A Geranium Hattie Mashup


I’ve wanted to make a Geranium Dress with sleeves for the longest time.  The pattern doesn’t include sleeves, and I wasn’t quite sure how to go about it.  What kind of sleeve would work?  How would I attach it?  How could it be done???

Then, I saw Rachel’s version of the Hattie Dress by Brownie Goose, and I feel in love with that sleeve!  This was THE ONE!


It was time to give it a try.

The first thing I did was take a look at the arm hole (or “armscye” if you’re fancy) on the bodice of both the Geranium and Hattie patterns.  As you might have guessed, they weren’t exactly the same.  If I wanted the Hattie sleeve to fit the Gernaium bodice, I knew I needed to adjust the Geranium armscye to match Hattie’s.

No biggie.  I just traced out the Geranium front and back bodice pieces onto transparent Swedish tracing paper, laid them on top of the Hattie bodice pattern pieces, and traced the Hattie armscye right onto those Geranium pieces.  I did end up lengthening the Geranium bodice a little bit, as the arm opening is lower on the Hattie.

And, of course, I just cut the Hattie sleeves straight from the pattern pieces, as is.

I sewed the bodice shoulders and back/neckline together as usual — but I didn’t sew the arm holes or side pieces together as directed.  I sewed main and lining pieces together at the sides separately, and then turned the whole thing right side out and pressed.


Then I basted the arm holes, wrong sides together.


I sewed each sleeve together at the sides and set them in.  A quick serge to the seam allowances, and they were done!


I couldn’t believe I did it!  (Although if I had it to do again, I’d have used blue thread in my bobbin here.  Ah well.)  Now, I’m sure there are other ways to get these sleeves in, and I have no idea if I did it the best, or even the “right” way.  But, I was pretty amazed that they fit so nicely and look like they belong to the dress.

One thing to keep in mind if you decide to try this is that the seam allowances for the Geranium are 1/2″, and the Hattie’s are 3/8″.  When you sew the sleeve sides together, be sure to use 1/2″ seam allowance so that they fit into the arm holes properly.  I couldn’t quite wrap my brain around it, so I tried it both ways — 1/2″ worked!

The only other thing that was sorely needed was flat piping.  You know.


You may recognize this fab butterfly/firefly fabric from the Fort Firefly line by the amazing Teagan White.  It’s Fireflies in coral, to be exact.  Soft as anything and cute as hell!  The bodice is brown corduroy from my local fabric shop.  This fall, I made a mess of Geraniums with corduroy skirts, and I thought it might be fun to try corduroy up top.  It’s very cozy and works pretty nicely, I think.

Lulu still fits into a 2T, but I think I may have cut the skirt to the 3T length.  I can’t really remember, because when I cut this dress, I was planning for her to wear it for Thanksgiving — so yes, that was three months ago.  Since I can barely remember what I ate for breakfast, I definitely don’t have those sizing details at the front of my brain.


The ladies love their pockets, right?


I think I’m just about caught up with all those projects I started before going back to work. I wonder what will come up next . . .


From Mini to Maxi

A few weeks ago, Lulu hijacked one of my skirts and adopted it as her own.


She’s worn it all over town — to the grocery, to preschool, to gymnastics, you name it.  I think it looks much better on her than it did on me!

This skirt was meant to fall just above the knee on me, so the length is just about right for Lulu as a maxi skirt.  All I had to do was add a safety pin at the shirred waist, and she was ready to roll.


Since the theme for last week’s winter edition of Kids Clothes Week was “Upcycling”, I was inspired over the weekend to go the extra mile and actually take this skirt to the sewing machine for a permanent adjustment.  It has a very lightweight lining and is shirred at the waist.  So I just sewed one new seam up the side, lining and all, and serged the seam allowance.


This was, hands down, the simplest project I’ve embarked on — haha!  (Does this even count as a project??)

Lulu approves . . .


Standing on the heat register shows this skirt’s full twirl potential.  It also shows Lulu’s matching toe nails.  How did that happen??  (I’m trying not to think to much about Marilyn Monroe here.)


If only it could always be this easy!



A Valentine Franklin

Since I’ve gone back to work part time, my sewing machine has been collecting dust big time.  Since mid-November, every moment free moment I’ve had has been taken up with reading and preparing for the course I’m teaching.  I’m just now seeing over that pile of books and have taken some time to pick up the projects that have been sitting by the sewing machine half done.

Back in November, I had it in my mind that I’d have time to make holiday dresses for both girls — and by holiday, I was thinking Thanksgiving & Christmas.  Ha.  I really wanted to try out the new Franklin Dress from the Brooklyn Pattern Company for Kiki.  I got as far as sewing the sleeves and preparing the skirt, when I realized that this baby was going to take up residence on the ironing board until further notice.

Well, time marches on, and the holiday for this dress is now Valentine’s Day.

