Friday, February 3, 2012

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes

Well, there are no blue satin sashes or white dresses in this post, but I wanted that line because the song was all about things that make you happy.  And finding these pictures of Jazz made me ecstatic.  I was searching for some pictures to use for another blogging topic and saw these, so I changed direction.

 This is Jazz at four.  The dresses in these pictures, for the most part, were a collaborative effort between my mama and my grandmother.  I have mentioned my grandmother before and her amazing ability for garment construction.  Well, these dresses are her work.  The smocking is all my mama's work.  I grew up in South Louisiana, just outside of New Orleans.  Little girls in smocked dresses were the norm, but those little dresses were quite expensive for my parents.  My grandmother knew she could make them.  So, with every color of gingham available, she and Mama went to work.  I was the best dressed kindergartner in the land.

Here, we have a variation on the typical Bishop with front buttons and chest level smocking.

 The Chocolate Brown Bishop, complete with bear and bear growl face.

The Sunshine Yellow Bishop with lacy over-collar. 
The praying hands and contemplative mouth are just for show.

The Baby Blue that's so sheer a slip was necessary.  If you look closely, you can see the line where the hem was lowered after 30 years in place.

Inspired by their work, and really loving the look on my own daughter, I was brave enough to try my hand at this.  I first made a darling yellow bishop in a size 2 or 3.  This was sent to my sweet niece in New Hampshire a few years back.  Now that I think about it, I wonder if it would fit Irish Jig this spring?  Hmm, Aunt K - what do you think???

This little number was made especially for Irish Jig's 12 month portrait.  I used an Anna Maria Horner voile from her Little Folks line.  Her voiles are so smooth and lovely, I want to make all of my clothes from it. Unfortunately, I find it a bit *sheer* for my tastes.  This pattern is known as an "angel wing" bishop because of the sleeve flutter.  I took my time, said a few words no one else should ever hear, and managed to complete it on time!  (Not always a strong point for me, that timeline).  I do have a picture of Irish Jig in this adorable dress, but since it was taken professionally, I need to ask permission from my photographer before posting it. 

I like to refer to my childhood dresses as The Vintage Collection and I actually have many more.  I'll have to do another post on the rest one day.  While I truly enjoyed seeing my daughter in this creation of mine, these little gems are time consuming.  I totally get the hefty price tags on them.  The voile creation took about 45 man hours, not counting the time spent rolling the fabric through the gathering machine. 

Mama, I hope you enjoyed this little trip down memory lane.  I bet you can still remember the nights you sat stitching those bishop necklines.  Aren't you glad you saved them?  And aren't you glad they will get worn again in about two or three years?


  1. Oh goodness those dresses are divine! They must have taken a lot of work.

    I took a class in college called "Creative Stitching." We learned all these 'lost art' stitching like tatting, smocking, and ribbon embroidery. It was so much fun! I still have my sample book where I stapled all the samples I had to make somewhere in the garage.

  2. Your photographer Jef @ jpressonphotography, says you can post the photo. hehe Show off that dress lady!


I thank you for visiting with me and for sharing your thoughts. I hope your day is fabulous and that you make some time for music - no matter what kind!