Web
Analytics

The Dress Your Daughter Will Adore this Holiday Season

Nothing makes my daughter’s face light up more than a pretty dress.

Ever since she could talk, she’s proudly expressed her preference for ultra girly garments. If she could wear a frilly dress every day, she would—and let me tell you, she’s tried.

Having a daughter who loves playing dress up on a random Wednesday, I have to bring my A-game when it comes to finding dresses for special occasions, especially the holidays.

This year, I’ve outdone myself. When she saw her brand new Strasburg Children’s dress, she nearly fell to the floor with excitement. To say she was overjoyed would be an understatement. Who could blame her?

Read more on Brown Girl Gumbo

December 19, 2017 by Diane Janowak

The "Slow Fashion" Movement

As fashion trends cycle thru faster and faster, the term “Fast Fashion” has become part of our vocabulary. As soon as a trend has been shown on the runway, it’s a quick dash on the production line to get it into the hands of the customer as fast as possible. No more waiting until the next season and remembering the trend you wanted to try…now you can get it ahead of the next season and wear it right away with a few pre-seasonal tweaks to make it work.

With this quickened pace, fashion trends have also been appearing younger, offering the ideas to a much wider age range. Go to the zoo and you can see skinny jeans tucked into tall boots with a cute top and faux fur vest (very zoo-appropriate!) on a 7 year old, 28 year old, 49 year old, and 65 year old. Each will look fabulous and hip.

While this approach works great for casual wear, it’s caused a void in special occasion clothing and made shopping a bigger challenge for parents.  Quality fabric and details have been eliminated in many garments in the rush to produce them, contributing to our “wear it a few times and throw it away” culture. Yet many of us still want more traditional and age-appropriate high-quality options when looking for a dress for Christmas, Easter, First Communion, or a flower girl. My 8 year old might want the same dress a 25 year old would wear, but this Mamma isn’t buying it. We have such a small window of time to put them in a charming and sweet dress and have them look like a little girl. Dressing little girls for a special occasion is now more challenging than ever.

At Strasburg Children, we prefer the Slow Fashion movement, although we might be the only ones using the term.  We think girls of all ages should have a beautiful dress that is age appropriate and timeless, complete with a longer, full skirt for the best twirls. Our fabrics are only 100% cotton or silk, and our details are truly heirloom quality. We wait for the silk worms to produce fabulous silk dupioni with just the right sheen and color combination. Artisans continue to produce our smocking designs with their hands rather than sending the fabric through a pleating and embroidery machine.  During production, each design is finished with French seams for a clean finish that covers all edges that could rub tender skin. Your favorite dress is created to be shared and loved by younger siblings or cousins as well, becoming a family heirloom.

Fast Fashion just doesn’t fit us. And we hope that means as much to you as it does to us.

November 28, 2017 by Diane Janowak

Prince George, Style Icon for Little Boys

Many of us moms grew up giggling at the antics of two adorable little Princes, William and Harry, enamored with their sweet and very proper English outfits as they explored the world with their much-loved Mum, Princess Diana. The royals were a fascinating breed, unlike anything we Americans could experience on our soil. And now as we dress our own littles, the pleasure has returned with the arrival of Prince George and Princess Charlotte. We can hardly wait to “meet” the new little royal we’ve been hearing about.

While Charlotte’s adorable smocked dresses and bows always bring a smile to our faces, it’s George that warms the hearts of us moms with little boys. We have endless options for dressing our little girls for all occasions. But little boys?  Why would I want to dress my baby in a plaid shirt and khaki pants when that’s what he’ll wear the rest of his life? The choices are so narrow and the window so short for when you can dress your baby/toddler in truly adorable, sweet clothes.

Prince George has changed that with a smile on those chubby cheeks. Thanks to him, we see a proper but very stylish little boy in his sweaters, shorts, knee high socks…even his buckle shoes are adorable. I can’t stop looking at him.

boys upscale shorts outfitWhy always shorts? English tradition, of course. For centuries, young British boys were dressed in gowns for the first few years of their lives, until being “breeched” and graduating to short trousers. It’s a very English thing to dress a young boy in shorts until the age of 8, when they graduate to full-length pants. Especially among British royalty and aristocracy.

Taking a cue from the royal pages in British weddings, one of our original Strasburg Children designs was a boy’s button-on, where the short-sleeve shirt literally attaches with buttons at the waist to a short. It’s a classic style still worn in English and American weddings as well as for Christenings/Baptisms. That boy’s button-on, offered in all white and all ivory, remains in our collection. And now the cuteness for little boys has been expanded. We’ve added a button-on with light blue shorts and trim on the shirt to match our light blue dresses, perfect for a wedding, family portrait, or Easter parade. And for the bride who wants something more formal to coordinate with the groom’s tux we have a button-on with white shirt and black shorts. Add black knee socks and patent leather shoes and that little guy might get more attention than the bride.

So we adore you and we thank you, darling Prince George, for bringing style back for your little buddies!

 

November 01, 2017 by Diane Janowak

Because a girl is never too young for pearls

The timeless, classic beauty of a string of pearls has drawn many of us into its allure. The beloved pearl, the “Queen of Gems” as it was known for centuries, is the oldest known gem with a 4,000-year history. The Louve in Paris holds pearl remnants from a Persian princess dating back to 520 BC. Thru much of history a strand of matching pearl spheres was a treasure of almost incomparable value, in fact the most expensive jewelry in the world. And at one point, only people of a certain rank in society were allowed to wear pearls, determined by laws.

pearls jewelry for little girls

Fortunately the human hand eventually intervened, bringing access to pearls to the rest of us. Known for its stunning luster, the pearl has a very humble beginning as an annoying grain inside a mussel. Pearls do occur naturally, but the majority of pearls are considered cultured – they start with human assistance. To create a freshwater pearl, a tiny piece of tissue or pearl is carefully inserted into a live mussel. For protection, the mussel covers that tiny piece with a substance called nacre, the pearl “skin.” With thousands of thin layers of calcium carbonate crystals a pearl is created, with a white surface representing purity. Cultured pearls today rival the quality of the most expensive natural pearls.

