Is there a way to make a post about a dress that I’ve made so many times before interesting?
I’ve made Geraniums for MJ in wee baby size, toddler size, preschooler size, and now kinder size. It’s a fallback, a stand-by, a tried-and-true. I’ve made it for gifts with intended recipients and I’ve made it just because without anybody specific in mind and stuck it in a drawer until an appropriately-sized recipient presented herself. It’s a good pattern. More than any other pattern this is one has provided comfort and focus and intent when I was distraught and scattered and aimless. It’s a lot of emotional weight to put on a pattern, or any inanimate object, but this is one I started sewing emotionally weighty times and have continued to sew as emotions have stretched and calmed and escalated and mellowed. Sometimes the through lines are not the things you expect.
Pattern: Geranium Dress by Made by Rae
Options selected: faux cap sleeves, gathered skirt, scoop neck, inseam pocket
Spring is here, finally, and with it all attendant busyness that, I remind myself, is all good things and so WHY AM I SO STRESSED OUT ABOUT IT and having that nightmare where I’m in grad school and it’s the end of the semester but I haven’t done any of the work?
I never had that dream while I was actually in grad school.
Mom told me she wasn’t seeing any Easter dresses she liked in stores. So I made one from “leftovers.” Do they qualify as leftovers when you bought enough for 3 garments? Dubious.
I did make a special trip to Joann for the contrasting fabric.
It’s the same fabric I used to make MJ”s birthday dress. I thought that birthday dress would be a good backup if this one turned out way too big until I realized I hadn’t seen the birthday dress since, well, perhaps as far back as MJ’s birthday 7 months ago. It’s not in her closet or dresser, that’s for sure. I am losing my mind, and all of the things I am in charge of. Which is everything. I’m a mess, folks.
It’s big, but not too big, and kids this age you can justify making clothes a little larger than necessary, the caveat here being that you need to actually keep track of the thing if you want your kid to wear it more than once.
When I showed it to MJ she said it was “all mixed up!”. Did she like it? “YES!” Mom says she’s going to be a quilter.
My mother is a guesser, not an asker. What’s more, she’s a guesser who is uncomfortable asking anything of anyone, ever. Pause for a moment before taking that sip because I have something shocking to tell you: I’m the exact same way. In ourselves we call it independent. In one another we call it stubborn. In Granny we call it ornery. With love, folks, WITH LOVE.
You might think our respective guessing and *ahem* independent natures are at constant loggerheads, but it only seems to be a recurring problem when it comes to buying things for the kids. Mom guesses at what we need and I guess at what she has or hasn’t already purchased while we both try to avoid being presumptuous or hurting one another’s feelings. This has played out in several different ways over the years with different results, most notably the time I decided to ask, just ask, for an Easter dress and my mom gave us SEVEN (I haven’t mentioned, yet, that gifts are my mother’s love language which complicates these transactions even more), but this year somehow we just didn’t talk about it. At all. I didn’t ask if she’d bought or would buy Christmas clothes for the kids, she didn’t ask if she should or give me a big bag of them. I honestly didn’t think about it until I picked the kids up from my parents’ and realized that I wouldn’t be seeing them again until Christmas Eve church service and for the first holiday ever we had no clothes for the kiddos.
What to do? I scanned my imperfect memory of the kiddos’ wardrobes. This is another problem, neither my mother nor I remember all the things we buy or where we put them., but I clearly remembered Chuffy having 5 Christmas sweaters to choose from and decided that if MJ were to wear a pink Minnie Mouse dress, well, that would be OK.
I also remembered the fabric I had ordered last year when I thought I might make MJ’s Christmas dress … and Mom bought her one, instead. 🙂 I used a big swath of that fabric to make myself a Christmas skirt. Did I have enough left to make a dress?
I did! I also had all the notions. This wasn’t the pattern I had intended for this fabric, nor is it a traditional holiday style, but I’ve had it on deck for a long while and there’s nothing like the holidays to remind you that time is running out and if you’re going to make your daughter all the dresses while she’s still young you better get cracking.
I didn’t choose this pattern for its simplicity, but I was grateful for it. Not too many pieces, no gathering, straight forward pocket construction, the loud fabric doesn’t compete with the design, and the seams are all finished before you piece it together which was a refreshing change from usual routine. I didn’t have enough fabric to worry over which to use where or pattern placement and matching. So I didn’t! And it was all so easy. I couldn’t believe how fast it came together. Hubs said he’d thought the same thing, but didn’t want to say anything. No, I assured him, it was legitimately and surprisingly quick.
