I am quite proud of this little dress.  It’s full of flaws, but it’s the first dress I’ve made for Rylee…and because of that, I think I’ll always remember it.

My grandmother taught me how to sew when I was about 10.  I remember carefully sewing together these miniature red santa claus suits filled with jolly ranchers to give to all my friends at Christmas time.  I actually kept one of them and still have it today.  Every time I bring it out during the holidays, it brings me right back to that moment in time with her.  I remember it so vividly.  Watching over her shoulder and she showed me how to lower the presser foot and reminded me to “never forget to backstitch”.  I’ll forever be thankful to her for introducing me to sewing.  I never knew it would be something I would grow to love so much.  Come high school, I thought I was a pro.  My favorite thing to do was take oversized vintage clothes and either tailor them to fit me, or deconstruct them entirely and make them into something new.   I started a little “business” where I would make custom skirts for my friends.  They would choose the fabric and I’d create the perfect skirt for them.  I thought I was killing it at 30 bucks a pop!  Ha.  But somewhere between college and my first job, my love for that amazing little machine dwindled.  It never totally went away, it’s just that other things replaced it.  There was a span of about 4 years where I don’t think I even touched it.  Fast forward to today and not only have I brought that machine out from hiding, but I have been putting it to work!  My passion for sewing has come back in full force and it has everything to do with Rylee.  I know a lot of times it’s easy for me to say that being a mom often takes away from my creative productivity….but in other ways….having a daughter totally inspires it.  And this is a perfect example!

  The 52 Project – a portrait series of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2013 – inspired by Jodi

 And if you’re interested in the dress making process:

I hand stamped the fabric using foam board cut into a 1″ triangles (doubled up) and soft matte fabric paint by Tulip.  I just eyeballed the spacing and made mistakes here and there, but didn’t mind the imperfection.  I used the same stamping process as in this DIY if you want to read it more in detail.  For the dress pattern, I used a vintage McCall’s pattern that I purchased on etsy (similar here) …but modified it a little for Rylee (and it’s still too big!).  If you have any questions feel free to ask….but know that I’m no expert!  Happy early Valentines day, friends.  xo.

  1. Keri-Anne

    This is so darling! I am looking forward to seeing up some dresses for my girls when the summer comes. What do you do about washing the dress? Would the pattern run? Xxxx

    • kelli

      No Keri-Anne! It’s totally washer/dryer friendly. Just make sure you get the permanent fabric paint and you should be fine.

  2. Rachael

    i think it is admirable to have such a talent, and i know that rylee will appreciate your craftmanship and care put into her dresses when she grows. :)

  3. abby

    you’ve totally inspired me!! i inherited my grammie’s sewing machine and it’s been collecting dust for months . . . time to get out and practice with it! {i just need someone to come show me how to use it!}

  4. Kelly Renee

    How adorable!! That dress was clearly made for her, how cute.
    Even If It’s a little big, that just means she’ll be able to wear it longer :)

    Also love the little details like the buttons on the shoulder!

  5. Bri

    that is a beautiful dress! and such a lovely story about your grandam, thanks for sharing! I’m sure Rylee will treasure this dress forever

  6. Kastles

    Such a beautiful story about your Grandma! And a beautiful dress! The photos are stunning, you are a multi talented lil lady!
    I know what you mean about sewing, I actually went to college for fashion design about 6 years ago & didn’t sew for a long time afterwards. I finally pulled out my machine in the last few months & this has inspired me to do some more projects! Thanks Kelli!
    Have a wonderful rest of your day!
    <3 Kastles

  7. Sara Elizabeth

    This dress is just TOO CUTE! The colors are so pretty and cute she’ll be able to wear it all through spring and summer as well! :D

    Hope you’re having a great day!
    Sara from tinysugarbee.blogspot.com

  8. Kim

    This is so cool!!! I love it completely adorable! Congrats on your first dress :)
    You are really getting me excited about hand stamping, I might have to experiment ;)

  9. Lydia

    I was searching for patterns to sew for a friend who is having a baby and found your blog. Love your design. I also have a background in graphic design and illustration. I worked and am working part time now, but would love to start a blog. I can really relate to what you wrote about designing for yourself, I think that’s where I’ve stalled. Any advice you can give me to get started?

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