It’s Almost Time for Easter Dresses

Phyllis Lifestyle 31 Comments

I have one month to go until Easter when my granddaughter will be wearing her dress made by me, Gigi. She told me yesterday that she wanted a pink dress again this year. Truthfully I had planned on white lace, but maybe we can meet in the middle. Hays and I will shop for his outfit, but I have to get started on Amelia’s. One month seems like an eternity, but it will pass very quickly.

My mom always made our Easter dresses growing up. Janice and I were dressed in newly sewn dresses each Easter and had the spring/summer new shoes to match. And you must choose carefully as these shoes were it until fall when new winter shoes would be selected. Mom could sew anything, and she could copy any outfit we loved. One thing was sure: we would have white gloves on as well, which I thought was wonderful because we usually had blue and pink fingers from the egg dying the night before.


I don’t know about your household, but in the South, Easter was the day to shine! That was the day that little hats appeared on the heads of little girls, and white, lace-trimmed socks were on their feet. It was amazing. Now, let me say, I was not and still am not a fru-fru girl. So dressing up in hats and gloves, patent leather shoes, and lace-trimmed socks was on the edge for me. The order of the day was “do your mothers proud.” But my granddaughter is over the top with fru-fru, and the order of her day is “more is better.”

From a man’s perspective, it was the day of miserable starched shirts and ties that cut off the blood supply to your head. I experienced this last year with Hays. At 6 years old he insisted that he was being choked to death as he was wrestled into his outfit.

I always loved the fragrance of the Easter lilies in the church. It is amazing how the fragrance of a flower will trigger memories. Before the age of children strapped into a car seat, I remember standing up right behind the front seat of the family car going to church on Easter. If we stood, then our skirts were not wrinkled when we arrived, plus the huge, ruffled petticoat that made your skirt stand out perfectly. It was glorious. We felt so grown up wearing those huge skirts.

We were also versed in the ever-famous Southern command of fashion: no white shoes before Easter and never after Labor Day. It just wouldn’t be right.

Thank you mom for making our dresses. We were the proud wearers of one-of-a-kind dresses made with love.

What are some of your Easter traditions? I’d love to hear!


Get a subscription today!



Comments 31

  1. Thanks for the post about Easter dresses. It brought back so many memories. My favorite person in the world was my Auntie May. She made our Easter dresses. The best part of my dress was the big bow in the back with the long streamers. She tied the bow with what she called a kitty bow. I’m not sure what that actually meant but it was perfect. When my granddaughter wore a dress with a bow I always told her I would tie it with a kitty bow. When I talk to my sister this week I am going to ask her if she remembers the kitty bow.

  2. Robin! Robert Hall!!! I was probably 5 years old, Navy baby! Living in Virginia Beach, Va…I rember that store like it was yesterday.(I am 57), I got an outfit that had a striped top, with Petal pushers that were solid with matching cuff in the stripe….AND matching tennis shoes in the same stripe…I loved that outfit…Mama let me sleep in the shoes!!! Haahaaa

  3. I was raised in the North. Lexington Massachusetts where the Revolutionary War started. The Battle Green was a 12 min. walk from my home. We always wore white gloves, hats and lace socks on Easter Sunday. We also carried our purses. The night before Easter, my two sisters and I would gather on a bed and lay out each of our prayer books, handkerchief, change purse,gloves and purse. Then we would each take a turn and pick which item we wanted to use the next day. It was a tradition, one of my favorite memories to this day.

  4. Easter was always my favorite holiday too! We (Mom and I) always dyed eggs on Good Friday. The house was always decorated with cute Easter candles (bunnies, chicks, flowers and eggs). Easter toys from years past were brought out to be admired and enjoyed. The living room sported vases of pussy willows and forsythia, as well as “egg heads” (blown and hand painted eggs which resembled stylish ladies in hats and earrings or smiling clowns.
    Easter Sunday brought the joy of beautiful baskets filled with fancy chicks dressed in hats, some mechanical toys and beautifully hand decorated chocolate filled eggs from Gavriles, (a now closed shop renowned for it’s candies and egg salad sandwiches). Nana usually made my dress and it often had a matching purse of dress fabric attached to a wooden frame. White lace socks, gloves, new shoes and a new spring coat from Robert Hall completed the outfit. After church, we went to Grammies home to visit with the cousins, aunts and uncles. It was great to see everyone dressed up! Then we were off to Nana’s for Easter dinner of ham, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls and lemon meringue pie. Nana used the same basket each year which was filled with red eggs dyed with onion skins, a ceramic Easter bunny or chick and lots of jelly beans.
    These are my cherished Easter memories!

  5. Easter is my favorite holiday! I love the bunnies, yellow fuzzy chicks, flowers and pretty pastel colors. I remember the excitement of waking up early to make the sunrise service at church and the happiness I felt because Jesus had risen! I was so proud of the new dress that my Granny made me every year. My favorite one had a white bodice with embroidered yellow daisies and a full twirly yellow skirt. I felt so pretty and grown up! Then it was off to PaPa and Granny’s house for a big lunch with aunts, uncles and cousins. The highlight of the meal was Granny’s coconut bunny cake with jelly bean eyes and licorice wiskers!

