Thursday, May 12, 2016

First Communion Dress

Louisa celebrated her First Communion on Saturday, and somehow or another I managed to make her dress.

I used the Oliver + S Fairy Tale Dress, view B, size 7 bodice, size 8 skirt. I added some pintucks to the bodice and lace to the arm binding.

My two previous versions of this pattern are here and here. There are many other oliver + s first communion dresses out there for inspiration!

The main fabric is ivory satin, with tulle and a polyester lining underneath. I bought all the fabric at Fleishman's on Philadelphia's Fabric Row when I was visiting there in March. Supplies cost me about $30, the bulk of which was the bit of lace I bought for the cap sleeves.

I ran out of time to hand finish the hem, which was unfortunate, because it slid a bit while I was stitching it on the machine and got a little wonky in the back. If we use the dress again when Lottie's turn comes, I will have to re-do that part.

And the main reason my time was so limited, besides all the regular reasons, is that my mom had a terrible stroke April 6 and has been in the hospital since.

This has been life changing for my whole family. We live next door to my parents, and they are a huge part of our everyday life, and not only because mom was my primary babysitter, and I work for my dad. Along with my two younger sisters, we are a very tight-knit family.

For the past 5 weeks we have been juggling long hours at the hospital, caregiving training, and grieving the life she lost. She is down on her left side, but she has her speech, her memory is pretty good, and they are still cautiously optimistic that she will be able to walk again eventually. Her vision is very limited though. Mom is a retired high school English and philosophy teacher, who loved gardening, knitting, playing piano, cooking, reading, crossword puzzles and painting, and who was very active in the Crozet community. Not only does she miss all those things terribly, she cries thinking about how she will never be able to hold Lottie again.

She was very sad she wasn't able to be at Louisa's first communion. We tried to make it happen with medical transport and lots of training, but in the end, her doctor thought it would set her back in therapy and wouldn't sign off on her 3 hour release.

So after mass, we went to the hospital so she could see Louisa in her dress. (She had already seen the dress itself, however, since I was still sewing the arm binding on just a few hours earlier while visiting mom at lunch, haha.)

We have a CaringBridge site for progress updates, and an amazingly, AMAZINGLY successful GoFundMe campaign to help with her transition home. I am speechless at the generosity of her friends, neighbors, and especially her former students. She made an impact on a lot of young lives.

Here is Louisa outside the church with her banner, which I made out of my own first communion banner. The five hearts represented the five people in my family, which also works for the five people in Louisa's family.

Thanks for reading!

p.s. How about that front tooth! She finally lost it, just six weeks shy of her 8th birthday.


  1. What a lovely dress!!! Special memories for a special day. You've been through so much lately, hope you are holding on OK. God bless you and your family.

  2. I'm so sorry to hear about your mum and her stroke. People have made fully recoveries from bad strokes before so with walking being a huge goal for her, maybe she can again hold Lottie too, along with simple gardening and crosswords etc. I would think tgat somewhere in her therapy, there would be work with pens to recapture some finemotor skills and larger items, like trowels for gardening. I pray that she makes much more of a recovery than even the doctors predict for her. We have a success story of our own at home, not stroke related but it has suprised the doctors nonetheless. I pray you have a success too.
    Your daughter looked so pretty in her dress. It's such an important part of a child's christian upbringing don't you think? I love the photo of such a big group of children. It is so lovely to see. And in a few more years it will be her confirmation? Another occassion to look forward to (and I am sure your mum will get to see it too).

    Wishing you lots of positivity as your family keep recovering and learning to adapt to the changes.

    1. Thank you so much, Tamara. I appreciate your positive thoughts and support. xo

  3. It's such a beautiful dress! The pintucks were a smart addition- I love the bodice so much. Sweet Louisa! Wishing your mom all of the very best. I hope she can hold Lottie again someday.... Brings tears to my eyes. XO -E

  4. Absolutely beautiful sewing, Allie! I am so very sorry to hear about your mom. Recovering from a stroke is SUCH HARD WORK for the patient, but it is amazing what people can achieve with dedication. I hope that your mom can come home soon and continue on the road to recovery with all her beautiful grandchildren around her.


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