Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Return of a Classic

When I ask my adult daughters, ages 32, 30, and 25 if they remember a favorite dress from their younger years they will almost always mention some navy blue pique sailor style dresses that are now coming up on twenty years old. I'm partial to classic styles and I think these dresses still have a timeless look that have weathered the test of time quite nicely. These dresses and the little boy suit were constructed from 100% cotton navy and white pique from Bear Threads. I worried about the color bleeding but as luck would have it they washed beautifully and have since been passed on to another generation of little girls.

I have just finished an updated version of this classic sailor style dress to use as a class project in the future. I plan to teach this project at 'Sewing At the Beach' 2012. You can have a look at their website by going to www.sewingatthebeach.com. I tried to incorporate several of the design features of the three previous dresses into one cohesive design. I added a hat and a splash of color in the hot pink embroidery and the fabric roses. The dress is constructed from Fabric Finders 100% cotton pique and all the trims are from Capital Imports. I hope this dress will hold up to the classic ideal and find a long and happy life with several of my granddaughters.


  1. Love it! My DGD would love that hat. Lately, it's all about the accessories with her!

  2. I am now dreaming of going on this sewing retreat. I have never been to one, and the idea of learning from you might just push me over the edge of giddiness. I clicked over and couldn't see where to sign up. Hopefully the stars will align and I will be there in January.
    Here is hopeing fingers crossed.

  3. Oh, Gail! I absolutely love it . . . one of my most vivid memories, also is of the "First Day of School Dress" my sisters and I all wore. It was navy blue with red soutache trim. You have recreated that classic look with precious little accents and my absolute fave, Pink! Cannot think of anything better. . . and can't wait!

  4. This picture takes me back, and makes me misty-eyed. I remember those times. Michael is so cute in his little sailor suit on the wall!

  5. Beautiful photo!!! One of the favorite dresses that I've ever made was a sailor style that my oldest daughter wore for Easter many years ago. It was one of her favorites, too.

  6. Hi there Gail,

    I love classic designed clothes too, and have such fond memories of my sailor dresses that my Mother made for me, over the years.

    Had to pop in to say I really adore your up-dated version and the hat is just beautiful too.

    Thanks for showing us your step by step approach to making the collar, must try it out sometime.

    Keep on struggling to find step by step instructions for faggoting stitch.......I will give it a go, when I am finally relocated back in the U.K. next week.

    Thanks for your wonderful inspiration.

  7. Gorgeous! I am a huge fan of sailor dresses and this is wonderful. Love that you added the prescious hat.

  8. Gail, I am a fan of your beautiful work. You do not know me. I was wondering how I might get a pattern of your lovely "Winter Garden" pattern. I fell in love with it. I have looked on e-Bay and AS&E and neither has your pattern available. Is there a place I might purchase it? I live in Utah. Thank you so much! Cathleen Garrett cehgarrett@gmail.com

  9. Hi Gail,

    I recently spotted the above picture in a past issue of Sew Beautiful mag. Beautiful dresses and a lovely picture of your kids! It seems the Swiss fabric you used held the pleats wonderfully. Any tips on how you set them permanently?

    I have been pleasantly surprised at good quality fabric, that it does not bleed.

    You do beautiful work! Hope to meet you someday.



Teaching Schedule for 2017

March 22-25
t of St Louis SAGA
St. Louis,
contact: Diane (diane.brinker@gmail.com)

April 5-9
Children's Corner
Nashville, Tennessee
contact: www.children'scornerstore.com

April 28 - May 2
Chadwick Heirlooms
Richmond, Virginia
contact: www.chadwickheirlooms.com

May 22-26
Birmingham, Alabama
Fiming new vidoes for Classic Sewing magazine

June 8-11
Private class
Fernlake, Tennessee

June 22-24
Huntsville SAGA
Huntsville, Alabama
contact: Abbie (mofam@comcast.net)

June 26-28
Private class
Huntsville, Alabama

July 6-8
Prairie Bell Smockers (SAGA)
Lincoln, Nebraska
contact: Jenny (rev.leej.johnson@gmail.com)

July 18-23
Private class
Becky's Barn
Grinsley, Tennessee

August 7-11
Private class
Wenatchee, Washington

August 21-25
Farmhouse Fabrics
Beech Island, South Carolina
contact: www.farmhousefabrics.com

September 7-9
Low Country Smockers (SAGA)
Charleston, South Carolina
contact: Sallie (sallienold@gmail.com)

September 22-24
Yankee SAGA
Boston, Mass
contact: Kathy (kiodacey@gmail.com)

October 12-15
SAGA Regional
St. Louis Missouri
contact: www.smocking.org

October 16-19
Private class
St. Louis, Missouri

November 7-11
Private class
Medford, Oregan

For teaching information, a current class list, and available dates, contact gaildoane@hotmail.com