Hot! My Forever Dress

Forever-dress I'm constantly looking for children's books about sewing — not necessarily instructional, but more historical and inspirational.  Penelope's still too young for most of the instructional books out there, and while I hope she'll want to sew along with Mom some day, she's far more interested in story books.

Yesterday, at the library, I stumbled onto a promising book in the stacks. With a title like "My Forever Dress," I was expecting a tearfest. Before I even opened the book, I had the entire plot written out in my mind: someone makes a dress for a child, child grows up and out of the dress, dress is neglected and then one day the dress has a new life for her own child. Then someone gets old and dies. Thankfully, this book isn't melancholic at all. Instead, it's a cute little story of a dress that a (youngish) grandmother makes for her grandaughter and, over the course of four years, the dress is adapted and modified to fit a growing girl. 

A couple aspects make this book charming. One, the illustrations are beautiful. The artist uses found materials (old letters, fabric, vintage patterns) in her collages which adds a nice texture to the pages. Secondly, the message of the book is about recycling old materials to make new things. At one point the greening aspect gets a bit too much with some knitting propaganda ("I don't have to use my sewing machine"), but I'll let that pass. Third, the little girl reminds me of Penelope.

A definite recommendation for small children who are interested or exposed to sewing!


Mena Trott

Mena Trott started The Sew Weekly to document her attempt to sew all of her own clothes in 2010. Since then, she's made over 125 outfits and has way more clothes than she needs.


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  1. All the author needs is a treadle sewing machine! :-) Thanks for the post!

  2. Reminds me of a full-length nightgown my grandmother made for me when I was about 5 or 6. I wore it for years until it was more like a shirt. It just got softer and softer with repeated washings. I wish I kept it, but after years of wear I think my mom finally got rid of it.

  3. There’s a very sweet book called “The Purple Coat” about a little girl named Gabrielle who’s grandpa is a tailor. I bought it before I had a daughter (because my name is Gabby too) and now that I have one it’s even more special. Check it out at the library :)

  4. There’s also a book about a tailor (I think it’s called “The Tailor’s Vest”) and it’s about everything his vest is transformed into as it wears out. Has a nice old country feel about it.

  5. Oh thanks my grands love me to read to them and I am always looking for good books they might like.


    What a sweet story! One question – what’s ‘knitting propaganda?’

  7. If you haven’t come across it yet, you might want to have a look at The It-Doesn’t-Matter-Suit by Sylvia Plath.

  8. there is a book by shirley hughes ‘ellas big chance’ which is a jazz age retelling of cinderella in which ella is a seamstress. it has the most gorgeous illustrations!