Novelty Dress

Birthday Party Dress in Novelty Fabric

I don’t usually sew a whole garment in a novelty print, but for some reason when I was going through my fabric to find something to make a dress in, this Michael Miller print called to me for a summer play dress. She definitely gets lots of compliments when she wears it!

I’ve had this pattern for ages, but never made it, and realised that my version doesn’t go higher than size 3. So I thought I better make it before Miss M gets too big. The centre panel is some old organic Cloud 9 I bought, and I found it a little too thin and delicate – it showed pin marks and didn’t pleat as nicely as I’d hoped. But if I have time before Miss M gets too big, I may make another version of this dress in wool for winter.

Birthday Party Dress

Indulging a little pink

This was my July sewing project. It is the Oliver + S Fairy Tale Dress – view B with the optional tulle lining. I made it out a 100% cotton sateen (Lisette collection from Joann’s), so it has a bit more of a luxurious feeling than if it were made from quilting cottons. I used the wrong side of the fabric to add a little contrast at the collar and sash, although the effect is a little more subtle than I had hoped.

Fairy Tale Dress - View B

With so many little ones now I know I won’t be able to sew as much as I was doing last year, but I’d still like to do at least a project a month. Since there was no pressure to complete this dress, I really took my time and I think it shows in the final product. I’m very proud of it.

Fairy Tale Dress - View B

Also, my girl has shown quite an interest in crafting, or “knitting” as she calls it. I want to encourage her, but I am not about to teach a temperamental 3-year old to knit. So I found a big embroidery hoop and some cheap muslin and have been letting her make little “pictures.” It still requires quite a bit of supervision, but it keeps her busy and happy.

M "Knitting"

Ice Cream Dress

Perhaps not terribly original, but I NEEDED to make an ice cream dress for the summer out of this ice-cream fabric. To balance out the girliness of this concoction, I also made one out of chambray. It was the same chambray as my Tova Top, which I didn’t realize until we wore them together and everyone kept giving us funny glances. The chambray one has disappeared somewhere into the depths of the laundry, so you’ll have to be happy with the picture of this one. 🙂

The (somewhat predictable) ice cream Ice Cream Dress

Pattern: Oliver+S Ice Cream Dress
Fabric: Lisette poplin?? And I think the solid is a Kona quilting broadcloth.
Difficult: Novices have no fear!

Rhubarb Pie-Making Dress

I’ve been wanting a slightly vintage-y feeling housedress recently – something comfy but pretty. I always think of the Lisette Patterns as quite modern and not vintage-y, but I was looking at View C of the Traveler Dress and realising that it could have a very 1930s feel in a vintage-y fabric. It’s actually a fabulous pattern because you get two classic dresses and a blouse all in one.


The fabric is Denyse Schmidt for DS Quilts (which I got at Joann’s on my April trip to the U.S., since sadly they do not ship to Canada.)


This dress is definitely not my usual style, but I kind of love for that very reason. I need more giant bouquets of flowers in my life. And on my clothes.

The dress went together extremely quickly – I decided to make it, cut it out, fitted it and finished it (except for the buttons) all in a day – a day on which I went on a very long bike ride. Mind you, I was up excruciatingly early with the kids, and those wee hours of the morning can be quite productive.

Fabric: Denyse Schmidt; I think I had 2.5 yards, which was slightly less than the pattern called for.
Time: Everything – about 4 hours. I had made the dress before in View A, so that helped.
Skill Level: Novice sewists should not be intimidated by this dress.
Muslin: No, but as mentioned I had made View A. The skirt is not fitted, so that also made it easier.
Cost: Fabric was about $20.

Now we just need some warmer weather so I can feel appropriate wandering around in the neighbourhood in florals.

Colette Hazel Dress

Spring is finally here in Van City and it’s sunny and gorgeous. I figured my spring wardrobe needed a refresh, so I made this simple sundress from Colette’s “Hazel” pattern.

This pattern is labelled “beginner” and it went together really quickly. It also has lots of tips throughout on seam finishing and so on, which would be very useful to a beginner. You don’t really need to worry about fitting waist and hips too much either because of the gathered skirt, so I only made a muslin of the bodice. And it has pockets, which is nice for those days when you head to the beach and realise it’s 10 degrees colder down there.

Colette Hazel Dress

I loved the striped Hazels featured on the Colette website, so I made this out of some striped Lisette fabric I got on my last trip to the U.S. It actually wasn’t too fiddley getting the bodice to match up.

Colette Hazel

One thing to know about these Colette patterns, is that they seem to think that smaller sizes are shorter too. I’m not sure why that is, as the Big Four pattern companies like Simplicity and Vogue tend to just assume everyone is 5’6. For this Hazel, I cut the skirt out an inch or two longer than the size I was cutting out, and next time I might even add another inch or two to make it “safe-for-work”.

