Christmas, Family, Finished Product, Gift Idea, Holidays

A Dress for Dolly & B’

Christmas is such an exciting time of year and we feel especially blessed to be able to experience it through the eyes of our grandchildren.

Belén proudly introducing me to her doll, Caroline
Belén proudly introducing me to her doll, Caroline

This year our oldest grandchild, Belén, asked Santa Claus for an American Girl doll named Caroline.  She was absolutely ecstatic when she brought her doll to brunch on Christmas Day and proudly introduced us to her.

Belén's American Girl's Caroline Doll
Belén’s American Girl’s Caroline Doll

It just so happens that Santa gave us a tip as to what Belén wanted for Christmas, so Nana decided it would be fun to make B’ and her doll matching dresses.  I had a darling pattern from Olive Ann Designs that I had made a sun dress from and it included a matching doll dress pattern for an 18″ doll.  I decided to also make Eloise a matching dress, so she did not feel left out.  I ordered coordinating long sleeve knit tops for the girls and allowed a little extra ease in the patterns so the dresses could be worn as jumpers.

Pattern from Olive Ann Designs
Pattern from Olive Ann Designs

Each of the dresses is trimmed with a gathered row of ruffled fabric at the hemline and around the neckline.  In order to make several yards of ruffled fabric for trim, I used my roll and shell hemmer foot (#64) for my Bernina sewing machine.  It was a very fast and easy way to finish both edges of the ruffled trim.

Hemming the ruffled trim with my rolled hemmer foot.
Hemming the ruffled trim with my rolled hemmer foot.

Next, to simplify the process of gathering the trim, I used my Bernina Ruffler Foot #86 and set it on setting #6, which creates a pleat every sixth stitch in the seam.  It was almost magical to watch it quickly transform a long hemmed strip of fabric to a ruffled trim.

Using the ruffle attachment to gather the trim fabric.
Using the ruffle attachment to gather the trim fabric.

I made a couple variations on the pattern itself to simplify some of the suggested finishing steps.  If you are interested to know these, please comment and I will forward this information to you.

Belén was excited when she opened her package to find a new dress for her and she quickly tried it on with her knit top.  Then she opened a package with a matching dress for her doll and she was thrilled – as you can see…

Belén discovering Caroline's matching jumper.
Belén discovering Caroline’s matching jumper.

Eloise is 2 1/2 and has very strong opinions about things. Although she seemed to like her jumper, she was not in the mood to put it on, so here is a picture of her coordinating jumper.

Eloise's jumper with her red knit top
Eloise’s jumper with her red knit top

On the other hand, Belén danced around with her doll and was thrilled that they she and Caroline had matching outfits – and that made it all so very worthwhile.

Belén and Caroline in their matching outfits
Belén and Caroline in their matching outfits

What kind of sewing did you do for Christmas?

I hope you had a wonderful holiday and send the best holiday greetings your way!

Happy Sewing,


Christmas, Finished Product, Free Pattern, Gift Idea

Holiday Sewing for 2012

Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year.  Our home transforms into a bit of a winter wonderland, both inside and out (if Mother Nature helps out) and I love  the many traditions that are a part of this wonderful time of year.

One of my favorite parts of Christmas is making gifts for various friends and family members.  I enjoy trying to come up with the “perfect” personalized gift that will bring a smile to the recipient’s face.   I thought it would be fun to share some of the holiday sewing I did this year.  It was a very busy, but fun December!  Some of these projects will be posted in future blogs as well to share more of the details and learnings I had along the way.

Christmas Stockings

Erin's Fleece Stockings I Embroidered
Erin’s Fleece Stockings I Embroidered

When I was decorating our house for Christmas, my friend, Erin, called and asked if I could put some names on some stockings she made.  I was pleased to do so and thought I would include a photo of the stockings she made out of polar fleece.  Aren’t they adorable?  I embroidered the names and then realized that I had spelled “Derik” as my son-in-law spells his name, but Erin’s Darik has an “a” instead of an “e”.  I carefully used a seam ripper to remove the “e” and repositioned the stocking on my embroidery module and inserted an “a” instead.  I was pleased the “a” and “e” take about the same amount of space, so it worked out okay and Erin’s stockings were complete!

