A Geranium in Slate

I have spotted the Geranium dress by Made by Rae on many well-traveled sewing blogs and have always wanted to try it out. It has formed the basis for a few other sewing projects that I’ve done, including a “Pinkalicious” Halloween costume for Isla last October. This time, I vowed to do it “straight up” as I’ve heard wonderful things about the clarity and precision of the pattern. It did not disappoint. Although I still find buttons unnerving and haven’t mastered flutter sleeves or gathers (yet), the pattern was smooth and glitch-free. DSC_2998

There are several options built into the pattern for a variety of sleeve, waist and neckline styles. Tunic length lines are also included. I went with the flutter sleeve and gathered waist combo with a simple scoop neckline. I couldn’t resist adding patch pockets as my daughter often needs easily accessible places for storing “treasures”.DSC_3034

One of the sample dresses on the cover of the pattern is made in a beautiful textured fabric which I love. This was my source of inspiration for my fabric choice. The main is from Robert Kaufman‘s beautiful¬†Interweave Chambray collection, in slate. The lining fabric is my favourite fabric that I own: “Dottie Multi” from the Just for Fun line of fabric made by Birch Organic Fabrics.DSC_2983

And…I just love picking out buttons. These shiny blue ones called out to me from the rack.Somehow, the dress feels fancy and casual at the same time. It’s debut wear was at my grandfather’s 92nd birthday party. Perhaps a fitting choice; a grand occasion with a lovely family feel. Zoe had so much fun running around in it.DSC_3000

…That is, until the chocolate cake came out, and the dress took a rest to wait for clean hands.

Out on a Limb

During the summertime, I went out on a limb and created my own pattern for a simple summer dress that could double as a nightie. I used the front piece of the “Geranium Dress” by Made by Rae to guide me in creating the top and used the bottom of the “Sweet Little Dress” by Leila and Ben. I designed the top as two solid pieces so that my daughter could just yank the dress over her head without needing to do up buttons, but I still tried to line it. This is not a good idea, as it doesn’t work too well! Thankfully, the fabric that I used was light and very cooperative when it came to pressing, pinning and matching the two layers in order to hem the sleeves. And, to my surprise, I ended up with a funky reversible dress that both my daughter and I still love. I should have vowed then to stick to patterns and tutorials that provide clear, helpful instructions created by others, but…

DSC_0872…remarkably, I jumped in, again, using the same pattern design. This time, with Lotta Jansdotter’s beautiful fabric from her Glimma line. The main fabric for this dress is “Solid in Slate”. Again, I began with a lining fabric, which was a simple unbleached thin cotton.

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The detail around the neckline was not planned. It was created when I turned the lining to the inside of the dress. I ended up loving how the fabric gathered and didn’t mind too much that it was a-symmetrical. Unfortunately, the ripple effect of this little detail resulted in the lining not fitting too well within the dress. (At this point, I was reminded, again, that patterns created by others are so lovely!)

The design of the bottom was inspired by this beautiful dress, which I found on Pinterest while searching “Japanese Dresses”. Sadly, I cannot understand any of the details about the dress or the ordering information, but it inspired me to try creating a pleated front. At the same time, I was creating my 2nd “Swing Skirt” by Compagnie M, so I used Marte’s inverted box pleat instructions as a guide for the front of the dress. I really like how the lightweight of the lining fabric allows it to fold and flow so nicely within the pleat.

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The side view: DSC_2894

Lastly, I wanted to share the source of my “Zisla Designs” elephant labels: Ananemone Labels on Etsy. The colours are very vibrant, especially against the organic undyed cotton. They work beautifully and are available in lots of different shapes, sizes and styles. A fun touch for any handmade item.

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