vintage may: beautiful handsewn dress (that i thrifted!)

vintage may: beautiful handsewn dress

Since I have a last-minute spot open today on the vintage may tour, I thought I’d share with you all this dress.

I spotted it while thrifting with my sister last week. The color was the first thing that jumped out at me. (you know my love affair with teal) Then I noticed the tiny polka dots. Then the beautiful lace, and sweet collar and tie in back. Then, I flipped it inside out…my suspicions were confirmed. It was handmade.

Not just handmade, hand-SEWN. Every single stitch of this dress was sewn by hand. And it is exquisite. Tiny, perfect stitches, pristine hand bound buttonholes…a work of art.

IΒ think I literally couldn’t breathe for a second or two.

I am enamored by vintage sewing for many reasons. I love history, and finding something like this forms a link to the past. It makes me wonder about who made it? who wore it? What is the story behind this little dress? Was it for school? church? a special birthday dress? It also makes me wonder when it was made…what was going on at that time? what did the seamstress think about while she was sewing?

Maybe I have too many questions about a simple dress, but since I’m a sewing dork, so be it. All I know is, finding this gem made my day/week.

It was $2. I almost felt ashamed to buy it for that little. But I loves me a good deal…and I knew it would be treasured in this home.

vintage may: beautiful handsewn dress

It did need some work-was missing a button, and the hem had come undone a bit in the back. (which I still need to fix, found that while taking photos)

vintage may: beautiful handsewn dress

Since the torso was too long for Sadie, I also removed the bodice from the skirt, and took off about 2.5″, then sewed it back together.

Of course, with my best hand-stitching.

No way was my machine going to touch this one.

vintage may: beautiful handsewn dress

Even the hemming on the tie was hand sewn.

vintage may: beautiful handsewn dress

A little vintage may fun fact-this book was given to me by my co-host, Kristin!

vintage may: beautiful handsewn dress

It should fit her for a good while, since the skirt is quite long.

I am totally going to be a food/dirt crazy person when she wears it though. ha!

vintage may: beautiful handsewn dress

vintage may: beautiful handsewn dress

vintage may: beautiful handsewn dress

She had fun playing old fashioned school!

vintage may: beautiful handsewn dress

My mom says she thinks the tatting is handmade too. I wouldn’t be surprised! I think the lady who sewed this up had many many talents!

vintage may: beautiful handsewn dress

vintage may: beautiful handsewn dress

The nice thing about shortening the bodice was that I had an extra button to replace the missing top one! Yes, those pleats are hand sewn.

SIGH…I would marry this dress if I wasn’t already taken.

me thinks I may say that a lot.

vintage may: beautiful handsewn dress

’tis true. I am enamored with this one.

vintage may: beautiful handsewn dress

you know the drill! go!

vintage may ||  craftiness is not optional & skirt as top


  1. The dress is so beautiful and Sadie looks so cute. πŸ˜‰

  2. That’s a truly beautiful dress. Everything about it is so perfect – the colour, the polkadots, the lace, the pattern. I can’t believe it was sewn by hand. What a lucky find for you.

  3. Laura J. says

    So gorgeous! And how lucky are you that you will get to see 3 little girls wear it in the years to come! I wonder how that would make the original seamstress feel, to know how much delight she has spread. Word of advice: NO POPSICLES!!

  4. this is sooooo pretty! i bet the lady who made this would be blushing to see it gushed over so on your blog. and also very confused by the idea of a computer/blog. awesome find!!

  5. WOW….it is so pretty and for $2????? Another WOW! But I must say…your model is beautiful! Hugs and blessings, Cindy

  6. Wow, what a gorgeous dress!! I can’t get over all of the details, it’s so amazing. And that color- it’s just perfect on Sadie. Such a great find, congrats!!

  7. What a treasure! So lucky that was found by someone who would truly appreciate it!

  8. This is what I have been doing for vintage May is taking old dresses and changing them a little bit! I definitely cut some of my outfits up a bit more….but some of them I just left the same because I love love love vintage. I love this dress and hope I find good finds like it for my girl!

  9. Wow, what a find!

  10. The tatting is definitively handmade…and hours upon hours of work went into it πŸ™‚ Somewhere, I saw an estimate that two square inches of tatting takes about an hour for an experienced tatter. Because it is created by tying a series of (larks head) knots, it is one of the most durable laces and can often be reused on another garment when whatever it originally graced has worn out. Tatting is one of the only laces that is impossible to reproduce by a mechanical method. There are some newer embroidery machines that can create something that resembles tatting…but it is an obvious imitation. You have the read thing on that beautiful dress. I tat and sew, having learned to do both from my Grandmother…so I am well aware of the work involved in creating the lace alone and the hand sewing is also spectacular. That dress is an exquisite find, it looks beautiful on your little girl, and I am sure that the gifted lady who created it is smiling down to see it appreciated, treasured, and worn!

  11. Gorgeous! What an amazing find!

  12. If you were super duper awesome, you’d appease our curiosity and post a picture of the inside πŸ™‚

  13. Also, this dress is amazing! I can’t believe it was only $2. Those people at the thrift store had no idea what a gold mine they were sitting on.

  14. What a find!!! It’s gorgeous!

  15. WOW! That dress is gorgeous! I have sworn off hand sewing, but this dress totally tempts me!

  16. WOW. I cannot imagine the dedication to sew such a beautiful, detailed dress by hand. Massive claps for that sewist.

  17. Oohh, that is just gorgeous! I don’t blame you for gushing over it. That is a seriously amazing find!

  18. wow, jess, you sent me a preview but i love seeing the full story on this dress! it’s incredible! and it truly warmed my heart to see how you honored this dress’ maker by so carefully handsewing it – you’re a good egg. πŸ™‚

  19. Gosh… She looks like a real princess in this treasure.

  20. WOW that is very beautifull. – And $2 …. Good deal.. Looks so good on her too.

  21. krystina says

    Agree with what others have said about the tatting.. it is def handmade! What a find, wow! It’s gorgeous! Thanks for sharing.

  22. wow that dress is so beautiful! What a great spy! amazing!

  23. The dress is gorgeous. You can now get inspired and make something like it…

  24. It’s an amazing dress! SO CUTE!

  25. Can I ask a dumb question? How can you tell the inside was hand sewn? I’m new to sewing so would like to know what to look out for. πŸ™‚

    • You can tell pretty much right away-the stitches aren’t machine perfect-they will have a little variance to them. πŸ™‚

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