Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sew Much Seersucker

Although the presence of a noisy little newborn is pretty solid evidence that I’m not actually pregnant anymore, the real proof is that I finally feel like sewing again.  It was nice to pull out the sewing machine this week and not feel something akin to seasickness.  I think it missed me. 

To celebrate diving back into sewing, I decided to do some stash-busting.  Last fall when our local JoAnn’s was changing locations they started selling their remaining fabric by the bolt at deep discounts.  This resulted in my acquiring several yards of cheery heart-apple seersucker, but no definite plans on how to use it.  After languishing on my fabric pile all winter long, that fabric finally found its way into three coordinating summer dresses.

Cutting out the pattern pieces.  Good thing my mother-in-law gave me awesome scissors a couple years ago!
In the spirit of working from my stash, I also decided to try and do the whole project using only things I already had on hand, including all the patterns, notions, and trim.  Between leftovers from other projects and hoarding things JoAnns was clearancing last year I had a pretty good stock of the basics on hand.  My biggest shortfall was bias tape.  I made the fabric-stretching choice to use patterns that aren’t lined, but that meant lots of edges to bind, and, with not an inch of pre-made tape on hand, lots of using scrap pieces to cut bias strips. 

Amber's new dress.  You can also see a little bit of my skirt on the side. 

The bias tape issue was probably the biggest with Amber’s dress.  I used Simplicity patter 2677, and honestly I didn’t love it.  I’ve made nightgowns before with a similar (but lined) bodice and definitely preferred the lined pattern.  I also think the cap sleeves are kind of funny.  But I think they look funny on the pattern envelope too, so I guess it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise.

For Katie I fell back on Butterick pattern 3405: still my very favorite baby girl pattern!  It is such an easy dress, but I always really like the results.  Since Katie already fits the largest size the pattern is printed for, and there’s no guarantee we’ll ever have another baby girl, I thought I better make it one more time before I lost the chance.  I especially love the little ruffled sleeves. 


Katie was super excited that she got a diaper cover with her dress.  She has kind of a funny fetish with diaper covers right now: she calls them her "tubbies" and loves, loves, loves wearing them.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to think of Robyn’s dress when I started it, but in the end I’m actually really pleased with it.  You can’t tell particularly well in the photos, but it has a very short bodice with a handful of narrow pleats poking out under it.  It’s NewLook pattern 6972 and I think I’ll have to try it again sometime out of a fabric that emphasizes the unique construction a little better.  Robyn of course most liked that it had cute pockets for her to stick “treasures” in.


Robyn's dress and big floppy hair flower.

 When I was laying out the pattern pieces I realized I had just a little bit more material than I needed.  I momentarily flirted with the idea of making Matthew something matchy-matchy too, but ultimately exercised restraint.  Even I can’t put a strapping baby boy in pinky-red heart-apple material. 

So instead Mommy got a skirt too.  I used McCalls pattern M5523, mostly because it had such low yardage requirements.  I think I’m finally going to have to accept that seersucker (at least the tuity-fruity line at JoAnns…maybe the name should have been a clue?) isn’t really “grown up” material.  It doesn’t fall very smoothly and I’m at a point, especially after pregnancy, where I don’t need fabric that floats out any bigger than I already am.  It’s also such thin fabric that I feel kind of naked walking around in it, even with a good slip.  Other than the funkiness of the fabric though, it was a great pattern: another one to whip out again someday. 

You can kind of see some of my skirt in the background.

 Of course, who wants to see pictures of moms in skirts??  Here are a few more pictures of the girls in their new summery dresses.



 And one last picture of the boys.  Who didn't get matching outfits.  I think that's why Matthew is crying, personally.


Maybe next time, boys.  Maybe next time.


  1. Cute! And hay for sewing again. I have good intentions buy never seem to actually make it to the sewing room... we should have another sewing party soon.

  2. Oooh! I agree: it's time for a sewing party! (Especially since it's going to ge time to work on Halloween costumes any minute now... :)

    1. yes... I'm thinking we're going super hero this year.

  3. The dresses are darling! You could make Matthew a tie? My sewing machine has been neglected, too, but only because I have 2 baskets full of boring old hemming and repairs to do. I wish I could do fun, cute things on it like you do!

    1. Uggg! If mending were on the SAT it would have to be in a question like "________:SEWING :: PB&J:COOKING". Not creative. Not fun. Good luck getting through your baskets! (Maybe then you can start in on my mending pile...?)

  4. I like Katie's dress with the little flutter sleeves!

    I'm trying to make Maggie a bag for Kindergarten, but it's taking forever because I'd rather eat ice cream than sew after the kids go to bed.

    1. I love the idea of making a bag for Kindergarten: what a fun idea! What is it going to be like?

      I totally get the rather eat ice cream comment. I'm not even pregnant anymore and I still feel that way most nights!!! :D

  5. my favorite picture is the last one with dad and boy. but i love all of them, because i can't sew so i highly admire anyone that does sew. if you ever need a laugh, remind me to tell you the story about the time mom sent me to sewing lessons and i tried to make shorts....not SEW cute. :)

  6. Love the last picture! You wouldn't know they were difficult to make by looking at how cute they are! They are so cute Melissa! You truly have a talent! I want to see matching ties! lol.

  7. PS the last comment was by me Kelly, not Justin. He would never use the word cute! lol

  8. They came out super cute, and you're right, that's totally why Matthew is crying. ;) At least he has a nice red shirt to coordinate, though! Also, I'm inviting myself to the sewing party when it happens.

  9. I'm way impressed, especially with having a newborn! I'm not surprised though. You always do such a great job! I think Matthews Red Polo was a great solution!