Sunday, March 01, 2015

Ms. C’s 1st Holy Communion Dress

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Sewing really IS my therapy!

I truly appreciated all the comforting comments on my last post, regarding my husband's death.

I miss him terribly, every second of every minute of every day!

My darling granddaughter, Ms. C. made her 1st Holy Communion last Sunday & I made her dress for her.

I worked on it, non-stop, every day for two full weeks after my dear husband passed away.

Working on the dress was a good distraction from my grief, a real *labor of love* & is "The prettiest dress I've ever made".

My very talented, online sewing friend, Bunny~~La Sewista~~used that title for a recent post, so I didn't want to copy her, even though it fits my sentiments exactly, too.

My wonderful smocking friend Nicole (whose husband is the cardiologist who took care of Ernie during both of his ER visits) came to my house, brought me food & helped me tremendously in cutting out the bodice & its construction.
She reminded me there was a directional texture to the raw silk side that I chose for the dress.
It had been a long time since I'd done any heirloom sewing & she was a big help.

  Thank you SEW much, Nicole! 

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I used my embroidery machine to embellish both ends of the silky, satin sash prior to their construction, so that the back of the embroidery design was hidden inside. 

 They don't appear balanced in this photo, but once the bow is tied, they hang more evenly.

The digital cross embroidery design is free from The Needle of Anne & can be found HERE.
I was impressed with how gorgeous it is, both front & back that I will certainly purchase from her next time I need something so beautiful.

I want to thank another online sewing friend, Kathy Dykstra, for sharing the info about it on her blog.   Kathy is a fantastic seamstress & creates gorgeous outfits as well as teaching others to do so.

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The sheer  sleeves, made of iridescent dotted organza, have satin bindings (hand sewn inside) as well as tiny little satin & organza bows, also attached by hand.

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The entire bodice was smocked by hand along with crystal beading added at the same time that I was doing the smocking.

I had the beads in a little rubber dish & would pick up one bead with my needle every so many stitches, according to the pattern.

 First time I've ever done that!

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I'm especially pleased at how smooth the satin bias binding came out on the neckline.

  I've NEVER had one look so pretty before!

I think I must have had an angel or two watching over me that week.

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Here is a closer shot & different angle of the sleeves, allowing you to better see the iridescent dots on the organza.
Along with a very close-up shot of the smocking & beading. 

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I made a bow for her hair, out of satin & organza ribbon that matched the little bows on the sleeves.

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I decreased the "poof" of the sleeves in the pattern, per Ms. C's request, by taking out the little pleat at the lower edge & cutting down the gathers at the shoulder area as well.  

She prefered a more tailored look as opposed to the " puffy little girl" design shown in the magazine.

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The pattern for this dress is called "Angel" & can be found in Australian Smocking & Embroidery magazine, issue #88

I am so, so sad that this magazine, along with Martha Pullen's Sew Beautiful, are no longer being published.  

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I placed tiny little pearlized buttons down the back of the dress by sewing them on with a bullion rosebud in two shades of pale blue, (and a touch of light green) to coordinate with the pale blue ribbon at the base of the smocked bodice.

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Adding a touch of pale blue to her Holy Communion dress is my (and Nicole's) way of honoring Jesus' mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary on this very special day, as that is her color.

I learned how to do these bullion roses on buttons at the Martha Pullen School of Fashion & Design one year, taking classes from Lynne Holyoake, who lives in AU.

  I must remember to post the beautiful baby's *party dress*, with matching cashmere & lace blanket that I made in her classes very soon. 

Since the bodice of the dress was fully lined with lace trimmed satin, I made her just a half-slip out of very soft, embroidered cotton.

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I embroidered her monogram on it, as well as the date of the ceremony, too.

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As you know, I try to NEVER post photos of my grandchildren on the internet, nor would I ever put someone else's child on, either. However,  since Ms. C. was the only girl in the Sunday School class! it shows off the wide, satin hem band at the bottom of the skirt, too.

holding the chalice, which she hand painted in class, weeks before the service.

