The Not-a-Dress Nightfall Geranium

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The battle of the dress continues in our household. Just when I think we’re on the brink of Daisy finally liking dresses, the pendulum swings back into no-dress land. And so, once again, I have sewn a tunic or a long shirt or whatever you want to call it other than a dress. However the closer she gets to turning 5, the less she buys into my descriptive trickery. As I was still pulling this non-dress over her head, she told me she might get very warm today and take it off, which she assured me was okay because she’s also wearing a t-shirt.  Glad she’s thought it all out.

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Despite the fact that I definitely don’t need any more fabric, I couldn’t help but be swayed to purchase some of Maureen Cracknell’s latest collection for Art Gallery Fabrics, Nightfall. For this project, I made the skirt portion using the Moon Stories print in Ash, and paired it with a printed denim (also from Art Gallery Fabrics) for the bodice. I purchased both from Hawthorne Threads.

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The Nightfall collection is full of bunnies, moons, owls and other lovelies, and lots of great fall colors. We recently gifted a skirt made using this same print but in the moonrise palette for an autumn birthday. And I have  had plans for a dress using the owl print from the same collection. Those plans may need to be converted to non-dress use. We’ll see – I am pretty stubborn, and might just go for a dress again.

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This top is made using the Geranium Dress pattern from Made by Rae. I modified the bodice to insert the ruffles, and cut the length between the dress and top lengths (see, it really isn’t a dress!), although given Daisy’s shorter stature it still seems closer to dr*ss length. I intentionally left the edges of the ruffles raw but zig-zag stitched about a half inch from the edge, so that hopefully they will develop a nice fringe with wash and wear. That’s assuming she’ll indulge me future wearings (sigh).

Nightfall Geranium Ruffle Close

I enclosed the skirt between the bodice and lining using my ever-evolving hand-sewn blindstich. (Applause.) I was even prepared to hem by hand, but the thread was such a good match to the fabric, I opted for the faster, easier machine stitch.

Nightfall Geranium inside

Nightfall Geranium Back Buttons

At this point I think the Geranium Dress pattern is my most frequently sewn pattern. It’s so reliable, in a good way.  And this time I finally cut the back bodice correctly. Apparently I had been shorting the bodice slightly in width all along, but realized my error this time. That explains why the bodice seemed tighter than expected in this Geranium top I made during a prior Kids Clothes Week.

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It’s supposed to reach 80 degrees on this mid-October day, so short-sleeves are making a comeback. Just when you put the summer clothes away……

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And now I’m off to sew Halloween costumes, my least favorite sewing of all! There had better be candy to compensate for this torture…

Crazy Horse: KCW Sewing Geranium Top

Horse Geranium top, pattern by Made by Rae, sewn by, fabric by Cotton + Steel


Horse Geranium Top, pattern by Made by Rae, sewn by


Horse Geranium Top, pattern by Made by Rae, sewn by #fromwholecloth, fabric by Cotton + Steel

This is my little crazy horse, my Daisy horse. Crazy Horse was known for being ferocious in battle; she’s ferocious in her own way. Small in stature but big in spirit. And louder than anyone her size has a right to be. She’s also going through a phase (is it still appropriate to call it a phase when it’s been about 9 months?!?) where she doesn’t think bedtime applies to her. We do the whole bath, book and bed routine, and then she stays up for a couple more hours engaging in vigorous conversation with her toys, singing songs of her own composition, and occasionally sneaking downstairs to see what Mommy and Daddy are doing. And she’s still typically the first one to wake in the morning.

She just turned three and a half, which means she’s big now. “I was little when I was three, but now I’m big.” Watch out, world!

Now, I know a lot of girls are c-c-c-crazy about horses. I went through my own horse-crazed period when I was little. I even asked for a horse for Christmas, and my Mom patiently and devoid of sarcasm responded something along the lines of, “Well, in case Santa Claus can’t bring you a horse, is there something else you’d like for Christmas?” I wanted to know why Santa wouldn’t bring me a horse, that’s what! Well, I never did get that horse, and in fact I forgot all about my previous horse obsession until I started to see so many horse-themed fabrics making their debut over the last year or so. Daisy is actually not horse crazy – yet. Transformer, cheetah and rhino crazy, yes. But this horse fabric has been staring at me from my fabric stash for a while and I couldn’t resist using it any longer.

