MadeByEleri: Another Dolman Day

Dolman 1b

So last week, I was finally able to share pictures of my Sun Kissed Tee by Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop in a gorgeous Art Gallery knit. If you scroll through the blog, you can see that I’m a HUGE fan of PAB. I have sewn over 100 garments made with PAB patterns in the last 22 months.

There are a few reasons for that volume of sewing (not that I have to justify sewing excessively to my readers, I imagine).

  1. Kids grow and I have four of them. I constantly have a good reason to sew.
  2. No one in our house fits “perfectly” into anything ready to wear. This varies in how extreme a difficulty it is from person to person in our household. Those most in need of my sewing are my handsome husband and my oldest daughters. My oldest daughters are the recipients of most of my sewing projects. It is easier and less time-consuming and usually less expensive for me to sew their clothes than play “catch and release” shopping with every major catalog company.
  3. I have found that I have favorite PDF pattern designers that design on trend patterns that fit well, and are relatively quick to make. I usually look at Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop first when I am looking for fun knit staples for my kids. I also get most of my fabric from their fabric store as it is difficult to shop for fabric with four children in tow (plus I have to drive a long ways – and I think my family prefers groceries over craft supplies).

Today, I am excited to share the Little Miss Sunshine Tee and dress. As I was wrapping up testing the women’s shirt, I was able to do a quick test of the girls’ shirt so I could take some mother/daughter pictures. My tall nine-year-old daughter is modeling the size 10 dolman tee with a bit of extra length to accommodate her height. Even though I had been thrilled with the speed at which I could assemble a Sun Kissed tee, I was still surprised at how quick my daughter’s dolman came together. Less than 45 minutes from taping pattern pieces, cutting, serging, and coverstitching.

dolman 5a

I also want to take a moment to share some sewing growth I experienced making these tops (and other dolmans you’ll see very soon). I confess that I have aways been a bit scared of my serger. I only used it to finish the edges of wovens and knits that I’d already pieced on my trusty Brother HC1850. I decided that since the seams were so easy and quick, and I had just had my Pfaff Hobby Lock 794 serviced, I would be brave and piece with my serger. This easy top is the perfect “first serger” project for anyone with a new serger or anyone who, like me, struggles with being scared to piece with my serger.

dolman 6a

If you are looking for a quick and flattering tee for every day wear, the Sun Kissed tee and the Little Miss Sunshine tee is the perfect wardrobe builder for every day of the week – for her and for me.

This post contains some affiliate links. Affiliate links support my hobby and this site. I received a free copy of the pattern in exchange for testing. As always, all reviews and opinions are my own.



Introducing the Tea Party Dress by Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop!

The Show and Tell Project team is happy to celebrate another awesome pattern release from the Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop!

My teammate Emily and I were both chosen to test the Tea Party Dress and Top. Remember our first joint post when we tested the Very Merry together in October? We are posting jointly today to share our creations with you!

I was selected to test the size 8 top and Emily was chosen to test the size 6 dress for her little girl.


Tea Party Dress 7

Isn’t that gorgeous? Emily tested the full dress version, featuring piping, flutter sleeves, an elastic waist, and sash.

Tea Party Dress 5
Photo by Emily

It features a beautiful button up back view and a nice skirt that is both full and hangs well. I love the yellow print Emily chose. It is perfect for spring!

I literally started sewing within a few hours after being selected. I first made my assigned style and size. I recently purchased several yards of a coordinating collection available at Hobby Lobby to make the girls’ Easter oufits. I knew this dress was exactly what I was looking for and would go well with the fabric I had in my stash. As usual, I made a size 8 lengthened to a size 10 for my tall daughter. I followed the instructions for adding a piping accent and the flutter sleeves. The flutter sleeve pieces are very simple and quick so you won’t regret using them.

One of the things I love about Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop’s patterns is that I can be confident that the size chart is accurate. For this loose, woven top, go by the size chart for the perfect fit. For Middle Miss, this meant making one size smaller than her usual size in RTW knits and adding length.

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After initial testing feedback, some ease was taken out of the “skirt” portion for a better fit. The fit is still generous, but look how nice and polished my second top came out? We even tried a new locale to get the perfect shot.

