Suddenly, when Ellery turned about 4 years old, all that precious time I spent sewing into the night was wasted.  She stopped liking pretty much anything I made (except for this sundress that she all but slept in last Summer).


i love this photo of her literally ripping off a Pierrot dress 1 second after she tried it on….

Why?  Oh, many reasons…. “it’s TOO BUMPY!!!!!” (i.e. made with woven cotton).  Or, “it’s just TOO short!!!” (i.e. it wasn’t a ball gown).  Or “I look like a BOY IN IT!!!!” (i.e. it wasn’t the color pink).  You can see why the dress above wasn’t her fave… hehehe.

So, I found myself buying cheap basic knit dresses from Old Navy and Target.  And no offense to those stores (i still do my fair share of shopping there), but if a dress significantly fades after 2 or 3 washes, I’m annoyed.  Especially if it cost me over $10.


So, I started making these little dresses by attaching an existing tank top we already had to a thrifted skirt or dress, and she just gushed over them.  I’m sure she likes them because they are comfy… which means I can get away with some different colors she wouldn’t normally wear.  Actually when she first saw this dress she was concerned because there were 2 shades of brown polka dots on it, but she forgot about it once she pulled it on… Livin’ on the edge, my gal!


 Really.  I feel like a cheater, but whatever- I’m so much happier spending about 12 minutes of my time whipping one of these up for a few bucks- as long as she’ll wear it.


And wear it she does.

About 3 times a week.

Love my girl!

Happy Wednesday 🙂


It HAD to have the piping

Don’t you think? 1-Avery's Dress 2013 009

I would have been finished with this Oliver + S “Music Box Jumper” days ago, but after I sewed the yoke to the skirt, I knew something was missing.  Piping!  It had to have piping.  I just couldn’t leave well enough alone.  So I made a date with my seam ripper, instead of my husband.  Boo.  He understood.  And he agreed, it needed piping.

01-Avery's Dress 2013 024

I constructed the yoke out of a white linen skirt that my older sister never wore, and passed on to me.  The skirt was pretty see-through, so I never wore it either, but like a good up-cycler, I threw it in my stash and knew I’d at least use the buttons from it.  These are those buttons!  Avery patiently waited as “almost done…” turned into “frrmmshmerrdurr…” and then ” *bleeping bleeeeep!* ” and then finally…
02-Avery's Dress 2013 028

“Praise the Lord, its finished!”  And we LOVE IT!  Seriously, I’m pretty obsessed with this dress.  Skirt fabric is from Anna Maria Horner’s “Loulouthi” collection, and is called Coreopsis in lime.  The Music Box jumper (view B) was an impeccable pattern.  I had to buy it after I saw it sewn up at Les Fabriques by the talented Jamie (shout out if you’re reading!).  I took it slowly and even made french seams, learning a ton the whole way.

03-Avery's Dress 2013 032

The white linen was tricky to work with, so soft and delicate.  It did not appreciate all the seam ripping!  But, it feels like buttah, and gives the dress an old-timey vibe.  Like out of a Dick and Jane book.

04-Avery's Dress 2013 039

I’m not really sure when I will let her wear this dress.  Maybe a certain garden party coming up ;)?  I hope I don’t hover nearby with a wash cloth when its time for cake.  After all I went through in the construction process, I will probably insist she vacuum seal it in archival tissue paper, and pass it down to her first-born daughter!   I told you I was obsessed!  Anyhoo, here are some pics of our photo shoot.  Avery is very into making me weed bouquets!

05-Avery's Dress 2013 037

10-Avery's Dress 2013 068

09-Avery's Dress 2013 054

07-Avery's Dress 2013 043

Love the dress, LOVE the girl.


long-distance, Geranium-style

Earlier this month, we had a heavy wet snowstorm that knocked out our power and water for 4 days.  To keep the kids happy + entertained, we had “practice” easter egg hunts, bacon fried on a little propane burner, couch naps, s’mores a la fireplace…you know, power outage stuff.  Do all Moms suck at building forts, or is it just me?

Anyway.  Sounds fun for a while, right?

We stuck it out at home for about 24 hours before the novelty of of it all wore off and we high-tailed it to my parent’s hotel house for the rest of the weekend.  I love a good flushing toilet.  TMI?


One great thing about having no electicity, is that you are forced to do the stuff you normally don’t like to do, like organizing all the crap that no one ever uses under the bathroom sink, making Goodwill donation clothing piles (i’m talking to you and your t-shirts, husband), and cutting out pattern and fabric pieces.

Prepping up a couple of Geraniums with Ellery delightfully helped to pass the time.

