Precious Heirloom

Rhonda is a special lady in my life – we had met through the sewing center I called “home” – Rogers Sewing Center. Being very gifted and talented, Rhonda has created this christening ensemble:

It is simply a masterpiece showcasing the best of Heirloom Sewing (French Hand Sewing). Last year Rhonda graciously gave me the christening ensemble as a gift to my family. It is one of the most precious heirloom gifts I have ever received on behalf of my family. It is made with Swiss batiste and miles and miles (it seems like) of French laces, and Rhonda had lovingly embroidered all over the gown with delicate embroideries and shadow work by hand:

Can you spot the bird that Rhonda has done by shadow work on the bottom right corner? There are a total of four birds stringing the ribbons on this gown:

My bear Lady Carlyle is doing her best to model the bonnet for me. You can see that her head is a tad bit small for the bonnet:

The slip is blank for the most part except for the little bit of lace around the neck, armholes and the hem. I will embroider the date of birth and monogram of the child who gets to wear this christening gown on the slip. I have read in one of the Sew Beautiful Magazines about a christening gown that has been passed down in a family in England for 300 years, and all the babies that wore the gown had their monograms embroidered on the slip — how’s that for heirloom?

[From Wikipedia: Heirloom sewing is a collection of needlework techniques that arose in the last quarter of the 20th century that imitates fine French hand sewing of the period 1890-1920 using a sewing machine and manufactured trims.

Heirloom sewing is characterized by fine, often sheer, usually white cotton or linen fabrics trimmed with an assortment of lace, insertions, tucks, narrow ribbon, and smocking, imitating such hand-work techniques as whitework embroidery, Broderie Anglaise, and hemstitching.

Typical projects for heirloom sewing include children’s garments (especially christening gowns), women’s blouses, wedding gowns, and lingerie.]

I count myself blessed to have known Rhonda, with whom I have shared matters of the heart. And I count myself blessed multiple times and over to have other women like Rhonda that have touched my life in very very special ways. I cherish the relationships I have with these very special women in my life. And I will share about them as time goes along.

Thank you for coming to my show-and-tell. I hope you have enjoyed it.

36 thoughts on “Precious Heirloom

  1. I believe this is the finest piece of needle work I have ever seen. This is so very special. I can’t imagine how many hours, but I’m sure she loved creating it and didn’t count the time. It is so lovely. Kathi

  2. That is the most exquisite christening set I have ever seen. What beautiful workmanship and how special that your friend gave it to you as a gift. That is a beautiful idea to embroider the names and dates of those who wear it and pass it down to future generations of your family.

    I think the gown you are referring to the is one used by the British Royal Family. It was originally used by Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter, Princess Victoria, in the 1840s and worn for most royal christenings since then. It has just been preserved and a new, replica gown was used for the latest Royal christening.

  3. Oh, my! That is amazing! My granddaughter wore a crocheted gown for her blessing made by her maternal greatgrandmother (my mom), my step-granddaughter wore a handmade gown by her maternal greatgrandmother, just breath taking!!! On a baby or on display it is a work of art!

  4. Oh Oh Oh
    This is one of the prettiest things I’ve ever seen. I’m amazed at the patience and skill God’s gives to create such a sweet, delicate, beautiful dress. I’m sure you will treasure and enjoy it Wendy!!

  5. Wendy,

    You have some of the prettiest things, how precious is your gown, how talented is Rhonda! Christening gowns are going by the wayside, how wonderful you have such a beautiful heirloom, thank you for sharing!

    Have a fantastic friday!
    Kathi :)

  6. Hi Wendy, this christening gown is totally amazing! What a beautiful and precious gift from your friend! Rhonda’s work is just breath taking. I love the idea of heirloom sewing remaining in a family for generations too – that sense of family heritage is so grounding.

    Thank you for sharing the history of heirloom sewing too. I’d love to try it out someday…but first to get these thumbs and finger’s coordinated with patchwork and quilting ;-)!

    Have a great weekend!

  7. Oh, Just like you said, a masterpiece! I am learning to smock and want to do some french sewing. I think this will help me after my next surgery. So I decided if they will not let me do the things I have loved, I may be able to do this for my granddaughters. Thanks for sharing this lovely gown. When I was working I purchased one for each of my daughters to have for my granddaughters, they are lovely, But not as lovely as yours.

  8. I cant even imagine what a dress of that caliber would sell for! World class workmanship at its finest. How do I get the contact info. for this very, very , talented lady ?

  9. Oh my….the baby gown is so delicate and beautiful! I love how you are going to embroider each child’s name on the slip. What a wonderful family treasure!

  10. Pingback: Blessing future generations… « Ivory Spring

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