Starch & Press

Posted in Gold & Silk Christening Gown at 4:51 pm by Administrator

Today hasn’t gone that great… but this is a picture of the skirt.  Prior to doing the cutwork on the skirt (which took a few hours) I starched and pressed the lower edge.  It is easier to do cutwork on starched fabric.  The sleeves and bodice are trimmed and cut.  So, I’m ready to start construction.   It is going to be a long night…

Gold & Silk Cutwork

Posted in Gold & Silk Christening Gown at 12:43 am by Administrator

I’ve spent most of the day trimming the embroideries and rinsing out the stabilizer.  Yes, you can get silk wet…at least this silk dupioni does very well being washed.  The piece below is for the bonnet and it has been trimmed and rinsed.  I took this photo to show the cutwork.  Cutwork is not difficult… it just takes time.  The cutwork on this piece (just over a foot long) took over an hour.  


Gold & Silk — The Embroideries

Posted in Gold & Silk Christening Gown at 11:52 am by Administrator

Here are photos of the embroideries — the main embroidery on the skirt is a combination of about 40 designs — embroidered in three hoopings.  The embroideries took about 16 hours to complete – from design to stitching.  I have yet to trim up the embroideries, etc. I also need to embroider the slip.  The bonnet is included…

Gold & Silk Gown… The process

Posted in Gold & Silk Christening Gown at 11:41 am by Administrator

When I decided to donate a gown for the silent auction, I knew exactly what I would do.  This gown is from the Christening Collection by Kathy Harrison (www.customkeepsakes.com)   For those of you who do machine embroidery — her embroidery designs are spectacular.  I have made many gowns using her designs.

The first thing I do is design the dress in my mind and on paper.  Combining the designs for skirt embroidery can be challenging.  So after several attempts I’ve finally worked it ou… here is the printout –


I then started to work on the hem — which is embroidered and then I’ll do the “cutwork” to finish off the hem…





Silk & Gold Christening Gown

Posted in Gold & Silk Christening Gown at 11:17 am by Administrator

Follow as I design and create this silk & gold gown for a charity event. All proceeds from the silent auction will benefit the church… so make sure you come by and check out all the vendors and bid on the silent auction items.

Community Spring Festival and Arts Market
Saturday, March 19
10am – 4pm
150 Sherry Drive, just off Atlantic Blvd in Atlantic Beach, Florida

It is looking good!

Posted in Kathryn Shea's Christening Gown at 10:35 am by Administrator

I do wish you could see the color change… from the original gown to now.  The color is beautiful, both the underskirt and the embroidered lace netting.  Yesterday was spent soaking and rinsing and rinsing and rinsing.  And then, letting both pieces air dry.  Today, I’ll hang both of the pieces in the sun and tonight I’ll start pressing.  (Yes, the sun is still by far the best way to bring out the true color of the fabrics)   By tomorrow morning I’ll take scissor to fabric.  Here is a picture of the fabrics… photos do not do it justice… but believe me… the difference is spectacular.


Decisions on the underskirt…

Posted in Kathryn Shea's Christening Gown at 11:10 pm by Administrator

Usually when I make a Christening Gown it goes one of two ways.  The first one is the customer knows exactly what they want.  They choose all the laces, embroideries and designs.  They are very specific on desires.  The other customer leaves most of it up to me.  Kathryn Shea’s gown is the latter.  I was handed the wedding dress and we talked a little… and I’ve looked at this dress for a good long time before starting the process.  I have to say that when making a Christening Gown from a wedding dress it is a little more complicated.  I have to “read” the fabric… I have to make decisions as I go along… so having the flexibility into design has made my job a little easier.

Today I had a discussion with Tina (my friend, the dear Aunt and an artist with the booth next to mine today) about the underskirt.  All along I have thought that I’d make the underskirt out of Batiste or Silk, thinking the original dress was too heavy.   Modern wedding dresses are often made of bridal satin and this satin is way too heavy for a Christening Gown.    For the past few days I’ve looked at this dress hanging in my sewing studio.  Tonight I touched it again.  I believe this fabric is a silk satin…  a lighter weight fabric.   The more I thought about it, the more I feel that it will make a beautiful Christening Gown.  So, tonight I’ve decided to attempt to clean this fabric.  I’ve measured and looked and looked and I believe I can make this gown from the original fabric.

Now here is the catch… before I blogged about this I might have tried this… and never told anyone all of this (well except maybe I’d use it as a teaching lesson in a sewing class).  I would have just tried it, and if it worked — great… if not… I’d go to plan B.  Now… you know… if it works… I look good.  If it doesn’t work you can wonder “What was she thinking?”   I can only tell you that this dress would end up, most likely, in a pile somewhere — and eventually trashed.  No one would wear this dress again… it would be lost.  So, if it works, Kathryn Shea will be truly wearing her Great Grandmother’s wedding dress.  If it doesn’t work — we’ll all know…

So… here goes… into the bath….

it seems to be working just fine….

Posted in Kathryn Shea's Christening Gown at 10:26 pm by Administrator

The embroidered netting is still soaking and seems to be doing well. I can’t remember how many times it has been rinsed and re-soaked… but the water is running clear in the rinse and that is a very good sign. This is the 2nd to last soak. For those wondering what is in the soak water… the first soak was clear water to rinse out most of the “surface” dirt. Remember…. this fabric has never been washed… and it was stored “who knows how” for a very long time. I do know that at some point it was stored with mothballs… as that odor is very apparent when the water hits the fabric. So… after 2 or three soaks and rinses in water… it was on to Aquilaun (this is a Stanley – Fuller Brush product). Just a note… I think this is the best fabric care product ever — I use it all the time…and my bottle, which isn’t even 1/3 empty is about 6 years old. Soaked and rinsed and soaked and rinsed in Aquilaun. After these soaks I decided I had to move on to a stronger soak – so, Dawn Dishwashing liquid and water. Soak and rinse, soak and rinse. Soak overnight. Rinse in the morning. And soak all day. When I got home this afternoon I rinsed the embroidered netting and decided that one final soak in the “magic” formula was need. No secrets here… Biz (yes, good old fashioned Biz) & OxiClean type powder & Dawn Dishwashing liquid and the hottest water that the fabric will stand. This will soak overnight and in the morning I will rinse… rinse… and rinse again. This is a process…


The First Step

Posted in Kathryn Shea's Christening Gown at 8:05 pm by Administrator

Removing the Embroidered English Netting from the underskirt was easy… as it was attached with snaps and hook. Putting it into the first water bath was difficult… just because I have no idea how it will react after all these years to the water. But… here goes… It will soak a little bit in just water.. then on to several different “baths” to try and remove all the years of dust and dirt. It was originally a “candlelight” color (I think) and I’m hoping to return it close to the original color.     Click on either of the photos to see detail.

Details of the Wedding Dress

Posted in Kathryn Shea's Christening Gown at 1:50 pm by Administrator

By clicking on the photos they will enlarge so you can see the detailed embroidery on this dress.

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