Teddy Smocked Romper

Teddy Bear Smocking   I  Wildfire Kisses

 

One of the best parts of our trip to Utah was getting to meet my best friend’s baby boy! He was only two weeks old, and I miss getting to see him every day now that I’m back home, so thank goodness for social media! I wanted to make him something special, so I tried my hand at this mock two piece romper from an old pattern my mom has had and used for years. I was honestly trailing threads to Utah to finish sewing this in time, The Grizzly Kid did all of the driving on the way up and I sat and finished all the hand sewing and finishing touches that needed to be done. Last minute work is my forte. And if you want an overview of how I made it, then read on, if not, you’ve caught the gist of this post and can move on with your day!

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I wanted to add a single smocked teddy bear to the front since his name is Theodore (Teddy), but that that meant I couldn’t run the whole piece through the pleater, so I had to hand pleat a section which was not nearly as hard as I thought it would be. The closest smocking plate in my mum’s stash was this little sailor bear, which is adorable, but not quite what I wanted.

Sailor Bear smocking plate  I  Wildfire Kisses

 

 

 

 

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Instead I altered him a bit as you can tell later, but first I had to creates my pleats for the smocking.

 

 

 

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I just took a large section of fabric, and used a needle and  thread and picked  up a stitch every five lines (the photo above shows every third, but that meant the pleats weren’t deep enough so I redid it after this sample two rows). It’s clear that I am new at this hand pleating and my stitches were not perfect, but it turned out fine as the stitches are hidden later.

Hand Smocking I Wildfire Kisses

I measured the the number of rows of stitching I needed to the number of rows that the sailor bear pattern called for and once you have enough rows you simply pull each end of the threads and gather the pleats like so! All too easy, just rather time consuming.

Teddy Bear Smocking I Wildfire Kisses

 

From there I smocked on my little bear! It’s such fun to see the picture come together even though your stitches are uneven and wobbly, no need to be perfect to tackle a new project!

Teddy Bear Smocking I Wildfire Kisses

 

I love how this little guy looks like he is walking off on an adventure. I switched him from a sailor bear to a more classic teddy, with a longer sleeve, and french knots for buttons to make it look like a coat instead. And here you can see how big a piece of fabric I used to stitch him onto, I was too paranoid to cut until I had the pattern laid out on top of my smocking. IMG_7905

Better safe than sorry,  measure twice cut once, and all that other play it safe stuff is my middle name. From there I just followed the pattern instructions to cut out and sew up the romper! Well all except the front seam where I was placing the teddy bear and therefore couldn’t put a seam there, so instead I used the pattern to sew a seam up to the bottom of the pleats, which worked out great as it took out some of the extra fullness the pleating creates.

Et voila! the finished product, which honestly turned out far better than I expected, haha. I mean I have only done one other picture smocking project here, but that was over a year ago and I had so much help from my mum who sewed the whole romper part. This I did all on my own!

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Who doesn’t love a baby in old-fashioned clothes? I mean have you seen my pinterest board? I live for this style. Especially for peter pan collars.

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Not to mention dainty little baby sized buttons up the back of the outfit.

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Sadly, the outfit is on the bigger range of 0-3 month size and Mr. T was born a bit smaller than that, but plumping up nicely! So he hasn’t gotten to wear it yet, but perhaps when it fits we can get him to consent to model it and send us a picture, because the only thing cuter than a old school outfit is a darling baby in said outfit.

Heirloom Sewing

Heirloom sewing means, needlework, hand done, time intensive outfits usually for little girls and boy. It often looks old-fashioned, which I love. And my favorite part of heirloom sewing is the smocking, because that is what my mother has been doing for decades and what I am slowly learning to do. Last year I made a Scottie Dog romper for Wallaby and I am working on another smocking project, but yesterday for church Wallaby wore the cutest little smocked outfit done by my mother some 18 years ago for my youngest brother who is now 20.

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And that is how this type of sewing earns the name heirloom, having been made almost two decades ago it still looks new, vintage, and timeless all at once. Plus Wallaby was very excited about the wheels (buttons) on his outfit.

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I love the thought of any skill being handed down from one generation to the next. What skills have your parents shared with you? Speaking of, I still need to learn to make The Grizzly Kid’s grandmother’s rolls and holiday candy! Those are traditions I don’t want to lose.

Scotty Dogs Find a Home

A couple weeks back I mentioned learning to smock in this post, well here is the final project report. Allow Wallaby to shake your hand and invite you enjoy the rest of this post.

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Thank goodness my mother was around to help me with this supposedly simple pattern—after all there were only five pattern pieces, but when my mother and I get together we never seem to be able to leave a pattern alone and the alterations ensue before we even begin. For example we only lined the top half of the romper, right to the bottom of the smocking, because we wanted it light weight for summer time, but that meant we had to bind the edges around the armholes as well as the collar. I also sewed the snaps in between legs on wrong and had to redo that, but in the end it all worked out.

Wallaby

As you can see in this lovely photo taken by The Grizzly Kid’s uncle Mark—all the other not as pretty photos are mine—the romper is a bit big on Wallaby, but the way he is growing it won’t be for long. I put the final touches on the romper the night before a family gathering on July 3rd (where this photo was taken), which gave me a deadline to inspire me and an event to show off my handiwork—we all know the best part of creating something is the praise. In fact, when looking for a blue t-shirt to match the romper, the nice employee at The Children’s Place told me I should open my own shop to sell smocked clothes and I replied as long as people don’t mind one new item every 3 months, because I am a slow worker. I do have plans for another smocked piece for Wallaby, something for fall, so as to give me plenty of time, but until then enjoy a few more pictures of my cute little model.

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Wallaby’s crossed ankles kill me every time—love him.

Disappearing Arts

Not long ago, The Grizzly Kid and I were watching a documentary where it mentioned a tiny Scandinavian village where the meager population was all over  60 years old because the younger generations had been moving to bigger cities. This village is essentially dying with its inhabitants, and with the citizens go the old traditions of song, stories, hand crafts—an entire culture. This is a sad reality for many cultures and art forms around the world, and yet  there is a rebirth going on with many disappearing arts. For example, Pinterest is full of tributes to handwritten signs with beautifully crafted lettering; this in a culture where more words are typed than written.  Online tutorials are available for pretty much anything you can think of, so we have the ability to save these older art forms and bring them back; along with all the other vintage things that are popping up everywhere. It seems we live in a nostalgic era, a time where people long for the coziness of the past while advances in technology send us ever speeding toward the unknown future. Here is my tribute to a disappearing art.

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