Easter is the time to remember Christ and the resurrection and worship with others. If you sew and have a little girl, it is probably also the time to make a new dress. This dress is the UFO that has haunted me the most for the last year.
Last year, I had the great opportunity to take the on-line serger licensing class from the Martha Pullen company. It is was a great class and I loved it and learned a lot. If you ever get the chance to take a class, I would highly recommend it. They recently announced another serger class, and I am trying to ignore all the emails I’m getting because I am too busy this summer to take a class. I would take it another time if I had the chance.
One of the projects for this class was an heirloom sewing dress. I have been reading about heirloom sewing and doing it in my head since before I had kids, but I have never bought the materials and actually tried it. French lace, entredeux, and embroidered insertion are expensive, and not common in my part of Canada. I did find a local distributor, Sew Fancy, who carries a large range of heirloom supplies. In fact, she is close enough to me that I was able to make an appointment to visit the warehouse and pick up my order in person.
In terms of heirloom sewing, these are basic techniques – joining lace, fabric and entredeux, and gathering lace. The project for my class had the option of making a Christening gown or a girl’s dress, and of course I chose the dress for G2, who was seven. The skirt has a large fancy band, with part of the band used in the bodice. I did make my own embroidered insertion to save money. I took strips of batiste and used a decorative stitch on my sewing machine.
Everything went together smoothly and I absolutely loved the dress until I put the gathered ruffle on the bottom. I hated the ruffle for some reason. The dress was complete except the buttons on the back, and I couldn’t bring myself to finish it. G2 loved it kept bugging me to finish it. It hung on the back of my bedroom door for almost a year.
Because the ruffle was serged (overlocked) I knew that unpicking it was going to b a big job and I kept putting it off. By February I knew that it was now or never. If I put it off longer, the dress would be too small, so I decided to do it for Easter. Of course, it was one of those things that was not as bad as I had imagined it was going to be, and I got the ruffle off without any major incidents.
I put the band back on without the gathering, and I loved it again. G2 really loved it, and was happy that it was finally done after a year of asking. I decided to add ribbon to the entredeux and the sleeves and waist went very quickly. I loved the look of it, so thought I would add it to the skirt band too. How long could it take? I thought maybe 20 minutes. Two hours later, I was almost done. At least it was a good tv project.
Because she is a child of her generation, she had never even heard of a “slip” before, but she was very excited that I made an “under-dress” (as she called it) to go under the light fabric. You can’t tell in the picture, but there is an extreme difference of fabric between the dress and the slip. The dress is good quality batiste with French cotton lace, and the slip is cheap cotton with polyester lace. She doesn’t seem to care.
I realized this year that it might be my last year to make a special Easter dress for a while. G2 is now eight, and is moving into “tween” style. She loves this now, but she probably won’t next year. Also, she has started sewing, so by next Easter she might want to make her own dress!