Category Archives: Christening Gown

Maren’s baptism

Ironing the gown in the hotel room in Chicago. I bought a Rowenta travel iron at Joann’s in Mufreesboro, Tennessee (that’s another story.) I didn’t want to risk using the hotel iron because I’ve had clothes stained in the past with old hotel irons.

Here I am with the gown just before we leave for the church.

I had to dress the poor child in the car. She had to wear her seat belt in the car seat for the ride from the house and that would have wrinkled the gown. It was chilly but she didn’t seem to mind – she’s a very laid back baby!

This was taken when we (that’s my husband David) came into the vestibule of the basilica. Family and friends had already arrived so I had quite an audience for my entrance. My daughter said that I strode up the stairs and through the enormous doors like a queen presenting the baby  princess. There was a mass going on when we arrived so we had to wait for a few minutes before we could go in.

This was the moment I was imagining during the countless hours it took me to make the gown. The priest asked the godparents to lay hands on the baby – Maren is holding my finger.


No pictures of the ribbons because I decided not to use the polyester satin – which are the only ones available here in Panama. Since I am going to be in Jacksonville, Florida the 23- 25 of this month for Quiltfest (I entered my appliqué angel quilt ) I will be able sew on the silk satin ribbons my friend Carol is buying for me at Paula’s Fine Fabrics (which I found yesterday when I Googled “heirloom sewing shops Jacksonville, FL.”) I don’t know what I was thinking – I should have ordered these ribbons online – I knew all along I was going to need them eventually.


Isn’t that a sweet little scalloped edging. I thought about a ruffle – but decided against it because I thought it might flop down and cover the baby’s face. Actually I guess this is more like a little cap – rather than a bonnet.

Monday I’ll have to buy some white satin ribbon – I plan on making some little ribbon rosettes at the edges where the ties will be attached. It will add a nice little detail while also hiding the stitching.

Drum roll please…

There were times during this journey that I thought that I might have taken on a project way above my abilities. But I never once thought about quitting – I just slogged away little by little – one step forward and two steps back and here it is.

To keep myself focused I thought about the family at the alter of St. Hyacinth Basilica in Chicago with baby Maren wearing the gown – the skirt elegantly draped over her mother’s arms and me beaming proudly.

I still have to add the ribbon ties on the back yolk and thread the ribbon through the beading. I am going to start the bonnet today.

Small details

Yesterday I was inspecting the gown for loose threads and any other details that might need attending to and I noticed that I had forgotten to stay stitch – or what the great Martha Pullen (heirloom sewing expert) calls the “Scotch Tape Stitch” the  upper and lower seams on the two fancy bands.

This stitch keeps the tiny zig zaged seam in place so it won’t flip up (or down)  and block the entredeux holes while also strengthening the seam. You zig zag into one hole of the entredeux and then over onto the fabric – just catching a few threads – one tiny stitch at a time. My Elna has a speedometer that has a sliding scale with an icon of a turtle and a rabbit – I keep it on the slowest turtle setting for this job.

As you can see in this picture I have the bodice basted onto the yolk – when I finish this job I will machine stitch and zig zag the seam and post the picture.

One bodice and two sleeves – done!

It’s beginning to look a lot like a christening gown (to the tune of It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.)

The insertion of the sleeves into the tiny armholes went off without a hitch – piece of cake!

Isn’t it cute – I can’t wait to get the skirt attached tomorrow. Right now I am going to take a break and sew a bit on my Alabama Beauties.

One sleeve pinned

Aren’t the little applique pins just the perfect size? Now I am going to baste on the 3/8th inch seam line which I have very lightly marked with several pencil dots. I’ll check the distribution of the gathers – which are mostly at the top of the sleeve. Finally I’ll machine stitch along the basting, zig zag and trim. I would like to do a French seam – but I think it will be too bulky – and too difficult to maneuver  in such a tiny space.