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christening dress

foxe | Posted in General Discussion on

Hi Everyone  – Iam new to this forum and need some help – I am looking for a christening dress that was in Sew Beautfiul about 2 yrs ago – it had emb. flowers down the front and I can’t find the mag. now that I want it – If I can’t find that one I would like one that has cut out lace areas – does anyone have any suggestions – thanks foxe


  1. solosmocker | | #1

    Hi! A fellow heirloom sewist and smocker here. Just about every issue of SB has a christening gown, many with embroidery down the front. I would suggest a visit to the forum at Sew Beautiful. There are many on that board who seem to know the content of the past ten years magazines by heart. You may also want to try the Heirloom and Smocking board at Delphi Forums as well as Everythingsewing.com. I hope these few links help. I am an Australian Smocking and Embroidery magazine addict and dwhile I have a few years worth of those, I do not have many Sew Beautifuls. Hope this helps.

    I am also planning on making a christening gown in the near future. I just want to have one to showcase my skills and pass thru the family. I will be using the Strassburg Vogue pattern. You may want to check out Vogue. There patterns tend to have the embroidery included along with lessons, albeit not that great.

    Good luck.

    1. foxe | | #3

      Hi  thanks - I have been in touch with sew beautiful and they think it is #100 but without seeing it and not knowing how long the magazine will take Im a little leary of ordering it - since the baby is going to be born the end of dec.  I will check out the links that you gave me and maybe I can narrow it down.  I also have a beautiful pillow case with lots of lace and just found a pattern to do that maybe.  Again thank you.  foxe

    2. ctirish | | #13

      I am excited to hear from someone who does heirloom sewing and smocking. Did it take you a long time to learn?  I have a subscription to SB but I also love the Australian Smocking and Embroidery magazine.  Do you do the smocking by hand? I always see ads for pleaters; could you explain to me how they work and are they a necessary part of learning smocking.  I did buy a CD called smocking in the hoop, have you heard of anyone using it. 


      1. jane4878 | | #14

        I don't smock, but my mother was an amazing handsmocker.  She used an iron-on grid of small dots (called "Knott's Dots" after Grace Knott who taught my mother in Toronto during the 1940's).  Then she would use thread to pick up a couple of threads on each dot in rows perpendicular to the pleats.  Then she would gather up the threads on each side and pull them tightly to get all the pleats done.  When the smocking was done the threads were removed.  Also, with ginham she didn't need the dots, she would pick up a thread in each corner of a square instead.  Hope this helps. 

      2. solosmocker | | #15

        Jane gave a perfect description of smocking without a pleater. A pleater is a little machine, really quite simple, with brass round bars with grooves in them for the needles to set into. You thread the needles you need for the number of rows you are smocking. Then you carefully and slowly feed the fabric thru the machine. The perfect little pleats will pile up on the needles. You move them off and then turn some more, get more pleats, ad infinitum. Grace L Knott "Knotts Dots" are still available. The machine gives you perfect tight little pleats that give improved final results. Many get started smocking with just the dots. I have a pleater. I can't imagine doing all the smocking I do without it. My smocking is by hand. Here is a sample;
        http://everythingsewing.net/gallery2/v/Smocking/IMG_0336.JPG.htmlThere are many great smocking and heirloom designs in this gallery. I hope you enjoy. I love to sew and did a lot of tailoring until my recent retirement. I have a pretty broad sewing background as well. But this work is just like eating candy. When my grandaughter arrived it gave me an excuse to concentrate on this type of sewing and leave the tailored suits of my working past behind. AS far as "was it easy to learn?", I was self taught until I stumbled upon a smocking teacher in the far northern state I lived in. I just got a pattern and dove in. My teacher did teach and inspire me a lot a little further on down the road. I have been doing this for two years now. There is a connection in my history however. Smocking and heirloom sewing are part of my upbringing. I was brought up in the Deep South where there is a strong tradition of this type of sewing. I spent my school years in convent schools where heirloom sewing was taught to us by the nuns. Fast forward to a life in New England. When my grandaughter came along it was only second nature to pick up this type of sewing. Now if only I could find another smocker in very upstate NY I would be thrilled!Edited 11/10/2006 5:53 pm ET by solosmocker

