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The bigger the bow, the closer to heaven!

I came across this saying recently and was reminded of my early Strasburg Children days learning the roots that formed our company. I’m not Southern by birth, but many years immersed in Strasburg Children culture has given me a wonderfully rich Southern education. (It was a sad day when I finally accepted defeat in growing crepe myrtle trees outside southern borders.) One of my first lessons, which I was informed was also one of the most important, was that Southern girls took their hairbows very seriously. Adding a hairbow was as much a part of the daily routine as brushing teeth or combing hair. And not just any bow would do. It had to be big. As in “if the baby’s about to tip over, you have the right size bow” big.

Big Satin hair bow white

So we’ll continue to search for just the right hairbows to add to our collection, knowing that our beautiful dresses aren’t complete for many of you without that important finishing touch. We’ll help you complete your look, whether it’s a wedding in the grandest church or the sandiest beach.  And we promise to keep them big.

 

 

August 04, 2017 by Diane Janowak
A Floral Crown and Garlic for your Flower Girl?

A Floral Crown and Garlic for your Flower Girl?

Wait, garlic?? Why would anyone want to send a sweet little flower girl down the wedding aisle carrying garlic?  The little cherubs dropping rose petals have quite an interesting past!

It began with the Romans.  They chose a young girl to lead the wedding party carrying a stalk of wheat, which symbolized prosperity. Bringing wheat to the ceremony symbolized blessing the bride and groom with a prosperous and long, fertile life together.

Flower Girls and Bridesmaid traditions

Her role took quite a turn during the Renaissance, which gets us back to garlic and the introduction of bridesmaids. In Medieval times, it was believed that evil spirits would try to steal the bride. With the flower girl keeping them at bay with garlic and the bridesmaids confusing them, the bride could safely join her groom!

Fortunately the Elizabethan era brought a more wholesome, lovely role for our flower girls. A path of flower petals would be created from the bride’s home to the location of the ceremony. The flower girl would be the first to walk the path, leading the bride while sprinkling flowers and rosemary leaves from a special cup.

We have the Victorian era to thank for the flower girl traditions we celebrate today – an adorable little girl in a white or ivory dress scattering rose petals to create a path for her bride. Flowers were carried in a decorated basket or floral hoop, which was handmade and symbolized the never-ending love of the bride and groom.

Brides today may want to incorporate elements of this history into their wedding for a vintage touch.  Our sentimental favorite is a darling crown of flowers that evolved from the floral hoop. An historic symbol of never-ending love is always a wonderful touch to add to a modern wedding.

July 14, 2017 by Diane Janowak

The Craft of Smocking

In some families, the art of smocking is handed down from generation to generation like a fine recipe. The gathering of fabric, the carefully placed stitches that pull the pleats together, the embroidery stitches that both stabilize and adorn the fabric pleats must all be completed by hand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In our automated world, smocking by machine is faster, less expensive, and widely used.  But at Strasburg Children, we’ve made the choice to step back and include a few details in our designs that still take a set of hardworking hands to craft.  When creating a Margaret or Ava dress, the foundation comes together with a sewing machine and a talented seamstress. To finish the design, our garment manufacturer turns to a group of artisans who create handcrafted smocking panels. Beginning with a piece of fabric three times as wide as the finished dimension, the fabric is gathered into pleats with a loose stitch across the width. Row after row of stitching is used, working down the fabric, until the length of the pleat is reached. Stitches are carefully matched to the row above, assuring a clean pleat. By pulling gently on the thread ends, the fabric comes together in pleats that resemble an accordion, and are secured. Once the embroidery details are added by hand, the smocked fabric is then attached to the rest of the garment.

The smocking panel below is a new design we’re working on with embroidery stitches and pearls. The size of the small pearl helps show how tiny the pleats are…and how many pleats are needed for one dress.

 smocking for christening gown handmade

To us, the choice to have our smocking created by hand is an easy one. Many hands have been involved with our beautiful dresses by the time they reach your hands. We hope you appreciate that as much as we do.

July 06, 2017 by Diane Janowak

Why silk dupioni?

As you stroll through our collection of dresses, you’ll notice our love of silk dupioni, the fabric many of our styles are designed with.  How has this fabric earned such a prominent place in our hearts?

dupioni silk pink white

It’s irregular, maybe even “bumpy” texture includes two slightly different silk colors that cause a glimmery effect, reflecting the light in a high luster or shine that regular silk isn’t able to do.

The thickness of the fabric holds pleats in place better, resists wrinkles longer, and “poufs” out beautifully when used in a skirt, adding to the important twirl factor.

Did you know that silk dupioni is reversible? Not that we recommend wearing your dress inside out, but in a pinch you could.

