Fifty little dresses!

Can you guess??  It’s a girl!

Our dear daughter and her wonderful husband have given us our first grandchild.  Little Aida was born on March 19th in the middle of a last-day-of-Winter New England snow storm.  She weighed 6 pounds, 12 ounces and was 19.5 inches long.  Of course, she is beautiful and dainty and looks like she will wear little dresses with delight!

Aida - one week old

Aida – one week old

I had the wonderful opportunity to spend three weeks with my daughter, Susanna, son-in-law, Jon, and baby Aida to help them over the initial hospital stay and adjustment to home.  I cooked and baked and cleaned and shopped for groceries and did laundry, and cooked and baked and cleaned and shopped for groceries and did laundry, and cooked and baked and cleaned and . . .   did all the things my daughter could not do.  (Aida was persistently in breech position while in utero and, despite heroic efforts to get her to turn, remained so, necessitating a c-section.) Sewing and blogging went unattended, but such is life in all its sweetness and toil.

I also sang silly songs to Aida, whispered in her ear about Christian Dior and Cristobal Balenciaga and about sewing from pretty Vogue patterns, and we planned tea parties and dolls’ fashion shows.  No time like the present to get these things started, right?

Aida’s birth brought back many memories of the birth of her mommy – my daughter –  almost 32 years ago.  Before Susanna was born, I bought this book as a gift to myself and took it with me to the hospital.

This beautiful book by Kitty Benton was published in 1981, by Hearst Book, New York.  It is extensively illustrated, with explicit instructions for every project.  It also has a complete section on Sewing Techniques, including smocking, embroidery stitches, hems, sewing on buttons, etc., etc.  The book is an invaluable guide for heirloom sewing.  Copies of it are available on Amazon and through a few Etsy shops.

This beautiful book by Kitty Benton was published in 1981, by Hearst Books, New York. It is extensively illustrated, with explicit instructions for every project. It also has a complete section on Sewing Techniques, including smocking, embroidery stitches, hems, sewing on buttons, etc., etc. The book is an invaluable guide for heirloom sewing. Copies of it are available on Amazon and through a few Etsy shops.

Of course, I didn’t know we were having a girl (neither did Susanna and Jon).  Then I found myself so busy and overwhelmed with my growing family (Susanna’s brother was born less than two years later), that somehow I never used the ideas in this book, preferring commercial patterns for all the sewing and smocking I did for my two.  But I never stopped looking at it, and never gave up hope of making some of the lovely clothing and gifts.

The blue gingham dress, adorned with a spray of embroidery flowers, is my favorite dress in the entire book.    Yes, I think Aida would wear this dress well!

The blue gingham dress, adorned with a spray of embroidery flowers, is my favorite dress in the entire book. Yes, I think Aida would wear this dress well!

A red dress with a white pinafore - so cute!

A red dress with a white pinafore – so cute!

Two little bishop dresses.

Two little bishop dresses.

And here is a sampling of some of the timeless gifts, instructions for which are presented in the book.  Even the teddy bear can be home-made!

And here is a sampling of some of the timeless gifts, instructions for which are presented in the book. Even the teddy bear can be home-made!

Could it be that Aida will reap the rewards of this gift to myself from so many years ago?  I hope so, I do hope so.

Little Aida in my arms, with Porter, the Bernese Mountain dog, looking on.  Such blessings!

Little Aida in my arms, with Porter, the Bernese Mountain dog, looking on. Such blessings!

26 Comments

Filed under Heirloom sewing for children, Uncategorized

26 responses to “Fifty little dresses!

  1. What a LOVELY post! I’m so happy for all of you, and I can’t wait to see Aida’s new dresses! 🙂

  2. Congratulations!! I’m sure little Aida will have a lot of beautiful dresses and clothing sewn lovingly by grandma!

    • I was so sure that this baby was going to be a boy, that I hadn’t really thought about little dresses. But what fun little dresses will be!

  3. Aw, congratulations, she is adorable! And, she is so lucky to have you as her gramma, she’s going to get so many new outfits!

  4. What a lucky little girl to have a grandma like you! Congratulations to you and your daughter!

  5. What a delightful post. Thanks for sharing your lovely news.

  6. Goodness. She is a treasure. Just beautiful. Congratulations and I know you’ll be sewing (and smocking?) for her. She won’t be able to resist now that the initial whisperings have, no doubt, created the nub of an idea or two in her mind and yours. Enjoy your new found grandmother-ness. 🙂

  7. Congratulations, Karen! This is the sweetest post I’ve ever read…..the adorable name Aida and those precious pictures just make me smile……. but the story about taking the sewing book to the hospital when your daughter was born makes me laugh 🙂
    What fun you’ll have!

  8. Carol

    What happy news! Congratulations! Discovered at library and purchased used, “Baby Crafts, A Treasury of Gifts from the Heart” by Marsha Evans Moore, Sedgewood Press, 1988. Author is Pratt Institute grad. All projects are fabric. Hats, shoes, dolls and teddy bears with their own clothes. Patchwork balls, alphabet blocks, growth charts. Some projects for early sewing lessons?

    • Thank you, Carol! And thank you for the suggestion of another great resource! I remember being in awe of my grandmother’s little sewing room, so hopefully Aida will like mine as well!

  9. So happy for you, Karen. There is nothing so special as your daughter’s first baby! Such happy times ahead of you. I have sewn children’s clothes for decades and there are some great patterns out there now. (I, too, have the old Kitty Benton book!) Old Fashioned Baby patterns are my favorites for the early months and years. Check them out! They fit, the proportions are excellent, and they are very classic and timeless!

  10. So beautiful! Congratulations to you and your family. Now get busy sewing!

  11. Susanna

    Great post Mom! I’ll never be able to thank you enough for everything you did for us and for me. Hopefully I can be half as good a Mom to Aida as you are to me. I love you!

    • Aida is one lucky little girl to have you and Jon as parents (and Porter for family dog!). What a great adventure this all is – I love you, too, my dearest daughter!

  12. Mary

    Congratulations on the birth our your dear little granddaughter, Aida!
    She will be the best dressed little girl around if her grandmother has anything to do with it. What adorable dresses in your book. Will look forward to seeing Aida in some of them in the future.

  13. Thank you, Mary! This is going to be great fun – for me and hopefully for Aida, too!

  14. I’m thrilled to have found your delightful blog. I am just about to buy my first sewing machine and sourcing role models such as yourself is my new obsession. Congratulations on the arrival of little Aida. I’m sure you are going to have loads of fun getting to know one another. x

    • Thank you so much for your kind words about my blog. I am excited for you as you begin your sewing Odyssey with a new machine! I hope sewing adds as much to your life as it has to mine over the years. I look forward to hearing from you again!

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