Monday, June 29, 2009

Sophie and Alicia

This is my Sophie holding her new doll, Alicia. She and Grandma Bunbun put Alicia together last night and this morning. Her specific job was to stuff the doll using chopped up pieces of plastic grocery bags. You can get quite innovative when you are out of poly fil. We started with two red gloves, cutting off fingers to make a tummy and a head and then stuffing the dickens out of them. We stitched on red yarn for hair. Then we sat down and watched Bunbun embroider the face. Sophie wanted Alicia to have blue eyes so I accommodated.

She could not put Alicia down. She was so intent when we were working on Alicia together. Did a Grandma's heart good. We also spent time making a pattern and 5 capes for her "My little Pony" that I found in the basement. It has belonged to her mother. She played with that dang pony for hours, tieing the little capes off and on...

This past weekend was one of family, lots of rain, and much fun and love. Life is too short to miss out on these opportunities. DD and her DH were in Lake Placid getting swimming training for the next triathlon they will do. We very gladly watched the babes. Jack clung to his hero, Poppa Ernie, and Sophie kept asking, "can we go to your room, Bunbun". Life is good. They have now left the end of the driveway, into traveling oblivion, and we will all get settled back to the real world. I wouldn't have traded it for anything.

Needless to say, no serious sewing was accomplished. Sophie helped me pick out and focus on her next outfit, a Gail Doane inspired dress and jacket for the holidays. We put together lots of wool and dress fabric combos before we came up with the final choice. Sophie is quite opinionated and I really appreciated and admire that in this tall little four year old. She also picked out a jar of buttons, sprinkled them on the table, and proceeded to match them up and tie them together. Nuther chore done with the help of a four year old. I hope Sophie treasures these moments. These are the things I did with my grandmother who indeed was responsible for planting the seeds of creativity in my soul. I hope I can do the same for Sophie. This weekend was a good start......Bunny

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Thoughts on Michael

Flashback to 1982. I had just returned to full time work after being home with my children for 11 years. Like most working mothers I faced a baby sitting dilemma. Day care centers weren't convenient to home and work and there weren't that many anyway. I worked out a schedule where I would only need a sitter from 11:00 to five with DH taking over at that time. My daughters were 11 and 8 years old and pretty good kids. Since it was summer I had the local 14 year old to sit the girls until I found a better sitch in the fall. She had baby sat for us before on those rare evenings out.

Things seemed to be working out, not perfect, but good enough. About 2 months after I started work I got the phone bill. It was for 450.00! In those days I never had a phone bill over twelve dollars. What the buck? Also, in those days, Michael Jackson was one cute young man who could make anyone, including an eleven and and eight year old get up and dance. Heck, he could make me get up and dance. I called the phone company and asked them to trace out the calls and get back to me as surely this had to be some sort of mistake. When the return call came back from the phone company, I was floored. I had to deal with my children and the babysitter. It was the third degree from Mom, the kind where you sit your kids down at the table, stare 'em down and start pushing verbally. After some threatening and lots of voice raising, and per the phone company, it seemed my little daughters and the babysitter spent days trying to reach Michael Jackson by phone. The got started with the name of the record company on the record, yes, it was records and eight tracks back then. They didn't give up. According to my girls, it was all the baby sitter's idea and fault. Yeah, right. They told me they eventually got to his personal secretary. I was a bit impressed at their persistence but didn't dare tell them that. We ended up with the baby sitter getting fired, and my daughters scrubbing the bathroom floor on their hands and knees for one month every day when I got home from work. I fully carried thru on their punishment. But then, I had the magic motivator. I told them I would pay the bill, never tell their father, and they couldn't touch a phone until I told them they could, which was for quite a while!

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Last night DH was cruising with the clicker and found some obscure to us cable channel, FuseTV. All night long they were playing videos and TV show cuts of Michael Jackson. It was incredible. His talent was jaw dropping. I can't find the words to describe the music. We sang and swayed to "I'm gonna rock with you all night".His suit of lights emphasized every move of his body. His control of the most minute body movement was breathtaking. He danced like no other I have ever seen. We watched all night, all the videos. Our evening ended near midnight with the playing of the the Billy Jean video. I got up and danced....Bunny

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Book Review - Sew Cute Couture, Gail Doane


I absolutely love this book. It is written by Gail Doane, a very well respected heirloom sewist, born in Canada, and currently living in the US. Her work is often featured in Australian Smocking and Embroidery as well as other heirloom publications.

