Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Reader’s Embroidery: Beautiful Christening Gown Set!


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Carol DuVall recently finished a gorgeous heirloom Christening set for a best friend’s daughter’s new baby! The dress, slip, bonnet, storage bag, and hanger testify not only to Carol’s attention to detail, but more importantly, to the love that went into making making this fabulous treasure!

We’ll begin with a full-length view of the gown. Made from Bear Threads Swill batiste, the dress is adorned with French and French Maline laces. The embroidery is mostly worked in Splendor silk, and is accented with pearls and Swarovski crystals.

Hand Embroidered Christening Gown

Carol used a lace-to-lace technique to create the bodice, and she inserted lace into the body of the gown, marking off areas of pin tucking.

Hand Embroidered Christening Gown

The bodice is beautifully smocked! The bullion roses are stunning, and the pearls and crystals add an elegant touch.

Hand Embroidered Christening Gown

The slip bodice is made out of a sheer cotton organza. Notice the feather stitching and the bullion roses! Beautiful details!

Hand Embroidered Christening Gown

Speaking of details, on the slip, Carol embroidered the name and birthdate of the baby, along with the names of the parents, in a heart-shaped wreath of flowers. The photo is somewhat difficult to see – it’s never easy to photograph whitework – but you can see enough to understand the detail and care that went into this (and it’s the slip!)

Hand Embroidered Christening Gown

The bonnet is … wow! Unbelievable! I love the smocked netting and the pearls and crystals, but it’s that wreath of bullion roses at the back of the bonnet that I find most enchanting.

Hand Embroidered Christening Gown

First of all, the bullions are fantastic – I love how the roses nestle up to each other. And the little pearls sprinkled here and there among the roses are a perfect touch.

Hand Embroidered Christening Gown

To finish off the set, Carol made a matching padded hanger for it, with a pretty ribbon-wrapped hook, and a storage bag. On the outside of the storage bag, she fitted a pocket made of silk organza on which she printed a photo of little Kate and all the little details of her birth. Ingenious!

Do you agree with me that this is absolutely stunning? What a work of art, and what a work of love!

Thanks, Carol, for letting me share your masterpiece with readers here on Needle ‘n Thread! It’s exquisite! I hope everyone else finds it as inspiring as I do!

If you’re interested in sharing your needlework with readers on Needle ‘n Thread, feel free to drop me a line, and I’ll send you an e-mail address. It’s always nice to see what other stitching folk out there are up to – and a great way to get the creative juices flowing for the rest of us!


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(34) Comments

  1. The whole Christening gown set is stunning. Hats off to you Carol for putting so much thought and effort into all the lil details that you have incorporated. It is truly a masterpiece and I am sure that it will be cherished. And Mary I love the bullions on the bonnet too. Thanks for sharing

  2. This is a masterpiece, not only of embroidery, but also of love, towards that baby and towards the life itself. That is a pure celebration to life, otherwise how could Carol have made such a beautiful piece?!
    Congratulations for this beauty, and thanks for sharing it with us.

  3. This is a masterpiece and something to become a family treasure for years to come. It remnds me of our family Christening dress, made from my Grandmother's wedding slip and worn by my father and his brothers, me, two nieces, three sons and 8 grandchildren + 1 to be born. After the grandchildren are finished I will takeit to a conservationist to have it cleaned and packed for the next generation.

  4. As you say, Marym this is an exquisite beauty!
    Carol DuVall – a name to remind – your hands are precious! Don't you want to start a blog???? I guess you would have lots of things to show all of us!
    Congratulations and thank you for sharing!

  5. Ah my goodness…a work of art and such attention to the tiny details. Lucky baby to be able to wear this!

  6. Gee, I think my head is enlarging with all the wonderful comments you girls are giving me! Thank you so much for appreciating my efforts!
    I have been learning heirloom embroidery for the last 17 years and have made many garments, although this is the first Christening dress I have "completed". You notice I said "completed"….I have another that has been in stages of work for the last 10 years!!!! I will finish it one day!

    I am doing a step-by-step picture review of the making of the dress and getting ready to upload it to a Picassa website. I actually am making this so the mother of Kate will have an understanding of how it was made. If any of you are interested, I'll let you know the website so you can see it.

