One Last Little Dress for Summer

I hate to be the one to break the spell of summer, but I am already hearing and seeing rumblings of back-to-school in stores and among friends and family. My sister who is a teacher in Missouri is heading into the classroom next week to prepare for the next school year.


Such a summer classic!

Recently, Barb Delaney, an assistant editor on the mixed media team, brought in the most darling dress that she had made for her granddaughter. (Yes, we really do practice what we edit!) By the time she had gotten done customizing the dress to her granddaughter, she had basically redrafted the pattern. And then she added the  finishing touch: bright red rickrack along the hemline.

The result was the perfect little girl's dress for summer. Nautical and happy, it was simply made, without fussy details. It's the sort of classic dress that will be used now and hang in the closet for generations to come. My mother has just those sorts of dresses in her closet–dresses she made for me and my sisters and dresses her mother made for her.

I have 19 nieces and nephews, and I often don't sew for them unless it's a special occasion, because I know just how fast children grow, and I wonder if all my efforts will really be put to use. But the fact is that the casual clothing we make for children becomes heirlooms, just as much as quilts and christening gowns. They don't have to be fancy-they can be both useful and delightful and still qualify as heirlooms.

This dress by Barb really inspired me to rethink how I use my sewing time, and I have resolved to make more outfits for my nieces and nephews, even though I know they will be outgrown in a matter of months. There's always another child to wear it, and the knowledge that it was handmade with love and will likely be handed down through the generations adds to its importance.

Now that school bells will soon be ringing, why don't you and your child make a useful and pretty gift for teacher that will become an heirloom? Find lots of excellent presents in Stitch Teacher Gifts e-book, which you can download at SewDaily.com.

Do you a memory of a great outfit you made for your child or grandchild or that someone made for you? Do tell!

Happy stitching!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Amber

About Amber

Amber Eden is the editor of Stitch and SewDaily.com. She LOVES sewing and editing Stitch and SewDaily.com. She also loves dance, yoga, iced decaf triple espressos, and her two golden retrievers. She divides her time between Boston and New York.

7 thoughts on “One Last Little Dress for Summer

  1. My grandma made me a beautiful winter coat. It was teal wool, lined with a warm thick double layered lining and had a rabbit fur collar. I loved that coat, but have no idea what became of it. My great Aunty Lena made me a white knit jumpsuit with a zipper opening, wide legs and long sleeves that were wide at the bottom. She also made me several little one piece short jump suits for play. My sister was also similarly dressed. I’m sorry that we started wanting store bought clothes. I’m also terribly sorry that we didn’t learn to sew from Grandma and Aunty Lena. Aunty was a seamstress in Russia and made beautiful clothing, including made to measure wedding dresses. She didn’t use patterns. She could duplicate any garment in a photo. Such talent. Gone.

  2. My mom made me three identical shorts sets when I was very little: one red, one blue, one green, shorts and a top with an elastic ruffly neck. I thought I had worn them out, but no! Scraps of those outfits showed up in a cathedral window quilt many years later! I know where I get my tendency to hang onto anything fabric!

  3. I made a red Christmas dress with a pinafore and bloomers for my first granddaughter to wear on her first Christmas. The dress has been worn by 2 other granddaughters and we have studio pictures of them all in the same dress. The pictures are in our living room and bring many smiles. The dress is now being saved for the next generation. It was truly a labor of love.

    Mary Ann

  4. I made a red Christmas dress with a pinafore and bloomers for my first granddaughter to wear on her first Christmas. The dress has been worn by 2 other granddaughters and we have studio pictures of them all in the same dress. The pictures are in our living room and bring many smiles. The dress is now being saved for the next generation. It was truly a labor of love.

    Mary Ann

  5. My Mother made my 1 yr old daughter a green coat with matching bonnet, which were both lined with yellow as well as covering buttons in the yellow. My daughter is now in her late 40’s so I have put the photograph of the 2 of them in a shadow box along with the extra buttons and shoes from the picture for a birthday gift. Memories come to life!

  6. The dress shown in the photo above looks much like what I made for my daughters when they were small. all my children were short and thin, so finding clothes that fit was difficult. Sewing seemed simpler than shopping! My daughters were still wearing a size toddler 3 when they started school, although I did have to lengthen the pattern a lot. When my sister got married a few years later I sewed special dresses for them for being flower girls in the ceremony. I got a size 5 pattern and had to adjust the neckline because the pattern was so “open”. They wore those dresses for about 2 years, then I used the same pattern, much lengthened, to make new dresses. They wore that size 5 pattern until they were 11 years old! (For my son I found it easier to sew all his pants for school until he was well into his teens; I still sew most of my clothes and all my husband’s pants) I sewed myself a gown to wear to that wedding; it still fits. When I was a child my grandfather (a tailor) made some special outfits for me: I think he made that yellow skirt and vest set I barely remember (I was perhaps 3 years old) He also sewed a set of plaid jumpers (sleeveless dresses with pleated skirts to wear with blouses) for me and my mother, and later a set of matching black satin pleated skirts for me and my younger sister. Unfortunately all those outfits have disappeared over the years.

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