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.


Lovely dress and lovely thoughts. My daughter is now three and I sometimes think back to before she came and how I felt as I waited for her. Having her now is a strange mixture of feeling that I've known her all my life and yet discovering something new about her every day. I can't wait for you and your husband to enjoy the joys and exasperations and delights (and crumby pockets!) of having a small child.

I am so pleased for you and this time sure does seem special. How many people get to get ready for their child in the way you are? No sickness or low energy, just excitement and time for projects. It seems ideal, really.

Just like your home is... I see all those things in your home, and soon one of those children will be your own.
It makes me so happy for you... to see your dreams coming true.

very sweet. you and andy will make the most wonderful parents.


Wonderful dress and a wonderful post Alicia. It just warms my heart to think of you and Andy sitting and planning and dreaming of all the sweet things to come. As always, thank you for opening up your heart to us all.

ok, so you made tear up again. it was lovely. then i was reading the comments. someone wrote about etro fabrics and growing up with larsson prints. it was signed "kate". and she's my daughter in florence, italy. thanks for reminding me today what a small world it is!

As an adopted child, my most loved and asked-for stories were those that involved the preparations for bringing me home. Almost 44 years later I could probably still repeat verbatim the story of the day I came home.
Keep writing and planning and hoping and dreaming so that as your child grows she has a history that began before she arrived. So precious.

love that dress! and all those other dresses. need to get sewing!

I will be staying tuned...because looking at your book recommendations, I and another Mom had the same thought....she has the heart of a homeschooler..

Lovely! You will be such incredible parents, what a lucky little girl! My mum lent me a book of Larsson's pictures while I was pregnant, what a beautiful way of life! I can only dream of offering my children the same, something to strive for...

I just read your post about the adoption. Congratulations! I am so excited for you. You guys will make fantastic parents. I have always thought a little one needed to be in your home.

This dress is by far my favorite. Such a pleasure.

I adore the Carl Larsson print. You make ME think about my little girl...who will be twenty-eight on July 7. (How in the world did that happen?) I decorated her room in butter yellow and mint green (same colors I used in my wedding. Her curtains were green and yellow diamonds with brown bunnies. I found a brown bunny print and beneath that hung a shelf with bunny figurines. The happy hours I spent in that room rocking her in my bentwood rocker. (Which I still have because she teethed on it!) You are going to be a wonderful mother! What a fortunate little girl to have you and Andy for parents. xo, Cheryl

as is the norm with your blog posts lately, your writing brings me to tears. oh, all those little wonderings, hopes and dreams we have for our little ones...

you say it so crisply. thank you for sharing.

I just emptied the biggest handful of acorn caps from my son's jacket pocket. Your words make me smile. I am so happy for you both - all three!

Ah, what a gorgeous dress. I suppose that, at 32, I'm too old for you to want to adopt me and make me lovely dresses? Oh well...

Don't worry about naivete - kids have a way of surprising even experienced mums. I'm still scratching my head about how two kids brought up by the same two parents in the same house with the same rules can be SO different in every way.

You posted some Carl Larsson pictures some time last year and I fell in love with them, started looking into him some more, then realized I had several of his books written down on my book list, silly me, so obviously I am very drawn to his work, and the lovely family way of living. We have one of the books now, called A Farm: Paintings from a Bygone Age. There are ones called A Family and A Home too. Love!

(and I would recommend cloth, for so many reasons, and also way cuter, you can knit wool covers!)

It will be all this and more...blessings to you and your future baby.

Kisses and hugs xoxoxoxo Can't wait!

now that is just too much, too much! excuse me while i go pass out from the sheer cuteness.

I want to thank you for bringing back the notion of making life as beautiful as you want it. Your words and overflowing creativity for your future daughter have reminded me that having a dreamy outlook on life is not abnormal. I have had some of my dreams tarnished in the last couple of years but reading about your impending parenthood dreams and your reiteration of your love for areas I also love makes me love life to it’s fullest. Thank you!

I have been enjoying each dress and iblove what the moments have meant to you as you sew for her. I came to sewing after I had my twins but I knit so much during my pregnancy as I waitedfor them, held to bed due to bed rest. Notone thing fit. When they were born but eventually they grew and used the knits and they are still cherished reminders of just how quickly they grow, it goes.

I love the way your thoughts are flowing forward, ready to welcome changes. The upheaval of parenthood is instantaneous but so wonderful....and you sound like you are preaparing for it in your way. Sending love to you and your little one to come.

really adorable dress!

I get so excited to enter this blog. All the lovely posts and especially the gorgeous little dresses.

So much love and magic stitched into these sweet, pretty dresses.

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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