Edited stocking - thank goodness an "e" and "a" are similar in size.
Edited stocking – thank goodness an “e” and “a” are similar in size.

While I was embroidering Erin’s stockings, I got an idea to make some stockings for our daughter, Anna, and her husband, Derik.  I texted Anna to see if she would like some stockings and she agreed.  Since they have a very contemporary style in their home, I chose to make the stockings simple, but also relevant to them.  Anna works at CM Company and builds commercial buildings.  Therefore, she views a lot of building plans.  I found a design several months ago from one of my favorite design studios, Urban Threads.  The name of the design is How to build a Heart.  I embroidered that design onto some linen fabric.  Anna’s husband, Derik, is a talented, natural artist and one of the things he enjoys drawing is trees, so I embroidered a tree on linen for his stocking.

Close-Up of embroidery stitched on linen
Close-Up of embroidery stitched on linen

I cut two pieces of decorator fabric and embroidered their names on the top and then lined each stocking with a light muslin lining.  I will post a future blog with details on how to make these stockings, if you like.

I decided to use the selvage edge of the fabric as a sort of trim for the top of the stockings as it really was pretty the way it was finished.

The completed stockings hanging on the mantle
The completed stockings hanging on the mantle

Infinity Scarves

Christmas is also a very social time and it is always fun to get together to celebrate the season.  I have a sewing group that I thoroughly enjoy and this year I decided to make the ladies each an infinity scarf.  Here’s a picture of my Sew Neato sewing group modeling their new scarves.  These are so much fun to make and easy to personalize, as you can do so simply from your fabric selections.  If you would like to make your own infinity scarf, I will provide a link to a video that shows you how at the end of this blog.

Margie, Darlene and Marsha with their infinity scarves.  Aren't they lovely?
Margie, Darlene and Marsha with their infinity scarves. Aren’t they lovely?

Christmas Dresses

As you would guess, my favorite duo to sew for are our adorable grandchildren, Belén and Eloise.  Once again this year, I made their little Christmas dresses.  Alecia had found some cute dresses online and asked if I could make them.  I combined a few patterns and drafted a final dress pattern for B’ and then scaled it down in order to use it for Eloise as well.  The dresses were tiered, with a piece of folded tulle between each gathered tier.

Eloise and Belén in their Christmas dresses
Eloise and Belén in their Christmas dresses
Eloise on the run in her dress
Eloise on the run in her dress

Since I was able to find some pretty stretch velveteen fabric, I made them without zippers or buttonholes, but instead the girls were able to just pull them over their heads. They looked so cute in their dresses and seemed to enjoy wearing them as well.



Handmade Dolls for Belén and Eloise

I decided to make dolls for the girls this year.  I saw some cute ideas in a couple different books.  I thought it would be fun to make both of the girls a doll and doll quilt for Christmas.  There will be a future blog on this as I learned a LOT and really enjoyed making both dolls.  Here are the finished products!

Eloise's Tag-A-Long doll with her doll's Amish doll
Eloise’s Tag-A-Long doll with her doll’s Amish doll

Eloise’s doll has the cutest little pigtails that stick out, very similar to the way Weezy’s pigtails look sometimes.

The fabric for her little dress is the cutest Japanese fabric that has characters from the Three Little Pigs on it.

The little Amish doll that is sitting next to the Tag-A-Long doll is from our trip to Amish country this fall.  It was the perfect size to be a doll for the Tag-A-Long and Sadie dolls.

Weezy's doll on her doll quilt, with Minky background fabric
Weezy’s doll on her doll quilt, with Minky background fabric

Of course, every doll needs to have a quilt, so I made a quick strip quilt for Eloise’s doll.  The backing for the quilt is an oh-so-soft minky fabric that helps to make their quilt every so snuggly.  I also used a wool batting in the quilt to provide a little more loft than the standard cotton batting.  I’ll tell you more about this in the upcoming blog on making these dolls.

