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Ottobre 6/2013, No. 24

Lately I have been so inspired by Ottobre patterns.  I have a list a mile long of things I'd like to make from issues past and present.   This time I wanted to focus on Indigo.  As the oldest of our girls and the giver rather than the receiver of hand-me-downs, she is the one most in need of new clothes.

ottobre 6/2013, No. 24

It's been interesting, fun and yet stretching for me to find things that suit Indigo as she grows.

ottobre 6/2013, No 24 

Sewing for the 2-5 year old comes most naturally to me, perhaps because I have been sewing for that age range for so long.  It's my comfort zone.  Indigo now has her own taste and style, so choosing what I make for her is a team effort these days.   It's great and she is a wonderful co-planner to have around!

my indigo love

I almost passed over this dress, #24 in the 6/2013 issue, because it was sewn in a bold floral print which obscured the pattern's beautiful lines.  It actually wasn't until I saw the diagram of the dress that I knew that it was a must-make.  I decided to make it in a solid to really let the details shine.

ottobre 6/2013, no 24 

I love the curved bodice seams.  To give more definition to the seam, I added some charcoal piping.  If you've never made piping before, it really is so easy and gives you so many more options than what you can find at the store.  I always trim my piping seam allowance to match my dress seam allowance so I can just line up the edges for easy application.

ottobre 2013, No 24 

Indigo and I both liked the v-shape of the bodice's bottom edge.  It definitely gives the dress a more elegant feel, but in simple fabrics, I hope it becomes more interesting than overly formal.

ottobre 6/2013, no 24 

I was drawn to the side gathering as well.

Ottobre 6/2013, No 24 

I just think this is a pretty unique pattern all around.

ottobre 6/2013, no 24

After making two or three dresses which were too short for Indigo this summer, I learned my lesson the hard way and I am now adding length to anything I make for Indigo.  (Sometimes too much length.) Having that extra length to work with, I added a more dramatic sloping hemline with the front being 4 inches shorter than the back.

ottobre 6/2013, no 24 

Then, borrowing an idea from the Bohemian Babydoll dress, I drafted a hem facing, in the same charcoal fabric I used for the piping.

charcoal hem facing

The sleeves have darts in the back.  This was my first time sewing darts.  It turns out they are nothing to be afraid of... how about that! (I didn't get a photo of those darts!)

I referred back to the fabulous Hanimi pattern for instructions on sewing in the zipper and attaching the lining to the zipper. This is - hands down- my favorite way to install zippers.   I also love the way An has you attach the bodice to the skirt without fiddling with lining up a zipper to the skirt.  Such a clever method!

ottobre 6/2013, no 24

 I made the dress in this Kaufman corduroy in rust.

ottobre 6/2013, no 24 

My camera was determined to make the dress appear bright red and I had to do lots of color correction (editing) by hand to represent the color accurately.   Kaufman's line of 21 Wale corduroy is so soft and lovely.  Indigo says it feels like velvet.  I have used it many times and it never disappoints.

ottobre 6/2013, no 24 

Isn't Indigo looking like such a little lady these days? 

Our littlest of ladies, Hazel, is now going from crawling to sitting up. I set her down on her belly and came back to this.  She was so quiet and nonchalant about the whole thing. :)
  hazel sitting up!

I love how she sits up so straightly! It makes me want to work on my posture.

I also wanted to report back on She Plans Dinner.  This is our third week using it and so far, we love it! We have been working for years to streamline our dinner hour, planning meals and grocery lists in advance, but nothing has worked as well as this.  It's only $5 per month, and all but one of the recipes we've tried have been good to excellent. The meals have really been delicious!  We subscribed to the Fit and Healthy Plan which is almost a Paleo-style menu. That works great for our family because Dan is gluten-free and Tia has a lot of food allergies including allergies to eggs and dairy. We do usually add a starch like brown rice or bread and I often add another side dish. I love that this takes the guess work out of dinner. I like to cook, but don't like thinking of what to make... at all.   I do adapt the recipes sometimes to fit our family's taste and often reduce the amount of salt, but overall we've been so happy with our plan. Here's what's on our menu this week.

  she plans dinner 

I've also been making beans in the crockpot and substituting them for the canned beans in the recipes. My kids have loved that. Some of meals require some marinating time, but the aim is to spend 30 minutes or less on prep work. Between this and some other changes we've made as part of my new year's resolutions, we're really getting into a good rhythm.

tia and franklin  

I'm looking forward to reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I've heard so many great things about it. We ordered it, but somehow lost it!  Dan said, "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up is lost in our clutter. How ironic is that?!" Ha!  Still we've made a lot of progress, so I'm not going to be too hard on myself.  I've been on a decluttering mission since last fall and things are really shaping up around here!

tia, franklin and bondi


  1. I am so pleased She Plans Dinner is working for you. I pray that it would bless each of the subscribers. Thanks for sharing about it on your blog.

