Let’s Dance: First Day Dress Pattern Goes to a Wedding

First Day Dress Pattern by MADE, sewn by fromwholecloth.com

At the very beginning of the summer we attended a family wedding. It was a beautiful ceremony, a gorgeous day, an awesome setting for the reception, and we were celebrating a wonderful couple. But none of that really mattered to my children, because they were solely focused on the dance floor.

While the guests were enjoying cocktail hour on a grassy lawn overlooking Long Island Sound, my children were already inside checking out the dance floor and giving it a spin. Treating it like their own personal stage. The only complaint they could muster — the deejay didn’t have “Ghostbusters”, their first choice in dance tunes. (Thank you to Aunt Claudia for instilling such fine taste in dance music!)

Despite my son’s concern at one point during the evening that the other guests might steal “his moves” (I kid you NOT!), my children had me dancing the night away as we celebrated the happy couple. I honestly don’t think I’ve spent as much time dancing at a wedding as I did that night. I’m sure my husband, a perennial dance floor-avoider, was relieved the kids took up his dancing slack. And while I don’t have any live action shots to prove it, the dress I made my daughter for the wedding really hit the mark for spinning and twirling and all things dancing. You’ll have to just trust me on this one.

As reenacted in our yard.

First Day Dress Pattern by MADE, sewn by fromwholecloth.com

I chose to sew the First Day Dress Pattern by MADE. I was familiar with the pattern from the peplum tops I made my daughter last spring here and here, so the sewing was familiar and quick. I sewed up the sleeveless Swing Dress option, and my only alterations from the original pattern were to cut the neckline with a slight dip in the front and to lengthen the opening in the back.

The main fabric is Amy Butler – Violette – Meadow Blooms in Midnight, purchased from Hawthorne Threads. I love the blast of colors and floral design. It’s like wearing a watercolor painting. It is lined in a pin dot fabric in medium pink.

First Day Dress Pattern by MADE, sewn by fromwholecloth.com

First Day Dress Pattern by MADE, sewn by fromwholecloth.com

I sized up for the dress since at this age my daughter’s chest measurement typically bumps her up a size in patterns (whereas her hip and inseam measurements call for a size smaller!), and from my prior projects I recalled the chest being the slimmest part of this pattern. The dress was ultimately a bit big for her, so I probably did not need to size up after all (especially since the changes I made to the neckline and back opening already allowed for a more generous fit through the chest). No worries, it just extends the period this dress will fit her!

The pattern provides for different lining options, and I hemmed (ha, ha) and hawed about which direction to take it. In the end, I chose to make the lining facing right side out — specifically because my daughter tends to do a lot of this when wearing a dress:

First Day Dress Pattern by MADE, sewn by fromwholecloth.com

She even does that to me when I am wearing a dress, which has made for some awkward moments at the grocery store. Yikes! Hellooo there!

However, when twirling, it looked like this:

First Day Dress Pattern by MADE, sewn by fromwholecloth.com

But who cares, you can’t let an exposed lining hem stop you from dancing and having a load of fun celebrating with family and friends! And besides, the reality is that unless you were laying down on the dance floor, you really couldn’t see the inside of the lining.

First Day Dress Pattern by MADE, sewn by fromwholecloth.com

The dress was subsequently worn to an end of the school year celebration and to church, so it made the rounds a bit. All before her refusal to wear dresses set in … which, by the way, seems to maybe, just perhaps, be receding?! Oh, I hope I didn’t just jinx it.

Have a great week!


Motherhood Musings: September is the New January

Here it is, the beginning of September, and I feel like it’s the New Year.

As a mother of school-aged children (albeit one is in a preschool program), both attending full-day, full-week programs for the first time, the back to school season seems to me to mark a new beginning much more than the traditional change-up of January 1st.

DO NOT PIN september is the new january www.fromwholecloth.com

DO NOT PIN september is the new january www.fromwholecloth.com

Adjusting to so much sudden newness — new schools, new teachers, new schedules, new bedtime and wake-up routines, managing to get them fed and one to the bus on time – creates much more upheaval than the January 1st fervor of casting off the shadows of last year’s shortfalls while scrambling to boldly proclaim new health and personal resolutions, and remembering to change your date references to the new calendar year.

Perhaps September is the new January. I can see that working in our society with its love affair with rebranding. Please, someone make a meme to that effect, which we can all post and pin endlessly.

