Saturday, February 9, 2013

Sage and Roses Smocked Daygown for Project Run & Play Season 6 Men's Shirt Refashion Sew-Along: Completed!

These pictures were taken at night and aren't as clear as I'd like.  I do apologize.
I want to thank everyone who said prayers and sent good wishes for my Tim's surgery recovery.  He had a very complicated hernia repair that caused some heart and blood pressure issues.  Unfortunately, this was the third surgery in six months for the same thing and each time recovery has been more difficult.   I was so worried a week ago but he is so much better today.  Prayer is so powerful!!!

This was such a fun project!  The challenge this past week was to take a man's dress shirt and create a child's clothing item.  The cotton shirt I found was such a lovely shade of pale sage green and had a wonderful 'hand' to it.  I knew right away that it would make a sweet daygown.  I love making baby clothes and I love working with lovely materials like French lace insertions and edgings.  I also love handwork like smocking and embroidery.   So an infant daygown would be the perfect project match for the shirt and me.

(Yesterday's post had pictures taken near a window in the morning and show the colors better and seem to have sharper details.  You can check them out here.)

  A daygown is a 20-27 inch long gown worn by babies for generations everywhere and still worn in Europe, South America, Australia, and in the United States in the South.  It has long been considered a practical garment that is loose fitting and comfortable for baby.  They cover baby's feet and make changing a diaper so much easier than dealing with snaps, buttons, or zippers on sleepers or other little suits.  Traditionally, daygowns were for both boys and girls and were made in white fabric and embroidered in white and later in pastel shades.  This one is obviously made for a baby girl!

Smocking closeup.
On page 4 of the wonderful heirloom sewing book French Hand Sewing for Infants by Sarah Howard Stone, Mrs. Stone gives suggestions for sewing a layette:
"For the modern baby's layette, we suggest a christening gown, slip, and cap; two pretty dresses, one fairly elaborate and one less elaborate; six permanent-press daygowns; six more elaborate batiste daygowns; six pairs of booties or little socks; three or fours kimonos; six drawstring gowns, three little caps; six diaper shirts; six very pretty top sheets; one fancy pillow; one less elaborate pillow; fourteen plisse and flannel receiving blankets; and two challis squares with wide lace ruffles."

This book was originally published in 1984 and my copy is from the fifth printing in 1993 which really wasn't so very long ago!  If you count up just the daygowns and the drawstring gowns, that is 18 gowns!  Goodness!  It is a good thing that they are supposed to fit for the first six months (depending on the baby's size).  Although I have made MANY smocked daygowns over the past 18 years, I have always given them away or sold them.  This is the first one that I am keeping for my Grandmother's Hope Chest.   Victoria-Rose, my daughter, loves both the dress and bonnet and says that her babies will wear classic baby clothing more often than the modern things found in most stores.  Yippee!  I'll be adding more to my hope chest!

 I used an old pattern for this gown:  Grace Knott's "Baby Nightie" in the 8-11 pound size and  it is 21 inches long.  I believe that it will fit a larger baby, though, unless the arms are very chubby.  Raglan sleeve garments fit for a longer time.  I did shorten and widen the sleeves to form puffed short sleeves and of course, the placket was adjusted to make use of the one already on the man's shirt.
 I changed out the buttons that came with this shirt for six carved shell buttons and added a tiny bit of  embroidery to the placket to add a little interest to the back.
 I flipped up the hem to show the inside of the dress in the next photo.  There are no exposed seams to irritate delicate infant skin.

I hope you like this little ensemble.  I had such pleasure in making it! There are lots of wonderful ideas here at Project Run & Play for using men's shirts in creating children's clothing.  Check them out!


  1. I'm happy to hear your husband is doing well. That's the most important part.

    The dress and bonnet are beautiful. I'm very impressed at the inside of the gown! Beautiful work!!! I never thought of a Grandmother's Hope Chest and love the idea. But all my children say no more grandkids. I have seven now so guess I shouldn't complain.

  2. This is just beautiful! I love the embroidery and buttons you added to the back placket... the perfect finishing touch. You do such lovely handwork. =)

  3. Hi Karen,
    The day gown and bonnet are just beautiful! So pretty!
    Thank you for sharing it at Funday Monday!

  4. Stopped by via Sylvia's Stitches Funday Monday. That little gown and bonnet are beautiful. And you made it from a mans shirt. Very nice indeed.

  5. This is just one of the loveliest daygowns
    I have ever seen. It is so...serene and restful while being feminine and delicate. Using the shirt is genius! You are masterful!

  6. Thank you, Janice! I consider you the master of lovely daygowns so your sweet words really mean a lot to me.


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