I showed you Grandpa Clive Justice's fancy silk christening gown in August (Post "Family Heirloom") and the story of how Grandma and Grandpa raised five boys on a turkey farm on Salt Spring Island in British Columbia. They were perfectly happy and in love, but did come from different worlds growing up. What a love story! When Grandma gave me Grandpa's beautiful silk christening gown, she also gave me her gown. What a stark difference. We could call Grandpa's "ruffles and flourishes" and Grandma's "sweet and simple". Even though Grandma's family couldn't afford silk with all the trimmings she was christened in her simple little gown that was lovely. I love her gown because of the care and love that went into it. When I teach Heirloom Sewing Classes I show both of these gowns to show my ladies that you buy the best fabric and lace you can afford and go from there. You don't have to have the best fabric and yards and yards of lace. I've seen christening gowns made out of fabric that was as rough as feed sacks with lace that had been recycled from petticoats. So as humble as it may be, this Grandma's gown and I love it just as much as Grandpa's.
"Sweet and Simple"
The tiny piece of French cotton insterion lace on each shoulder.
More French cotton insertion lace around the cuff of each sleeve.
Traditionally mother of pearl buttons are used on the back.
And here we have two mother of pearl buttons with hand stitched button holes.
The dress is gathered onto twill tape ties that close the back.
This is the hemline of the dress, two rows of the matching French cotton lace used on the sleeve and shoulder. Notice the use of folded tucks, they don't cost more, and look lovely.
So the dress is made of cotton, with matching French lace throughout and mother of pearl buttons.
All the elements that make a true heirloom.
Just knowing the Gramma was christened in this gown makes it priceless.
Outside of loving my little business and helping people to make family heirlooms I have a wonderful life here in Abbotsford, BC. I love old things, family life, healthy living, green living, literature, sewing, gardening, parenting and cooking. That's what I'll be blogging about day after day.
Labours of Love Sewing Supplies, A Modern Day Mercantile
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