Friday, December 31, 2010

Hop Scotch pattern

I am really enjoying the Oliver + S patterns.  They are easy to follow, size accurate and even though I've been sewing for decades, no,  more like a half century, I seem to learn something new from each pattern. And the Hop Scotch pattern is no exception.

Knits have never been my forté.  Sure, over the years I've made a knit items but overall I've gravitated to wovens for sewing projects.

This pattern was designed for knits.  My daughter prefers knits because she doesn't have to iron knit garments. (Sounds like my elderly mother!) And you know, it was easy peasy to make and I actually learned something new about my sewing machine too!

Knit dress, size 2. This knit was probably more suitable for a cardigan, but it worked well for the dress.

Size 18-24 months. I made knit leggings to match, (size 1 from a McCalls pattern) and I suspect they are a little too large.

Purple butterfly button on the top.

Knit top size 2T.  I didn't have enough scrap yellow pinwale cord to make the Hop Scotch skirt.  So I adapted the principles of the Lazy Day skirt and added some hot pink velvet trim that matched the hot pink of the flower in the knit print.

I feel that I have accomplished not only sewing with knits and functions of my sewing machine but also I busted a little more of my stash before the end of the year.

Looking forward to next year's stash bustin'!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Red Flannel Christmas Dress.

I have about 6 meters of red and black buffalo check flannel.  It's a staple wardrobe fabric around here where I live.  While I have some plans for all that flannel, I thought I'd take a meter and make Caitlin a red flannel dress.

Fabric to wear huntin' and fishin'.

So I ordered the Oliver + S Jump Rope pattern from Elegant Stitches, who have been providing me with excellent service by the way.  When my order arrived, they gave me a credit because of their Anniversary Sale.  Thanks!

Like all the Oliver + S patterns I've tried to date, it was straightforward, easy to follow (although I got a little bogged down with the placket at the neck edge) and I am pleased with the end result. 

Made View B using View A pocket. 18-24mo.

I found some pine buttons in my stash.  Unfortunately, I only had 2 of the small size buttons.  The larger ones are a little too big for the pocket, but hey, they'll do!

How difficult would it be to make my own wood buttons?

For Christmas dinner I'm going to ask all my children to wear their red and black flannel shirts.  Grandbaby already has her flannel dress.  And with some of the remaining flannel I'll make some napkins for the dinner table.

It's going to be a Red Flannel Christmas!

The dog is going to need something red flannel too.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Book & Toys

A neighbour is an artist and she has illustrated a children's book called The Perfect Bear.  I bought a copy and of course had her sign it.  It's a Christmas gift for Caitlin.

ISBN 978-0-9810609-1-0

Then I got idea to make some of the toys found in the book.  A sock monkey, a giraffe,  whale, Raggedy Ann and a bear.

I found a sock monkey already made at a toy store along with a bear that looked similar to the bear featured in the book.

I've run out of time to make a giraffe and a whale, but I did manage to make a Raggedy Ann doll.  But I ran out of stuffing so this doll looks a little wrinkled, much like her maker!

McCalls 8077

I tried to match the doll to the one in the book. 

To see more of this charming little book, go to  Yellow Toadstool Press then click on the book cover and download the sample text and illustrations.

This is what the illustrators studio looks like.  It's a Fairy Castle in the woods.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Fifth Christmas dress completed.

I've  had this velveteen in my stash for ever it seems.  It's dark green and under certain lighting conditions, it has a sheen to it.  In this photo, it looks like the green sheen you'd see on a Ruby Throated Hummingbird!
It looks better in person than under this light ...  daylight, against white snow and the flash kept going off. Plus the lens kept fogging up going from inside our warm cottage to outside where the wind chill is -15 C.

I used the Bubble Dress but modified the bodice in order to add long sleeves.  This pattern works up really quickly and bonus, my daughter really likes the style.  So I'll be making a lot more of these dresse come the new year.

I used my walking foot to control the velvet as it wanted to shift under the presser foot.  However, I had a real problem putting on the gold piping.  There is no such thing as a piping/cording walking foot.  Too bad because it would have come in handy!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Poinsettia pin.

