Vintage Lace Girls' Easter Dresses


Pin It Easter is coming up quickly, and with it the decisions about Easter dresses. This is a big deal for me. There is just something magical about the assembling of the Easter outfits that is like a rite of passage that allows spring to come. Kind of my own private ground-hog's day.  It's a love-hate relationship too, because while there is a thrill that I can't explain when it all comes together, there is anxiety in meeting my own expectations every year. It's not a casual thing. This year is going to be the toughest yet. I'm already trying to set myself up to be ok with that, but I'm worried. Why? Because the dresses last year were perfect. And they'll be hard to top.

 What made them perfect? For once, they turned out exactly as I envisioned them in my head. How rarely does that happen? I don't know if it has EVER happened in the history of my sewing. Mostly, it's other people who tell me the dresses are great, but I see how I compromised because of wrong fabric, lack of skill or whatever other complication. But last year the dresses were exactly right - the hair accessories were exactly right - the tights even were exactly right!  And I thought I'd share them here so you can sympathize with my plight as I struggle to come up with a vision for this year's Easter that will make me as happy!

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The idea was for a vintage look using as many different kinds of lace as possible without looking pioneer-ish.  Elegant rather than old-fashioned was the goal.  I also like to coordinate without matching exactly.  I can go to a department store and buy matching dresses in three sizes - the joy of sewing is that I can custom design each dress to be unique, yet still 'of a kind' with the others.

To that end, I found patterns that enabled me to keep my toddler sweet and babyish, with 4 tiers of circle cut ruffles, each with a different lace edging.  Let me assure you, this dress twirls very, very well - it has been put to rigorous tests :)  For my middle daughter, a high waist and three tiered skirt, again with circle cut rather than gathered ruffles, coordinated but looked a little more grown up.  And finally, for my oldest, two tiered circle skirts with a wide waist-band of antique lace complimented her height and was very elegant.  I also improvised a circle sleeve for a softer look on all three.
View B used for middle dress, View A for oldest
View B used for toddler dress

Figuring out the ordering of fabrics and laces was the most complicated part.  Must be planned out or else see-through tiers show seams or half print/half plain, which destroys the look.  Also play around with laces.  I thought all pinks and creams would work, but I was often wrong.  Some pinks were very wrong, and sometimes I was surprised by a peach or an ivory that I never would have guessed would have matched, going perfectly.
Closeup of pearl buttons and antique lace waistband
lace roses on a lace covered headband

lace flowers on a barrette

Isn't it lovely that the Easter Bunny came to visit us last year?  Honestly, I have no idea where the white rabbit came from, but it was the sweetest serendipity.

My boys may get neglected at this age - sewing neckties just isn't as fun as the little sailor suits and vests I used to make them when they were little! But I'm certain that they are OK with me not making them little matching outfits for Easter any more ;)  They still get new duds, and I still coordinate them, and they still look super-duper, if I do say so myself!

And now I put my shoulder to the wheel and get Easter 2012 underway...


Melissa said...

Hi, I LOVE these dresses! Would you possibly consider making a dress in a size 2T for me? If so, how much would you charge? This is exactly what I've been looking for. I love the classic, elegant looks. We wear frilly dresses and the boys wear vest suits and ties on Easter! :)

Melissa said...

Oh, I would want the little girl's dress with the empire waist for my little girl! :) Please let me know if you would be willing to make one! I really wish I could sew. I would love to learn. I really dislike most of the clothes out there these days! And your dresses have SLEEVES! Love it. :)

Melissa said...

Whoops, forgot to leave my email address.

Thank you!!! :)

Anonymous said...

Can you please tell me where you got these fabrics from?

Anonymous said...

Where did you get your lovely fabric from?

Unknown said...

I got the cream lace fabric from JoAnn fabrics and the other two from Hancock fabric. Honestly, finding fabric is THE most difficult part. I keep my eyes out all the time for a piece that inspires me, even when I'm not sure what I'll do with it. The fabric for these dresses - with the exception on the cream lace - I'd had on hand for over a year. For this style there is a particular kind of fabric often refered to as a knit mesh. I wish I could find more because it's lovely to work with! Behaves like knit but looks like chiffon.

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