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Friday, June 3, 2011

100 Dresses

What is it about a Dress?

One of my favorite blogs is SEW WE QUILT @ Stash Manicure
with the Oh SEW Talented Madame Samm 
over 2,300 Quilt/Stitching Enthusiasts

She has posted an absolute wonderful little pattern of a dress for each of us to use in our stitching.  You MUST hop on over there and check it her challenge to stitch up some dresses and show off our designs in a Flickr account.  You will want to join us for the fun!

Anyhoo, this whole Stitching Dress Challenge brought back fond memories of a book I once read to a group of  elementary students, titled, "The Hundred Dresses" written by Eleanor Estes in 1944.  With the topic of Bullying  being such a hot button issue in today's schools, the theme of this book could not be more timely nor poignant.  The book is one of those books that stays with you and resurrects in your memory throughout a lifetime.  Here is a brief synopsis:

The book centers on Wanda Petronski, a poor and friendless Polish-American girl. Her teacher, outwardly kind, puts her in the worst seat in the schoolroom and does not intervene when her schoolmates tease her. One day, after her classmates laugh at her funny last name and the faded blue dress she wears to school every day, Wanda claims to own one hundred dresses, all lined up in her closet at her worn down house. This outrageous and obvious lie becomes a game, as the girls in her class corner her every day before school, demanding that she describe for them all of her dresses.
Wanda ends up leaving school and moving to the city. After she has moved, a dress design competition at school reveals that she was, indeed, telling the truth. Her winning entry consists of beautiful, detailed drawings of one hundred dresses, each exactly as she had described. Her tormentors are awed by her artistic talent.

As some of you already know, I am a retired educator with 30+ yrs. experience in special education and literacy.  
When I read, 100 Dresses to my  third, fourth, and fifth graders, they  were transformed by it's message better than any lecture I could have ever prepared. Sadly, I must have left my copy of 100 Dresses in my old classroom and will most certainly be ordering a new copy tonight on Amazon!  

However, with the Dress challenge, I knew I HAD to share the book, it's timeless truths, and inspire a whole new group of readers of a much *wiser* age!  I'll share a brief synopsis of the book and challenge you to go check it out at the library or better yet, order your own copy ESPECIALLY if you have a young ones ages 6-12 (approx.).

THEN...make a copy of Madame's pattern and DESIGN your OWN Dress.  Once you read the book, I PROMISE you will want to make an entire QUILT.  I know I AM!!

I don't know about you, but I grew up in a era of the 50's that didn't allow girls to wear pants to school.  In fact, since my name was JANE, my mother dressed me like the little girl in our Reading Series, DICK & JANE!! 

How many of you remember Dick, Jane, Spot, Puff...?????Is it an American thing??? I found this fabric a few years back and bought every pattern in the series!!  I guess you could call this one of my UFO Quilts but it fits quite nicely into this post, don;'t you think??  Check out the little blonde girl...everyone used to tell me I looked exactly like "Jane" in our reading books...I even wore the Mary Jane shoes and had a Buster Brown sweater to match each dress.  My sweet Mama made sure I  had a dress for every special occasion /holiday!.

Check out some dresses down thru the ages...
Geez...way too much corseting going on here!!

Look at those tiny waists!!!  I bet they didn't breathe all day!
More my style!

This was the epitimy of MOM perfection back in the 50's.  Every TV sitcom mother dressed like this...June Cleaver, Donna Reed, ...can you name some others????

I'm excited to use Madam Samm's Dress's pattern in my Dress Quilt of which I'm naming
100 Dresses

Will you join me??? 
Hop on over to Stash Manicure and leave a comment to let me know you visited and perhaps a "DRESS" Memory of your own???  Oh, and tell me if you read the book!!


  1. Jane I haven't read that book but it sounds like something I need to read to my grandchildren. Not that they are bullies - just that the lessons learned from books seem to stick with us. I made one of Madame Samm's dresses yesterday, a sort of test block, and it's wonderful. I won't be making any more until we get back but I've laid my template on the cutting table so I can be ready! blessings, marlene

  2. Hi JANE, I want this book too...I think it will no doubt serve as inspiration for me and others too..love stories like that...and even though I only have grandsons, I will read it to my DIL's they will like it I am sure..already they want me to make them wallhanging, which of course I refused..they are coming over soon to make some with me lol...love your idea of 100 dresses..will you make that many wink..

  3. I have read this book - it is a lovely timeless story! I remember Dick and Jane, and in Australia we also had Janet and John who were very similar but more British.....for instance, they didn't have little red wagons.

  4. HI Jane, I haven't read this book but I will be sure to get it. Do little boys relate to the story because I think Jonah would really like it. I can't believe but I have that exact fabric, just bought it because I liked it, I was blonde hair blue little girl to who loved pretty dresses. Madame Samm is one of my favourite sites to because that is how I found you. Almost finished quilt but now we have a postal strike.Hugs and blessings Sandra

  5. Oh yes, I am going to make Madame Samm's dresses!! and I also learned to read with Dick and Jane!! I have seen the book you are talking about but have not read it. Now on my to read list!

  6. yes I know this book! Or at least i remember the story someone told me when I was a little girl. I also found your site through Madame Samm!I also have been thinking of making something with the dress pattern.

  7. Hi Jane,
    This sounds like a wonderful book! I will have to look into getting myself a copy, atleast from the library to read the grandkids. :) Thanks for sharing.

    I was at Beverly's fabric store the other day and noticed several different vintage looking Dick and Jane fabrics for sale there. Very cute!
    I also have a couple of old Victorian Fashion Dress Art Prints I found for a buck each, similiar to yours here. I love them!

    Have a sweet Sunday, dear friend ...:)


  8. LOVE this book! I read it to my daughter back when she was seven or eight, and it brought tears to my eyes!! One of my absolute favorites!
    Mary Lou


Blessings to all of you who have taken the time to leave your thoughtful comments. I read each one and hope you will come back often!

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