Tiny Hearts Geranium

Tiny Geranium Dress
I went to a baby shower today! It was an informal gathering where Froo & Boo tagged along for some fun. When it comes to giving baby shower gifts, I am hopeless. I gravitate towards ridiculously cute and impractical party/formal wear, usually purchased last-minute. I mean, someone else will buy the diapers and butt paste, right? Now that I have 2 little ones, I’m getting better (I hope!).

Momma bear is expecting her 3rd baby, so I wanted to give the baby girl-to-be a handmade gift that is both cute and practical. I chose the Made-by-Rae Geranium dress pattern in size 3-6 months. See, I’m learning–I would have made the newborn size, but it’s more practical to leave room to grow! I used white quilting cotton with colourful tiny hearts, from Timeless Treasures, previously used in my Suzy Ultman dolls. The fabric seems thicker than average quilting cotton, which gives the pleats a nice crispness.
Tiny Geranium Dress
The buttons on the back are pale pink, with a frosted heart in the centre of each button.
Tiny Geranium Dress
This is my first time trying out the flutter sleeves. I’ve never tried them before because I was apprehensive about leaving an exposed zigzag finish on the edges. So I played around with some of the decorative stitches on my machine until I found one that I liked. I used a zigzag scallop stitch on the edges of the flutter sleeve and placed strips of Swedish tracing paper underneath to stabilize the stitching. I used Mettler silk-finish 100% mercerized cotton thread, which has a bright sheen, adding a richness to the colour.

I LOVE how they turned out!
Tiny Geranium Dress
I made a tiny mistake. Not really worth mentioning, except you might have already caught it in the previous photo–I cut the back pieces of the lining with the hearts upside down. Oops.
Tiny Geranium Dress
I can’t believe I actually planned a handmade baby shower gift in advance! It seems like an obvious thing: I sew, therefore, I should sew baby gifts. However, I also blog, therefore, I spend waaaay too much time thinking about my sewing projects. It’s not easy to throw a baby gift into the sewing queue, while bumping projects down the list! But this adorable baby dress was well worth the queue jumping. Such a happy little dress!

Advertisements

KCW: My 2nd Geranium Dress!

For KCW Summer 2013, I am repeating myself from the last spring edition. I made a Geranium dress for the first time and while it is a lovely dress, I have learned from my mistakes:

  1. Put the back bodice piece together properly. (Previously, I missed a good 1 1/4″ section that made the dress too tight! Oops.)
  2. Get Froo’s input for fabric choices. (It turns out cream & brown are not her faves.)

The last time we went fabric shopping, Froo picked a gorgeous print as soon as we walked in and wouldn’t change her mind. The fabric is called “Treasure” in Courage–part of the Wish collection by Valorie Wells. It is a cotton voile, which is much lighter and finely woven than quilting cotton–perfect for summer!

I chose to make this Geranium dress with faux cap sleeves and a pleated skirt. The only modification I made was to lengthen it by an inch and sew up the sides of the skirt with French seams. Froo did not want pockets, saying, “pockets are not fancy”. She has a point, I guess.
KCW Summer 2013: My Second Geranium Dress
Froo picked matching buttons in a frosted aqua.
KCW Summer 2013: My Second Geranium Dress
I used muslin as my lining. Since the cotton voile is somewhat sheer, the ivory lining keeps the colours looking a bit “softer”. I was going to use white lining, but somehow, the fabric seemed to brighten up too much at the bodice. The dress is sheer enough that you can see Froo’s silhouette in sunlight, but I think the fullness of the skirt makes it acceptable without lining.
KCW Summer 2013: My Second Geranium Dress
Froo’s first pose:
KCW Summer 2013: My Second Geranium Dress
Froo was really excited to try on the dress as soon as she woke up. We don’t have the best light in the morning, so my photos are not stellar. Which is perfectly fine with me–what really matters is the smile on her face.
KCW Summer 2013: My Second Geranium Dress
In the next photo, you’ll notice that Froo got a haircut! A couple of weeks ago, she went to a hair salon for the first time–my mom used to cut it, but since we’ve moved, it has grown out of control. I think she looks much older, but I still deny it every moment I can.
KCW Summer 2013: My Second Geranium Dress
The pink tulle and bead trim adds a delicate touch to the dress. I bought it months ago at Fabrix in San Francisco for $0.25/yard. I bought 10 yards, not knowing what for, except for the fact that it only cost me $2.50!
KCW Summer 2013: My Second Geranium DressKCW Summer 2013: My Second Geranium Dress
Froo says the cutest things sometimes, such as: “I’m not a princess, I just look like one” or “people think I’m a princess because I wear princess dresses” or my favourite, “when I turn 5 years old, can I still play with my bunny?” Of course you can, my princess. To which she would respond, “I’m not a princess, I just look like one!” Sheesh.
KCW Summer 2013: My Second Geranium Dress
Froo is in a 5T Geranium dress, so I think this is the last year that she’ll be able to fit into it. Rae recently released the Big G, Geranium Dress in sizes 6-12, which I might have to pick up soon. It’s crazy how fast my little girl is growing!