A caveat here - if you go to Amazon, like I did, to buy this, there are two listings. One has the price at 15.63 and the other is 66. 38. Make sure you click on the one that is 15.63. I have no idea why the other is so expensive other than something may be getting lost in the Aussie exchange rate or such. My sources have told me these are the exact same book. Now to the book,

This is a book of ten different smocked dresses with coordinating embellished jackets and sometimes little embellished bags to match. The book is really about the jackets. Doane's mastery of embellishment is incredible. One of my goals is to learn how to do cast on roses and Doane's instructions will get me there. They are so clear and the photography says it all. This book is published by Country Bumpkin, reknown for their fabulous photography and clear instructions. The beautiful child models are right off the pages of AS&E.

Patterns are included in a pullout for all of the garments and they run from size 6 months to 12 years. Detailed instructions for rouleaux, fagotted bindings, cast on flowers, are understandable by anyone who can pick up a needle and look at pictures. They are that clear. There is a darling pattern for a swing jacket that I can't wait to make for Carley. I am duly inspired by Ms. Doane's work and can't wait to try one of these patterns.

If you would like to be inspired to sew some fabulous clothing for little girls, love a book that makes you want to sip camomile tea and linger over its pictures, and/or aspire to the next level of sewing clothing for children, this book is for you. I highly recommend it and at the price it is a sure keeper. You won't be sorry about this purchase.....Bunny

Monday, June 22, 2009

Some Q&A

I got a fair amount of effort into the blouse yesterday and today and will reply to a few comments that were posted or asked.

First I want to say that the starch is INVALUABLE in this project. It totally allows you to manage this slippery fabric. I have been spraying it as I do the French seams as well. It pretty much flakes off as I re-handle it but I'll also give the blouse a quick soak when all is said and done. I got my Linit starch at KMart.

To do the corners I simply folded the fabric over again on the next edge, just like you would a piece of paper, then starch and iron again. There is a fair amount of bulk in the corner but you are stitching just on that edge. Once trimmed back you'd never even know the bulk was there.

Design Dreamer wanted to know how I handled "where the two meet? i.e., did you clip the seam above the "Bunny rolled hem"? And is that why you did the bar-tack?" As you can see in the pick, that is just what I did. I cut the seam at an angle to prevent frayed threads and to get a little something to stitch on to with the French seams. After clipping I put a dot of Fray Bloc in each corner. Then I pressed the seam flat with starch to eliminate any pucker from the end of the tiny zigzag. After that I proceeded to do the french seams. The bar tack is definitely to cover the transition.

I did a sample of the ruffle to make sure I knew the amount of increase I would need to cut. Now I have to do the same for the sleeve ruffles.

Here you can see the lining. It will be joined at the armscyes and the front bands and the rest will float free. Hoping this will work.

Now a question for all of you - Can anyone explain to me why my picture downloads come up in code when I am writing a post? Previously they always came up as photos which made them much easier to place properly. Any way I can get back to that method? I have a feeling I clicked on something I shouldn't have. TIA........Bunny

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Seam Transitions with Sheers

Thank for all the suggestions on my sleeves. Gwen, you are so right. The flat sleeve looks like a tucked in handkerchief! I thought the picture in the magazine was not particularly flattering to the model but felt I had to give the original design at least a try. It will be a deeper, softer ruffle. Thanks so much all for your very valued opinions.

