Friday, December 31, 2010


As we say good-bye to one year,

We welcome the new year with thankfulness and joy. What an amazing God we serve!!!

Happy New Year, Everyone!

God Bless,


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Blessings to you all,


Friday, December 17, 2010

Silk 1780s Girls' Portrait Dress for Christmas

I will often times make a new dress for Olivia for Christmas. We planned this one well over a month ago. I thought I had lots of time to get this one done, having planned ahead of time. However, as the days marched on Olivia started thinking she would like to wear her new dress to a Christmas party they were having with AWANA. Then I started to think it would be nice to get it done for her Christmas piano recital. Well, trying to get it done for the recital this past Monday was too much, so it did not get done for that event. That's OK, she was able to wear her Toile 1780s dress and she was happy with that.

I had some issues to work out with the pattern for the dress and that I'm afraid, took more time then I planned. That delayed me more then I care to admit. However, now that those issues are dealt with, I have a pattern I can use, over and over again.

Merissa has been playing with photography for the past few years and this past summer, she took a couple of course down in the states. Since then, her skills have grown by leaps and bounds and she is developing quite the eye for the art. Asking for her assistance, she happily took on the task of taking pictures of Olivia in her new dress and two of the boys in their 'dress up fancy' clothes. :)

Merissa did a lovely job with the pictures and the children loved hamming it up for her. Oh and lest I forget to mention, it was freezing cold. I think it was about -13C when Merissa took the pictures. Lovely, rosy red cheeks. ;)

I decided to make a historically inspired dress. Olivia's dress is made from embroidered silk fabrics I purchased at a cloth house in Calgary. I lined the bodice and sleeves with linen. I really like lining the sleeves with linen, that was a great choice. That is one of the period techniques used and I will be using that again. It made it much easier to add trim to the sleeve and the hem of course was hidden between the layers. The trim on the sleeves and neck are bias strips that were cut using a rotary cutter with a scalloped edge and then frayed. I learned this great technique from an excellent seamstress named, Dawn Luckham (she does incredibly beautiful work). Once again, wanting to close up the back with buttons, I added a bit of width to the back of the dress. For the polonaise, I made self fabric loops and they fasten to self covered buttons that are placed on the outside of the skirt. You can't see them in these pictures as they are under her green silk sash. The polonaise can be let down and worn quite nicely that way, too. It's much easier to travel in the car with the polonaise down, rather than up. :) I thought I had adjusted the front of the bodice to be long enough to cover the gold coloured petticoat, but I did not. With any kind of movement, the space between the petticoat and overdress was noticeable. To fix this, I added two lightweight skirt bars and hooks to keep the bodice attached to the petticoat. That works nicely. ;)

When I got the silk fabrics home from the store, I did the burn test on them and they do not test solely silk. They have a man made fiber to them, unfortunately. While I was initially quite happy with this silk, after working with it, I am less so. I will have to be more careful in the silks I purchase there. I would be happy to pay a bit more for a better quality silk. :) For now, I am glad I didn't have to spend too much on the dress and had fun making Olivia feel like a princess. finish up other sewing........


Saturday, December 11, 2010


Do you see what I see? Nope! I don't do photography like my daughter. She has an eye for it, I don't. That's OK, she's far more gifted in areas which I am not. I'll take my little snap shots and call it 'good enough' and enjoy looking at her beautiful pictures that she creates, through photography. If you care to have a look at what she does, you may see some of her photography work HERE

Happy birthday, talented daughter. I enjoy watching you blossom and seeing how the Lord stitches your life together.

Love you,


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Embroidered Silk, Linen and Silk, Oh My!

Getting ready for the Christmas dress for Little Miss. She is ready so I better get moving. It's fun to have lovely fabrics to play with. I'm thankful for bargain shopping. :)

Now, if only I can make some final decisions, I could actually start the sewing. :)

Good night,


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Salsa Skirt Information

When I said this was an easy skirt, I realized afterward that 'easy' is a relative term. So, please let me just share a bit about the skirt details, so you can determine for yourself if you think this is an 'easy' pattern to sew up for you.

