July 4th Outfits and At Home Celebrations


I love the 4th of July and everything that goes with it.  I love the picnics, the parades, the fireworks, the flag waving, the declarations of patriotism, the television broadcast of A Capitol Fourth, all that and more.  But what I love most is the blessings and freedoms we celebrate on Independence Day.  Oh–that and the children’s clothes, too!

When our children were still at home, we hosted a huge picnic with as many as 175 guests.  I wrote an article about it for the 1988 summer issue of Sew Beautiful.  For any who would like to stroll down Memory Lane with me, the  article is reprinted at the end of this post.

Our Rebecca was 8 years old that year and wore the Smocking Unlimited Katie’s Sun Set  (just the bib front pants) in white baby cord with red, blue and yellow pinstripes.  The smocked bib front had fireworks, watermelon and other stereotypical July 4th motifs.



This year, new outfits were made only for 6 month old Vivian Rose and 4 year old Alastair.  Little Guy will be wearing not only the tee shirt shown above but navy shorts and the suspenders like those shown below which his doting mother purchased 6 weeks ago.




Alastair’s shirt was applique’d with a machine embroidery design from Applique Market, one which I used for Robert, my little Tie Guy.  I like this design because it comes in 7 sizes, from 1.5″ t0 6″.  In my stash, there were no stars on a blue field, so the stars were extracted from another design and imported to be embroidered on the knot after the applique’ was complete.

This shirt almost didn’t happen and even so, is not as planned.  The night before the children’s outfits were to be delivered, I pulled out the white shirt in my bag of size 4-5 shirt  “blanks” bag only to discover  that it had puffed sleeves!  Apparently, this was a shirt I had meant to embroider for Laurel a few sizes ago.

So I rushed out to WalMart and grabbed up this one.  Actually, I grabbed 3 so I’d have a few on hand.  At home, I discovered the slight V-neck, which is not what I wanted at all.  Oh well.

Vivian Rose’s bubble pattern is Children’s Corner Bobbie.


This is a perfect pattern for her.  The fully lined bubble is very full, so it can accommodate her bulky cloth diapers.  But the fullness is controlled with elastic under the arms and at the legs.




There are buttons at the crotch and a single button with loop (no buttonholes) at the center back. Easy peasy.


bubble back


The pattern is very simple, a blank canvas for embellishment.  I had a little trouble getting the lining sewn together properly, but I always have trouble with reversals so it is probably just a problem for me.  The armscyes and neckline are trimmed with red rick rack and whipstitch piping from Farmhouse Fabrics.

The machine applique’d cupcake has a flag imported from another design.  The cupcake motif is especially meaningful to Rebecca because she was nicknamed “Cupcake” as a child and because for the 4th, I have always made cupcakes with little flags at the top.  That’s a memory she and her brother always recall.



I can’t wait for photos of the children attending July 4th celebrations wearing their new duds.  I just wish I had had time to make outfits for Robert and Laurel.  Next year for sure.

What did you sew up for Independence Day?

Now, the Ferguson Family Fourth, from Sew Beautiful:

The Invitation:

 The Fourth of July is upon again when the Fergusons gather here with their friends.  Some old, some new, some long-lost we fear, but we hope y’all come to our picnic this year.

We’re big on tradition–it’s all standard fare–ham and baked beans and a dish brought to share.  There will be cupcakes with flags and blueberry pie, watermelons and lemonade so no one gets dry.

The Ferguson Flyer picks up at the gate, all little friends and things of great weight.  There’s volleyball, horseshoes, swimming, and of course, Jubilation T. Corn-PONY, our cart-pulling horse.

We honor patriotism on Independence Day, with speeches from our youngsters who compete in this way.  For groups (1) Young and (2) Older, we have ribbons and prizes for kids six or sixteen and all in between sizes.

“Why I love America”  is the  topic this year, so stay under 5 minutes and make sure all can hear. By popular demand, at the end of the day, our big guys will put on a great rocket display.  We’ll walk Lemon Lane  to the field down the hill where Ryan, John and the Raymond boys will give us a thrill.

At 2 o’clock the picnic begins, at 4 we will see  which orator wins.  At 5 we will done on good Southern cookin’.  At 6:30 for rockets we all will be lookin’.

Please RSVP232-2422 and bring ________________ along with you too.  All Good Friends, do join us on this festive occasion as we celebrate together the birth of our nation.

The article:  In 1976, amidst all the hoopla over our nation’s Bicentennial, our family hosted an old fashioned Fourth of July picnic at our home in Glenwood, in central Florida.  It has become an annual event, eagerly anticipated by both our family and our guests.

And what fun everyone has!  Traditional summer picnics are not so common, at least in Florida, since air conditioning offered a haven for the easily wilted.  So it is a novel experience for children to run sack races, take pony rides and watch another generation of gentlemen play horseshoes.  For the heartiest of guests, a spirited volleyball game stimulates players appetites for the culinary delights of the dinner hours.

Junior picnickers eat watermelon, spit the seeds at one another, swim and ride the wonderful Ferguson Flyer, a wooden train built by my husband Rob.  Our Rebecca, 8, and her cronies help young passengers board while it is driven in turns by her brother Ryan, 12, and his friends.  These are the very children for whose pleasure it was built some ten years ago, the same children who just yesterday, so it seems, range the bell in the caboose on previous journeys of the Flyer.

Just before dinner, aspiring politicians, actors and patriotically inspired youngsters pontificate on the year’s chosen topic, such as “Why I love America” or “If I Were President.”  The varied political persuasions of their parents are obvious as one child urges more arms for national security while another suggests we negotiate and pray for world peace.  Another declares that she loves American because, “You can have new bikes.”  All participants earn ribbons, while winners get rosettes and silver dollars.

After the oratory contest, the guests, who number from 75 to 150, have a tug of war: last names A-L versus M-Z.  The winning team goes through the dinner line first, a reward of no small merit considering the few serving of Miss Alice’s famous apple pie or te popularity of my mother’s corn pudding.

The last event of the celebration is the delight and responsibility of our big boys.  A rocketry (not fireworks) display, held in the meadow down the lane, shows their expertise and interest in the technology of the future.  The competition is unspoken but undeniable as each boy unveils his new design before the spectators and prays silently for a successful launch.

As dusk falls, families gather up their youngster and casserole dishes and head out to the fairgrounds to the county fireworks display.   The little ones, with their stuffed Uncle Sam or Liberty Belle party favors (I MADE 24 of these!!!), carry with them the memory of a grand birthday party for our country.

Another year of freedom and liberty has been celebrated by young and old, by family and friends, in a time-honored tradition, in one small town in America.

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