would not "gather" (unless by serger), but both the skirt and sleeves at the cuff had to be gathered.   Also, I would not completely "face" the bodice, but with this fabric it was necessary.  The stuff "shreds"--thank goodness for sergers!  Normally I would not use any braid that wasn't very durable either.  And hand sewing the bias binding is a major 'no-no', but I did--I wasn't messing with the shantung on the machine any more than necessary!

Also, it took possibly 5 hours to accomplish this chore from choosing fabrics, cutting, to completion--another HUGE 'no-no' for dolly clothes!   But she is Korean--so I tried to make it as authentic as possible.

Of course the back is open with a velcro closure--easy on and off for kids...

The diaper/panties with elastic front and velcro closure are made from a stripey yellow/gold cotton fabric (left over from the reversible baby quilt).  I used the same as a "facing" for the back bodice, so I could fasten the velcro into something more substantial than shantung.  I also put a piece inside the shantung on the side you see in the photo above for reinforcement.

So, in this shipment we'll have covered an American slightly Western outfit, a rather Chinese dress with Fishmen's pants, a somewhat Japanese kimono, and a Korean hanbok -- happy accident!  

I'm curious to see what countries may be represented in the next shipment--but I'm already mulling a Swiss costume or Dirndl, and I'm sure I'll get around to a pioneer or Wild West costume eventually.

My "muse" seems to work thematically--sometimes it's a rather unified color scheme or, as in this case it began with several coordinating fabrics and grew into several cultures.  In any case, it seems to sort of "flow together" as I ponder "what's next" as I work...  I rather like my "happy accidents".

Sat., July 27, 2010

I am SO excited.  My nice Korean shipper recognized the hanbok!  So I did an ok job with my interpretation.  He said the white band around the neck was the "cincher".  He told me that part is often replaced during the life of a garment--makes a lot of sense.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Every Cowboy Needs Cute Jamies

Soft, light-weight cotton makes a fun pair of jamies. I just hope they are not too big.

The botttoms are the longer-legged short style


Later:  The top was way too big, so I made a smaller one.  I have enough material to make a larger pair of shorts when needed.  (And he really liked them!)  Of course he wanted to wear the big one while he was waiting...

(His sister immediately pointed to the cowboys and said, "I want jamies JUST like these Nana, only they have to have COWGIRLS!"  --  Always one for the "tall order".)

Kitty-Kats, Tiny Flowers, and Polka Dots

I'd been eyeing this dress made up at Joann's for months, along with the pattern. I just didn't buy it--not even when the patterns were $1 ea--silly me! Finally broke down and bought it at the regular 40% off price--ggrrrrrhhh!

But it turned out awfully cute!

Back view (called for a 12-inch zipper--she would have been sitting on a lumpy old zipper! This is a 7-in. one.)

I couldn't find the specified ribbon, so I made the trim from black with tiny white polka dots--just like occur in the kitty fabric.  They match so well, that it's amazing up near the top trim by the zipper.

(I apologize that many, if not all, of the photos in this blog do not get larger if you double click--that is because I compose in Google Chrome g-mail, which gives me greater flexibility with my photo placement.  But when I copy them here, they don't carry the link.)

And I did NOT insert the straps in the back between the bodice and it's lining--they will remain obtainable and adjustable on the inside of the dress.

The bodice is lined in the blue flowered fabric.

Close-up of the kitty-kats

This fabric combination is even cuter than the one in the store. It was a tiny remnant--I wish I had more of it to put into quilts.

[I really MUST get some professional photography lights and a stand to hang my stuff on. The inconsistency of the colors is driving me batty. I also need a "stretching frame" to pull stuff straight!)



This dress has a history already...  When I tried it on her, it was too wide at the top of the bodice--more so across the front than the back.  So I disassembled a great deal of it (removing most of my tiny hand-sewn stitches I had used to attach the bodice facing to the dress).  I took 5/8" off each side and re-curved the armhole.  (I avoided having to remove the bow.)  I decided not to take any off the back.  I re-sewed the bodice facing and re-attached the trim where it had been removed.  Then I attached the shoulder straps at the back by hand--they were (as suspected) very much too long).