First I must say, this pattern was designed for 'slinky knit fabric. Usually this type of knit is sold in large widths. Slinky knit has a great drape to it and good quality slinky knit is expensive. In my picture here, you can see the slinky knit skirts I have made. In this collage I have made two slinky knit skirts. The black and print fabric skirt, alternating the panels solid/print, is made from two different slinky fabrics. The navy blue green skirt is also a slinky fabric. The other two skirts, one is made form wool and the other is made from linen. Because the fabric is designed for knit, I used a size up for my woven fabric skirts. I have made 6 of these skirts so far, three in slinky knit and three in woven fabrics. With two of the woven fabric skirts, I have put a zipper in one of the seams. With going up a size in the pattern, it's not really necessary. This last one I made out of wool, I did not put a zipper in it. I did add about 2" to the length of the skirt, which is very easy to do, just like taking a couple of inches off is pretty easy to do as well.

There is only one pattern piece. It is a spiral shape. You must cut all of the pieces, facing up. In other words, you do not put 'right sides together' or fold the fabric so you can cut two pieces out at the same time. However, you can stack your pieces, cutting all 6 panels out at once. You cut a section of fabric out that will be large enough to fit the spiral shape onto it. Cut six pieces of the same size out. Stack them altogether, pin on your traced out pattern piece and cut them all out at once. Because of the curve of the spiral piece, you use only a 3/8" seam allowance. You are sewing an inward curve with and outward curve, which can be a bit tricky, if you haven't ever done that before. Once you have done it, it's easy. Because you only have a 3/8" seam allowance, you want to have a way to finish off your seams. I have a serger and serge my seam, after I have sewn the seam together with my conventional machine. If you do not have a serger, you can zig zag your seams allowance together, you can bind them together with some bias tape. If you are using knit, you do not have to do that as the knit will not unravel on you. It's the woven pieces you want to finish off. I do finish off my knit with a serger, but I don't have to.

As is, the pattern has an elastic waist, but if you want to tailor it more, you can eliminate that and put the zipper in the seam. This pattern has flexibility to it. You can play with it and have fun. Use two different fabrics or three different ones. If you want more volume, add another panel or two, but then I would drop down a size or two, depending on how many more panels you wanted to add.

Once you have made this skirt you will want to make more. It has a wonderful 'kick' to it when you walk. :)



Monday, November 29, 2010

Wool Salsa Skirt = Warmth




= this

A warm, wool Salsa skirt. The pattern used was from the MacPhee Workshop store, in Edmonton, Alberta. Linda MacPhee patterns have been around for 25+ years. This is a simple pattern with great results.

I used this wool fabric to whip up this wonderful skirt. Taking this skirt, teaming it up with my winter petticoat makes for a very, very warm garment to wear in freezing cold temperatures.

For those who don't know, my winter petticoat was made a couple of years ago. It is made from two layers of linen and on the inner layer, facing the top layer, the lower 2/3 of the skirt is quilted with silk. The two layers are stitched together at the waistband, leaving the two layers to be free to trap in the air, making it very warm. Quilted petticoats were very common in the 1800's. This is not one of those full petticoats, but a slim style, allowing it to fit under my modern skirts and dresses. It's wonderful to take sewing techniques from the past and applying them to our modern garments. No need to reinvent what was already so wonderfully invented. :)

Bring on the freezing cold temperatures, I am ready. :)


Friday, November 19, 2010

Toile 1780s Girls' Portrait Dress

Merissa says I have a live dolly to dress up and accessorize, I think she's right.

Here is Olivia's second 1780s Girls' Portrait Dress, done up in a lovely, soft cotton toile fabric. I used a light, plain weave, blue silk fabric for the hat and sash. I lined the bodice of the dress in some white linen. I wanted the dress to be able to close in the back and stay closed, so I opted to use buttons. Not wanting to draw attention to the buttons, I covered the buttons in the same fabric as the dress. Olivia has her linen bodiced petticoat that I made for her other dress, on underneath this dress. This bodiced petticoat will get lots of wear out of it.

