Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Sweet as Strawberry Shortcake October 23, 2017

I love this image of my granddaughter looking out the front door of my home. I love the light, the mood, the sweetness, the perspective.


FOR PROBABLY A DOZEN YEARS or more, the homemade child’s dress hung in an upstairs bedroom closet. I’d purchased it at a garage sale with intentions of some day giving the Strawberry Shortcake print dress to my eldest niece. The dress would be the perfect nostalgic gift for Tara, born a year after the popular doll line debuted. She loved all things Strawberry Shortcake. I imagined how she would delight in receiving the dress for her newborn daughter.


Grandma needed a portrait of Isabelle in her vintage Strawberry Shortcake dress.


But as life goes, Tara birthed a boy just over a year ago. So, by default, the long-held dress went to my granddaughter, Isabelle. On an early September visit, Izzy showed up in her Strawberry Shortcake dress, much to my joy.




That dress, stitched so lovingly with rick rack trim and accented with mini heart buttons nearly 40 years ago by an unknown seamstress, fit the then 17-month-old perfectly.



She looked adorable.



I’m not sure her mom shared the same enthusiasm for the garment as I did. But my eldest made me a happy grandma by slipping this sweet dress onto her daughter for an afternoon.






I captured the exact moment Izzy discovered that the recliner rocked. She threw her head and arms back in exuberance.


Izzy paged through books, played with blocks, blew bubbles, splashed in water, rocked in the recliner and more, moving at the speed only toddlers can move. And she managed all in that vintage dress, the unintended dress now perfectly hers.

© Copyright 2017 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


20 Responses to “Sweet as Strawberry Shortcake”

  1. Valerie Says:

    Very sweet indeed! So cute. I’m so happy for you.

  2. Jackie Says:

    I LOVE that dress, and the little sweetie in it. I think my daughter would feel the same way about the dress on her daughter. I saved several of Brianna’s dresses that I thought she would want for her own baby girl….Not so much 🙂

  3. Such SWEETNESS 🙂 Love, love the curls on the back of her head. She is at that age of exploration. Happy Day Indeed – Enjoy!

  4. Littlesundog Says:

    I remember the days of Strawberry Shortcake. I think my baby sister had some of the dinnerware (for kids) when she was little. I love that last picture! The age of discovery goes on and on from here!

  5. Kathleen Cassen Mickelson Says:

    Oh, so sweet! I love the photo in which Izzy rocks the recliner.

  6. Susan Ready Says:

    What cute snapshots you’ve captured of a very happy girl in such a sweet looking dress. My favorite one is where she is bending over the plastic pail getting into that bubble thing. Ah, the joy of life and discovering much..

  7. Tara Says:

    So incredibly thoughtful and sweet. Izzy looks precious in the dress.

  8. Beth Ann Says:

    The dress was made for her for sure. I love it. And smart mama to put it on her right away. 🙂

  9. What a precious child! The dress is perfect! We have a dress that my mother wore as a child–a little gray and white seer sucker with zigzag bric-a-brac at the neckline, waist, and hem (my grandmother made it). My mom wore it, her sister, then me, my sister, and my sister and I had pictures of our girls in it (the dress is thinning and has seen better days). Our girls, of course, thought the dress was ugly, but as they are older they understand the memories behind the tradition. This post was lovely, and your granddaughter is adorable. Dawn

    • Oh, Dawn, I adore this story of the dress passed down from generation to generation. Several months ago a similar story aired on a Twin Cities TV station, this of a hand-me-down dress worn on school picture day through the generations. These are the stories which connect families, which weave our history. Thank you for sharing this treasure of a story here.

  10. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    What a cute little dress on a beautiful little girl

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