The fabric is Bees & Bits Spring by Millie Fleur Bari J. for Art Gallery. A local friend had finished a gorgeous dress out of it and destashed the remnant to me, and I just barely had enough to make this top, but it was worth all the fussy cutting!

Finally, no pattern test is complete for me without a sister shoot – plus it also brings me closer to finishing Easter outfits for all my girls! Head on over to The Show and Tell Project Blog Facebook page if you want to see a sneak peek of what I made for Baby Miss, too!

February 19 2016 054 WM

Why should you head on over to PAB and grab a copy of the Tea Party Dress and Top TODAY?

  1. It is on sale for $6.50 today (2/25) only.
  2. It comes in sizes 3 mos to 12 years (sew by chest size and add/shorten where needed).
  3. Top and dress variations.
  4. Flutter sleeve and sleeveless variations
  5. Showcases woven fabrics.
  6. Optional elastic and sash.
  7. A relatively quick sew with excellent results. My pieces took about 90 minutes for the tops and 2 hours for the dress.

Happy Sewing!

(This post contains affiliate links. Emily and I each received a copy of the pattern for testing purposes. All reviews and opinions are our own).

SYSL 2016: Mama needs raglans…

Eleri here today! I’m sharing my entry for the Sew Yourself Some Love 2016 link-up at Pattern Revolution.

Guess what? This is the first time I’m participating in a link-up! I still have so much to learn about blogging, but I am really enjoying sharing my creations with all of you and appreciate all the support and feedback!

I don’t sew a lot for myself… I mean with four growing kids, I can fill every minute at my sewing machine making stuff just for them. At 5’10”, I am tall, but it is also not impossible to find store bought clothes that fit me well…. or well-enough.

But as I’ve worked on taking better care of myself, I’ve found joy in making  my own clothing that fits just the way I want it, too.

To have a nice theme to this post…. and because my other shirts are in the laundry, I’m going to dedicate my Sew Yourself Some Love 2016 post to three me-made raglans in my wardrobe!

Eleri raglan 4 WM

The first raglan I want to share is the Ranier Raglan and Hyde Park Hoodie mash-up I made last fall (Sh! 2015!). It took me a couple tries to get exactly the look I was going for, but this is one of my favorite pieces so I hope you don’t mind me sharing it with you today.

I made it out of the jade french terry from the PAB Fabric Shop. My measurements were spot on for the Large sizing in my bust and waist so I pieced with a slightly smaller seam allowance to accommodate for the thickness and lower stretch of the French terry.

Eleri WM 6

I used the XXL Hood Piece of the Hyde Park Hoodie and extended the tails to make a crossover hood. It was cold, and I forgot to ask The Man to take pictures of the hood which I lined with stretch lace. It is also a little snug vertically since the neckline of the Hyde Park Hoodie is higher, so if I make it again I will add another inch of height to the hood. I also added a bottom band to make it look more like a sweatshirt.

eleri raglan 5 WM


The Show and Tell team and I have been lucky enough to kick off 2016 with testing several new releases. In between tests, I decided to really spoil myself. Last week, I decided to sew two raglans for myself using some of my favorite fabric in my stash.

::Raise your hand if you remember the release of the Riley Blake Idle Wild Collection!::

I was able to score 2 yards of the pink floral and 2 yards of the multi-color floral. I had initially planned to spoil my little girls with the beautiful Idle Wild florals and was saving them for summer outfits.

But I decided that I deserved some fabric love and made myself a Patterns for Pirates Slim Fit Raglan using the pink floral colorway and the dark coral cotton lycra from the PAB Shop.

Eleri raglan 1 WM

I loved the fit of my Ranier Raglans that I made last fall, and I had also seen the original P4P Women’s Raglan and add-on pack. I loved the concept, but I did not care for the loose-fit of the original raglan for my body. I have a few kids, and I always feel looser fit shirts invite “Time for another one…?” comments. On the flip side, shirts that are too tight around my midsection also make it look like another one is already in the works… but I digress.

As soon as I saw the tester album of the P4P Slim Fit Raglan, I knew I had to give it a try even though I already had a tried and true raglan in my stash.