I snagged up this fun fabric (Summersault by Erin McMorris for FreeSpirit) when it was on sale for a few dollars/yard online… I actually bought it in 3 colorways- we also have orange, because I knew Ellery would lo-lo-love it.  It just exudes Spring.  And jelly bean-colored raindrops?  Love at first sight for my girl…

She and I decided to make one for her, and one for “Friend Caroline”- her bff that moved to Colorado last year.  I showed her the options in the pattern, and she did a fabulous job of telling me EXACTLY how she wanted them to look, down to the flutter sleeves on both, and the green one having the U cut-out but not the pink one.  😉

Our photo shoot went a lot like one of Ellery and Caroline’s many playdates:

It started off a little slow.


Maybe even a little sassy….as Caroline’s midewestern mom would say.

I say fresh.


But after some nagging from us Moms, and a little moping from the girls…


Soon, things would be just fine and dandy!


…and they were off playing princesses or fashion show, trading dresses, tiaras, and shoes….


Having some girly fun.


And of course, getting bugged by Grant… seen here, trying to eat the pink dress.


I let Ellery decide in the end which dress she would send to Caroline, and which one she’d chose for herself.  Can you guess which one she kept?

It *might* surprise you.


Green!  Now THAT is a good 4 year-old friend…

We miss Caroline and her Mom (a.k.a. my “sisterwife”) TONS, but we are getting used to Facetime- Ellery gets very shy when she sees C on the ipad and pretty much goes mute.  So her!

I’m sure eventually they’ll be able to channel all that laughter and silliness that would ensue during those playdates.

Like here, when just after I took this shot, she walked backward and fell off the bookshelf, landed on one of Corinne’s baby toys, and kicked it on.


In Spanish-mode.

We laughed our heads off.

I’m pretty sure Friend Caroline would have too.


Pattern Testing :: Bubble Dress!

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of testing a new sewing pattern by An of StraightGrain.

The Bubble Dress!

An makes some really sweet clothing for her little girl, and has now put her skills towards creating this great little pattern for girls ages 1-6.  It is for sale now, and you can buy it here.  If you have never made a bubble-anything before (like me), give it a shot- it comes together pretty quickly and it’s fun to see the bubble take shape!

Anyway, without further ado…

Here’s Corinne enjoying her new frock:


I tested the 1 year size for my Coco-girl who is turning 1 next week.  WHA??  Crazy.  I mean, I just had her, didn’t I?

Anyway, it fits great… she’s lean, so this will fit her right on through the Summer I’m sure.


I’ve had this fabric (Jessica Levitt, Timber collection) since I first started sewing 3 years ago.  I never was quite sure about what to use it for, but I’m so happy I finally cut into it.  Pretty perfect for Spring!  I’m not  usually drawn to geometric prints, but i love the combo of geometric and organic shapes here.  Such cute little bird’s nests they are!


Check out that bubble!

The peter pan collar is an option in this pattern, and is a fun way to use a contrasting fabric.

I figured if I was going to learn how to make a bubble skirt, I might as well learn to make a collar too.  That was the hardest part for me, but it turned out just fine- i took those steps pretty slow, especially when attaching it between the outer bodice and the lining.


The back closes simply with a button and loop.


I used 1/8″ elastic, though you could use ribbon too.  Anytime I can get out of making a buttonhole, I’m gonna take it!  I think the elastic is nice for a squiggly toddler too.  Easy on, easy off.


We had fun during this photo shoot.  Her cuteness was bubbling all over the place.  Sorry…but  you knew the pun was coming…


Someone’s ready for Easter….


So, hop on over to An’s blog and look around… She’s from Belgium and is hosting a great series called Kid’s Clothes Belgian Style – Lots of awesome sewing happening over there!

Thanks for stopping by  🙂


Geranium Dress

Happy February!


To celebrate the arrival of my least favorite month (bleak/blah/brrrrrr!!!), I made a Geranium dress for Ellery.

This a new pattern from Rae a.k.a. our sewing guru…. And just as I knew it would be, the pattern is clear and concise with many photos and plenty of options.

Really, if you’re looking for a great basic dress pattern, get this!


The fabric is sort of an odd choice, but i was feeling pressured to use a (soon to expire) gift certificate at my local shop and I was drawn to this… It’s Field Study Glimmer by Kristine Baerlin for Free Spirit.  I think it’s suitable for February actually.  Grayish/Green cattails with bits of pink and orangey-gold…. a little prelude to Spring.  I didn’t have much else in enough yardage, so I kind of took the risk of her rejecting it but soldiered on….

Ellery seemed to like it right away, but told me (she loves to say this) “I’ll wear it to school when I’m 5!”


