The “Simply Sweet” Gets Frillyfied

My husband and I took our kids to watch the New York Theatre Ballet put on “The Nutcracker” in Keene this afternoon. The ballet was condensed into an hour-long production to make it easier for children to sit through, and one of the reviews raved about the relaxed atmosphere. Perfect for my kids, I thought. Maybe no-one will mind their lack of volume control.  I had made Bubsy a vest and bow tie for the occasion yesterday, but didn’t have anything special for Zee yet. Okay, that isn’t true. Zee has a bazillion pretty things I’ve made her or found while thrift shopping. I just wanted an excuse to make her something new.

I have long been inspired by Hickity Pickity. They make these diaphanous little girl dresses with tulle overlays. I decided to try my hand at something similar. I used


The “Simply Sweet”

Scientific Seamstress’s “Simply Sweet” pattern with the halter top option. I flipping love this pattern, because it is so versatile. It comes with several strap, bodice, and length options. Here are just a few variations possible from this one pattern, which is available for purchase on Scientific Seamstress’s Etsy shop.

Here’s the link to this pattern and dozens of others:

I used fabric Sis Boom’s gloriously classic “Caravelle Arcade” line.

For my daughter’s first visit to the ballet, I decided to add a tulle overskirt. It was a little time consuming to cut out, as the tulle kept shifting around and getting snagged on my engagement ring. I cut it and the fabric underskirt to wider dimensions than the pattern called for to make it extra full. I stitched the overskirt and underskirt at the sides separately, then put the layers together when I gathered the top of the skirt. I attached it to the bodice, and decided that was a good stopping place for the night.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn the morning, I hemmed the underskirt, so the tulle overhung it by about two inches, contributing to the “floaty” effect. I knew I wanted to add a sparkly button, but I also needed to cover up the basting threads on the skirt. Normally, I would remove them, but I thought I would tear the delicate tulle in the attempt. So, I covered them up with some glitter ribbon my daughter picked out. Covering up mistakes sparks some of my best ideas. I attached the ribbon and added an acrylic rhinestone at the top, but the dress looked off-balance to me. Even though the tulle skirt made the dress look ethereal, it still looked a little bottom-heavy, like an triangle. So, I made an inverted triangle out of some pale blue glittered ribbon on the bodice to counter the effect.

As you can see, Zee felt absolutely beautiful. I’d like to say she behaved beautifully throughout her first ballet, but that would not be strictly true. While she was enthralled with the perfectly executed choreography and the elaborate costumes, she did burst out laughing at the men’s form- fitting tights. “Heh, heh, heh. I can see their BUTTS!”, she cried. Over and over. And over. Punctuated with lots of “heh, heh, heh”s. She reminded me of that inane show from the 90s, “Beavis and Butthead”.

Bubsy was traumatized by the life-sized mice and began begging to leave, so I escorted him out. Zee made it almost through, but ten minutes before the end, she decided she’d had enough and announced her desire to leave,”Right now!”, in a loud voice.

As the four of us made our way back to the car, my husband asked Zee how she liked the ballet. She giggled and replied: “I saw butts.”


Scientific Seamstress’s “Simply Sweet” in Sis Boom’s Caravelle Arcade


The End. 

The Festive Vest

We’re taking the kids to see The Nutcracker tomorrow, and my five-year-old son, Bubsy, needed something a little bit dressy to wear. His little sister will be wearing–what else?–a tutu, and I was just going to plunk Silas into a sweater and jeans, when I realized he’s been looking a little jealous of all the homemade loot Zee’s been getting lately. Honestly, I don’t usually enjoy sewing for boys very much. It feels more like work than it does play. I’m all about the ruffles and floral fabric, baby.

However, I remembered I had the Scientific Seamstress “Festive Vest” pattern on hand. You can get your pattern here:

I’d already made one vest–airplane themed–for my little boy. Here he is, with the Scientific Seamstress “Easy Fit” pants.

This time, I thought he’d like one with his new favorite person, Santa Claus, on it. I made it reversible, Santa fabric on one side, and red, green, and white stripes on the other. While I was at it, I also snapped up the free “Bosco Bow Tie” pattern from Sis Boom.