And it doesn’t help that summer is such a tease. Bidding you to come and sit awhile and imagine what life could be like if there weren’t any real world responsibilities, as if it were possible for adulthood to be as carefree as youth.  As a parent, all summer long you know the return to reality is lurking out there, ready to stare you down come the end of August, but there are ample and tantalizing distractions to help you succumb to the siren song of summer. Beach days, hikes, picnics, family vacations, dips in a pool, spontaneous explorations, gardens, bugs, wildlife, fairs, ice cream runs, glow sticks galore, fireworks, more ice cream; not to mention the unavoidable diversions like longer days with a lingering sunlight that pushes bedtime well past the time your child’s little body actually needs sleep.

DO NOT PIN summer fun, september is the new january, www.fromwholecloth.com

DO NOT PIN summer fair, september is the new january, www.fromwholecloth.com

DO NOT PIN, Summer Swim, september is the new january, www.fromwholecloth.com

DO NOT PIN, Summer Snooze, september is the new january, www.fromwholecloth.com

DO NOT PIN Summer Fun, september is the new january www.fromwholecloth.com

And then suddenly the calendar changes to the first day of school; and the momentum shifts, you’re in overdrive.

During my years of full-time lawyering, my performance goals and the firm’s were tied to the traditional calendar year. Each month’s performance marched you closer to the final accounting in December. There was no escaping the established January to December measure of time. But with children it’s so different.

The concept of time is still so ambiguous, so un-measurable, for children. It’s that limitlessness that contributes to their sense of wonderment and curiosity. After all, what isn’t possible when time is simply a continuum, not an ordered, impending beast full of deadlines and due dates and pickup times and late fees.

Of course, that limitless mentality backfires into a hot mess when trying to convince them they need to go to sleep NOW or they’ll be inconsolably tired the next day, or that we needed to leave the playground LIKE 15 MINUTES AGO or dinner will be late and baths will be late and this ultra-sensitive pressure-cooker called our “schedule” will explode into a million pieces.

I admit I’ve never been good at take it easy, go with the flow; although I’ve certainly expended effort to make it look otherwise. Historically, my only flow has been the one I create and try to control by squeezing it around the neck into submission. In fact, when I finally made the decision to leave my job in order to stay home with my family, I had this really hard core expectation of my new role – I was going to be the CEO of the home. It was my job to be in control of all the home/family needs. Um, embarrassing.

How stupid. Ridiculous, really. And even worse, it doesn’t work! It is fairly obvious, although it took me an incredibly long time to learn, that the need to control is mostly born out of fear and anxiety. Yep, take a minute to let that sink in, and then tell me how cool you feel being a control freak.

So, I guess if September is the new January, it’s only appropriate that I make a resolution or two.

I’ll go with trite. Trite but true. Be present more, breathe more. Instead of focusing on that clock, the ever-present schedule, the self-imposed sentence of my mental to-do list, just be mommy. Because, after all, that is my job.

I don’t need to have the cleanest house, my kids don’t need to read by age whatever, I don’t need to make everything for them, we don’t have to be perfect, breakfast for dinner is a real thing. And so on. But kids do have big needs – mostly and simply to feel loved and safe and encouraged. And every time I yell or, even worse, curse, because I feel we’ve fallen short of some arbitrary standard of measurement I’ve created, I degrade that safe environment and I invite anxiety into our home. We know these things, but we ignore them. We need reminding.

A reminder to myself: My job is to support my children, not to confine them with kooky expectations, or comparisons, or to-do lists. There’s no such thing as perfect. I can’t control everything. Who would want that job anyway?

Creepy Crawly Pajamas

jams10 (853x1280)

My goodness, it feels like I’m pulling from the sewing project vault for this post. These pajamas were sewn up in the spring and have been in pretty heavy rotation, even during the summer. I’ve seen so much of them it’s hard to believe I never got around to posting about them. But they’re just too loved by my son for me to skip posting them. And besides, it’s been pretty quiet around here lately, so let’s start with some catching up.

Creepy Crawly Jams, sewn by fromwholecloth.com, Titchy Threads patterns

These pajamas were made using two patterns by Titchy Threads, the Rowan Tee pattern and the Fancy Pants Leggings pattern, and are sewn up in a comfy 100% organic cotton knit interlock. I purchased the fabric (Teagan White for Birch Organic Fabrics, Acorn Trail, Knit, Bugs Gold) with the intention of sewing up pajamas during the Spring 2015 Kids Clothes Week (they would have been so perfect for the “wild things” theme). But I fell short of my goal, and hence, no KCW jammies.