I made a 5T for my almost 5 year old girl- there is a little room for her to grow into it.

I lengthened the skirt by an inch and a half and I also added in the pockets from view B to my skirt piece (view A).


I intended to use snaps to close the back, just for ease of getting dressed in the busy mornings, but I forgot I had these cute purple oval buttons- I liked the look so I went with it.


Here she is discovering her pockets….it took her a while 🙂


….And here she is trying to play dollhouse with her hands still in the pockets…


Most importantly, this dress withstood the couch-jumping test.


I have a tunic version of this in the works for Corinne…

Until then, Adios!


UPcycled: knit tees to girl’s dresses

My sewing-fun as of late has been upcycling some barely worn clothes of ours into E’s new favorite dresses!

I attached a never-worn silky jersey shirt of mine (Old Navy, clearance rack, $6) to a basic long-sleeved black tee of hers.

Took all of 12 minutes to do this… seriously… you should make a few…

She wore it several times before I got around to adding the embellishment (to hide a little un-intended pleat in the top).  I cut circles of the purple fabric and stacked them up- about 5 layers from large to small, then hand-stitched them in the center to the front.

Awww… my poor sick girl.  She’s been under the weather all week, we’re waiting for a test to come back to see if she’s got mono…

Not sure who she’s kissing at preschool!!  hee hee.

Here’s another one, the bottom is an old dress of mine, the long-sleeve shirt came as-is- it has a cute corduroy print, some lace, and a couple lttle bows.

Just attached it to my old dress and voila!  This one took me about 11 minutes… At the rate i’m going, I should be able to crank one out while the car warms up in the morning!  ha!

No really though, here’s the quick rundown:

1. Cut your shirt and skirt to desired length- (I leave about 3″ of shirt below the armpit), the skirts I’ve been keeping pretty long since that’s how she likes them.

2. Gather your skirt by sewing a couple of long straight stitches across 1/2″ from the raw edge.  Gather it up evenly and turn it inside out.

3. Insert your shirt piece inside the skirt piece, lining up the raw edges. and side seams (right sides will be touching).  Adjust the skirt and the gathers to fit the shirt piece.  Pin in place.

4. Sew (i used a straight stitch) together using a 5/8″ seam (i also then zigzaged over that for no reason.. er.. just good measure I guess?). Turn your dress right side out.

** For a better idea of this easy technique (and photos), you could go to my Vintage Pillowcase Tank Dress tutorial to get the gist.  Same idea, (only I did not use elastic thread here).

Since Ellery boycotted the last dresses I made her because “they’re bumpy” a.k.a. made from woven cotton, I’m sticking to these strechy ones for a while.  They’re comfy, easy to make, almost free, and she’s wearing them all the time.

I plan on raiding my husbands drawers next.  I know there are some goods just waiting to be hacked up!


p.s. We are still waiting to meet Caroline’s baby… she’s 6 days late and starting to get a little crank-xious (yep. new word for ya!).

Send her your good vibes!

….And For some more UPcycled inspiration, see these:

Vintage Thift Store Frock into Dress

Dad’s Sweater into Girl’s Cardigan

Cashmere Sweater into Ear Warmer

Vintage Sheet into Spring Top


There may have been a shortage of blogging last month, but certainly no shortage of things made.

Ellery’s BFF “friend Caroline” and her nothing-short-of-amazing mother, moved all the way to Colorado.  We are so sad they moved away but wish them all the best and promise to skype as much as possible!

I suggested to Ellery that we make Caroline some stationary so she can write letters to us.  It didn’t feel like *enough* though, for such a dear friend… I mean, we’re crafters, aren’t we?  So, we whipped up a little felt case (i get my felt from Ohma) in no time.  We didn’t measure anything, just cut from random pieces in my stash.  Caroline and Ellery loooove princesses, so we made a little crown for the front- stitched with gold thread, and some silver embroidery floss knots for a little bling.

Ellery sat on my lap the entire time and helped me keep my lines straight ;)… I love how this has a 4 year old touch.

On the way to Caroline’s house, we stopped and got some special twistable colored pencils (not shown)- perfect for her…she is a fabulous artiste!

I made some couch pillows….

….and some bed pillows….

…and a super quick and easy “faux” roman shade for my kitchen sink window.  (two tension rods and some fabric. done.)

Finally got around to sewing up some cloth napkins.  I’m 32.  It’s time I stopped using paper towels at every meal.

This ruffle-less Pierrot  with elastic casings in the sleeves (previous pierrots here and here) came off as quickly as it went on.