There are several challenges I am going to face in the construction of this top. You can probably tell by now that the Burda directions won't work for my version. For one, I am lining the blouse. There will be a lining that will only extend up to front and back upper chest area, leaving that area sheer. At first I was going to treat both layers as one and do French seams. But then I thought better as there would be too much bulk with 4 layers for French seams. Then I thought I could do a traditional underlining and Hong Kong the seams, again, more bulk than I wanted. What I finally decided was to attach the lining at the armscyes and CF placket only and let the lining otherwise hang freely from the fashion fabric. This would give me the floaty effect I wanted. I decided there would be French seams on the top as well as the lining. So far so good. Now the next issue was how do I transition from the French seam to the tiny edge treatment shown here. Time for samples. Here is my winning sample. I will have only the two side seams of the lining and top to deal with in this manner. The side seams of both layers will be open for about 4-5 inches and then close up to the armscye.
Here is what I decided.Click to enlarge and see the detail. This is just a sample so my edges will be trimmed a little more neatly IRL. First I did the starch pressing on the folded edge and stitched the "rolled edge" up as far as it needed to go. This happens on each edge of the of the side seams and down around the hem before construction . Press and trim. Then I pressed the unstitched edge of the side seam open flat. That starch really helps in handling this fabric. With wrong sides together and a 3/8 inch seam and a 1.5 stitch length I sewed the side seam to the top of the side opening. This was trimmed back to about a 16th of an inch and pressed first flat, then to the side, then with right sides folded together. Now I did my second pass ending right at the top of the opening. It came out quite neat but didn't look finished. I tried a few things but ended up taking out some matching embroidery floss. As in smocking, I separated out three strands and ironed them flat together. This gives them that satiny flat look. I then proceeded to stitch a bar tack at the top of the opening. Now I am happy. So this will be how the lining layer and the outer shell layer will be handled at the side seams. One nice thing about this BWOF pattern is that the lower bodice has no other seams. Yay! Now I am ready to start stitching the actual blouse. Hope I haven't bored you with this detail but these little details are very important to me when I sew, at least most of the time. There is always the occasional whip-out but this not one is definitely not a whipout....Bunny

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Muslin for the Sheer Blouse

I am going to pull a Sherill here and share the muslin I have mocked up for this blouse, BWOF 122/3-06-2009. Over all I am pleased but there are seams to be tweaked.
For some reason I am standing crooked here but you get the idea. This is muslin. My blouse will be a much softer and drapey fabric, so please keep that in mind. First off, you will see the two different sleeve treatments. I am favoring the ruffle which will drape more in the fabric I am using. It just seems to bring the focus upward which is more flattering. I am not crazy about my aging arms but either treatment softens the view. Do you think the ruffle should be a tad, just a tad deeper?
The shoulders need a bit of narrowing. I had a black bra on but that was good because I was concerned about my bra being exposed under the arm. I cut away the seam allowances there and there seems to be no problem.

You can also see in that pic that under the arm needs to be narrowed. The upper chest, armpit, upper back area is my narrow spot. The back could use some fabric being removed as well across the upper back.
I will be taking out some length. This does not land in the best spot on me, dividing my short little bod right in half. I will also have the side seams split open at the sides for a few inches as in BWOF 122. Here are some better views of the two sleeve options. Please give me your opinion, keeping in mind the actual fabric will be much softer. Thanks, all.


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This is a shot in the shade garden of my "creeping Jenny". It is a glorious shade of green and just brightens up the dark area so nicely. I need to snip off some runners and get some going in other parts of the garden.....Oh, the tooth is beyond horrible but I am travelling with hubby tomorrow to see my favorite dentist...DD. I know she will fix me up and I will find my smile again....Bunny

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sheer Hem Technique


I thought I would share the hem/edge technique I will use on my blouse, BWOF #122-3,6-09, that you saw in the last post. After some fiddling with my last sheer hem, I came up with what was for me an original edge treatment but have since seen it referred to in BWOF 6/09. Their directions are cursory so here are mine in a little more detail. It is quite simple.

I start with the starch you see above. I love this starch. It is REAL starch. You mix 1 part starch to 4 parts water for a heavy treatment. That is what I generally use. I put it in my spray bottle labeled so no one else can scoot that bottle away to put bug spray or some other sort of poison in it. Spray your hem area and iron it dry. Do a test run, particularly if you are using silks. I have had very good luck with this starch. I spray, let it sit for a full minute, then iron dry. The body can be removed with a wash and you will also see on some fabrics it just flakes off.

