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…

Geranium Dress for a New Little Miss

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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

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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!

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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!

Purple Pierrot

Purple Pierrot

2013 has arrived and I think it’s about time I show this blog some love, since I’ve been MIA for a few weeks. Speaking of 2013, I can’t help but wonder, if you’re superstitious about the number “13” have you already written this year off, figuring that nothing is going to go right? Seriously, 2013 has got to be a superstitious person’s worst nightmare. You mean there’s a “13” in every day for a whole year? Well, thankfully that’s not me. I have plenty of other kooky things that are taking up valuable real estate in my brain and keeping me up at night. [And on the subject of sleep, personal note to daughter: You are now 13 months old. It is time to start sleeping through the night!]

For my birthday at the end of November, I set a few personal goals for the year ahead; and since I didn’t exactly start executing them right away, I’m recycling them as 2013 New Year’s resolutions. (That’s fair, right? I mean, recycling is a good thing, right?) I categorized my goals in terms of more and less.

More:

  1. photos: take more photos, whether by camera or phone
  2. patterns: create a few things using real sewing patterns, not just the patterns I draw for myself
  3. sew an article of clothing for myself (sewing grown-up clothes scares me!)
Less:
  1. sugar
  2. complaining (bound to be difficult due to #1)
  3. people-pleasing (I’ll spare you the psychology on this one)
So, let this post serve as proof that I am pursuing one of my goals — more creations from real sewing patterns! I made this fun tunic for my daughter from the Pierrot Tunic Sewing Pattern by Made By Rae.

I guess this fabric really isn’t purple. More like raspberry ice cream. But I liked the alliteration of “purple pierrot”, so let’s all just pretend my title is accurate. (I seriously had to hold back from adding a caption to the top photo, “my purple pierrot is perfect for packing parcels”. Hey, I never claimed that I’m not a dork.) I didn’t even know what “Pierrot” meant/was until I looked it up on Wikipedia did some in-depth research. And I’m still not entirely sure my pronunciation is spot-on. Oh well, I guess I’m just winging this whole thing today.

Made By Rae‘s blog is really great. She’s talented, funny and full of good tips, tutorials and inspiration. I saw the Pierrot tunics she debuted a while back and loved them. I purchased the pattern with hopes of making a tunic during Kids Clothes Week Challenge in the Fall, but it didn’t happen. I finally just got around to trying it out. The pattern was easy to follow and full of pictures. Now why can’t most commercial patterns be written in such a manner? Maybe then I wouldn’t have such “real pattern” phobia. The only modification I made was to add two ruffles to the neckline, as opposed to one ruffle, as suggested by the pattern. The additional ruffle was due to the fact that I accidentally cut the first ruffle piece more narrow than the pattern instructs. The ruffled neckline is what makes this tunic so darn cute, so a narrow ruffle just wasn’t going to cut it for me. I added a second, wider ruffle under the narrow ruffle to compensate for my silly cutting error.

Typically when I’m thinking about a sewing project, I have a particular fabric in mind. In this case I was excited about trying the pattern but nothing in my fabric pile was shouting for my attention.  I ended up using a fine wale corduroy for the tunic. I had just enough of the fabric for the size 18-24 months pattern; and actually I skimped on the length of the ruffle pieces. The corduroy had its pros and cons. I really like the color, and the corduroy added more structure to the Pierrot ruffled neckline, which I think is awesome in all its standing-up glory. On the other hand, I think a woven cotton or a linen would allow for a more beautiful drape. I also think that since corduroy generally requires more thought and work — checking that the direction of the nap is consistent across the pieces, and being so careful when pressing to avoid crushing the wales and leaving marks — that sometimes the extra element of caution can detract a bit from the fun of the project. I will definitely make this pattern again (and conveniently the pattern includes 0-3 months up to 5T), and will put some of my light, summery prints to use.

And Daisy is enjoying the tunic. So far it has proven to be perfectly suitable for

posing

climbing the stairs (even if you’re not allowed to)

being taunted by your brother about not being allowed to climb the stairs alone

pouting (hey, it’s not all fun and games around here!)

crawling

and snacking!

I hope your 2013 is off to a great start — even if you’re not dressed in alliterative splendor!