About a year ago, I learned to sew again. When I was in high school I dipped into sewing and begged my mom to teach me how to use a machine. She taught me the basics—threading, winding bobbins, and sewing in a straight line. I made a few garments, and a few quilted coasters and things. Mom discouraged me from doing anything else though, because I was supposed to be studying to get into college (spoiler: I didn’t get into any decent state schools, and ended up going to community college for a transfer—I still have a UCLA degree though so who cares how I got there?). I dropped this hobby for a solid 15 years.
It’s really hard to talk about the period in my life just before I started sewing. We had moved out of a really terrible environment–mold, constantly broken plumbing, and mosquitos that Roy, my husband, is horrifically allergic to. We were struggling to make rent but I knew we needed to get out.
When we moved into our current 2 bedroom, part of a triplex we are renting, the new space and the clean environment was super inspiring. A friend at church had a young child then with the most adorable dress. I was always looking for simple, natural fiber dresses in classic styles that are comfortable for my then-8 month old baby. I asked my church friend about this perfect dress and she told me, much to my surprise, that she made it! From a pattern. That you can buy on the Internet.
And down the rabbit hole I went. On a borrowed machine I learned again how to sew. Since then I’ve made all sorts of things, but it all goes back to this very first linen Geranium dress by Made by Rae that I made from Jo-Ann linen and seersucker. I fell in love with this pattern early on, and especially loved how with children’s patterns like this, you can get endless variations for a low price and each dress takes about a yard, maybe less. And since then I’ve also made a whole parade of Geraniums, seen below.
These two 12M sized Geraniums made from fabric from Miss Matatabi became some of our favorite Geraniums for different reasons. The sushi one was kind of a plain, stiff cotton but it was so cute and got a million compliments. I’ve made several since for others who have requested it. It remains one of my favorite makes of all time.
The Nani Iro kind of speaks for itself. The beautiful little mustard Pocho on the dreamy, dreamy double gauze cotton was a dream to work with and wear and it instantly lodged itself in my top 3 favorite textile bases of all time and has stayed there since.
Roy picked out this quilting cotton for a size 18M Geranium. I think after I made the sushi dress, he specifically asked for a meat one, and we did a Google search and found this one from I think Dear Stella. I actually made a matching dress and a button down shirt for K’s cousins in another state and they all wore it together in October when we travelled together. This was also the first I made with the Peter Pan collar from the expansion pack.
An upcycled Geranium from a men’s shirt.
Christmas/fall Geranium from Robert Kaufman flannel (affiliate link to Amazon) which is perfect for a winter version.. I have matching PJ’s which are still in my WIP basket (oops), but she outgrew this in a minute, which I’m pretty bummed about. I learned the hard way that it’s better to make things too big than too small!
I’ll write more about this, but since that first Geranium, I realized that working with my hands and with tactile materials in crafting was hugely therapeutic on my way to recovery from PTSD, post partum anxiety, and just.. generalized anxiety. Fiber crafting has become a huge part of my recovery and daily self care, and I can’t wait to share more of the things I made with you.