Thursday, February 11, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday--Precious Little Dress

This precious little dress was made for me by my maternal grandmother, Martha Marie Frederick Stark. Judging from the size of the dress, I would guesstimate it to be circa 1948-1949. It has stood the test of time (60 years--ouch) showing only a few little wear spots in the yellow dotted swiss material.

I have mentioned in other blogs that my grandmother, affectionally named Teek by me, was a seamstress beyond compare. As explained to me by my mother, in the old days Teek would order dresses from Joseph Horne's in Pittsburgh and they would be delivered by truck--does anyone remember when a department store delivered ;-)

Teek would then cut a pattern from the dress and send it back--very creative! This little dress is sewn TOTALLY by hand--no sewing machine was used. Her precise little stitches are clearly visible when holding the dress--the tiny lace, the seams, the thin finished edge of the puffed sleeve.

Teek's signature on all dresses was the hand creweled flowers on the lapel or elsewhere on the piece. My mother, as she became older, hated those touches. It was fine when she was in elementary school; however, not appreciated when she was in high school. In fact, one of my mother's greatest delights was when she was able to go to a department store and purchase a "store bought" dress for the first time since her mom made all of her clothes.

Teek made all of my dresses, jumpers and skirts when I was in elementary school. They always had e-x-t-r-e-m-e-l-y long hems to be let out as I grew taller. As mentioned in last week's blog, she would also make a matching dress for my Ginny doll.

She made some of my clothes throughout my junior and senior high days. A vivid memory for me was in 1964, the beginning of my senior year in high school, coming home one day and taking scissors to several of those skirts. Someone had made fun of the length of the skirt I had worn, saying it was way too long. As a student planning to major in home ec in college, shortening a skirt was child's play! I never heard that comment

© 2010, copyright Linda Hughes Hiser


  1. Teach the lady how to use a macro lens and set her creativity loose! Super job Linda!

    Yep, I have some of those early dresses, but, they are in Michigan. And, now, I have added them to the "to do" list of things to photograph and add to my data base. So, I cannot post one today. LOL

  2. What can I say, that is the cutiest and most perfect little dress I have ever seen! Glad your mother, then you have saved it. My mother, a textile major in college also made all my cloths through Jr. High, then after that, I made all my things. So I can relate to some of what you said. Thank you so much for sharing this darling dress.

  3. My mother sewed with out patterns. She would just start cutting. She made a beautiful faux leopard skin coat and then let it in and out over the years as she gained and lost weight.
    I will have to dig out a photo.
    She made the cutest little bikinis for my sister and her friend in the 60's. Everyone wanted them.
    Your grandma and my mom would have made a good pair.

  4. The close up photos are exquisite! My husband's grandmother made some baby things for my daughter, all crocheted, in Spain. I'd never be able to photograph them as lovely as you did!

  5. Absolutely adorable. The fabric and design remind me of the Easter dresses my mother would make for me; I would give anything to have saved even one of those dresses. She would then make flowers out of the material and add it to a straw Easter hat.

  6. That was a wonderful and touching post.

  7. Hi Linda, How lucky you are to still have some of your handmade clothes. I'd love to see a photo of you wearing it, do you have any? My mother made all my clothes growing up and even designed my first wedding dress to match one I found in a brides magazine. She like your grandmother was an incredible seamstress.

  8. Thank you all for your comments. There was a time when women were expert seamstresses--almost a lost art now. I knew I didn't have a photo of me in this dress; however, was looking for elementary school age photos. Unfortunately, I have the photos, but they just weren't clear enough to really see the workmanship. Darn!

  9. Beautiful dress! Well taken care of too! You are so lucky that your Mom saved the dress. My Mom made most of my clothes when I was little but I don't think she saved any. I remember she said she gave alot of my clothes to a family in need. This was a good thing!

  10. Just letting you know, I'm back looking at the yellow dotted dress. One of my favorite photos.