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The Lake Dress – Brownie Goose Designs

The Lake Dress by Brownie Goose

And so it begins.

For those keeping tracking, it was back in 2011 I started sewing summer clothing for Tasha, she was 5 years old. I never thought that 4 years later I’d still be sewing her summer wardrobe or that I’d move on from dresses to  capris, skirts, tops and yes, you are reading that right, this year I’ll be making her some shorts. :0) Last year was the first year I really started to make Kate things as well.  While I do tend to make ‘fancier/rufflier’ (yes it’s a word) items for Tasha, you will notice this summer that most of Kate’s stuff will be simple and very functional. She’s my rough and tumble girl, even at 4 years old, so I will be sticking with simple designs that allow for lots of movement and in darker/bolder colours/prints then I do for Tasha.  While Tasha has always been a neat/hates dirt kind of girl, Kate is the exact opposite of her sister and seeks out the nearest mud puddle as soon as she’s outside.:P I’ll also be doing a bit of recycling this year, as Kate is finally fitting into dresses I made for Tasha back in 2011/12.:)

First up is a new indie designer to me. I discovered her through a facebook group and instantly loved this cute A-Line dress.  Her pattern has quite a few variations – military tabs on the shoulders, flutter sleeves as well as military tabs down the front. Me, being lazy like I am (and sick this weekend) chose to skip all the tabs, the flutter sleeves (I did make my own bias tape though! Again, laziness prevailed in not wanting to drive to the fabric store for pre-made bias tab) and put my own twist on it by simple adding 2 chunky buttons down the front.  I also did add the pockets, because where in earth is Kate going to keep all her rocks, dirt, sticks and other outdoor treasures if not for me to find in the pockets of her dress??

I consider myself a fairly experienced sewer, so when I buy a pattern from a designer I’ve never used before, I expect a lot – computer drafted pieces, sizing charts, well written instructions, illustrations/photos and pattern pieces clearly marked with sizing, grain lines, number of pieces to cut etc.  BG did not disappoint. Lots of photos, well written, concise and simple.  You’d be surprised at how many designers out there can make beautiful designs yet when it comes to actually explaining it to others, they fail miserably.  There are a lot of patterns I’ve bought where I’ve simply cut out the pieces and went on my way making it w/o the instructions, but it’s still nice to have clear/concise ones if needed.

Now, the other difference between Kate and Tash is that Kate is at that “I refuse to model for you, even for bribery” so most of the photos you are going to see over the next month of her outfits will be taken on the ‘fly’ and while she’s occupied doing something that will actually somewhat show the outfit.   The snow hopefully has finally melted and is gone for good, so that will allow for some outdoor photo ops, making getting photos of Kate a bit easier.

Designer: Brownie Goose
Pattern:  The Lake Dress
Fabric: Riley Blake Designs, Andrea Victoria by Mind’s Eye – Wishing Flower? I’ve had this fabric forever. I bought it for some project or another and never did said project. I do not even remember what project that was.
Overall Impression of Pattern:  As I mentioned, it was well written, has several options – pleated front, military tabs, flutter sleeves and I’d say it was true to size. That said, a lot of her dresses are short, so if you have a kid like mine, that spends most of the day on her head or rolling around in the grass, you might want to add to the length or do what I do and make a pair of leggings. It’s not such a big deal at home, but for school and outings, I’d prefer she is not showing off her undies to the world when she pulls her dress up over her head or starts climbing on something.

The Lake Dress by Brownie GooseSuch unruly hair. The only way to tame it is to put it in a ponytail, which she doesn’t always agree to have done.

The Lake Dress Brownie GooseNo photo of the back, but it’s just an easy button closure. :0)

Sewing Again..

It’s been a long long winter..and while you’d think that would encourage me to hunker down and sew a lot, oddly enough it does not. It’s the melting of the snow and the beginning of spring that the bug hits me to dust off my sewing machine and start choosing projects. I was actually just saying the other day how it’s almost time to start sewing some new summer clothes for the girls.  And while I have tons of new dresses/tops/skirts I want to sew for the girls, I am easing myself back in to things by starting out small and sewing a couple really awesome patterns by Erin, of Dog Under My Desk.

