An Egg Smocking Legacy

Phyllis Décor, Inspiration 21 Comments

No matter how you typically decorate Easter eggs, I think you’ll be touched by this beautiful story from Lucy Finney, one of our photo stylists and a model for Classic Sewing magazine. Her mother, Betty Carter, created quite the egg smocking legacy! Thank you, Lucy, for sharing this.

Happy Easter!

Love, Phyllis


Lucy Finney

“When my mother, Betty Carter, was young, each year she would sew coordinating outfits for my brother and me before Easter. These handmade items always had a smocking detail, and soon she began using leftover fabric to smock eggs each spring for our Easter baskets.

Some were made from kits that included a Styrofoam egg, pleated fabric, floss, and directions for several different smocking patterns. Her goal was to have enough smocked eggs to decorate a little tabletop tree in our home for the Easter season.

When that goal was achieved, she gathered small branches from our yard, placed them into a tub of Plaster of Paris, then spray-painted the arrangement a soft white.

She hung the eggs on the tree, put Easter grass around the base, scattered small figurines of bunnies in the grass, and then circled all of that with a little white picket fence. Over the years she displayed the little eggs in silver bowls, baskets, or scattered them around a centerpiece.

My mother says, ‘These smocked eggs are now treasures that remind me of those early years as a young mother of two precious children and how we prepared each spring for the celebration of our Lord’s resurrection. In addition to those memories, I now delight in seeing my granddaughter wear the many beautiful dresses that I created for her mother all those years ago.'” -Lucy Finney

What are some of your Easter traditions?

Comments 21

  1. How sweet, Lucy. I know you love not only the decorated eggs that you still cherish but also the beautiful dresses that your daughter can now wear. Special memories!!!

  2. Beautiful eggs, and story. I had always wanted to learn to smock, but something always got in the way, kids, life. I made the girls dresses for Easter and my granddaughters, but no smocking, embroidery yes. Maybe 70 isn’t to old to learn, at least a simple basic stitch.

  3. Easter at our house meant a new dress, complete with hat, gloves, socks with lace around the edge, and patent leather shoes, to wear to church Sunday morning. My younger sister and I would find a big basket full of candy, including a big chocolate bunny, and a toy sitting on the kitchen table. I can still remember the year I got a Liddle Kiddle on a trike in my basket.

    I love the smocked eggs and thought maybe they were done in the fabric and design of a specific outfit each year. What a memory keeper that would have been. It’s always so nice when mothers go that extra mile to make holidays special, not only for the moment but forever in our hearts and minds.

  4. I have never seen smocked eggs. They are beautiful,indeed. Being a Northern lady, may I ask if this is a Southern tradition!

  5. What a sweet family tradition! The smocking eggs are darling, and I can just imagine the many ways one could decorate with them come Easter time.

    Each Easter, when my siblings and I were young, my mother made a strawberry cake shaped like a bunny wearing a bow-tie. Once it had been frosted white, we got to decorate the face and tie with colorful candies like jelly beans and M&Ms. It was such fun and produced many a happy memory.

  6. My late parents loved all holidays. One of my Dad’s favorite traditions was giving us an Easter basket ( always sitting next to the bed) on Easter morning. He always gave us a chocolate bunny too even after we were grown & married. The last one he gave me before he passed away was hidden in the pantry for years where I thought it was secure. One day I came home from work to discover that the ears were missing. Later my husband told me the bunny tasted rather stale. I shared with him the family tradition of the chocolate bunny!

  7. What lovely memories, Phyllis, Lucy & your readership have shared!!
    I remember Easter morning as an exciting time, also. Mother & Daddy always prepared a small Easter egg hunt – in the yard or in the house depending on the weather; then there was church and afterwards a bounteous Easter Sunday dinner either at home or with extended family.
    The Easter we lived in DC, my husband and I shopped together for my Easter hat. What a treasured memory is that of trying on various chapeaux as my practically newlywed husband looked on. The Ecru confection sits in its Hecht Company hatbox on my closet shelf. I still wear it occasionally for Easter.
    Easter Blessings to all…

  8. My mom only new how to sew by hand. She made us the most beautiful doll clothes. When she was 63 and my dad had passed expectantly, she took a porcelain doll class. All the clothes were hand sewn including everything had a French seam. All the delicate little pleats and some with smocking. As I write this I’m sitting here looking at one dress I had professionally framed to honor her amazing handwork. Oh I miss her and oh how I wish I had her handwork talent.

    I once tried to take an egg smocking class around 20 years ago and oh my it was so much work and I just could not get the knack of it. But I’m glad I gave it a try.

    Blessings this Easter season!

  9. My mother was a wonderful seamstress who made 4 dresses for her 4 daughters each Easter along with a hat to match. At least 3 of the dresses were alike, as I got too old for the dotted Swiss or organza ruffles. When my children were born I started smocking, and continued until my daughter was too old (in her eyes)to wear smocked dresses. Today her girls are wearing the dresses I made/smocked for her 30 years ago. The length changed as my daughter grew older, so I’ve had to be creative in lengthening them. Easter is a time of new beginnings, and we carry on this tradition in new clothes, and new birth, in Christ’s resurrection. I love your blog, Phyllis. I look forward to it weekly. Thank you.

  10. Such beautiful easter eggs and what a lovely memory.
    After reading this story it really touched my heart and soul.
    I love old things that are made with so much love and the memory behind it.
    I have also just made a lovely easter egg with old materials,and sitting and watching it next to an old bear,I’am looking with a big smile to it all the time.
    Hope someone will love and cherish the egg also,long after when I’m gone.
    Happy Easter greetings from the Netherlands Phyllis!

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  11. My mother was a wonderful seamstress. She would sew my sister and I an entire outfit for Easter. One year a cousin was staying with us while her parents got settled in a new town and job. Three identical Easter outfits were made. Hats, gloves and shoes all matched. Until the day my cousin went to Heaven, we would laugh about those previous clothes.

  12. What a beautiful tradition Lucy’s mother began. The eggs are beautiful. As a child growing up in Europe, one of my favorite traditions was a wonderful breakfast after church with our family. My grandfather selected a luxurious chocolate egg from the chocolatier in our town for each one of us, they were works of art. Often dinner was at one of his favorite restaurants, and the desserts were spectacular! One year the chef wheeled out a miniature cathedral made of chocolate, on another Easter the dessert was ice cream served in a white chocolate box that played music when I opened it.

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