“T’was the night before Easter…”

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I’m doing my absolute best to finish up my Easter sewing, but it seems that one thing and then another keep getting in the way of progress.  Still I plug along, hoping and expecting that everything will get  done, because I’ve done it before.

I keep reminding myself of  the Easter my Rebecca was 6, 28 years ago.  For whatever reason, I decided to abandon an almost finished smocked dress in favor of this peach Swiss batiste frock.  From where the inspiration came, I don’t recall.  But I HAD to make it!

That was Maundy Thursday.  I had three days, mostly filled with the activities of this 6 year old child and her 10 year old brother, not to mention preparing my Sunday school lesson, fixing dinner, etc.  I slept very little from then until Easter, but I did complete the dress.  If I did it then, I can do it again, right?  I am 28 years older, but I don’t have a 6 and 10 yo under foot.  Yes, surely I can do it!

The fabric is what Jeannie B. calls “fairy” batiste–sheer and fine enough to clothe fairies who could not bear the weight of linen or even Nelona.  The major features of the dress are entredeux beading, tatting, puffing–lots of that!–a sweet Swiss handloom.

 

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The sleeves are set in with entredeux, one of my favorite heirloom touches.

 

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I finished this dress and a matching slip.  Okay, so it was finished very early Sunday morning, but to my delight, she wore this confection, all starched and pressed, to church Easter morning.

Believing I can get Easter sewing done makes me giddy! Please excuse my slap-happy rhyming.

 T’was the night before Easter in my sewing room.
My machine speed was now set on “zoom.”

The clock it was ticking, the dress not complete
And I was feeling dead on my feet.

The honey glazed ham was ready to bake
and I’d already made the white bunny cake.

 In hiding were chocolate bunnies and peeps.
And I hoped that in church I would not fall asleep.

But what was I thinking, two weeks ago,
when I chose to plant daisies instead of go sew?

“The price of lollygagging is all of this stress
I should have stayed home and sewed on this dress!”

But then I focused on each entredeux hole.
If all went well, I’d still meet my goal.

Fairy weight Swiss, pale peach like her skin~~
This fairy dress was for my sweet next of kin.

So I just kept on sewing, maintaining concentration,
To complete the dress before the morning celebration.

I finished that Easter dress. I can do it again!
I’ll stop silly rhyming, go join lace to the hem.

 

Becca

 

As mentioned before, I’ve been very frustrated trying to finish the shadow smocked dress for my granddaughter these past few weeks.  My dear husband, in a caring attempt to reduce my stress, told me I should just go buy Laurel a pretty dress—she wouldn’t mind!

He doesn’t understand that the heirloom and smocked dresses I stitch are not made solely for Laurel’s pleasure.  They are made for mine.  Certainly she loves them and I hope she will always have loving memories of the garments I have made for her.  But there is a whole other component that compels me.

I once heard a sermon about beauty.  The supply minister spoke of flowers and mountains and sunsets before he posed the question, “Why?”  Why did God create all this beauty for us?

He related that his pregnant daughter was stitching day and night, embroidering pretty little things for her unborn child.  Her husband was in the military and she was living with her mother and pastor father.  With no household responsibilities, she stitched non-stop.

All this was done for a baby who would need and want a blanket, but one who would give no thought or appreciation for the embroidery that embellished it.  He concluded that love drives us to create beauty.  Its only purpose is to express love.  And love, he declared is what drove God to create natural beauty for our pleasure.

So Easter morning, when Laurel dons this dress—and it WILL be finished!!—it will probably make me happier than it makes her.  It is an expression of my love, one that could not be expressed adequately by a store-bought garment.

I’m not sure that this is clearly explained.  But I must get back to the sewing room!

P.S.  One Sunday long after Easter, Rebecca wore this dress to church.  When she came out of Sunday school, there was a huge black magic marker line across the skirt, just under the front yoke.  (NOTE:  What was that teacher thinking, giving Sunday-clothed children permanent marking pens for art work?!#$%^&??)

My miracle worker dry cleaner got it all out, but the process somehow changed the color of the ribbon.  I always meant to replace it with matching peach ribbon, but it just never happened.  Maybe now that it fits Laurel, I will get it done.  After Easter.

4 responses to ““T’was the night before Easter…”

  1. Yes, After Easter. My life seems to be divided into Before Easter and After Easter. If you’re sitting around composing poetry instead of stitching, then it seems you’re in the same boat as the lady who was planting daisies!!!

  2. You make me laugh, Jo! You are right on target, but you make me laugh. When I wrote that “poem” I needed a “silly” break from my strict focus on The Dress. Carry on. I look forward to seeing what you make….after Easter.

  3. Hi: This is the first time I’ve read your blog and I am loving it! At this time my living situation makes it very hard for me to sew ( we are living in our R.V.). But I love this dress and would love to make it for my little great granddaughter. Is the pattern still available, if so what is it and if you know where I can find it I would be very grateful. Thank You, Kathy

  4. Kathy, I am happy to know that you have been enjoying my blog. It may be hard for you to sew in an RV but you probably don’t have much cleaning to do—so more time for sewing! Yeah! That peach Swiss dress was made from a basic yoke pattern. Since most yoke pattern pieces are placed on the fold, you need to trace it off and make a full size bodice pattern. Mark off the depth of the puffing (whatever width you choose) at the bottom of the yoke. Then calculate how much vertical puffing and handloom you need and add those inches to the puffing at the base of the yoke. Make up your puffing and heirloom touches. Cut a rectangular fabric block at least 1″ larger than the pattern. Then just apply your puffing and insertion, taking care not to let the puffing get into the armscye. I’m sure you can do it in that RV with the time you save cleaning! Let me know if I can help you in any way. And please share your finished dress. I would love to see it.

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