Saturday, July 30, 2016

A "Golden" Birthday Dress for Maggie.

Hi everyone! Where is the summer going? A month has flown by without a blog post. I have some good reasons for that, which, if you follow me on Instagram, you know all about. We went on two trips (a short road trip to LA and a longer visit to see family in the Pacific Northwest), work has been crazy, and wait for it ... I broke my foot! Yeah, I was just traipsing down a grassy slope at Codornices Park in Berkeley and put my foot down on an indentation in the ground and felt a slight crunching sensation. It is the sort of motion you've done thousands of times in your life and you always manage to compensate in some way, no problem. But this time the stars aligned, and crunch. OUCH! Don't do this, people. Having a broken foot is not fun and definitely puts a damper in your sewing (although I have done a lot of work on my hexie quilt).


That was over two weeks ago now, and my foot is actually a lot better now. I'm walking around in a walking boot type thing (very sexy), don't need crutches anymore, and my foot feels better every day. I'm hopeful that it is healing really well and I will be able to walk like a normal person soon.

Anyway, back to sewing!

Several of my favorite little girls, including my dear Maggie, my little niece, and my BFF's daughter, have birthdays in June or July, so I tend to spend a lot of time in the summer making birthday dresses. This year I decided to be efficient about it and choose one simple pattern to make for all of the birthday girls. Since I loved sewing the Mori Dress by Elegance & Elephants and Maggie loved the lack of fastenings (so she can put it on without any help), I decided to try the Bohemian Baby Doll Dress, which is even simpler than the Mori and has been made up so beautifully by my friend Rachel at Stitched Together and others.

I resisted this pattern for a long time because it is so similar to the Geranium Dress, which I have made many times, but finally bit the bullet and bought the pattern because: (1) no fastenings; (2) cute curved waist seam; and (3) cute high-low hemline. Sometimes I resist very simple patterns, exactly because they are very simple, and I imagine I could hack another pattern to get the same effect. But in the end, I get a lot of use out of my most simple patterns, and it's nice to have the pieces all drafted for me. Considering the size range (6 months to 9 years), this pattern is a good value at $9.

I've already gotten a lot of bang for my buck, because I've made three of these dresses!

Here are the first two I made. The one of the left was for my little redheaded niece. I used a gorgeous Lizzy House double gauze that looks like a medieval tapestry. I love it because redheads + green dresses = all the Irish lass heart eyes, right? She loves it because ... unicorns, duh. Win win! The one on the right is for my BFF's daughter, who is a fair skin brunette with an interest in outer space. I chose this Cotton + Steel Mochi lawn in "plum" because I knew the color would suit her and the print reminds me of constellations and galaxies! I am popping that one in the mail today, and I hope my recipient likes it!

Anyway, Maggie's fourth birthday was July 9, and I always make her a birthday dress. I asked her what color or print of birthday dress she would like, and to my great delight and astonishment, she said she wanted a "golden" dress! She and Joe have been really into playing pirates and "gold" is their new favorite color. After two solid years of "PINK PINK PINK!" it was a struggle to look nonchalant when Maggie suggested a non-pink birthday dress! But I certainly wasn't going to argue with her! Over the past two years I have somewhat reconciled myself to sewing a lot of pink, but I would sure love to branch out to other colors as well!

So I took the kids fabric shopping, of course, and Maggie and I picked out a fabric from Anna Maria Horner's  "Loominous" line, a yellow with a metallic gold thread running through it called "Illuminated Graph Glow."

This fabric is hard to photograph, and photographs do not quite capture how much the metallic thread just glows in the light. This dress is truly "golden"!  I was a little worried that the metallic threads wouldn't be able to take an iron or might make the fabric tricky to sew with, but I am delighted to report that this fabric is lovely to sew and can take a nice hot iron. And it is sooooooo pretty! (Joe loved it so much that he requested a shirt made from it, and I actually went out and bought a little more so that I could do that for him.)

After I made the dress and showed Maggie, she expressed disappointment that it did not have any pockets. Her vision of the dress clearly included pockets! So I made a pocket using the pocket piece in this pattern (which by the way, finally fits Maggie well and I have been considering making her another one!) and applied it to the left side of the dress after the fact. Luckily this seems to have satisfied Maggie.

Four year old Maggie is so delightful. She is talkative and intelligent, fun-loving, and sweet on her brother. She and Joe are going through an intense phase with their stuffed animals - they take them everywhere and have a rich imaginative life with them.  We've done a lot of traveling in the past couple of months, and my kids are total troopers and have a lot of fun being on the road. While I do feel sad thinking that Maggie's babyhood is really behind her now, I must admit that my kids become more and more fun and interesting as they get older!

After seeing the version I made for my niece on her and reading feedback from other people who have made this dress, I decided that it is drafted quite short (it falls well above the knee) so the only modification I made to Maggie's dress was to lengthen it three inches or so. It now hits just above her knees in front, with a longer hemline in back.

One challenge to summertime sewing and blogging is that the light is so harsh and bright during the day, and you don't get that nice late in the day light until bedtime! Therefore, these are not my very best photographs, because the sun was too high and the shadows too deep. But considering I've barely blogged at all this summer, it will just have to do!

I do love this photograph I took of Joe blowing on a dandelion puff. Somehow I feel like this pretty much captures the essence of summer. The colors remind me of the photos my parents took of my sister and me in the 80s and Maggie's expression just seems timeless. While the world is a pretty crazy place, there is something about childhood that never changes, and that is a beautiful thing.


  1. I kind of love that Maggie saw the dress and was like "but MOM, where are the pockets?" Because the pocket is actually a perfect addition to the already gorgeous dress (I'm a sucker for yellow and this fabric - SO PRETTY! I'm trying to figure out whether I could get away with wearing it myself). Glad to hear your foot is getting better. How did you end up removing those Seamwork pants anyway (I can't remember the name of the pattern)?

  2. It's so great to read a blog post from you! And thanks for mentioning my dresses!❤️ I love this dress and that Maggie knew she wanted pockets! A future sewer in the making! The dress is perfect! As is the last photo of your two together. It really is timeless! You should frame that one!

  3. The golden dress is just perfect as is your dear Maggie! And how awesome that Joe wants a shirt from the same fabric. I hope your foot is all better very soon!

  4. I hope you are better soon. xxx
    I adore Miss Maggie in her beautiful golden dress.

  5. Not pink! It is a pretty dress. I think an easy pattern is easy. It is like popcorn just start and just keep on going. Oh, Maggie and I have the same birthday! No wonder she's so awesome.

  6. that golden fabric really is beautiful! happy 4 to miss Maggie!

  7. Maggie's golden dress is so sweet! I love the color on her. The pattern is really cute-- I love the high low bodice. I think I might get this eventually to make for Caroline. Your other two versions are adorable. I love that Lizzy House double gauze so much. It's such a good shade of green!

  8. wow, this print is very attractive and nice.
    to get fabric on demand from weaveron textile.


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