Thursday, April 17, 2014

Perfect Lady(s) For The Easter Parade

The little Colorado granddaughters needed Easter dresses from my stash of fabric this year. I have wanted to use some old pink/blue plaid fabric for a new kind of smocking for many years, and have never quite gotten to it, so this was the year. 
But, first I thought I'd grab some fine white cotton and make a fancy lace embellished dress for the little one. I've also had this fabric for several years and it has woven striping and kind of a French entredeux running down the fabric every ½ inch or so. It is really cool fabric.
I also have some Swiss embroidery insertion that I bought about 22 years ago. This was a time for me when I had just learned the basic methods of old fashioned heirloom sewing and I purchased several yards of some of my favorite types of laces and insertions, and I just looked at them once in a while when I was sorting through my sewing notions.
The picture below shows a close up of the dress bodice. Here the lined fabric runs horizontally whereas the rest of the dress fabric runs vertically. The cotton val lace and embroidery were put together without entredeux and I used the point de paris stitch (#1229) to mimic the look of entredeux. This Bernina 830 machine does such a good job and I starched the fabric making it easier to run through . Turned out great.
I sent the dress to CO with a blue satin sash, but I had to actually go to the store and buy it before I felt like the dress was finished. By then I guess I was over the pictures.
Herre from the back of the dress. I lined this with a lightweight cotton and then added a 6 inch gathered pettiskirt chiffon to give it some lift.
The base of the dress is finished with more lace and pre-embroidered insertion. The ⅛ inch blue satin ribbon adds a little more blue for nice effect.
This French val lal lace is pretty easy to sew together. I just slightly gather the top line of the 1 ½ wide lace and then put it next to the ⅝" lace and set my machine on a small zig zag and go. The wearer has to be a little careful when playing in a dress like this, and I always tell their mother to take off dresses like this before feeding little faces. Then you don't have to wash them each time they wear it.
The corkscrew ribbons and some more of the embroidery tape to mimic the dress made a cute little ribbon for her hair.
Now onto the plaid.
Like I said this plaid is needing to be turned into a new kind of smocked dress.
You don't have to pleat the fabric to start with, but rather you use the lines of the fabric to make a geometric design in the bodice. I found this heart pattern and went with it. 
Of course I had to make another bow to match this dress too.
The white collar and cuffs are a heavier solid white cotton pique. Now that the dress is gone, I feel like I should've put a little heart embroidered on the collar and cuffs. Maybe I'll add something when I go visit these cute little ones next month.
These little females also have a 1 year old brother. I made him a simple tie out of the plaid and so they should all match for the big Sunday celebration.
Maybe they can even walk (i.e. parade) down the halls at church showing of their finery.
Happy Easter.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Chuck Taylor

Apparently Chuck Taylor started wearing All-Stars by Converse in 1917 when he was playing basketball in high school. After working as a shoe salesman thereafter, he suggested adding a round protective patch over the ankle and changing some other aspects of the design for comfort and support. The company hired him to help with the design and that was followed by the addition of his name on that ankle patch.
These shoes are all the rage again for little girls and boys alike, and I ordered some to make my version of "altered shoes" for a couple of the granddaughters.
 The first ones are orange low tops that we just glued some crystals to.
I know that sounds a little simplistic, but it really was a super easy project and my cute little granddaughter who was just short of 6 helped me decide which colors to go with. I let her work with some less expensive sticker crystals while I did this and that worked out well.
I bought some nice Swarovski type crystals at Michaels and then just used E6000 Industrial Strength Adhesive to put them onto the plastic toe of the shoe.
I should ask if they are staying tight to find out if it is the right combination of materials. She's been wearing them for a couple months now, so I'll try to find out how it's working out, and report back.

We also added some colorful laces to the shoes in the form of ruffled ¼" ribbon and shoelace plastic end pieces that I purchased from ribbon and bows oh my. They have a crazy assortment of ribbon at this place.

Okay.... onto the next shoe. After I completed the orange shoes I found out I'd ordered too big of sizes for the girls so I've just been dragging my feet on the next project for her big sis. I finally got to them this last week and here's the result.
 Starting with high top "Chuck's" in a bright fuchsia color I hand sewed woolen yarn to these shoes with crazy embroidery stitches.
Using a large and strong needle and metal thimble was key to this project, and I learned as I went. (I always do that, 'cause I always just do one or a few of a project before giving it up for another.)
 These heavy canvas shoes are lined with a lighter weight natural cotton canvas and I pretty much stayed under the lining with my stitches so they don't show through to the inside of the shoe too much. Obviously I have some knots in there that I couldn't avoid showing, but most are actually hidden in other stitching, under seams, or behind the tongue of the shoe.
 I used feather stitch, french knots, stem stitch, and a couple that were new to me.

Some of the stitches I used needed some review as I hadn't done them for several years. I found a lot of great stitch tutorials on this blog here. There are several types of stitches listed on the left side of the blog. The directions were easy and doable making the project easier, and I was happy with the results.

Aren't they SO CUTE!
Hope the girls like them.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

White Dress for Baptism

We actually have a grandchild old enough to get baptized. This time stuff never ceases to amaze me. 
Whole other subject here...

