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Vintage Inspired Pillowcase Nightgowns

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Vintage Summer Nightgowns The Prudent Homemaker

I love a loose-fitting cotton nightgown for summer.

Winter wanted a summer nightgown, and so she set forth to make one using a pillow case we had. It was a hand-me-down from my mother (the sheets had worn out) and was rather long, being a king-sized pillow case.

It wasn't a vintage-embroidered pillowcase, but she was able to give it an even older look by doing her own hand-embroidery.

She laid the pillowcase flat and cut a rounded neckline in front and back.

In the back, she gave it an additional slit down to allow it to open large enough to go over her head.

She undid the side seams just enough from the top down for armholes. When worn, it looks like a raglan sleeve.

Vintage Nightgown Front Detail The Prudent Homemaker

Around the raw edges that she cut at the neckline and armholes, she sewed a scalloped hem using the scalloped setting on the sewing machine. She trimmed around this with a pair of sharp scissors.

Vintage Nightgown Back Detail The Prudent Homemaker

She added hand-embroidery to the front and back of the nightgown.  For the back, she used an old pattern that you can get for free here.

To close the nightgown in back, she added an elastic loop on one side and a button from one of my button jars. I had a covered button that matched perfectly!

Nightgown Hem The Prudent Homemaker

One of her younger sisters wanted a nightgown like hers, so she chose a vintage pillow case (embroidered by my grandmother) and made one for her sister. She added some hand-embroidery to the top to match the embroidery colors and design on the bottom.

 Vintage Nightgowns Front Embroidery The Prudent Homemaker

Since I had everything on hand already, these cost me nothing additional out of pocket. Pillowcases often out last sheet sets and are a great source of fabric. Don't have a pillow case but have a leftover top sheet after the bottom one has worn out? Cut out a pillow case length from it and sew it into one using an existing pillowcase for size, making the top hem your bottom hem, so that you have an already finished hem.

Looking for free embroidery designs that you can use on your projects? Check out my Embroidery board on Pinterest.


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Personalized Bath Towels

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Bath Towels The Prudent Homemaker

Several years ago, it became rather obvious that the standard two-towel towel racks were not going to be enough for our family's needs. We switched the towel racks out to some hooks that my husband found on eBay. We added a piece of molding to the wall first, painted it, and then added the hooks.

I then had a place for each child to hang his or her bath towel.

Of course, it was very easy for each child to say that a towel left on the floor in the bathroom or in their room wasn't their towel, so I decided that personalizing the towels would be the simplest way to remedy that situation.

I replaced the towels several years ago with embroidered cotton names that also serve as hooks for the towels, making it easier to keep the towels on the hooks (and off the floor!). Those towels have since worn out and it's time for new ones.

This time, I chose darker towels from Sam's Club. They have limited color choices there (about 5 options) but the prices are low, which is great!

Bath Towel Labels 1 The Prudent Homemaker

I bought new cotton webbing from Hobby Lobby (using a 40% of coupons) and cut eight pieces. 

I zigzagged the edges of the cotton webbing to keep it from unraveling.

Bath Towel Labels 2 The Prudent Homemaker

I wrote each name on the webbing with a blue marking pen (this washes out with water). I can see it clearly while I'm embroidering.

I embroidered each name by hand using a stem stitch with two strands of embroidery floss using the stem stitch (outline stitch) and chose a different color for each name, to make it even easier for the children to identify their personal towel when they step out of the shower.

I then sewed them to the towels along the center side of each towel, going over the seam a couple of times to make it strong.

Bath Towels 2 The Prudent Homemaker


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Embroidered Bees and a Giveaway

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Note: This post contains affiliate links.

I came across a beautiful whitework embroidered bee on Pinterest. I was fascinated by it.

The pattern was created by Sarah Homfray. Sarah has achieved one of my life-long desires in attending the Royal School of Needlework in England. She teaches embroidery classes in England. You can see more of her work, and sign up for her classes on her website, SarahHomfray.com.

I ordered the pattern for the bee from Sarah on Etsy (using money I had saved from taking surveys) and I made the lavender sachet above. I embroidered the bee using a combination of a single strand of white pearl cotton thread, and a single strand of white embroidery thread. The entire thing could be stitched with two strands of white embroidery thread for the most frugal option. I love whitework and have recently started stitching with DMC pearl cotton in size 12, as I like only needing to cut a single strand and not having to separate the threads. I bought mine with a 40% off coupon at Joann's; Amazon has it for close to the same price I paid.

I embroidered it on a 5 inch scrap of linen, and transferred the pattern with a blue Mark B Gone pen. The pen disappears with water when you are done stitching. I left one end open and stuffed it with lavender buds.

I then used the pattern again to embroider a handkerchief for myself. This time, I embroidered the entire thing in pearl cotton, and I spaced the buttonhole stitches much closer together on the body of the bee.