Last week I made a Gadget Guard for my Kindle Fire. As always, it was a well written pattern, lots of photos and with an awesome result.  I made mine to size (using her formula) to fit my Kindle with the case one.  The fabric was bought so long ago that I forget the designer..I want to say Heather Bailey, but I know that’s not right. I’ll come back and edit the correct designer when it comes to me.

Gadget Guard

Like all her patterns she always adds in really nice finishing touches – zipper tabs and in this case a pretty pleated front.  The inside is very spacious and not only fits my Kindle Fire, but has room to toss in cables and plug.

gadet guard inside

Today I finally was able to get around to making her previous pattern release, the GetCarded. Very little bulk (which can be a pain trying to get your presser foot/needle through multiple fabrics) and very well designed.  I goofed when I was sewing the bottom part and did not watch my ruffles closely, hence why they are crooked on the left side.:( Oh well, it’s for me and it does not make my eye twitch too badly ha…Plus it’s pretty much impossible to fix it now.  The next one I’ll try the pleated front option, less likely to goof that one up.

The Fabric for this one is by Joel Dewberry.

GetCarded Front

Get Carded back side

 The slot above my costco card is where you can put folded bills.

I’ll be posting some cute tunics, bustled tops, and capris soon. I’m starting to get the bug to sew some clothes for the girls. :0)

Wizard of Oz 2013 – Absolute Dance Holiday Production

Wizard of OzAnother Season at Absolute Dance, another holiday production. This year Mrs. W choreographed an amazing Wizard of Oz Show. As always, the costumes were beautiful, the dancers were amazing and the show was spectacular.  I thought last year’s Alice in Wonderland was awesome, but she did an amazing job with Oz, as did all the other people involved – costume designers, set designers, et al.  As always, Tasha loved every minute of it.  Her call time was for 9.30am and she was not done until 5pm when the final show ended. This year the did three shows versus just two. In between her scenes they had a magician in the lobby to entertain the “crows” (Tasha’s group) and the Munchkins (age 3/4 yr olds). I asked N how she liked him and was promptly told that it was the same one from the last show and he did all the same tricks, which apparently she already knows the ‘secrets’ to. hah crows and munchkins  I was not able to get a picture pre-show as it was too dark in the house, but I was able to snap a couple of at the theatre and at home. she was still pretty wound up with excitement at the theatre, making it impossible to get her to look at me for the photo. She was just bouncing off the walls. I also really wish I could have taken a picture of her in her full crow costume. She had black gloves a black tutu and a headband that was feathers with two big eyes on either side. Loved it! This costume will also be performing double duty, as she will wear it again in the spring for all her competitions (three I think). At the Theatre after the final show;CrowI finally got her to smile and look at the camera once we got home;Crow  Dance Recital Prospective: 2013 Year End RecitalAlice in Wonderland Holiday Production 2012AliceYear End Recital 20122012

Oliver+s Playtime Tunic & Leggings


Sadly, having two kids of the same gender in the same season did not work out as planned with it comes to hand-me-downs. Miss Kate is now a full season ahead compared where Tasha was at this age.  So when I pulled all the outgrown size 3 from her closet and dug out the size 4, I was met with a lot of tank tops, shorts and short sleeve shirts. The short sleeve tops are not a huge deal, as Kate, like her dad is always running hot and on chilly days I can just send her to school with a sweater.  The lack of pants though (there were only a few pairs of jeans) posed a bit of a problem.  The other problem is that Katers is really rough on clothes, unlike her sister, when she outgrowns something it usually ends up in the garbage because it’s so stained it’s not worth it to even attempt to get the stains out.