Eloise playing with Mommy and her new doll
Eloise playing with Mommy and her new doll

It was so cute to see how excited Eloise was when she opened the present with her doll.  She giggled and immediately went to work caring for her doll, as you can see in the picture.  In no time at all, her little Tag-a-Long doll was all nestled in her little quilt with a very attentive Mommy nearby.


Belén with her Sadie doll
Belén with her Sadie doll

Belen’s doll is called Sadie and she was an exciting challenge to make.  I developed a healthy respect for the art of doll making in constructing these dolls.

The pattern designer for Sadie provided very detailed instructions for each step of the doll’s construction.  She also had a good supply list and I ordered the wool batting she recommended from Lancaster, PA.   (More details will be provided in my future doll making blog.)

One of the things I attempted to do was to make Sadie’s eyes similar to Belén’s eyes.  In order to do so, I studied the various colors that are in Belén’s beautiful blue eyes.  It’s amazing to see all the colors that our eye irises contain.  Here’s a close up of the end result of one of Sadie’s eyes.

I used at least 6-8 colors of embroidery floss to try to replicate Beléns eye color.
I used at least 6-8 colors of embroidery floss to attemp to replicate Beléns eye color.
Each strand of hair is individually attached to the head of the doll
Each strand of hair is individually attached to the head of the doll







Sadie on her doll blanket
Sadie on her doll blanket


I was was amazed at how the dolls literally started  to “come to life” as I began to stuff and stitch in all the details and various features.  Sadie has a lot more details (ten little individual fingers, etc.) than Tag-a-Long.  In addition, each strand of her hair was hand sewn and attached to the head of the doll with a 4-inch doll needle.  I have some great pictures for my upcoming doll-making blog.  Although it was extremely time consuming, I also found it very relaxing.  I couldn’t wait for the girls to finally get to see and play with their dolls on Christmas Day and they were both delighted.  Belén and I are going to have a sew afternoon and make Sadie some shoes and, of course, there are always ideas for new outfits and accessories for her doll.  The nice thing about Sadie is that since she is an 17″ doll, there are a lot of fun patterns available for clothing and accessories.  In addition, I can possibly foresee  some matching outfits for B’ and her doll, and Eloise as well!

 40th Wedding Anniversary Outfits

Anniversary Outfits for Ray & Eileen's 40th Anniversary
Anniversary Outfits for Ray & Eileen’s 40th Anniversary

 As noted in a previous post, in December we also celebrated the 40th Wedding Anniversary of our friends, Ray and Eileen, who are also the other set of grandparents for Belén and Eloise.  To help commemmorate this special day, I made the girls matching outfits for the Open House that said ” I Love (Heart) Grammy and Papa”.  They were quite the cute little hostesses, at least until bedtime rolled around.

Holiday Pillowcases

Anna, James and Martin Connington with their pillowcases
Anna, James and Martin Connington with their pillowcases

It has become a tradition that each year I make Anna and Martin Connington a pillowcase.  This year their brother, James, was also here to share the holiday with them.  Therefore, it was important to make a pillowcase for James as well.  Since James is attending college in London, I wanted to use a fabric that would remind him of the U.S.A.  I found a sexy cowgirl fabric that soon became the focal point for his pillowcase and he was thrilled.  He said it will be his new main pillowcase at school.  Anna and Martin were pleased with their pillowcases as well as you can see in the picture their mother, Montse, sent me.  What a handsome trio!



Each year I usually make a few ornaments with my embroidery machine.  Sometimes to commemorate a new member to the family, etc.   This year I made a Christmas cookie tree ornament to commemorate our the First Annual Grandma’s Cookie Decorating Tea Party.  Eileen and I had a delightful time with our 2 granddaughters and I was so pleasantly surprised when she too had an ornament made, with our photos, which I absolutely love.

Eloise's Ornament from 2011
Eloise’s Ornament from 2011
IMG_1222 - C
Photo Ornament from Eileen and felt Christmas Cookie Cutter Ornament








That’s a summary of my holiday sewing for 2012.  It was a very busy, but fun month of December.

