It’s time to get started on Easter outfits for the grandchildren. In fact, I woulda/shoulda started before now but I am busy working up a design and embroidering tee shirts for Robert and Laurel’s Odyssey of the Mind competition next week.
I’m especially grateful for the 1000 stitches per minute that my Brother Duetta puts out. The shirts are pretty ugly, but beautifully embroidered (film at 11, or after the competition). There are other must-do’s but very soon I MUST at least have a plan.
For sewing mothers and grandmothers, there is no greater thrill than to see their little darlings decked out in their most elaborate and special garments, created with love in every stitch.
Those of us who have labored long and hard on these very special holiday garments often find that specific recollections of each Resurrection Sunday are tied more closely to the Easter outfits made that year than to the calendar year.
For example, “Wasn’t it 1989 when that nice German foreign exchange student stayed with us? Remember, we all had Easter dinner at Nannie’s (maternal grandmother) with Uncle Jon and his new car was speaking to him in German. Our student told him it said ‘Be sure to read the manual.’ ”
“Well, in the pictures we took of him and the children before church, Rebecca was wearing her peach Swiss Easter dress with all the puffing and tatting. The dress was a size 6 so it must have been 1984.”
I so clearly remember planning that dress and working to find ribbon to match the peach Swiss batiste. I also remember, oh so well, questioning the wisdom of allowing a high school student to serve as a Sunday School teacher. Apparently, she gave one of Rebecca’s classmates the black magic marker which made the sinister line down the front of the peach Swiss dress. That was the same year I thanked God for talented Morty at Mitchell’s Dry Cleaners. I don’t know what he used, but the line was gone when I retrieved the dress.
Now, I’m reminiscing about the outfits I have made for my grandchildren in 5 short years. Laurel’s first Easter outfit was a bubble. Just 10 months old, she was crawling at the speed of a roller derby queen and I knew a dress would be ruined before the leg of lamb was served. Made from pink Imperial broadcloth, the scalloped front bubble pattern was from Maggie’s Classics.
In an effort to dress up the casual style of the bubble, I attached the sleeves with entredeux. That detail always elevates the garment a notch or two.
Her mother had specifically requested no more tiny pearl buttons because they were so hard to button up on a wiggly baby. So, in my mind, the larger buttons needed some justification which translated to embellishment.
The 3/4″ fisheye pearl buttons were first sewn on rather securely with white thread. Then an orange bullion was worked over that, making a carrot. Green lazy daisies extended from the top hole onto the bubble fabric. The same bullions and lazy daisies were worked on the puff sleeves as ribbon carriers.
Tiny bunnies were machine embroidered on each of the peter pan collars before construction. After cutting the baby tatting twice with the machine needle as I tried to tiny zig zag it to the collar, I decided it was easier to attach it by hand than to repair the cuts in the tatting. So that’s what I did.
Laurel had just enough hair to look like a well-coiffed baby boy, so certainly a girly headband was in order. Tatted beading was cut 1″ larger than her head and baby tatted edge was joined to either side. The raw ends were zig zagged together with a very wide stitch, creating a circle.
Pink ribbon was cut 2″ longer than the tatted circle. One quarter inch elastic, slightly narrower than the ribbon, was stretched and joined to the flat ribbon with a three step zig zag in monofilament thread. This was woven through the beading and pulled up until it was snug on Laurel’s head. It was stitched to the wide zig zag, rendering a beribboned, stretchy headband.
Finally, I joined more baby tatting to one side of a length of ribbon on one edge of which I had stitched a strong gathering thread. This was pulled up and twisted around into a two layer circle, then hand stitched over the rough zig zag seam of the tatting. A small ribbon rosebud was attached to the center.
It’s always nice to have a holiday bib to go with special outfits. If any reader wonders why, this picture shows exactly why.
Even as I take breaks from those ugly team shirts, I am rummaging through my fine fabrics, perusing the patterns and trying to come up with a way to make a lacy heirloom dress for Little Lady Laurel, coordinate it with her Huckleberry Finn brother, Robert, 6, and cousin Alastair, 2.
Laurel will be easy. Huck and Alastair will be challenges. I’d better get started.