MJ liked it well enough to not fight me too much getting into it Christmas Eve and the fight she put up was I think inspired by Chuffy’s tantrum over wearing not sweatpants. She choose the buttons, but it was the giant pocket that won her over – even little girls love a dress with pockets – and she voluntarily choose to wear it all Christmas Day. Chuffy, on the other hand, stayed in his pajamas. Fair enough, kid, I’ll give you that one.
I could have worn my coordinating outfit, but I’m not into mother-daughter matching. If that’s your thing, cool, no judgment. I’m not yucking your yum, it’s just not my thing. Instead in a funny twist I wore the Christmas dress my mom bought me this year.
I’m always learning new things when I sew. This time I learned how far ahead of the needle my serger’s knife cuts and why you don’t serge seam allowance after sewing inseam pockets.
After a long time out it turned out to be an easy fix. I removed the pocket, cut an inch off the width of the skirt, and started fresh.
It’s the same pattern as the dress I made MJ last year. I used the same button loop placket and cap sleeves, but added the i-cord and used inseam pockets because I thought I ought to mix it up a little bit.
I’ve sworn off Joann Fabrics. Again. Joann, why can’t I quit you? Oh yeah, because you are the only place anywhere close-ish that I can reliably buy notions which is something I re-remember every time I need buttons. I got super lucky, though, and hit a timely and unexpected jackpot at Urban Mining: vintage buttons!
Unbelievably I found buttons that were a perfect match in the quantities and sizes I needed. And I needed 4 smaller and 3 bigger, so let’s take a moment to acknowledge the improbability of finding these buttons in a space mostly dedicated to furniture and knick-knacks mere blocks from my house, no long, trying to trips to Joann necessary!
MJ, of course, would have been happiest with Minnie Mouse buttons. Here is the godawful dress I made at her behest also out of clearance Joann fabric that MJ spotted, adored, would not let go of, and insisted be made into a dress immediately upon arrival home. She will surely wear this dress instead. Ah, well, more power to her. The girl knows what she likes.
Like everyone else in the sewing universe who loves sewing small dresses, I discovered the Geranium Dress, bought the Geranium Dress pattern, made it up, and delighted in it. Possibly unlike everyone else, I didn’t stop there. I made more Geranium dresses than I had possible use for. I made them in every size with every neckline and every sleeve. I made them in geometric, bird, floral, dinosaur, cupcake, and sausage (that one was for my restaurateur cousin) fabrics. I made them for friends, I made them for friends of friends. I looked for every opportunity to give the things away and when I ran out of outlets I stowed them in a drawer from whence I drew this quite wrinkled version to finally pass along:
A birthday dress! A dress for a birthday! A birthday that’s today!
Pattern: Lotta Dress by Compagnie M.
Fabric: Cotton something or other. With peacocks!
I made this a while ago, but today is its debut. Lovely button details. In the pics they are a little lost in the busy-ness of the fabric pattern, but they pop well enough in real life. Well, that or my eye is lovingly drawn to them in admiration regardless. So adorable.
The buttons are a near-perfect match, but they came in a package of 90 various-sized ombre buttons so now I have 83 leftover. I guess that’s better in some ways than the scads of single buttons I have rolling around my button tin. The buttons, they burden me. Will they ever be useful? Should I just get rid of them? Why do I have so many buttons I love but never a button that matches? How long can I stave off my husband’s requests to sew new buttons on his shirts? When will the day come that one of my buttons ends up in a child’s nose?
Post title is a direct quote from my husband this morning. My neck seized up while I was drying my hair because that’s a thing that apparently happens to me, now, and I complained that I felt like I was walking around with my neck sticking out. You know, like a chicken.
Chickens, then, are the theme of the day.
Simple and unfussy, this little dress came together like a dream. I had a disproportionate amount of coordinating fabric leftover from making Oliver & S’s Hide-and-Seek tunics – lots of the leafy fabric, only a bit of the chickens – that worked great for this pattern. This project doesn’t feel like a Sewing Accomplishment, but clothes that are easy to get on and off and to wear are the ones I reach for in the morning and I am hopeful it will see a lot of use. You can never tell with kids.
Pattern: Polly Peasant Dress & Blouse
Fabric: Mayflower UK, Jolly Farm, quilting cotton
Mod: I sewed the hem facing so it flipped to the outside. More chickens this way!
Epilogue: later my husband called me “sweaty paws”, obliterating all goodwill he had engendered when he told me I didn’t look like a chicken.
Epilogue to epilogue: I finally broke out my camera – here’s a pic of scalloped chickens!