Sunday, June 26, 2011

Dhoti Pants, Shweshwe, and French Stripes

In my last post, I showed you the dress I finished out of my new stash of South African shweshwe fabric. I wanted to make an outfit, so I finished a pair of dhoti-style pants in a matching knit, completing my vision for a WorldWear design to add to my Magic Baby Designs repertoire. Here are some pictures, including another pair of dhoti pants I made from my own granddaughter.

Here is the dress with matching knit pants. The dhoti pants are adorable, but look so much cuter on a body!

Here is a pair of dhoti pants for my granddaughter. I love how they fit! You can't see here,
but I appliqued some flowers to the side cuffs.
Earlier in the week, I discovered a real fabric find online. I am always on the lookout for blue and yellow striped fabric for my Little Frenchy designs. I use other colors for the reversible dresses, overalls and jackets, but I truly love the traditional colors of French Provence. When I saw one of my favorite sellers on etsy who had yards and yards of these fabrics, I snatched them up. You can be sure you will see these fabrics cropping up in my Magic Baby Designs very soon.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Playing with New Fabrics for Magic Baby WorldWear Designs

A new baby quilt made from shweshwe
When I went to the Quilt National opening a few weeks ago in Athens, Ohio, my friend and hostess Gill introduced me to a new fabric: shweshwe. In all my years of sewing, I had never even of heard of it before. Gill is South African, and shweshwe is a specialty fabric from South Africa. She was replicating a quilt she had made for her son many moons ago, recreating it for her new granddaughter. I helped her baste and tie the quilt, so she could finish the binding and send it along. What a great fabric for a baby quilt.

And what a great fabric for Magic Baby Designs' WorldWear line. Shweshwe is very high quality cotton still produced in the traditional manner, just as it was in the 1800s when it was created in England and shipped to South Africa. Initially worn only by local tribes, Gill says the name shweshwe came from the sound the fabric made when you were wearing it. The fabric was coated with a glaze designed to protect it from moisture during the long journey from England to South Africa, producing a particular feel to the fabric. No wonder the native women named it! The beautiful cotton becomes softer and softer as it is worn and washed. What a great discovery, and how lucky I am that Gill gave me a stash of her fabrics to play with.

WorldWear shweshwe dress in progress

As a thank you, I have sewn a new Magic Baby WorldWear dress for the new little granddaughter using my mix and match approach to designing and my beautiful new stash of shweshwe. Here are a few pictures of the dress in progress along with the finished piece. I absolutely love it, and hope Gill's new little Magic Baby will love it, too.

WorldWear shweshwe dress front. The bodice is pieced
to take advantage of the wonderful design. I used some
vintage indigo Japanese fabrics for the bodice band at the waist
and for the hem ruffle.

This is a detail of the inside. I pieced the front and covered
the seams with binding on the inside. Here you can also
see the logo of one of the companies that produces
this terrific fabric, Three Cats.

WorldWear shweshwe dress, back
Here is a detail of the sleeve. Instead of a
butterfly sleeve, I pleated it into a cuff band.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Fabric From the Past

One of my granddaughters wearing my apron
One of my granddaughters spent the night last night. Grandbaby sleepovers are always a fun time, and we try to find special, fun things to do with each one. This morning, after breakfast, I pulled the kitchen set into my own kitchen and filled the little sink with water so she could play and practice pouring while having fun. At the last minute, I realized she needed an apron, so I ran upstairs to pull out my own childhood apron. I knew it would fit her perfectly, and it did.

I'm not sure who made the apron, though it was surely my own grandmother, or maybe one of my aunts who sewed. My mom had a sewing machine, which I learned to sew on, but she didn't really like to sew, and mainly did repairs and hems, so I'm pretty sure she didn't make this little apron. It is also likely that I was not the only one to have worn it, as I had two sisters. In any case, seeing my granddaughter wearing it today transported me back in time. I could see myself in my mind's eye, wearing the same apron at the same age.

Pouring water is so much fun!
It was serendipitous that I dug the apron out this morning. A year or so ago when I had found it in my closet after the birth of my first granddaughter, I made a pattern from it so that I could sew a new one for her. Amazingly, after careful and long searching on e-bay, I actually found and purchased a piece of the exact same fabric my little apron had been made from! I don't have much of it, but I have enough to sew a matching one. After a quick trip to the grocery store this afternoon, that is exactly how I am going to spend the rest of my Sunday: sewing a new little apron to match this one, and hoping that my granddaughters will have happy memories from the times they wear them now. I can imagine both of them, many years from now, finding their own little apron in a closet, and remembering their time with me.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Super Soft Dot Minkee Babies

After being away over the weekend, I jumped right back into work yesterday, anxious to finish up some orders. I thought you might like to see the finished Magic Baby Plushie dot bear and lion before I ship them off.

Bear and Lion waiting to meet their owners

I have also designed a kitty, and all three in both a small and larger size. You can have a peek at them in my etsy shop.

These are so soft and huggable, that many grown-ups have told me, "I want one!" I designed these before Christmas last year, and made the prototypes for my grandbabies for Christmas. Wow, were they a hit! Hope you like them, too : )))

Lion has a soft leather mane