Saturday, July 15, 2017

Geranium Expansion Pack.

It's no secret that I love Made By Rae patterns (I have 42 blog posts tagged with Made By Rae!), and the Geranium Dress is one of my absolute favorite girls' patterns, simply because it is so versatile and easy to make up! I've made it a few times (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6), ahem, and it never gets old! So when Rae released the Expansion Pack, it was pretty much a done deal for me. Yeah, I could figure out some of those hacks on my own, but why? Plus, sleeves!

It just so happened to be time for me to make a dress for my wonderful, red-headed niece's seventh birthday, so I figured, why not? My sister informed me that Helen has decided she no longer likes pink, preferring blue, and that she is also rejecting "poofy dresses," which is all pretty much music to my ears, since Maggie is still all things pink, bedazzled, and poofy whereas I would love to sew all the raw-edged gray linen dresses (per Shelley's excellent graphic)!

Fun fact: My mother is a true redhead, as is my brother. My dad has brown hair but his sister is a redhead. My sister and I are more brunette (with some red), but the ginger genes are strong, and Helen is carrying on the ginger family tradition! At least one per generation!

I dug into my stash and found this gorgeous moth fabric from Teagan White's Fort Firefly collection with Birch organics. I've had this piece for a long time - I think I bought it with Maggie in mind, but she's never favored it when it came time to choosing fabrics. Helen likes it, though! The moths are a browny-pink, but not PINK, and the background is a lovely muted aqua. I paired this with a glowy-pink/brown chambray, also from my stash, which I bought way too much of at some point in time.

The Geranium dress has many different options, and I chose the cap sleeve and pleated skirt as my starting point for this dress. I knew Helen would like the pockets, and the pleated skirt doesn't have much "poof." The Geranium XP adds a bunch more options, so I went with the peter pan collar, extended bodice, and hem band.

Knowing that my niece is super tall for her age, I made a size six, but lengthened the bodice extra as well as the skirt. Sewing for Helen usually goes like this: I add copious amounts of length to everything and convince myself that the dress will be nearly floor length. Then I put it on Helen and it's already too short. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. So this time I was really generous with added length, adding like six or seven inches total to the pattern, felt very sure that this was going to be looooooooong on her, and it turned out just about right, barely knee length, with no room to grow. Um. She is so tall!

I really could have lengthened the bodice a smidge more, huh? This, despite having my sister send me pretty detailed measurements! Ah well.

This extra long bodice required five pretty brown shell buttons up the back. I finished the inside of the bodice and the inside of the hemband by hand. I also understitched the collar, although the instructions didn't call for it, and used a mallet to flatten the collar join at the front so that the lining wouldn't show, which worked okay. Overall, this was a fast and easy sew. I am looking forward to trying more the XP variations, like sleeves!!

In retrospect, I really wish I had removed that stupid soccer net before taking these photos, but I was rushed as it was during Maggie's birthday party that I finally delivered the dress, and Helen took a while to warm up to the camera. As a result, I have this stupid net in every photo, but at least you can see what the dress looks like! I suppose if I were a wiz in Photoshop, I could remove it (maybe?), but I can barely do basic editing on photos!

Dang, our kids are growing up so fast! Something about those adult teeth coming in (all snaggly!) makes children suddenly look so much older and more grown up. For Helen's birthday, I offered to give her sewing lessons, as she is definitely the crafty sort. We haven't started yet, mostly due to logistics - my sis and I finally found a good time, and then Joe decided to get super sick and we had to cancel! But I am hoping we can start that up soon. She wants to design her own dresses, and patterns like the Geranium make that easy to do!

Do you have a go-to birthday dress pattern? Is there hope that Maggie might decide she likes colors other than pink and purple some day? Discuss!


  1. She look lovely Inder. I used to love sewing Sleep Over pjs as my goto gift. Everyone needs pjs.
    These days, not so much... only people that request it.
    xx N

    1. Thank you Nicole! I actually just snagged a print (!!) copy of the Sleepover PJs in the smaller size range and plan to make them for Maggie in double gauze, with matching Pjs for bunny! Squee!

  2. I didn't even notice the soccer goal until you mentioned it. ;) My girl has recently started shunning all dresses that don't twirl. So, how does the geranium fare in the twirl department? I love that dress and have been meaning to buy the pattern but now with the twirl factor.....I don't know. Luckily, she isn't as particular about colors. Phew.

    1. Forgot to mention that the dress looks lovely! Great job!

    2. Well, a circle skirt would have more twirl, for sure. I think the gathered skirt is reasonably twirly though. I do remember loving to twirl in a circle skirt when I was a girl! It's a fun feeling!!!!

  3. The dress is so pretty! I love the butterfly fabric. The colors look so great with Helen's red hair! I think there's hope for Maggie to eventually want colors other than pink and purple but it might take a while. I'll keep my fingers crossed that it happens soon!

    1. Thank you Teri! Helen is either a light autumn or dark spring, don't you think? The brown eyes push me towards autumn ... in any event, warm colors for sure! She's fun to sew for, because colors that don't suit other people are glorious on her, especially now that she's moved away from the pink and purple hegemony.

  4. I think Helen looks so much like you! I love her red hair. It's gorgeous. I have some ginger undertones and my mom is a strawberry blonde. I used to dye my hair red, like Helen's color but it was so hard to maintain. It's such a beautiful color.

    I completely agree with you on the Geranium XP. Yes, you could make the hacks yourself, but for me it's time consuming (and I am always short on sewing time) and frustrating. I prefer to not have to engage my brain in those details so I can instead engage it in podcasts. Also 42 MBR pattern makes= seriously impressive!

    I have the same issue with Indigo being both tall and slender. She measures a size 8 in the chest but a size 12+ on the heigh chart. I used to just add length to the bodice and skirt, but now that she is headed toward adolescence, her figure is changing and she has broader shoulders. This has made sizing patterns for her so much more difficult. Having to add that much length to a MBR pattern (as you did) is especially surprising being I do feel they tend to run long.

    I didn't even notice the soccer net - just the adorable dress on a beautiful girl! I hope Joe is feeling better.

    1. She really is a lovely lassie, and her hair is a show-stopper! We tend to think she looks just like my sister, but then, my sister and I look a lot alike, so ... ! She definitely looks like a member of my family, that is for sure - more so than my kids, possibly!

      42 tags! Some of those were repeats. Most of them are Flashback Skinny tees or Big But Baby Pants. But yes, fan girl here!

      So interesting to hear about the fitting challenges for older girls. Time to learn to do a broad shoulder adjustment?

  5. :) THanks for the shout-out! Well this dress is perhaps an outlier when it comes to my equation. It's definitely up in the kid pleasing zone but it's not half bad on my eyes either! :)
    I just read of someone donating a custom made dress to a kindergarten auction: the child and parent came over to browse designs and then supplied the fabric. The gifter then made the dress to measure using the kid's preferred sleeve, skirt style etc. This lady used the Building Block Dress Book, but it could easily be done with something like the full Geranium Pack.
    That's a nice way to gift i think, as it's very much your skills that are being gifted, not your personal taste.
    Heck otherwise I'd be making grey linen dress gifts for small children knowing full well they'd never get worn!


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