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The {Un}School Photo Dress

One of the (many) reasons I love making clothes for my kids is that the durability of well-constructed handmades is second to none.  By choosing quality fabrics and using good finishing techniques, a garment can be passed down from one child to the next - and still look pretty fantastic!  I've been amazed at how well our handmades have held up, without me being fastidious about their care.  After all, I make these clothes to be worn.  To be lived in, played in, inevitably spilled on, and then thrown in the wash and often times the dryer(!) along with everything else.

{As an aside: I do avoid sewing primarily with solid colors, even though I love them, because my experience has been that they show stains much more so than patterned fabrics.}

Still, not everything I make gets worn a lot.    That's the great thing about having three girls to sew for - if a dress gets neglected by one, it has a chance for new life with another!  And such was the case with this dress that I made for Indigo a few years ago.  Indi hardly ever wore it.  Now, it's becoming a favorite of Evie's. 

It's the Oliver + S School Photo pattern... though it would be more fitting to call this the {Un}School Photo dress.  We decided to keep Evie home with us this year rather than sending her to preschool.  We are  l o v i n g it.  The dynamic really shifts when she's the big girl of the house.  Spending our days together has been lots of fun.  She didn't talk much before she turned three and her language has since exploded.  It's been quite the {awesome} experience to discover what's going on in that head of hers.

One day I was folding laundry while she was painting.  I switched to the opera station on Pandora.  After it played for about 10 seconds, Evie growled at me, like this.


What? I asked.  Mom, dis music is waaaay   tooo  cheesy!  she responded.  Too cheesy, huh?  (I also get called cheesy when I sing this while making her PB&J.  Tough crowd.

I've been surprised by how in touch she is with her feelings already.   Once she told me she used to feel sad when she wasn't able to talk well.  She's also in tune with her siblings emotions.  When Iris cries, she tries to cheer her up by playing peek-a-boo.  It may be the cutest version I've ever seen - she's so enthusiastic about it.  This cheering up is serious business!

Where's Evie?

She's beginning to get that she was adopted and asks lots and lots of questions about her orphanage, Ethiopia, and her first parents.  The favorite of which is: Why?

It's tough stuff to try to find age appropriate answers to these questions.  The truth is, I often don't know the answers myself, other than that adoption is complicated and always begins with loss.   My heart aches as I watch her try to make sense of it all.  While there aren't easy answers, I'm glad she feels comfortable enough to ask the questions.

With this parenting gig, we do the best we can.  Sometimes that means not doing -  listening, being, and reminding them they are loved unconditionally, to the moon and back.  Always.


  1. that fabric is gorgeous on her! and lovely photos, as always.

  2. First of all, I LOVE that outfit, from the headband to the shoes! Second, M LOVES the PB&J song! Unfortunately, not the sandwich (or anything with nuts or nut butter), which severely limits our lunch options, requiring him to always attend a school where they provide hot lunch. (When they have something with mashed potatoes or beans in it--which he doesn't like because of the texture--we send an energy bar to school with him. Yeah, we're getting Parents of the Year for sure.) And finally, I totally agree with your approach to answering Evie's questions. I think the fact that you listen, and try to help her process, is more important than any one statement you make on any given day. Sometimes, it is just complicated, and our kids need to know that we don't have all the answers, and we don't understand everything either, right? Y'all are doing a great job!


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