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I bought a new sewing machine a couple of days ago! It's a Pfaff Ambition 1.0. I was sold on it almost entirely because of the way it makes buttonholes. You put the actual button you are going to use in the back of the buttonhole foot and pick which type of buttonhole you want to make, line up the bottom of the buttonhole, and press a button. Automatic stitching commences. Done. The buttonhole is done. WHAAAAAAAT! You may have known that sewing machines do this, but I did not!!!

My old machine was ten years old. It was . . . okay, not great. This new machine is only my third sewing machine in over twenty-five years of sewing. My first one that I took to college and had until I got the second one ten years ago basically did a straight stitch and a zig-zag stitch, period. My second one did a bit more (it is also a Pfaff, but pretty near the bottom of the line — can't remember the model number because it's in the shop now). When the guy at the shop looked at it he actually congratulated me on being able to sew on it — it apparently has so many problems he was pretty amazed I was getting straight seams at all. So that's being fixed and I will keep it, as a backup machine. I'm ridiculously excited about the new one. It purrs. It really does. I thought that was just an expression of speech but it turns out its for real. I think this is the first thing I've owned that is not a cat that actually purrs. Excited.

I made Amelia a little brown dress from a couple of vintage patterns (mostly Simplicity 9532). (I would've used just one but it didn't have all the pieces, so I had to mix and match.) The fabric was old — it's been in my stash forever, and I think it was from the '80s. The shape of this dress is one of my very favorites. If you start looking at sewing patterns you will start to notice that even within the same basic dress shapes, there is a lot of variation in the shapes of the pattern pieces. I had two patterns for dresses that looked pretty much exactly the same in the cover illustrations. Turns out, the skirt front and skirt back on one was about 50% wider than the other, which obviously results in a much more gathered, much fuller skirt. I've been looking at the pieces a lot and trying to come up with my favorite set of basic pieces for a wardrobe for Amelia. If you have a bunch of patterns it's pretty fun to actually mix and match sleeve shapes and skirt widths and yoke shapes and make new combinations. Well, I think it's fun at least!

I wrote to the lovely Lindsay a month or two ago and asked her if she wouldn't mind if I copied the adorable matryoshka costume she made for her adorable daughter, which I'd seen on Pinterest. She very kindly said yes and I was thrilled. It was so much fun to make. I drew the design with a fabric marker and then painted it with fabric paints — my first time using them. Then I lined that painted panel with more white cotton and stitched the whole thing like a pig patch to the front. I took Amelia up to visit Daddy at work for Halloween and she had a blast. She was very serious in her costume, which cracked me up. We had a very long, very fun day and she conked out by 6:00 p.m., so no trick-or-treating this year (and Aunt Susie stayed downstairs to answer the doorbell for the neighborhood. Her favorite costumes were the "Sleeping Cowboy" (ha!) and the "Gothic Prom Girl." It was definitely my favorite Halloween so far!

(Oh, and her knitted booties [which are some of the only things I can get to stay on her feet!] are from Misha and Puff. I just love them.)

Fall continues to roll through the city. The rains have started this week — rain in the forecast every single day now. For the first time, I feel a little sad about that: It will change my daily morning walks with Amelia a bit. I have rain gear, yeah, but walking around in the gray old rain definitely won't be as nice walking around through the golden sunlight, under a canopy of red trees, through the crunchy dry leaves, over the snapping acorns, smelling the delicious scents of woodsmoke and frying onions and crab apples. It'll be walking through mud and very cold water falling on your head. Aw, well. That's what chai and cinnamon buns were made for. At least I'll feel like I've earned them now.


Faith proctor says: November 04, 2013 at 10:29 AM

I love the bloomers with the brown dress. Did you use a purchased pattern for those or make up your own?

Marjorie Hansen says: November 04, 2013 at 10:33 AM

Try putting sweet Mimi's footies in Robies. Great toddler shoes from Canada.

Little Miss A is growing so fast. Her Halloween costume is so cute. Love the photo's you've taken, the leaves, neighborhood, especially the last one of Little Miss Amelia's tiny feet.

Not to worry about the coming rain - just means you'll have tons of time to use your new sewing machine (lucky lady).

Can't wait to see what you'll make first.

I so know what you mean about the sewing machine purr.
I have had only two machines in my life and my first was a exact to my grandmothers vintage singer. Once I got a new one 10 years ago it too purred but now it is on its last leg and I can't seem to give her up.
Your descriptive details of your walks send me goosebumps.
I miss all those things soooo much.
but I also miss the rain so I would be happy with that too.
Happy Autumn

This is just way too much adorable to handle. I love her little costume.

Sweet, sweet clothing! When Hubby and I first married 42 years ago, I bought a brand new Sears Kenmore sewing machine for $100, and it is still with me, going strong. It, too, is a basic and very heavy portable made of mostly steel. For a while, I dreamed of a new one and treated my machine with benign neglect(didn't keep up with the cleaning and oiling). Then, I discovered that many quilters love this machine! I cleaned it up, appreciated it anew, and am now cranking out clothing for my little granddaughters as I did for my four children.

All so adorable! I love the picture of Amelia toddling with her Daddy, and Miss Clover watching from the corner. too sweet! My "little" girl (who turns 8 tomorrow) wants a costume like Amelia's!! You are so clever, she looks beautiful. Your new machine sounds fabulous ... I was just thinking a day or two ago, that mine is doing well after 13 years ... my mother-in-law bought it for me when I got engaged to her son :-) It was the best present she could've thought of.

Hi. I've been following your blog for about a year now. I'm not much for commenting, but I just wanted to let you know how much pleasure your blog gives me. Thank you.

your fall sounds blissful. amelia is gorgeous as always. love the brown dress. one of my favorite colors and the boots are just awesome! perfect addition to her wardrobe!

Fun! I also love the whole 'retro vibe' of the photos. And DAYS of rain? This is why I just sit here in warm Orange County, California and wail while reading your blog. Any rentals on your street? ;-)

congrats on your new machine which will rock your sewing world! Your skills are first rate, so you should have a machine that can keep up. I felt guilty when I upgraded my 25 yr old Bernina. Sometimes I really want to go back to it!
Mimi looks delicious in her dresse with pantaloons! She is the perfect model - little miss peaches and cream! Sometimes when you post pics of her napping, she has a 'nappy' effect on me - I want to go and find a quilt and cover up for some zzzz's!

Lovely photos. I have been lurking on your blog for ages. I bought my sewing machine 51 years ago and it is still going strong. An Elna from the days when they were made in Switzerland!

Alicia, I have a serious question.

HOW on earth can you cope with Amelia's utter complete and total cuteness??????


I would want to squeeze hug her all day and just watch her cuteness every second of every moment.

Wait, I bet ya do ;)

What a girl, what a girl!

Oh my.


Your daughter is just simply gorgeous......

Oh to think about how many more dresses you can make for Amelia in less time with such a fast new machine. I always love reading your blog. Working full time and settling into a new (old) house we seem to always be busy and I haven't broke out the sewing machine or knitting needles in way too long. With all the beautiful things you make for Amelia it's nice to see a little shirt or outfit from Baby Gap that I recognize. There is a lot of ugly clothes for 1-year-olds out there so it's difficult to find cute stuff unless you make it yourself.

Carrie Matson says: November 04, 2013 at 11:55 AM

How funny- I had a feeling you would have Amelia be a matryoshka doll for Halloween! I am going to e-mail you a picture of my little matryoshka doll from this Halloween!

I think that Amelia has a better wardrobe than me. Love those piles of autumn leaves. Isn't it exciting to have a new machine - I got a new Janome about 3 weeks ago - I love how I don't need to use the foot pedal, just have to remember to push the stop button.

Hi Alicia! I always get excited when your blog pops to the top of my list.. it's like I've come to visit with you and get to have tea and hear the latest news. I packed up my pumpkins and have brought out my turkeys.. :-) I hope some dry days come back for your walks.
((hugs)), Teresa :-)

Little Amelia looks like a doll in her Halloween outfit…. so cute! Her clothes are all so precious, too! I love seeing photos from your walks and around Portland. Portland looks just glorious this time of year… even with rain. And I love your dining table photos with the soft candlelight!

Awww Alicia how is she possibly up on her feet already?! Wasn't she just born two minutes ago? I absolutely adore her costume, how delightful.

I empathise with you on the rain. Here in Scotland it isn't just that it rains, but it almost rains sideways thanks to the wind and it's literally freezing here - we are just home from a school Hallowe'en/Guy Fawkes night and it was 2C (35F) on the car themometer. Ahhhhhh never mind it's only 5 months until Spring...

Beth in Maryland says: November 04, 2013 at 12:31 PM

Brown is definitely one of Amelia's colors! What an adorable little dress.

I always look forward to your new entries - your writing, talents, and family stories are always a ray of sunshine. Not to mention your posts make me want to visit Portland. Beautiful. I know you haven't asked for input, but we moms [sometimes compulsively] like to share what worked for us..... Baby Gap Socks and Robeez soft soled shoes were the only things that would stay on my boy's feet and they never seemed to bother him. Not to mention you have the excuse to shop for the sweet little girl styles.

glenda penner says: November 04, 2013 at 12:52 PM

Oh goodness. I didn't have Halloween on my mental radar as I scrolled down through your pictures and I thought Amelia was wearing a beautiful baby rain poncho, instead of a costume. Could actually work amazingly well with sleeves added and made out of waterproof breathable fabric.
We get a bit rain obsessed here on the rainy coast.

Killing me with this cuteness! Literally gasping as I scrolled through these sweet pics :) xoxo

Darling clothes for your sweetheart! The crocheted dress reminds me that I recently inherited a magical box of old knitting and crochet patterns from the 1930's through the 1970's. Included in the mix is a great booklet of children's crochet patterns from 1939. The influence of Shirley Temple and Princesses Margaret and Elizabeth is sweetly evident, and the copy is very much of the era. I'm not a crocheter, but thought of you. PM me if you'd like this fun book for your library! It's actually in amazingly good condition, considering how old it is.

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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




Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.