When we were young - Week 1: Craftiness is not Optional

June 12, 2013

Welcome to the first guest post as part of sewpony's series: When we were young.  A nostalgic sewing series where guests recreate outfits from their childhood.

Our first guest is the super creative and prolific sewer - Jess from Craftiness is not Optional.  If you love sewing and read or have a blog, I'm sure you know Jess' awesome blog very well already.  Jess sews the most beautiful and stylish clothes for her three gorgeous daughters - Sadie, Charlotte and Ava.  I discovered Jess' blog a few weeks after I started mine after finding her gorgeous feedsack dress on flickr.  At that stage, Jess had about 1000 followers and I was inspired by all her free tutorials and how she could draft the most awesome dresses starting from a basic t-shirt!  I emailed Jess back then and asked her about how she started her blog and asked her for any handy blogging tips.  Jess wrote back with some friendly advice and became one of my first 'non-friend' followers - thanks Jess! 

Two years on and Craftiness is not Optional is bigger and better than ever.  With around 27,000 followers and subscribers (can you believe that?!!) and a clean new look, Jess' blog is sure to inspire you to sew.  Her Junebug dress is one of her best known and she has recently released it as a pattern for purchase from her blog.
A mini interview with Jess about when she was young...
Where were you born/did you grow up?
I was born and grew up in California.
Who did you grow up with?
My family of 10! I was the oldest of eight kids.
What did  you like doing when you were young?
I loved to read when I was a kid, and was involved in gymnastics, too.
Did you have any childhood ambitions?
I wanted to be all sorts of things...a ballerina, gymnast, equestrian rider, teacher...you name it!
Do you see similarities between yourself and your children?
I do see similarities between my kids and me-I get exasperated with them sometimes but then I realize I do that too!
Where do you live now and who with? 
I live in my hometown with my husband and three daughters. 
Anyway, onto her creation for the series - so gorgeous and amazingly close to the original...I'm sure you are all going to love it!!

When I first opened the email from Suz about her "When We Were Young" series, I knew I HAD to do it. No option...it sounded like a blast! I love the challenge to re-create an outfit that you yourself wore when you were...well, young! 

My mom loved to sew for us kids. Basically if the internet would have existed back then she would have had an awesome sewing blog, I'm sure. Anywho, with being the oldest kiddo in my family, my mom loving to sew, and my dad being the fan of photography that he was and is, I had a million pictures and outfits to choose from when I went about choosing an outfit for this post! Well, maybe not a million, but close. Thanks mom and dad!

This one was by far my favorite, even though my mom said she didn't remember making it herself. The cute way the striped fabric was used (I am a BIG fan of that), the little details, and of course, my dirty little toddler face. I'm a little sucker for it...mostly because Charlotte is my twin! Besides the strawberry blond locks. I love it.

So right after I decided on this outfit, I got an email from my friend Adrianna about her new Edelweiss dress pattern. I opened it up to take a look, and by golly if it didn't look just like the dress I was planning to recreate! It's like the planets/fates aligned for this guest post, guys. Thanks, A.

So after finding the perfect (vintage!) fabric online, I proceeded to do my best to recreate this look that I wore when I was...probably 2?  I cut out a size 2 from Adrianna's pattern, and used her directions to cut the front so the stripes created a chevron look. (I'm telling you...the fates! I swear she added those directions just for me...hehe) I added some eyelet trim instead of the ruffle-love how that turned out! My top stitching on the straps was not my best....that vintage fabric was really squirrely. I'm pretty sure it had some polyester in it.

I didn't get a good shot of the back but it closes with a little button and is really sweet. The Edelweiss dress pattern is really great! Fantastic instructions, very thorough, and the fit was great, although I think my almost 3 year old is getting closer to moving up to a 3T size. Finally!

I also chopped off a bit of length from the pattern and added (per the original picture) a ruffled portion at the bottom, cut on the bias (but not pointing the same way as the original...gorsh! the control freak in me did not like that!) and trimmed the bottom in bias tape. It's actually got white crocheted trim on the original, but the little photo I took with my phone for reference wasn't the greatest so I couldn't tell. haha, oh well!

Oh! here's a little bit better of a look at the back. I love all the stripes, though they are a bit dizzying. :D

On the front bodice, I added some clear buttons and a little satin ribbon to tie in a bow. I assume that's what the ribbon on the original was for, a bow. I know how kids can destroy bows...power to you mom, for trying.

All in all, I am SUPER happy with how it turned out. And I would probably never have chosen this to make on my own...I'm not the hugest fan of red in general, but this one takes the cake. And Miss C would look cute in a paper bag, so....

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  1. Oh wow... the two photos look EXACTLY the same. That is amazing!!! How did you manage to sew without going cross-eyed?! Such a sweet dress- what a way to kick off the series.

  2. are you kidding me? spittin' image! how adorable. this is going to be a tough act to follow! :)

  3. Gorgeous! Wow you and Charlotte are so much alike. Beautiful way to get the series started! :)

  4. LOVE! And Charlotte is totally your twin! What a fantastic dress and those photos are killing me with their cuteness!!

  5. freakin' adorable. really too perfect. and i see where charlotte gets her cute genes from! you were such a cutie too, jess!!

  6. Love this so much! Those stripes are awesome!

  7. I love both versions (so much alike, even you and Miss C are identical)!
    I do love red for summer and the stripes (and white eyelet trim) make this super adorable and so cute :-)

  8. A gorgeous dress!!! Love the stripes in different directions and the ruffle cut on the bias.

  9. This is adorable...and amazing what a good copy of the original! I love all of the details that went into this dress!

  10. Adorable...the dress...little Jess...and little Charlotte! What a fun series, looking forward to following along.

  11. Great idea for a series! And a timeless classic to kick it off.

  12. this is darling! that edelweiss pattern is going on my list of things to do. STAT. :)

  13. Oh, I knew I would LOVE this series, and I do!!! This is so sweet, I love, love, love the original and replica. My mom sewed for me a little bit through the years, now I need to find those old albums! Did I say how much I love this series? Oh, good.

  14. Thanks ladies! and thanks to Suz for this awesome series idea-it's so fantastic!

    1. Thanks for participating Jess and for such a great opening to the series:))

  15. I love this dress! Your little girl looks exactly like you and that dress is to die for in that red stripe!! Too sweet!

    Jenny Hall
    Seamignly Smitten sewing patterns

  16. Oh I am so stoked the Junebug dress is available! And the little red one on that gorgeous little face... adorable!

  17. Very cute Jessica!! I had to go through my old pix looking for something to make my daughter... Couldnt find what i was looking for though. I'll have to ask more family for pictures... And yes Charlotte would look extra adorable in a paper bag! She just cant help it.

  18. that is so adorable! and well, vintage anything gets my awww muscles going, but this is Double Aww because your daughter looks so much like you!

    great work, jess!

  19. She really is your twin!
    That dress is perfect. I love red stripes and this style is too darn cute. It looks lovely.

  20. Fantastic!!! Both you and your daughter look soooo cute in your girly red/white dresses. Well done!!

  21. Wow, your daughter is so adorable, and so the dress is!
    You did a great job!!!!!!!!!

  22. Beautiful! Love those chubby cheeks!

  23. Both the dress and yr Babe look so cute.....


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