Children, Family, Finished Product, Gift Idea, Kitchen Accessories, Special gifts

Timeless Pattern for Special Someones…


Occasionally, you discover a pattern that is simply timeless.  Even though fashions continually evolve and change, the strong appeal of these designs remains and stands the test of time.  Such is the case for one of my favorite apron patterns from the Retro Aprons pattern booklet  from Cindy Taylor Oates of Taylor Made Designs.

In 2006, a pattern booklet for Retro Aprons was published and quickly became a very popular pattern.  I especially appreciated the way Cindy used the rick rack trim to finish the edges of Apron A, my favorite version of her retro aprons pattern booklet.  Here’s a brief overview of how to create a finished edge with rickrack.

1) Place rickrack next to the finished edge on the right side of the fabric and attach the rickrack by stitching down the center of the trim.
2) Fold under rickrack and edge of fabric and press.
3) Using thread to match fabric, topstitch through all layers, 1/16″ from folded fabric edge.













1) You begin by placing rickrack next to the finished edge on the right side of the fabric and stitch through the center of rickrack with thread that matches the rickrack trim.

2) Fold under the rickrack and edge of fabric and press.

3) Using thread to match apron fabric, topstitch through all layers 1/16″ from folded fabric edge.

4) This creates a hem, where 1/2 of the rickrack will be showing.

This is such a great way to not only add a bit of color and trim to your apron, but it also finishes the edge of your apron.  This method can be used in a variety of ways to finish other sewing projects as well.

As you know, I love rickrack and I’ve made dozens of aprons from this pattern.  They make great gifts for your favorite hostess, a wonderful wedding gift and you can also make mother/daughter matching aprons too!

In 2007, Cindy released the “Little Retro Aprons for Kids” Pattern booklet.  This pattern resized the styles from her first apron book to provide the same styles for children.  It also included an adorable apron pattern for 18″ dolls.


Little Retro Aprons for Kids, 2007

Recently, I asked my granddaughters what they wanted for their birthdays this year.

Alecia putting her Retro Apron to good use

Since they have outgrown their “Disney Frozen” aprons, they both asked if I would make them a new apron and they wanted it to look like “Mommy’s apron”, which I had made several years ago for my oldest daughter.

It just so happened, I made Alecia’s apron from the original Retro Aprons pattern and I was delighted to be able to make similar aprons for my granddaughters.  I also decided to surprise them and make matching aprons for their American Girls dolls.

They each chose the fabric for their apron and it was so fun to see how the fabric they chose really fit their personalities.  I had a stack of fabric for them to choose from and Belen chose the red print fabric I would have chosen for her.  Eloise found a cute, more modern fabric, for her apron and I got to choose the color of the rickrack trim for each of their aprons.

Me and the girls with their Retro aprons on.

On the morning of their birthday celebration (Belen and Eloise had a joint celebration with the family), the girls were delighted with their aprons. Belen chose not to have a pocket on her apron, but Eloise wanted a pocket.  They were THRILLED with the matching aprons I made for their dolls and Eloise was delighted to pose with her doll in its matching apron.  What a fun birthday gift for the girls and their dolls!

Eloise with her matching playmate


Eloise’s apron (with a pocket) next to the doll aprons














What spring projects have you been working on lately?  It is such a great time of year to be sewing!

Happy stitching!




Family, Finished Product, Holidays

Happy Halloween 2017


The bewitching night is right around the corner so my day was spent finishing up the girls’ costumes for this year.  Here’s a sneak preview…

Final Try-On Before the Big Night!

Eloise wanted to be a fairy again this year.  (I made the girls fairy costumes a few years ago.)  I was going to make her a costume, but when we were out shopping for something else, we came upon a darling little costume that was in the exact color she wanted, so we purchased it.  I told her that we would do something special to make it look magical – so we added lights to the skirt of the costume.

Belen had seen a photo of her Mom (Alecia) and her Auntie Anna when they were little girls with some costumes I made for them.  She asked if she could please be a “Sack of Potatoes” like her Mom was in that picture.

I agreed that she could be a “Sack of Potatoes” but didn’t realize how hard it would be to find a potato gunny sack.  Apparently, they do not use burlap bags any more to store potatoes.  However, a friend of mine had one that she so generously offered for me to use.

After hand washing the bag, I put it on a drying rack to dry.  Next, I removed the stitching out of the bottom bag (the potato sack was printed so that the design was upside down) and pressed out any creases.

I trimmed off 2 1/2″ from the length of the bag and stitched in around 6 1/2″ from each end of the new “top” of the bag, leaving an open area for Belen’s head.  I waited for Belen to try the bag on to insure her head would fit and then stitched under a rolled hem around her neck opening.  (Note:  Because burlap has such a loose weave, I stay stitched the area I was about to cut first and then cut the burlap.  This really helped to hold it in place and keep it from unravelling.)

Belen was so tickled with her finished Potato Sack costume – she just beamed!

After a second Belen try-on to properly place her arm holes, I removed stitching from one side seam to create her first arm hole.  Next, I cut a hole on the opposite side for her second arm – this one was faced with a piece of linen remnant.

Her circle of potatoes that ringed her neck were created by stuffing the leg of a pair of panty hose and then stitching here and there to create the dimpling.

I used the same technique for her matching potato barrettes.  It was fun to see her reaction when she did the final try-on.


Eloise was thrilled with her illuminated fairy costume

For Eloise’s costume, I made a small quilted bag to hold the battery pack for the lights.  I put a sleeve on it and slid it onto a small belt.  This held the battery pack for her skirt in place.

Next, I sewed a buttonhole through a couple layers of the netting of the skirt to provide an opening for the string of lights.  I gently pulled the lights through the buttonhole and pinned them in place, while Eloise was trying on her outfit.

