Friday, April 9, 2010

Journey from Recycled Vintage to Heirloom Little Girls Dress

I'd like to take you with me on a step by step journey of this next custom order I have.  One of my repeat customers called last week all excited because she finally knew someone that had a baby girl!  She loves the pillowcase dresses and our vintage chenille pantaloons and wanted so badly to buy them but there was no little girl for her to give them to.  Well now she does.  (She is the one of sweetest customers and so cute and bubbly in personality.  She is one of my favorites).  Anyway she wanted the dress to be for the baby to wear this summer so we would need about a 3 months size.  Her only requirements were, she wanted something pretty with maybe some pink in it, pink ribbons for the shoulder ties, and white vintage chenille pantaloons.

Now, I'm sure she had looked at all the pillowcases that I list on Cameo Kids because she visits the website frequently  Moms are able to choose the pillowcase they like, and then I custom make the dress using their childs measurements.  I list them that way also, because I truely hate to cut these beauties unless I know there is someone to wear it.  I have premade a few before and then I'll get a customer who just loves the dress but it would be to short, so I have a dissappointed customer and sometimes a lost sale.  Now if it is longer than what they need, I can take it all apart and shorten it and now I have a happy customer and a sale. 

Pillowcase dresses can be worn for many years as they are a grow with me type of dress.  As a child grows taller and the dress becomes shorter, it can be worn as a top, kinda of like the swing style. Adjusting the ribbon ties on the shoulders allow you to adjust the the length to some degree too.  But, our customers love to be able to have it made with the exact length they want for the child to wear right now.   I have over 60 vintage pillowcases listed on the website with another 100 or so that I still need to photo and get listed. I also have just shelves and shelves of fabrics that I have collected, vintage and today's fabrics, but I never seem to have time to make dresses with them. 

I think I'm addicted to collecting fabrics and linens.  I have a lifetime of all this stuff I could make just sitting here waiting to become something and I just keep buying more!  It all gets added to the pile of when I have time.  I have outgrown two rooms now!  Anyway lets get back to the journey of this new creation.  I do tend to wander in my thoughts and have this insane habit of thinking I have to describe every detail.  I don't know how to make long stories short!  Oh well to love me is to know me and then you get use to me and sometimes that helps you tolerate me better.

So I tell my sweet new customer friend that I will go through all the pillowcases I have yet to put up on the site to see what I might have that I believe might be exactly what she is looking for.  I also need one that can be cut down in width because, this is going to be very short and I don't want the dress to swallow the baby up.  I also need to find one that doesn't have a large embroidered design across the front so when I take it in width wise, it won't cut into the embroidered design.  As I'm going through the piles of pillowcases I find and realize I have so many cute, sweet, and unique ones that I had forgotten all about!  I really need to carve out about a weeks worth of time and get these photographed and listed as I am sure they would sell in a heartbeat, well pretty sure anyway. 

As I'm sifting through I find this one set as many of my vintage pillowcases will come as a set, I see this one and it just jumps out at me.  It is perfect for taking in the width, but it was all white embroidery and she wanted something with pretty pinks hopefully.  The design is really sweet which she wanted too.  It has three larger roses that kinda of arch downward and then splashes out on either side into a spray of tiny leaves and daisies.  Under the arch of roses, there is another upward arch of more of these tiny daisies.  It ends up with a bit of a cameo shape for its center, just big enough for me to hand embroider the little girls first name into it.  (Bea just loved that idea when I told her what I had envisioned.) But it is still all white.  As I went to set it aside to finish looking through the rest of them, or maybe another that would work, I get this total vision.  So I ran downstairs and grabbed the phone and called Bea, (that's the customers first name). I explained to her what I had invisioned for the dress and pantaloons.  She thought it perfect and it was more than she had even hoped for. Yea i think to myself.  She says " I trust your judgement and I know I'll be happy with what ever you come up with."  Well that set me to beaming! It's so nice to have customers give you such blind trust. 

So this is what we have come up with.  I am going to enhance or alter just a little bit the color in the embroidery, as I am learning how to do some of the embroidery stitches and, these are all pretty simple ones.  We also decided to do the pantaloons in the gorgeous pink chenille I have called squiggle chenille, instead of the white I have in the same squiggle.  It makes just the sweetest looking pantaloons and, it will give a great balance to the entire set with the pink shoulder ribbons, a touch of pink in the embroidery to enhance its beauty, topped off with the pink bottoms.  The eye will be drawn to the whole set, but yet it won't take away from the beautiul embroidered design.  That's what the aim is here. We want this vintage pillowcase to show off it's beauty in its new life form! 

The picture up above is the original look of the pillowcase.  I had intended to snip the embroidered white stitches and replace it with the pink, but as I got to working I saw that all the stitches were the same string of embroidery floss, so if I snipped it, it would cause the rest to undo because I wouldn't have enough to knot off the ends.  So what I did was embroidery over the areas I wanted to add the pink to, which ended up giving it a bit of a 3-D look.  It acutually looks stunning with the white soft floss behind it.  As I was adding the touches of pink I then decided to add just touches of this gorgeous soft green I have to some leaves and the leaf veins. The roses, where the flower centers have the french knots coming up, there is a bit of stem to them so I added the green there too.  The pictures below show you how I have added just a bit of pink to the flowers and the green to the leaves and stems.  I hope you can see it on your monitors.  I think the change is just stunning. I hope Bea will just love it!  I think she will don't you?

The next step now is creating the dress.  I'll keep you posted with the finish of that which I'm going now to do.  Then the pantaloons will be the last to finish for this journey to be complete.  Stay tune!

TA TA for Now!


  1. This is absolutely beautiful!

    I can't wait to see the finished dress.


  2. This is going to be simply exquisite. Your embroidery additions are perfect. I can't wait to see the finished ensemble.
    Patricia Rose-A Potpourri of Fabric, Fragrance and Findings


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