I am glad that I decided to give a new raglan a try! It has the perfect fit and several options to mix things up for me. I made the Large 3/4 length sleeves option with the tunic length. I did not add any additional length to the tunic. The result was fitted and body skimming where I wanted it, and forgiving where my body is still blooming from four beautiful children. I particularly like how the pattern is drafted between the arms and bust line.

Since I was so happy with the fit of this, I decided to use my beloved fantasy floral and “Have Courage and Be Kind” panel from the PAB Shop. I have never used an adult size panel before. The panel was not tall enough for me to do another tunic, so I added a little bit of length to the banded cut line on the P4P Slim Fit Raglan, and then added a band to get the length I wanted.

This has been my favorite fabric and it is still a limited quantity in stock if you want to get your hands on it here.   I have four more outfits to share with you (hopefully next week) that I made from this fabric and panels for the pint-size ladies in my life.

But sometimes, Mama just needs a raglan, so here’s to sewing more for us!

Now Sew Yourself Some Love!


Legacy Wedding Gown to First Communion gown…

Sewing Test Feb 2016 008


Welcome to the third and final part of my series on transforming my mother’s wedding gown (which was made by her mother) into a keepsake First Communion gown for my daughters. If you are just joining us, check this post out for details on the original gown and this post out for the pattern inspiration and process I used to update the gown.

To refresh your memory, I started here. My grandmother made my mother’s gown out of crepe chine and polyester lace.

First Holy Communion Dress 2016 003 WM

What are some tips I would like to share with you if you undertake something similar?

1. Be totally free and completely detached from the results. This was important to me to have my mother’s complete blessing to attempt this. I was at peace if it did not work out.

2. I dressed my dress form in the gown for several days so I could plan my project. I had to think outside the box to get the ENTIRE dress (except bodice lining and sash) out of the original gown. Do not be surprised at how much fabric you use. I had almost nothing left over of the original dress when I was done except the lace sleeves and bodice scraps.

3. I recommend planning on a lot of hand sewing to avoid damaging older, more fragile fabric. I also had to rely on advice from friends and Facebook groups for getting the perfect bridal quality finish I was going for with my project. Read the captioned close-ups below to see how I altered the Very Merry Pattern by Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop to get the perfect results from my gown. While my daughter and I are THRILLED with the results, I will also share a few things I wish I had done differently.

4. I did make a muslin. I don’t usually make a muslin if I am confident in the size chart of the pattern maker. I am very confident in Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop’s size chart, but I did not want to mess this up. I could have taken in the gown a bit more for my oldest, but I left a little ease to accommodate two more months of growth and also to leave more room to adjust for her younger sisters.

5. Start early. I probably spent 25 hours total on this project. Only about 6-7 was actual sewing, but I spent a lot of time researching and taking breaks. I make big mistakes when I am tired and did not want to rush any of the steps. Starting early also allowed me to order new supplies if something didn’t work out. I also wanted to make sure I had time to order a veil and shoes when I was done. I had our veil custom made by Mousebee Couture on etsy and I was thrilled with the results! I also made a floral headpiece to keep with the vintage feel of the dress.

Sewing Test Feb 2016 159
I made my pintucked sash out of bridal quality taffeta. I wish I had used satin for a better drape.
Sewing Test Feb 2016 155
At the recommendation of a bridal wear expert, I used lace hem tape and stitched the blindhem by hand. I have never done a hem by hand before. It took THREE hours of Netflix for me to get it done. You can also see that I kept the lace panels my grandmother sewed totally intact hence the unfinished, pressed open, seams. Because this will only be laundered a handful of times, I chose not to risk damaging them with my serger.


