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.


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? 😉


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.


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!!


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.


 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!!


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! 


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


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

Maris Olsen

14 Responses to Grandma’s joy, an heirloom christening dress

  1. Cindy says:

    OMG Maris that is absolutely gorgeous. What a special gift.

  2. Jane says:

    lovely lovely lovely

  3. Sharon Chen says:


  4. Hazel Wood says:

    You are so talented! Unfortunately I never inherited the talent from my mother who loved to sew.

  5. Debbie Gettes says:

    Maris… is just beautiful and I can’t wait to see Oona wearing it!

  6. Saralyn says:

    Beautiful! Keep us updated.

  7. lena says:

    hello i have made 2 dresses (vogue 2878) and i no longer have the embrodiery iron on, can some one sell it to me or let me know where i can get. This time i am making the dress for my first grandchild. thank you, lena

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