I am envisioning several other ideas with it; I've pinned several bee embroidery ideas on my embroidery board on Pinterest, which I may make using this same pattern. I also think it would be beautiful on a girl's dress.

Today, I'm giving away a copy of this pattern to one lucky reader! The reader will receive a pdf pattern of this bee with stitching instructions. This giveaway is open to all readers worldwide!

To enter, please enter in the Rafflecopter box below, and leave a blog comment telling me on which embroidery project you currently are working/are planning to work on next!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tagged in: Embroidery
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For the seventeenth day of A Gift a Day, I made embroidered handkerchiefs.

I printed out initials for my children on my computer. I print the letters at a minimum of size 72. I then choose fonts that look best for that particular letter. I chose fancier fonts for the girls.

You can tape the paper with the letters to a window during the day, and tape the fabric over it for tracing. If you have a lightbox, you can use that instead.

Trace your design using a water-soluble marker.

When your drawing is complete, embroider your design. I used 2 strands of embroidery thread. I embroidered it with the stem stitch. I then covered some of the letters with satin stitch (the "W" is stem stitch).

When you're done embroidering, rinse the fabric with water to remove the blue marker. You can mist it with water as well, but sometimes a little blue reappears when you do that. Do not use soap! Soap will set the marker brown, permanently into your fabric. If any blue reappears after your fabric is dry, just rinse and repeat :)

I usually hang my embroidery to dry over a towel on the towel rack in my bathroom (this also prevents the children from seeing the present!)

When it's done drying, iron the fabric. You can fold in the edges, do a rolled hem finish, or sew a scalloped stitch and trim them, like I did on the handkerchiefs that I made earlier in this series.

Embroidered Handkerchiefs


soft cotton fabric ( I used edges of old cotton sheet and also some muslin)
matching thread
embroidery thread


sewing needle
sewing machine (optional; you could sew these by hand)
Mark B Gone pen or a pencil
lightbox (optional; a sunny window works too)
printer and paper


The total time for one handkerchief was 45 minutes, doing a simple letter in satin stitch and a simple hem. If I add extra embroidery, it was be as long as 3 hours for the embroidery work. The scalloped hem edge took some additional time for sewing and trimming; it was another 30 minutes each.

Today I made 4 handkerchiefs (I embroidered the girls handkerchiefs in October and the boys today). I sewed the hems today on all 4.

The "L" is a free design from a Dover Sampler, and the flowers around the "W" came from Jeannie Beaumeister's Best Embroidered Baby Clothes pattern.


$0.05 each

What did you make today?
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A Gift a Day: Day Seven--Embroidered Socks

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There are lots of tutorials for Pottery Barn knockoffs, and some for Anthropolgie knockoffs.

For the seventh day of a Gift a Day, I am bringing you a very simple Janie and Jack knockoff.

Today's project:

Embroidered Socks

I embroidered both the flower and the leaves using three strands of floss.

I did a three wrap French knot in the center of each rose. I did 10 wrap bullions on either side of the French knot. I did  four 12 wrap bullions around that.

The leaves are each one lazy-daisy stitch. I embroidered 2 leaves on either side of the flower.

Make sure to only go through the top layer of the sock!

If you are new to embroidery, I have links to embroidery stitch tutorials and free embroidery patterns here on my website.


pair of bobby socks  (the kind that fold over once)
embroidery thread in 2 colors


sewing needle (preferably an embroidery needle)


The total time for one pair of socks was 10 minutes.

Today I embroidered one pair of socks.


$1.15 per pair. (I actually already had some socks put aside, and I had embroidery thread, so these cost me nothing this year, but I did buy both things in the past).

Target has socks like this for $1 a pair in smaller sizes, or lace-edged ones in larger sizes for $2 a pair. Right now they have a 20% Kids' Apparel coupon on their site for 20% off one item on certain brands, including Circo.

Though embroidery thread is not expensive, I always wait to buy mine until it is on sale. I buy several colors then to have on hand for future projects. Joann's usually has embroidery thread on sale during most major holiday sales Most likely it will be on sale for Black Friday.

Michael's carries embroidery thread as well, though they are slightly higher priced. I have not seen it go on sale in their ads.

The Janie and Jack socks have a picot edge on them. You can crochet a chain stitch on the socks with cotton crochet thread. I have done this before and it is actually the reason I had some extra socks in my sewing closet, as I had bought them with the intention to crochet a simple edge on these socks. I did many pairs before, and I had 3 pairs left. If I have the time (hahaha!), I may do that to this pair, but if not, these are fine the way they are, too. Be aware that the crochet thread will shrink and tighten in the wash. I find that 5 or 6  chain stitches between catching the edge of the sock each time works well.

You can also embroider on an existing pair of socks.
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