I am told that Ellery’s “back-to-school” dress, a purply corduroy jumper, will be worn “When I turn 5.”  Check back with me in 7 months…

I dunno…. maybe the mustard lining threw her off???

And finally, I got this crazy notion to spray paint my fireplace screen yellow, but when I got to Lowe’s, Avocado spoke to me.  So, there you have it… you can spray paint over spray paint, right?

Gotta say I’m a little bummed that E won’t wear my dresses…. So, for a while I’m going to concentrate on sewing for ME!

Next up…. WASHI!


Backyard Sundress in Voile

Hey y’all!

(i looove pretending i have a southern accent even though i’m from up North.  If you know me, you know this much is true.)

Can you believe it’s the end of Summer?  I’m secretly high-fiving myself right now.  I am so excited for my kids to start preschool next week (G-man will be going a couple mornings a week this year along with his big sis)… It’s going to be a blast for them, and a nice break for me.  I’ll get to spend some one-on-one time with my little Coco-bean.  And of course, who doesn’t love the Fall?  Plus, I get to meet a new nephew in November!  Seriously, the Changs have some cute ‘lil babies, I can’t wait to get my hands on this one… So bring on the chill in the air, the soft sweaters, and the crunchy leaves!!!

But NOT before I sneak in one last backyard sundress, okay?

If you are a fabric hoarder like myself, you probably have some AMH  voile in your stash.  I’ve used a bit before (the square dance panel) as pockets for a bag and a skirt for E, but the yellow is a semi-recent purchase from Hawthorne Threads.  I’m so into this fabric, you have no idea.  It’s buttery-soft, lightweight, and easy to sew with.  After living in her pink dress for about 2 weeks straight, she was happy to switch to wearing this one for a couple of weeks.  Straight.  I consider this one a success because there is a hole in it now and i will have to mend it asap so she’ll get off my case already!

Like the last sundress I made, this one came together quickly.  The sleeve edges are left semi-raw: no hem, just zigzag stitched (i used gold thread) just along the edges.  I haven’t had to clip any threads, and the more I wash it the cuter it looks… and it does make it just that more casual which is perfect for a kid in the Summertime.

I love how this fabric just billows out when she rides her bike.  Oh, you’ve never seen a bad-boy tricycle like this before?  That’s for country kids who have gravel driveways and no sidewalks on their streets.  The tires are so hardcore…. She is a beast on this thing.  Best $50 I’ve ever spent.

Get a load of this….

Oh, no I didn’t.


Say hello to my girls’ first (of many? not sure yet) matching outfits!

I might shave Ellery’s head soon so they can really look-alike.  As if!!!

I feel so bad that Grant isn’t a frequent face on this blog… he is the cutest/sweetest/cuddliest boy ever, but i just don’t sew much for him.  So, let me feel better by throwing his face out into cyberland… This picture is his quintessential Summer “look”: hand-me-down pj’s (thanks Jet!), a smile, and the evening sun fading away.

 I could eat that kid up.  This past weekend, he started calling me “Erin”.  “Erin, can I have some juice please?”, “Erin, Ellery’s not sharing!”….Really???


A tutorial for this dress has been lingering for weeks- we actually had a pretty awful and obscure computer virus attack our humble PC right after I made this dress.  And by attack, I mean our screen turned blue and it said “PREPARING TO CRASH” and then turned off…. so we my Mom tried everything under the sun to fix the darn thing, but it was just a huge mess.  I hate you Trojan Horse Patched-302397684asjdfhsjkafhweuifhe or whatever you’re called!!  Anyway, we caved and got a new computer.   And yes, I backed that baby up.  I shall post a tutorial as soon as I can get a few moments alone. 🙂

Then, maybe you can make one before the Summer is REALLY over.


Two by Heather Ross

So, I’ve been MIA for a while, and I don’t have much to show for it.  It was the end of June, on a dark and stormy night, when I sat down at my machine to start the Mendocino Sundress I’d been planning for weeks.  Just as I secured my fabric beneath the presser foot, the lights flickered and the power went out!  Our power was out for EIGHT days! When we were finally able to come back home, it was time to pack for California.  I took the kids by myself to visit my husband’s family for a 15 day trip.  I brought my knitting, but didn’t get to it much.  Maybe because I became a Words With Friends geek while I was out there?  This game is truly coming between me and my crafting!  Make me stop!  I’m neglecting my fellow bloggers! August now, and I finally got back to that dress, still pinned and waiting patiently in a cluttered corner of the house.  Here it is:


Happy happy with the results!  I just knew this pretty lawn cotton would be worth the wait.  I also knew that getting some shirring practice in before attempting it on this expensive stuff was a smart move.


