Add Love to Your Garments with Accessories

Jan 28, 2013

My sister recently suffered a tremendous loss, and I visited her to support her in a difficult time. I was sitting in her apartment one evening, and she pulled out a dress that I had made for her many years ago. So long ago, in fact, that I had completely forgotten I had made it.

A small dragonfly
is the final loving touch.

A velvet ribbon
finishes the hem.

 A reversed bodice, stays,
and beading turn the dress
from plain to pretty.  

But she clearly had not forgotten the dress at all. It had been kept in perfect condition, and it was clear that this was something she had treasured through the years. She pointed out little details I had used to accessorize the dress. I was touched by her affection for it and also gratified that she has a physical symbol of my love for her.

Once I saw the dress, I immediately remembered the countless hours of work that had gone into it. It started out as a simple, strapless, A-line denim dress, and I embellished upon that in every sense of the word.

I reversed the denim on the bodice to provide contrast and reinforced the side seams with stays. I finished the seams with bias tape to keep them from raveling. I added a beaded trim to highlight the empire waist and finished the hem with a wide, pink, velvet ribbon. And my most favorite touch of all: I stitched a sweet dragonfly patch to the back of the dress, just below her left shoulder blade.

I made the dress long distance, relying on measurements my sister had given me, working long into the wee hours the night before her arrival. I remember holding my breath when she tried it on  to see if it would fit and letting that breath out with a long whoosh of relief when it did. After she took it home, I recall her writing me to tell me that whenever she wore it, she gathered many compliments.

The dress was a flattering style and a nice gift in and of itself. But the extra accessorizing added all the love. And she felt that love, not just when she wore it upon first receiving it, but a decade later when she needed it most.

For lots of projects you can accessorize with love to your heart's content, check out the Resolve to Save Sale, with 30 to 65% savings in the Sew Daily Shop.

Do you have a gift project that you put a particularly big amount of love into? Tell us all about it.

Happy stitching!

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on Jan 28, 2013 3:31 AM

Beautiful story.  Beautiful dress.  Thanks so much for sharing!

dgranic wrote
on Jan 28, 2013 7:49 AM

I made a dress with pinafore for my oldest daughter's 2nd birthday.  It was a beautiful blue background with red, white and green print, and the same colors used to hand-embroider the white pinafore!  The pinafore also had red piping.  It was the prettiest most challenging thing I ever sewed, and I am proud of it to this day (27 years later)!

IngridS@3 wrote
on Jan 28, 2013 8:12 AM

Such a sweet story. My best to your sister...

I made a baptism outfit for our nephew. He was baptized a little older than most of our family babies, so he no longer fit in the 4th-generation gown. I first made a detachable square bib-style collar of Hardanger embroidery and then sewed a romper in white linen. My aunt said it looked just like a Christian Dior outfit.  I hope my sister's children will be able to use, at least the detachable collar, over whatever they choose to baptize their children in some day.

RegalRooster wrote
on Jan 28, 2013 4:02 PM

It is amazing how in difficult time we seek comfort in our hands. Holding them, using them to eat chocolate, and crafting. My dear friend sought peace and reassurance in sewing and accessorizing. Now she has Bucura Designs and freedom!

RegalRooster wrote
on Jan 28, 2013 4:06 PM

It is amazing that in difficult times we turn to our hands for comfort; to hold, to eat chocolate, and craft. A dear friend of mine when faced with a big mountain to climb started to accessorize clothing items and now owns Bucura Designs. Through sewing she found peace and freedom.