Mary Frances Nightgown

My daughter has just completed Project #4 in the Mary Frances Sewing Book. It is a nightgown for her new doll, made of white lawn and sewn entirely by hand. Needless to say, this one took her awhile.

As you might expect, I helped with some key parts along the way. I cut the fabric (it's just one piece of fabric, folded over - super easy) and did all the ironing and basting in between steps. I also drew lines with an air erasable marker for her to sew along. She did the running stitch first along the seams and then we flipped the gown inside out and she did a back-stitch. Here is a close-up of the inside of the dress and the resulting French seams. Sweet tiny crooked stitches.

The neck and arm holes required us to make small slashes which you then press to the right side of the fabric. Around these openings, my daughter then sewed beading lace (over the "turned back goods"...I love the language in this book) and another lace trim after that. I basted the beading lace, the lace trim, and the bottom hem for her and even drew "dots" for her to follow so she could hem/overcast with much easier success. It took her many days, but she did pretty well. And the fact that the neck and arm openings gather once the baby ribbon is threaded through the beading lace...well, it looks almost perfect for a 7-year old! The sleeves actually are even...I just didn't adjust them correctly for these pictures. Nor did I bother to iron as you can see. *Ahem*.

She's pretty happy and eager to keep sewing. Before our camping trip last weekend, she hand-sewed this little Alice doll sent to us a few months back by Ricebabies. Again, I drew a line for her to follow with the air erasable marker.

And now she thinks she's in business :). I've shown her how there are sellers on ETSY who make stuffed little dolls out of the Paper Doll fabric by Windham for $15/doll (her jaw literally dropped when she heard this). We have some yardage of that fabric, as well as the new line for Christmas. I like the Christmas line much better than the original.

Anyways, I told her to keep practicing. She's going to make some dolls from the Christmas doll line for presents this year.

Oh, and here is a poorly-taken picture of the completed doll handkerchief (Project #3). Now she's onto Project #5 - a hand-sewn bathrobe. Project #6 introduces Ma Chine (another character in the book), so things should move along more quickly after she gets to start using a sewing machine.


  1. I have that book too. I cant believe your daughter is making things from it. SO COOL! I dont think my sons will be keen on doll dress making, but the oldest does enjoy sewing.

    It been a while since I was able to jump around to blogs! I have missed yours ...so many things....
    I hae Black Apple art in my space. I hope to show it soon, I just hae one print but I did pre order the paper doll book.

    I hope Alice turned out ok, she looks great, hope my instructions werent too poor.

    Have a great week, I will try and stop by soon.

  2. she loved making the alice doll. you should do more of those :). she swiped it from me shortly after you sent it so i never saw the instructions, but it's easy enough to put together.

    hope you're doing well. i know you have your hands full these days with your three little ones!

  3. Such a sweet and lovely nightgown you daughter has sewn! A perfect fit for her lovely doll. What a treasure these days are, for both of you :-)


  4. I wish I'd learned to sew by hand. I can't sew a stitch! My mom LOVES to sew by hand but never taught me. I think the nightgown is absolutely perfect! I can't believe how well she did, Kudos!

  5. Thanks Beth and t-beri :). I especially like that I'm learning some new techniques along the way also.