Next I fold over to the wrong side and iron a 5/8 inch seam allowance until dry. This gets quite stiff which is what you want. Now to the machine to stitch.

Set the machine at a basic zigzag with a 2.0 width and a .7 length. Use a fine weight embroidery thread and a size 8 universal needle. You can find this at all the chains as well as on line. I have the fine thread in the bobbin as well as on top. With the fold of the edge a hair to the right and the right side up, start stitching. If you are positioned correctly the edge will roll as it is stitched. After stitching take your scissors and trim back the excess seam allowance to the zigzagged edge. Done! I have put this on my fingers so you can get an idea of the scale of this edge treatment. It is finer than my serger's rolled hem and I didn't have to change the plate in the serger either. Mine is an oldy and I detest doing that. Adjusting the machine is much quicker and easier.


I will be using this edge on my sheer blouse but first I will make a muslin....bunny

Tuesday, June 16, 2009






My latest project is a sheer, soft blouse of mixed prints. Three fabrics are involved. For a lining I will be using a salmony pink poly georgette. I hope to have the lining as a strapless bodice underneath. The blouse bodice, collar, and under layer of sleeve will be the beige floral. The top sleeve layer and ruffles will be the greyish leopard print.

I am using a combo of BWOF # 122 and #123. I like the bodice of 122 because it has the drawstring all around. That will be in the grey. For the sleeves I will use #123 and hope to have them in two layers and split up the middle. I think this will be more flattering than the square effect of the sleeves on #123.

In hemming my wedding skirt I made lots of samples, none of which really made me happy. Than I decided to just wing it and came up with a very nice finish on the sheer hem. All well and good, it is the same finish instructed by Burda for this blouse. Nothing is new, I guess. I like the CF placket on this blouse a lot. It really is necessary to have the ruffles be neatly equidistant.

I hope to get started soon but first I have to get over a major tooth problem. Let's just say I am residing in the house of pain right now. I have sought out medical care and it should be better soon. Oy.....Bunny

Friday, June 12, 2009



We actually have two winners! I went thru my mags the other day and these are all dupes. One group is Sew Stylish, now OOP, Spring 08 and Threads July 04 # 113. The other pair are Threads, issues 75 and 69 from the good ole Threads days. So I decided to draw two winners....drum roll, please.......................Trudy Callan, of Sewing with Trudy, and Connie. (Sorry, no link for Connie, our flag maker) . I can be emailed at bunnypep at wildblue dot net . Just put it together and change the at and dot. The first to reach me will get the pick of the two. Hurry up, now! Thanks to all of you sewists for sharing a bit about the far out things you have sewn. Sometimes we need to be reminded of what great value there is to our skills (and get paid accordingly, but nuther story.) Thanks again, all.

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Now for the many memes: Thank you to Kristine, Cruz Barrientos, and Diane at Djstoreroom. for awarding me with the “Lovely Blog” Award. I am not sure I have ever used that word as I think of my blog but anything that celebrates design and sewing skill certainly is lovely. Thanks to all of you for that recognition. Thanks also go to Marie-Noelle of La Machine a Coudre for the Premio Meme Award. This award celebrates 7 personality traits that you may not know about me that I will bullet below. It is a nice chance to spread our personalities. Another thanks to our budding sewist, Emily, for the Blogger Buddy Award. Emily certainly is one of my Blogger Buddies and I hope one of yours too! She is learning to sew with her patient, skilled, Mom and has a wonderful attitude toward the craft. Also thanks to Summerset for the Attitude of Gratitude award. Heaven knows I have so much to be thankful for, particularly right now the health of my grandchildren who have just gone thru the Swine Flu. They are doing beautifully thanks to the many thoughts and prayers. I really thank you all for that.


With all these awards, I have decided to just pass on the Premio Meme as it is such fun to read the unique and sometimes secret traits of our sewing friends. So here are my seven personality traits:



* I can be extremely focused.


* I am very polite but don't tolerate fools, bigots, and people with closed minds.