    Carol DuVall

    1. Hi Carol – this is truly amazing!!!! Did you follow a pattern? I am hoping to make my god daughters gown and would love to attempt something like this .Thanks Linda

  7. Exquisite! Thank you Carol, and to you Mary for sharingit withus. I would love the website details so that I can see how it was done.

  8. Truely a masterpiece..stunning work… As mary said, even I fell in love with the bullion roses on the bonnet…beautiful work.. And Carole Pls let us also see as u upload the step by step picture review.. We definitely would love to see that.. And thank u mary for sharing this with us..

  9. Carol, my goodness, this is almost blindingly beautiful; my eyes don't know where to look first and they end up glazed over thinking about the amount of time, energy and care that went into this.

    Of course we would love to see your "in progress" pictures. It's dangerously inspiring already, I already have too much on the go and now my hands are itching to make pretty white lacey things on top of it all!

  10. This is absolutely stunning! My work doesn't even come close to this – I admire your ability to do such beautiful and perfect work! Thanks for the inspiration.
    Kathy in Kenai

  11. Carol, this is really awesome and I appreciate all the efforts put by you to get such an extraordinary piece. Hats off to you.

  12. I want to thank you again for all your wonderful comments. Thanks to Mary for sharing all her abilities and making this great website to bring us all together.

    Happy Stitching! Carol

  13. I honestly don't know when I have seen anything this exquisite. Carol, you are a treasure. Thank you for sharing this wonderful heirloom with us.
    Linda in Ontario, Canada

  14. Hi Carol,

    Your work is so stunningly beautiful and I adore the beautiful bonnet, with all the perfect bullion roses…………what a triumph the whole ensemble is.

    I accessed your web album, but your blog page, when I tried to access it, comes up in Turkish, (I am currently living in Turkey) and I cant understand it…………

    May I ask, is the complete outfit your own pattern, if not, could you possible let us know what pattern you used for the gown and bonnet. I would love to try and tackle it for my Grandma's hope chest.

    Kindest regards and thanks for sharing such stunning work with us all.

  15. Dear Carol Duvel, My Breath is taken away with your gown. I hav e just finished my granddaughters gown. These things are absolutely priceless and take a lot of time and patience to produce. Well done. Lauren

  16. Hi there Carol,

    Well, everyone has already said it; something for us all to aim for. Your work is totally exquisite!

    Thank you so much for sharing it with us all.

    As I am an English Lady living in Turkey; satelite T.V. here shows us lots of American Programmes. May I ask, are you the Carol DuVall of the T.V. programme??

    Kindest regards and thank you for such inspiration.


  17. I so enjoyed seeing the exquisite embroidery on the christening set. What a lucky baby to wear that beautiful outfit!

    I am planning to make a tea shower with some shadow work with pulled work areas and am looking for sheer cotton organza like the bodice of the slip. Its difficult to find a suitable good quality cotton here in Cape Town and I would welcome any suggestions.

    Thank you for sharing this lovely embroidery.I can’t stop looking at it.


  18. Hi, I wonder is there a pattern for this beautiful gown. I am making my god daughters christening gown and this is exactly what I want to achieve.

  19. Wow. Amazing, stunning, beautiful, detailed, work. The Christening Set heirloom is a labor of love for that baby and family. Absolutely breathtaking.

  20. I have a Christening gown that is 75 years old, I am looking to have someone duplicate it. I do not have the skills and I am far from having the talents to do so.
    Can anyone help me find someone who may be able to do this or lead me in the right direction?

    1. Hi there,
      I know quite a number of excellent ladies who can help, as I was involved a little with Australian Smocking and Embroidery Magazine and was published by them too.
      Can you tell us which country you are in and I can point you in the right direction…..USA,Australia or UK.
      I am based in the UK and would happily help, otherwise I can suggest ladies to make contact with.

    1. Hi, Luellen – Thanks for your question. No, I don’t make christening gowns, and the one I pictured here on the website is from a reader of the blog. I’ve also featured one on here that my sister made. But I don’t make them myself. If you’re looking for someone who does heirloom sewing, you might check out The Southern Matriarch blog – she does a lot of heirloom sewing.

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