Mother as Amateur Seamstress

Several months back I blogged about making clothes for Fable while pregnant. About how much fun I was having picking out fabrics, spending long afternoons with my mother, her hands training mine to fold back the often stubborn seams.

"Press down on the pedal!" she said as I steered the fabric through the sewing machine, creating my first hemlines and pockets.

Fable wasn't supposed to wear the dresses we made her until she was twelve months old but alas, she is wearing them now. All four of them.

And it's one of the more accomplished feelings in the world to know I created something tangible for someone once unknown. How I imagined for months this child inside me, naked and kicking her tiny feet against me. And now? Kicking with chubby ankles, alive and full of magic, clad in dresses sewn by hands that never so much as threaded a button before last summer.

I never got the urge to sew until I was pregnant with her, my flower fairy of the garden. So excited was I learning to sew, that I was unable to do anything else for a week straight but cut patterns and pin and thread and re-do and mess-up and make crooked pockets. Crooked pockets made with more heart than any pocket on any dress from any rack for any price could ever do.

It pains me to look at her. To adore something so much. To pull her arms through the holes of my every dream. To button up her shoulders and wrap her up, my growing miracle. Like holding a magic trick one has rehearsed for her whole life.

It's hard to believe they will ever really appear but they do. White rabbits out of hats and who knew I had it in me to have her out of me and now in the world?

I think of the dresses. How I could not have made them myself. How I needed help, my mother to guide me. To lead the fabric through the machine as I pressed down on the pedal. I think of the dresses my mother made for me. How they sometimes unraveled. How they were always my favorite.

How my greatest and proudest accomplishments are the ones far from perfect. Far from symmetrical. Their inseams off and often uneven, surprisingly challenging.

I am reminded that there will always be finer craftsman, women with steadier hands, mothers with a real eye for symmetry, who know how to choose colors that don't bleed and fabrics that don't easily fray, but then I think to myself, how much does that even matter?

I don't think it necessarily does.

No matter how crooked the seams, a child will always be most beautiful draped in love.

Even if her seams are showing.

Especially if her seams are showing.




Anonymous | 2:23 AM

The dresses are just beautiful!! And Fable is absolutely gorgeous!

It makes me want to have a baby too..

I think I adore you. You are such a positive spirit.

Cate Subrosa | 2:40 AM

You're making me want to learn to sow, big time. Just as soon as we find out the sex, I might have to ask my mother to teach me too.

Desiree | 3:01 AM

oooh this might be my favourite post of yours in a while.

im dying to create little wearables for my gretchen!

Ju | 3:47 AM
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mrs. P | 4:08 AM

Hey i just started to read your blog and had to comment to let you know i havent seen many kids cuter then yours! This was a beautiful post. And her clothes...oh my lord, too cute. I would wear those dresses and im 28, is that weird?

The Panic Room | 4:09 AM

My mother made my sister and I our clothes for a long time. I remember when I was little playing in her sewing room and getting into trouble messing with all her gear. You have done a great thing here for Fable, that little blue number is my fav.

Cole is setting up her sewing machine this week. Nesting is in full force.

Wicked Step Mom | 5:09 AM

Those dresses are beautiful. I hope you keep making dresses for her. I know that they will be her favorites.

Prasti | 5:25 AM

No matter how crooked the seams, a child will always be most beautiful draped in love.

love it.

her dresses are fantastic! great job.

pamela | 5:29 AM

once again you have taken the words right out of my mouth... such a beautiful post!!
i have made zoe two dresses to date and i absolutely know what you mean. it makes you feel so good to see this awesome little babe in something that isn't perfect, but is....

Heather (Laptops to Lullabies) | 5:32 AM

Rebecca, your dresses are beautiful! So inspiring!

Amber | 5:48 AM

Fable is adorable...and so are her clothes. I also love the bedspread or whatever she is sitting have great taste in fabric.

hoppytoddle | 6:02 AM

I just posted about my friend & I making things for each others kids. I've said it before, but when Fable gets old enough to pick out her own fabric, it gets so fun. I think it's great for them to be able to pick out their own patterns & fabric & buttons to create their own sense of style, rather than depending on what the buyers at Target think will sell.

I know you will do this with her & I can't wait to see what she comes up with.

So, you are going to be making more, no?

Anonymous | 6:03 AM

beautiful post and beautiful dresses. i still have some of the clothes my grandmother knitted and/or sewed for me. they are extremely special to me. i'm holding onto them for my own children.

I've gotta write it to right it. | 6:12 AM


Heather | 6:16 AM

What a lucky girl to have such a wonderfully loving and talented Mommy like you. The dresses are so fun and bright. I love them.

messyfunmommylife | 6:32 AM

Can I just say you have an eye for fashion! Will you make me a dress :)

Amanda | 6:42 AM

Love the dresses, and love this post!

Sarah VM | 6:58 AM

Those dresses are so sweet! You should make more and sell them! I love the little red shoes, they are adorable.

Anonymous | 7:13 AM

Wow! Your prose is wonderful, your love comes through so well! I wish I could see metaphors in the mundane which then would turn the mundane into extraordinary. This was a wonderful read, it touched my heart, it spoke to my mother's instinct with extreme clarity. Thank you!

