Alysha’s Birthday Dress

happy-mothers-day

Happy Mother’s Day to each and every one of you who has mothered a child of your own or a child of another. (Frankly, I cannot imaging anyone who sews or reads this blog who has not reached out to children and grandchildren of their own and/or others.) The love and attention showered on our precious children is the best use of our precious time.

I’m at that happy time of life when I can enjoy my beloved adult children as well as the beloved grandchildren they have given us. My daughter Rebecca and daughter-in-law Shelly are both incredible, wonderful mothers whom I admire and love dearly. I wish each of you a happy day filled with appreciation from and for your loved ones.

Around here it has been busy, busy, BUSY!!!! We’ve been blessed with almost back to back and overlapping visits from our four grandchildren and even more happy chaos.  In a future post I’ll tell you all about Laurel’s luau 9th birthday party, new fleece blankets for each grandchild and the progress of our newly tamed feral cats and the kittens.

So once again, I am rerunning an old post, though I do have a few new thoughts and plans.  I hope  to make a very similar dress for new granddaughter Vivian Rose before her first birthday.  FYI, Alysha is almost 5, adorable and the apple of her grandparents’ eyes.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~zAlyshabdbishop2

 

Busy as we grandmothers are sewing for our own little ones, we often are moved to stitch for another child.  I’m sure most of you readers have done the same.  It’s satisfying to share you love of needlework with another family.

Alysha is our God-daughter’s first baby, as well as the first grandchild of our dear, dear friends of 30+ years, Gale and Paul.  As Alysha’s first birthday approached, I wanted to do something special for this very special baby.

 

zAlysha

With a lengthy to-do project list, I chose another ready-to-smock garment, a size 2 white  broadcloth bishop dress.  Though I knew I could smock it up in an evening or two and fully intended to do so, I found myself once again compelled to do a little more.

 

Even though the tiny sleeve hem was well done, before smocking, I took it out and added tatting to the edges.

 

zAlyshabdbishopF

Mollie Jane Taylor’s Buds and Berries

Then I chose a simple plate, Mollie Jane Taylor’s Bud’s and Berries.  I’ve smocked it two or three times, once for my Rebecca when she was little and it always is very pleasing.  It would have been smocked very quickly if I had simply followed the pattern and done enough rows for a one year-old.

But Alysha is a big little girl, tall and sturdy, 32 lbs. at her 1st birthday check up.   That meant that  I could smock more rows on her dress than I normally would have for a one year old.   But I always like to make sure that the sleeves puff out before the edge of the child’s shoulder.  So I did what I usually do,  smock fewer rows after the sleeve seams than in the center front and back.

zAlyshabdbishopB

Mother of pearl buttons replaced the plastic “utility” buttons.

 

The next modification was my compulsory button replacement, mother of pearl for plastic.  After that, I removed the ready-to-smock label, as usual, because it is stiff and scratchy to tender baby skin.  Sewn to this label is a tag with the identifying size.  As the label is usually sewn on with the neck binding, you cannot simply pull out the stitches.  To do so would “unsew” the neck binding.  The label itself  it has to be cut close to the stitching and the remaining threads and  fibers pulled out with tweezers.  This is not time consuming.

I could have sewn the size tag in the side seam, the procedure I usually follow for older children.  But instead I  embroider a tiny “sz. 2″ on a white ribbon which I sew into the side seam.  Finally, I turned up the hem.   The ready-to-smock dresses are generously long, so rather than cutting off the excess, I just turn up a double 4-5” hem.  Because it is a bishop and because it has the generous hem, it should fit Alysha until she is three years old.

One tip I have for beginning smockers is to always select ribbon for sleeves before you choose the floss colors.  It is ever so much easier to select ribbon first and then match it to  floss from the broad spectrum of DMC colors before smocking rather than it is to smock first and then try to find a ribbon match.

Alysha looks adorable in this dress.She has the most kissable cheeks and squeezable legs.  It’s nice to have my friends’ grandchildren to enjoy as well as my own.

NOTE:  I thought the dress looked so pretty hanging from my Lady Margaret passion vine, a favorite with butterflies.  But when I brought the dress back inside, there were purple stains everywhere it had touched the blossoms.  Thank heavens for bleach pens. Lesson learned. No more passion vine garment pictures.

6 responses to “Alysha’s Birthday Dress

  1. What a stunning gift for a beautiful baby! Thank you for the smocking tip over the shoulders.

  2. Thanks for the compliment, Karen. The smocking tip is especially useful when you want to picture smock but the number of rows required would exceed the shoulder width. So I just pleat the rows needed for the main portion of the design and trim up the design as I approach the sleeve seam. Happy smocking!
    Janice

  3. I saw this Smocked Dress on “White Wednesday” and as I clicked on the picture, somehow I knew it would bring me to your blog!! It is so pretty and I know it is so fulfilling to make a little garment for others babies too. Hope you had a Merry Christmas and wishing you a lovely New year. Jeannie.

  4. Janice, seeing you today made my heart sing. Of course, it had been so long since I had seen you, I had to scramble to remember your name but your smile is just as bright and shining as I remembered.
    Even though I don’t smock or even try, your sewing and smocking skills always amaze me. I hope to see you before another 13 years pass!
    Hugs
    Bonnie

  5. I smiled all the way home after seeing you at JoAnn’s! I hope we can get together soon, Bonnie. I am sooo happy you are sewing and embroidering!

  6. These are great tips for those of us purchasing ready to smock dresses. ( my oldest daughter use to literally break out in hives from tags in garments rubbing her fragile skin- the first thing to do was cut the tags out) I love that we can now purchase tags or even have tags made for our clothing. But even easier is your ribbon to sew in the side seam!

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