About the Artist

Mary-Alice Dalton

Apparel Designer, Couturier, Owner

For over 35 years, I have designed and handcrafted numerous apparel and accessory Collections for women and children, originally working as a custom-tailor and dressmaker in women’s wear, moving into the childrens’ arena in 1998. My work incorporates my distinctive styling, fabulous fabrics and illustrious signature details; ruched piping, tiny pintucks, hand-finished edging and linings, fabric-covered buttons, and impeccable topstitching. These elements are skillfully worked, with great attention to detail, using time-honored couture construction techniques to create a unique art-piece to wear today and enjoy for generations to come.


As a frustrated oil painter, I took my creative talents and applied them to the tools and techniques I knew. I consider my designs the canvas, my fabrics the paints, and the sewing machine and hand-needle and thread my brushes. It’s my goal, guided by my training, expertise and intuitive creative process, to create an art piece that is easy and fun for the child to wear and delights the adult as well. When all is said and done, my work is not your typical ‘cut-and-sew’ …

Tools = Precision: I sew because the sewing machine is the tool I learned to use at an early age, beginning with the basics. Over the years, this one tool was always accessible in my home and I used it to explore and develop various techniques, perfecting the ones that worked and dismissing the ones that did not. I view this tool with an attitude of ‘what can I do with this machine’ and not ‘what can it do for me’. I am the one in control and like anything in life, it has taken years of practice, practice, practice to achieve the master-level work I produce today.

Fabric = Impact: Premium quality 100% cottons are my fabric of choice. Available in a variety of colorful prints and solids for every season, I love the versatility cotton fabrics offer in the construction process, the adaptability in design, and the long life and ease of care for the customer. Select a fabric with a substantial hand and you will be rewarded in ways you’ve never imagined.

Design = Originality: My designs are original with a style line that is classic, clean and chic, allowing a young girl to go from the playground to a birthday party with ease. Each design begins as a quick sketch which I translate into a hand-drafted pattern, grade up/down for each size, and tweak along the way as the flat pattern takes shape in a finished piece. Occasionally, this is a tedious process but when it’s right I know it, and gain a great deal of satisfaction in creating a piece that not only delights the child but the adult as well.

Color = Emotion: Color plays an important role in my Collections, whether it’s the bright contemporary prints or the classic motifs reminiscent of a vintage era. I prefer to combine only two prints in one piece and occasionally, I may favor just one print at a time. Though this goes against the trend in ‘handcrafted’ children’s wear, I feel that a refined color palette produces a piece that allows all elements of the design to shine, including the child wearing it, and creates a classic style line with a definite contemporary edge.

Proportion = Balance: What is the relation of a bodice to a skirt, a sleeve flounce to the sleeve, the width of a collar, a contrasting color to the primary print? Where is the visual focal point? Is it where I intended it to be and how does it relate to the overall design? This focus is challenging at times but how the fabric’s pattern and colors, and the design elements and details all work together to create visual balance is what makes my work so appealing and unique.

Couture = Value: Traditional dressmaking and couture construction techniques are incorporated into each and every piece. Today, these methods of construction are widely ignored and misunderstood. Couture methods are not tedious and time-consuming. Rather, these time-honored construction techniques are a satisfying skill of hand-to-eye which results in a piece to be truly admired from the inside and out, and one that will be handed down from one generation to the next.

It is a joy to get out of the studio every now and then and present my work to the public at a show or festival. The reaction is always the same; true amazement at the colorful variety of styles and fabrics I offer, and the details I integrate into each piece with true couture construction. Respect for the quality of work I produce and the compliments gratefully received contribute to my creative inspiration as I work in the studio every day. Thank you very much!

The Children’s Couture label is worn world-wide; available online, at the Children’s Couture Showroom in central New Hampshire, and at select Fine Art and Craft Festivals.


University of Connecticut, Bachelor of Science - Apparel Design. Minor - Fine Arts/Illustration


League of New Hampshire Craftsmen

Professional Association of Custom Clothiers

Master Gardener Program, University of New Hampshire