  2. Oh hey! I just bought that book about Tidying Up too! Can't wait to hear your thoughts! As you know I've been on a hardcore "reclaim the house" kick for a year, and it has improved my life so much I want MORE!

    The She Plans Dinner thing sounds awesome too. That's still an area of stress in my life, but I strongly resist the idea of meal-planning. Which is probably silly, but it seems constraining and we never seem to stick with it.

    I absolutely LOVE this dress. Wow, that was last year? I must have just looked right over it, I have no memory of this dress. I love the little princess lines and that waist is very sweet and 70s to me. The fabric is delicious. And PIPING. So great.

    1. We definitely resisted the idea of meal planning, too, until we had Iris and it simply became unmanageable without a plan. For one, it saves money because you aren’t spending it going out to eat or on take out and you know exactly which ingredients you need, so less food goes to waste. Secondly, delayed dinners mean later bedtimes which mean crankier kids, so it’s really nice to have a plan. But we do keep it relatively unstructured. We don’t designate a day for each meal (unless it’s seafood - then we want to make it right away so it’s fresh). We mix the sides and I choose a meal based on what we feel like. So it doesn’t feel confining to me at all. It adds a peacefulness to the day knowing we don’t have to scramble to get our food on the table and also knowing we will eat well. We don’t have a lot of good take out options here. The best place is probably Whole Foods which is expensive (Dan calls it Whole Paycheck! ha!) So if we want good food, we mostly have to make it. Being I am a stay at home mom and eat pretty ho-hum breakfasts and lunches, I like having something I really enjoy for dinner. I also like to make our family dinners special.

  3. Everywhere I go on blogland I'm hearing about this book! Must be a real keeper:) Hoping that it will turn up sooner rather than later so you too can see what all the buzz is about:)
    Good for you in tackling your Ottobre patterns. I think I've said here before, the tracing intimidates me and makes me weary before I even start:( This dress is gorgeous! I actually thought it was velvet till I read your comment about the corduroy. Indigo looks so grown up and beautiful in it. And that piping addition is a genius touch. I need to get braver with piping:)

    1. Hey Lucinda! I have found it really helps to trace over the lines with a marker first - that's what I do if the lines are really confusing, which happens on certain colors more than others. If you trace over the line with a marker, it's much easier to trace onto swedish tracing paper - or whatever you use. :) And yes, go for it with the piping. There's no turning back once you do! ;)

  4. I did not know you had a dog!!
    and I love this dress , it reminds me of a version of the hanami I made in which I inserted piping. I need to do it again with long sleeves! I think she looks so much like a princess in that dress and her hair... sigh.. I am so bad at doing this sort of things in BLandine's hair!

    AH Kaufman's corduroy!! I wish I knew about that before I started my Frozen dress: all I found in france was stretchy corduroy and I am having a nightmare sewing experience with this dress! it does not look like the beautifully draped dress on the cover of that book I showed you! but the girl is still happy (although mama is not!!) ! I will propabbly get some of this corduroy , it is perfect for winter:)

    This book seems very interesting and I must say I laughed when you said it is lost somewhere in your home!!:) I also need to be more organized! but I will not declutter my sewing room!! I keep every bit of fabric! I am a hoarder!

    as for dinner planning, I do that as much as I can and it works wonders. But I have a question: do you have 2 or 1 meal per day?? here in France we have 2 FULL meals a day! so I have to plan both. When I lived in England we would "snack" for lunch with sandwiches ... but no french person would agree to a sandwhich every day!!:)
    have a great day!

    1. Hey Sophie! I actually love doing hair! Not my own, though - only my girls’ hair. I do try to have Indigo wear it in a style otherwise it looks really, r e a l l y unkempt. I tell her we will have to cut it short if she can’t keep it brushed and/or in a style. But if you saw it how she would like keep it, you would agree with me. A bird could have a nest in there! ;)

      I didn’t see that Hanimi dress of yours but I do love that pattern so much! I love piping, so it would be sure to be true love! :)

      I love the sound of French lunches - so long as I wasn’t the one having to do all that cooking! haha! ;) I would say that many Americans do a light lunch. Sandwiches are common - and I don’t care much for sandwiches. My kids often eat : grilled cheese sandwiches, quesadillas, pasta with melted cheese, pasta with spaghetti sauce, or sandwiches with hazelnut or sunflower seed butter. Then we do a fresh fruit and/or vegetable. I usually eat leftovers from dinner the night before. Today I used their bowtie pasta to make an easy Greek pasta salad with chickpeas, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts and a few other simple ingredients. :)