I was able to find some red felt to finish off the Bubble Dress.   Using the template found here:   this  poinsettia pin went together quickly.

I used some small jingle bells in the centre and whip stitched a safety pin on the back.

I think it looks perfect on this dress.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Fourth Christmas dress completed.

It's overcast and raining so I can't use outdoor light today to photograph the 4th Christmas dress installment.  This will have to do.

I used the 18 month size of Children's Corner 'Adelaide'.  Thankfully I was able to double check the construction of the placket in a box pleat using their helpful on-line video found here:

To make it Christmassy, I found this silvery star patterned fabric to use on the collar and sleeve cuff.

Found some star buttons and attached with Sulky silver thread.

The pattern called for a 3 1/4" hem.  I only used a 3" hem and I think it's too short.  Oh, well.  It can be fixed if need be.

I'd like to make a few more dresses.  Maybe some smocked ones.  But first I think I had better see if the dresses I've made thus far fit!  They are all either size 1 or 18mos.  All four have varying hem lengths, sleeve lengths and widths. 

I love this dress.  I love the pattern and how quickly it went together.  When I showed my husband the finished product he thought it looked rather 'Jackie O' looking.  And that comment has given me some ideas for the next time I use this pattern.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Third Christmas dress completed.

Using red velveteen, although it looks a little orangy in this photo, dress number 3 is completed.

I wasn't too sure how to apply the white fur strip so I just pushed aside the fur and using a 1/8 inch s/a stitched it down.  However, I think I might have to send a lint brush along with the dress because the fur is sticking to the velveteen just like dog or cat hair!

Ironically, this Santa inspired dress is sitting exactly on the 45th parallel which is half way to the North Pole.

The pattern used was M5964, size 1.  It was easy but because I didn't have a red zipper I made a placket in the back skirt and buttons on the bodice back.   Truth be known, even if I did have a zipper I might have still gone the button route because working with velveteen is tricky.  But making the placket sit flat was difficult given the bulk of the fabric.

The sun is low in the sky these days so getting a good shot is proving difficult.  Well, that and the fact that I'm still learning about light, angles and photography in general.  This photo gives a more accurate colour of the fabric.

Black bucket in background is the ash bucket and it's full!

Over 17 cm (6") of snow fell last night. The first snowfall of the season. Now I'm really in a Christmas sewing mood!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Second Christmas Dress completed.

This dress went together quickly.   It's a thin cotton so grandbaby will need to wear a warm turtle neck underneath and a pair of woolly stockings.

It's a size 12-18mos using the Bubble Dress pattern from Oliver + S.

I added mini piping around the neck, arm and waist area.  I think that detail makes it look even better.

For fun, I quickly whipped up a fabric poinsettia flower using dupioni to add a little colour.  The flower needs to be made from felt, which I have run out of.  I'll be going to town sometime next week and I'll pick up red and green felt then.  But at least I can get the idea of what a flower on the front will look like.  The centre of the flower is a small jingle bell.

Detachable red felt flower would be better.
Two dresses down, several more to go!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

First Christmas dress completed.

This is a pattern I've wanted to try out for a long time.  So this week, I found time and using this pattern made a Christmas dress for Catlin.

This plaid cotton has a thin thread of gold throughout giving it a little sparkle.  There is green in the plaid too, so I matched it with the green ribbon on the hem and cuff.  I didn't put piping on the waist though and I wished I had.
Next dress will definitely piping at the waist. And as I look at the photo again, I can see I need to touch it up with the iron.

Overall, the photo hasn't turned out well at all.  It's overcast here today, -2 oC and wind gusts of 40 km/h so getting this shot was difficult.

I found a Christmas bell that I thought Caitlin would like to wear with the dress.

One dress down and several more to go!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I'd like to buy an Owl.

The smocked Owl jumper is finished. It went together quickly and while I didn't follow the rule "not suitable for obvious diagonals" it looks okay.
With the leftover fabric I made a toy Owl.  The pattern came from a wonderful blog called Hammer and Thread.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

New project underway.

