The gown is finished and the most beautiful baby in the world has been baptized into God's family of faith. It is no secret I love a christening gown. I was asked once what item do I still have from childhood that I cherish the most, I immediately answered, "My christening gown." I don't know why and I am sure there is some deep Jungian reason that is beyond my capacity to understand. All that aside, I hold it dear and secretly spirited it from my mother's possession as a teenager and still have it. It hangs in my sewing room. All of my own children were baptized in that gown. Sadly, it is not sturdy enough to withstand another generation's use. The upside of that is, I have the precious opportunity to make a family gown for each of my four children. This is the story of the first of those.
Remember you can click to enlarge the pictures.
Our beautiful mommy holding her baby on the graced occasion of her baptism, October 3, 2010.
It was a gorgeous, crisp fall day, the sun was shining, the leaves were beginning to turn as family and friends gathered to celebrate. And to make it even more special, my husband, an ordained deacon in the Catholic Church was to be the one baptizing this much loved child. God was definitely there in so many ways throughout the day.
All of our children and their significant others were there. My husband always comments when ALL of his children are around the dinner table at one time. I always comment when they are all in the pew at Mass together. We were both happy on Sunday. It is the simple things in life.
I had a heck of a time getting good pictures of the gown on Sunday morning. So I apologize for the pictures not being the best.
The gown is made from silky voile from BessieMary. This is not the most expensive or extravagant fabric but I love it. It is a joy to work with. I love the fact that it keeps its filmy nature after it is washed but yet it sturdy enough to handle the hand embroidery. I lined the bodice with silk organza to give it a bit more oomph to handle the weight of the long skirt.
I used a combination of patterns both by the Old Fashioned Baby. Mommy wanted the skirt of the French Acadian Christening gown and Mimi wanted it smocked, so we combined the skirt with a shortened bodice of the Baby Gowns pattern.
She wanted to reverse the original sized sequence of the "squares" on the skirt, making the largest one on the bottom. She chose the symbols she wanted used and mentioned "the featherstitching" about a dozen times. So I knew that was something she wanted as well.
The shell used to symbolize Baptism is done in chain stitch, back stitch and shadow work. The flourishes to either side are raised satin stitch. The water drops are padded eyelets.
The grapes and wheat on either side of the shadow work cross are stem stitch, granitos, lazy daisies, shadow work and back stitch. It represents Eucharist.
The monogram is raised satin stitch with shadow work and chain stitch lily of the valley. It was her idea to add the lily of the valley embroidery to the monogram, which coordinated with the lily of the valley maline laces used.
I had always planned on using this lace and had collected several widths of insertion and edgings over the years. This is one of my favorite laces. I used a combination of three sizes of lace on the lower skirt with two strips of three pin tucks each to represent the Trinity. The shadow work doves in the corner represent Confirmation.
She wanted three-quarter sleeves but not too puffy and large. So I reduced the sleeve width by 3/4." By concentrating the gathering on the lower edge directly below the sleeve header gathers it still puffs nicely. The bottom of the sleeve is finished with lily of the valley beading/edging threaded with silk satin ribbon. Since I knew the beading lace would add length, I used the newborn length for the 3/4 sleeves. I also inserted lace across the sleeve.
The slip is the one from the Baby Gowns pattern also made from the silky voile. Shell hems finish the neck and armholes with lace edging across the bottom. It was nippy yesterday so mommy had a onesie underneath it all. She is styling her first jewelry gifted by a friend.
I made a size 6 months and it fit perfectly. She weighs between 13 and 14 pounds. The gown is a tad over 39 inches long. Mommy wanted long so that is what she got. It was fastened in the back with two sterling silver beauty pins. Ignore the bright blue paci, we switched it out to a plain white one soon after these pictures were taken.
In the spirit of full disclosure I will admit that there is more feather stitching to be added along the bottom of the skirt and on the sleeves. I will do that this week along with her name and date on the back of the lower skirt. My plan is to do that this week before she has her portraits taken.
There are also some things on the gown that I am not completely happy with, but you will notice I did not point them out. She was beautiful, blessed and baptized and that is what matters.
Here she is with her parents and godparents before Mass.
This is why I sew. I also will admit to a tear or two when we first dressed her. It makes a Mimi's heart sing I tell ya! I hope you, faithful readers, are working on something that makes your heart sing as well.