About Me

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I'm Christina, Gran to three beautiful wee toddlers. I'm also a wife, a mom, a sister, a friend. My family means more to me than I can ever say. And... I sew!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

My favourite dress... EVER

Obviously, some habits die hard. Like the one where I neglect to post.

This will be a quick post -- a post made possible because my daughter Kate's wedding photos arrived! And I can finally share professional-quality photos of my favourite project EVER: ring maiden Lilyrae's dress for Kate's wedding.

The dress is Elodie from Perfect Party Dresses, by Susan O'Connor.

Special shout-out to Phillipa Maitland, who captured this beautiful wedding exquisitely!

Getting ready...

Here is a close-up of the beadwork in the bodice:

Lilyrae LOVED her dress! And why wouldn't she? It was perfect for swinging with Tim...

and even more perfect for dancing!
I was so very pleased to be able to contribute a little something special to this perfect day.
Here are some pictures of the happy couple. To Kate and Chris, love and happiness always!
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Happy Ever After!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

I'm Ba-ack!

If I'm not mistaken, the last time I posted on this blog was a little over six years ago. Six. Years. Ummm... I've been busy?

It's not like I haven't been smocking -- if anything, I've smocked and sewn more than ever in these past few years. My only excuse for not posting is that the last six years were terribly difficult years for me. 'Nuff said. Things have turned around now, and I finally feel like I'm in a good place to be sharing myself once again. I'm So let's all see if I do better *this* time around, shall we?

In the past six months alone, I've smocked and constructed 7 dresses for wedding flower girls, etc., and one baptism romper for... drumroll here... my GRANDSON! Yup. I'm a Gran. My lifelong dream has come true, thanks to my son and the adorable love of his life. No one ever prepares you for how awesome it is, but trust me -- it is so, so much more than wonderful.

There are so many things I want to make for him! I've made the one and only smocked garment that his father will allow him to wear, so I've invested in an embroidery machine and plan to sew and embroider all kinds of things for him to wear in the weeks, months, and years ahead. All the while, I will continue to smock, teach smocking, and will now even sew garments for myself. Cause it's all just SO much fun!

Here are a few of the garments I've made recently:

Matching dresses for two little wedding beauties!

Grandson Cael's baptism romper

Ring maiden Lilyrae at my daughter Kate's
October 2015 wedding
(professional photos to come!) 

A custom order from England, the Liberty print
was actually sent to me to smock!

A random dress (that looked so much better on
its wee little girl than on the hanger!)

Big sister dress for a summer wedding, 2015
(professional photos to come)

Little sister dress at the same summer wedding,
2015 (professional photos to come)

Dresses for identical twin girls at the same
summer wedding, 2015 (professional photos to come)

Nautical-themed custom order

The thing that jumps out at me is that I need photographs of these garments as they're being WORN! I'll see what I can do about that going forward...

For now, it just feels good to be back.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Where did the last 6 weeks go?

I can't believe that it's been six weeks since I last posted an update. My apologies! A lot has gone on in that time:
  • We drove our daughter back to her university on the east coast, and took a few days on the return for a little R&R;
  • I completed two custom orders (one 'Amy' and one 'Mary De', both by Children's Corner).
  • I finished the smocking on a new bishop dress (size 3 months).
  • I completed most of the smocking on the bodice of a dress I'm designing myself.
  • I started a 10-week fashion sewing course (to upgrade my self-taught sewing skills).
We've also had fantastic fall weather here in Eastern Canada, so that means we've been trying to get outside and enjoy the warm(er) temperatures before our winter arrives. Winter here normally begins in late November and lasts until late March -- and brings with it lots and lots of snow and freezing cold temperatures. (We have pictures from two years ago in which our snowbanks were as high as the top of our garage!) Although the winter is long, it means that I get to do a lot more sewing! Most of the smocked dresses that I've made to date are summer outfits...so I am looking to branch out and begin producing fall and winter dresses made from warmer fabrics, and with long sleeves.

Here are some pictures from my most recent work:

I think that will be it for the summer dresses...

Bye for now,

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Busy Month... Whew!

It has been a busy, busy month! I had two bishops dresses to deliver, size 18 mos., and each customer wanted blue dresses... so I used the same fabric (Fabric Traditions) and smocked one in blue and yellow and the other in two-tone pinks. The smocking plate is a modified version of Carol, by Little Stitches. I cannot decide which dress I like better! (Which one do YOU like best?)

