Monday, April 9, 2012

My First Heirloom Gown

Starting in October, I knew that I wanted to make my first heirloom gown for my cousin's first grandchild that was due at the end of  December. I wanted it to be extra special so I went to A Frayed Knot in Lakeland, TN to purchase my fabric. Overwhelmed at the selections, I chose a cotton/silk twill fabric in white & bought the Michie #108 Infant Tucked Gown pattern. Baby came early in December but I was in the midst of Christmas sewing so I put the gown on hold. In January, I got started. I asked the mom as to what size would she need & she said newborn. So I cut the small little bodice but decided to go with the largest size skirt (12 mo) so there would be lots of fullness. I embroidered a Jerusalem cross in the center front of the skirt & a basket of flowers with roses on each side. The back of the skirt had 3 baskets of flowers embroidered on it. Each design had well over 30,000 stitches each. I did white on white. Oops, forgot & used a little off white in one or two of the designs. I added 3 pintucks to the bottom of the skirt & a lace edging. The lace was a rose design of cotton/rayon from Hancock Fabrics. I wanted a little lace beading so added a row of that above the pintucks. This took most of the month of January to get these things done. Then I cut out the bodice but it wouldn't match up  & I didn't understand the instructions fully. I really do need to take a class on this. So, I cut another bodice & again it wouldn't match up. It's a good thing that I bought a lot of fabric for this gown. By the middle of February, I realized that the baby had grown so I cut a larger size bodice (opted for 6 month size) & again it would not match up. I was really getting frustrated. One of my guild members looked at the instructions & pointed out that I was supposed to make the pintucks first from a rectangle of fabric, add the insertion lace, & then cut the bodice & yoke. I did that & viola, everything matched up the way it was supposed to do so. By then, the baby had been baptized so I decided I would finish the gown for Easter. I added the sleeves, lace beading on the shoulders & around the sleeve bands & sewed the bodice to the skirt . Thank goodness for good sewing machines & sergers. I embroidered the baby's name & birthdate on the yoke lining plus added some fabric behind the center front so the embroidery did not detract from the insertion lace. On the back, I had to figure out how to finish the opening (instructions were useless at this point) as the back was cut on the fold. I opened down the center & added lace beading to the neckband & the waistline. Note to self, do buttonholes before adding the lace beading or they will not be centered. I added a small placket in the back of the skirt & did a lot of hand stitching to get the neckband & sleeve bands on as well as the placket. It's not my best placket ever but for a first try, it wasn't too bad. I sewed on the buttons, took some photos of the finished gown modeled by my doll, Suzy & sent it express mail to the new mom. They loved it. It was a labor of love, a new challenge to grow in my sewing skills & a joy to sew.
Happy Sewing!


Lori said...

Amazing job, Marty. The gown is gorgeous and what a treasure for the family to keep for generations.

Marty's Little Corner said...

Thanks Lori. It was a labor of love & several of my cousins have grandchildren so I will use them to practice my heirloom sewing skills. This gown was my first attempt & I know where the errors are so will improve the next time that I do one.

Sarah Jacobs said...