        Edited 11/10/2006 5:56 pm ET by solosmocker

        1. fabricholic | | #17

          I have to comment on your smocking. They are absolutely gorgeous. The little white dress, the cinderella, I even love your puppy picture. Wow, I wish I could learn from you how to smock. I am so in awe. Bravo.Marcy

          1. solosmocker | | #22

            While I have quite a few items in the gallery, I certainly have not made them all, LOL! Wish I did. There are some amazing smockers on that board. I will pass on your kind words.

          2. fabricholic | | #23

            O.k.  I wondered how anyone could do so much smocking in a life time.  I feel a little better now.  I am still in awe.  Beautiful, beautiful!  It's like looking at a beautiful painting.  Never would I tire of looking at those pictures.


        2. foxe | | #18

          your work is beautiful, I wish I could learn  smocking, I bought the dots but haven't gotten to far.  Where in upstate NY are you? I lived in Batavia for 27 yrs. after marrying and leaving Long Island .  I have been looking for elastic that i saw once that was about 4" wide - clear - and it had very narrow elastic running thru it so once it was sewn on you only had to gather it. Is insertion hard to do and can it be down with just a straight stitch machine - no zig zag etc. I have a feather weight Eileen

          1. solosmocker | | #20

            I have e-mailed you. Thank you for the compliment.

        3. zuwena | | #19

          My goodness, your smocking is beautiful.  It doesn't look like anything I remember being taught umpteen years ago.  Are there different ways of handsmocking? Z

          1. solosmocker | | #21

            There is English smocking, also know as geometric smocking, and Picture Smocking. Today most people smock with fabric they have pleated on a pleater, not the dots. A pleater can be a bit of an investment but you can have someone pleat for you or buy garments prepleated and ready to smock. Picture smocking is when you smock an actual image like a basket or Cinderella. It is much more difficult to do than geometric smocking and usually not recommended as the place to start. I think smocking today is much more sophisticated than what was around when I was a child. I think there is a much higher standard set as well. There is a wonderful smocking and heirloom community and some wonderful forums out there for us smocking addicts. If anyone is lucky enough to be in the South or even better, Deep South, there are many stores and teachers catering to this art. I hope some of you are able to take advantage of this. I can only be jealous as there is nothing like this in my neck of the woods. Thanks for the interest.

          2. zuwena | | #25

            Thank you for the explanation.  Before receiving your response, a friend showed me how to manage a small grid.  I tried it and, while it is nothing to write home about, I am pleased that I actually got a 10 x 6 piece of cloth smocked.  I see where I didn't maintain the tension in all instances but I am reasonably proud of my first attempt at this after 50 years.  thanks again.  Z

  2. MaryinColorado | | #2

    Was the dress on the cover of SB?  I have several years of them, too many to figure out which one you mean.  I suggest you go to http://www.sewbeautifulmag.com and check the covers for the issue you need.  Hope this helps.  I think you can still order back issues, if not, maybe one of us can send you the one you need.  I enjoyed belonging to the Sew Beautiful online club for quite a while, many cool free emb designs and patterns.  Mary

    1. foxe | | #4

      Hi  I heard back from them and they think it is #100 - its not on the cover but inside. the front of the dress looks like it has a insert and the emb. flowers go from the top to the bottom - when i was telling someone else about it they said it sounded like a martha pullen still cause of the shape.  thanks

  3. ctirish | | #5

    Hi, I have Sew Beautiful Issue #100.  Maybe all of this will sound familar. The cover has a spring dress on it. It is made in a linen of yellow and blue and the notable item is the flowers on the dress were made with rick rack.  The christening dress is a collarless dress of batiste with lace on the front. The front is divided into 5 sections with lace dividing each one. The embroidery is at the top of the gown and around the bottom. 