In looking around the Colette site, I came across this post which encourages people to try and wear something they’ve made every day for a month. I don’t have nearly enough “Made-By-Me” items to participate (though my kids certainly do!) but even so, this quote kind of struck me:

So, do you actually wear the clothes you spend time creating? Personally, I often find it too easy to find fault in my newly completed creations and at times used to shove them in a drawer and allow myself to be quickly distracted by the next project. But thankfully eventually, the ratio of drawer-fillers to wearable items began to shift.

I do become kind of fixated on a crooked zipper, or slightly wrong fit when in fact many of my store-bought clothes, when examined closely, suffer from worse problems. So a month of “Made-By-Me” items is definitely something I aspire to in the near future as the ratio in my drawers changes. I’m also going to take pride in the fact that the invisible zipper on this dress is really and truly invisible, instead of focussing on where the stripes don’t exactly match up.

Oh, and Happy Mother’s Day to all! Unfortunately, I infected my own mother with the hideous stomach virus/cold flu that has been plaguing our home for the last week, so she wasn’t able to see the bag I got her, or join us for brunch and the walk on the beach… but I had a lovely meal at one of my favourite restaurants, Rain City Grill.

Itty-Bitty Baby Dress

Well, I had grand plans of making another baby quilt, but as the due date approaches I decided to rein in my ambitions in order to get it in the mail on time. This is for the future child of one of my bridesmaids. I made it out of some of Heather Bailey’s Nicey Jane fabric. I had some fat quarters lying around that just cried to be made into baby garments. I like the contrast of the big bold print and the smaller one. I appreciate that dresses aren’t the most practical things for summer newborns, but I tried to make it big enough so that it would fit in August, when, if memory serves, baby will be at least a couple of months old.

The colours aren’t quite right in this photo – my auto-white-balance setting was not liking the dark background with all that pink and green. My adjustments in iPhoto made it somewhat more true-to-life but it’s still not quite right. Don’t you love J’s hands holding the itty-bitty dress? Poor J, when he’s not taking pictures of me in my various creations (and being sharply critiqued for his photography skills), he’s being forced to model.

Itty-Bitty Baby Dress

The itty-bitty dress pattern is another freebie, found on Made-By-Rae’s awesome site.

Rooibos Dress

This is the story of my Rooibos dress… the most ambitious thing I’ve sewn to date, at least for myself.

I made a muslin! I finally made a muslin. And it was SO worth it. It really takes so little time since you don’t have to hem or do facings. And it’s only a couple of minutes of cutting. I figured that I’d make the size that fit my waist and hips, even though my upper body warranted a lower size according to the package. I painstakingly tissue-fitted, did my small bust adjustment, figured out the construction, and put it all together. The bodice was great, but the rest was still ginormous! But it helped me figure out the size I did need, 2 sizes down. The small bust adjustment I’d worked out was basically the same as the smaller pattern piece, so I went with that instead.

I made it out of ponte knit, which is a synthetic. Normally I stay away from synthetics, but I was attracted to the idea of a knit that acts like a woven. At least that’s what I’d read. I ordered it sight unseen, so I wasn’t entirely sure what I was getting. I’m not sure it really does act like a woven though – it’s pretty stretchy. I used a walking foot to feed the material through my machine, as it was also quite thick.

It is so, so comfy. I love it. I kind of wish I’d chosen a different fabric for the piping. I like the colour, but I’m not sure they go. Still, I wore it to work and even got a couple of compliments! Sorry though, you are not getting a photo of me in this dress without a child in it.

Rooibos Dress

Also, I need to hand-tack down that collar thing. The instructions recommend it, but I didn’t as I though pressing would be enough. See, there you go:



This is my second popover sundress, but my first for M. I subconsciously chose fabrics very similar to this blog post. What can I say? It’s a classic, it sews up super fast, and best of all, the pattern is free! I decorated it with a little ric-rac too.

Popover Sundress

Class Picnic Dress

In a few weeks… ooooh, actually 10 days we are going away for almost 2 weeks. To a warm southern state with a beach, and sunshine and lots of things this crazy weather hasn’t had up here.

Class Picnic Dress

I typically work four days a week, and mostly that works out quite well for me, but for the last few weeks I’ve been working 5+, so I am definitely in need of a recharge. As is M’s wardrobe – and so I bring you the class picnic dress. This pattern is usually a top, but I made it into a dress, having stolen that idea from the Oliver+S website. I also made a bias binding that went around the whole neckline, rather than just the sleeves, and made it contrasting.

The skirt is sort of inspired by some of the Diane von Furstenberg stuff I saw on the Gap kids website… oh, I know it was this one. I love the skirt but I won’t pay $58 for a onesie. Apparently some people will though, since it’s sold out in most sizes. Then again, $15 worth of fabric and 3 hours of labour? Hmmm. My affinity for fancy fabrics keeps sewing from being wholly economical. But it’s worth it when you this little sweetie in her custom-made dress. It was still a little chilly out, so she kept a top on underneath.

, on Flickr

I do wish I’d made the ruffle a bit more “ruffly.” I think it would have been cute, but I detached the skirt and then added it back on again because the first time it wasn’t at the right length. So that reduced the volume somewhat as I was lazy and just trimmed off the seam instead of picking it all apart.