I will write more about the dress on another post and some of the changes I did. For tonight, I want to leave you with some fun pictures that we took of her today. Most pictures were taken by big sister Merissa, but I did manage one or two in there...but obviously the one's by Merissa are much better. ;)

Sleep well......


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Beautiful Blue In Progress

A little look at what's being worked on! :) Lovely fabrics for a lovely garment for a lovely little girl. :)

Soon....... :)


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Girls' Regency Dress Pattern

Over at the Sense & Sensibility web site, Jennie has a little contest going on. She asked us to share about our favorite pattern from her line. Well, I have one, with a second close behind. My dear Olivia has received many garments I have made for her from using the Girls' Regency Dress Pattern but I have also paired many of those dresses and other garments made from that pattern with the Girls' Pinafore & Pantaloons Pattern. The reasons I have so enjoyed using these patterns are that they are simple to put together, you can make such a wide variety of different garments with the patterns and they are true to size. By having these patterns, true to size, it makes it incredibly easy to make up a dress for a friend's child for a gift, without the child present, and they always come out looking great.

I like to look outside the 'pattern envelope' to design things my daughter needs. Much like a loved recipe is a 'guide line' so are the patterns, when they are in my hands. ;)

I have said many times over, I probably owe Jennie for the patterns as I have used them so many times.

In this collage you can count 20 squares in which you will find 20 different outfits I have made using these two patterns and while you won't find 20 pairs of pantaloons in the pictures, you will find 20 Girls' Regency Dress Pattern. I have used the The Pantaloons Pattern more then 20 times as I would often make several pairs at any one time for pantaloons made out of wool or cotton batiste. Olivia has worn through many pairs of these pantaloons and she has outgrown them as well. I teamed up the Pantaloons pattern with the dress to come up with a couple of swim dresses and a gym dress too. Truly two great patterns.

So, in my home, these two patterns have seen the most use on my sewing table and the garments have made my Miss Olivia one happy, well dressed little girl.

More of these dresses are planned in the near future. It's my go to pattern for special dresses and in a blog post found HERE I learned about a special project that is going on called, "Destiny Dresses". The creator of this project makes special dresses for girls overseas who would otherwise not get special dresses. The story that lead the creator to set this up is incredibly sad. I have dresses dancing in my head for those I want to make for this project. :)

This next picture I took many years ago. They were several of the garments I made from those two patterns. I have since given away all of those clothes.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

WIFD Day 7 Nov. '10

The week is coming to a close. Unfortunately, today Olivia is ill. The trooper that she is, she still wanted to participate with me so I have a couple of pictures of her in her....feminine unwell attire. ;)

Today I am wearing another linen skirt made from the Burda 8213 pattern and a linen slip made from the same pattern. I am also wearing a cotton blouse, cotton sweater, tights and belt, all from Lands' End. I was on my way to the local town centre to observe their craft fair. I have always wanted to go, but I always forget when the day arrives. This time, it was going to be a 'date' with Olivia, but since she is sick, I went at it alone and made a very quick trip of it. I was surprised by how many people are selling goods as well as those purchasing goods. The parking lot was full. I think they need someone to sell children's garments there! :)

Olivia is my happiest sick child ever. She is always happy, even when she is ill. What a blessing to have a sweet smile in the midst of not feeling well. She truly shines brightly.

Olivia is wearing her Regency Knit Nightgown that I made for her a few weeks back. She also has her warm housecoat that her grandma gave to her along with her red birthday slippers form a year or two ago.

I am working on a new dress for Olivia, hopefully it will be done in the next couple of days.

Blessings to you,


Friday, November 12, 2010

WIFD Day 6 Nov. '10

In honour of Red Fridays Olivia and I are wearing red today.