The thing is, I had told my son about the pajama plans. And he mentioned that he could wear them on “Pajama Day,” a special day planned near the conclusion of his pre-kindergarten program last school year. But it was a casual conversation, and he also mentioned that he might choose his store-bought superhero PJs instead. So, no big plans, nothing set in stone. And I was kind of hoping that his PJ expectations had been forgotten.

Wrong, mama! Of course. I mean, how could I not see that coming, right?! So, two nights before the highly anticipated Pajama Day, he expectantly asked if his new PJs were ready. Gulp. And, not being one to shy away from late night sewing, I truthfully responded, “they will be!”

And they were. And he wore them proudly. And I sighed a big sigh of relief. Mission accomplished.

Creepy Crawly PJs, sewn by fromwholecloth.com, #rowantee and #fancypants patterns by #titchythreads

I fully acknowledge that my son is completely biased when it comes to my sewing ability and treasures just about every item I make him. And that is why I love him. KIDDING!! Well, not entirely. He really is my biggest fan when it comes to my creations, and that is one of the millions of reasons I love him. He’s my sewing ego boost.

The last minute nature of this project meant that I didn’t have a chance to snap photos before they were put to their first use. We finally rectified that this week. As a newly minted kindergartner, my son has been so wiped out each afternoon that it was easy to persuade him to put his PJs on before dinner so we could do a photo shoot. And he suggested an outdoor photo shoot would be a good match for the creepy crawly bug theme of the printed fabric. Pajama modelling in the front yard — yes, awesome!

Creepy Crawly PJs, sewn by fromwholecloth.com, #rowantee and #fancypants patterns by #titchythreads

These patterns and this stable knit were easy to work with. I definitely see more pajamas and more knit t-shirts in my sewing future.  I finally broke out my double needle for the first time to finish the hems on the top. I love the more professional finish it provides, although I admit I need more practice. The thread has already broken in one spot along the front, bottom hem. Grrrr. I’ve since read that wooly nylon thread for the bobbin thread helps prevent breakage with the double needle – next time!

DO NOT PIN Creepy Crawly PJs, back view, sewn by fromwholecloth.com, Titchy Threads patterns

As you can see above, the Fancy Pants Leggings pattern features a separate bum panel, so you can play around using a coordinating fabric on the butt, if you like. It also provides for a ribbed waistband and ribbed ankles (although alternates are provided in the pattern, as well). I sewed the top and the bottoms up without any alterations from the pattern and was very happy with the results.

Creepy Crawly PJs, sewn by fromwholecloth.com, #rowantee and #fancypants patterns by #titchythreads

When we moved the photo shoot inside – “because you usually wear your jammies in bed, mom” – I really thought he was going to fall asleep on me.

Creepy Crawly PJs, sewn by fromwholecloth.com, #rowantee and #fancypants patterns by #titchythreads

Insert thumb, cue the heavy lids. Good niiii-iight! I may have even begun to daydream about all that could be accomplished if the kids were both in bed by 5:30 p.m. Tsk, tsk, bad mommy.

But then, he found his second wind.

Creepy Crawly PJs, sewn by fromwholecloth.com, #rowantee and #fancypants patterns by #titchythreads

Creepy Crawly PJs, sewn by fromwholecloth.com, #rowantee and #fancypants patterns by #titchythreads

Although, he insisted on giving me a “sleeping” shot.

Creepy Crawly PJs, sewn by fromwholecloth.com, #rowantee and #fancypants patterns by #titchythreads

Very authentic.

And in case you are curious, Pajama Day is celebrated by allowing the students to wear their PJs to school, and then it’s lights off while they “camp out” in the classroom, listening to a “bedtime” story, enjoying popcorn and looking at the constellations on the ceiling (a la a night sky project they completed leading up to the PJ day). It really was a sweet and special experience for them.

And much better experienced in new, handmade pajamas, no doubt!

Shop ‘Til You Drop

I’ve been talking it up on my social media sites, and then realized I hadn’t breathed a word of it here — of all places! Oops.

I’m having an end-of-summer, super stash busting sale in my Etsy shop! Time to get your shop on!

fromwholecloth Etsy shop sale, 25% off in-stock items, use code SUMMER25, all sales final, no returns

I’m making way for new fall and winter designs, so I’m offering 25% off all existing, in-stock items. Use code SUMMER25 at checkout. At these prices, all sales are final; no returns and no customization.

Grab something for now, or stock up on some gifts, or think ahead to next Spring! But hurry — sale ends August 31st!

Having a Sale, 25% off in stock items in the fromwholecloth shop on Etsy; in stock items only, all sales final, no returns. Use code SUMMER25