Smocked Nighties for 2 American Girls

L M stand

 

For Laurel’s 9th birthday I finally finished smocking this nightie.   The matching gown for her American Girl Molly had long since been done.   But when little Vivian Rose was born I was wrapped up making baby girl things, so this project was pushed to the back burner.  I was so glad to have both pink things out of my sewing room.

 

L close smocking

 

Like the Molly’s nightgown, Laurel’s has a machine embroidered heart in the unsmocked area at center front.  The designs are from Martha Pullen’s Little Pleasures collection which includes two nearly identical hearts in two sizes.  A little editing made them match almost perfectly.  Laurel notices and appreciates details like that.

 

L M sit cr

 

The smocked sleeves were similar, if not identical.

 

Laurel's sleeve

Laurel’s sleeve

 

Molly’s had less detail.

 

Molly's sleeve

Molly’s sleeve

 

Both gowns have machine stitched hems which are covered with lace edging.  That is a nice time saver.

Imperial broadcloth was used for both gowns, though I might have preferred batiste.  But with a bolt of pink broadcloth on the shelf and no pink batiste, I decided I reeeeally wanted broadcloth.

With so much  time between the construction of the doll nightdress and Laurel’s, I forgot to apply two tip I had picked up the hard way.   The first tip  is understanding that the release of the center pleats actually added length to the neckline.  Theoretically, 3″ of flat fabric will be reduced to 1″of smocking.   Leaving that unsmocked area flat made it very hard to pack the pleats tightly enough to meet the suggested finished neck size.  Ultimately, I decided that Molly would probably like a looser neck line and gave up trying to make the smocking fit.

Forgetting that when making Laurel’s gown ended up being a blessing in disguise.  She has been through a major growth spurt, making the planned growth tucks unnecessary.  The extra wide neckline is very comfortable for her and will extend the time she can wear the gown.

The second thing I learned on the doll gown and then forgot was that I should have left the bottom 2 rows of pleating threads in place in the flat center area.  On Molly’s gown, the mock baby waves under the embroidery was an afterthought.  Without the guidance of the gathering threads, the waves are uneven.

The same thing happened on Laurel’s gown–uneven baby waves.  Oh, well, she will still have sweet dreams.

In time, I did remember one tidbit learned from Molly’s gown.  In order for the bias binding to be smooth, it must be filled.  That is accomplished with the bulk of the pleats.  But when the binding meets the flat fabric in the unsmocked area, there is not enough filler.  So after zig zagging over the pleats, the excess above the zig zag was trimmed away, but the entire seam allowance of the center section fabric was left in tact.  That filled the binding nicely.

Laurel loves her smocked nightie and declares that Molly does too.  Happy birthday and sweet dreams, Sweet Girl.

The Party

 

BD luau 3

 

Laurel’s mother hosts the most fabulous, creative birthday parties.  Laurel’s 9th was a luau, held at the neighborhood clubhouse with Hawaiian music playing in the background.  Each girl was given a grass skirt and a lei to wear for the hula lesson.

 

photo-5

 

While the hula instructor and her 12 year old daughter, shown above, taught the dance, the girls were so absorbed and intent on learning.

Meanwhile, their tag-along brothers were equally intent on fighting battles with their huge water guns.

 

water guns cr

 

 

Everyone enjoyed the fresh pineapple, strawberries and melon, along with Polynesian meatballs and other treats.  The pineapple upside down cupcakes were frosted with a chilled icing made with cherry paste.

 

cupcake  tree

 

The cupcakes were decorated with fresh bougainvilleas and the table was strewn with fern and fresh flowers.

Laurel will always have wonderful memories of her 9th birthday.~~~~~

P.S.  Wish I had seen this cute smocking plate from Crosseyed Cricket before the party.  How cute is this?

TheHulaLesson311

 

6 responses to “Smocked Nighties for 2 American Girls

  1. The nightgowns are lovely! I don’t think that there is anything lovelier than smocked sleeves. I always learn something when you post your projects. Thank you! Although I made my Victoria-Rose nightgowns, I never did make her a smocked one. I wish I had. Well, I just added smocked nightgowns for older girls to my ‘To Make’ list for my grandmother’s hope chest. Your post on my ‘teases’ made me laugh out loud! I’ll get to the First Communion dress today. I did a tutorial for the guest post. I can’t believe how LONG it took me to size and order pictures and write the ‘how to’. Goodness!

  2. feels good to mark something off the list, doesn’t it?

    The gowns are adorable….I’ll be checking my mailbox for 4! lol

  3. I am visiting you from Craftastic Monday/Sew Can Do. The smocking is absolutely gorgeous!!! It seems a shame not to wear these in public after so much work. Maybe a pajama day at school? My post is about teaching your children to sew in the form of a Summer Sewing Camp:
    http://www.thelostapron.com/2013/05/summer-sewing-camp-materials.html

  4. Ana, your post about teaching children to sew is wonderful! Great projects and great photos! Teaching children to sew and do other needlearts is a subject near and dear to my heart. Keep up the good work!

  5. I love these! I will have to pull out some of my fabric and make some. Great job!

    ~Katie
    livelovesewandeatdoughnuts.blogspot.com

  6. Thanks, Katie. All American Girls love a pretty nightie.

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