Sewing Test Feb 2016 038
I wanted the new dress to resemble the original wedding gown. I carefully cut out a lace placket and attached it carefully to the bodice. I then topstitched (after adding the lining) along the lace placket portion of the neckline only. This was to help keep the neckline from shifting and the lining peeking out.
Sewing Test Feb 2016 152
The helpful members of the PAB Facebook group gave me this tip. I finished the sleeve openings with bias tape that I made from crepe chine. I attached it by machine to the seam allowance, and then flipped it over and handstitched.
Sewing Test Feb 2016 156
I had to install the zipper THREE times to get it even. The third time, I hand basted it and then sewed and it behaved for me. If I were to do it over, I would have handpicked it like the original gown. This was also suggested to me in the PAB group, but I had already assembled the bodice and skirt assuming I would be doing an invisible zip and wasn’t sure how to change things.
Sewing Test Feb 2016 158
The third and final try of installing my invisible zip… I accidentally sewed the zipper stop into the seam allowance. I did not want to risk ripping the fabric so I used embroidery floss to make a new zipper stop up top. I also installed a hook and eye. I will get my hands on white embroidery floss before the big day 🙂
Sewing Test Feb 2016 151
The skirt lining. The Very merry does not have a lined skirt, but the original gown did. I shortened the lining, and then attached it to the seam allowance between the skirt and the bodice. I then handstitched the bodice down over the skirt lining. I am thrilled with how finished it looks on the inside. You will also notice that I did a gathered skirt instead of the pleated skirt on the original pattern. Amazingly, the dimensions of the original skirt width were very similar to the dimensions of the Very Merry skirt. However, the pleats obscured the lace panels, so I stuck with a gathered skirt.
Sewing Test Feb 2016 040
I initially hemmed the sleeves by machine. The thin material shifted and there was puckering. Since the skirt hem turned out so well, I also used lace hem tape and hemmed the sleeves by hand as well.

So, there you have it. I am finally done with this project. She won’t get to wear it until April, but I am thrilled with the results.

I am even more thrilled that we will get to continue a beautiful story with a dress that is becoming part of our family’s history.

May God bless and keep you, my Child.

Sewing Test Feb 2016 005

Sofilantjes Nivalis Dress and Tunic release!



A few weeks ago, I had the realization that some of my old standby patterns were no longer appealing to my oldest child. I started browsing around for the perfect pattern to appeal to her and fell in love with a new design from Sofilantjes.

I sewed up the Hibernis cowl shirt in testing for my oldest daughter. I then made a second one for Middle Miss out of a Riley Blake floral and Art Gallery as accent.

Strappy Back, Hibernis, and Gloria layered sleeves 055
A quick shot of Middle Miss. Thanks, kids!

The pattern was so amazing, that even though I’m in the middle of my big First Communion dress project, I jumped at the chance to test The Hibernis’ sister pattern, The Nivalis Dress and Tunic.

Since Big Miss has gotten most of my sewing room attention lately, I applied to test the collar option of the Nivalis for my Middle Miss. She really enjoys picking fabrics and creating outfits out of her handmade wardrobe.

My version below is View B, tunic length, with long sleeves and the collar. I used a mint solid and Riley Blake Roots and Wings for Middle Miss’ tunic length top.


Why should you add the Nivalis to your pattern stash?

  1. Two dress lengths: Tunic and Dress length
  2. Three sleeve lengths: Cap, 3/4, and Long
  3. Two neckline options: 3 neckline options – neckband, hood, and collar
  4. Solid and Colorblocked dress options
  5. Adorable accent tabs and clear instructions to perfect these details.
  6. European sizing (I love having the “in between” sizes that U.S. sizing often skips). Pattern comes in size 12m/80 to 14/164.
  7. Pieces are also interchangeable with the Hibernis Cowl.

I cannot wait to sew up many more variations for my girls!

Makes sure you head on over to Sofilantjes from 2/8/2016-2/9/2016 (Central European Time) and grab your copy while it is on sale for $5 USD!

Nivalis 2 WM

(Post contains affiliate links which support The Show and Tell Project. I received a free copy of the Nivalis in testing. All opinions and content are my own.)





Happy Birthday, Simple Life Pattern Co.!



Join me in wishing Simple Life Pattern Co. a Happy Birthday! Can you believe it’s been one year since they launched their expanding line of on-trend patterns? Head on over to the Simple Life Pattern Co. today to check out their patterns as well as TEN new releases including the Lexi Strappy Back Dress which I had the privilege of testing.

Want to sweeten the deal? All NEW releases are 25% off and older styles are 40% off. This also works with their tiered pricing, so stock up on patterns and save!

