Creative Needle’s Easter Inspiration

As usual, Judy Day has made extra special Easter outfits for her two 7 year-old granddaughters.  The radiant blue dresses seem to illuminate the sparkle in their sweet, innocent faces.  And as usual, Judy has made hairbows for the girls and matching dresses  for their American Girls dolls.  This year, she even included a free standing lace Easter bonnet for the dolls!  I so admire her dedication to her grandchildren which extends  far beyond their wardrobes.  She is truly a grandmother extraordinaire.

I’ll let Judy tell you all about it:

“These Easter dresses are dedicated to the memory of my grandmother.  While I hand stitched the tatting on to the dresses, I  reflected on sitting and watching her tat in the afternoon when I was the age my granddaughters are now; but only if it was cool or in later years when the air conditioner was on.  She would not take a chance on her hands getting moist and ruining the tatting.

I am sure she would be very pleased to know that her 2 beautiful great-great-granddaughters are wearing the tatting she made so many years ago as did her granddaughter (me), 2 great-granddaughters (my daughters) and her great-grandson (my son), even if he doesn’t want to admit it!

Yes, she tried to teach me to tat.  At the time, it was just too slow for me.  Maybe one day I will try again.  I have all her shuttles and I do know the basics.

The inspiration for these dresses is once again from the stack of magazines on my cutting table.  The magazine is Creative Needle, the February 2007 issue.  When I saw the article, Heirloom Legacy, by Carol Harris, I immediately thought of my grandmother’s tatting.  I loved the fresh blue and white color scheme…..not to mention I am tired of sewing on pink….the girls’  favorite color!

Stitched to the hem of each dress is a label with the child’s name, the date, the event, who made it and who made the tatting.  The label was created in Designer’s Gallery Letterworks III.

The pattern is The Tuck Dress  from  Collars, Etc. Pattern Company and was purchased from Customer service here is great.  When I began gathering all my supplies, I realized that one of the granddaughters had outgrown the pattern I had. And by this time I was on a time crunch with Easter quickly approaching.  I called and had the pattern in 3 days

The fabric is Imperial Broadcloth purchased from  They also have wonderful customer service.  I had 3 yards of the blue fabric, called them and asked if I sent them a sample would they be able to match and send me 3 more yards.  No problem! (sorry I do not recall the color name of the blue fabric.)

The satin headland was purchased from JoAnns’s Fabric store in the bridal dept.  I added a small ribbon wrap to the side to attach the bow.  I attached the hairbow to a barrette so it can be removed and worn without the headband. A thinner version of the headband can be purchased at Hobby Lobby.

Once the “real” dresses were finished, it was on to the American Girl Dolls dresses.  I decided to save time by pin tucking a piece of fabric instead of making real tucks.  As it turned out, the pin tucks were just the right size for the dolls.  I used the bodice pattern from Martha’s Doll Dressing Book by Martha Pullen The doll dresses have puff sleeves with French lace and no collar….again to save time.  It closes in the back with Velcro.  However, there are tiny buttons stitched down the back just for looks.

On a recent visit with Janice, we stumbled across designs for American Girl Dolls at Advanced Embroidery Designs  There was a free standing lace Easter hat!!!  So while I was at her home, I stitched out Easter bonnets for my granddaughters’ dolls.

One word of caution here.  The American Girl Doll heads seem to be slightly different sizes, mostly due to hair styles.  So be sure to measure the heads when you lay the wet lace out to dry and shape it to the correct size.

These doll outfits were the icing on the cake.  I had told one granddaughter that I might not have enough time to make the dolls’ dresses by Easter.  She was ok with that.  When she called to let me know she had received her Easter package, I asked her if she was surprised to get the doll outfit.  Her response…..”No, I knew you would get it done.”  That made me smile to myself and tear up at the same time!

The February 2007 issue of Creative Needle has now been used twice for inspiration.  It will go back on the corner of the cutting table as there is at least one more idea I want to use for a future dress.

 Creative Needle, December 2008 also had an article by Trudy Horne featuring “The Tuck Dress”.  More possibilities for that pattern!

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