Baby Girl Sewing

I love sewing little girl clothes – they’re quick, and don’t take much fabric. Getting them photographed and blogged is another story, though! The trick is getting things sewn together after I cut them out before Becca’s moved on to the next size. Some things grow with her from dresses into tops, but there have been a few that haven’t fit for long. Some of them have bloomers that aren’t shown here.

Here’s a collection from last spring and summer:



These are the sweet little baby dress. I’m sure I’ll make many more – they take less than 30 minutes to sew and are nice as dresses and then tops (especially when there’s no elastic in the bottom of the sleeves). I’m still looking for my basic peasant dress pattern for toddlers – I haven’t bought the next size up of this pattern.


This is from the Shwin Baby Basics pack. Becca wore it to a wedding. The curved bodice seam made it take a little longer to sew, and unfortunately that huge wood button made the top flop forward quite a bit.


This dress is one that unfortunately was too small before Becca got to wear it, which is too bad because I love that lace. I think it was because of the fact that I used french seams, and the fabric was too stiff to go over Becca’s head.


This dress and the next are from a vintage simplicity a-line patterns for reversible dresses (Simplicity 7552 – Toddler’s Reversible Dress or Top and Bloomers). I didn’t make this one to be reversible, just fully lined. It requires a bit of hand sewing, but my attempt to be more clever with construction resulted in a mobius strip. She wore it a few times when it was warm, and with tights and a long-sleeved shirt in the fall.

reversible scalloped handmade dress

This version has been worn both ways – both fabrics are Lisette novelty prints from JoAnn’s. I love the ties and scallop hem. It’s the same pattern as above.


These are two of the few Ottobre patterns I’ve made from the stack of magazines I’ve collected. These are from Spring 2008, the Nirunaru tunic, and Candy pants in size 74. I chose the patterns because I wanted capris for Becca while she was a crawler, but of course I didn’t finish it until she was walking.


Simplicity 2392 – 1950’s re-issue It’s just a coincidence that I made the same colors as on the pattern envelope – I was looking for something neutral enough to wear with different outfits. It didn’t get a whole lot of wear, though because a neck tie isn’t very childproof when the baby starts yanking the bonnet off her head. If I shortened the straps and added velcro it would have been a lot better. The skirt is just a half yard of fabric gathered to her waist measurement at the length that worked at the time.


Becca’s Thanksgiving Dress

thanksgiving dress

I haven’t been sewing lately, so I might as well get caught up on blogging everything I made last year. This is Becca’s Thanksgiving dress – using as much of a seasonal novelty print as you can for such a thing! It’s the Debbie’s birthday dress from Sewpony. I loved how it was constructed and it’s great to have solid basic patterns you can make different each time you make them. Of course for winter it needed a top underneath, and I probably should have made it a little longer (the pattern has been re-released with new length) since Becca’s on the tall side.
becca and her friend max
Here she is with her friend Max showing off the back.


Pajama Pants!

sleepover pajama pants

Will is a normal toddler, and went through a phase last fall where he started refusing to wear any of his fleece sleepers. I ordered some flannel and set to making him a few pairs of pants. Of course, what he really wants to wear are licensed character pajamas and those are all too small now, although the garage sales usually deliver on that front. I made the pants from the Oliver and S Sleepover PJ’s (and appliqued a few shirts when he demanded to be matching). The only thing I found confusing was which way to attach the hem bands to make sure directional prints would show up the right way when they’re down or folded up. Other than that they’re simple to sew and I could make the whole stack in one weekend. He measured a 3T but I made a 4T to get the most growing room…and was relieved since that was the highest size in the range of this pattern that I own!


Books I Read in 2013

This is just about the only kind of year-end wrap-up I can handle, but I enjoyed the conversations that this list started with people last year and realized that even in my book club (which I kind of read along with but attend infrequently) that it was nice to talk about the other reading we had done. Most of these books were read while rocking Becca in the night or listened to while driving. 27 is a good number though – over 2 a month! Even though I was reading Ender’s Game forever. This list doesn’t include books read for small group, or cookbooks or craft books.

