Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What I Really Do

Some of you might think that I am a quilter.

Some might think that I am a dress maker.

Some might think that I just sew simple things for the girlies.

But the truth is that I am an heirloom seamstress.
I think I have been trying to hide this fact.

In the world of sewing/craft bloggers, simple seems to be best.
What I do is more complicated.
It take hours of practice and patience.
It is not really something that you can teach in a bloggy format.

I think that I wanted to be part of the bloggy world that can show you some simple techniques, and make you think that you are awesome. It is important, and that is why there are so many of them out there. You know the ones that say, get you child's favorite store bought pants, trace them on some fabric, cut them out, and sew it together, look at that you are sewing. I think it is great to make mother's think that they can contribute and make something for their family. I figure the more woman who start sewing the better. Everything has it's purpose and I could go down that route in order to get followers, but that is not me. 

I have been sewing since I was twelve, I worked in three different sewing factories, I know how to do it, and I do it well. I guess for me I feel like I would be dumbing down to follow that path. I am no longer going to be hiding my light you could say. Hiding what makes me different, just because there are not a lot of sewing people like me.

I don't want you to think that I think I am better, that is not what I am saying. I liken sewing to construction, there are plumbers, electricians, carpenters, tilers, all of them are talented and all can make a house. They are all different and have their own awesome skills. When asked what they do they would say I am in construction. That is like the sewing world, there are quilters, those who can sew a slipcover, those who can sew jeans, the super awesome who can do alterations (a skill I refuse to learn) and then those who can do what I do.  When asked I am sure we would all say I am a seamstress. If I offended anyone I am sorry, truly not my intent. 

Moving on.

Last month while as I was getting ready for Easter and Hawaii, I was asked by Grandma Kath if I could bring down a baptism jumper down for her little friend that was getting baptized that next weekend. I had made one for her big sister and Kath wanted her to have her own.

So with four days to spare I whipped this out.

In the Mormon faith children are baptized when they are eight years old.
It is a full immersion baptism, the church provides jumpers.
They are not cute. 
I am all about the cute.

On Facebook one day I asked if you could describe me in one world what would it be.
My sister answered with "Sentimental"
This comes out in the things that I sew.
I'll so you.

I hand embroidered this CTR crest.
It is shadow embroidery. 
CTR stands for Choose The Right.
The children in the Church are given rings with this crest on them 
as reminder's to choose the right after they are baptized.

I chose this lace because I thought it looked like Temple windows.
I pieced the lace together to make this fancy band.
All the lace that has the little windows is separate lace from the big windows. 

I always try to put in three hem tucks to represent the God Head.
A reminder that after today when all seems lost the Lord will always be there for you.

On the sleeves I put these pin tucks.
Each one represents a member of her family, her parents and her and her siblings.
As a reminder that her family will be there, with their arms around her through out her life.

Lastly a bow in the back made of sheer fabric.
Not only because little girls should always have a bow in the back, 
but also to represent Temple clothes. 
Baptism is the first covenant to God, and going through the Temple the second.
The bow Is suppose to be that reminder. 

So there you go that is really what I do, and what I love to do.
I am making Lillian's baptism clothes as we speak.
She gets to get baptized in 2 1/2 weeks.

I will be showing you that for sure, no more hiding for me.

I hope you have a fabulous week, I am going to be busy hand embroidering until my fingers give out. 


  1. Absolutely wonderful! Please share your talent with us.

  2. You are incredible. And I get what you are saying. I've stopped trying to join in on local craft fairs because they seem to celebrate mediocrity and look at me like I'm weird. Just like I stopped submitting things for publication a few years ago--even my own mother could only say "too bad you need that kind of validation" when my work made a cover. So I've been hiding out too. Anyway, your work blows my mind and I'm happy for you that you are willing to celebrate your awesomeness. It's a God given gift, after all.

  3. I can't tell you how much I loved this post.. One, because I have book after book about heirloom sewing, I am so interested in it.. but have never tried to do it.. It's beauty mesmerizes me. Having granddaughters and even my grandsons at one point, I would have loved to have had this gift you have. Being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints myself, I am in awe as well of your symbolism in your Baptismal jumper you made for this lucky lucky little girl...It so beautiful and sentimental and such a wonderful thing for her to save someday for one of her children.. I'm just so in awe of your skills... Thank You for not dumbing yourself down.. I love that your letting YOUR light shine now... HUGE KUDO'S!!!!!


  4. Yes! I love reading this kind of blog-- real sewing for real people!

  5. WOW! It's beautiful. So much time and thought put into it.
    I'm not of the Mormon faith, but so many of my friends are and I've always loved the CTR. I think every faith should adopt that. I even have a ring that one of my girlfriends gave me. I love it.

    What a special, beautiful outfit you've made.
    Show us more!!!!

  6. You are amazing. I don't have any idea why you'd hide that? I think I told you I took 2 heirloom classes in the early 90s. It was way too much for me. I have 2 projects not finished. I am sure I threw them away. It takes a special person to have the technique and ability to do heirloom sewing. I appreciate it more since I failed!! You're a special kind of sewer.

  7. beautiful. and beautiful post too. : )

    found you through Handmade Parade

  8. I think you will find that there are more actual seamstresses out there than you thought! You're not so different as you think, and alone. Your mothering trials are common too. Not to worry. We all muddle through.

  9. Wow. Don't hide those talents, that is gorgeous! Thank you for linking up to The Handmade Parade!

  10. Beautiful work! I am reminded of the many baptism gowns my Mother made. I love how personal yours are and how much thought you have put into them!

  11. While I think that everything you show in this post is heirloom, I understand your distinction. It is beautiful work that only a few have the skill and patience to complete. I am looking forward to seeing more of your work.

  12. Very cute, and impressive! I can't even sew a button on, so everything you make is awesome to me! Thanks for sharing at our Handmade Tuesdays party.

  13. Don't hide your talent and your skills. I think you'll find that there are a lot of people who will be interested in what you do, whether they have the skills themselves or not. Your work is so intricate and detailed...It is awesome!!! I love the pin tucks on the sleeves, both how they look and the symbolism. Your shadow embroidery has reminded me of a dressing table runner that I made at High School, a long time ago. It is not in the same league as yours and it may not even be shadow embroidery, but it had a similar effect. I must see if my Mum kept it. Thanks for linking up to Threading My Way. I look forward to seeing more of your amazing work!!!

  14. Hi, I've featured your Heirloom Embroidery today...

  15. Just wanted to say I love the Jumper. I am also a member and my son Jared turn's 8 next month. Sadly not one to make a jumper but totally love that you took the time to make that for your little girl.

    Richard Healey

  16. I already commented on your other post, but I loved this one too. Like you I have sewn all kinds of things--and I have done LOTS of heirloom sewing (we called it French Hand Sewing by Machine at that time). I made my daughter's baptism dress, several blouses for myself, and my wedding dress when I remarried (which became my temple dress afterward). I love taking time with clothes that are special--love the tucks, the ribbons, the entredeux, the laces and embroidery--it really adds up to an amazing piece of clothing that doesn't get "re-fashioned" or thrown out in the Goodwill bag.

    I try for some of this quality on my quilting blog--talking about the larger impact of quilts, and not just those sew-together-some-squares quilts, although I do those as well. We are part of a long tradition, and I like keeping those linkages vibrant.

    Thanks for your blog--
    Elizabeth E.