That Color

comments: 135





















It's weird that a woman with no time and a baby that is crawling all over the free world pretty much every minute of the waking day would do something like hand-pleat a big piece of fabric and then smock it by hand and then block it and then baste it and then cut it and then sew it into a tiny dress that needed a ton of hand finishing (linings sewn in, a giant hem). Weird but true, people.

Meems goes to bed at 7 p.m., and I swear, the minute I turn on that monitor and click that nursery door closed my basket explodes, and out bursts the yarn, the floss, the needles, the thread, the fabric. The flying fingers. A flurry of quiet industry ensues, until . . . I pass out around ten. . . . I like it. I like to sit and think about her, about the day, about the year. It's especially nice to do it with my feet up, and my face washed, and my nightgown on, and a breeze blowing through the evening window, and a puppers or a kitters on the bed. Nothing else to do. A deep, deep sigh. Slowly the fingers find their rhythm. One of my favorite parts of the day.

I bought vintage McCalls pattern 2447, intending to use the smocking iron-on transfer that was included, only to find that forty-some-odd-years later the transfer didn't work. So, plan B: hand gathering, using this tutorial. That went fine. I made up my own smocking design and colors. Random. Don't overthink these things or you'll never get anything done. I followed the directions on the pattern for finishing the rest of the dress. It was a handful, but I was in too deep to turn back. Need a hook and eye for the back. Boom. Can't wait to see it on her. The color is just dreamy to me. I must really like this color. It's a dusty pink but warm. I must think of it as Amelia's color because I keep using it for her.

My Lilla koftan? Meh. It's okay. Came out sort of oddly proportioned. Didn't like how the placket didn't overlap. I've seen other peoples' versions of this sweater and they are much cuter. I think I would use a plied yarn and larger needles next time. Make it drapey. The Milk Glass Pink came out quite pretty, though it's still on the blocking board. Too hot lately to put these on the poor child. We had an enormous thunderstorm the other night, however, and that was just awesome. Cool and cloudy today and I am beyond delighted.

Now on my needles is Ravi Junior. Isn't that the most gorgeous pattern? I look at patterns all the time but I only just ran into this one. I'm using Quince and Co. Chickadee in the color Chanterelle. It really is such a lovely color. Or kind of a non-color. Sort of brown, sort of pink, like the underside of a mushroom, or a very old ballet skirt, or an antique book about flowers, or the wallpaper from the back bedroom in your grandmother's house in Iowa. That kind of a color. One that's just right for summer's slide into fragrant, cloudy, rose-hipped early autumn.


Thank you for sharing! I am continually happy for you and Andy and most of all Miss Amelia.

Can you tell us about the striped bag hanging on your chair?

Kristen from MA says: September 05, 2013 at 07:20 AM

And of course your smocking is perfect! Is there anything you can't make, Alicia?

I'm in awe of your talents. :)

Beautiful, well-love little angel. Totally love the candlelit tubby. Learning a girl's luxurious moments now. Men have the garage!
Big hug,
Chew Gum & Walk

Lovely blog, pics, and such a sweet baby girl you have. :) Precious little smocked dress too. My baby girl turns 18 today and I just put a blog post up about her and her smocked dresses. :)

Do you have a favorite book? One that you go back to and reread because you love where it takes you? You feel a part of it. You are that to me. I marvel at you. Can't wait for the next chapter...

Melissa in Texas says: September 05, 2013 at 08:16 AM

I've been reading your blog for a couple of months, think I got here from Small Things. I just want to say that your pics., your baby and everything you make is beautiful! Love, love the smocked dress, my mother always sewed for me and this is something that she would have made. Keep up the good work and I'll keep reading and admiring your beautiful work.

That front door!! *gasp*

When I was in elementary school my mother smocked and sewed all four of us (I have three sisters) dresses very similar to the one you made. Where she found the time or the energy, i do not know. One summer she made 16 pairs of shorts all in the five days before we left for camp. With three little ones of my own, I can understand the need for industry, starting at the moment they fall to sleep. there seems so little time in the day to accomplish all of the things that I used to be done with in just a morning.
She's beautiful, byt the way. And is it weird that I think she looks just like your husband?