As for Boo, he is still our photo bomber extraordinaire:
KCW Summer 2013: My Second Geranium Dress
Finally, a couple of Instagram photos of our weekend spent at Half Moon Bay and having some carnival fun, with Froo & Boo in their new KCW summer outfits:
KCW Summer 2013: Froo & Boo
KCW Summer 2013: Froo & Boo
KCW Summer 2013: Froo & Boo
KCW Summer 2013: Froo & Boo
KCW Summer 2013: Froo & Boo
We have traded in our swimming suits for snow pants with iceskating lessons on Saturday afternoons! Keeping it Canadian in the Froo & Boo household, even though the kids are the most tanned they’ve ever been. Hope the rest of your weekend is ever so lovely!

Froo’s Pre-K Graduation + Teacher gifts

Froo's Pre-K Graduation
Froo's Pre-K Graduation
Froo's Pre-K Graduation
Froo's Pre-K Graduation
Froo's Pre-K Graduation
Froo's Pre-K Graduation
Froo's Pre-K Graduation
My first baby graduated pre-kindergarten yesterday. I didn’t realize that it was such an important milestone, but looking back at this school year, I can see how much Froo has grown. She came home with a booklet of self-portraits drawn almost every month–the difference between September and June is astounding!

Froo’s graduation was held at City Hall. Super cute. I was able to convince Froo to wear her chiffon geranium dress. I could see her twirling and watching her dress flutter–I think she might even like it now! I curled her hair for the first time. She refused to wear her graduation hat. I don’t blame her, I never wore mine at my undergrad ceremony. I had my hair in an updo. Anyhoo, Froo’s star balloon floated up to the ceiling. I’m going to take it at as a positive sign that her future is bright.

Before the ceremony started, Boo ran around like crazy and sat with the other kids, thinking he’d be graduating, too. We got him to sit still for the ENTIRE ceremony by giving him a ring pop. He’s only had it once before at a birthday party and behaved like a zombie fixated on the one thing. Whatever works?

Froo’s preschool has a no-gifts-for-teachers policy (unless the gift is something that can be used in the classroom, ie. crayons). It goes against everything I believe in–I love giving gifts as a token of my appreciation. However, I don’t like to break rules. So I refrained from giving gifts. But then I saw other moms giving Christmas and Valentine’s gifts to the teachers and decided (one day before graduation) it was time to break a rule. I have no regrets.
Teacher Gifts Teacher Gifts
Teacher Gifts
Since I wanted to make sure the gift wouldn’t end up as a classroom resource, I decided to make personalized handmade gifts. I used pre-made muslin bags and added appliqué elements from Suzy Ultman’s Handle With Care fabric and hand-stamped each teacher’s name. Inside each bag contained a kitchen towel with a fabric border that I blogged about here. Froo signed a card for all 4 of her teachers–I only hope they know how much they are appreciated.
Froo's Pre-K Graduation
I feel that it won’t be long before I am the one looking up at Froo. My heart is about to burst–thus ending this post.

KCW: My First Geranium Dress!

Over the past couple of weeks leading up to KCW, I have spent too much time agonizing over what to make for Froo & Boo. I feel that a garment that I make them should be extra-special, since it’s handmade and all. But underlying that, it’s because I have found the secret to affordable and cute kids clothing: the GAP Kids clearance rack, when there is an additional 40% off. No contest. Well, almost. I am still sewing for the kids, right?