  6. My Easters past sound so much like yours. Frilly dresses, Easter bonnet, white gloves & new shoes were the order of the day. We always bought my shoes @ JL Brown’s Department store. The name on the sidewalk is still there in the little town where I grew up. My Dad fussed about his church tie all morning & took it off ASAP. I loved hunting eggs & the big Easter dinner that my Mother cooked. Good memories!

  7. I, too, have many special Easter memories in dresses made by our precious mother for her three stair step
    girls. Not just for Easter Sunday but every Saturday night Mother would shampoo
    and roll our hair really tight. Every Easter picture we have, our hair is so curly, we
    laugh and wonder how Mother ever brushed it.

  8. All the comments are familiar; dresses
    for Easter Sunday, new shoes, colored
    eggs, friends, and Sunday school.
    What great memories! From Florida,

    1. Easter holds wonderful memories of my childhood. My mother too made our dresses….I remember one year was dotted swiss. And, our shoes were sometimes black patent leather; in the south we do not wear black patent in the winter (or at least in the 1950’s we didn’t). The white gloves — It was once said that there was a row of “little Haynes girls with white gloves.” As an adult I can’t comprehend why there was only one chocolate bunny for the child who found the most eggs and not one for every one at my grandparents easter egg hunt. Perhaps it was because there were so many cousins. I’m sure it taught us lessons about not always being the winner and that the fun was in the hunt; not the prize at the end. I discussed this with my sister somewhere in my 50’s. To my surprise a large Easter basket arrived in the mail with a large chocolate bunny. And then there was the year I put my most beautifully decorated egg in the communal hunt. Can you imagine my disappointment when a girl cousin found the egg and refused to give it to me?
      Our Easter tradition for perhaps the last 15 years is as participants in a magnificent Easter pageant. The pageant does not in any way preclude our meal of salmon, asparagus, and coconut cake with whomever may be our guests for the Holiday.
      We are all so blessed who have these nostalgic memories to share and hopefully to instill in those we love.

  9. For my husband and my first Easter together I made up an Easter hunt with clues leading from one place to the next, ending with an Easter basket of goodies for him to discover. He loved it and we continued it for the 9 years until our son was born. Somehow the tradidtion trickled out as our family grew. Now with our granddaughter it has been revived. At 11 years old she looks forward each year to following the clues to the basket while the rest of us try very hard to keep quiet and let her figure it out without our help.

    As for our Easter outfits, I have copied my mother’s habit of dressing her 5 daughters in a new frock with white shoes and gloves and often a bonnet to match for the Easter weeklend. My daughter enjoyed the attention a new outfit brougnt her and tolerated the hat for a long time. Now my granddaughter loves it even more!

  10. My mother, 99 and still kickin’, always hid candy eggs and jelly beans, not real eggs, inside our small farmhouse, on top of the doorway trim, on the baseboards, in the bookcases, on the Seth Thomas clock. Sometimes we’d miss one or two and find them months later! When I was in high school, Easter was marked by sunrise services and singing in the choir. Even if the weather was springlike, and it very often was not, in northwest Missouri it is still cold at sunrise on Easter, but it has a different feeling than winter cold. A feeling of hope for spring.

  11. I always wore navy and white outfits…mostly sailor themed and most were made by my mother. I wore white gloves but no hat since I too wasn’t a fru fru girl. We dyed Easter eggs and made Ukrainian ones called pysanky when we were older. On Saturday we would go to church to bless our baskets filled with Easter goodies. On Sunday we would go to my grandparents’s for brunch after the Easter service…so many lovely memories.

  12. Your story sounds so much like mine…even the standing up in the back of the car! :o) My mother made all of our clothes…including several for my father and my brother. (Yes, she even made my father a blue suit one year). I didn’t have a store bought dress until I got ONE when I was a junior in high school. My mother no longer sews as she is 88 years old and can’t see very well anymore but I have kept several dresses that she made for me over the years…including my wedding dress. I have also saved a couple of doll clothes (on the original dolls) that matched the dresses she made for me out of feed sacks when I was a little girl. I have been so blessed…not only because my mother was such a fine seamstress but also because she was so giving. One year, I remember that in order for my sister and I to have a new dress for the beginning of a new school year…that was also a tradition back in ‘those days’…she unselfishly cut up some of her own dresses and made our dresses out of the material. Thank you for bringing these memories back today. I believe your granddaughter will also someday cherish these items that were made for her with so much love and care by her Gigi. Blessings!

  13. New easter dress and new shoes, hunting eggs on Easter Sunday at my grandmothers house. Easter dinner and easter candy.

