Dressed to impress through the decades: Northbrook dress travels the globe
Sara Rosengard sewed this patriotic dress 69 years ago that has been traveling around the country since then. She sends it every time she has a young relative who can fit into it. | Michelle LaVigne ~ Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 28, 2013 6:24AM
NORTHBROOK — The “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” has nothing on Sara Rosengard’s traveling dress.
The 97-year-old Northbrook woman sewed the little frock 69 years ago and has been sending it to every little girl in her family when she reaches size four.
“I made it almost 70 years ago for a niece. After a few wearings, she outgrew it and it was sent back to me. So I sent it to another child, and so on and so on,” Rosengard said.
“Before I knew it, I had pictures of it being worn by 14 children,” she added.
The magical aspect of the traveling pants in author Ann Brashares’ stories is that they fit four friends of different shapes perfectly.
And what is special about Rosengard’s dress is that it fits all the little girls in her family to whom she sends it as if it was made specially for each.
The little cotton dress never wears out or seems out of fashion with its trendy navy top decorated with crossed American flags, and its red and white candy-striped skirt.
Rosengard still has a photograph of Judy Park, the first girl who wore it in California when she was three years old. And Judy is now 76 years old, Rosengrad said.
The dress has traveled to destinations as close as Northbrook and as far as Austrailia.
“Sometimes, more than one child at an address got to wear it. I would send it to one child and when she outgrew it her younger sister would wear it,”
Rosengrad said she has long been noted in her family for her skills as a seamstress. She has even made bridal dresses for her friends’ weddings.
Now, however, she wonders how she did all that.
“I no longer have the patience, and it’s hard work,” she added.
Rosengard doesn’t remember how long it took her to make the traveling dress, but she knows she didn’t sit down and sew it all at one time.
“If I had a half an hour, I made a sleeve, when I had more time, I worked on some other part,” she said.
And Rosengard made the dress on a Singer sewing machine powered by a foot pedal. She now regrets giving the two machines she had away during her moves from one place to another.
“I wish I had a Singer like that now,” she said. “I wonder what I could make?”