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The Geranium Expansion Pack

Last February, Rae asked if I would be interested in doing some freelance work for her, specifically if I would like to sew the samples and shoot the photos for the cover of her most recent pattern release, the Geranium Expansion Pack. This is an add-on pattern to her wildly popular Geranium dress pattern, of which I have sewn many.

This was different than the sewing I normally do in that it was a true collaboration. From choosing the fabrics to deciding which options we would choose for each dress, Rae was guiding the process every step of the way. Ultimately what I wanted most of all was for her vision of what the dresses and pattern cover would look like to become a reality.

It was fun to share ideas and brainstorm together and I was so happy with the end result.

I found both fabrics on Etsy here. We picked the mustard and salmon pink double gauze. It has a linen-like texture but is much, much softer than linen. It has the softness of double gauze but the shiftiness that linen can have.

I had a lot of trouble working with these fabrics, even though I sew with both double gauze and linen pretty regularly without any issues. These frayed a lot, they shifted a lot, the shape would start to look wonky, and they puckered easily.

This said, I think part of the problem may have been that before we knew how this material would behave (so unruly!), we chose to line the dresses with this same fabric. I recently worked with this fabric again in a different colorway for a dress for Tia.  I paired the double gauze with a more stable fabric and the sewing went so much smoother. Also the dress pattern was very basic (the hummingbird dress) so I'm sure that helped a lot, too.

The material is so lovely and I am very happy with the drape, the way it moves, and the softness. But I would recommend it only for a simple project or possibly for a more complicated project but paired with a stable lining like a voile. On a project where you are understitching and grading seams, having fabric that frays so much and is also shifty is not an enjoyable combination. So that's my disclaimer. :)

For Tia's dress, we choose to add the waist extension to the bodice, the gathered skirt, the gathered puff sleeve and the neck bow.

We decided to go with a slightly oversized look for Tia's dress which makes it feel more casual, I think.

You can see the way the fabric catches the wind and is so beautifully floaty. I love that!

I finished the back with a zipper. It was my first time installing a non-invisible zipper to the back of a dress. I've used invisible zippers many times. I am happy to report that there was nothing to it and I would definitely use this method again!

Rae found this awesome Etsy shop which has the best color selection in terms of zippers.  It's so much better and more extensive than what you would find at the big-box fabric stores.

For Iris' dress, we chose the standard bodice, the pleated skirt, the fitted sleeve, and the peter pan collar.

I mentioned on IG that I wasn't so sure about the pleated skirt with this combination, but Rae assured me that it would work. Still, I was struggling to visualize it. I am so happy we went with this option. Now I prefer the pleated skirt to a gathered one for Iris' dress. I think the pleats are so charming.

I love the size and shape of the Geranium peter pan collar. Rae suggested I tack the underside of the collar down with a few hand stitches because the floatiness of the material made it stick up a bit. That worked perfectly.

{As an aside, I always use this tutorial by Mie when I sew collars for my girls. The tutorial is near the end of the post.}

We finished the back of this dress the standard Geranium way with buttons.

When Rae and I talked about button choices, she mentioned the possibility of choosing black ones. Kind of like the pleated skirt suggestion, I wasn't so sure initially. I tend to be more of a neutrals girl and almost never use black in my sewing. Rae sent me a bunch of buttons to choose from including the black ones. Ultimately, when I compared the various choices against the dress, I loved the black best of all!

I think that was one of my favorite -and most surprising - parts about this project, collaborating with someone else, growing and coming up with even better ideas as a result. Sewing is such a solitary activity (although I do ask Dan for his feedback a lot!) :D So for me, it was exciting to try something new, even when I was unsure, and then be delighted with the end result.

Iris and Tia loved their dresses, too! Summer is here in full tilt, but the girls already tell me they look forward to wearing their new dresses in the fall.


  1. These are just gorgeous, Rachel! I was so excited when I saw your beautiful kids and photography on the COVER of Rae's new xp! YAY! Well done! The fabrics are stunning and I love hearing the inside scoop about your collaboration (the black buttons are excellent, and photograph so well!). I also just love your girls' smiles, especially at each other! There is so much love there! <3

  2. Very nice collaboration! Your pictures are always stunning so very clever of Rae to ask you to do the photographie! :)

  3. Simply gorgeous! Very pretty dresses. It even makes me long for autumn sewing...

    1. Being that our Texas summer is here in full force, I hear you on the autumn sewing! ;P

  4. You used my two favourite colours on two of the prettiest girls I know. What's not to like? <3

  5. Stunning! I love the dresses! Especially the one with the peter pan collar

    1. Thanks so much! I can't resist a peter pan collar!

  6. Oh these are so gorgeous! I love the pleats and the floaty fabric. Tacking down the underside of the collar is such a good idea!! Beautifully done!!!

  7. Such gorgeous dresses and sisters. The colors in those dresses together are perfection. Thank you for the shout out for my collar tutorial. I'm so happy you could use that advice. <3

    1. i love all of your advice, Mie! Thank you!

  8. Beautiful fabric and colours. These pictures are just gorgeous.

    1. Thanks so much, Olu! Rae made the final decision on the colors! But I loved them both as well, too!


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