I'm also working on two sundresses to be finished this week. I'll post pictures as soon as they're done. These garments are both size 1, one pink with lavender smocking and bullion flowers; and the other one lavender with pink smocking and bullion flowers. Only one is for a customer, so she'll have her choice of the two -- and the other one will be available for sale. The smocking is all done, I only have to construct them. Maybe I'll start that tomorrow night? :-)

Remember how I said in an earlier post that I had been asked to supply the gift shop at our local hospital with some of my garments? Well....... on Tuesday, July 8th I took over a dozen garments -- different styles and sizes -- and they chose to start off with four: three smocked jumpers with white blouses (matching piping on the collars and sleeves), and one short-sleeved smocked dress. We agreed on a price, and I suggested that I would get in touch in a month or so to see whether they had sold. Believe it or not... and I AM NOT KIDDING... they called on Friday, July11th to tell me that three out of the four had sold! And to ask if I could deliver more. Three garments in three days! Woot!!

So needless to say, I am busy, busy, busy. But in a good way!
I have found time, though, to take our two yellow labs, Tanner and Maddie, out to swim some laps at a nearby quarry a few times in the past two weeks. They LOVE the water, and would retrieve their toys (large dowels inserted in 12" sections of pool noodles) all night if we let them.

And in between the smocking and playing with the dogs, I work full time. Craaaaaaazy! But FUN! :-)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Another Dress Complete!

I'm happy to report that I've finished another order!

This pattern -- Amy by Children's Corner -- is a really popular style. Probably because it can be worn as both a blouse & jumper and a summer sundress.

The fabric is by Fabric Traditions, a lovely raspberry on pink floral print. I was really happy with the color of floss I had chosen, but before I started the embroidery I felt it needed another color to make it 'pop'...so I added the blue embroidered flowers. I love the result! :-)

Yesterday, I pleated the fabric for two identical bishops dresses, size 18 months. One is a custom order, the other is for my stock. I started the smocking tonight.

I also have two blouses/jumpers to assemble -- both Mary De by Children's Corner -- one a lavender floral print, size 1 (custom order) and the other a pink floral print, for my stock.

I was recently asked to stock the gift shop at our local hospital...what an honor! I'll let you know more when I have the details.

Well, tomorrow's a work day, so I'd better get the dogs settled and then get to bed. G'night!

Friday, June 26, 2009

More Designs!

In my last post, I showed some of the designs I've produced from Country Bumpkin's Australian Smocking and Embroidery patterns. Those designs will (hopefully!) one day be worn by my future grandchildren. :-)

I'd also like to show you some designs that I've produced that *are* for sale. I smock all the time, so I usually have many projects on the go. If you see something you like but the size is wrong, just let me know -- I might already be working on the size you're looking for.

I LOVE to shop for new fabrics -- I have a great stash! There is such a great selection available in the stores now, in such beautiful colors. My stash is mostly made up of small-print quilt fabrics in gorgeous colors, although I also have a good selection of solid broadcloth. I usually start a new project by deciding upon the size I want to make; then I choose an appropriate fabric and corresponding embroidery floss (I only use DMC); then I decide upon the style of outfit. After the size, fabric, and style of outfit have been determined, I cut out the pattern pieces and pleat the fabric. Most often, I begin smocking without a definitive smocking pattern in mind. I usually smock the anchor rows (the top and bottom rows), and then see where the fabric design takes me. This way, I very rarely reproduce the same pattern more than once.

Meara is wearing a little blue sundress (size 3); the dress pattern is "Amy", from Children's Corner. (Isn't she adorable?!) This pattern is easy to construct, and looks adorable on every little girl. I love the fullness of the skirt -- perfect for little girls who love to 'twirl'! The pattern includes a long- or short-sleeved blouse that can be worn under the dress. I always make the blouse with coordinated piping on the sleeves and collar.

The close-up of the smocking shows the pattern. I used three coordinating colors of embroidery floss, and played with the pattern until I was happy with how I used the colors.

I liked the fabric so much, I bought the companion in a lovely shade of green!

