kcw project six: dreaming in color dress


perhaps you hadn’t noticed, but shot cottons are kind of having a moment on the blog this week.  they could practically be the kcw theme for me!  and how deserving they are.  it has been a pleasure to experiment with them all week, and now that we’re nearing the end (already?!) and i have a clear idea of what my final projects will be, i wanted one last shot cotton project to really showcase this lovely fabric.  these shot cottons come from designer kaffe fasset, who i’d argue is a knitwear vs. fabric person, but i suppose he’s just a color person, regardless of medium.  a few months ago, i read an excerpt from his memoir in vogue knitting, which was both totally fascinating (like…he renamed himself kaffe after an egyptian pharaoh when he was 14, and only a few years later just up and left for europe from his native big sur to become an artist…it’s worked out rather well for him!).  anyhow, it was entitled “dreaming in color,” which seemed a suitable eponym for this dress.


this dress was far from a sure thing when this week began, more like a few random ideas percolating in my brain, but i’m so glad to have brought it to life.  it was just the restorative, easy project i needed at this point in the week and really lets the fabric shine.  because i ordered the fabric online, i wasn’t able to see the colors in person prior to purchase. i was overwhelmingly pleased with all of them, but the yellow was just so…yellow!  bright lemon yellow, without a hint of subtlety or nuance shot cottons are known for.  i wasn’t incredibly taken with it, but wouldn’t you know, it is precisely the fabric bean picked from the entire pile and said, “hey mom, how about you make me something with this?”  when pressed for more details, she said, “a yellow shirt.  a yellow shirt with ruffs*.”  *bean speak for ruffles.  while i won’t pretend i make the kids clothes because i have to or they beg for them, i do try to take their creative suggestions to heart.  they are, after all, the ones who will wear them.


a quick consultation of my kid pinterest board revealed i had actually a lot of yellow things pinned, and not all mustard, either!  the dress i based this one on immediately jumped out at me a few weeks ago as something i might recreate, and while i didn’t look at the board again when i sat down to make mine yesterday, i won’t even post a picture here because they are almost indecipherable.  it’s like a flat out copycat!  um…mimicry is the sincerest form of flattery, right?  i thought the weeks it sat in my brain would morph it in some way and purposely didn’t refer back to the original for that reason, but nope, they are pretty much identical (except mine cost about 11 vs. 85 euros, heyo!).

anyway, i’m pretty stoked about how it turned out.  being relatively new to sewing, it’s not terribly often that an idea in my mind translates exactly into a product.  now this rainbow of colors that has inspired me all week will forever be immortalized in a single garment!  after my day with liesl and the picnic shorts, i was ready to return to the warm and simple embrace of rae’s patterns.  this dress is the appropriately popular geranium, of which i have made no fewer than six, but haven’t had a chance to blog a single one!  when this week is over, i’ll be able to catch up and imagine i’ll be taking a break from sewing anyway.  like all rae patterns, this is simple, straightforward, thorough, and super customizable, another wardrobe staple (most all the other’s i’ve made have been tunics given our anti-dress sentiment in this house).


then, i just cut a strip of each color of shot cotton (straight, *not* on the bias, to save fabric!) and made some double fold 0.5″ non-bias tape, folded it into an angle to fit the bodice, and topstitched in place.  i managed to do this in a way that required only one seam per strip but for the final strip, so it ended up taking far less time than i imagined (which is why i didn’t think this dress would happen this week).  i realized on my second to last strip of fabric i could have made the angles sharp corners (like a quilt binding) rather than my imprecise, blunt folds, and one half of the bodice did end up a little wonky (as you know, pinning and measuring are not really my strengths).  but wonkiness aside, i think i prefer the softer angles.  once these strips were done, the dress came together so quickly (i could sew this pattern in my sleep by now), including a final addition of fabric covered buttons (my first, and now they are my favorite…i’m going to sit around and make fabric covered buttons all the time!) and cheerful little buttonholes.


anyhow, i can’t rave about the geranium pattern enough.  the return on investment is tremendous, and it makes a quality, comfortable garment that stands up just fine to running, climbing, jumping, sticks, dirt, rocks, peanut butter, and all other things that make toddlerhood magical.  and bean loves her yellow shirt with ruffs (though she said, please mom, no more pictures!).  but now, she’s asking for something red…


i actually have two more projects planned before kcw is over and done with, and i think i should have time to finish them both.  and then, there is a very menacing (and growing) pile of laundry waiting to have its day with me.  are you all ready for the home stretch?

