Baby’s Easter Dress

dress pink2

Vivian Rose’s white Easter dress with pink slip

UPDATE:  Finally I have a photo of Vivian Rose in her Easter dress.

VR Easter 14 crop


NOTE:  Please excuse the poor quality of these photos. They were taken midday, making it nearly impossible to get a shot without shadows.  The breeze was blowing and the dress kept moving.  And photography is not my strong suit.

Are you all busy with Easter sewing?  Busy, busy, busy has been the status around here for some time and it’s not been all about sewing.  With Aunt Rheeta’s visit,  Rebecca’s 3-day visit with Alastair and Vivian Rose,  and sleepovers with our other two grandchildren, progress on Easter outfits is way behind schedule.  But I loved every minute of these visits and have no regrets.

During that time, however, I did manage to make some progress on  Vivian Rose’s holiday finery and now that things have quieted down, I  have just finished her dress and slip.


dress no slip

dress without pink slip

The high yoke dress is made of white Swiss batiste (Nelona)  while the slip is made of pink Imperial.  Since I first saw Martha Pullen’s first heirloom sewing book which showed a white Heirloom Party Dress with a colored slip peeking through,  I have loved the look of subtle color.

When granddaughter Laurel was 6, her white batiste Easter dress featured a yellow slip, showing color just like lemon meringue pie.   Two years later, her white Judith Dobson Tea Dress was highlighted with a blue slip.

The fancyband includes squares of shadow work pink bows, cut from yardage of a Swiss handloom.

Alternating with lace insertion and fancy entredeux, the bows are the focus of the fancyband.


pink bows insert




Matching pink bow edging serves as the yoke overlay.


pink bows edge




The beauty of these shadow work bows never fails to make me sigh.  In pink, blue and white, I’ve collected and then hoarded the yardage since I  first laid eyes on the bows.  If I never use them up, just handling and gazing at them have given me years and years of pleasure.


blue bows insert CR


I can’t help but wonder just how the authentic shadow work stitches were done.   A look at the back of the blue bows might make you wonder as well.


blue shadow wrong side


When I happened upon these pieces in my handloom stash my mind wandered back to the first bow dress I made which was for 5 year old Rebecca.


my 5 year old Rebecca

my 5 year old Rebecca


A second identical dress was made for 8 year old Joanna Pullen and a third, done in blue, was commissioned by a friend.

Mimicking this dress for Rebecca’s baby girl pleased me.   Vivian Rose is too small to carry all the details of the pattern so her dress is scaled down.  Her’s has a yoke overlay instead of fancyband, gathered edging at the hemline instead of   a flounce, binding at the sleeve instead of beading and wide, circular lace.



The sleeves are bound with a layer of pink fabric beneath the white batiste to shadow through.  They were inserted with the same fancy entredeux as that used in the fancyband.

Working on the dress piecemeal fashion in every scarce free moment, I recalled Elizabeth Travis Johnson’s directive.  I needed to add something pretty to the back.  It lo0ked pretty plain.  But I thought of stitching a matching shadow work bow only after the lined yoke was attached to the skirt.


back bow

I simply scanned one of the bows, traced the outline then reduced it by 10% on my copier.   Working from the front of the fabric was a challenge as I tried to keep the stitches on the surface and between the two layers of batiste without penetrating the lining.  But the bow is small  and worked up quickly.

The pink slip was another project and will be detailed with some helpful hints in my next post.  Meanwhile, I’ll be back in the sewing room working outfits for  other grandchildren.

So how are your Easter projects coming along?


I love vintage cards.  Doesn't this little dress look like it's smocked?

I love vintage cards. Doesn’t this little dress look like it’s smocked?

14 responses to “Baby’s Easter Dress

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