I am wearing a skirt I made about 3 years ago. It was from a vintage wrap skirt pattern in which I added a flounce to it. It is made out of a linen/cotton blend fabric. I have on a cotton tank, cotton sweater, microfiber tights and belt, all from Lands' End. The linen slip I have on is made from a Burda skirt pattern I made earlier in the spring. I have on the same older 'granny' boots I have worn this week.

Olivia has on her dress I made for her, using a 1930's pattern. All the information about the dress and pattern can be found at this link. Her red fabric is the same linen/cotton fabric my skirt is made out of. Olivia enjoys wearing her wool beret. Here she is wearing it while getting ready to eat her lunch and while she plays the piano. :)

Blessings upon your day,


Thursday, November 11, 2010

WIFD Day 5 Nov. '10

While today is WIFD Day 5, it is also a more important day, Remembrance Day.

Top on our list of things to do today, was to attend the local Remembrance Day ceremony.

Here's a picture of Olivia and I after we left the ceremony and were about to get into the vehicle. The second picture is upon our return home.

Here is a picture of Olivia being held by her father so she can try to see the ceremony going on. The place was full. Standing room only by the time we arrived. It was great to see the place so full.

I am wearing a skirt I made from Burda 8213. This was the first one I made so it was my muslin, but seeing how well it fit and liked the colours, I kept it as a part of my wardrobe. It is made from a polyester, linen-like fabric, not actual linen. That's OK, I wear my linen slip made from the same pattern, underneath, and that helps a great deal. :) I am wearing my same boots from yesterday....old....and a cotton tank with another rayon jersey sweater over top.

Miss Olivia is wearing her 8th Birthday Dress that I made this last January for her. She has on a lovely cotton cardigan to go with it and her trusty hand me down Joche boots.

Here are a couple pictures from the ceremony today. We were surprised at how full the turnout was for this event. I think there were far more people then they intended to show up. The people standing were more in number then those sitting, which was a great thing to see.

To those who serve or have served I want to personally say, THANK YOU!


Sorry for the blurry pictures.....

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

WIFD Day 4 Nov. '10

Another brisk Fall morning here.

Today I am wearing my Salsa skirt made out of slinky fabric, along with a cotton turtleneck from Lands' End and a cotton knit sweater from a store last spring, I can't recall the name of it. I just saw the wonderful price and snapped it up, along with a few others in various colours. When I can't purchase the fabric for the price of the ready made garment, and the ready made garment is at an excellent price, it's not difficult to decide what I am going to do. :) I also have on a very old pair of leather boots, old April Cornell scarf, Lands' End tights and one of my ever faithful linen slips. The linen slip really warms things up for me and it makes it so nothing sticks to the tights. :)

Olivia is wearing her Edwardian Easter outfit along with her hand me down Joche leather boots.

Today we had an errand to run in the big city. I have a wonderful East Indian store I like to go to and purchase silk fabric. They have a 'plain weave' silk that feels like a light weight silk taffeta. It's perfect for what I want to do. This time, they also had some embroidered silk of the same weight. The prices were very, very good. I am really looking forward to playing with the new silk. First though, I must get it all washed before that, and since I hang dry silk, it will take a few days to get is all washed up.

Aren't they just beautiful? :)


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

WIFD Day 3 Nov. '10

Today is a brisk morning, but we are hoping for a high of about 5 C.

I am wearing a linen skirt and slip made form the same Burda 8213 pattern, along with Lands' End blouse, tights and linen scarf. The jacket comes form Sears form about 3 years ago.

Olivia dressed herself this morning, putting on a skirt that her cousin made, using fabric she was gifted from our family from a few years back. Olivia is also wearing a top from Please Mum, from a year ago. Olivia liked the idea of wearing her lovely wool cloche that we purchased on sale when we were in the states, back in Feb. for Sewing Expo. She really enjoys that hat. :)

In the second picture, Olivia is back at her 'school work' playing the piano and singing. I love listening to her play and she obviously enjoys her 'work'.

I hope you all are having a wonderful day.