20 Comments on kcw project six: dreaming in color dress

  1. Shino
    April 27, 2013 at 7:22 am (2 years ago)

    Sooo beautiful! I really love this dress!! and I have more projects for KCW too, but my house is so messed up. Hope you finish more and I could see them!

    • ashmhiggs
      April 27, 2013 at 11:20 am (2 years ago)

      hi shino! thanks for stopping by and saying hello! i definitely opted to finish off my last two projects (just a few buttons to go) rather than clean my house. i will have to face that disaster tomorrow! and, when i get the nerve to buy some japanese books, you will probably be getting maaaaany questions from me :) happy sewing!

    • ashmhiggs
      April 27, 2013 at 11:21 am (2 years ago)

      yes! totally! i was even going to make a statement to that effect in the post but it was already getting too long. i have always loved those 70s prism-y stripe patterns and i had exactly the same thought when the bodice was done.

  2. Venus
    April 27, 2013 at 8:39 am (2 years ago)

    My eyes nearly popped out when I saw the post. This is just a remarkable job and yes… this is the most sincerest form of flattery. WOW. Just WOW…

    • ashmhiggs
      April 27, 2013 at 11:24 am (2 years ago)

      ha! you are funny. this made me smile. a bit outside my kid fashion comfort zone, but it turned out pretty neat. and, i think my kids appreciate experiments like this vs. me dressing them in neutral colors all the time!

  3. Jenny
    April 28, 2013 at 6:13 am (2 years ago)

    Gorgeous! Love the bold, graphic colors. I may finally have to break down and buy this pattern :)

    • ashmhiggs
      April 28, 2013 at 7:31 am (2 years ago)

      thanks, jenny! the pattern is worth every penny. i have more than made it worth the purchase in a single season–i know i’ll be using it over and over until she outgrows it. definitely get it! in the next week or two i’m planning to do a geranium series to blog all those i’ve already made, so you should check back soon for more convincing :)

  4. Thea | mon ami
    April 28, 2013 at 9:12 am (2 years ago)

    This is amazing! I love the cours, the concept and the details – those different colored button holes are killer. Nice work!

    • ashmhiggs
      April 28, 2013 at 11:38 am (2 years ago)

      thank you so much!

  5. Olga Becker
    April 28, 2013 at 11:57 am (2 years ago)

    This look sawesome. I LOVE this dress!

    • ashmhiggs
      April 28, 2013 at 1:01 pm (2 years ago)

      thank you, olga!

  6. Rae
    April 28, 2013 at 3:08 pm (2 years ago)

    This completely took my breath away. I LOVE IT. Those strips of color are completely brilliant…BRAVO!!


    • ashmhiggs
      April 28, 2013 at 3:31 pm (2 years ago)

      celebrity sighting on my blog! thank you so much for the extremely flattering comment and for the amazing pattern (every rae pattern is my favorite pattern) that i have borderline abused at this point. many more where this came from…

  7. Shannon
    April 28, 2013 at 10:46 pm (2 years ago)

    Just found your blog! This dress is awesome! What an amazing idea. Just made my first geranium and I already have another cut out! Loved your KCW sewing!

    • ashmhiggs
      April 29, 2013 at 6:19 am (2 years ago)

      thanks, shannon! geranium is totally addictive. i’m in the middle of another one right now. yours first one turned out great!

  8. Rozalinde
    April 28, 2013 at 11:22 pm (2 years ago)

    Lovely dress!!


2Pingbacks & Trackbacks on kcw project six: dreaming in color dress

  1. […] they accumulated so quickly, i hardly had a chance to blog about them (though you might remember this one from kcw (below), or this one for my niece rosa (above)).  for weeks i’ve been meaning […]

  2. […] to tell looking at the beautiful clothes she’s made for her children. I fell in love with this amazing dress she made last kcw and have been hooked ever since. Her blog is funny and full of great sewing, do check it out! […]

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