Friday, July 27, 2012


This post was inspired by JillyBe.  She is quite creative and there is nothing ordinary about her sewing.  Her entries Here and Here .

She talked about making her friend's wedding dress in the 80s and was shocked when she realized that she had put in all that work with great fabric only to discover that she hadn't finished the seams.  Then about two years later Jilly made the christening dress for this couple's baby.  She was shocked when she realized that she had put in all that work with great fabric only to discover that she hadn't finished the seams.

All of this reminded me that I had some baby dresses made by my mother and wondered if she had finished the seams.  I thought I might have my christening dress, but don't, but do have the christening blanket and pillow cover.

These photos break an important rule of posting photos of garments:  have items clean and pressed.  These dresses do need ironing but I am a bit hesitant to iron them in case I were to press in any dirt.  I hesitate to wash them because of their age.

Up first:

Seams finished  -- or not?

Not finished.

Several things surprise me about this:  that seams are not finished, especially since it is so sheer; the wide seam allowances; and that the fabric edges haven't come undone after all these years!

Up next:

Seams finished -- or not?


The edge is not completely encased, yet are still in excellent condition.

Last up:

Seams finished -- or not?


Not only finished but look at the type of finish!  It is serger-like, but use of a serger was not available way back then.  My computerized sewing machine will do this stitch.

My mother had a Kenmore which only sewed forward and backward, with the usual attachments.

I suppose it is possible that she had a different machine when I was a baby, maybe one with cams and she never mentioned it.

So I ask you:  were there machines years and years ago with cams which could make this stitch?

I don't know why my mother selected these three dresses to keep, unless they were representative of 3,6, and 9 months.  I found one professional photograph of my wearing the last dress pictured, but it is difficult to make out the dress in it.

In the same bag as the dresses were these crewel embroidery and cross stitch pieces which I think are fairly well done considering I was only 4 1/2 years old.  (The folded under parts cover the date--don't want to shock you too much)

Anyone interested in seeing my first shoes, both soft sole and hard sole or my first tooth or hair from my haircut?  I guess that's going to have to wait for a different blog entry, one way in the future.


catspec said...

Oh the lovely garments and memories....yes, handwork and finishing were usually the rule, "inside should look as good as outside" - how many times did I hear that? A lot. :) Thank you for sharing these pictures. m

Jilly Be said...

Ooooh I've been waiting for this post! So I'm feeling 1/3 vindicated ;-D

Those dresses are all so lovely - and a 4-1/2 yr-old did that embroidery???? I'm uber-impressed.

And of COURSE we want to see your shoes! I'm still thinking about hair & teeth though.....

glorm said...

@ catspec
You know I don't ever remember hearing that from anyone, not even in Home Ec--unless blocked it out---but do remember reading about finishing in a Simplicity Sewing Book.

Well, post would have been up sooner but had trouble with Blogger's new way of posting pictures, but once I figured it out, it's easier than ever.

Do you know about the old machines with cams for that serger-like finish?

Jilly Be said...

Gloria, I sold my T&S at the garage sale so I can't check the cams, but that might be a bit more on the "modern" side (70's, probably) than you're thinking of. I can't think of an attachments on the older (pre-60's) Singers that would do that...but I'm not claiming to know all of them!

glorm said...

Others have gotten curious about this seam finish, one thinking that it might even have been hand done. That would have been a lot of work.

I'm thinking of taking out some of the stitching hoping to find out what I can.

Joansie said...

Great post, Gloria. I love, love, love the dresses. I still have my Christening outfit made from my mother's wedding dress. There's a slip, dress, coat and bonnet with finished seams and some hand-embroidery. I'll have to send you the post. The seamstress died last year and was in her late '90's. Yes, I want to see all those things you mentioned.

glorm said...

Oh, Joansie, how sweet: from your mother's wedding dress. I like that.

The question on the shoes, etc, was a rhetorical one, but if I don't have anything sewing or knitting related, I may just post about those items.