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Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Ultimate Smocked Easter Dress

A little girl is only this sweet and innocent for a short while, so making an Easter dress like this is a treat...and a ton of work. The dress is "Easter Parade" from Australian Smocking & Embroidery No. 74 (published in 2006, and picked up at a shop in Alabama while on a trip in 2009). It is smocked from the shoulder to waist and features gorgeous hand-embroidered flowers on white linen.

The sleeves are made as two overlapping petals, piped with pale blue petite piping (as is the collar and hem). The hand embroidery for the back belt, collar, and sleeves is worked on a piece of fabric prior to cutting. The directions called for backing the collar and belt fabric with interfacing prior to sewing, but I also did the same for the sleeves. I think it made it easier to work with than it might have been otherwise.

The buttons are mother-of-pearl. I almost went cheap and used something else, but when a garment requires this much effort you might as well use the best materials. I actually managed to have exactly the right amount of piping to complete it with two packages and leave the third one I bought for another project.
The embroidery took about 6 hours to complete (just the embroidery - the smocking was about another 6-8 hours total). The dress itself went together pretty easily using French seams on most parts of it. The directions called for completing the final part of the hem by hand, but I was able to fold it up neatly and use a stitch-in-the-ditch technique to secure the hem at the line of piping.

I wish I would have had time to make her a slip. White linen is fairly sheer, but given that she is an (almost) 5 year old girl, it's not too scandalous. I still think I may do it before she wears it again. Plus, I could pass that down to along with the dress. This one is definitely an heirloom.

I would have liked to have not been still smocking this less than 24 hours before Easter Services, but I got it done (and everything else that gummed up my time this week).

For this Easter, her dress, mine, and my mom's (which I made a couple of months ago) were my only Easter projects. I'm glad I bought the boys dress shirts because that would have been too much.

Now, I have a week off work and no cut sewing projects...I think I will have to change the status of that! After all, I just picked up some cute new fabric on Friday...

Happy Easter!


  1. What a gorgeous dress.Can you show more details?

    1. Sure - I'll take some more close-ups and post in a day or two!

  2. Yay!! You finished it!!! I knew you could. It is truly fantastic. Fine work. You all look outstanding.

  3. Oh my goodness!! in the world do you find time to accomplish all of the above??? Gracie's dress is just beautiful...the work is outstanding!And I love your dress and the fabric! Once amaze me with your beautiful sewing projects!

  4. I made this about 5 years ago for my grandaughter. It was passed then to her sister, 3 years younger and now put away for the youngest who is only 13 months old. I won 'garment of the show' with it at our Gold Coast show--- (Australia) I made it in a cotton pique fabric. It's heavier and doesn't require a slip The sleeves were lined in a cotton batiste and I bound the armholes on the inside. A beautiful dress. Am disappointed that we only have 1 issue, (100) remaining of this wonderful magazine.