The freshwater lakes of China have proven to be the perfect environment, creating pearls that are high in quality, durability, and with a high luster. Luster is the amount and quality of light that reflects off the surface of the pearl, which should be bright, not dull.  As a soft gem, they need special care to protect them from scratches and perfume, so wipe them with a soft cloth after you wear them and keep them in a soft pouch to assure a long life together.

Within our collection, pearls are integrated into the design of several accessories and dresses.   A veil with scattered pearls, satin gloves, and a ribbon and pearl hairbow make wonderful finishing touches for a flower girl and for her First Communion.  For baby’s Christening, our crochet booties and knit and satin booties cover tiny toes under the gown, accented with pearls.

The purity of the pearl plays a lead role in our newest Christening gown, Elizabeth, that we’re introducing this fall.  As smocking is being created by hand on our white 100% cotton bishop gown, our artisans are adding tiny pearls into the embroidery.

And we’re thrilled to have found beautiful freshwater pearls that are hand strung by a small group of artisans in Louisiana.  In addition to a classic pearl bracelet and necklace, we’ve added lovely cross and flower charms as well. These are the perfect finishing touches for a flower girl, her First Communion, or any time she’s opening a special gift.

Going strong with a 4000-year history, we don’t think the fascination with pearls will diminish anytime soon. And it certainly won’t at Strasburg Children either. Because a girl is never too young for pearls.

September 28, 2017 by Diane Janowak

Capturing an Heirloom Photo

From the early days in a Victorian home in Alabama, our collection has been created with details that are heirloom quality – the finest 100% cotton or silk, French seams to assure softness against a child’s skin, smocking and embroidery completed by hand, buttons covered in fabric, dresses with long full skirts that are perfect for twirling, generous 2” hems so a favorite dress can be worn longer as a child grows. Designed for more than just one special occasion, we create our collection with the quality workmanship that keeps that favorite dress in the family, being handed down among siblings and generations. Becoming your heirloom.

 Heirloom Portrait Little girl

In presenting our collection, we’ve searched for photographers who understand the essence of a timeless portrait, to show the richness of the details and charm of a dress in an heirloom-inspired setting. The images they’ve created for us are stunning. We’re grateful for their partnerships and so trust their craft that we want to share them with you. Based in the Alabama, Georgia, and Florida region, they’ve created beautiful studios, scouted amazing locations, and a few of them schedule annual trips to sandy beaches as well. Most of them have a small collection of Strasburg Children dresses in their studios for you to view and purchase. With one of these photographers behind the lens to capture the spirit of your little one in a Strasburg Children design, you’ll have a portrait to cherish for years to come.

 

https://letsonportrait.com/

http://www.heartsdesire.photography/

http://www.olivesphoto.com/

http://www.jillwelchdesign.com/

 

And while we’re on the topic of wonderful photos of adorable children, we’d love to have you email us (info@strasburgchildrens.com) a photo of your little one if you’re interested in being a Strasburg Children model at one of our upcoming Alabama photo shoots!

View even more photography ideas from some of our guest photographers and bloggers. 

September 18, 2017 by Diane Janowak

The Loveliness of Lace

The intricate stiches and patterns first connected to develop lace might have been in 1485 around the collar of a Flemish priest sitting for a painting. Or in 1493 Italy, as claimed by a Milanese family will. Because lace evolved from a variety of techniques, textile historians have declared it impossible to pick one origin. In the beginning, lace was created using silk, linen, silver, or gold threads.  Most lace is currently made of cotton thread, although silk and linen threads are still available. Its even been seen with fine copper or silver wire in art installations.

lace dress for flower girlWhile the history and origin might be unclear, there’s no questioning the continued love of lace.  Its beauty and grace add elegance to any garment.  At Strasburg Children, our love of lace started at the beginning and can be seen throughout our collection. Two of our original designs remain true to their roots wlace dress for girls beach portraitith beautiful lace accents and classic, Southern charm – our Savannah dress, a darling flower girl design for when she’s walking in the grandest of cathedrals or the sandiest beach, and our Lace Morning Gown, a sweet cotton and lace summer style that can be dressed up or remain beach casual. Their influence is strong, as many of our designs benefit from the elegance only lace can add.

We’ll continue to support the love of lace in our collection as we believe that little girls and lace are a wonderful, charming combination!

 

August 25, 2017 by Diane Janowak

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

Little Lacy Dress

Lacey Dress for girls The Hive Blog"So one thing I particularly love about summer is a great white dress. For me OR for my baby! That’s why I was so thrilled when I was contacted by Strasburg Children about a pretty new dress for Lily Ryan! I instantly fell in love with the Ivory Lace Morning Gown because it was a perfect blend of modern and traditional. I adore that darker ivory crochet lace, and the style of the dress isn’t overly traditional to me, which I love. (In general, my taste in baby clothes tends to be a tad more modern!) 

Another thing I love about this dress is the fact that Lily Ry will be able to wear it for a couple of years! It has adjustable straps, so the dress can grow with her! (That was one of the things I mentioned loving about certain dresses in this post!) It’ll still be super cute at knee length with the straps let out a bit!"

The Hive Home and Fashion Blog

July 17, 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