Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Living Is Easy. Or Not. Whatever.

So when it's snowing (which it is here right now), your sewing mind naturally turns to... summer dresses. Naturally.  Well, mine did because yesterday I received the Spring 2010 Papo D'Anjo catalog. Ah, Papo D'Anjo.  I have a sort of love-hate relationship with them.  Liberty fabrics? Check.  Classic styles.  Check check.  $250 for a child's dress.  Che-- uh.  Wait.  What?  No.

However, this catalog is an inspiration for planning a little girl's spring and summer wardrobe if you are inclined towards the classical in clothing.  If you are in the habit of making traditional little girl's dresses, this catalog will no doubt alternately amuse, enthrall and irritate you because these dresses are basically what you already make at home.  If you charged $200 for them.  Which is about $200 more than most of you charge right now, right?

go to

go to 
Check out this new item, as shown below.  The “cross-back sunsuit”.  I have no less than three patterns for this outfit and when my kids were babies they wore these all summer long.  I didn't charge them $70.  I'm not saying I shouldn't have... but I didn't.   They do take up a massive amount of fabric, so at least that justifies the cost somewhat.

go to 

One of the Big4 always has some version of this pattern in stock.  Always.  Butterick has it right now:

B5439 at

Doesn’t this just shout “summer picnic”?  Every summer I try to make at least a few traditional sundresses for my kids.

go to

I still have some pieces of floral lawn that I got last summer from the fabulous Farmhouse Fabrics.  They have lovely fabrics at good rates-- not super-cheap to buy but high quality and worth the price.  (And I have no affiliation of course, I'm just a big fan.)

I still have this fabric, which is one of my all-time favorite prints:

cotton lawn at 

And here's a dress I made for TLo last summer.  I used the cotton lawn from Farmhouse (which they still have in several colorways), fine cotton pique for the collar and cotton batiste for the bodice lining.  It’s a little messy looking here because strangely enough it’s been hanging in the closet for four or five months.


My original plan was to do a lace insertion on the front bodice, but I had absolutely no luck with it and it kept pulling apart at the seams. I didn’t have enough fabric to recut the bodice, so I finally decided to do a fix with pique insertions instead, which didn't go so well because of the bulk.  I was also going to do some sort of piping or trim on the collar, but I decided it was a bit too heavy already and to just Let. It. Go.  So it’s not quite as nice as I was planning, but it’s ok.

front wtih pique insertion


back with buttons

I can't tell you what pattern I used, because I basically mashed this together myself by altering  a drop-waisted bodice from another dress into an empire waist, changing it from a front button placket to a back button placket, adding a lining and then creating the skirt out of a rectangle of fabric.  I drafted the collar to match the neckline of the bodice.  If I could remember what bodice I started with I would tell you but I can't and frankly at this point it probably doesn't matter anyway.

And that is today’s little walk through the sunshine.  Well, I guess I'm off to shovel some snow off the driveway.  Ahhhh... makes you think of halter tops, right? 

(Edit: And just so you don’t think I’m completely deranged, I do realize that this little dress isn’t anything like as nice as the catalog dresses above.  I’m not totally delusional.  It’s just that this is the only one I have that I could find and that I remotely remembered how I made.  You just wait, Doubting Susans, this summer I will have a plethora, plethora I tells ya, of nifty summer clothing to show off.  I will.  No, I am not being defensive.   I am not!  Quit saying that!)


  1. It's catalogs like that that make me think I should start selling stuff. Seriously, 250 bucks!?!? Is it lined with diamonds???

  2. Those prices are ridiculous, but meant for those that don't sew. I work in a community where people pay stupid amounts of money to dress (and accesorize) their children. And do you know what I hear my students say (repeatedly) when I show them something I made for myself or my daughter? "I wish my mom could make me stuff like that. Your daughter is so lucky!"

  3. I hate to disagree with you, but, yes, your little dress is as nice as those in the catalog! You made it for one thing. It is unbelievable how much those dresses are. If I could only sell mine for that much!


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