  1. The Union Quilters: An Elm Creek Quilts Novel, by Jennifer Chiaverini – only read this if you like quilting, and history, but then it’s good
  2. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak – read for book club and then didn’t go
  3. A Year of Biblical Womanhood, by Rachel Held Evans
  4. Plainsong, by Kent Haruf
  5. Swamplandia! by Karen Russell – meh.
  6. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky – I read it because there was a movie, and I didn’t enjoy it enough to watch the movie after. Just didn’t resonate with my HS experience, I guess.
  7. In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad #1), Tana French – Read (or listen to) this (and the other 3). So good. I enjoyed listening for the accents, but I would have enjoyed reading so I could have gotten to the end faster.
  8. Help Thanks Way: Three Essential Prayers, by Anne Lamott
  9. This is Where I Leave You, by Jonathan Tropper
  10. Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised our Nation, by Cokie Roberts
  11. The Likeness (Dublin Murder Squad #2), Tana French
  12. The Balloonist, by MacDonald Harris
  13. Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes, by Shauna Niequist (not as good as Bittersweet, only moderately enjoyed)
  14. Sparkly Green Earrings, by Melanie Shankle – this is when I realized I should stop reading books by bloggers, especially based on recommendations from other bloggers who were their friends.
  15. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald – finally!
  16. The Sirens Sang of Murder, by Sarah Caudwell
  17. Friday Nights, by Joanna Trollope
  18. Faithful Place (Dublin Murder Squad #3), Tana French
  19. Prayers for Sale, by Sandra Dallas – another quilting novel
  20. Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card – I got bored.
  21. Broken Harbour (Dublin Murder #4), Tana French
  22. The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green – Read it. Hopefully you already have.
  23. Sharp Knives, Boiling Oil: My Year of Dangerous Cooking with Four-Year-Olds, by Kim Foster (kindle only)
  24. With Friends Like These, by Sally Koslow
  25. The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein – really sweet, and of course I pretended I was learning all about Trigger’s thought processes
  26. Where’d You Go, Bernadette, by Maria Semple – There’s a reason it’s on everyone’s lists. It’s really charming and a good read.
  27. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman – not like anything else on the list, but a change in genre is fun!

Ruffle Dresses

sister dresses

I love buying pdf patterns, especially when they go on sale. Quality is all over the place, though, and sometimes it’s hard to predict what you’re going to get before you open up the file and start reading it through. The Kikoi Ruffle Dress is an adorable pattern in the photos, but when I read through the “tutorial” to make these sister dresses, there were a few changes that I wanted to make. (I know most people are different, but I personally don’t love patterns with photos for every step. I’m not particularly visual, and photos of white thread on printed fabric don’t help much. Well written technical text with diagrams where needed would be my preference. As would a strong line diagram so I can judge what I’m getting without trying to decode a set of photographs of finished samples. Although sometimes I buy things just to figure out how the designer worked out the puzzle of putting something together).

The biggest change I made was to line the bodice instead of using bias tape for edging. I also moved the seam where the ruffles join to the back (even though that put a seam in the ruffles down the center front) because I thought it looked weird for one side to be flouncy and the other more “flat”. I used my rolled hem foot for the bottom edge of the ruffles, and that was awesome. I wish I had extended the back piece a little further so there was a better overlap since I used buttons instead of snaps. I also think 1/4″ seam allowances are on the slight side for clothing, but it would have been annoying to cut 1/4″ off the pattern and then add 1/2″ on, so I left it or did a slightly larger SA sometimes.

These were a gift, and I started wondering about the fit on actual children toward the end. I made a 4T and 12 mo. The bodice is basically the same width for both, just a different length (which might be accurate because kids grow up, not out much). But the under-skirt didn’t seem to have a lot of room for movement. I learned some things about the different ways of assembling ruffles for skirts, which means I analyze new patterns with that feature differently now.