The Chloe Dress
This was a dress straight out of heaven! Not because of the beauty/talent that went into it- but because God Himself orchestrated all the details and let me be apart of it. When my daughter was in Kindergarten she was bullied for her speech impediment. She had articulation issues and would often come home heart broken as a few children in her class continually commented on "why she spoke funny" having experienced teasing myself as a child- my mama heart was both saddened and ready to defend her. This continued for weeks. I don't believe the children set out to be harsh, but their curiosity on why she was different came across brutal. It was customary to invite every child to your birthday at this school, but my heart resisted as some of these children had hurt my child deeply. I really weighed having this party at all. It was a battle of forgiveness in my heart. My husband advised me against leaving anyone out- be the bigger person Dannelle. I didn't want to be the bigger person (that's hard isn't it!), but I complied. I noticed a change in one particular child's heart towards my daughter. This invitation almost changed the dynamics of their relationship entirely. She was overjoyed to see her, never commented again about her speech and was a friend to her. How funny I thought, all from a birthday invitation. Covid hit and we soon moved across the country. Not much was mentioned again regarding these classmates.
Fast forward to a year and a half later my daughter and I are headed to the store together and I'll never forget this moment. Out of no where she says Mom I feel like the Holy Spirit is telling me to tell you to make Chloe a dress. She's sad and hurting and needs a dress. Confused I was approaching a stop sign. Chloe who? We hadn't recently spent any time with a Chloe, hadn't seen or met anyone named Chloe my mind was confused. "You know mom the one that used to tease me because of my speech, but then we became friends." I stopped- that's weird I thought but okay God if this is from you I'll make the effort. We headed back to Idaho a few weeks later for a visit and I got into contact with her parents. Ironically enough this little girl was in need of encouragement. She had been through a very tough season and this dress couldn't have come at a better time. To say it gave me goosebumps was an understatement. I explained the situation a few weeks prior. Her parents were equally surprised. So we set to work making the perfect dress.
Now when I make a dress I don't want just any dress. I want to capture the child's personality. For this child, she enjoyed the color purple and loved unicorn dogs. Unicorn dogs ! How in the world was I going to find fabric that had unicorn dogs on it? I just so happened to come across a designer in Europe that sold clipart who had created a whole series on... you guessed it Unicorn Dogs! Well, that worked out well I thought- but I have no idea how to create seamless files. For those not in the graphic design arena- a seamless file is used to make fabric. I bought the rights to the clip art and began teaching myself the process of seamless file designing. I decided this particularly dress not only needed to represent her, but encourage her so I added encouraging statements throughout.
It's funny how God uses our pain to bless others. My daughter taught me a valuable lesson- she remembered those times of pain and begging me to get her out of school- but rather than be bitter she chose to forgive and not just forgive, but be a blessing. How desperately do I need that example? Forgiveness is hard!
This little girl tended to dress more sporty so I kept the dress more simple- shocker I know with my love for ruffles and bows! But, I wanted it to fit her personality. We finished up the dress and decided to add more goodies to her care package. Her parents face timed me while she opened it. It was such a special moment to see her surprise. I recently received some updated photos showing she wore it for her school picture day! Now that is special. I'm thankful God let me be a part of that.
Designing custom gifts for your loved one in an honor I don't take lightly. What can I help you design? Let me know!