I'm working on a smocking project for Caitlin.  She likes Owls, and while I'm not that keen on picture smocking, Owls it is!  Her mom liked this design plate.
I cannot find small buttons in my stash for the eyes though.  I thought about glueing on googly eyes, but they might come off in the wash no matter what the glue instructions say.  Beads will have to do. Maybe sequins and a seed bead.

Photocopy the design plate in case the original gets lost ... like mine did!

My daughter doesn't like fabrics that have to be ironed.  So making smocked dresses has been a challenge. For example, I made Caitlin a lovely smocked dress using the Baby Carriages plate, on white Dimity which isn't exactly a discount fabric. Anyway, she washed it after one wearing but because she didn't iron it, it hung in the closet and now Caitlin has outgrown the dress.
I also have to factor in our cold winters so the fabric has to be warm but apparently toddlers shouldn't wear wool.
My daughter selected this brushed cotton (flannel) and while in my opinion it needs to be ironed, she might be able to wash, dry and hang it up right away with minimum wrinkles.

Why wasn't my daughter born with an iron in her hand like I was?

I think the colours of the Owls, branches and leaves will work well with the colour of the fabric.  And aside from a few finishing touches and the Owl eyes, it's almost complete.

Maybe 3 hours of work yet to go, plus 2 hours selecting the perfect eyes from the bead box.

In my children's pattern stash bucket I found this gem that I've been anxious to try out.  I plan to make it in the jumper style and of course minus a collar.
When discussing the style of dress with my daughter I suggested a jumper and she confessed she didn't know what a jumper was. Did I give birth to her?

It will need an off white turtle neck underneath.
Well maybe I'm just living in the past.  Jumpers. Smocked dresses. Irons.  Just the same, I'm enjoying sewing.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Back in the saddle again.

It's been ages since I've turned on my sewing machine. The past spring, summer and fall has been fantastic weatherwise and it was a wonderful opportunity to get some landscaping and outdoor improvements done.

However there are light flurries in the forecast for next week and darn it if Santa Claus isn't coming to town also next week.  Time to hunker down in front of the sewing machine and get the many outstanding projects under way.

First project is an Advent Calendar.  Since our Caitlin is lactose intolerant, her calendar needs to be filled with little toys in place of chocolates.

So my husband and I went off into the woods and found some branches to make a miniature tree.

Spring project: sprinkle grass seed in front of new deck.

And on the miniature tree branches, I've hung 24 little stockings all made from scraps of fabric to match my daughters interior; chocolate, deep gold, sage green and off white.

I used my embroidery machine to decorate some of the stockings but mostly used pieces of trim, ribbons and buttons to decorate.  As tempted as I was to buy some Christmas fabric, I showed great restraint using only fabrics from my stash.

A north wind was blowing off the lake making the stockings dance!

I filled each stocking with a little toy such as a wind up caterpillar, bug box, bubbles, spinning top,  small animals bath toys and more.

So the first project since the spring has been accomplished.  There are lots more to go and lots of fabric from the stash to get used up!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Vote For Us

My husband entered a photo of our dog Lucy in to a contest. The picture has been selected in the top 25, and now we need people to vote for it in order to win.

So what has this got to do with sewing, you may well ask. Well, the prize is a very cool camera and if he wins, I can take better photos of my work for this blog!

Go to and under the nickname 'MuskokaDave' is the photo of Lucy. Select the button and then scroll to the main voting button under the photo gallery to cast your ballot.

Meanwhile, my sewing room being renovated. A baby crib and a rocking chair moved in and now I have to re-juggle everything. Once I have it back in order and the change table returns to being a simple sewing machine table, I'll be back in sewing biz.

Here's the e-mail from the Cottage Life lady in charge of the photo contest............

Dear Top Dog Finalist,

We'd like to take this opportunity to thank you for entering your dog into Cottage Country's Top Dog Photo Contest.
Your dog's photo has been chosen by our judges to be in our top 25.