The theme for the Spring Kids Clothes Week (April 20-26) was “Wild Things” and I fittingly sewed this wild mustang top for Daisy. I sewed a bunch of other things, too, but then she and I both were hit hard by a stomach bug that week and I never posted any of my projects. I am seriously backlogged on posting about recent sewing projects, so I’m trying to catch up. Actually, I’m grateful for a little reprieve from sewing because, to tell the truth, I’m feeling a little sewed-out after a marathon sewing session at the end of last week. (More on that later!)

Horse Geranium Top, pattern by Made by Rae, sewn by

This top is the Geranium Dress/Top Sewing Pattern by Made by Rae. I’ve made the dress option of that pattern before both here and here. It’s an uncomplicated sew and produces such a reliable result. Except that I forgot to mark the buttonholes when I cut my fabric, and then guesstimated on their location and they ended up a little too far from the edge. It made the bodice a bit tighter, but still wearable. Whoops!

Geranium Dress/Top Pattern by Made by Rae, sewn by, mustang fabric by Cotton + Steel

I’m sad to report that lately I’ve been getting a lot of push back from Daisy about wearing a dress. “No, Mommy. Not a dress today. I want a shirt!”, she’ll insist in the morning. I guess I’ve always known this day was coming, since I’ve heard so many stories about little girls deciding very early on that they want to call the shots on their apparel. I applaud her independence, but it’s still kind of breaking my heart. And so, I sewed up a shirt that is about as close to a dress as I can get! “You made me a horse dress?” “No, no, it’s a shirt! A horse SHIRT!!”

The fabric is Melody Miller’s Mustang in Aqua for Cotton + Steel. The feel of this fabric is wonderfully soft – especially considering it is quilting cotton. It feels soft like favorite shirt status soft.

Geranium Dress & Top Pattern by Made by Rae, sewn by fromwholecloth, Mustang fabric by Cotton + Steel

When I decided on the pattern and fabric for the top, I also decided to make her some fun pants to complete the outfit. Big oops on my part – they are way too big on her right now! Rather than calling this a sewing fail (even though I was dying to see her wear the top and bottom together), I’m considering myself super organized for having a leg up on her fall wardrobe. How’s that for a positive spin!

Sleepy Jeans Pattern by Brownie Goose, sewn by

But seriously, aren’t these pants super cute!? (Sleepy Jeans Pattern by Brownie Goose, fabric is Robert Kaufman chambray in indigo)

Thanks for reading!

Easter Dress 2014: Geranium Dress Pattern


I realize Easter was a few months ago, but since I never posted about this dress I thought I’d share it now before it becomes really old news.

I had no intention of making Easter outfits for the kids this year. They already had perfectly acceptable holiday outfits in their wardrobes and I thought I’d save my efforts for something else. And I was 50% true to my intentions. Daisy got a new dress sewn by Mom, and Eli went store-bought all the way.


Shortly before Easter I decided I wanted to make a dress for my cousin’s new baby using the Geranium Dress Sewing Pattern by Made by Rae. However, I had never sewn the pattern and despite my desire to get right down to business I acknowledged that first making a muslin from the pattern would be the more boring most prudent approach. And that, in the overused and likely worn out nutshell, is how my daughter scored a handmade Easter dress. (By the way, what kind of nutshell is it? My vote is for hazelnut or almond. And while we’re debating nuts, why the heck are there multiple names for hazelnuts?)

The effort went well enough that I think this dress can shed the muslin label. The fabrics are both from my stash and admittedly not what would typically be considered muslin fabric; a medium pink gingham for the bodice and a floral for the skirt bottom, both purchased on sale from a couple of years ago. The floral fabric is from a Beatrix Potter licensed fabric collection, although I don’t recall the manufacturer.

The Geranium Dress pattern includes several different style variations, and for this dress I chose the notched neckline and the faux cap sleeve. The cap sleeve style looks better when it isn’t paired with a t-shirt underneath, but our Easter weather wasn’t quite mild enough for her to comfortably go bare-armed.


For the kids, the highlight of our Easter festivities was definitely the egg hunt graciously hosted by my sister-in-law. The pictures below perfectly capture why Daisy won’t be scoring the most eggs any time soon.