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She had beautiful diamond chip earrings to wear that matched the sterling silver cross with diamonds
that I gave her as a gift from her Poppi Ernie that morning. 

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Her shoes were the best match of all, though...just check out the bling of the crystal *diamonds* on them!!!  Too cute!!

It was a wonderfully beautiful day & the only thing missing was my sweetheart Ernie, sitting beside me in the church pew.

He adored this child & she him, as well.  They had a very special bond.  We all knew he was watching from above & smiling the whole time.

Thanks for stopping by The Gazebo House today.
Now that the dress is done, I hope to find time to stop by & visit YOUR blogs soon.



  1. Good Morning Rett, The dress you made Ms. C is absolutely beautiful. The detail was awesome and I know that she looked beautiful. It is a very special day when Our grandchildren make their first communion. I know it gave you great joy and satisfaction to make this for her. Take care. Hugs and Prayers from Your Missouri Friend Shirley

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Shirley. I'm sorry I haven't visited your blog in a long time & don't know how your hubby is doing. I'll pop by very soon!

  2. No words to describe how beautiful that dress is Rett. Love in every stitch I can tell. Doing something you love for someone you love is great therapy indeed.
    {Your group pic cut off ms C on my computer. I'd love to see the dress in all its glory!}

    1. Thanks so very much, for your sweet compliments & for telling me about that wide photo. I have cropped it plus added another single full length shot of her in the dress. Neither allow the blue ribbon across the front to show though.
      I have a very wide, rectangular monitor & I sometimes forget that what I see is not always the way it looks to others. I appreciate you letting me know. Hopefully, it is better now!

  3. Oh,Rett, what a beautiful dress you made for her special day! What a blessing to be able to sink your heart and soul into making this the prettiest dress you ever made. It is lovely as is Mc. C. That neck binding is beautiful. So special and I know your Ern was right there with you both, throughout. Big hugs (((()))))

  4. Lovely post and the dress is absolutely gorgeous!

  5. This whole post gave me shivers, Rett - so beautiful - the dress, your words, the absolute exquisite detail in your work. It's truly an heirloom. Reading a post such as this is a gift in so many ways - an opportunity to pray for you and for your Ernie - a reminder of the First Holy Communions in my family and the dress that lies wrapped in tissue waiting for another little girl to wear it. A beautiful post in so many ways.
    Thinking of you and sending love....

  6. What a beautiful dress...almost as beautiful as your Miss C. I can't imagine how many hours it took to do the beading...and those buttons.
    Hugs to you, Rett.

  7. Hi Rett, Miss C.'s dress is absolutely stunning. You are a fantastic seamstress, and are talented at the other fine arts of making a house a home. I really admire you and the talent you share with your friends and family.
    Miss C. is growing into a beautiful young lady. I know you are very proud.

  8. Such an amazing and detailed dress Rett, Miss C looks beautiful! I can only imagine the amount of work that went into it, it is truly an heirloom piece:@)

  9. The dress is stunning. Your attention to detail is amazing and I am sure that your beautiful grandaughter will treasure the dress for years to come.

  10. Oh Rett, what a beautiful dress for a beautiful granddaughter. There is so much love put into making that dress that it takes my breath away. Now she has a beautiful heirloom to put away for her girls.
    I can't believe all the lovely work you did on that dress, it is stunning.
    Yes, I am sure Ernie was setting there beside you in spirit watching his special girl on her communion.
    Take care of yourself and stay busy - prayers are being sent your way.

  11. Caroline is beautiful in her gorgeous dress. You are so talented. What a true labor of love.

  12. What a beautiful dress on such a beautiful girl Rett! I know that you enjoyed the distraction while you made this exquisite dress! I love every detail of it - the beads in the smocking make this dress so elegant. You thought of everything! Your neckband - perfection!!! I know how much you wished Ernie could have been there with you. You continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you for sharing your beautiful handwork and your precious granddaughter's special day with us!