It's much better, but it would have been better to take a little bit more off the front, and a small amount off the back bodice top.

The real reason I had never purchased the pattern was because it didn't look quite right made up in the store.  Now I know why!  I should have followed my instincts and taken a much closer look at the width before sewing it all up!   Another really cute idea designed rather poorly...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Little Girls in Wheelchairs need some "Flexible Clothing"

This is going to Korea. I am leaving all the elastic pinned so they can adjust to her size. I made it big, so it may not fit her this year, but I think it will probably work for 2 or 3 years because everything that matters is elastic and the rest is fairly large for an almost 8-year old.

What am I ever going to do when ric rac goes back out of style?

The top is VERY easy, and easy to make larger--just a little longer top and bottom, and place the pattern a little further from the fold.

And I'm still LOVING my serger ruffler foot. I thought it would ruffle this fabric more because it is very light weight, but it is also very soft and the foot wasn't very fond of it.  (You can barely tell that the top layer is tiny white dots on a black background.)

Hope I guessed the size sort of right!

Hearts all Over the Place!

Back in March I made this sundress for my granddaughter.

Just for the fun of it, I designed a "puffy pocket". Turns out you can't sew it on by machine (unless you want stitching on the puffy part, so it's hand-stitched on there. I hope it stays!

When we tried to put it over her head, it was too snug. It also seemed a bit long and a bit wide. So I tabled the project for a while. Tonight I have FINALLY fixed the problem and it is done!

How to fix a neck that's too small on a finished sundress: first slit it down below the underarm area a bit

Then insert a sort of "placket" on each side of the slit

Stitch the bottom to hold it all in place; make buttonholes and sew on buttons.

B I N G O !!! problem solved

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Dress for a "Twirling Princess"

She loves to "twirl" and all things "fancy". So I made this dress and I can't wait to see if she likes it. She'd rather have pink, but it REQUIRES really soft, drapey, light weight fabric, and I could not find matching ones in a suitable pink combination.

It is the sort of dress which looks a lot better ON, than just hanging there limp, but I still don't have a way to blur faces, so here it is.

Front is corded at waist

back has elastic at the waist

It should be fun!

Something just isn't ok on this one. It needs something on the bodice. Something like this:

Now THAT's much better!

Close-up of butterfly

Next spring I will make the short pants to match the bodice. They have the same tie arrangement on the side seams at the bottom as the shoulders do on the dress.

Can't wait to see what she says and does with this one.


Finally got to give it to her.  It was immediately dubbed the "Butterfly Dress with Handkerchiefs". She twirled and twirled.  I'd say it was a big hit!


[Simplicity 2716 - Daisy Kingdom®]

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Dolly for a Sweet Girl in Korea

The quilt part of this post is repeated on my companion blog:  Nana-B's Quilting Fun.

Before I took a quilting class, I would have thrown these narrow strips left over from her "big-girl" quilt into the trash. Just look what they made for her dolly!

And every dolly needs her very own cosy quilt--made with batting, quilted like the big one, and backed and self-bound with the scraps.


Dolly's Asian dress with Fishermen's Pants

Dolly's jamies are the matching flannel print which is in cotton in the quilt

Western dress with decorative stitching and matching diaper/panties

Japanese-type kimono with matching green diaper/panties

Thick, fleecy bunting

I didn't start out to make "ethnic" dolly clothes, but the quilt inspired the outfits, and they just birthed themselves. Now that I've started down this path, I'm thinking that in the future I shall send her outfits from more cultures. I shall have to think about how to make a Korean "hanbok" as well.

The kimono was the difficult one--everything else derives from my basic modular patterns, but I should have started from scratch for the kimono. Oh well, live and learn. In the end, with lots of tucks and pleats, it turned out fairly well--perhaps even better than it would have been had I not put in the pleats and tucks as they really help form the arms. If the dolly were alive, it would have lots of movement in the arm area!

(Stay tuned for a greater manifestation of the kimono fabrics...)


Sat., Jul 17, 2010

I am SO excited--my nice Korean shipper recognized my hanbok!!  He said it was the white band around the neck that cinched it!    yeah!