Smocked Polka Dot Gown~My Attempt at “Contemporary”

As I began planning Vivian Rose’s layette,  I pulled out my favorite baby patterns, including this Baby’s Smocked Layette.    Making it was just a pleasure.

I love this pattern.   Because of the simple design an excellent directions, the gown practically falls together.  I especially like the illustration of the drawn up neckline in preparation for binding.  It includes precise measurements for the width of the front and sleeves at the neckline.  The back opening buttons all the way down to the hem, making it easy to dress Baby.

My incentive to make this came from a photo of a precious pink daygown shown in a post on one of my favorite blogs, Mommy’s Apron Strings.  According to Lisa (Mommy of said apron strings), it took only 3 hours to make. In that post, Lisa included  this link to Jeannie B.’s blog which showed a precious baby wearing the same gown in white.

UPDATE:  Another beautiful interpretation of this pattern was made by Karen and shown on her Butterflies and Fairies blog.  Check it out.

Only the front and sleeves are smocked, making it a very quick project.

Both finished dresses by Jeannie and Lisa are very classic.   In an effort to include a contemporary garment in the layette for Vivian Rose, I used a lime and pink polka dot flannel, adding rick rack and bright buttons for embellishment.

The back facings were machine stitched in a serpentine scallop pattern with a 2.5/80 twin needle threaded in green and pink.   It was many times faster than hand whipping it would have been.  As usual, I was in a hurry.

The back button colors alternate between pink and lime green because I didn’t have 5  of either color on hand.  Recalling my effort at a contemporary look, I okayed this make-do decision.

Normally, I would have hand stitched the hem.  But for this gown, the hem was machine stitched then covered with pink rick rack.  In my hurry up mode, this time saver seemed like a good idea.

And by  the way, I really dislike  rick rack that has curled after washing.  So I always attach it free motion, in a zig zag pattern stitching from upper to lower point on the rick rack.  It remains flat for all eternity, regardless of how many times it is laundered.

Rick rack is secured using free motion technique stitching from point to point. It covers the machine stitched hem.

Another time saver was serging the seams instead of stitching French seams.  The flannel would make a bulky seam and I had no remorse for serging on domestic flannel.

The attempt at contemporary, apparently, was futile, as my daughter laughed out loud when she saw the gown.  She said this is NOT contemporary and that there is no way a smocked bishop style baby garment is anything but classic.  Hmmmm…okay.  But she loves it.

If our Florida winter temperatures stay at the unseasonably high  80’s, Vivian Rose may never wear this gown, contemporary or not.  ~~~~~~~

P.S.  Today, we spent some time on the back porch so she could get more sun.  She loves being outdoors.



11 responses to “Smocked Polka Dot Gown~My Attempt at “Contemporary”

  1. Oh, my! I saw that picture of Vivian and was completely distracted from what I was going to write! She’s beautiful! That twin needle topstitching is perfection. And did you use PLASTIC buttons?! Do I hear the fat lady singing?! Contemporary or no, it’s a darling garment for a darling baby.

  2. Yes, Jo, you have, in fact, heard the fat lady sing. The buttons are plastic but I have yet to find any mother-of-pearl in hot pink or lime green. Besides, plastic IS contemporary, isn’t it?

  3. Janice, I love this little gown! My thought (before I read Rebecca’s) was that this would be classic and old-fashioned to most people! Thank you for the nod to my blog- I am thrilled to inspire someone as talented as you. Have you considered entering this gown in Project Run & Play this week? The theme is polka-dots! If you want more info, write to me or check the link on my blog. Vivian looks so sweet- her jaundice is looking better. You’re lucky to be in the Sunshine state- up here it is more like the Fog state lately, but at least it’s not too cold.

  4. Darling! I love that pattern and made a Christmas ensemble using it recently. (See post: ) I loved using that pattern and have another cut out and ready to go. I think you should enter the gown in the Project Run & Play sew-along, too. I agree with your daughter, it is still a classic…just not a formal one! Love to see your posts! Vivian Rose is just so beautiful!

  5. Ah, your work is so precious, Janice, whether deemed classic or contemporary. The love flowing from the hands of a grandma to a little one is “timeless”! I just love it. Vivian is also so precious and beautiful. It is a treat to see her pictures in her newborn phase… Hope the jaundice goes away quickly. I know that is always a concern. Nurse, nurse, nurse….

  6. On buttons, I read in David Page Coffin’s book, Shirtmaking, that real pearl buttons are said to take dye nicely. He says to contact Rit for a flyer on the subject, possibly there’s a website these days…
    Just in the case that you desire those hot pink or lime green buttons. 🙂

  7. Thanks for the tip, Connie! I had heard that pearl buttons could be dyed, but knew nothing more about it. I have several vintage cards of colored pearl baby buttons and knew for sure they must have been dyed. I’ll check Rit. Thanks again! Who knows when I might need lime green and hot pink again!

  8. Dianne Smith McKay

    We miss you at Sewing At The Beach 2013! The teachers are great this year, but would be even better if you were here. I enjoy your website so much. Congrats on the new granddaughter. Come to see us! Dianne

  9. Dianne, you are so sweet to miss me at SATB 2013. If Vivian Rose had not been born at that same time, I would have felt reeeeeally bad about missing it. But she is great compensation for not being there. I look forward to hearing about another fabulously successful SATB.

  10. Janice, It’s beautiful!!! I have a few of Jeannie’s patterns. I have to stop looking at blogs though. I keep finding one more I just HAVE to buy. lol

  11. Jeannie’s patterns are really great. I bet she never dreamed that classic little gown would be made up in hot pink and lime green!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.