The bow tie came together in about fifteen minutes, and the results are absolutely precious! I can see adapting this pattern to make cute little bows for barrettes or to accent a handbag. The vest came together in about 45 minutes, start to finish. He’s also wearing some navy blue Easy Fit pants, but he insisted on tucking them into his beloved galoshes, so I didn’t get a full shot of them. The Easy Fits take only about fifteen minutes to make, and come with a ruffled and cuffed version, too.

My son is on the ASD spectrum, and despite his high level of intelligence, it’s very difficult for him to tell the back of his pants from the front of his pants. I LOVE that the back is exactly the same as the front in this pattern. One less thing for him to struggle with. So without further ado, here are some photos of my little love bug in his new duds. Baby sister crashed a couple of shots.

It’s difficult to see, but Bubsy is holding a stuffed reindeer made from another Sis Boom freebie, the “Rachel Reindeer”.


P1019156.JPGOur tree has half a dozen. My kids love them and are always taking them off to play with them. I’ve made over a dozen of them for teacher’s appreciation gifts and have promised to make some for relatives, too. Absolutely in love with that little pattern.

Get it here:

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you!

Sweet, Charming, Lovely Bus Driver

My son’s bus driver pushed a few of my buttons this afternoon. For reasons best known to herself, she thought it appropriate to ask, in front of my son and a bus full of children, if I was pregnant.


“No,” I answered, dismissively. This woman hasn’t exactly impressed me with her manners, so I was prepared to let it go.


“Are you sure?” she asked, eyeing my belly expertly. “You’re carrying a little extra weight there.”

“Yes, I’m sure,” I replied, frostily.

“You might be,” she said. “You should get it checked. You never know.”

“I would know,” I replied, turning away.

“Maybe it’s just your winter coat. It makes you look, you know…” She made a motion with her arms as though she was scooping up imaginary rolls of fat and setting them down.

Ignoring her, I marched my five-year-old up the driveway. “You could be! You never know!” she loudly called after me. I am grateful there were children watching, because I was sorely tempted to (ahem!) behave unbecomingly. I wanted to march back down the hill, stare pointedly at her midsection, ask if she was experiencing a surprise pregnancy late in life, or if menopause was slowing her metabolism. Or just punch her in the throat.

Seriously. Okay, so every woman gets wrongly asked if she’s preggers now and then. My skinny mini size 2 friend who can’t gain weight even when she tries has been asked her due date. Clueless people abound. Sometimes, honest mistakes are made and “Congratulations!” quickly turns into embarrassment for both parties. Typically the the guilty party apologizes and says something like: “Oh, it’s just the way the wind came up and made your shirt poof out! You totally do not look pregnant! I’m so sorry,” while hastily backing away. A sensible person does not make things worse by pointing out that you gained weight!

 I know this woman is not the brightest bulb, but honestly, her remarks felt mean. There was definitely a hint of malice in her eyes as she loudly asked her “innocent” questions.

True, I did put on some pounds over the past few weeks. My metabolism goes haywire when I’m under stress, and I’m under quite a bit these days. We are in the process of selling our house and buying a new one in a nearby town that hopefully uses more discretion in hiring bus drivers. However, I have just lost a few of those pounds and even dropped a size in jeans, so I was feeling pretty proud of my efforts.

My mother’s advice to me (her blurt-questions-now-think-later child) has always been: “Unless you can see the baby’s head crowning, never ask a woman if she is pregnant.” And she is absolutely right. Even if a woman looks pregnant to you, she could have gained a few pounds, had a big lunch, eaten something that gave her tremendous gas and inflated her stomach, have uterine fibroids, etc. and so forth. Or, she could be pregnant, showing early, and not want to tell anyone yet. Or she might, sadly, be in the process of miscarrying, and really not want to discuss that with Mister or Miss Nosy.

So, if you think a woman might be pregnant, unless you are her doctor, keep your mouth shut, instead of loudly asking and pressing the issue in front of a bus full of curious children.