* I can live on very little but haven't done so in a long long time. You don't want to know that backstory!


* I am much more a word person than a number person, at least in my opinion.


* I have been told forever that I am a very strong person and very assertive. I AM!!!


* I have a few close friends that I have treasured for the past 25 years and more. We have all been thru a lot together and I value them all so much. The days and the miles never separate us.


* I love birdwatching and all the beauty and balance of Nature. It just never ceases to prove to me the glory of God.


I am going to pass this Premio Award on to the following:

Nonie, aka, Locoocho, a very kind soul with the biggest heart who sews beautiful heirloom items for her grandchildren.

Sivje, aka Goosegirl, a very talented seamstress AND songstress as well. She faces many challenges with grace.

I only list these two, not because I want to break the meme but because I believe all of the rest of you wonderful bloggers have already recieved these awards. Thanks again to all for the recognition.


A great big thank you again to all of you.


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These are the fabrics for my next project. They are poly sheers for a light fluffy summer blouse. More to come tomorrow.











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And this is a shot from my shade garden. My columbines have done exceptionally well this year. The hummingbirds seem to prefer my sugar water to their nectar which irks me. I love shade gardens. Mine seem to expand each year. The different textures of all the greens is so calming to look at......Bunny


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Betty's Dress Completed!


After many distractions, my Betty D. original design is complete. While it does not have any heirloom techniques, it's vintage style makes it one to keep for the next round of family babies. First, thank you, Betty, for your wonderful inspiration and design. Also thank you for the information and skills you share so generously. All of us that you have "brought along" thank you so much and treasure your knowledge and friendship.

This little dress is made of 100% cotton for the daisy fabric and a cotton/poly blend for the white part. That decision was made on my daughter's potential for ironing when needed. Fugetabotit. Grandma will go visit and iron the little pretties when needed. If I made this again, and I may for my other grandaughter, I would interface all of the bodice with a light tricot interfacing. My summery fabric makes it quite limp. A heavier cloth, like a sateen, probably wouldn't need this.
The back of the dress is sweet but had it's challenges. I was limited to fabric. I was only able to do a pattern match at CB for the bodice, but I think that is fine. It took forever to find the matching daisies on what fabric I did have. The invisible zipper required two attempts, the second of which was hand basting, to get it in correctly and matching. I am searching out white hook and eyes for the top edge closure today at the fabric store but if I can't find white I will used the silver and a white thread loop to get that last bit of zip to close. I did my signature sash and sash keeper, this time piping the sash keeper, thanks to Gwen's suggestion. Thanks, Gwen.

I wanted this to be an often worn play dress for Carly. I also wanted it to be comfy and soft on her precious little skin. I thought of the obvious of putting the closure under the arm but had visions of the zipper pull aggravating the heck out of her so that was out. I went with a CB invisible zip. To keep the bottom of the zip from bugging her little backside, I cut and covered the bottom with a piece of the white fabric. I used the selvedge edge for the top and just hand stitched around.

For the hem I did a pin stitch by machine all around. I used two layers of stabilizer on the poly side. I am not really pleased with the finished effect but since there is nothing worse than ripping out pin stitching and it is actually a play dress, I let it go. Life is too short and on a galloping horse......

So now it is on to the next project. I found some more toile that I think I will pleat up for a smocked sundress for Sophie, something really simple, or at least it will start out that way. But my real focus is on some sheers I have purchased and making them into a summery little fluffy thing to wear with jeans. I have seen this type of blouse everywhere and really like the soft feminine look. The challenge is to make a sleeve design that will be flattering to my aging arms and I have a few ideas. I love mixing prints and this will have two prints, each quite different. However they are both "very soft" looking and therefore work together well. Should be fun. I will also use an edge technique that I used on my wedding skirt hem that I really like.

I also SCORED once again in the clearance aisle at Joanns! I found this bolt of linen looking fabric that still had the paper wrap around, never cut. It is the most fabulous burnout with a hand painted look around the burnout. I washed it, despite info on the bolt end, and it came out fine with no shrinkage. I think it would be wonderful for a Sewing Workshop type of design, camel camisole underneath, and some khaki colored pants. Dont' you just love it? Ten dollars, thank you! I hung it on the closet to give you an idea of the scale. There is also a closeup of the sheer areas.