Anonymous | 7:17 AM

this beautiful post reminds me of a phone conversation i had with an incredible woman/mother/fashion goddess named rebecca woolf just the other day.

me: "bec, it kills me that you dress that baby up like she's headed out for happy hour with the girls every single day. and yet, nobody sees her but you."

you: "uh, and the internet."

amen. i wish she could stand up so we could see your handiwork better.

sew me a cloak of kisses so we can scuttle together under there. and make some more dresses while you're at it.

Erin @ Furry Murray | 7:24 AM

Loved your post! I inherited my sweet grandma's very much loved sewing machine after her very hard fought battle with cancer. She made most of my mother's clothes until she was grown - even suits!? I have been wanting to make a dress for my daughter (6 1/2 mos) for awhile. You have given me great motivation to get going! Thanks!

Anonymous | 8:31 AM

Aww! What darling clothes, and an even more precious baby!!

Anonymous | 8:37 AM

I recently started sewing too, and I just love the feeling of making something tangible. Something that fulfills such a basic need. Something other than a Word document!

Scooter Couple | 8:41 AM

The dresses are so adorable! As the mother of a little boy, I always look longingly at the fun prints and cute clothes littering the girls' section, sigh and turn back to the sports ball-festooned, solid, primary colors of the boys section.

Can I ask what kind of sewing machine you use? I'm interested in getting one so I can actually bring the projects I imagine to life, but don't know where to start in figuring out which one to buy.

Anonymous | 9:03 AM

This post made me cry. I just had a baby girl eight months ago and I can't believe how fast she is growing up away from me, outside of me. So beautiful Rebecca, thank you.
PS Where can I find those tights with the mary janes on them?? I have been looking everywhere. They look like Trumpettes??

Missy | 9:28 AM

Those dresses have to be some of the cutest I have seen! Great job.. and your little baby model can't be any stinking cuter!

Jenny Grace | 9:32 AM

Those dresses are so cute I wish they came in my size.

Miss M | 9:33 AM

I just LOVE how bald she is! My daughter was bald for so long and I always put her in dresses so that people would know she was a girl. Bald baby heads are the best!

Estelle Hayes | 9:43 AM

I love this post. It's amazing how children can teach us to be more accepting of ourselves. This was a lovely message. Thank you for always being so brave and honest in your writing. I'm completely inspired by you. I have a daughter who turns 11 months today and now I want to get my sewing machine out and make something for her. Perfect hems be damned!

Anonymous | 10:05 AM

What a great post! It makes me want sew clothes.

EdenSky | 10:18 AM

And soon she will outgrow those dresses and you will cry.
Beautiful: Baby, dresses, post, sentiment... just all around beautiful

Anonymous | 10:40 AM

The imperfections of the 'mommy-made' garments are exactly what make them so perfect! Just like the children that we love so much, with all their imperfections, and they love us with ours as well. You can (as you know) continue to make her clothes far beyond babyhood. Someday, maybe you will make her wedding dress, and the clothes for the grandchildren that that Archer and Fable have with their loves. It will be here before you know it! Trust me, my four are all grown up now, and boy did it fly by! I still can't believe it some days...

Anonymous | 10:48 AM

Oh, she is precious. And you are so right-the things we put our heart into...they are the best, no matter how imperfect they appear on the outside.

Courtney | 10:52 AM

OK....first your blog, then your book, then your sewing. You are such an inspiration! Fable would look adorable in a potato sack, but it certainly ups the ante to have her in those perfectly imperfect dresses created with a mother's love.

Anonymous | 10:54 AM

The dresses are beautiful! And the post to go with it is amazing too.

Are you going to continue sewing for her? You should =)

SJ | 11:00 AM

Can you please share what pattern you used? Love it!

ZDub | 11:27 AM

So, so lovely. She kills me.

Banteringblonde | 11:33 AM

She is a beauty! I love the fabric you used. I never finished any of my sewing projects but I did make cute little burp cloths for my babies!

JennyLee | 11:43 AM

The dresses are lovely and Fable looks lovely in them!

JessicaToday | 11:50 AM

holy shit i love this
she is starting to get blonde hair
too precious for words
and your dresses are beautiful, special and perfect in every way that matters

Anonymous | 12:32 PM

The turquoise and Kelly-green one is seriously legit. Ok they all are, but that one is rocking my soul right now.

Michelle Nielsen MS BCBA-LBA | 12:43 PM

adorable dresses! so impressed.

amy | 1:02 PM

as some one who sews I fully understand every word even when sewing for myself (as I do not have a child to dress as of yet) The dresses are beautiful and I think the fabrics you chose are great!
I think I heard about your blog from the Martha's Vineyard Fiber Farm Blog and I am really enjoying it.


Stephanie Wilson she/her @babysteph | 1:15 PM

She is precious and so are those dresses!