We are Mormon and so baptize at the age of 8 which is when we feel children know the difference between right and wrong. This makes us accountable and so able to make things right when we make mistakes. I asked her if she wanted me to make a dress for the occasion, and she (along with her Mom) agreed. I used lining of peacock blue (left over from Steph(er's) wedding, with a couple of different white embroidered cotton fabrics that you can see the blue through. 

The skirt is a circle with a pleat in the center, and it zips up the back. The neckline has a rounded yoke which is simple and sweet. It has a tea length half slip under it which is fluffy adding more body to the dress. The sleeves also have a pleated bottom in leu of a cuff and gathers, which makes it more suitable for an older girl. Usually the little girls dresses I make are puffed sleeves on top and bottom, which works well for under 6 year olds.

 Grandpa, Grandma, David (Dad,) Kara (Mom,) & Uncle Michael with Lexy in the front.

The dress she is wearing here was made by her other Grandmother for the actual baptism and is culottes so that it doesn't float up too much in the font of water. Then she changed to the dress for the confirmation prayer on her which follows the water immersion.
 Lexy Lou also liked the matching dress I made for her new American Girl doll. Nice addition. I also made bows for the 2 dresses waist area and hair.
What a beautiful little 8 year old.
Congratulations sweet girl!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Me and My Gals

A couple months ago my DD called and invited me to meet up with her and her sister in Chicago for St. Patty's Day and a little Mom/Sister bonding time.
I obliged right away and we planned this little getaway........
Riding into the city on the "L" train.
 The first thing we did when we arrived was a night at Riverdance. "Heartbeat" is their new program and it was fabulous. A highlight of the trip and we had barely even began. The musical and dancing talent of the artists was wonderful, and made us want to dance ourselves.
Steph was barely in time and came from the subway toting all her luggage.
 The Oriental Theatre was also quite impressive. Everywhere you turn there is another interesting animal or shape to be seen. Truly a design feast for the eyes.
We walked back to the hotel because it was a balmy 38 degrees out and we knew that the next couple nights were going to be more like 18º without the windchill, so we'd better enjoy this night.
My kind of town
Another notable event was being followed by a very interesting and challenged homeless guy. He walked us through his territory along Wacker (pronounced "Vocker" if you care at all) and the river for a few blocks. Trying to tell him we were having a deep conversation, or saying goodbye, walking faster, slower, ignoring, etc. did nothing to shake him, but a solicitor for money made him mad and as he jabbered with her we were able to lose him. That cab looked pretty good about then.
Next morning we woke up and headed toward the river. We didn't spot Tommy Lee Jones, or Harrison Ford, but it seemed like everyone else was there. The river turns a very bright green. It's pretty cool.

 All dressed up for the Irish celebration.
Cool dog buddy!
 I always like a good library. They tend to be some of the best architecture in any city, so when we saw this one we took a detour inside. Any inside was good today, so we kept finding excuses to get out of the cold. It however, is not the library anymore but my original reason for entrance was not lost on us anyway.
 Look at this amazing stained glass cupola. The ceilings, mosaic floors, marble walls and columns were just beautiful.
 Then we walked with the crowd toward the parade route and past the public art. Cloud Gate or "The Bean" was completely cordoned off from the crowds, but we still got a first good look and pictures.

Many interesting people could be seen.
 And of course bag pipes and drum marching bands. What a great sound.
I always like things that are as old as I am.
After the parade, we met up with some friends for a deep dish Chicago style pizza. Jonathan Walton and his wife are living in Chicago for his doctorate studies and suggested an authentic pizza place. Good company and good food.
The main park is fodder for Steph antics here. Both models have lost their bows.
 No matter what I do, this thing isn't going to budge.
 We woke up early on Monday morning so we could be alone with The Bean.
One of the most popular pieces of public art in the country. Wonder why? It is about me. (Or you.)
Pretty funny really. We came around when the park reopened on Saturday after the parade, this place was PACKED.
 We did find someone to help us take our pictures. Of course we took shots of them too.

 Now we are looking around for more cool public art. These guys were pretty odd.
 And then to the art you have to pay to see. Huge awesome art museum.!
 I liked this Renoir especially - so my DD bought a print of it for me. Thankee!
 I also think Chagall is pretty interesting and so I made the girlies run around to the other side of the museum at closing time to spot it.
 This was just one of our yummy meals. The sweet one. Actually a couple of the others were SWEET too, but not in the same way.
 The Disney display at the Museum of Science and Industry.
Yes..... it is 18º on this fine Sunday afternoon. That is without the windchill factor which put it at about 8º. YIKES!
 Very industrious I think.
 On actual St Patricks Day we went up to the top of Willis Tower and overlooked the big city.
 The glass overlooks are pretty crazy. Makes you have a bit o' weakness in the knees.

 Katz as her dramatic twin.

Don't fall Steph.
I also like store front art. This one of old sewing machines is right up me alley.

I so enjoyed spending 1 on 1 time with my darling daughters for a few days. Truly a treat for me.