While browsing my FB feed a few days ago, I came across a share from Melanie that was 3 of Oliver +S’s new patterns for fall.  While everyone else seemed to love the Library Dress, I zero’d in on the Playtime Tunic/Dress and Leggings.  I thought it would be perfect for Kate.  She’s not a dress fan and jeans she does not find overly comfortable, so I was struck with the idea that perhaps I could make her some tunics for fall and pair them with a couple pairs of neutral coloured leggings.

tunic collage

Now I have to admit, I have a bit of a love/hate with Oliver+S patterns. I’ve made one other item using their pattern (The Family Reunion Dress, also done for Kate) and while I find them well done, in the case of the Tunic and leggings, the pattern bothered me a little bit. It was not anything that was difficult, just a few minor annoyances – 1) the pattern pieces (even though printed correctly, I measured the 1″ line/square to confirm) did not piece together perfectly, they were off by a bit, something that always bugs me about patterns. I have the option with Olive+S to order paper copies, however, it takes 2 or more weeks to arrive, shipping now is crazy and I’m a tracer.  I have two girls and re-use the same pattern for both of them sometimes so cutting it is out of the question and tracing it is time consuming. I am happy to see that many popular pattern makers are now making digital patterns.

The other small thing I dis-liked is the booklet style PDF was a bit of a nuisance. I save on paper and only print the pattern pieces, I do not print the directions, I read those on my iPad. So for this pattern you read down one half of the screen, then have to scroll back up, read to the end again, then go to the next page, read down, then back up.  If you are not paying close attention, you start getting ahead of yourself in steps and then start scrolling back wondering what you might have missed. I’m sure it works fine for the paper patterns, but it’s a bit annoying when reading it from a smaller screen. For TFR Dress, I had bought a paper copy as at the time, they’d not offered digital patterns yet, so it did not bug me in that format.

All that said, I had no real issues sewing up both the Tunic and the leggings. They are pretty straight forward. The leggings were cut, sewn and ready to wear in less then a hour, they are that simple.   The Tunic took me a bit longer but that was mostly due to interruptions from my kids.

The Tunic I used some of my favourite fabric, Michael Miller’s Carnival Bloom and for the leggings, I used a denim knit I picked up on sale at Fabricland back in the spring. It’s not often I can get good quality knit at my local fabric store, so finding this denim was a real surprise. As you can see, Kate loves it. It allows for easy movement, the tunic is much better for little miss active than a dress as it’s not getting stuck under her feet or in the way of all her climbing, rolling around and racing/running.  She turns 4 in December and I made both in a size 4. They fit her her perfectly, although I’m concerned about the sleeves of the Tunic. I think when I make her a couple more I’ll add about 1″ of length to the sleeves.

Betsy Maness - I feel exactly the same way about the Oliver + S patterns. I always love the finished product though. I’m about to start sewing up several versions of the Playtime Tunic and pants for my granddaughter. She turned 4 in May and is a bit on the petite size. Did you find the 4T to be true to size?

Shelley - Sorry to take so long to reply! I found the size 4 “just” fit. The arms are what worry me as there is not much extra length to them. I think though that K is a big taller then average for her age.

Zip & Go


Yes, it’s another design by Erica of dog under my desk.  I can’t resist, she has such cute well designed patterns.  This is her Zip & Go. it’s the perfect in between size in my opinion when a wristlet is too small but a regular purse is too big/more than you need. It’s not quite big enough to fit an ipad, but it does fit the Kindle, Kobo and iPad mini easily enough.  I padded this one with the thought that I may be carrying my kindle around in it.  It’s not going to survive a huge drop, but it would be some what protected. :0)

This was a quick sew, and as usual, the pattern was clear, concise, well illustrated and easy to follow.  Sadly, my local sewing store has a bad selection of bag hardware so I’m unable to finish this until I get my order from Tantalizing stitches. I had lobster clasps/D-rings (I use them for my wristlets) but did not have any sliders.  I ordered them last week, but due to the holiday weekend, she did not ship them until Tuesday. Hopefully they will arrive late next week.


The front pocket is quite spacious. However, this bag is not very wide, so it’s a bit limiting as to just how much you can ‘stuff’ in there before it starts to bulge. For this one I used swivel clips and D-rings so you can remove the strap, but I ordered rectangle rings and a slider so future ones, the straps will not be removable. I do not think it makes a big difference, although after I put my order in and now have done this one, I like that it swivels, so I guess it’s all a matter of preference. :0)