Franklin Dress, Brooklyn Pattern Company

I tell you what, I think this pattern is the bomb.  This may be my very favorite thing that I’ve made for this gal — and she agrees.  It’s pretty straightforward to put together, and the result is so sweet yet chic.  I can think of about five other fabrics I’d like to try this dress in.

Franklin Dress, Brooklyn Pattern Company

For this Christmas turned Valentine version, I choose a combination of a fairly drapey quilting cotton and a totally buttery and luscious red corduroy from my local fabric shop.  The original idea was to use the corduroy for the bodice and sleeves and the butterflies for the skirt.  But somewhere along the line my math skills failed me, and when it came time to cut, there wasn’t enough butterfly to do the job.  Since I loved the corduroy so much in the store, I’d bought plenty for a couple of projects.  So, I flipped things around moved the butterflies up.  I think it was a happy accident.

Franklin Dress, Brooklyn Pattern Company

As usual, I decided to cut out a size 4 bodice and a size 5 skirt for the 4 1/2 year old Kiki.  The fit is a total dream.

I have a great love for pin tucks, so that was a big selling point for me.  And, the in seam pockets were a delightful surprise to the wearer.

Franklin Dress, Brooklyn Pattern Company

When searching for buttons, I found some great little blue ones that turn iridescent in the light — much like butterfly wings, you know?

Franklin Dress, Brooklyn Pattern Company

The one bit of trouble I had was with the button holes.  I used slightly larger buttons than recommended and ended up with a top button hole that’s a bit too close to the top of the placket.  But I think that can be filed away with all the other things that only the maker would notice.

On the topic of buttons and button holes, the Brooklyn Pattern people have a great technique for keeping everything lined up perfectly.  You are instructed to draw a “center front line” directly onto the right side of the fabric on both the right and left bodice placket pieces.  The line goes top to bottom, straight through where the button holes and the buttons should go.  So even if you’re like me and your button holes end up a little high, at least they’re straight!  And it takes the guess work out of placing those buttons.  I’m going to use this trick on everything from now on!

Franklin Dress, Brooklyn Pattern Company

It’s nice to be back in the sewing saddle again.  Now, on to Lulu’s dress that’s been living on the ironing board next to this one . . .

Friends Don’t Let Friends Make Two Left Mittens: A Cautionary Tale

We live in the Midwest, and things have gotten pretty frigid around here lately.  Lulu is finally old enough to love sledding as much as Kiki does, and there’s a little hill in the park across the street from preschool.  So we are loving crunching through the snow and breaking out the sleds.  That is, until little fingers get too cold.  Then all is lost.  I decided new, super warm mittens were in order.

After looking all over the internet for a good tutorial, I remembered the mitten pattern in the Olivier & S book Little Things to Sew.  Perfect!  I had an old wool sweater in the drawer that was dying to be cut into mittens.  What’s more, it’s Kids Clothes Week, and the theme is “Upcycling” — What could be better?

I machine washed the old sweater in hot water and dried on high twice to felt it.  It shrunk hilariously and came out of the drier looking to be just the right size for Lulu — but the fibers did all blend together to make it nice and thick and fray-proof.

I got right to work, cutting out two pairs of mittens from the sweater and a lining from some purple fleece I had laying around.  I wanted these suckers to be warm.  I simply put the wool and fleece layers together and sewed normally (the pattern doesn’t call for a lining).

I finished one mitten.  I finished two mittens.  Yeah baby.  I set them next to each other to smugly admire my amazing handiwork, and I think you know what I saw.

Oliver and S Little Things to Sew Mittens

Not exactly what I had imagined.  Shit!

Did I have enough sweater to cut new pieces for an, ahem, right mitten?

Oliver and S Little Things to Sew Mittens

Yes, just enough!  Thank my lucky stars.  A proper pair was then created for Lulu, followed by a second pair for Kiki.

Oliver and S Little Things to Sew Mittens

Let this be a lesson to all of us.  Just because you’re very short on time and you decide to make a project that’s “simple” and “doesn’t require much thought” — don’t phone it in.  For God’s sake!

The good news is that both Kiki and Lulu love their new mittens.

Oliver and S Little Things to Sew Mittens

I’ve had a very hard time finding mittens that are really warm, yet small enough for Lulu’s 2 1/2 year old hands.  Most everything I’ve found is just too big and won’t stay on.  So, I made an “extra small” pair for her, meant to fit 6m-2T kids.  The hand part is just right, but they are a tad short in the wrist.

Oliver and S Little Things to Sew Mittens

Next time, rather than sewing on bias tape as a casing for elastic at the wrist, I might try Jane from Buzzmill’s very smart idea of adding a ribbed cuff.  Genius!  That cuff should tuck right into the coat sleeves.

Kiki’s are a small, 3T-4T, and they fit quite well.

Oliver and S Little Things to Sew Mittens

I’m happy to report that the end of this cautionary tale is a happy one.

Here’s to sledding, snow princesses and warm hands!

Oliver and S Little Things to Sew Mittens