So how does silk dupioni turn out differently from other silk? We have snuggling silk worms to thank! When the silkworm cocoons get too close to each other, their fibers become entangled, creating a bumpy silk thread. That tangled thread is woven with a smooth, normal silk thread to make our lovely, slightly bumpy, full of beauty silk dupioni!

 Estella ~ Ivory Silk                  Alice    ~ Pink Silk                    LuLu ~ White Silk

                                  

June 20, 2017 by Diane Janowak

Tips for Getting the Perfect Family Photos

The holidays are coming and that makes a perfect time for the annual family photo! You've spend time on the perfect outfits and now you want the perfect picture. Here are a few things to remember for a smooth photo shoot. Hopefully you have no accidental face injuries or mud puddles nearby!

Perfect Family Photo Tips

7 Tips For Getting the Perfect Family Photo:

1. Have a Plan

We can’t stress this enough! Occasionally you can get lucky with that perfect shot on the fly, but for the most part, planning makes perfect. Or as perfect as one can get when it comes to family photos. There are so many things that go into this that could have a post of their own. Your photographer or Pinterest should be a great help for choosing the right location, the right clothes and props or posing ideas. Include the family as much as possible so they have a vested interested, perhaps making them a little more cooperative.

2. Keep it Simple

This is a family photo and you want to see the people, not necessarily the setting. Look for open fields, an old brick wall or even the side of a rustic barn to keep your photos distraction free. Closeup shots are often the best family photos anyway.

3. Schedule When Kids Are the Happiest
This mostly applies to infants and toddlers because if you have teens and wait for them to be happy, it may be years! Just kidding – but if you can work around the kiddos routines, the better the photos you are going to get! We can almost promise that it will be a disaster if photos are scheduled during little Johnny’s nap time. Also make sure everyone is well fed. You don't want to document the memory of the time everyone was "hangry".

Fun Family photo ideas

4. Have Some Fun
Use props to liven up a shot or lend some creativity for the Christmas Card photo. Try different positions, don't be afraid to lay down or use chairs or even a ladder for height variations. Let the kids play and have fun. Family photos should be about capturing a memory and it will be a much better one if the kids aren't constantly being told what to do. Some great candid shots can come if you let them play and be natural. 

5. Coordinate, Don’t Match
You don’t want your clothing to be a distraction and if everyone is in red or white, that’s all people are going to see! Take the time to plan coordinated, not matching outfits. Use a few different colors and don't be afraid to use different shades of the same color.

6. Don’t over pose
Enjoy the time and you will see it in your faces. The more natural you are, the better the photos will turn out. You don't want any weird overly posed arms or the totem pole look were everyone is standing too straight. Don't be afraid to bend and arm or leg a little. 

7. Choose the Right Photographer
There are a lot of options out there with different cost structures. Talk to or meet with the photographer and make sure you click. If you feel more comfortable and have similar styles, the photos are much more likely to be what you want. If you just go the cheap route, you may end up hating them and leaving them in a drawer. Don't waste the money, go with your instinct and find the right photographer at the right price. 

Enjoy the time as a family!! Here's to hoping your family photo session is a success!

November 19, 2015 by Strasburg Children

What are French seams?

You may have seen some of our materials talking about French Seams. But, do you really know what that means?  It sounds fancy, doesn’t it? That’s what we thought, but that’s not why we chose this as a standard feature on a Strasburg Children dress.

Here’s a little explanation about what it really is and why Strasburg Children chose the French Seam Method.

A French Seam is a seam which encloses the raw edge of the fabric creating an elegant finished seam. Here’s an example of a French Seam and typical seam found in children’s clothing.

French Seam – smooth finished edges

Typical Seam - Serged edges with messy threads

So why did we choose to have French Seams?

  1. Our goal has always been to create a quality garment by focusing on every detail possible for quality, comfort and durability. French Seams were a perfect fit for our heirloom quality dresses to be passed down for generations.
  2. Excess stitching and rugged edges can be uncomfortable on a young child’s sensitive skin. A French Seam is stitched twice causing the original seam (that is typically finished off with a serger causing excess thread) to be hidden within the finished seam. The purpose of a French seam is to avoid uncomfortable edges and stitching on a child’s skin which can be irritating.
  3. Exposed Serged edges are more likely to unravel causing unexpected holes. With the seams being tucked inside with the French Seam method, it’s nearly impossible for them to unravel. Any of you moms know this generally happens at the most inopportune times.
  4. We want our Strasburg Girls to feel beautiful but also comfortable in their dress so they can truly play and enjoy their special occasion. French Seams add a level of comfort and durability so kids can play and moms don’t have to worry!

 

 

April 07, 2015 by JaNay Nichols