A Charlie Dress for a Pal

Guess what . . . I was commissioned to make a dress for another young lady in my daughter’s preschool class!

Made By Rae Charlie Tunic Dress

I donated several Charlie Tunics I made a while back to the preschool fundraising auction, and the mom of my new “client” bought one for her son.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have one in her daughter’s size, and it really is just this little girl’s style.  So I suggested that I make one especially for her.  After a few emails about fabric choice and design, we settled on a dress version with short sleeves for the summer.

This family is fond of Japanese design, so I sent the mom lots of Japanese prints to choose from for the facings.  Fabricworm has no shortage of Japanese prints, so I’m afraid she was a bit overwhelmed at the selection.  After some consideration, she chose Deer From my Heart in navy from Kokka.  The recipient of this dress loves to wear blue, so this Robert Kaufman Chambray Union in indigo was an easy choice for the main fabric.

Made By Rae Charlie Tunic Dress

When I ordered the chambray, I didn’t realize that there are little tiny flecks of bright red, yellow and blue running through.  It’s very subtle, but makes a great up close detail.  If you look very closely, you can see that there are also tiny bright red dots on the necks of all those little deer on the facing, kind of like bow ties.  So, there also had to be bright red buttons, don’t you think?

Made By Rae Charlie Tunic Dress

The original Charlie pattern from Made by Rae comes in tunic form.  But if you’d like to make it into a dress, you can buy a Charlie Dress PDF Add-On that gives you an additional pattern piece to tape onto the original tunic pattern piece, adding length and also making it wider at the bottom, giving the dress an A-line shape.  The add-on also includes the pattern piece for the bottom facing, as well as instructions for a 3/4 length sleeve if you decide to go in that direction.  The facings for the cuffs are a little different in the dress version, too.

Made By Rae Charlie Tunic Dress

I have made quite a few Charlie Tunics and a couple of Charlie Dresses in the past.  I love this style — it’s really unique and so very chic.  I also like that it works for both girls and boys.

Alas, neither of my girls are into it right now.  Don’t ask me why.  When I ask Kiki if she would like one, she says “Naaaaaa.”  As for Lulu, if it doesn’t have a skirt that “spreads around,” forget it.  Ah well.

Needless to say, I was so glad to have the chance to make one for someone else who is sure to wear and enjoy it.  This little girl has worn her new Charlie Dress to school several times and looks as cute as can be in it.

Made By Rae Charlie Tunic Dress

Don’t you think this pattern would be awesome in adult sizes??  I would wear it, for sure. I wonder if Rae would ever consider sizing it up for us . . . in all her spare time 🙂

Licensed to Sell, Baby! — Part Two

Whew, it’s been a while since I’ve said hello over here!  The thing is that I went back to work for the first time since kids, and in a completely new job.  So, I’ve been spending all my “free time”  getting ready for my new venture.  I started last week and am still here, so that’s good.  I decided that it’s time to come up for air and think about sewing for a minute.  Yay!

This brings me back to the cliffhanger I left you with over a month ago (haha).  When we last were together, I told you about the holiday craft fair I participated in back in late November, and showed you the mess of Geraniums Dresses I made to sell.  Well, I couldn’t leave the boys out completely, so I also made several gender neutral options.  First up are three Charlie Tunics from Made by Rae.

Here is Kiki wearing a 4T Charlie in Robert Kaufman Chambray Union Stretch in Indigo with a fun print I got on sale at Hawthorne Threads last year after the holidays for the facings.  (Sadly, I can’t remember exactly what it is and wasn’t able to spot it in a quick search of the site today.)

Made By Rae, Charlie Tunic

I also used this print in a Louisa Dress from Compagnie-M last year that still that gets lots of wear.  It’s so nice to find more than one use for a great fabric.

I love those gold buttons!

Here’s Charlie No. 2, a 3T, in chambray and a random leftover from another project — from Joann’s I think.

Made By Rae, Charlie Tunic

I love this pattern.  It’s such a chic look for both girls and boys, and it’s a great way to use up the cherished leftovers of your favorite contrast fabric.  You only need a fat quarter’s worth of fabric for the facings!

Rae also shows you how to convert this fab tunic into a very fun dress with a few adjustments.  You can buy the add-on pattern on her site.   I made a couple of foxy flannel Charlie Dresses last winter for both my girls, which were cozy enough even for the dreaded polar vortex.  I’m thinking about maybe some springtime Charlie Dresses in a few months.

The last Charlie of the day is this 2T, modeled by the lovely Lulu, once again in chambray.

Made By Rae, Charlie Tunic, Indelible

I got fancy with the contrasting facings here and used Threaded Shreds in Mamey from the Indelible line.  I bought a full yard of it for this top, so I have plenty leftover for another smallish project.  Hooray!

I also made a trio of long sleeved Flashback Skinny Tees.  I’ve made millions of these and can whip them up in to time by now.  What a great excuse to try out more of these wonderful Acorn Trail knits by Teagan White, and to use more Birch Organics elk in this gorgeous saffron color.  At the sale, I actually got a “commission” for an elk tee in another size.

Made By Rae, Flashback Skinny Tee, Teagan White, Acorn Trail, Birch Organics

My last offering at the sale was this Skater Dress from Kitschy Koo in Gold Bugs Acorn Trail knit.

