Swedish Sunshine

comments: 130


PATTERN: Simplicity 3510
VIEW: Bodice with three-quarter raglan sleeve (modified to eliminate tucks)
FABRIC: 100% shirting fabric from Fabric Depot, lace is vintage from an estate sale

Thank you for the music recommendations! I haven't even begun to scratch the surface of all the bands you suggested, so I am looking forward to doing that while I sew this week. At some point over the weekend I remembered that I have to, like, do some actual work again. My scrap basket was absolutely overflowing, so I began cutting my scraps into more 2 1/2-inch squares, and now I have a new handbag design I am really excited to show somebody. I am still working on the prototype, but after four tries I think I have got it. Get ready for some bitty squares, some linen, and some (yes) smocking! Oh, and do you like the color of apple blossoms?

The past few weeks of sewing these little dresses has been so much fun, and so relaxing, somehow. On a physical and, dare I say, an existential level. As I sew I think about the past and, for the first time in such a long time, the future. I think about what it will be like to have a new voice here in the house, and new sounds and smells. I think about what our animals will think about this new little critter in their pack. I think about the baby books we're reading, and the adoption books we've read. I think about the children's books I want to collect, and the songs Andy will write and sing. I think about pockets holding acorn caps and crayons and crumbs, and I think about hems and sleeves being shortened or lengthened once little arms are in them. I think about summer camps and skateboards. I think about birthparents and birthfamilies. I think about walks in the woods and campfires on the beach, and stars. I think about teeny, tiny toes. I think about the view of three dogwood trees from her bedroom window, and wonder if someday she'll move her bed so that she can wake up and look out of it, the way I did. I think cloth, or disposable? I think about all the ways in which the preparations we are making now will no doubt someday make us (and everyone we know) fall over laughing at our naivete, but I love thinking about that, too. You do your best to prepare, knowing that the reality will be whatever it is (because really, what has ever turned out how you expected?). I want to fill this time with the work of our happy hands and the highest hopes for all of us, the way any parent would. The preparations: I hope they turn out to be mostly functional. But symbols have a function, too.

Shelling Peas, Carl Larsson, 1908 

This little gingham dress is inspired by two of my great inspirations, artists and parents (of eight!) Carl and Karin Larsson, whose rooms were filled with children, food, flowers, fabrics, fresh air, animals, handmade things, art, peace, sunshine, togetherness, and love. Just like I want ours to be.


I LOVE all these dresses. I found some lovely purplish Etro fabric the other day that I want to use to make that amazing tunic-y dress from last week. And I adore Carl Larsson. All those prints were in our house growing up. Love the one of the father with the child on his shoulders.

love the inspiration. i made a dress for my daughter from the same pattern, altho i did a short sleeve version with the pleated pockets (which, i have to say, was the most difficult part of the pattern. is there a trick for getting wee pockets to match? i am sure there is, just one of the many sewing tricks i don't know yet). it is a great style, because it is loose and could potentially be a tunic or top when it gets too short to be a dress. i love this one, just as much as the rest.

I have so enjoyed seeing the clothes you're creating for your little girl! We had a boy in November, and though he's certainly the love of our lives, and I wouldn't trade him for anything, I'd love to have a girl to craft for as well. Thanks for the inspiration!

As an aside, we're using cloth diapers (along with elimination communication) and absolutely loving it. It's a bit of work to clean out the dirty ones, but we've found that daddies are very good at that :-)

Another beautiful dress! I see it with some cute red mary janes.

All these preparations will make you so happy someday. I love that there are things I sewed, knitted that we use with our son. So excited for you and hope to hear more about your adoption process!

This dress is even cuter than the last "cutest" dress! I picture it with red tights and maryjanes of course.
There might be a diaper service in Portland so that you can use the nice cloth and not have to deal with all of the mess.

The dresses are adorable, and do seem fairly functional, too. You are right that "symbols have a function, too." I love that idea, and all of these preparations are important whether they end up being useful or not. I am really looking forward to the day when you get to post a photo of your new little one!

