Category Archives: Heirloom sewing

Oona’s baptism day

Last Sunday was a day full of blessings, family time, and one little baby who wasn’t sure what to make of it all. Baby Oona was baptized at Trinity Episcopal Church on April 15th in Ambler, PA in front of many family members, friends, and the Trinity congregation. She was one of three babies baptized that morning, and of course, the only one who cried! As my DH said, she was the only one with a normal reaction to having water poured on her head. :-)

It was hard to get decent pictures of a moving baby, but my DH did manage to snap a few that were decent. Hopefully we will get more from the other camera-hounds in attendance soon. Oona’s dad, Mat, held her throughout the ceremony, and I just love this shot of the two of them.

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Too bad this one is so blurry, but it was the only one we got of the actual baptism.  We should have told Father Dave to hold still for a Kodak moment!

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After the ceremony was over Oona was happy to be the center of attention. Especially as long as Mommy held her!

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She wasn’t quite as happy when Nana hold her, but at least one of us was thrilled!

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Oona is telling me a secret. I promised not to tell Mommy and Daddy!

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 It was a wonderful day and celebration, and I was relieved my DD loved how Oona’s dress turned out. I think Oona loved it too, since there were no expulsions of any kind. Whew!

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen

A special dress for a special day

Ta da! My DGD’s christening dress is done, and I even have a few “extras” to bring back to New York for the blessed event. I was definitely cutting it a little close on timing, but what else is new? I am really pleased with how the dress turned out – and I hope DGD’s momma is as happy with it as I am. Sometimes garments really DO turn out exactly as I picture them in my head!

Apologies for the picture quality. Photographing white is hard, and I am a lame photographer. Anyway, here is the “full frontal”.

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Mitered lace insertion, hand embroidery on the bodice and the sleeves, adorable!

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More embroidery near the hem edge, and the entredeux and hem lace. Pretty!

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Momma says baby is a drooley-booley-spit-up-girl at the moment. Maybe a pretty bib will keep the dress clean until show time during the service.

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Not sure if these will be the final effort, but a girl needs to have new shoes for a new dress, right?

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I know, I’m a little nuts. But I had a wonderful time making this dress and accessories for Oona’s big day, and am still hoping to get a little sweater done and maybe a little fancier pair of shoes. Or maybe some hand-knit booties. Or maybe I will just lie down until my creative brain shuts off!

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen

Grandma’s joy, an heirloom christening dress

I feel blessed in many, many ways, but it hardly gets any better than being Nana to my first granddaughter. Little Oona will be christened on April 15th, and my DD asked me to make her christening dress. The last christening dress I made was 34 years ago for said DD! At that time, I used Vogue 2878, which is still in my stash, and was under consideration Oona’s dress.  Of course we still have that first dress I made, but after being used for 4 babies,  it has a few stains and doesn’t seem quite right for DGD #1.

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So, to smock, or not to smock? I thought about something like the dress pictured on Sew Beautiful, but my DD didn’t want something too fussy and too specifically girly.  Sounds like they might want to leave the option open for a little Mr. in the future, eh? ;-)

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Well, I loved the dress pattern below, lengthened of course, but DD was not swooning as much over it as I was. Hmmm. After a little back and forth, I decided I would use the pink version in the lower right corner  as my inspiration, but try to simplify the style a little. Hahaha, right! Remember my mantra – if a little is good, more is better! Well, despite my appreciation for excess, I’m trying to design something I think my daughter will like too. DGD won’t care at all, so I might as well try to please her momma.

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I wanted a “T” style design, a moderate amount of fullness in the skirt, and a flared center panel. DD requested no pleat tucks and no ruffle at the bottom edge of the dress. Noted. Since I was basically drafting my own design, I made a mockup to test the scale, construction concept, and the lace placement. Please ignore the gross yellow fabric and cheap grey hem lace tape on my test sample – it sufficed to work out the design kinks!!

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Since my construction process worked and the lace layout looked good to me, I went ahead and cut out and assembled the actual front of the christening dress. I am using some luscious Swiss voile that is a bit sheer and a dream to sew with. The front is drafted as a single piece of fabric, with a “dart” under the armhole that is gathered to the yoke to provide some fullness. For the lace, I drew placement lines using a Frixion marking pen, and layered water soluble stabilizer on top of the lace to keep both the lace and fabric smooth during stitching.

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 After I stitched down the mitered points, I cut away the fabric backing and the folded edges of lace to reduce the bulk. After I add the embroidery I will finish cutting away the fabric under the lace. Verrry carefully. Don’t say it. Don’t even think it! I don’t want to jinx myself!!

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Here’s a full length version of the front, which is ready and waiting for me to limber up my embroidery fingers again. It has been more than a few years since I have done much smocking and embroidery. What fun to have another chance! 

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Here is a closeup of the front yoke, sans embroidery. The faint red marks in the picture will be embroidered loveliness soon.

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There should be more pix next week documenting progress. Happy sewing!!

Maris Olsen