For all the times that I call my dad asking for something, ("Hey, can you watch the kids?,"  "My dishwasher is leaking.  What do I do?,"  "Can I borrow your saw?") my dad rarely asks for anything in return.  So when he called the other week asking me to make a dress for the daughter of a long-lost cousin who lives in Greece, how could I say no?  His only requirements were that it be a sundress and that it have some sort of label in it indicating that it was made by me.  Of course, that was the perfect excuse to finally get off my butt, follow this wise woman's advice, and order some fabric from Spoonflower to make into labels.

It was my first time using Spoonflower or even attempting to "design" anything on the computer (and I use that word very loosely) but I have to say that Dana put together a great tutorial on how to design a graphic just using Word which is fantastic because I don't have any fancy programs on my computer.  I ordered my labels to be printed on the cotton/linen fabric to make them a bit more substantial and I love the look of the fabric.  I did learn that small writing on the labels is essentially illegible.  You see, there's a tiny little line under the main text that reads "Made by Carolyn."  Oh you can't see it? Yeah, that's my point.

But back to the dress.  So besides the whole label issue my dad pretty much gave me free reign which actually had me turning in circles for a while trying to figure out which direction I wanted to go.  It's hard to make something for someone that you've never met when you have no idea what their personal style is.  Plus I felt a sense of added pressure because my dad has never asked me to make anything before and I didn't want him to regret this decision.  Which is all to say that I spent way too long pouring over patterns and picking out fabrics.  And once I finally picked out the fabrics I changed my mind about five times on how I wanted to put them all together.  Initially I thought I would go with a solid on the bodice and a patterned fabric on the skirt, but just as I began cutting out the pattern I became convinced that I wanted an all-over patterned dress with some colored flat piping.  And in the end that's what I ended up doing.

The main fabric is Birds and Berries designed Lauren and Jessi Jung for Moda, the bodice lining is a coordinating blue from Moda, and the flat piping and hem lining is a coordinating golden yellow fabric from Moda.  As for the buttons, I ended up making some fabric covered buttons which blend into the pattern of the dress so that they don't distract from the beautiful lines of this pattern.

I have to say that this version of the dress is much simpler than what I originally imagined but I like it so much more.  I think that only now am I beginning to realize that I'm generally drawn towards simpler, cleaner styles.  Given that I've been sewing for probably five years, you'd think that I would have figured this out a long time ago.  Hey, I never claimed to be a fast learner.

And speaking of how long I've been sewing I actually made this pattern once before - back when O was a baby.  I broke out that version the other day when I was trying to figure out what to make and I promptly hung my head in shame as I looked at my past sewing efforts.  Don't get me wrong - I'm no sewing genius now, but I'm happy to say that it seems like I've gotten at least a little bit better in the last three years.

And to that I say, "opa!"

Pattern:  Oliver and S Tea Party Sundress
Size: 12 - 18 months

And to all those celebrating this weekend, a very Happy Thanksgiving to you!  When I asked O what she was thankful for today she told me that she was thankful for candy.  Those priorities sound about right for a three year old.  See her hoarding her candy on Halloween...


  1. That looks wonderful Carolyn! Do you think you could make a picture close-up for me of that flat piping? Just so that i can see how you used it... (did you just sew it on top of the seam?)
    And Opa to you too! Of course Opa in Dutch means grandfather... ;-)

  2. That dress is beautiful! That pattern is so fun, and I love your coordinating lining and piping.

    I recently had some text fabric printed at Spoonflower to make into a quilt for a new baby. I wish I'd seen Dana's post earlier--I initially typed my text into Word (using some specially downloaded fun fonts) and then could not for the life of me figure out how to save the Word text as a picture that could be loaded into Spoonflower. So I grudgingly used the Spoonflower fonts instead, but I am totally trying again using Word. Have you tried washing the labels yet? I've sewn up the quilt but am scared that all the text will disappear with the first wash.

  3. Opa indeed! This is a great little dress, love happy fabric and the pops of yellow and turquoise. I think it'll look right at home in Greece! Hopefully they send you a photo of it being worn!!

  4. it's a gorgeous dress. i love it! i'm sure your dad will, too.

  5. Looks like it was worth the agonising, it's fab! Hope you have a great day today :o)

  6. Ohh so pretty! And thanks for the tips on labels! I need to get some soon, I keep meaning to, but always forget!

  7. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I’ve really enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. After all I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again very soon!

  8. I love love love that dress!!!


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