Don’t forget to read to the bottom for a link to the awesome GIVEAWAY that #SLPco is hosting to celebrate it’s 1 Year Anniversary! Giveaway closes Midnight, February 2nd, so get your entries in.

Now for the details on Middle Miss’ new dress….

As my two oldest kids get older, they are also developing their own styles and personalities. For the most part, they share clothes without complaint, but I sometimes find that I am sacrificing trying new patterns or fabric choices so both can be happy.

As Big Miss has gone away from wearing dresses in favor of pants and cute blouses, Middle Miss has been in need of a new dress for this spring! The Lexi Strappy Back has been perfect for her style and to showcase bold prints.

pattern testing 1-2016 097


Why does Middle Miss (and her mama) adore the new Lexi Strappy Back Dress?

  1. Clear instructions and layered printing. This is a huge timesaver for me, particularly when tracing pattern pieces, and because I don’t have a color laser printer.
  2. It has simple, clean lines that showcase prints beautifully.
  3. Pattern includes options for a pintuck skirt as well as pockets!
  4. The fit is spot-on. I measured Middle Miss and she fell right at a size 6 for the Lexi. I added additional length to the skirt to accommodate her height.
  5. This really fills a big hole in our wardrboe. My children have all been on the slender side, so it is nice to have a pattern that is elegant but doesn’t have any gaping at the sides like store bought dresses often do for them.
  6. Finally, the gorgeous back view. It is easier than it looks, and the instructions are clear for even the beginner sewist. The strap measurements are precise for a perfect fit.

pattern testing 1-2016 104

And just so you don’t think Big Miss is left out of the #SLPco love, I am making her Emilya’s Skinny Pants and a newly-released Braxton’s Blazer for a spring look that suits her personal style.

Head on over here to join the giveaway, and head on over to the shop to find a look that suits every girl in  your family!


The Pocketful of Posies Knit Dress by PAB Release!



Raise your hand if you love a great knit dress!

With three girls in our house, we certainly do!

Today at Show and Tell, we are blogging about the new Pocketful of Posies knit dress from Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop!

pattern testing 1-2016 044 copy


Ever since Amy shared her knit dress creation with her custom Have Courage and Be Kind strike-offs in December, I have been watching for this pattern release and I was lucky enough to be chosen as a tester.

I was chosen to test size 10 for Big Miss. I sewed up a size 10 tunic (12 length for my tall girl) with piping and pockets! I used Riley Blake Vintage Navy Floral and Art Gallery Diamond Flush Dance Knit. I ordered both prints in December hoping that they would mash well, and in my opinion they look fantastic! I have already made myself a City Chic out of the same prints as well.

Pocketful of Posies K5 copy

Anyone who sews for a tween will tell you that pleasing them can be hit or miss. It’s safe to say that I knocked it out of the park in ‘tween satisfaction this time!

Pocketful of Posies K 2 copy

I love how the pockets serve both design and function! And the piping is so fun!


Pocketful of Posies K 1 copy

The drop waist and tunic and dress lengths are perfect for the full range of ages the pattern serves.

Finally, using one of Amy’s panels is one of my sewing addictions:

Simple sew + panel = striking results.

Little Miss is rocking a “You are My Sunshine Panel” from the Peek-a-Boo Fabric Shop! I also used solid yellow Cotton Lycra from the shop and the You Are My Sunshine Coordinate.

Little Miss (19 months) is wearing a size 4T without pockets and tunic length. I wanted her to have a little growing room for summer since she already has a long sleeve Gloria made with the You Are My Sunshine prints.

As with all of the Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop pattern lines, I see many more of these in our future!

(Post contains affiliate links, all opinions are my own).



The Very Merry Communion gown…

First Holy Communion Dress 2016 003 WM
See that nice wide hem at the bottom? Yup. That’s where I got my bodice and sleeves! Thanks, Grandma!


Welcome back!

Today, I am going to talk about the pattern I chose to make my daughter’s First Holy Communion and Confirmation gown.

Last summer, I decided that I would make my daughter’s First Communion gown out of my mother’s wedding gown that was handmade by my grandmother.

I am going to be honest. I was tempted to purchase one. I could not figure out what I was going to do with the particular style of my mother’s dress.