  13. Oh my, dearest Rett, the First Holy Communion dress for darling Ms. C is just stunning, exquisite and fabulous! What a true labor of love it was to work on it and I'm sure it helped with your healing. Your special Angel Ernie had to have been with you through each little bead, stitch, and embroidery. Thank you for sharing this lovely dress, which is truly a work of art. Keeping busy is truly a blessing. Love and hugs are sent to you.

  14. When I talked to you and you told me about the dress, I knew without even seeing it that it would be marvelous! Now though, that I have seen it, I am awed! Gorgeous, Rett! Simply gorgeous! It's quite apparent that every stitch was sewn with love. You will never forget this dress either for (in many ways) it helped with your grief. Perhaps Ernie was watching over your shoulder while you were sewing, who knows? What a lovely girl, Ms. C is turning into, Rett. How proud you must be!! Love and hugs!

  15. Beautiful child! Beautiful dress! Well done!

  16. Rett, thank you for sending me the link to your post so I could enjoy seeing all these beautiful pictures of "the most beautiful dress" you have ever made. Didn't we learn so much from Lynne? This is such a beautiful, beautiful dress, made with such love and devotion. Your construction is perfection - that neckband!! Swoon!!! And the Divine Miss C is growing into such a beautiful young lady. I know her Poppi Ernie was smiling down on her on this very sacred and momentous occasion. You have so much to be proud of - and I know that your grandchildren are among the top things on that list. Love you, my sweet friend.

  17. Rett, this dress is stunning! I love all the details. Mr. C. sure looks beautiful, and it's obvious that she loves it! Great work. I'm glad you had something so wonderful to occupy your time. Hugs.

  18. This is a true masterpiece and your granddaughter looks so beautifully perfect in it.

  19. Oh Rett, I'm sure Ernie was watching over you as you took each stitch in that beautiful, beautiful dress. Truly a labor of love and dedication. The crystal beads, the buttons, the smocking, the embroidery - it's all just wonderful! Your granddaughter is beautiful.

  20. What an amazingly beautiful dress for a lovely granddaughter. I know the event was bittersweet for you. You remain in our prayers.

  21. I have been thinking of you and praying for you Rett. I can't believe how beautiful that dress is. So many amazing touches! I am crazy about the monogram , it adds so much! What a gift of love! Miss C looks beautiful! What a blessing you are to her!

  22. The dress is absolutely a masterpiece, Rett. What a treasure for Miss C to keep! And what a beautiful picture of her smile and the cross necklace. And what a touching tribute to her and to her grandfather/your Ernie. Lovely post all around! Continuing to think of you and to keep you in my prayers. ~Zuni

  23. Oh, Rett! I read your last post. I am so sorry! What a loss. You wrote so beautifully about it! My prayers are with you dear!
    What a fabulous dress - oh the details! What a special gift you gave her. She will always cherish that. She looks just lovely!
    Again, I am so sorry. Thinking of you!!

  24. The dress you made Ms. C is stunning! The details are beautiful! She looked absolutely beautiful! I am sure Grandpa Ernie was right there beside you ......smiling away!
    Blessings My Friend,

  25. Ms. C's beautiful dress is a work of art, Rett. I'm in awe of your amazing needlework. There is no questions that this is a true labor of love. I think of you often and pray that you are doing OK and you go through your grieving. Just know that good thoughts and prayers are coming your way. For me sewing has always been good therapy.

  26. Ms. C's beautiful dress is a work of art, Rett. I'm in awe of your amazing needlework. There is no questions that this is a true labor of love. I think of you often and pray that you are doing OK and you go through your grieving. Just know that good thoughts and prayers are coming your way. For me sewing has always been good therapy.

  27. Rett, I'm in awe of your talent. Miss C's dress is exquisite! I'm so happy you walked us through each of the special details, because the first photo doesn't begin to show the delicate touches that make up this heirloom. The smocking with the crystal beads, the beautiful embroidery, those rosebud button details, the personalization of the slip, and the exquisite workmanship make this dress a priceless treasure. I know Miss C felt like a princess. I'm grateful that you have this passion and talent to help you through these lonely days. Thinking of you, my friend.

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