Leaving a Legacy One Stitch at a Time

We are going to time travel to the 1960’s today!
This photo was taken in the mid 1960’s. My grandmother is on the far left, and my mother is on the far right. I have always loved this photo. My grandmother is an absolutely AMAZING quilter and seamstress. She has sewn hundreds of quilts and dresses over the years. For her birthday this year, I put out a request to all of my family to send me photos of quilts that she made them over the years. I thought it would be neat to compile them into a book from Blurb.com. One cousin suggested that we include photos of dresses too! Awesome.
I titled the book: “Grandma-Made: Leaving a Legacy One Stitch At a Time.”
The emails started coming in. Dozens of school photos, birthday party pictures, etc. of the aunts and cousins wearing dresses that either grandma made or helped them make, and photos of the quilts that they STILL have! It has been so much fun to see. One of my cousins could still fit in the dresses that my Grandma made her in Jr. High and so she modeled them and snapped photos! We couldn’t decide what was more impressive. The fact that she still had them, or the fact that she could still FIT IN THEM after having a baby and over 15 years have gone by….
I have over 200 photos so far. Each with at least one item that Grandma made. Some, like this photo above….6 items. She made all of these dresses with the exception of one that my aunt made. Not only did she sew, but she taught all of her daughters to sew as well. She had 7 daughters (the youngest wasn’t born yet here). Most of their clothes were homemade. Not something you see anymore.
She has left such a legacy in our family. With 7 children, 32 grandchildren and over 20 great-grand children, her priceless gifts have left impressions on us. Each baby receives a hand quilted blanket when they are born. With the great grandchildren, she sometimes sent another one as well that they could play with and drag around the house. One that was tied vs. quilted. When we turned 5 she would send us a twin size blanket for our birthday. Mine was Rainbow Brite Sprite and I still have it! Each year she would send us a new birthday dress. I remember getting mine through elementary school, but if I had requested more she would have made them. When we got married, she quilted us a queen sized one.
I have always been in awe of her and how she found the time to be a phenomenal housewife as well as mother and still have a smile on her face. To this day, she still keeps busy. It keeps her calm. When I call and ask her what she’s been up to she tells me all of the things and how busy she is. Usually it’s just sorting papers or something, but she likes to always be doing something. Now that I am married with 4 children of my own, I am in even more awe because the thought of sitting down and sewing after the kids go to bed is exhausting! So I usually plop down on the sofa, next to my husband, and watch a movie and blog. Maybe that’s the trick to accomplishing as much as her. My Grandma didn’t waste a second on the computer….hmm….nah 😉
I have always loved making Kaylee dresses and now that Ruby is here it is time for some matching outfits :) Inspired by all of the fun photos that my aunts and cousins have sent me, I decided to make them their first set of matching dresses and I had so much fun!


I found this fabric awhile back at Joanns for $1.56/yard! I loved the turquoise print and the little retro polka dots so I bought 2 yards. This dress was super quick to sew up. No zippers or buttons. Just elastic. It fits like a glove.
Ruby’s is a little jumper. I have used this pattern many many times for Kaylee and just love it. It has super cute pin tuck detailing in the front and 2 buttons, 1 on each shoulder.
I also made Ruby matching shoes and a diaper cover.
I will never be able to finish as many sewing projects as her, but I still have fun seeing how excited Kaylee gets to receive a new dress and maybe some day these fun little dresses will be pulled out and given to their daughters!
Patterns I used:
Diaper Cover: Butterick B5017
Jumper: Simplicity 3808
Peasant Dress: Simplicity 5695
Shoes: Abigail Booties from MakeItAndLoveIt.com


  1. says

    How wonderful – what a great way to organize a keepsake for your grandmother. I love those matching dresses – too bad I had a boy for my second (after a girl) . . . not sure I can pull of the matching outfits!

  2. says

    I have just started following your
    blog. You are so creative and talented! Your little girls look adorable in those sweet dresses you made them. Loved hearing about your
    Grandmother. My mom was like that..
    and now I wish I had learned more from her.

  3. says

    it would be so awesome if you “shared” the link to the book after you make it! (I know you can do that with shutterfly) I LOVE seeing beautiful handmade garments through the years!
    What an awesome treasure to have, and a fantastic granddaughter to creat this for her!

  4. says

    What a beautiful gift idea! I’d also love to see the book and hear about your Gma’s reaction :) This makes me think of my Mom and all the formal dressed she made me and much more! Love this post, Brandy :)

  5. says

    Such an awe inspiring post.

    It brings back so many memories from my childhood and all the beautiful dresses my mom sewed for my sisters and I. The only ones she did not sew were my prom dresses but I would have loved a hand made prom dress made by mom.

    Mom did sew until Parkinsons took away that ability. We lost her just over a year ago now and I truely wish I could have just one more dress sewn by mom.

    Also mom loved quilting. Eash of the grandchildren and great grandchildren all have their homemade qwuiltsd made by grandma. The oldest of the great grandchildren is 23 and is in grand school living on her own in Chicago but she has that handmade quilt by great grandma on her bed today and treasures it. By the time the great great grandbabies arrived mom could no longer sew and had felt so bad that they would not get one of her quilts.

    your grandmother and my mom alsodid leave a great legacy for the family.


  6. says

    I am so bookmarking this to try! Do you have a tutorial or which pattern you used. I have a little girl and I find the clothes nowadays are not little girlish and too grown up.

  7. says

    ¡Que historia tan bonita! Me encantaría ser como tu abuela. Sólo tengo 2 chicos, pero a toda mi familia les estoy haciendo quilts de patchwork, y cuando tenga nietos me encantará hacer lo mismo que hizo tu abuela. Un besote desde España.

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