Thursday, September 12, 2019

A Purple Hiking Dress with Pockets

Rose's second dress was recently finished, just in time for her to wear it for a hike. She only wore it once so far because summer returned! It seems more like late July out there than almost-mid September but that's ok - we will enjoy summer for as long as we can!

For this dress I had a 1 and 1/2 yard length to work with. This pretty purple cotton was on clearance for 3 dollars a yard so altogether this dress was very inexpensive to make. Rose chose the wrap dress pattern that we used for her Heart Day Heart Dress almost two years ago (and which still fits, although it's much shorter now!) and I used the sleeve pattern I made for her yellow dress but added some width to the sleeve for gathers at the shoulder.

I had plenty of fabric to work with so I made TWO pockets, the same pattern as the pocket on her yellow dress. The skirt is made of 3 panels that are gathered to the waist. This dress has unusual construction because I used a different method for almost everything - the bodice fronts and back (but not the neckline) were bag lined with cotton shirting repurposed from an outgrown 1860's toddler pinafore, then the sleeves were set into just the outer layer, and the linings at the armscyes turned under and slip stitched to the armscyce seam, covering all the seam allowances from the sleeves. The sleeve underarm seam and the skirt seams were french seamed. The skirts were sewn to the bodice outer layer and the lining turned under and slip stitched over the seam. Finally, the edges of the dress were bound with bias binding all around. The neckline, the skirt fronts and all around the hem. It may not have been the best way to make this dress but it is what made sense to me as I was making it.

It closes on both sides with wood buttons. I made a size 5 so she has a little room to grow. Hopefully this will work this year as a dress and next year as a tunic! But who knows with this child - she has been eating enormous amounts lately and is certainly gearing up for a growth spurt!

We had a lovely little walk (a hike to Rosie!) up and down a big hill at a forest preserve we love visiting. This particular place is also home to an ancient earthwork fortification built approximately 1500-2000 years ago. Rosie had fun looking for fungi, caterpillars and interesting rocks.

Next up is sewing her knits - leggings and, I think, long sleeved swingy t-shirt dresses. Then the Princess Aurora costume she has decided on for Halloween. The blue kind. She is adamant about that. Not pink. 

And *I* want to make a very early 1890's wash dress before Halloween. My mother sent me into shock earlier this week when she asked me if I wanted my great-great grandmother's sewing machine. Libby Edwards (I don't know her maiden name!) was born in 1899. Her son, my great-grandfather, born in 1918, died when my grandpa was a baby and Libby's sewing machine somehow passed into the possession of my great-Uncle Louie. According to the serial number, the sewing machine that belonged to her was made between 1890-1891. After I got over my shock of the offer and of the pictures my mom sent me, I ordered Marna Jean Davis' Kay's Housekeeping Dress pattern and am eager to sew it up. I am just going for the general look so I'm not making new undergarments (except a petticoat or two - 1890's skirts are vastly different than the rectangular paneled mid-century petticoats!) but I am So. Dang. Excited. 😁

Much love,


  1. Omg congrats on the new machine! Thats so exciting! And i love those projects that your brain is like Now Put On The Bias Tape and other random directions from other garments and eras. Rose looks quite cozy and comfy. A fun and practical garment!

    1. Yeah it's so weird how all the information you absorb about historic construction can subtly influence your modern sewing projects! And thank you! I am really excited and still a bit in shock about the sewing machine. I don't know a lot about that side of my family so this helps me feel such a closer connection to the great-great grandma I previously knew nothing more about than her name. I'm hoping to be able to sew on it and if I can, I would love to sew up the Marna Jean Davis pattern using it. I haven't seen it in person yet but the pictures show that it looks to be complete and in very good condition. Thanks for sharing in my excitement! :D


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!