The thoughts, sewing projects, and fabric oglings of a dedicated sewist.

The Rejected Birthday Dress

Most of my sewing is done to fill the wardrobes of my clients and myself.  I have two lovely daughters who barely get a stitch out of me and I have even been known to put needle, thread, and fabric into the hands of the older one (now 5) to get her to let me sew (for myself or a client) for "just a few more minutes . . ."  In my defense, they don't really need clothes from me.  Most of my friends had children years earlier than my husband and me so we have truckloads of hand-me-downs.  And my fantastic MIL had three boys so she and her sister love to shop for little girls.  But each daughter gets a handmade dress and homemade cupcakes for her birthday. 

Part of this tradition is having the birthday girl flip through books to find the dress and cupcakes that she wants.  When I first started sewing, my brother's (now ex-) girlfriend gave me the book Little Girls, Big Style by Mary Abreu, which has some cute, super easy-to-sew styles, and I also have a binder full of patterns and tutorials - quite a collection, considering how infrequently I sew clothes for girls! 

The cupcakes come from a book that my MIL gave me, What's New Cupcake? by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson.  These cupcakes look super complicated but are really quite simple to make using easily found ingredients (Michael's and local grocery store).  Since I am not even remotely talented as a baker, that's saying a lot.  And when I saw that the Meijer's brand white cake mix was on sale for $1.05, I didn't even make the cake from scratch this year.  It made me so happy to take that task off my list that I just might do it again (more time for sewing!)

The birthday girl this time around was Mooper, my baby, who turned 3 at the end of December.  She's had the fabric picked out for months, a discontinued Michael Miller cowgirl print that I bought from a neighbor who used to have an Etsy shop when her kids were young (the fabric for Belly's last birthday dress came from the same source).  Choosing the style was a bit more difficult.  This was our first conversation about it in early December:

Me: Mooper, we need to pick out your birthday dress soon so that I can start working on it.
Mooper: I want a cowgirl dress.
Me: Yes, that's the fabric we'll use, but we have to pick out the shape.
Mooper: I want a round dress.
Me: A round dress?
Mooper: Yes, then it will be an address.

I had her look at the book and binder, but she really didn't get the idea of her fabric become one of the dresses that was made out of a different fabric.  In the end, I went with the dress she seemed to like best.  She picked out the contrast fabric and here's what I sewed up:

Mooper's initial response was humorously lackluster:  "Well, it's in-ter-esting, Mama."  Huh???  She put it on for about 10 seconds and then wanted it off.  I didn't even have time to snap a picture!  She wore a dress that her Great Aunt Wendy found in a charity consignment shop instead.  I'm not sure I'm ever going to get her in this dress again, but I'm hanging onto it for a while in hopes that she'll change her mind.  If anyone out there has ideas about how to help young kids visualize fabric + dress style, please let me know.  Or if you have a pattern for a "round dress" - clearly that's where I went amiss!  Ah well, at least I got to try shirring for the first time.

Luckily, the cupcakes went down without complaint and no one noticed that I'd used a box mix:

The best part for Devon and me was watching Maisey enjoy her birthday present.  We bought her a trampoline and her face at the moment she started jumping more than overcame the disappointment of the failed birthday dress.

8 comments on "The Rejected Birthday Dress"
  1. Send the dress this way. I think it's really cute !!!

  2. Awww! I am not looking forward to the day I try and dress my little girl when she has her opinions. My mom said that at the age of 2 I resolutely refused to wear anything she picked out. I know I'll get it back tenfold! Love those cupcakes.

  3. Thanks, Rhonda. Maybe it would fit one of your dogs??!!

  4. I feel this mixed sense of pride and frustration with my daughters' opinions - I'm proud they have the confidence to have them, and annoyed when this means a rejection of something I worked to create! And the best thing about those particular cupcakes is that you use Nutter Butters to create the animal heads. Yum.

  5. Hmm a round dress? Maybe a bubble skirt or a very full circle skirt? Maybe she could try drawing? Is 3 too young to draw? Or maybe she has a doll that wears the type of dress she's imagining? I distinctly remember really wanting a pointy princess hat when I was little and never got it, hehe.

    1. Huh, interesting thought - I'd love to hear about the garment/accessory that folks wanted as kids but they never got (or not exactly as they wanted it). I wanted a bright red poncho with a hood, little red riding hood-esque. I wonder if I could pull off that look now . . .

  6. Too bad it's not adult-sized, it's adorable :-)

    1. If only I could wear the girls' clothes - they've got some cute hand-me-downs!