kcw project four: flashback tee and simple dress


in some of these photos, he is smiling.  in others, he is grimacing.  i leave it to you to decide which is which.  today brings two simple projects that became more complicated related to sewing burnout…kcw is halfway over and fatigue is setting in!

as i said, i just can’t help myself but to find ways to use up this shot cotton, and i couldn’t overlook how much these two hues of purple remind me of one of my favorite children’s garments sewn recently (see below).  bean’s simple dress (more like a simple tunic…i have never put bean in dresses, so in all of the photos we’ve taken this week, she’s asking me when she can have her pants) is my interpretation of handiwork by three of my favorite bloggers.


a few weeks ago, some bloggers participated in a sewing swap for each other’s children, which included the above dress, sewn by cherie for sanae’s daughter (i love both these blogs and read them religiously.  sanae posts almost every weekday morning, and it’s a favorite part of waking up to read her musings).  i love the color blocking, the ruffled sleeves, the pleated bodice, everything!  i actually intended to work on drafting a pattern similar to this after kcw was over, but again, i couldn’t resist the power of the shot cottons.  i had to do something with them immediately.


if you’ve been reading for a loooooong time, you might recognize the style of this dress from the mustard dress bean wore for thanksgiving.  both dresses were made possible by the one and only venus of suburbia soup.  the story goes, she made a dress like this for her adorable two year old’s birthday, and i, having never sewn any kind of dress, sent her a cautious email asking for any tips on how i might recreate it.  we had never communicated before (though i read her blog regularly), and i didn’t even expect her to write back.DSC05397

but write back she did, and thus began my greatest blogging friendship!  rather than provide me with tips, she constructed an ENTIRE PATTERN with instructions and diagrams and emailed it to me within days.  that’s right, this quick, versatile little number is a venus exclusive, made especially for me.  jealous??  since then, we have stayed in touch (you’ve probably noticed she is a frequent commenter on this blog)…she is my go-to resource for all my sewing questions and needs and one of my biggest cheerleaders.  she is warm, generous, funny, thoughtful, and a pretty exceptional artist.  if somehow you don’t already read her blog, you should definitely remedy that.

anyhow, i knew the simple construction of the dress would be straightforward and ideal to showcase the fabric.  i remembered the first time i sewed it, again, among the first garments i ever made, i got the whole thing done from cutting to finishing in a single nap time.  enlightened seamstress that i am now, i decided i could thus take some creative liberties with the pattern, inspired by a spool of gold thread standing defiantly on my sewing table.


in the pattern, the skirt is cut with the selvedge intact, so no hemming.  i love to examine the selvedges of garments, especially linen, which is often interesting and unfortunately, disposed of.  shot cotton, for all its merits, has a blah selvedge.  so instead, i made a little fringe by pulling out some threads of fabric (you can see how shot cotton gets it’s almost iridescent effect, by weaving two totally different colored threads together) and then topstitching a few seams to make sure it doesn’t unravel anymore.  i used the gold thread in both the top and bobbin, and it made the fabric pucker quite a bit.  while i don’t mind the visual effect, i hope it holds up to vigorous play!  i also did a few rows of decorative top stitching on the straps…never in my life have i struggled with bias tape this way.  i kept missing the fold on the back side over and over, then sewed one strap on totally twisted.  lots of seam ripping in this dress, which i can only chalk up to kcw taking hold.

anyway, it’s one of those garments that dads need direction to put on correctly because it has no closures and is a tight fit over the head, but once it’s on, it fits well (though i should add some length to the bodice–she’s getting taller!), and bean enjoyed wearing it (with pants).


of course, i couldn’t leave out the fashionisto.  i have made so many flashback tees, i can construct one start to finish in 30 minutes.  that was my plan here, but sewing again went awry.


the happy sunshine stripes are another super soft girl charlee purchase.  i’m decent at aligning stripes, but these two shades of yellow are slightly different.  i didn’t think of that when cutting the pattern, so my stripes are aligned, just opposite colors from front to back.  the right and wrong side of the fabric are basically inscrutable, but despite my late night efforts, i awoke the next morning to find indeed, the front of the shirt has the wrong side out.  and if that collar looks crooked, it’s because the first collar i sewed on was too small, and rather than seam rip jersey (which one should avoid at all costs), i just chopped the whole thing off, harvested a collar from another unsuspecting and intact shirt, and sewed it on here.  not quite a 30 minute endeavor when all was said and done.  anyhow, when things like this happen, i remind myself he is two and will never notice or remember, and will outgrow the crooked collar by summer’s end. DSC05400  so, it would seem this sewing frenzy is starting to wear me down.  thus, i have no choice but to stop it with this rogue sewing and return to my carefully laid plans.  today, i will take on my first oliver + s pattern to restore me to sewing sense!

3 thoughts on “kcw project four: flashback tee and simple dress

  1. EEee!!! *clapping* The dress looks amazing! I”m thinking of altering the pattern to add a small button closure in the back, what do you think? This is really beautiful. I never thought to do color blocking and how you did the hemline is the finishing touch.

    DANG… where the heck have I been?! I’m seeing all these fabrics from Girl Charlee and I’m seriously jealous. Okay, shot cotton AND fabric from Girl Charlee on my list. Got it!

    Bravo, Ashley! Your sewing skills are growing by leaps and bounds. Hmmm… not bad for a knitter! *tee-hee* 😉

    • a button closure would be great! then i could learn how to do one 🙂 i might consider testing that pattern for you if the need arises… did you go to the girl charlee site yet? it was painful choosing just a few fabrics, painful. um, today’s projects definitely don’t showcase my growth as a seamstress…i moved a little backward on them. and after this week, i’m ready to return to my knitting needles! xo

  2. Pingback: birthday boys |

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