Cupcake (Geranium) dress, AKA The Dress That Didn’t Want To Be Made

I knew I was going to make another Geranium Dress right after my first one.  The fabric was cut about a week ago, then I couldn’t get to my machine.  So no sewing for about a week!

I made a lot of silly sewing mistakes with this dress.  It kept happening. And I wasn’t even tired when I was making it.  Does sewing mojo leave that quickly?

gathering sewing on itself


First I made a mess of zigzag stitching the edge of the flutter sleeves.  I had to go back several times to parts that I had missed.  Then when gathering, the fabric came back around on itself and I didn’t get to it in time to prevent the two ends from being sewn together!  At that point, I thought, “well this is silly, I need to pay more attention!”

bodice wrong

So much for that.  I sewed the shoulders of the bodice pieces on incorrectly.The back is supposed to be sewn to the front.  I sewed the back pieces to the back lining and the front main to the front lining.  More silliness.  At this point I thought it might not be the best idea for a beginner to use the same fabric for main and lining plus a fabric with no “wrong” side.

flutter wrong

Alright.  Next stop, basting the flutter sleeves on the wrong side of the bodice.  You shouldn’t be able to see the shoulder seam fabric edges!  I think I took a short break.


Finally! Hooray! Bodice complete, sleeves inserted.  I set it aside (the sides are supposed to be done next but I switched out the thread anyway to start on the skirt.)  I decided to use french seams for the skirt because the finish looks nice, but really it is bulky so should be reserved for lighter fabrics.  With this thicker cotton it made it more difficult for the feed dogs to feed the fabric later when inserting the skirt into the bodice.

Nonetheless, here is how to do french seams:

Place fabric WRONG sides together and sew the seam with 1/4 allowance (or just a tiny bit under that).  I use the presser foot as a guide and make sure I can’t see the edge of the fabric past the edge of the presser foot.

IMG_0073 IMG_0074

Press OPEN the seam, which makes it easier to then fold the fabric RIGHT sides together.  Press again.

IMG_0075 IMG_0076

Then sew that seam again with a 1/4 allowance making sure you aren’t being skimpy with that allowance.  You are encasing the open edges inside this second seam.  You don’t want any fabric poking through.  Still using the presser foot as a guide, I make sure there is a teeny tiny amount of edge I can see on the right side of the presser foot.  This is just enough difference to make sure no edges poke through.

second seam

Then press that seam to one side and you have a nice looking, enclosed seam.

french seam

Funny enough, gathering the skirt and inserting the bodice into it and attaching wasn’t a problem.  I sewed the lining to the skirt the next day (last night).  Of course I made some mistakes trying to “stitch in the ditch”.  On my first Geranium dress I unpicked it all and redid it.  I decided I could do that later. All that was left was buttonholes, buttons and the hem.  No problem right?

I practiced a buttonhole on spare fabric (the same that I was using).  No issues.  But then when making my first buttonhole, the machine went up one side and then stopped and kept repeating the bar tack at the other end.  Great.  I tried another practice buttonhole on the spare fabric.  No issues.  ARGH!  So I went to the next buttonhole and the machine made it without a problem.  OK, so I am going to have to unpick 1/2 of a buttonhole.  I went to my third buttonhole and the machine stayed at the near bar tack going back and forth again!  I had even made sure to reset everything between each buttonhole! What is going on with this dress?!

bad buttonholes

It took a long time to unpick the two mistake buttonholes.  Not as long as I thought it would, but a LONG time.  During that time I had several thoughts.

“I wonder if I could remake the whole dress in the same amount of time it will take to unpick these two buttonholes.”

“Velcro closures aren’t so bad are they?”

“I wonder if I could appliqué over these.”

“This will be the longest-to-make play dress ever.”

But soon enough all the thread was cleared out leaving two holes!

unpicked bar tack

Enough!  I remade the two buttonholes, holding my breath and wondering who the patron saint of buttonhole making is.

TADA! Finally done.

cupcake buttons

Those are two buttons. One fits snuggly inside the other which looks cute with the whole dress.  I originally had cupcake buttons, but the shank would have poked them in the back when they rested against something.  I’ll save those for some other embellishment.

Here is the finished dress-

Cupcake dress Front Cupcake dress back


Whew.  At least I learn something with each mistake.  The overall lesson here seemed to be PAY ATTENTION.  And its nice that you can always rip out the stitching and try again, even though it sometimes leaves holes.


One thought on “Cupcake (Geranium) dress, AKA The Dress That Didn’t Want To Be Made

  1. Pingback: Geranium modification (Seersucker Whale top) | Sewing By Doing

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