It's now up to you to spread the word and get all your friends to vote for your dog. Only 3 weeks remain, so send this link to all your friends and tell them which nickname you used to sign up for the contest.

The photo with the most votes on August 2nd will win the Grand prize- a Canon Rebel XSi Digital SLR Camera Kit from Black’s Photography, valued at $2,000 CDN.
Thank you for entering and Good Luck!


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sneak Peak

Just like Sew Beautiful magazine, here's a Sneak Peak at the latest pattern by Judith Marquis.

However, unlike the magazine, my photos are just awful! But you can get the idea how delightful her new pattern 'Autumn Leaves' is.

Judith calls the design plate on the nightie 'Diamonds in the Puff(ing)'. And like every item Judith smocks, her stitches are flawless. I tried to get a closeup but it turned out blurry.

What I love about the pattern, and in many respects it's a hallmark of Judith's designs, is the sleeve treatment.
You can see it's in a square shape and that eliminates bulk from under the arm where smocking meets sleeve.
In terms of sewing the sleeve in place, it's a breeze and no need for rows of gathering threads.

Judith put a hint of piping in the sleeve area but it's difficult to see from my photo.

Here's another close up of the nightie front.
There are openings on either side of the shoulder. You could use, hook & eye, snaps (in Canada we call them domes) or velcro. In the pattern, Judith also suggests that the sewist may want to extend the opening down the shoulder a little further.

She also made a housecoat. My photos simply do not do it justice. Therefore I'll describe it as best as I can.

The opening is down the front and she used snaps for closures. (I call them domes, just as I call a couch a chesterfield. Canuck, through and through, eh?)

She pleated the front panel but instead of smocking, she held the pleats in place by machine stitching and then using lace, stitched over those machine lines.

You could use ribbon, or even strips of a co-ordinating fabric to achieve this look.

Here's another shot of the housecoat, full length. Again, the photo does not do it justice.

Judith used a little piping to accent the sleeve treatment.
I tried it on, and this style of sleeve treatment is much better and roomier plus there is no bulk where the pleating meets the sleeve.

The pattern is at the printers and will be available soon. Her website is
She'll be teaching at the SAGA Convention in the fall and no doubt will have these samples will her.

I had a lovely afternoon with Judith. We had tea and cookies and gabbed about everything from sewing to home repairs. I don't see her often because I live so far away. Thankfully, we have been keeping in touch via e-mail.

I admire and am in awe of her sewing and stitching prowess. And I admire her bravery as she is breast cancer survivor. She is an excellent teacher and if I ever need help on a sewing project Judith is the one to turn to. I consider myself lucky to able to call her a dear friend.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Itty Bitty Fundraising Project

I asked our local quilt shop owner if I could conduct an all day sewing marathon making the Itty Bitty Baby Dresses and donating them to our local hospital Gift Shop. She thought it was a grand idea.

Then I asked Rae, the designer if I could have a workshop (donating my time, of course) and then donate the fruits of our labour. She gave me her blessing to go ahead.

Since I've been pre-occupied lately by deck re-construction and gardening, I haven't been focusing on sewing and the quilt store needs a few samples to advertise the project.

So last night I cut out and started sewing together 2 Itty Bitty Dresses.

Early, early, this morning I was awakened by military helicopters flying dignitaries to the G8 Summit being held nearby, and since I was awake, I got up and finished the dresses.

Not a good photo, I know. It's raining out so this will have to do!

So thanks heads of 8 major nations for waking me up to finish these dresses; thanks Rae for letting us use your pattern; and thanks in advance to the ladies that will make up these adorable little dresses to donate to the hospital Gift Shop!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Dresses that fit.

The Oliver +S Bubble dress I made Caitlin months ago fits perfectly. I made 12 month size and she is 13 months. My daughter loves the dress style and has asked me to make more.

The 12 month size smocked dress I made for her 1st birthday is still a little large. Thankfully it has back ties that can pull in the bulk so it looks like it fits.