Rhiannon's Christening Gown and Slip
Here is Miss Rhiannon's Christening Gown and Slip. The gown fabric is a 100% cotton striped voile. The lace is new. The smocking was done with three shades of palest pink DMC floss gradating from dark to light toward the hem. The smocking treatment is what is called an overlay and thanks to Martha of Southern Matriarch I finally got it pleated neatly with no "y's". Her suggestion was to NOT baste the two layers together and let them just flow separately but equal into the pleater. It worked! Thanks, Martha! The pattern is Trudy Horne's Shoulder Button Bishop and you can see the rear view with the closure on the shoulder above. A word about this pattern: Placket! Like most heirloom patterns this one has 3/8 inch seams. That is what you are given to fold, make a placket, and put the buttons and loops too. Now whenever I use this pattern I make my own interfaced placket with a bias strip, much nicer. So be forewarned. Did you know that most heirlooms sewists would die at thought of interfacing their little treasures? I don't get it. Just look in one of the magazines at all the curled up collars!
Another sewing friend, Nonie, some time back told me about this Velcro Fusion. It is iron on and " gets stronger with washing" per the box. It is soft and so much easier to use in these tiny closures than buttons and loops. I like making loops but have found them very aggravating to close a garment on a wriggly newborn. So I am thinking of the mother here! In the pic you can see how it is applied to the shoulder of the slip. You have to make sure you get all the edges rounged and surrounded by fabric. Don't want any irritations on their angelic skin! The neck binding is the stripe cut on the bias with some interfacing to back it. I used FormFlex. The fabric was too sheer otherwise.
The hem is hand embroidered with double featherstitching. This treatment needed to be done to balance out all the frufru at the top of the dress. This is one of my favorite hem treatments and I went into a little more depth on it a few posts back. There is a great video of how to do it on that post.The sleeves have the lace attached with entredeaux to the fabric the pink floss is run thru. The floss is pulled to gather up the sleeve and tied in a little bow.
The slip is made out of a poly cotton blend. These blends do not iron up or stitch like the natural fibers but they do provide Mom with some sort of cleanability. Babies do sprinkle after all. All of the edges, including the hemline are stitched with shellstitching, another one of my machine favorites. That stitch gives you so much bang for your effort and really should be in everyone's toolbox. The heart on the bodice is of shape lace from my collection. It is appx 80 years old. The inside of the heart has Rhiannon's initials and birth date embroidered with a back stitch. Backstitching can give you lots of maneuverability around curves and corners and is great for numbers and letters. The bodice is joined to the skirt with entredeaux. Pink floss is then run thru the entredeaux and tied in a tiny bow at CF. I love making little girls slips. You can just get so feminine with them. The pattern for the slip is pretty much non existent. I took a bodice from Simp 5279, the dress. This is my go to bodice whenever I want to "make it my own." I extended one back shoulder a 1/2 inch and the matching front shoulder an inch and a half. After the shell stitching was done the velcro was applied, the shoulders lapped and shut. Again, easy for Mom to get Rhiannon out of her gown. I also didn't like the idea of two layers of hard little buttons sticking in her. One is enough!
The gown is ready to be shipped out tomorrow morning. I have spent most of today working on "reverse tulip" sleeves on a tiny little dress for a baby shower gift. These little outfits are just such fun, candy sewing. Back to the jacket soon! then Christmas, Yikes!........Bunny
ETA: My go to pattern, Simp 5279 is old, and I had no idea how much. While looking for a pic on Simp's site, it was out of print. Further googling let me know that it is from 1963! Wish I had pics but the only one I have found is a really poor one on ebay.