     I am going to try and upload a couple of pictures I took with my cell phone, hopefully they will come out OK.  If this is the dress you are in luck on a couple of fronts. All of the embroidery is from Grandmother's Hope Chest. The pattern for the gown is called Mary Clare by Kathy Neal. The pattern for the dress is not in the magazine. The article is four pages and two of them are pictures. The printout in the center has the stitch key for the dress.  Let me know what you need...



    Edited 11/7/2006 12:32 am ET by ctirish

    1. foxe | | #6

      good morning


      thank you so much for doing that for me.  I hate to be a pain but would you by any chance have #94 - that's the only other cover that looks familiar to me that I might have had, - 2 yrs and the brain ain't working that good.  I maybe all wrong but I still think what i remember is that it only had emb down the very center and I think it had an irish name to it.   If you don't have 94 or it doesn't have the dress im thinking about anything you can send me from the mag. like the pics you took with directions I guess is what I would need to do this.  Looking at the emb do you think a beginner at emb would be able to do that emb.  The dress looks similar to a pattern i have  from old fashion baby .  I don't know where you are located but Iam in Raleigh Nc and if you want i could call or vs.  thanks again  Eileen

      1. ctirish | | #7

        I'll check on #94 and get back to you..jane

        1. foxe | | #8

          thank you

          1. ctirish | | #9

            Ok, Issue 94 does not have a Christening Outfit - but it does have a daygown that is called Irish Rose. I wondered if you are looking for an Irish Christening gown?

            I also found (in the SBs that I have) 4 more Christening Gowns - the article names are: A Gown for Emma, Suffolk Swirl Christening Gown, Kathryn's Christening Gown and the last is: Quinn's Celtic Christening Gown.  

            Have you done very much hand embroidery or crewel work? The Irish Rose daygown  doesn't look too bad but it doesn't say Christening gown to me.  I am going to send another note with pictures from the other gowns and you can talk with people here and decide if you like any of them..

            Here are the pictures for the day gown in issue #94 -

          2. foxe | | #10

            BINGO - THATS THE DRESS OH THANK YOU SO MUCH -  to answer your question about emb. no i have done very little but maybe I can do the bullions - oh u have really made my day

          3. ctirish | | #11

            Here are the other 4 Christening gowns that I located in the SB mags I have saved.  They are all beautiful. You can tell which is which on two of these. There are two pictures of each gown. I have more pictures of each if you want them.  The first one is Quinn's Celtic, the second is Kathryn's and the third is Emma's . On kathryn's I have the top and the long gown, on Emma I have the top and the detailing at the bottom of the trim. On Quinn's it is a pic of the whole gown and then one of center bottom cross and at the very bottom before the hem is an area where you can embroider the name of the child and the date of the event. 

            Good luck.....


          4. foxe | | #12

            they are all really beautiful but if i can get the info on the dress from mag 94 i will be a happy camper and get myself busy so ill have it ready in time.  thanks for all your research. you can email me directly so i can send you some money for copying the directions etc from the book -  Eileen

          5. foxe | | #24

            Hi Hope your Thanksgiving was good. I was wondering if you or anyone else on the forum could tell me how to go about putting a celtic cross on the dress like the one in one of the pixs you posted. I was trying to find a lace one that I could just sew on but Im not coming across anything. Thanks

          6. User avater
            Becky-book | | #26

            You might be able to find a counted cross-stitch pattern for a celtic cross and do it over 'waste canvas' on the dress.


          7. fabricholic | | #27

            Do you have an embroidery machine?  If you do, there are cross designs on Martha Pullen's website.  I believe it is under Martha's Lace Motifs. 


      2. ctirish | | #16

        Eileen, I sent you an email so you would have my email address. If you want me to send you the extra copy of SB #94 I need some information.  Talk soon, jane

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