I purchased the fabric at a local shop called Les Fabriques.  A 50% off Living Social coupon made it a sweet deal!  There was no other info on the bolt besides “lawn cotton”.  I was told it comes from their vendor in New York, which I jotted down, but can’t seem to locate now.


It is so light weight and comfortable.  I definitely recommend buying the Gutterman elastic thread over the cheaper stuff, if you want to shirr something more special (Though practice with the cheaper stuff for sureshirr!). I probably went through 3 spools, but it was worth it.  Also, a busy pattern helps to hide wobbly rows :).


Check it out, I made pockets!  The pattern (which is a free download) includes pockets, but does not give much instruction.  You have to really have to think things through before you sew up your inside seams.  I can see how easy it would be to wind up wrong side fabric peeking out of your pockets.  Watch a video first.

Image That’s my 6 month bump there.  I probably haven’t mentioned yet that it’s a BOY!  I will have to get to work on some Big Butt Baby Pants!  I like this dress for maternity wear, but think it will fit just fine next spring when baby is on my hip instead.

Next up, is the “Trapeze Sundress” from Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross.  I wound up with this adorable frock after our dear friend, and domestic goddess, Grayson, sewed it up for herself, and then decided the results were undeniably pregnant.  I win!


I just love this color and the big peonies!  Grayson is not sure where she picked up this fabric (Jo-ann, she thinks). It is a heavy weight cotton though, not something I find much at Jo Jos.  Might be able to update this info for you later.


I also have this Heather Ross book, but haven’t tried much from it.  I’ve heard that the errata page is extensive.  Any thoughts out there?


I have to thank my Gungie sister, Erin, for putting up with such an awkward model.  This is not my favorite part about sewing/blogging for myself!


Big thank you to Grayson for passing this dress along to me!  We’d love to feature more of your work here!  This woman has mad skillz! Have a good weekend ya’ll! ~Caroline

backyard sundress

Have I mentioned before that my 4 year old ONLY wears dresses?  In fact, she probably hasn’t worn a pair of shorts or pants- besides leggings or pj’s- in almost a year…. While I think it’s cool she’s got a strong sense of…a-hem…style… I’ll be honest and say, yeah… it bothers me slightly that I have a stash of pants and shorts that just sit in her closet while she recycles the same 3 dresses each week.

Anyway, the girl could use some new ones.

I have a lot of home-sewn ideas for her in my head that are looming around.  Just not a lot of time to dedicate to the sewing machine these days. So, I really wanted to create a simple dress that wouldn’t require too much planning, thinking, or cutting or tracing of any pattern pieces (all those beignet skirt pieces burned me out).  Something where I could just keep the measurements and some notes handy, and whip up one whenever I had an hour free.   

I’m happy to say, this is it! 

Here’s how it rates on Ellery’s Wearability Scale (1-10):

comfort: 10.  She wore this 5 days in a row (i kid you not) and slept in it once…

twirlability: a solid 8.

pinkaliciousness: 8.  there is enough pink here to satisfy both daughter AND mother (if ya know what i mean).

backyard capabilities: off the charts!  This dress can easily adapt to tricycle riding, firefly catching, toad-spotting, garden grazing, sandbox-squatting and hill rolling.  It’s loose where it needs to be loose, and snug where it needs to be snug.

  A bit about the fabric:  It’s a ‘specialty’ seersucker from Joann’s… definitely higher quality than their normal seersucker.  I bought a few yards at 40% off…It’s so soft and light.  I love the dusty rose color, and the hints of yellow and purple. 


And can you see the gold thread running through it (better in person)? Adds just the right amount of snazz. 

As far as the design goes, I was inspired by Rae’s spring ruffle top (Caroline made a couple, here and here), the simple band around the chest, the gathered skirt, and the ruffle straps.  My kid seems to prefer dresses that are long, so i made sure it was a few inches above her ankles. For the straps I cut a long piece of fabric, folded it, then cut along the raw edges getting wider as I got to the center (so the ruffles at the center of the strap would extend almost to the end of her shoulders).  Then, I shifted the top layer over just a bit so you can see the under layer of fabric, and sewed in a casing for elastic along the fold.  Easy as can be.  I left the ruffled edges raw, but later zig zag stitched them so they wouldn’t get too fray-crazy.  

I like the almost-unfinished look it gives, as if this dress doesn’t take itself too seriously… 

though it is seriously loved by this girl.

Bless her little tomato-pickin’ heart. 


***if anyone would be interested in a little how-to, please let me know in the comments.  I plan on making a couple more of these soon and am happy to put a tutorial together to share with you***