I adore Larsson and also Dutch painter Vermeer, with whom his wife (Vermeer's, not Larsson's ;-) had 15 children! When did he have time to paint??

Anywho, love love love your dresses and recent posts. I'm SO excited for you and Andy. But what makes me giggle inside occasionally is wondering what it might be like when the call comes and if you heard the words, "Well, I know we agreed you'd accept a girl, but you see, there's this beautiful little boy ... and... he really needs a home... and love."

(And he might never forgive you if you blogged him in those dresses ;-)

Seriously though, your inspiration is breathtaking and your enthusiasm contagious. ((hugs))

I'm so excited for you guys! And I love all the little dresses you are making. So, so Sweet.☺

This is a very special dress. All you said is so true about preparing.
This little one on the way is destined on a wonderful journey.

One of the best things about the Mummy Club is that no-one ever seems to put down those lovely dreams you have when preparing for a new baby. I think everyone remembers how wonderful it feels.
Of course nothing is ever exactly like you imagine it may be...but that's more than half the fun!
The gingham dress is perfect.

It will be all you imagine and more! And oh, my - this dress is delicious. I can't wait to see the little girl who will wear all your beautiful creations.

I love my Tanglewood bag, so can't wait to see what new design you've got for us.

Everyone has their own preferences, but I liked cloth diapers. When your friends ask what to get you (and we all know she won't need any clothes!!!) ask them to chip in for diaper service. Our work buddies gave us 6 months worth and it made me so happy, plus our diaper delivery lady was a ray of sunshine in my new stay-at-home mommy life which was sadly lacking in grown-up company.

Christina says: March 24, 2010 at 02:30 PM

Such a nice coincidence - I am expecting our first baby (a girl!) in three weeks and am going through exactly what you describe. You do the best to prepare even though I don't think there really is any way to fully prepare yourself...but there is no other way to try to get ready, is there? You just stumble along and hope that you figure it out as you go. You will be wonderful parents!!

I have always loved Carl Larssen's work, also! Thanks for the link to the website - I've never seen it, and will now have hours of interesting perusal ahead :)

One question about the pea-shelling. Maybe it's my monitor, maybe it's my eyes...but is that a cactus waving a feather-duster? I could really, really use one of those. Or possibly an army of those.

You might be interested in this website:

Read through the interviews on the Open Adoption Interview Project.

I just love it, makes me want to sew more! And I think i will, I just bought a new pattern from sandi henderson, the dress top to go with the bella pants pattern I already have.

Oh, I'm in love this one. Up until now I think that the brown smocked one was my favorite. Now it will have to be a tie! Where did you get that lace? It's perfect!

just saw a lovely book in our local bookstore, "Making Children's Clothes: 25 Stylish Designs" by Emma Hardy - a British woman who writes super books on quilting and sewing.

it was full of darling outfits, and very much reminded me of your activities here. if you don't already know it, be sure to take a peek!

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

sounds lovely.

I'm so happy for you, and like many others, waiting expectantly for the day, hopefully soon, when you post your good news.
The dress as always is adorable.
Best Wishes

Thanks for sharing your reflections-I've had some similar ones myself-I feel your need to plan and prepare--we're finally expecting our first little one after trying for 7 years! I've got a running list in my head a mile long-I've got all these ideas and plans-and I just know he/she is going to arrive and a bunch of it will go out the window! But planning is half the fun I think (=

yes symbols are important! i have shared a bit about my life here and just the making, just the hoping and not giving up is so important even though you dont know exactly what will come! love the artist - thnx for sharing:) as an artist myself I always love finding inspiration i can connect to

Oooooo, We all need our dreams. How sweet that yours are becoming visual so we can see them take shape.

So lovely. I think you're going to be wonderful parents.

(I was determined to go cloth with my girl, but she got such bad nappy rash that we had to go disposable instead - it's all trial and error!!)

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com