I found many gorgeous First Communion gowns online but this is why I didn’t purchase one.

  1. I wanted it to be be modest. Our church requires sleeves and I didn’t want to buy a sleeveless gown and cover it with a sweater.
  2. I wanted it to fit well. We are now needing to buy size 10 or 12 to ensure adequate length in store bought clothes. The clothes end up not being flattering because there is far too much ease, and if I size down, the hem falls at odd places or it is tight in the shoulders.
  3. I wanted it to be well-made. I am a budget shopper, and I knew that an heirloom quality gown would be well over my budget.
  4. I wanted it to be comfortable for my daughters. My oldest daughter especially struggles with rough edging and scratchy lace. I didn’t want her to be grimacing throughout her special day, or be eager to take the dress off.
  5. Return policies. We live in a rural area. We would have to drive a distance for a small selection of communion gowns. Ordering online is also challenging because many stores have no return policies (or only allow you to order and exchange one size at a time). This would have been very difficult because my daughters are all over the place on the size chart!


So I started searching for the perfect pattern. While I no longer use printed paper patterns often, I checked out the Look Books from the Big Four as I hadn’t seen many formal styles that caught my eye lately in my sewing newsfeed. The Big Four formal patterns I found either seemed far too-challenging, or had potential fit issues. I knew that if I was going to brave enough to do this, I had to find a pattern by a designer I trusted (and of course, make a muslin!).

have been addicted to mainly go to Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop when I am looking for a new pattern. I sewed my first PAB pattern about four years ago, and then did not sew very frequently until June 2014. I had a newborn baby and I could not keep her mitts on to keep her from scratching her face! I found the Lullaby Line Hat and Mitts and, well, the rest is history.

I had seen the Primrose Dress when it released and it finally hit me. The construction complemented the lace panels original to my mother’s dress!

See where I got the inspiration from? So, when I purchased the Primrose pattern, I knew I needed to make one to check fit and see if I liked it! I know this is not a full view of the dress, but I love how Middle Miss’ Birthday Dress turned out! I was able to showcase the “Happy Birthday!” Anna and Elsa Print right in the center of the panel.

I made the dress (and even got a ribbon for it at our county fair) and loved it. I cut out a second one in my oldest daughter’s size as a muslin and left it in my UFO pile to sew closer to the big date (in case there was a growth spurt).

About two months after I settled on the Primrose by PAB Pattern, there was a call for testers for a formal holiday dress with casual options. With three girls, dress patterns always catch my eye in testing calls, and this one was an elegant elbow-length sleeved number.

I was lucky enough to be chosen to test my eldest daughter’s size in the Very Merry Party Dress pattern. I made her the dressy variation in taffeta. Once I saw the perfect fit, and the elegant scooped back, I knew this would be the pattern I used for her First Communion gown.

I tested this dress at the end of October. I did not want to start sewing yet because kids grow quickly, and I wanted a great fit. But now that I knew what I was planning, I was able to start trying to mash the vision I had for her dress based on the Very Merry with the dress on the dress form.

I am almost done with the dress, but here is a transformation progress picture… Next week I will share some of the specific details of my sewing project including some trial and error, as well as a few tips for trying to make a gown out of a vintage or heirloom piece!


Disclosure: Post contains affiliate links. All of my honest opinions, reviews, and photos are my own!



Continuing a Legacy….

In a few days, it will be 14 years since my maternal grandmother passed away. I have wanted to share what I am creating but I have honestly had an incredibly emotional time working on this.

“Those whom we love and lose are no longer where they were before.

They are now wherever we are.” – St. John Chrysostom

This is the woman who taught me to love to create and I visited her almost every day as a child. I remember sitting next to her on her recliner while she taught me to crochet at the age of 7. I remember sitting at her little kitchen table while she would sketch out birds and flowers (she was a talented china painter) for me to paint over with watercolors. She also taught me to embroider and tried to teach me to knit which became my true love in crafting for several years until I fell in love with sewing.

I think these memories of my grandmother started to hit me hardest as I begin to grapple with what my worth is to the world as a homemaker when I only imagined a professional career as a child and young adult.  As I approach my tenth year of forgoing professional success to make a home for my family and homeschool my children, I see that these little things, were in fact, the big things.