    2. yummy! that salad sounds so good!:) send me some leftovers!!:) yes cooking 2 times a day is not something I am fond of either!
      here is the link to my hanami dress, but it looks nothing as good as this dress of yours!:)

  5. Oh my goodness, what a gorgeous dress. I love the fabric choice too. Kaufman is great stuff. I used some of their green corduroy for ninja turtle pants for violet. You're really selling me on Ottobre! This whole meal planning thing sounds interesting too. I grow very frustrated with trying to plan meals around my kids picky eating habits. I refuse to just serve packaged junk, but also want everyone to freaking eat something. So often, I just resort to a roasted chicken and vegetables. And gluten free pizza on Fridays. Lol.

    1. Hey Tara,
      This might be pretty hardcore, but we don’t really give our kids a choice. We do for breakfast and lunch, in that we generally choose things that everyone will like and eat - and more typical ‘kid’ food, like quesadillas or pasta and spaghetti sauce. But for dinner, we make what we make and inevitably one or two of the kids do not want to eat it. Two of my kids are really picky eaters. We try to have a few options - a green, a side, a starch, and a main course. But we do make them have at least one bite/small piece of whatever we are having and there are not any other options. When Tia was a toddler we worked with an occupational therapist because of some feeding issues she had related to being in the orphanage and she said that kids need to try something up to 20 times before they acquire a taste for it. Tia really has become a good eater now. But I just want to be clear that our dinner hour is definitely not four smiling children graciously eager to eat what we’ve made. In fact, when Dan used to make dinner and the kids would ask what he was making, he got to the point of saying, “I’m not going to tell you because you complain no matter what it is.” For us, that is just part of it. Inevitably, someone complains about something in almost every meal. I don’t take it personally. :)

  6. Beautiful dress! I'm intrigued by Ottobre but haven't taken the plunge yet. I've settled into weekly meal planning since having kids. I decided on 6ish meals, shop for the week, and then decide each day what to cook from our list. Today it's time to decide on our menu for the next week. And I'm eagerly awaiting the Tidying up book from the library! I've been on a decluttering mission for a while now too and it makes such a huge difference in how I feel during the day.

  7. Even better than a marker for teaching Ottobre patterns is a frixion highlighter. After you are done tracing you can remove the marks with a warm iron. I got that from a Japanese pattern magazine.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing, Jax! I had never heard of that before! I love that idea and can't wait to check it out!

  8. You sure did a nice job on this dress. She looks all grown up ; )
    I think Hazel looks like her. Blessings on you. You are doing a great job with your family

  9. Ah, it's so beautiful! I've been thinking the same thing about sewing for Em recently - the types of dresses and clothes that seem more her age are different than what I used to sew when she was younger. I just made her a Geranium and honestly I wasn't sure if I'd still like that style on her (I do though!). This dress is just gorgeous - the color works so well on Indigo and I do love that piping and the subtle details. You're selling me on Ottobre too!

    We started loosely meal planning along with better budgeting/grocery shopping habits about a year ago. We don't write it down, but I shop for building blocks to make a few different meals (meats, onion, beans, pasta, etc), and get some quick stuff at Trader Joes too (their frozen coconut shrimp is way better than it has any right to be!). Worknight dinners could be shrimp, rice, and a steamed veggie. On days I'm home with the kids, I can do something more involved. My husband was the pickiest one but he has gotten way better lately too!

  10. I like the dress a lot! It's such a pretty colour, your girl almost looks royal in it ;-) And as for meal planning: I do that too! It makes the week more relaxed, especially since we decided not to eat meat on weekdays, cooking is quite a challenge sometimes so knowing what to do/make makes all the difference.

  11. The dress is really beautiful. So many little details that come together in such a wonderful way! I think you chose perfect fabric to showcase those details. And please let me say this again - your kids are gorgeous! Thank you for sharing glimpses of your life with us :)

  12. Rachel that is a beautiful dress! I'm feeling the same way about my Japanese pattern books, I want to get seriously stuck into them.
    the colour is just about my favourite colour and your charcoal piping was pure genius.
    Our dinner times sound identical to yours. There's only one meal on offer and you can take it or leave it (but you can't remain at the dinner table and be a misery guts if you don't like what's served up) And Tim answers with "dirt" when the kids ask what's for dinner for exactly the same reason as Dan! We rotate through about7-10 different dinners, I like the idea of adding one new recipe each week and building the list a bit for more variety.
    I love that you've lost the tidying up book! Hilarious.


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