Look at your little miss, standing all by herself in front of the door! So cute! Thanks for the link to the smocking tutorial. I have always loved smocking but always thought I needed a pleater. I'm going to try this soon!

The smocking is gorgeous! I love heirloom pieces. It's fun to look at my child wearing an item I made, knowing that her/his child may very well wear that same piece down the road. I'm not usually a pink person, but I like the dusty/moody Amelia Pink!

Just a suggestion~ next time you smock, the part you have pleated and smocked but not sewn (the skirt), is usually sewn to a yoke. This makes the construction WAY easier than the way you did it. Usually when smocking is around the neck, it is done in a bishop design. Call around, a lot of places have pleaters and will pleat for you for a nominal fee.

You description of the end of your day is just about heaven. Love all the glowing pictures you shared today.
Its a wonderful life. Indeed.

Oh, how I love your smocking. I made so many smocked dresses for my little girl - still have some of them - in the loft most likely! I can't stop quilting at the moment - completely and utterly obsessed. Love that dusty pink colour too - very 'last days of summer' colour. Today's colour is deep bloody purple - the colour of elderberries - I'm boiling up the jelly in the morning - can't wait to taste it!

your blog is so full of loveliness and beauty

It is with great pleasure that I often come visit your blog . I love these beautiful photography. The atmosphere is really warm and comfortable and very soft. I love

Tres belle fin de journée!

Thanks for the beautiful pics, it's so nice to see how a real house is supposed to look. I have curtains hanging from 2x4's (under construction) and your posts give me hope(but its been 12yrs!)Thanks!!! they have an article on Judge Judy(3 things you we don't know.)

Such beautiful photos as always Alicia. That sewing is divine, you are gifted indeed. The photo of Mimi face down sleeping is lovely indeed. I remember times of being deliciously trapped on the sofa by a sleeping baby. Bliss. Enjoy. Hope you all have a good weekend.

The photo of Andy and Amelia? My heart just exploded into a million pieces of glittery confetti. Awwww.

karen on bainbridge island says: September 05, 2013 at 03:56 PM

Looks like you have a toddling toddler on your hands! Best of luck now that she's mobile.
I think I need some blueberry pancakes.

Your smocking makes me weepy! I used to have smocked dresses when I was a little girl. My Mom made them for me. I never smocked for my girls. Who had time?! Obviously you! How wonderful for you and for Missy! The sweaters are gorgeous as well. Love the last one! So pretty.

How much do I love your photographs?!

i love everything in this post but especially the way those pancakes looked! will you/have you shared your recipe?

Thank you for telling up how you get all this knitting and sewing done!! As I was looking through your photos, I was like, "What! Another sweater done?...What!? Another??!!" ;)
This all from a woman who has the same toddler sweater on her needles since the spring. And it's for fall.
I guess the secret is to stay off the computer once the kids go to bed!
Another note... the bunny night light! I became obsessed with that and the Heico bunny lamp thanks to your Pinterest post. Amazon had the Heico lamp SO expensive, but I did find a good source for it:
They take Paypal, and the shipping was reasonable, too. Ended up costing me about 1/3 of Amazon's price. Just so you know. :) We love it (we actually have both). I keep the lamp in the bathroom and my little girl hugs it everytime she goes in.

Oh, I wish you were my friend - you are just perfect. The smocking is stunning. You're right about not overthinking that - my mum bought us a pleater, because I passionately wanted to make pretty smocked dresses for my toddler. Well, my mum ended up making a few for her, and now the pleater sits all forlorn in a cold room. I'm daunted by the 'cutting the smocking' part, but you're inspiring me! Thanks, Alicia!

I love seeing Amelia up on her feet! And what a pretty screen door.

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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