I’m sure you too were busy with all your holiday preparations.  What were you busy making in your Santa’s workshop this year?  Please send me an email to:  [email protected] and include a photo if you like and I’ll post in a future blog!

Hope you are enjoying 2013.  I have a feeling it is going to be a great year!!!

(Here is a link to a how to video to make an infinity scarf at TheCraftyGemni.  Enjoy!)


Happy Sewing!





Christmas, Finished Product

Passing Along A Tradition

Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year.  My favorite parts of Christmas include:  the many gatherings and celebrations with family and friends; the receipt of our annual Christmas cards, letters and pictures; the preparation and making of special gifts and treats; the decorating of our house, which becomes a bit of a transformation for the holiday season; and, all the prepartion for that very special time of Christmas Eve when we celebrate the birth of Jesus.

I also enjoy the many traditions associated with Christmas.  One such tradition at our house was the advent calendar.   When Alecia and Anna were still toddlers, I made them an advent calendar to help them count down to Christmas Eve.  I stitched 24 miniature ornaments and then made a felt wall hanging with an appliqued tree to provide a place to hang the ornaments.

The Advent CalendarOrnaments on tree

During the month of December, the girls would take turns pinning an ornament to the felt Christmas tree.  It was a fun way to count down the days to Christmas and they grew more and more excited as each ornament was added.

The ornaments had a mix of designs on them, including snowmen, angels, snow flakes, miscellaneous toys, and the baby Jesus in a manger.

Candle centerpiece ornament
Little Snow Man Ornament








When the girls became adults and left home, it wasn’t nearly as much fun to have the advent calendar up.  Last week, Alecia mentioned that she was looking for an alternative to the advent calendars that have candy in them, as she doesn’t like the girls to eat a lot of sweets.  I asked her if she would like to have our advent calendar and she graciously agreed.  Since yesterday was a busy day for everyone, it wasn’t until this morning that we were able to get together.  Andy came by with the girls and Belén was very excited to see the advent calendar.   I pinned the calendar to the back of the couch and explained to B how to use it.  I then showed her where the ornaments were in the pockets of the calendar and she pulled out the first ornament from the #1 pocket and I helped her pin it to the top of the tree.  She was then excited to see what was in the #2 pocket and she retrieved the ornament from it.  Once that was carefully pinned on the tree, she was ready to keep going and hang the remaining ornaments.

Belén pointing to the first 2 ornaments

I explained to her that she would have to wait until tomorrow to hang the next ornament.  She wasn’t too happy about that concept, but I suggested instead that she could look at the other ornaments that were in the remaining pockets and she liked that idea.

She was quite pleased with the various cross stitched ornaments and although she would have liked to hang them on the tree, seemed content with putting them back in the pockets and waiting to hang them on a future day.

Belén looking at the miniature ornaments

I enjoyed giving our granddaugthers the advent calendar that their mother, Alecia, and Auntie Anna used for many years.  Belén was so excited to learn about it and try it out and I know will be eager each day to add an ornament.  Eloise was more interested in playing with Bapa (which he didn’t mind a bit), and will become more interested when she is a little older.  I feel so blessed to have them to pass down this very special tradition.

I hope you too are enjoying this holiday season.




Santa’s Workshop

Santa’s workshop is in full swing on Cotterell Drive.   One of the most rewarding things I find about sewing is being able to personalize and create one of a kind items for friends and family.

Of course, it is especially fun to sew this year for our granddaughter, Belén.  This morning I completed a new doll with a cute little knit dress.  I thought it would be fun for Little B’ to have a matching dress, so made one for her as well.

It wouldn’t be complete without the finishing touches of rickrack around the hemline of both dresses and the addition of cute flower buttons.

Once finished, it was fun to preview Belén’s stocking with her little doll inside.

(FYI… the doll was from a fabric panel made my Michael Miller fabrics.  The little jumper for Belén was made using Simplicity #5317 pattern.)

More fun gift ideas to follow in future blogs.  Happy Holidays!