  14. My mother could not sew either so she had my two older sisters and my outfits made, You’re right in the South, Easter was and still is everyone’s time to shine! Thank you for sharing-

  15. Growing up in Minnesota Easter Sunday could be a real stretch for white shoes. The frilly dress, straw hat and lacy gloves were often matched with snow boots. But the day was still special and snow on the ground only made it easier to spot the Easter eggs the Bunny left. Thank you for bringing back fond memories.

  16. Brought back many wonderful memories of Easter outfits as well. My mother was a wonderful seamstress but unfortunately I never really learned. Now that I am retired it is on my bucket list. Blessings to all!!

  17. Thank you for a wonderful trip down memory lane! I remember a cute Tiffany blue and brown school dress my mother made for me–colors I still love to this day.

  18. Thank you for the lovely memories in your visual writing style. I am smiling with happy memories of countless Easter traditions with grandparents, parents, siblings, extended family and friends, pets, spouses, children, and grandchildren. We celebrate Christ’s resurrection and mankind’s redemption with royal majesty, pomp and circumstance, practices and pleasures, and eternal love and blessing from generation to generation. Happy Easter!

  19. My mom was a wonderful seamstress. She made all of my dresses from the time I was a small child, and on through prom dresses, and maternity clothes, until I had a daughter of my own, and then made all of her little dresses, smocking the bishop’s neckline of many of them. During the 50’s she made me 7 dresses every fall for grade school, one being extra special for church wear. When Easter came early she always made me a ‘duster’ coat to coordinate with the dress, as we could get a cold front come through that would put a chill in the air on Easter Sunday morning. Lace socks, patent shoes, hats with long ribbons, and a little purse completed the outfit. I often envied the girls with ‘store bought’ dresses, but the older I got the more I realized how privileged I was to have a mom who was so giving of her time and talents. I complained when having to stand while she marked a hem, or stabbed me with a pin while fitting the waist, but putting on the finished dress always made me feel special, and loved. Thanks, Mom.

  20. My mom made dresses for me and my sister each Easter too! Lots of black and whites of those outfits, one year she made navy blue dusters out of faille…not sure that fabric is available much now…one of my favorites. She also made our first communion dresses and most of our clothes in the grade school years. My sister and I learned to sew at ages 9 and 10 on an old treadle machine that was my grandmothers! Great memories 🙂

  21. I so love your sewing stories. I can sew only as much to ….. Mend. When my mother-in- law passed, my husbands family gave me her sewing machine because his sisters all had one. It’s a long …quite funny ….story but our BIG Saint Bernard while “teething” chewed one leg right off. End that. The second one, much smaller, sits on part of my desk and is a lovely book end.

    So like I’ve written many times before, I do many things with and for my wonderful grandchildren….none of which is sewing. Now, tea parties complete with hats and gloves, crafts of every kind and gingerbread houses every year we DO….but no lovely lovely Easter finery hand made. Please please send pictures of this year’s creations. I so enjoy seeing them!

    Grandma Yaya

  22. My mother was a wonderful seamstress and made all of our clothes, my sister and I. She made my slips with tucks and lace. I wanted those store bought ones that you saw other girls wear because their straps slipped down and mine didn’t as she made fitted ones with lace. One Easter when I about 12 and my sister was 16, we has a cousin living with with us for a while. Mother made all three of us identical Easter outfits in blue and white. We had hats, gloves and shoes that matched. My cousin hated it, wore it only on Easter Sunday and until the day she died, she talked about Iit and laughed. Good memories.

  23. My mother made all my Easter dresses as well – unfortunately my folks didn’t have a camera for some of the years I was little, so I don’t have many photos of those dresses. Some of them even had coats to go with them! You can bet when I had a daughter, lots of pics were taken! I’m ready for the grand kid stage – unfortunately my kids are not – so i just enjoy all the little girls at our church! Thanks for the memories!

  24. Special memories!!! I remember also that was the time to get new shoes to wear to church all Summer. My Grandma made a lot of our clothes so my sister just older than me (15 months) were usually dressed alike. I loved going to church dressed up. Of course, the dresses we wore to church were never worn to school. Those were our “church dresses” and only the best was saved for Sunday.

  25. You are creating wonderful memories for your granddaughter! I always enjoyed making heirloom dresses for my three daughters for Easter, and they secretly enjoyed all the extra attention they received from the older ladies at church who would hunt them down to see what they were wearing. Easter also meant white leather Mary Janes for my three – no sandals or patent leather or rhinestones on the shoes! Now at 18, 14 and 11 they’ve outgrown my creations. Just last Sunday as we were sitting in church my 18 year old mentioned her memory of a white batiste dress with a slip and how she would take her shoes off in church. “I loved that”, she said – I loved it too 🙂

  26. Love the picture of you & Keith! Precious! Can’t wait to see Amelia’s dress! My girlies love white gloves!

  27. Your memories are so vivid to me albeit we grew up in northeast Ohio! You are so blessed to be able to sew ~ my mother nor I could even sew a button on straight! LOL Enjoy and thank you for your continued wonderful posts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *