Sweet Green

comments: 102


























We got some rainy, cold, wet, blustery, dark weather this past weekend. Finally, our winter arrived. As did yet another cold for me. I have been sick about three times so far this winter. More than I can ever remember. Oh well. Lots of cloudy, cold afternoons and knitting for mama. Not too bad. :)

Thank you very, very much for all of the Maggie orders!!! Stacey has been shipping every day and we are all caught up now, so that's always a good feeling. A few of the colors have sold out but many are still left. The most common question I get asked about my animals is whether they are suitable for beginners to make. And my answer to that is always pretty much the same — they are not specifically designed for beginners, but everything you need, including illustrated stitching instructions and step-by-step process photos are included in the pattern. I have received several emails over the years from people who have never made anything before who have successfully made Maggie Rabbit and her cousins. Isn't that amazing? I think that's amazing and so cool. My advice — about everything crafty — is always this: Pick the project you love, and the best materials you can afford. Don't worry about whether it's too "hard" for you; if you love it, you will be motivated to learn it, and a little practice and patience goes a long, long way. Let yourself enjoy the process and don't get hung up on whether it is "right" or "perfect." Let it reflect where you are right now, and let that be enough. Working with beautiful, high-quality materials can be so pleasurable in itself. They can often motivate you to try a bit harder, and stick with it a bit longer, and I'm fairly certain you'll always be glad for it.

Andy's been hanging out with Amelia in the mornings and I've been able to do some serious power sewing while we wait for the rest of the fabric and floss comes in to make all the new kits. My girlie needed some pretty spring dresses and I must oblige! These new dresses hanging up are all made from vintage patterns. And, shoot, speaking of things not right or perfect, my zipper installation is just tragic. Always uneven. I must work on this because I think I can do better. Vintage patterns often call for zippers. I don't think they get used as much in contemporary patterns, but maybe I'm wrong. The zippers themselves are disgusting. Why do they make them out of the stiffest, grossest material? Am I missing the place where they keep the nice, comfortable cotton zippers or something? Are those the invisible zippers (no pun even intended, seriously)? Help. Zippers make getting a toddler dressed very easy, but I want them to be less uncomfortable, especially when paired with nice, soft, floaty fabrics.

The Liberty dress with the pockets (with the flowers in them) is from Simplicity 8940, circa 1970. Skirt is not very full. This one is a size 3 and its a little bit big on her. The fabric is Liberty Tana Lawn in Katie and Millie (D). I love this shape on her.

The dusty pink pinafore is, again, from Butterick 9315, circa 1960 (and the under-dress I showed and talked about here). I made the pinafore out of really pretty cotton lawn dotted Swiss from Mill End Store. The skirt is so full, which I love. And you need that 3" hem for everything to just hang right. In fact, all of the little dresses I've been making have a 3" hem, and I absolutely love those wide hems. They really make a difference. I wish I hadn't top-stitched the bodice because it really shows. Ah, well. I might take that out, and slip-stitch the lining. That would have been the right way to do it. I was just being lazy.

The green dress is made from Simplicity pattern 6066, circa 1965. Ohhhh, I love this dress. It has darts. Darts! And again, just the fullest skirt ever. The fabric is Amy Butler's Windflower in Zest from the Glow Voile collection. I got it at Fabric Depot. Note tragically uneven zipper. Wah. She wore this dress yesterday and seemed to really like it!

(The light blue dress she's wearing I talked about here; her groovy green and blue smock she is wearing here but I don't seem to be able to find an original post for it from when I made it.)

My hexagons: Sheesh. Fingers destroyed. But pillow cushion cover DONE. I'll tell you more about this when I take its "finished" picture. Before I even finished I proclaimed that no one besides me is allowed to even touch this pillow. I never feel this way about stuff but seriously, if I see this pillow tossed casually on the floor instead of placed in its heralded position on the chaise lounge I will immediately begin shrieking like a banshee. Do you know how to make hexagons? I can't figure out if I ever talked about these particular hexagons, pictured, which I started sometime last year. But I did make some once before here. I will not be doing them again for quite some time. But I LOVE MY PILLOW COVER. I've been very indulgent, making things for myself lately.

We had a little St. Patrick's Day party last week and Andy made corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, and carrots. I love him. He's the most Irish person I know who's not actually Irish. I also made a broccoli quiche last week using the Enchanted Broccoli Forest formula. I've been making this since college and it's always so nice. I use a Pillsbury refrigerator crust. Easy, fast dinner.

***Susie made an Irish apple cake with custard sauce and it was incredible!!!


so much to delight in this post!! miss mimi looks like she is off to conquer the world in the photo of her holding the bag … and what beautiful little dresses … i did not notice at all your zipper issue 'til you pointed it out … and yes to someone make non scratchy zippers … and i laughed audibly to your 'shriek like a banshee' comment … have a lovely rest of your week x

Troy Louise says: March 18, 2015 at 11:02 AM

What adorable dresses. I'm with you and the zippers - both the installation and the stiffness of them. I once worked with a woman who hand sewed all of her zippers, they were so beautifully done. I tried it, liked it, but too time consuming. Thought maybe your quiche & pie were to celebrate Pi Day! Love your pillow top & I would scream too. Have a wonderful week.

Hi Alicia, your blog is always such a trip down memory lane for me, whether it's a story and photos about Amelia reminding me of my daughter (now away at university) or today taking me back to circa 1972 when I was about 12 years old and making my first skirt using Liberty Tana Lawn. My very talented seamstress mother would never have scrimped on materials and the result was a joy to make and wear. I remember wearing it with a white crocheted short sleeved summer jumper made by my mother and I felt a million dollars. Thanks to you I have almost finished your Sunshine Day Afghan (just five more circles to make and I really don't want it to end), I have resumed knitting after a very long gap and today I finally finished hand quilting my very first quilt, a log cabin design (you gave me the link to Susan's video tutorial) using fabric and embroidery thread from my mother's stash. Thank you for the inspiration and your wonderfully positive attitude.

I love those dresses, each one prettier than the last. I really want to try paper-pieced hexagons sometime, I have big ideas about a pillow cover. I'm so excited to tell you that I finished the Midsummer Sprigs sampler last week and it's now at the framer's. I can't wait to get it back and hang it on my wall. I really loved making it, thank you for such a lovely design.

I love your remarks about using what you have with the best materials you can afford. I'm fairly new to crafting and so admire those who, like you, do so much to make your home beautiful. I must remember that it takes time and that patience is necessary. Thank you so much for that reminder and your beautiful photographs. You are so inspiring.

Back when I made most of my clothes in college, I always used invisible zippers. Haven't seen them much of late, just the ones that, as you said, are stiff and annoying. Love her new dresses! And the pillow! Quick question, is the quiche crust blind baked first? Thanks.

The way I was taught how to do zippers
1) Stitch seam to dot then baste the rest of it closed.
2) Open up zipper & lay face down on seam turning under the top of the tab. now using zipper foot & keeping teeth of zipper even with center of the seam, stitch all the way down past the zipper pull.
3) Keeping needle in fabric, swivel & stitch across bottom of zipper
4) Carefully close zipper all the way to the top, keeping needle in fabric swivel & sew up the other side, turning in top of tab.
5) Again carefully pull zipper down from inside & remove basting stitches as you go.
Hopefully this makes sense. It is a much easier way of keeping the zipper centered in the seam. Any question you can e-mail me

I do not know a single seamstress, including myself, who are not highly critical of small imperfections in their work. :) The dresses are darling and have striking resemblences to dresses my mom made for me, when I was in the 6th grade!!! lol. Oh, the innocence of days gone by!

So happy you got a long stretch of sewing in. It feeds the soul.

Those dresses are adorable!

