This was posted a few years ago. I came across it while looking for another photo and think it is worth posting again. Aliya continues to be a delight and a beauty. The dress is now scrap. But as I distribute the outgrown garments from our last and final granddaughter, Vivian Rose, the message is still meaningful.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Seeing little girls in heirloom dresses just makes me purr with happy contentment. And seeing a dress I made so long ago come back to life on another beautiful child is one more dividend for the time and effort that went into making it.
Everything they say about the timelessness of heirloom clothing is true. Twenty-nine years ago, my blue eyed blond Rebecca frequently wore this to church as well as a few weddings. She was a veritable Vision of Loveliness. Then it was on loan to my dear friend Gale for her towheaded, blue-eyed Anna, Vision of Loveliness #2. Anna wore it as much as Rebecca had.
Next it was loaned to another friend for brown haired, brown-eyed Cameron, VOL #3. And a few days ago, golden-skinned, brown-eyed Aliya wore it to church and then to visit her great grandmother. In my eyes, she stole the VOL crown from her predecessors.
Aliya’s mother is one of my Rebecca’s best friends. When we tried the dress on Aliya, I was reminded of Cinderella’s glass slipper, meant for one specific young lady. It seems the dress was waiting all these years for Aliya to bring it to the peak of its beauty. And of course, the beauty is really this child.
Gazing at Aliya in this frock immediately takes me down Memory Lane. As I look at the interesting features, I am a little surprised that I had enough confidence to take this on, as I had only been doing heirloom sewing for 18 months. But then, I had extra motivation.
In the midst of planning her first Huntsville School of Art Fashion in the little blue house on Madison Street, Martha Pullen called asking me to teach a class on lace portrait collars. “But Martha,” I lamented,” I have never made one!” Martha calmly replied, “Well, the school is not for 5 months. Surely you can learn!” She has always instilled confidence in others.
So learn I did. And I can promise you that every collar was as flat as a pancake. I don’t know how many collars I made before I tackled this dress for a class sample but by the time the school came around, I could have hung a shingle declaring Professional Portrait Collar Maker. Well, maybe Semi-Professional….
But back to the features of this dress. Aside from the portrait collar of lace insertion, beading, edging and ribbon, the sleeve ruffle uses an interesting technique. Details for the circular styled sleeve trim is detailed near the end of an earlier post.
The skirt fancyband consists of growth tucks and a simple row of lace insertion surrounded by entredeux threaded with floss.
The ribbon carriers are made of entredeux with gathered lace edging. Floss is threaded through the entredeux, mimicking the fancyband.
I wonder just how many times this dress has been worn and laundered. Close inspection of the portrait collar shows that threads have been breaking down for some time. Whatever the number, at Aliya’s visit with her great-grandmother, where these photos were taken, the dress was worn for the last time. The lace in the fancyband tore away from the entredeux and cannot be repaired without more trouble than it would be to make another.
But what does it matter? I have seen four precious little girls look and feel like princesses wearing this dress. I have no regrets that this was its last hurrah.