Here is Meara again, this time wearing the Children's Corner dress in green with the coordinating short-sleeved blouse (also size 3). You can see how I added the coordinating piping on the sleeves and collar. The construction of the blouse is a bit time-consuming, but worth the effort. I've never yet made this pattern with the long-sleeved blouse.

I had fun working out this smocking pattern, adding little diamonds to fill in the "V"s in the pattern. This pattern is smocked with only two colors of floss.

Alexia is wearing a traditional yoke-style Grace Knott dress (size 3). The fabric is a lovely floral pattern with fall colors. I loved the fabric but struggled a bit during the smocking, because the fabric isn't really very 'girly'. No matter... I love the result!

I used three colors of floss in the smocking to highlight the colors in the fabric. To provide a bit of contrast, I piped the sleeves and collar with white cotton.

These dresses, and others, are shown on my Wee Wear Smocking Web site: http://www.weewearsmocking.com/.

Gotta run -- I need to get back to work! :-)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Country Bumpkin and Some Adorable Models...

For the past couple of years, I've really enjoyed creating the garments shown in the Country Bumpkin Australian Smocking & Embroidery magazines. The patterns are easy to follow and always turn out perfectly. Because I love to smock and enjoy the challenge of a new pattern, I'd been making different garments with no particular child in mind. Fast forward several months, and I've collected a dozen or so lovely outfits!

Because the Country Bumpkin copyright states specifically that their designs are for personal use only, these garments are not for sale. Because I wanted to see how they looked with a child attached, I asked a few of my friends to loan me their little ones for a day, and I had some photos taken. I am SO pleased with the results!

Sophie is wearing "Gingham Rose", from Australian
Smocking & Embroidery issue #69. This design features a romper with buttons at the back and snap closures at the crotch. The pattern called for pink and white gingham fabric, but I used a sweet pattern with little tulips on a lavender background. Instead of bullion roses, I embroidered bullion tulips to match the fabric.

The buttons at the back are little flowers, in keeping with the flowery theme. I love it!

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Aidan is wearing "Fairy Floss" from Australian Smocking & Embroidery issue #83. In the magazine, the design is made using pink velour and embroidered with pink bullion roses. I wanted to make this design for a girl AND for a boy. (As I hope to have grandchildren one day, I have to be prepared!) For the boy's garment, I used light blue velour and embroidered little green frogs. What little boy doesn't like frogs??

Smocking and embroidering on velour was a little challenging, but once I got the hang of it, it all worked out. I was able to construct most of the garment using my serger (I have the Husqvarna Huskylock 936).

Here is the wee girl's version, made exactly as the pattern instructed.

Unfortunately, I had no baby girl to model for me, so you'll have to do like me and just imagine what it would look like attached to a child. (Or you can always look it up in the magazine! ;-)

Now that I've made "Fairy Floss" in both blue and pink, I am ready for my future grandchild, whether he be a "he" or she be a "she"!

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Naomi and Alexia are wearing "Sherbet Fizz", an individual pattern taken from a rare and out-of-print issue of Australian Smocking & Embroidery.
As per the instructions, the dress is fully smocked in muted colors and then embroidered with flowers using bright colors. Flowers are also embroidered along the hem and on covered buttons.
This dress takes a while to smock and embroider, but the garment construction takes no time at all. I liked it so well, I got creative and made the pattern twice more with a few modifications!
The pattern also calls for some lovely beading -- the larger flowers have bead centers. The beading adds the perfect touch!
The dress that Alexia is wearing is made using a soft yellow broadcloth. I used two tones of yellow for the smocking, and then embroidered a simple row of flowers in a beautiful cornflower blue.

Naomi is kindly modeling a royal blue version of "Sherbet Fizz". I'm not sure which one I like the best!
With all these dresses, I sure hope I have granddaughters... (no hint to my kids, by the way!).
I truly enjoyed making all of these garments. The fail-safe instructions allowed me to smock and sew with confidence.
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And now, back to my commercial smocking and sewing! I have three orders I'm currently working to fill: a size 2 sundress in a raspberry cotton calico print, smocked in light and dark pinks, and coordinating blouse (all done but the construction); a size 18-months bishop dress in a light blue calico print; and a size 1, fabric and pattern not yet chosen.
I'm also embarking on a new adventure, developing my own garment patterns. I'm taking a course this fall in pattern making -- it's bound to be exciting!