Baby Dresses and Bracelets

July 9, 2014 at 10:21 pm (Jewelry, Sewing Projects)

I have been sewing non-stop for the last month.  My daughter’s friend Sarah and her hubby are having a baby girl.  She was Amanda’s roommate when she moved to the DC area. They lived together until Sarah and, six months later, Amanda got married.  I knew I wanted to do something special for Sarah’s baby shower.  I decided to dust off my sewing machine and make one of those tutu dresses that are so popular.  Of course, being the thrift store maven I am, I chose to re-purpose two skirts I purchased for $2.99 each.  I decided to make two dresses just in case I screwed one up royally… I would have a back-up. I always have complete confidence in my abilities.  I had no idea what I was getting myself into!!

I made the 6-12 Month

I made the 6-12 Month

For the tutu dresses, I used Violette Field Threads – Chloe. I re-purposed a skirt for each bodice. I had to purchase three different fabrics for the skirt, 2 yards each, netting, tulle and chiffon.  They suggested nylon chiffon because it doesn’t fray, but my local Joann fabric store didn’t have any, so I had to get the kind that frays like mad — and it frayed madly!!  I decided to interface the fashion fabric because each skirt piece had a slight 4-way stretch. I wanted it to be firm. Again, re-purposing is about giving pre-worn garments a beautiful second life.  It was easy to do and, once I interfaced it, the material cooperated 100% !!  I also used buttons from my Grammy’s stash.   I fully finished the bodices, buttons and all, before I even started on the skirts.  That was a good decision on my part.

The skirt… ahhhh… the skirt… three different fabrics cut 10 inches long (10 1/2 for the chiffon because I had to hem that), 2 yards wide.  The fabrics were hemmed, side seams sewed, lined up, and then I began to gather… 72 inches to 20 inches.  Each skirt took about 2 hours to hem, sew, gather BEFORE attaching to the bodice.  The one thing I will do differently next time is I WILL learn to use my serger and I WILL use it to combine the three fabrics.  I also will be purchasing a gathering foot for my machine in the hopes that it will make this step easier — quite honestly, there probably is not much that will make it easier except to use less fabric, which I won’t do because the finished product is AMAZING!!!!

Madeline's dress

Madeline’s dress

...the back (using buttons from Grammy's stash)

…the back (using buttons from Grammy’s stash)

Both dresses turned out beautifully and I was only giving one dress to Sarah.  I decided to give the second dress to my friend Tab who is having a baby girl soon too.  (You can click the link on Tab’s name to read her wonderful blog).

Dress for Tab's baby girl

Dress for Tab’s baby girl

...the back (using buttons from Grammy's stash)

…the back (using buttons from Grammy’s stash)

A sane woman would have stopped at two beautiful tutu dresses.  But I have never said I was sane!!  Sarah and Tim have named their girl Madeline.  I decided to use my machine embroidery attachment to make a pillow for her room.

Madeline's pillow

Madeline’s pillow

It took me as long to reacquaint myself with the attachment as it did to embroider the pillow. Of course, I didn’t stop there.  I had some beautiful sparkly beads that I sewed around the embroidery and I found a beautiful butterfly that I hand-stitched on.  I don’t have a picture of the back of the pillow, but it has three buttons/buttonholes.  I used buttons from Grammy’s stash.

Simplicity 1547

Simplicity 1547

Then, this crazy woman decided to make a winter dress for Madeline.  I used Simplicity 1547.  I found a sweet corduroy fabric.  I made a small pink felt flower to match.

Sweet corduroy dress

Sweet corduroy dress

And then… Sarah has always loved the earrings I made for Amanda’s bridesmaids.  She will often email me when she wears them.  I had a few of the stones in my stash…

Sarah's bracelet

Sarah’s bracelet

Now she has a matching bracelet.

And then… I went through my iTunes and made a music mix for Madeline.  I chose all women artists, including my darling daughter.  For Sarah’s music mix, I gathered all of the worship music that heals my heart and encourages me.

The baby shower was beautiful!  Sarah’s friends did a wonderful job.  I helped Judy put the little teeny-tiny appetizers together.  Of course, I forgot to take my camera and didn’t get a picture of me and Sarah 😦

Judy's beautiful "little bites."  I only helped assemble them :-)

Judy’s beautiful “little bites.” I only helped assemble them 🙂

I was putting together the mailer to send Tab her dress and decided to make her a bracelet.  I don’t know her favorite color, but green is my “go-to” when I don’t have a specific inspiration color.  I used one of my “joy” beads just to encourage her.  She is going to, very soon, have three kiddos all under the age of five and two dogs and a hubby and a blog and a business… she’s one busy, inspirational lady.  I pray she is reminded to simply en”joy” each day, no matter what it brings.

Tab's bracelet -- always remember to have JOY

Tab’s bracelet — always remember to have JOY

Oh, and last week I spent five days helping Amanda decorate her and Hengyi’s new townhouse.  We walked and walked, looked and looked (she says I touched and touched… I must confess, I touch everything!!), bought and bought (again, another story — I have to put my credit card away for a while).  I hemmed drapes and curtains and, when we got back to my house, I made two pillows out of the fabric that was her inspiration for all of the color choices for her first floor.

Amanda's "jumping off" point for her house

Amanda’s “jumping off” point for her house

Whew!!  No wonder I have been tired all week.  I am sleeping and napping and sleeping some more.  And then on Friday, we get Jasmine.



I have two sewing projects on the list.  First:  Learn how to use my serger!!  I think the tutu dresses would have been easier had I been able to use the serger.  Second:  repurpose a maxi dress I got at Goodwill into a vintage summer dress.  The dress is a newer Target dress. I love the fabric but it hits me in weird places.  I am going to use a vintage pattern, 1963 McCalls 6712.  So, in essence, I am going to do things backwards — take a new dress and make it old :-).  I want to have that done before we go to the beach.  Here’s hoping…

1963 pattern, which is awesome!!

1963 pattern, which is awesome!!

Oh, and I was going to make baby shoes.  I made one sample successfully but I ran out of time.  Another project for another day 🙂

Sample baby shoe -- too exhausted to even think about this project!!

Sample baby shoe — too exhausted to even think about this project!!





  1. Cathy said,

    Melodye, these creations are just beautiful. I am always impressed by your creativity and your fearlessness in facing a new creative challenge. Keep up the great work.

    • Melodye Olsavsky said,

      Thanks Cathy! I get on a crazy tear and then have to stop and take a deep breath before diving in again. I am loving sewing right now. I hope you are enjoying your summer with some sewing too!

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