And it brings me great joy to give these to my children.

My mother is perpetually cleaning out closets and sending treasures my way. A few years ago, she sent me my First Holy Communion gown (a spectacular Jessica McClintock number from 1992) as well as her wedding dress, a mid-70s fashion handmade by her mother.

My girls are blessed to be incredibly tall but also incredibly thin (their chest sizes being several sizes smaller than average for their height), so I knew it was unlikely a storebought gown would fit well. About two years ago, I started sewing enough that I thought, “Just maybe I can make a first communion gown for my daughter out of my wedding dress…”  



But after consulting with my friend T. (a former bridalwear seamstress) we decided that too much would be lost with the boning and the beading and the lace-up back from my 2006 Maggie Sottero gown.

So then, I looked to my mother’s gown, and with her blessing (as well as T.’s), I started planning. This process has been incredibly special and heart-wrenching and challenging because I was diving into recreating my mother’s wedding gown that was HANDMADE by my grandmother.

Here is a view of her gown on my dress form before I started the whitening process.

First Holy Communion Dress 2016 003 WM

I also had Big Sis and Middle Sis try it on one last time like I did as a child at my grandmother’s house.

First Holy Communion Dress 2016 015 WM

I wanted to make sure that if it melted in the wash or something that we had some good shots for memories. My mom is awesome at being totally detached from objects, and she hasn’t even heard of the Konmari Method yet!

First Holy Communion Dress 2016 010 WM

So funny story for you here – I washed it and soaked it once. I was afraid to soak it too long because I didn’t want the fabric to deteriorate… I then was headed to a town with a large textile store the next day (over 200 miles away) so I brought the dress with me. I found perfectly matching crepe chine. But the lace was still too yellow for my taste, so I decided to soak it one more time. I soaked the dress for at least 2 hours in Oxi Clean White Revive. And it was amazing. The lace was almost perfectly snow white again. My perfectly matching crepe chine was no longer perfectly matching (I knew this was a risk), so I used it for the lining!

Excuse the iPad pic. Too busy creating for fancy pants pics!


With the dress being restored to white, but no longer having matching crepe (in case I messed up somewhere!) I had to really finalize my design plans.

Check back tomorrow to see where I went!



The Hibernis Cowl by Sofilantjes Release Day!



Hello, dear readers, and a belated Happy New Year to you all!

I am back from a break from blogging AND sewing. We went on a family adventure in November to reconnect as a family, and then straight into the Christmas rush, and Christmas travels. While we had a blast, it is nice to settle back into a routine again at home, school, and with my sewing! I have big sewing plans for this spring and I hope to share them with you over the next several weeks.

I love living in the Upper Midwest, but when I returned from the West Coast, the cold weather was finally upon us again. So, I went in search of a snuggly long sleeve shirt pattern that would fit my daughter’s body as well as her personality.

I just happened to see the tester call from Sofilantjes and was lucky enough to be chosen to test the size 8 based on my daughter’s chest measurement.

Hibernis watermark sideview

Little Miss is tall and slender, so I added 2″ to the sleeves, 2″ to the pockets, and all the body pieces. The tutorial also includes full instructions for blending sizes for length and width.

hibernis pocket watermark

I sewed up the full version A which includes a princess bodice, overlapping side pockets, button tabs, a detachable cowl, and long sleeves. The pattern also includes View B with a straight bodice and no pockets. The princess seams and pockets are great for showcasing the knit scraps in your stash that you can’t bear to part with! There are also short and 3/4 sleeves in the pattern.

Hibernis with watermark side view

The fit (based on chest measurement) was perfect for my daughter, but if you want to check fit, you can sew up a simple variation quickly. You can mix and match all the features of this pattern and get a variety of unique and fun looks. I already have my fabric picked out for my next one!

hibernis watermark cowl closeup

I made my cowl reversible, so it can be worn with either the black or the purple showing to create two separate looks. You can also create cowls in different colors and mix and match since it is detachable!

So, head on over to Sofilantjes today to pick up your copy of the Hibernis Cowl while it is at the release sale price!

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