My grandma taught me to sew, and she always had me hand-baste zippers in. It definitely goes a long way toward making them less wonky, though sometimes I do have dresses that don't like to line up correctly. I think there's a natural tendency for the fabric to shift (especially with lighter-weight fabric), because you're sewing down one way and then up the other. I've never tried it, but you could sew down (or up) both ways and see what happens. :)

(PS) The zipper installations that always end up the best for me are the lapped zippers and upon thinking it through, it's because you're sewing the same direction for both sides! So I guess I have tried it. :)

I am having a great Wednesday but your post makes it even better. I love all the dresses especially because today I am finishing up a dress and apron (smock?) whose pattern I saw on your blog. My zipper stinks but it is in the back so I don't care too much. I wish I noticed earlier that my collar thingies are a little uneven. But otherwise I love it thought I still have to do a little hand sewing including the buttons. I'd like to stay on track with the dress sewing so she can have a new dress for Easter and her birthday. Thank you for such beautiful inspiration. Your hexagon's are gorgeous too!

I love your huge street trees, meeting in an arch over the road, wonderful. Around here they have a horrible habit of cutting them back hard, it's such a shame. And that magnolia, breathtaking, they really are my favourite trees. Love the camellias too. I'm still waiting here for camellias and magnolias. They make my heart sing, they're so beautiful. Fantastic little dresses, you're doing so well with your dressmaking, despite your zipper worries. CJ xx

I would 100% say the animals are beginner friendly. I am so challenged when it comes to stuff like that and I have made Maggie Rabbit many times over for all of my nieces. Just take your time, check you tube for tutorials on specific stitches. I have to actually see someone do it instead of read a how-to and that really helped me a lot on the rabbits. Even if you make mistakes along the way, most people wouldn't even notice and it gives it that special handmade touch!!

Kristen from MA says: March 18, 2015 at 12:20 PM

Wise words about crafting, Alicia. I should repeat them to myself. Often.

Her dresses are adorable! Also, I love all the photos of her lining the shelf, so cute!

Oh how adorable is she with her garden hose!? So beautiful! I love love love the little dresses. The pinafore is awesome. I have a few vintage little girl dress patterns that I need to make up. I have mastered the invisible zipper, I learned how to do it at a "finishing touches" sewing class 10 years ago. I use it every chance I get, even if it is supposed to have a lapped zipper...nope, invisible zipper it is! All your pictures are beautiful, so Springy. We are still covered in snow here in central New York.

So much wonderfulness, it is always a warm and lovely treat for me to come here and read about your beautiful days.

Alicia, you make the prettiest clothes for Amelia!! She is such a lucky girl. As always, your photography is gorgeous. Thanks for sharing a part of your lives.

Broccoli quiche my favorite comfort food.

Your advise for beginner's was stated perfectly.
"Don't worry, do something you love, enjoy the process."
My added advise, "Don't over think it."

When I decided I wanted to learn to spin yarn, I jumped right in and never looked back. Now I can spin a pretty decent yarn worthy of knitting.

Fingers crossed for more rain this weekend.

I always love your blog but wonder how you find the time to do all that you do. Sewing, knitting, trips, business, preparation of food. It boggles my mind. Do you ever sleep? Love to hear how you make it work.

Mimi looks like a professionnal with her garden hose!She is so serious!as usual your fabric choices are gorgeous especially the amy butler's one!So fresh!

You are so right about the older patterns and the zippers. Over time I do believe they have made more patterns (especially for kids) without them. I could never conquer the zipper foot, never, so I learned to put zippers in by hand. Much easier, and they always held up fine.

Love looking at your springtime as well as your adorable daughter!

When my daughter was a wee thing (1970's). These were the patterns I used the most Butterick 5171 & Butterick (Betsy Johnson) 5279.

Lucky for me, Betsy Johnson was making children's patterns back in the 70's when both our daughters were little.

Love the Classic Dotted Swiss. For summer a seersucker is nice and cooling.

My daughter who loves to sew always uses the invisible zippers. They are more flexible and she is able to make them vanish into her seams . If she finds any at a thrift store she snatches them up certain to find a use for them in the future. It does require a different zipper foot though.

I look so forward to reading your blogs. I agree with everything that is said in the comments. Just great. Is there a favorite place that you go to, to find the vintage patterns? I've started sewing for my granddaughter and have found a few.

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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