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TUESDAY, MARCH 22, 2005
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Frills for Easter
Lace, smocking, embroidery and Peter Pan collars are classic styles for children

By Patrice Stewart
DAILY Staff Writer

pstewart@decaturdaily.com 340-2446

On Easter Sunday, hundreds of mothers and grandmothers will ooh and aah as their offspring don dainty bubble suits, dresses, slips, hair bows, lacy socks and frilly diaper covers for church.

Colwell Bibb, 18 months, gets a laugh out of dressing up in yellow shorts that button on to a white Peter Pan collar shirt; an interchangeable front placket features hand-embroidered giraffes. Adaline Lawson, 4, wears a pink Swiss batiste dress with a wedding-ring pattern of inset French lace. Both outfits are by Mela Wilson and available through Eloise & Henry, a children's clothing shop.
DAILY Photo by John Godbey
Colwell Bibb, 18 months, gets a laugh out of dressing up in yellow shorts that button on to a white Peter Pan collar shirt; an interchangeable front placket features hand-embroidered giraffes. Adaline Lawson, 4, wears a pink Swiss batiste dress with a wedding-ring pattern of inset French lace. Both outfits are by Mela Wilson and available through Eloise & Henry, a children's clothing shop.
After all, they've spent weeks locating, trying on and purchasing new outfits for the youngsters, a tradition continued from their own childhood Easter dress-up days.

"My mother did the heirloom sewing for my daughter's dresses," said Shirey McBride, owner of Surprises Galore on Second Avenue Southeast. But the retired educator knows many young mothers don't have time to make fancy dresses, so she carries a variety of styles that look handmade, with smocking, tatting, crocheting and other touches.

"Easter is the parents' day, and parents get to pick everything about it," said Rebecca Bibb. "Other Sundays can be casual, but they definitely dress the children up for Easter."

The mother of 18-month-old Colwell Bibb and owner of Eloise & Henry, a children's clothing shop on Bank Street Northeast, said people are buying lace-trimmed and smocked dresses for Easter, "which is what I used to wear."

Bibb, 30, remembers always getting a smocked dress for Easter, probably at Pawpaw's, a shop that used to be on Corsbie Street Southeast.

"I wore this same type shoe, too," she said, showing a pair of white Mary Janes with a button strap. Girls will wear dressy socks or tights, with boys in white knee socks and saddle oxfords.

Girls must have classy satin and organdy hair bows for Easter, not just grosgrain ribbon, she said, and sweaters are a must this year since the holiday falls in March.

Boys get Eton linen suits and shirts with Peter Pan collars, while grandmothers and mothers peruse the racks for delicately embroidered gowns and bubble suits for infant girls and boys.

A mother of three girls came in to pick up the pale yellow heirloom design dresses she had ordered in three sizes, each with slightly different collars and embroidery. She plans to pass them down from girl to girl.

A grandmother watched longingly. "I just have boys to buy for," she said, admiring a long pink dress with French hand sewing before she turned to buy a green checked suit with giraffes for a redheaded grandson.

At Surprises Galore, Leslie King of Decatur scanned the racks loaded with Easter pastels, accompanied by her mother and her 20-month-old daughter, Lily, who tried on an aqua checked dress smocked with grasshoppers.

"I've already bought her a blue dress smocked with pearls, but if I can find something I like better for Easter, I'll buy it," said King. "She's got new shoes, socks with lace, bloomers and bow, too."

Kristen Buchanan, 9, modeled a tea-length pink dress with white organza collar with shadow embroidery. Shannon Buchanan said her daughter likes this hand-sewn, dressy look with pretty collars and trims.

Meanwhile, the boys in the shop aren't too interested in Easter attire.

"I'm going to wear my baseball uniform," said Kristen's brother, Michael, 7. But his mom was talking about shorts and a sweater vest.

Two-year-old Rashed Allen Orr's name is attached to a rack loaded with outfits chosen by his mom, Tamonica Orr. He tried on a blue linen bubble for toddler boys while his older cousin, Shaquille McLin, waits patiently — glad he didn't have to dress that way any more.

A grandmother tried to figure out what would look right on her grandson.

"He just turned 3 and his dad doesn't want him in that frilly stuff anymore," she said.

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