It's that time of year again when southern mamas start planning Easter outfits for their children. It is an age old tradition in the south for little boys to wear Eton suits, sailor collar shirts with button-on pants, and Jon Jon's. Heirloom dresses out of cotton Swiss batiste fabric in an array of colors adored with rows and rows of french lace are the proper attire for little girls.
Last Easter a good friend asked me to design and sew a blue batiste dress for her granddaughter. The mother of the little girl is a busy working mom so she needed an easy to care for dress. For that reason, I selected to use baby blue Imperial batiste fabric from Spechler Vogel Textiles.. Imperial batiste is a poly cotton blend fabric with a beautiful finish and is a great alternative to 100% cotton Swiss batiste. Here is a picture of the hem of the dress as I was working on it at the sewing machine. You can see the beautiful French Val lace and the tiny holes in the fabric are called hemstitching. The lace is attached to the hemstitching using a zigzag stitch with the machine needle going into each hole of the fabric then catching the heading of the lace.
Pintucks or little folds of fabric were sewn on the yoke, sleeves, and skirt fancy band of the dress.
Here you can see the sleeve details. Lace beading was used on the sleeves bands. Any color double faced stain ribbon can be woven through the holes and tied in a bow at the top.
Wider pintucks were stitched on the fancy band and a hand embroidered design was stitched down the center of the band. Ecru feather stitching and pink bullion roses were used in the embroidery design.
The bottom of the skirt was scalloped with pintucks. Then hemstitching and lace were added for the finishing touch.
The mother and grandmother were thrilled with the dress. I loved working on this dress and knowing the little girl who would wear it made the dress even more special to me.
Here's a link to my other blog post about heirloom sewing Heirloom Sewing - My First Love
Some of my heirloom creations are available on my website The Polka Dot store and here are the links to a few of them:
Cluny Lace Christening Dress
Cross Embroidery Christening Gown
A sweet little white Swiss batiste dress with ecru lace will be listed soon. Sign up for email and be the first to know when it is up on the website. Scroll to the bottom of the page here to sign up for email.
I hope this blog post gives you inspiration for planning your next heirloom outfit.