Eli had the right technique for amassing eggs — locate, grab, drop in basket, repeat.


Whereas Daisy proved to be more of an egg connoisseur, taking her time and inspecting each egg she found.


Yep, she’s still there.  It’s as if I photo-shopped Eli out of the picture. She’s barely moved an inch!

Perhaps she is looking for the Faberge eggs? I could have sworn they told me they’d have Faberge this year! What kind of egg hunt is this?!

I was trying not to interrupt the egg hunting while I snapped a few photos of the dress. It seemed like every time I went to take a picture of her, she was examining an egg with her hands up blocking a view of the notched bodice. I nicely asked “please put your hands down, so mommy can take a picture” and, since Daisy interprets everything so literally, this was the result.


Well, her hands are down. Easter egg hunt zombie style.


Ahhh, sometimes I think that soon enough I’ll know what it’s like to be the mother of the class clown.

Geranium Dress for a New Little Miss


Hurrah, a new baby in the family! The extended family — not my immediate family. “Phew!” says my husband. “Awwwwww…, ” says Eli, with disappointment. That boy asks for another baby on a regular basis. Cue the Rolling Stones: you can’t always get what you want, my dear son.

My cousin and her husband welcomed baby #2, a beautiful daughter, in January. Yes, yes, I know, it is now July, and I finally just shipped off a package of homemade goodies and officially welcomed her to the family.

I swore I was going to be more timely. I sewed up a minky and flannel blanket right after she was born. But it just didn’t seem exciting enough. I tossed around different pattern and fabric ideas but nothing really struck me. Months passed. Then I decided I needed to get in on the Geranium Dress goodness I’d been admiring on sewing blogs and in the Kids Clothes Week photo pools. The Geranium Dress Sewing Pattern is from Made By Rae, and the fabric I chose is from the Out to Sea collection by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller.  The “Sea Flowers” fabric is a small scale print of flowers and sea stars in pinks and blue and it is pretty busy, but I think it works really well in a smaller child’s size (in this case size 6 to 12 months — actually, I don’t think I indicated the dress size in the package I sent, so this post will have to do the trick!).

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Aside from the usual greatness of Rae’s patterns and the detailed instructions, I love that the pattern easily accommodates different trims. I chose pale pink pom poms at the waistline, because, well, pom pom trim is awesome. Enough said. Rae has a post devoted to Adding Trim to the Geranium Dress



As much as I love the added element of pom pom trim, this part didn’t go as smoothly as I’d hoped. I didn’t give myself enough of a seam allowance on the waistline once the trim was added, and this necessitated closing the bodice lining by hand. Groan. Groan again. I learned how to sew on a sewing machine, so my hand-sewing skills could use some work. Sometimes, when I’m feeling super ambitious (a/k/a “fooling myself”), I declare loudly — in my head, so that no one can hear and I won’t really be held accountable — that I should spend an entire week’s worth of sewing time focused solely on hand-sewing techniques. I mean, I should do this. And I really do think it is important to be skilled and feel confident in the most basic form of one’s hobby, buuuuuut (insert whiny voice here) the sewing machine just makes everything so much easier, not to mention faster, and there are so many projects that just seem way, way more interesting than a week of sewing drills.

This is a poor picture, but you can see my totally amateur stitching by hand. Thank goodness this is the lining. Ain’t nobody gonna see it from the outside!


So, the dress was complete and ready to be sent off with the blanket (I swear there really is a blanket! Just no photos!). All set, right? Nope. I wanted to include a little something for the Big Bro. A couple more months passed. Really, now, this is just pathetic. A classic study in procrastination.

I knew exactly what I wanted to make — a little zippered pouch to house treasures of all sorts — and I had the fabric and the zipper and, well, apparently no motivation. I knew it wouldn’t take too long to complete so I kept pushing it aside in favor of whatever was grabbing my fancy at the time — like truly important things such as surfing the internet looking at outrageous vacation rentals in far off magical places where no one with children under the age of fifteen ever visits. Tick. Tock. Finally I had to sit myself down and have a little talk about responsibility and ambition.

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Okay, actually there was no such talk, but I did finally get out of my own way and sew this cute little bag for a cute little guy. And all’s well that ends well. Or so I hope.

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Happy Fourth of July!