Finally, I carefully safety pinned the string of lights in place – and once they were turned on, they were quite the spectacle.  The lights were already woven into a shear mesh, which made them a lot easier to attach.

Eloise was equally excited when put on her finished costume, as you can see.

The girls are all ready for Halloween and were very excited to show their Mom and Dad their finished costumes.

Have you been doing some Halloween sewing as well?  If so, I would love to hear about it.  Wishing you an early “Happy Halloween”!

Happy Stitching!


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,



Fantasy Fairy Princesses for Halloween 2013


Belén and Eloise in their fairy costumes
Belén and Eloise in their fairy costumes

Fall is my favorite time of year.  I love how the weather cools and Mother Nature puts on her finest show.  In addition to witnessing the amazing natural display of color, I also get excited about preparing for Halloween.  And this year was no exception.

I really enjoy making our granddaughter’s Halloween costumes.  This year, after reviewing all their options, they decided they wanted to be Fairy Princesses.  I found a McCall’s pattern (M6813) with a few versions of fairy costumes.   My daughter, Alecia, and I made a few design changes and decided to add sleeves to the two styles we liked, to provide a little more warmth on Halloween night.  Then I was off to the fabric store.

The costumes were unique in that they are made from a series of petals for the skirts which are sewn together and then attached to lined bodices for each fairy costume.

Trimming one of the petals before turning to press

Pressing the Petals
Pressing the Petals





Each petal consisted of two pieces of satin that once sewn together is clipped so that it will turn nicely before pressing.  I was impressed by the number of pieces that each costume required and decided to figure out how many pieces are used for each.  Belén’s costume had 48 pieces for her fairy costume and Eloise’s had 40.  In addition, I also made tulle petticoats that each contained 44 pieces of tulle attached to an elastic waistband.

Finished lined bodices
Finished lined bodices
Sewing the petals together to make a skirt
Sewing the petals together to make a skirt

Once I had sewn the petals (38 for Belen’s and 28 for Eloise’s), I overlapped them slightly to form the underskirts and basted together.  Next, I sewed together the lined bodices for each costume and after gathering the underskirts, attached to the bodices.  Then I repeated these steps for the upper row of petals for the upper skirts.  I had never done anything like this before, so it was fun to see how it all came together.

Flowers for B's dress
Flowers for B’s Dress
Flowers on Eloise's Dress
Flowers on Eloise’s Dress






Once the costumes were sewn together, I was off to the craft store to purchase some flowers to adorn each costume.  I used artificial flowers that I took apart to remove any of the plastic stems and then hand sewed to each costume.  I also adorned the end of each upper petal with a small flower, sewn on with a seed bead.

Tiny flowers on Eloise's upper skirt
Tiny flowers on Eloise’s upper skirt

Detail on B's skirt

Last but not least, after the final try-on, I finished sewing on the buttonholes and buttons for each costume.

Trying on the fairy costumes and petticoats
Trying on the fairy costumes and petticoats

The finishing touch was the tulle petticoat that was made from 48 hourglass shaped pieces of tulle that were individually wrapped around an elastic waistband to create a coordinating petticoat for each fairy princess.

These costumes were more time-consuming than I had originally anticipated, but it was amazing to see the girls literally transform to real fairy princesses when they put them on as you can see in the following pictures.  Belén is our little dancer to begin with and when she donned her costume, it was magical…

Belén showing Eloise how to dance like a fairy
Belén showing Eloise how to dance like a fairy
The fairies dancing
The fairies dancing
Smiling Fairies
Smiling Fairies



Eloise getting the hang of it...
Eloise getting the hang of it…







Checking out Mommy's photos
Checking out Mommy’s photos







About to take flight...
About to take flight…







Fairy with her cat, Ozzie
Fairy with her cat, Ozzie
Eloise trying on her fairy dress
Eloise trying on her fairy dress










Since there are a lot of action in these shots, below I have posted a final picture of the completed dresses.

I hope you have a wonderful Halloween!


Belen's finished costume
Belen’s finished costume
Eloise's Princess Fairy Costume
Eloise’s Princess Fairy Costume





Nana’s Helper

I remember when I was a young child, my Grandma Sveen traced an outline of some of her silverware on a dish towel and then patiently sat with me and taught me how to embroider.  Little did she know what she had started… or then again, maybe she was well aware.  Sewing was a very important part of her life.  She did not use her abilities as a seamstress for a hobby or recreation, but instead as a highly valued skill that was necessary in order to cloth not only herself, but also her family.  The leftovers from her garment sewing were carefully stored away to be utilized later on in a quilt, pillow, etc.  She also collected the fabric from the sacks that flour was stored in as this was another important source for fabric.

Today, as I was babysitting our grandchild, Belén, she began to play with some spools of thread that I have on a rack near my sewing machine.  She has shown an interest in thread before and will very carefully follow a long strand with her little fingers, and seems captivated by it.  Today, she took it one step further and proceed to first remove the thread from the spool pegs.  Once she had taken a spool off, she would then try to put it back on.  She is only 14 months old, and struggled getting the spool back on the narrow holder, so I got a little pail for her to put them in instead and she was delighted.

I couldn’t help but smile as I watched her gleefully remove each and every spool and often times she would proudly pass one to me.  When I gave it back to her, she would put it in her pail.  Sharing this experience, took me back to the time I spent with my Grandma when she also had the patience to allow me to explore with color and thread as I eagerly attempted to retrace her outline on the dish towels she prepared for me.  I hope that I can instill in Little Belén some of the passion I have for sewing and that she too will benefit from the satisfaction it provides in allowing a creative outlet for me to express myself and to share something special I have made for others.