2 new baby jackets


Within my sphere of friends, two new baby boys have recently been born. So, I made them each a little jacket, which is my go-to baby gift. I love going through my stash and picking out fabric to use for the outside, lining and bias edging. I’ve used the same Simplicity pattern 9647 for about 30 years, adapting it with cotton quilt batting padding, so it’s warm. Their names are chained stitched on the front. Welcome to the world, Eli and Kieran!



Eli’s jacket


Eli was born a few weeks ago to a librarian friend. It  was a good reason to get out the sewing machine and find some suitable fabric in my stash for a baby jacket. What satisfaction to complete a project in an afternoon! I’ve been making this style jacket for about 30 years and have recently taken to embroidering their name on the front. Welcome to the world, Eli!

Last year my friend Terry and I made a quilt for baby Teo, which you can see here.


Close-ups (Cats #2)

Cat pin circa 1980

Cat pin circa 1980

It’s about time I showed more cat pictures because there are so many to choose from. Cats were the subject of the first post in the Close-ups series, back in 2009. This brown cat pin is over 30 years old. Read about my pins here. The baby leopards are from “Rana is Born”. The piece was the inspiration for Judy Richardson’s story, Come to my Party, which I illustrated in 1993.


detail from “Rana is Born” fabric relief 1992

This costumed cat is a detail from “On Halloween”, which is in my 1997 book You and Me: Poems of Friendship. The whole illustration is printed as a poster, which is available in my Etsy Shop.


detail from “On Halloween” 1997

This seated cat is from my 1999 book The Hollyhock Wall. 


detail from “The Hollyhock Wall” 1999

This kitty is part of the faux tile frieze in my kitchen. Read about that here.


Faux Tile 2001

And this cat topiary is from the verse “Molly My Sister and I” in my book Pocketful of Posies. Autographed copies, plus a poster are available in my Etsy Shop.

detail from "Pocketful of Posies" 2010

detail from “Pocketful of Posies” 2010

Chin up bibs

30 years ago, a few years before I had babies of my own, I designed, sewed and sold CHIN UP BIBS. I found a box filled with left over seersucker bias strips, a stack of tags and one tuxedo bib–all that remains of my enterprise.

For a few years, I sewed hundreds of bibs of different styles, including tuxedos, shirt and tie, dress with pearls, clown, overalls, etc. They were backed with terry cloth and had liners cut out of shower curtains. A unifying feature was the bias edging, which I’ve since used for pot holders (see tutorial here).

In 1982, I asked the mothers of two Woods Hole babies to model the bibs for an advertisement. My art school friend, Carmine Fantasia took these wonderful B&W photographs of  Ben and Hannah wearing the bibs.

I later stopped adding bead necklaces to the girl’s style bib, because of the potential choking hazard. 

Ben and Hannah, who both turn 30 this year and are still friends, are delightful adults. Here’s a recent picture of Hannah at her sister’s wedding.

This is as close as Ben got to wearing a tie back in ’82.

And here he is, when he got all dressed up last month, in suit and tie, for the Woods Hole “mock” formal at the Capt. Kidd Restaurant.

The bibs were later in Better Homes and Gardens.

I also found some pattern pieces for the bibs in my file cabinet.

Thank you Ben and Hannah, for letting us dress you up and take your picture one morning in 1982!

Baby Jacket for Moss

When little Moss was born last fall, I knew I had to make something green for him to wear. His jacket is made from the same Simplicity pattern (6256) as Evan’s, which you can see here.  I am not waiting for  grandchildren of my own to make clothes for. Whether or not I will ever become a grandmother is uncertain and out of my control, so I take the opportunity to sew for those children who are here now. I made some children’s clothes earlier in the summer, before I realized that I was way behind in getting ready for my show in September. Sewing from a pattern is relaxing, like following a favorite cookie recipe. For Moss’s jacket, I used mottled green fabric with orange dots and lined it with cotton batting.

Then I chain stitched a name tag with Moss.

And shaped it into a leaf, which I appliqued to the jacket front.

Then a stem and pointed leaf edging were added with variegated embroidery floss.

The jacket was lined with a solid moss-green fabric and I made bias tape to sew around the raw edges.

Buttons and button holes came next.

This little guy is ready for cool days this fall.

Evan’s baby jacket

I took some time this summer to make some children’s clothes for my friends who are having babies. This little chinese style padded jacket is for Evan, who is 8 months old. I found some batik fabric that looked like a grassy meadow, cut out the pattern and lined the pieces with cotton batting. Then I embroidered his name on a scrap of contrasting batik fabric.

Then, I cut the scrap into a leaf shape, turned it under, and appliqued it to the jacket front piece. I added a stem and vein to the leaf and stitched a pointed tooth edging around the leaf.

I then sewed the pattern pieces together and made a lining out of a different cotton fabric.

I finished the outside edges with some bias tape I made from contrasting batik fabric.

I added buttons and button holes.

And sewed in a cloth label that I had left over from the days when I made felt purse kits.

It should fit the handsome little guy through the fall and winter. See another baby jacket here.

Green bird dress

Recently, I took a break from sewing felt borders and made some children’s clothes for friends. This green bird dress is made with the same Burda pattern as Alex’s dress. The fabric is Gypsy Song by Susan Winget for Benartex. This time, I remembered to add on seams when cutting out the pattern. Last time I used this European pattern, I neglected to read about this difference and ended up with a much smaller dress than intended.

I used a green checked fabric for the collar and pockets. It was fun to play with my sewing machine, which hardly ever comes out of storage. I used a decorative leaf stitch around the collar.

It didn’t show up well enough, so I ripped it out and replaced it with a yellow scalloped stitch.

I found some bird buttons in my button box.

This dress might be too big now, but it should fit my little friend for a while. I hope she calls it her green bird dress.

Alex’s dress

I love to sew children’s clothes and especially enjoy making dresses for little girls. This special girl, Alex, started wearing her blue dress last summer and it still fit her this past Easter in Woods Hole. I like her matching ensemble of jeans and rubber boots. Her parents and grandparents have been family friends for many years and they sent these photos of their little girl to share. I’ve included pictures of the fabric and pattern.