Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sewing FO: Christening gown, bonnet, and slip

When I was christened, I was 18 months old and wore a nice dress. But I've always dreamed of having my babies wear big long gowns with lace trimmings. I'd kept my eye out for antique gowns, and admired the lovely expensive ones at the baby boutiques.

I decided I'd make the gown. I hadn't followed a sewing pattern since I was a little girl, but I was pretty sure I could do it, and I got encouragement from a friend who also works at a fabric store. She took a look at the pattern McCall's 4865 and told me it was definitely doable. In fact, I did a dry run of the bonnet to make sure I remembered how to follow a pattern.

I made the size L, because my baby grew so fast! I did the cutting before my mom arrived 2 weeks before the christening, and sewed each day while she watched TLD. I couldn't have done it without her! I omitted the lace, and added pintucks to the bodice. (I pintucked some fabric, and then cut the pattern shape out afterward - worked great!)

Instead of the pattern's bonnet, however, I wanted a handkerchief bonnet. I scoured antique stores ("junk shops") for attractive old linen hankies. I do know how to tat, but I didn't want the pressure of having to finish tatting a hankie when I hadn't ever made one. I found a lovely linen handkerchief with a simple tatted edging, in wonderful shape, for about $12. I found instructions on the web (not the ones I linked to; I can't find the page I used anymore) and sewed it. For the ribbon ties, I used the ribbon from one of the gifts. It was pale blue and satin, and I made the ties long - I figured he'd only wear it while we were there, so strangulation wouldn't be much of a risk.

They all turned out beautifully, and the priest even announced to everyone that I'd made the gown. The gown and slip are on display at the fabric store; this spring I hope to enter them in the county fair.

Here's closeup of the bonnet (now disassembled, pressed and ready for his wedding...):

And another of the bodice of the gown:
Christening gown, closeup


Christening Gown Mom said...

The Christening gown you made came up so well!! It definitely pays off to make things more personal.

Unfringed said...

Wow, that's awesome! What a lovely memory moment!

Emily said...

Absolutely fabulous. What a terrific heirloom - and the handkerchief bonnet was a wonderful idea!

RobinH said...

Beautiful! And go you, for fearlessly tackling it when you hadn't sewed in a while.