Life is indeed a stitch!
Berryhill Heirlooms and Susie Gay present techniques, heirloom sewing, hand embroidery and other musings that you will enjoy and appreciate. Come and join in the fun with Susie, a Home Economist, and savor a little rest from your hectic day...and yes, it's a Degree she uses every day!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Matching Nightgowns

Last Spring our grandkids visited, and the girls went through the closet in the guest room (as curious girls will do). That's where I keep our daughter's smocked and French hand sewn garments that I made way-back-when. (I have not been allowed to get them out of the house yet...) The girls discovered two smocked nightgowns I had made for our daughter and they pleaded and begged if they could have them. Of course I said yes! They have absolutely adored wearing them (who knew?).

So for Easter I'm making them each a smocked nightgown and a matching nightgown for their 18" dolls. I had to re-construct the "pattern" for them because I didn't have it any more. It was easy to do. All it had was an armscye to trace onto fabric, measurements for length and width per size, stay and strap measurements, and how many rows to pleat and smock. Then I had to figure out the "pattern" for the doll nightgowns.

I chose easy smocking designs for both front and back of the nightgowns. A 65/35 blend for both batiste and lace makes them very easy care. But I had to "downsize" the smocking designs for the doll nightgown: basically it had to be a suggestion of the girls' nightgown. Here's the result:
 The doll nightgown hem is finished with lace. The girl's nightgown is hemmed with a machine tuck: an easy, fast way to hem the gown. This pair is it's on to the other set in pink!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Stash Sewing

Every now and then I get a chance to sew for myself. I try to pull from my stash of goodies....after all I'm not getting any younger and have lots to choose from. I decided to sew a blouse for myself similar to ones given to me as a gift recently. I purchased some really nice fabric at a great discount while at Sewing at the Beach in January (yup...I know...I added to my stash). But the fabric just said "Spring" and "Blouse" to me. I chose some buttons, thread and iron-on interfacing from the stash. But I also pulled out some fabric scraps for contrasting cuffs, collar, sleeve tabs and front tab. This contrasting fabric was from last year's Easter dress for my oldest granddaughter. It worked perfectly with the pink striped fabric! The pattern was purchased online at a steep discount.

 I made quick alterations to the pattern: lengthened the blouse body by 1 1/2 inches, and dropped the darts down to fit me. The cuffs and sleeve tabs had to be pieced with the two fabrics. Easy enough: sew two strips together, then cut out with the seam on the foldline of the one-piece cuff and tab pattern pieces. The collar and front tabs weren't pieced: just cut from the two fabrics, but I had to keep close tabs (sorry for the pun) on which fabric was stitched where.

Here's the finished blouse! One sleeve is rolled up to show the tab. And you can just see the contrasting floral around the neckline.

All told I think I have less than fifteen dollars tied up in this project, with enough striped fabric leftover to make something else. What have you been sewing up from your stash lately? I'd love to know!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Making Embroidery Easier

I love hand embroidery but sometimes I don't have the right equipment on hand to get the job done quickly and easily. I do love my sit-upon embroidery hoop (the Elbesee Seat Frame). I can have hands free stitching without holding the hoop.

But what is even better is the Elbesee Floor Frame. I just got them in from Britain and I absolutely love mine! It can be adjusted to two different heights. And the 8" hoop on the stalk can be moved up or down to adjust even more. I can sit in any chair and pull the frame up to me and just stitch away at a comfortable height. Much easier on the neck and shoulders! The wood hoop can be tilted back to reach the underside of the embroidery. The floor frame is light (easy to move around) and doesn't take up much room. It's made of beautifully crafted highly polished wood.

Here's a photo with a piece in the hoop that I've been working on, a kit from one of my EGA classes. I can move the stand anywhere to take advantage of the good light. It's a wonderful to sit in front of the fireplace enjoying the fire and stitching. Or I can easily move to another room for strong sunlight. I love it when stitching equipment works for me!