Smocked Sister Easter Dresses


What a tender pose!

What a tender pose!


A few weeks ago as I worked feverishly on Laurel’s Tea Dress, I asked readers to share pictures of their Easter creations.  Jenny Jo, who lives on the prairies of Nebraska, graciously shared these photos.  I was enchanted. 

Her daughters look like Celtic lasses just returned from strolling in the highland heather and the dresses perpetuate the image.  As a matter of fact, I think I heard bagpipe music as I viewed the photos!

I’ve been reading a lot of Scottish historical novels and these little darlings, with their porcelain skin and tumbling auburn curls, look just like the well loved “bairns” (babies or children) described in these books. 



In my request to post these pictures I asked about the sweet matching headbands.  I also commented that they surely must have caught the attention of everyone who saw them. Jenny Jo’s fabric choices compliment each girl’s coloring and her color selection for the smocking is just perfect, in my humble opinion.




Jenny Jo’s message and description of the dresses have been copied and pasted below.  I was tickled pink to discover–WOW!!!— that the font size she used transferred and is applied to this post.  I’m happy to have found a way to increase the size of the font.  

I was also pleased to check out the rolled rose tutorial link Jenny Jo included.  She used this to make the blue rose on her 7 year-old’s headband.

So here is what Jenny Jo had to say about her Easter projects. I must disagree with her that these beautifully smocked frocks are not “heirloom quality.” Little girls have worn smocked dresses for hundreds of years and many of those frocks have been passed down the generations to the children and grandchildren of the original owner.  That makes them heirlooms!  The quality of Jenny Jo’s smocking and the love she put in each stitch make the dresses even more treasured. 

 Thank you, Jenny Jo, for sharing!

The dresses aren’t remotely heirloom quality; I just love the smocking.

The pattern is Prairie Rose by Annastasia Cruz at   I chose the pattern because it has all elastic and I’m intimidated by buttonholes and zippers!  I made a size 6 and a size 3 for a 7 year old and a 3 year old, respectively.  I think I should have made smaller sizes, especially with the size 6.

On both dresses I had gaping issues with the smocked section.  I tried various things to fix the gaping, including adding a bit of elastic behind the binding, which is obviously the cause of the rippling.

The smocking plate came with the pattern.  I smocked with Perle Cotton #8.  My dresses look a bit different becuase I pre-constructed the pink one and I didn’t consider that the ribon row had to be done BEFORE the construction.  So on the pink one, I just repeated elements of the lower half of the smocking plate in the place where the ribbon was supposed to be.  Both dresses are made with quilting weight cotton. 

Yes, those are yo-yo’s on the headband.  As you know, I’ve been trying to teach my 7 year old some sewing and we recently had a class in which we made yo-yo’s and pom-poms.  The blue headband has a rolled rose.  I followed this tutorial

I don’t know if we caught the attention of everyone we saw, but their grandmothers ooohed and aaaahed enough for dozens! I’m sure you know a thing or two about that!

sister pic



18 responses to “Smocked Sister Easter Dresses

  1. Jenny Jo, if you’re reading this- the girls and the dresses are just beautiful! I love your choice of fabric, thread colors, pattern. And the pictures are stunning. Thank you!

  2. Thank you, Donna! And thanks to Mrs. Ferguson for the lovely post.

  3. Jenny Jo, your little girls are just precious. You did a wonderful job on the smocking and the dresses. I will have to order that pattern for my g’daughters. With elastic, I won’t have to have exact measurments! Thanks for sharing your “babies”.

  4. Thanks, Judy. And if you do make up this dress, you will have to share the results with us. Then I can see it done properly!! (And I would recommend being careful about that chest-width-issue with the smocked section.)

  5. I love these dresses, but cannot find the pattern when I click on the link. Is there another place that it may be found or a tip someone might have? I’ve tried googling and can’t find it anywhere. Thanks!

  6. Jo in Nebraska made the dresses and will be happy to hear that you loved them. I’ll forward this to Jo and perhaps she can help you with the pattern.

  7. Robbie Marie

    I, too, wish I could locate the pattern. If you are able to help, that would be just lovely, your daughters and work are so lovely.

  8. I hope to hear from Jo soon about this pattern, Robbie. I’ll let you know when I have a name and source.

  9. Did anyone ever find out where to get this pattern? The website listed does not have it. I would love to find out where to get it.


  10. Sue, it is available but you have to jump through some hoops to get it. The pattern is now free at Craftsy but you have to join and then get it. This is the link from the original web site that took me to Craftsy,

  11. Thank you so much for this pattern. Its absolutely lovely! And can’t believe its free too! I have printed it out to sew for my 7 year old niece for her birthdqay on March 10th.

  12. Dhilma, I’m glad you found this great pattern. I’d love to see a picture of your lucky niece wearing it.

  13. I wanted to add for those looking for the pattern that it’s actually linked by clicking **on the photo** on the main page that Jenny Jo linked.

  14. Thank you, Natalia! That’s just the help I’m sure many readers will appreciate.

  15. The directions for making this dress on the PDF copy are very confusing. It suggests printing out the pages without resizing of scaling the pictures. Ok, that means don’t adjust anything before printing, But next, the instructions state: “The squares on each sheet needs to measure 1” both ways. My question is what squares??? … Where the corners are met on pattern cutouts) which forms circles (not squares) around a letter, or are the dotted lines on the “Printing Guide” supposed to be squares, which look like rectangles to me. Is there an error in word usage here, or are those rectangles supposed to be resized to become squares which means to rescale everything even though directions say no need to resize or resale????

  16. Dee, I did not make this dress, so I cannot be very helpful. I will forward your message to Jo who did make it many years ago. Perhaps she can help you. I hope so. It’s such a cute dress.

  17. Hi, love your dresses and am starting them for my granddaughter. I have a question: the sleeve pattern seems really big/long for the short little cap sleeve pictured. Please advise.

    Thank you,


  18. Pam, first let me apologize for the delayed response. We have been in NC with our grands, picking them up from camp and enjoying some time there in the mountains. We had very limited internet service. Note that the photo of the dress mounted on the bulletin board with blue sleeve was made from a darling pattern I decided not to use, as it absolutely required a serger for construction. It has a shorter sleeve. The actual sleeve pattern piece for the remaining garments was used as is. I did draft a little ruffle to go above the sleeve. I simply shortened the sleeve pattern. Feel free to shorten the sleeve as much as you like, just be sure to maintain the underarm seam or you will have to bind it with bias. This is such a cute, easy pattern and you can add so many variations. Please share a photo if you make one.

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