Next post will have the winner of the Threads drawing and some big thank yous and forwards for the numerous blog awards I have accumulated lately without acknowledgment. Like I said, it has been crazy on the home front and I apologize for my lateness. Life should get back on track soon. Swine flu has hit my grandson and he is quarantined but we are concerned for the twins and rest of family. He seems to be on the mend so hopefully this will continue and it won't spread further.........Bunny

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Betty Dress, Part 3

Company is gone and today was the usual after company laundry and house clean up. Finally, after all the chores were done, I was able to hit the cave this afternoon. The miserable weather helped things along as well. This is where I am at this point:

The invisible zipper is in. It took me forever to match up this print on the back bodice but eventually I found a match hiding among the daisies. I used a zip that was quite longer than the pattern specified but that makes it easier to install. Once installed, the zipper is cut at the bottom and the end of the zipper is covered and hand stitched with a tiny piece of fabric. Once the zipper was done the piping was installed full length on the front and back of the dress. That was pretty straightforward. The sashes were stitched to the side seams and then the side seams were stitched and serged. We are talking bodice only here as the skirt widths are solid pieces that wrap from the back to the front. The seaming is along the piped edge and center back only. I also did my usual sash keeper and made sure I piped it this time. Thanks, Gwen, for that suggestion.

Next came the spaghetti straps. I cut one inch bias strips which I then folded wrong side out. I stitched these a measurement between an 1/8 and a quarter of an inch from the fold. As I stitched the strip, I slightly stretched it. The SA was then trimmed back to 1/8 inch. Using my tube turner I turned back the four strips to right side out. I then went to the ironing board and before I pressed each strip it got a good spray of water. Then I placed the hot iron down on one end and started pulling the other end as I pressed. I pulled and stretched and pressed simultaneously. This is where the stips get their nice Spaghetti look. Iron them while pulling until they are dry.

I have been managing most mornings this past week to get in a healthy half hour of sewing before facing the day. Thanks, Summerset, for egging me on.

Tomorrow, all I have left to do is put the lining in and the hem. Yahoo!

Last week I was able to work out in my gardens. During a visit, a guest broke the top of one of our birdbaths a while back. This week I painted a shallow bowl pot and made a rock garden out of it. I really like how it came out. I wasn't about to throw half a birdbath out! I used succulents, some stones, and a glass float. Reminds me of a miniature desert. .....Bunny

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Craziest Sewing Project

As I was doing the blogroll scroll I read Dawn's great post of "what the heck is it?" I won't spoil the fun and tell you what she made but it is quite clever and definite out of the box sewing. It made me think of my strangest sewing adventure. To squeeze up DH's part of the story, he met one of the Busch racers at New Hampshire International Speedway a few days before the next big race. One comment led to another and before you know this good ole country boy was telling DH he needed some patches put on his firesuit, those fancy "uniforms" they wear at the races with all the colorful advertising. When DH called me to see if I could do it, I thought he meant patch as in repair. Truth was, I had to sew on several large advertising patches on the suit from new sponsors. Job taken! It was a hoot dealing with this suit. It was extremely well made and definitely felt like it could stop a fire. Yes, I broke a few needles. I can't remember if he paid me or not, but I do remember that DH got to go to the race and spend the entire race right there with the pit crew. They had him keeping some sort of tally. He was thrilled and never forgot it.

I am sure some of you, like Dawn, have sewn some really unique items. Come clean, what the heck were they? Leave your story and a name will be drawn for two OLDer Threads magazines. Can't wait to hear!

This week I have a house full of company, not conducive to working on Betty's dress, but I will get back to it the minute I can. I am so itching to finish and get the photos up. If you are following along with your own version I am sorry for the sabbatical. I will be back to it soon, with a few days. In the meantime, sitting and conversing with our company is conducive to hand mending so I have gotten 3 pair of pants altered and hemmed. Yippee! New pants for summer!

So, patience please for a few days. I am alive!

Bunny