Kitschy Koo Skater Dress, Teagan White, Acorn Trail, Birch Organics

I actually made this dress for Lulu — and to my utter and complete shock, she refused to even try it on.  I tried quite a few times to sell her on the awesomeness of these bugs and the comfy-ness of this dress — but to no avail.  The child must be crazy to not have fallen completely in love, as far as I’m concerned.  So, I threw it on the pile of stuff for the sale, and someone bought it right away.  That’ll show her 😉

As I did in Lulu’s other, much beloved birdy Skater Dress — I cut the skirt 1 1/2 times wider than the pattern piece and gathered it, as suggested by Rachel of Stitched Together. I cut the bodice in 18m/2T, but shortened it a bit, and I cut the skirt at the 3T/4T length. I like to think that it would have fit Lulu quite well — but the world will never know.  Ha.

So, in the end, I sold about half the stuff I made.  The rest will end up in Kiki & Lulu’s closet, or in the fund raiser auction for our preschool.  I never thought I wanted to make a habit of selling what I’ve sewn, and this experience didn’t change my mind.  I’m glad I did it, but I think I’ll stick to sewing for my own little tribe for now.

But, now that I’m working (part time, but still . . . ), the real trick will be finding the time to sew at all.  It’ll happen. Everything in good time.

Licensed to Sell, Baby! — Part One

So, funny story . . . I was asked to participate in a holiday handmade sale at our local toddler playspace. It was such a nice compliment to be asked, and I was excited to take on the challenge.  Of course, things almost always turn out to be more complicated and time consuming than originally imagined — and this was no exception.  But, all in all, I’m glad I did it.

Leslie Grayson

Being a craft fair rookie, I had no idea how much or what sizes to make and what people might want to buy (much less how much to charge???). So, I did what I usually do when I have no idea what I’m doing . . I totally winged it (or is it wung it??).

I decided to go with patterns I know, and turned to the tried and true Geranium Dress and Charlie Tunic from Made By Rae. I also threw in a couple of Flashback Skinny Tees for good measure. So I bought the licenses to sell from Rae’s web site and got to work.

(Quick Disclaimer — These photos were taken on a tight time schedule in bad weather, as these duds were going out the door soon.  And, if you have preschoolers, you may know that getting them to pose for a photo in a specific outfit can be a challenge.  Try doing that with, say, six outfits.  You have been warned!)

First up is a 4T Geranium made with Cotton + Steel Mustang in Gold Metallic and Robert Kaufman Chambray Union in Indigo.  This one was Kiki’s favorite.  Luckily, I have enough fabric to make one for her, since this one sold!


I found some little brass buttons that were perfect.


There’s just something about those horses!


Here is Lulu doing her best Statue of Liberty impression (not joking), in a 2T Geranium. (Why do they always find a way to stand in front of the wall outlet when you snap the one photo that doesn’t come out too blurry???)


The fabric is a nice, lightweight corduroy print I found at the local fabric store last year. I took a cue from Gail and added some flat piping, which helped to break up the print and pull it all together.  I wasn’t sure if the corduroy would gather very well on the skirt, but it ended up working out perfectly!

This one has a homemade Flashback Skinny Tee to go with it in interlock from The Fabric Fairy.  I had designs on making a coordinating tee for each Geranium for the sale — but you and I both know that there was no way I’d have time to do that 🙂


I’d like to mention that through all my experience with this pattern, I find that attaching the bodice lining by stitching in the ditch never looks good.  Maybe it’s just me, but it’s always a mess on the inside and never quite right on the outside.  So quite a while ago, I made the fateful decision to follow Rae’s advice and hand sew the bodice linings in for a “more professional look.”  She’s totally right about that.  Yes, it takes time — especially when you’re making six dresses (what was I thinking??).  But, it can be done while waiting for the kids to finish their breakfast or watching tv or whatever.  And it’s so worth it to have a lovely looking interior!

Here’s another 4T Geranium that has been named the “Firework Dress” by Kiki.


The bodice is Cotton + Steel Dandelion in Rust, and the skirt is Robert Kaufman 21 Wale Corduroy in Ginger.  I really got into the cotton/corduroy combo here.  I think it’s a pretty cool look for fall and winter.

I have to say that the most fun thing about this project was putting together fabrics that I like and that I think will look good together — without worrying about the will of the preschooler.  And believe it or not, Kiki (my toughest customer) loved most of these dresses.  She was relieved that this one didn’t sell, and it’s become one of her favorites.

20141121_123410Here’s a 3T Geranium with a bodice in quilting cotton from Joann’s leftover from this dress last fall.

20141121_123906When looking for fabric for the skirt I had a tough time finding a good color match, and I decided that I couldn’t risk buying it online.  I found this dark grey corduroy at the local fabric store — the color is a little darker than I had imagined, and it’s a little bit heavy.  Sewing those pleats through all that thickness was not the easiest job in the world — but hey, you do what you have to do.  I think it did the job in the end.  And the dark color kind of adds to the wintry-ness off it all, don’t you think?


Nope, not done just yet.  Here’s a 3T in more Joann’s quilting cotton bought last year and not yet used.


The skirt is more Robert Kaufman 21 Wale Corduroy in Olive Drab.  This stuff in awesome — it’s the perfect weight to give a nice drape while still being cozy enough for winter.

Funny that Kiki is 4 1/2 and this 3T still fits!


Ok, last one — I promise.

Here’s another 3T in beautiful embroidered corduroy that I found at the fabric store on sale for $4/yard!  (Not sure where Lulu’s other leg is here.  I assure you that it’s turned up since.)


I never would’ve had the guts to use this fabric for one of my girls, for fear that they’d never go for the dark brown.  It was so fun to go ahead and make it anyway this time!!

I used a little package of pre-made white piping from my stash to finish it off.  And who doesn’t love pearly buttons?


Wow, I’m exhausted!  I’ll go take a nap and will show you the Charlies and the other Flashbacks next time.