Here is the 3-point summary of my thought process for my first KCW project of the year:

  1. Replace Froo’s outgrown chiffon wedding dress
  2. Use the embroidered chiffon I bought on sale last Christmas at Fabricana ($5/metre–Score! Although, I think the fabric was intended for sheer curtains…)
  3. Find the perfect dress pattern to go with it, aka the Made by Rae Geranium Dress

When Froo was 1 1/2 years old, our friends visiting from Japan gave her a really cute chiffon dress. She grew to love that dress and called it her “wedding dress” and said she would wear it when she married me. She wore it for years, with it gradually turning into a tight shirt. (It has plenty of elasticized shirring.) I thought I would have oodles of photos of her wearing it, but the last one I have is from her 3rd birthday:
Froo's Wedding Dress
Sadly, it no longer fits. This is one dress that I’m not handing down to friends because I want her to have it when she is older. Also, as a reminder that she once loved me so much, she wanted to marry me!

Before getting into all the construction details of the dress, let me first start by showing you the most beautiful dress I have ever made:
Chiffon Geranium Dress
And seriously, this girl cannot be anymore beautiful than she already is. Froo had her reservations about replacing her old wedding dress with a new one, so it took a lot of convincing to even get her to try it on. This was her first shot:
Chiffon Geranium Dress
Her fourth shot. This photoshoot was going nowhere really fast.
Chiffon Geranium Dress
I brought in my photo assistant, Tiny Little Pig, but she wasn’t much help.
Chiffon Geranium Dress
Chiffon Geranium Dress
Chiffon Geranium Dress
So now the details, starting with the fabric. Chiffon is sheer and lightweight. It’s totally shifty when you are trying to cut it so the best way to do it is to lay it flat on a cutting mat and use a rotary cutter to cut around your pattern pieces. I traced my pattern onto Pellon Tru-Grid Pattern-Tracing Material, which is sheer and clingy, which helps keep the fabric stable. Also, when cutting the front bodice, I traced both sides of the piece to create one piece, to avoid cutting the fabric on the fold. I did this with the front of the skirt as well. Do not use a ruler when cutting, it somehow stretches the chiffon askew.

For the lining I used a lightweight cotton muslin, which matched the dress perfectly. I also backed each bodice piece with muslin, basting it with a 1/4″ seam allowance.
Chiffon Geranium Dress
Here’s what I did differently to create a full lining for the skirt. I cut all of the skirt pieces in muslin and sewed as per the instructions. I did the same for the chiffon, except for the step of sewing down the seam edges on the back of the skirt. Instead, I serged the edges individually and pressed them open, on low heat. I did this because I didn’t want to bulk up the seams and affect the way the skirt draped.
Chiffon Geranium Dress
Then I top stitched the openings of the skirt and lining together and basted the top edge together. After that, I sewed my gathering stitches and treated it as one piece.
Chiffon Geranium Dress
For the side seams on both the lining and chiffon, I used 1/4″ French seams to hide the edges. Chiffon frays like crazy, but I didn’t want to add bulk by serging the edges, so I pinked (is that a verb??) the edges before enclosing them in the French seam.
Chiffon Geranium Dress
The sleeves, oh the sleeves! The prettiest part of the dress. To make the sleeves, I just cut off the sleeves on View B, taped them together, added seam allowance and used the embroidered edge as bottom edge of the sleeves. I also sewed a gathering stitch to ease the sleeve in place.
Chiffon Geranium Dress
For the piping, Rae has an excellent tutorial on how to add trim to the skirt. I couldn’t figure out how to machine finish the bodice lining with the piping in the way, so I hand-stitched it in place. It took a long time, but it was well worth the effort.
Chiffon Geranium Dress
Now for the sad and somewhat ironic part of this wedding dress replacement project… the bodice is too tight. What makes it doubly ironic is the fact that I used muslin as my lining, when I really should have made a muslin first! I just assumed that size 5T would fit and didn’t bother to measure Froo. I made her the Flashback Skinny Tee in size 5T, which is was big on her. She must have grown again. When did that happen?? So I had to opt out of making buttons and used hook & eye closures instead. Which is a shame because I had the perfect buttons for the dress.
Chiffon Geranium Dress
Here is a side-by-side photo of the old and new wedding dresses:
Chiffon Geranium Dress
Here are a couple of outtakes from our photo shoot this morning:
Chiffon Geranium Dress
The KCW flickr group is full of really creative and beautiful handmade creations–oodles of pretty Geranium dresses abound. I LOVE the eyelet one by Cherie of you & mie that was featured on the KCW blog. I guess that’s what it’s all about–to see kids romping around happily in clothing made especially for them, because they are unique in every way. What a fun and meaningful way to celebrate our children!