Anonymous | 1:44 PM

hey girl, you are so sweet. your words for fable are gorgeous and so warm. i love to read about other moms who adore their children as mich as i adore mine. fable and archer are lucky-duck kiddies to have a mama like you, honey. you rock. like, totally. kissy-kiss, MomE (eileen from ny)
ps. lookinf=g forward to prose hos ;)

Anonymous | 3:13 PM

Oh wow. She is so beautiful. I adore your blog. As important as it is to read about the struggles of motherhood - it is a real gift to be able to read about the intense love and beauty that comes from motherhood.

Christina (trying to be brave and de-lurking!)

Faith | 3:17 PM

I learned to sew with my first, and then started crocheting and finally knitting with my second. It's amazing how creating something inside inspires creating things on the outside as well. I become a woman obsessed(posessed?) when my due date is about 8 weeks out. Clear out world, I'm creating stuff!!

Fable's dresses are perfect and gorgeous. I love the way you put the different patterns of the same colors together. Beautifully creative! And you're right, handmade is always best. (Isn't that why we adore our children so much?)

khairun | 3:51 PM

Utterly, ridiculously...gorgeous!
12 weeks pregnant and reading your blog, seeing photos of your children just makes me all the more impatient for mine to pop out.

Jess Kiley | 5:08 PM

Don't discredit yourself. You have an incredible eye. One of the top.

Anonymous | 5:23 PM

If you went into business I would buy your dresses!!!
Love them. And Fable!

Anonymous | 7:27 PM

I want the pattern too! So simple and sweet. My mom used to make my sister and I matching sundresses and my brother matching shorts. So cute! Archer needs in on the action!

And where are the Eiffel Tower shoes from? Love those!

Anonymous | 11:17 PM

I loved this line, "I never got the urge to sew until I was pregnant with her, my flower fairy of the garden."

I love that you make clothes for Fable! It's sweet and creative. And I love the way you write about her and how your words just flow. You're such a beautiful writer. Such a great talent. ^o^

Anonymous | 11:19 PM

P.S. I LOVE Fable's blonde hair! ADORABLE! =D


Thank you all! I do plan to sew more. Unfortunately we don't have room for a sewing machine, here, so I can only sew when I'm at my parent's house for long weekends. I will continue to sew as much as I can! Try to improve -- hopefully graduate to Halloween costumes.

In the meantime I collect fabrics and patterns.

Molly | 5:55 AM

You should try knitting too. It's less instantly-gratifying than sewing, but there's something about taking a straight line and turning it into something creative and powerful and useful. It's also more portable than sewing. I love seeing my son drag around his blanket, the first knitted thing I ever finished, and know that it becomes even softer and more loved the longer he holds onto it.

Mom101 | 8:00 AM

Look at you, all crafty and shit.

We get so many submissions for kids clothes at Cool Mom Picks and I swear to you, these are better than half. the photos are better too. Thinking of a side business maybe...?

Anonymous | 8:10 AM

Your writing makes me want to cry and have babies. The end.

sarah | 10:12 AM

I love when you're in the moods you're in to write these beautiful, emotional, soulful posts. I always start tearing up. I guess thats the postpartum hormons but I look forward to your insight and depth.

Thank you


Anonymous | 1:56 PM

The final one looks like she is wearing red button earings & perhaps off to a tea party =]
( im English btw so i can say that without being cheesy )

Shes a cool chick!


Shannon Locker | 3:25 PM

So cute! I really, really want to learn to sew but no one in my family does. Oh well, someday. This site has the cutest Japanese fabrics:

Sarah Isabella | 4:23 PM

How I imagined for months this child inside me, naked and kicking her tiny feet against me. And now? Kicking with chubby ankles, alive and full of magic, clad in dresses sewn by hands that never so much as threaded a button before last summer.

Simply perfect. I loved that.
My mother died at my birth, and I think you are so lucky to have such a wonderful one!
And you are such a wonderful mama.
I added you to my facebook... I am (sarahisabella) I am not a stalker, just loved you since I read your book.

Anonymous | 5:28 PM

beautiful dresses, baby post.

Anonymous | 8:31 PM

Beautiful dresses and beautiful Fable, as always! The words were also beautiful. Everything was beautiful :)

Kere | 8:58 PM

those are PRECIOUS!!! great work. and great pics. keep doing it. wish i knew how!

Anonymous | 10:28 PM

You make gorgeous baby clothes! Those have got to be the hardest to pack away as she grows out of them. I know it's hard enough for me with all store-bought stuff!

Anonymous | 6:56 AM

Your dresses are beautiful! I like the tights, too.

Em Callaghan | 3:55 PM

G'day Rebecca,

I've been following your journey since Fable was just a tiny bump. Our babies are a couple of weeks apart. It's wonderful to see how beautifully Fable is growing and how much joy she brings to your world. I feel the same about my Harry...completely smitten and overwhelmed with love.

The dresses match that gorgeous girl's smile. Can't wait to see what you create next!

Cheers Em

Anonymous | 6:09 PM

What an awesome story! You put your love for your daughter so well it brought tears to my eyes.

And of course the dresses are absolutely adorable and could sell for a lot of money in a boutique. :)

Keep on writing! I love reading your blog.

kittenpie | 6:28 PM

Ah. My mom used to sew for me, too. I tried sewing once and decided it was a good thing I had other skills. But you - I love how you love making things for her.

Missey | 9:07 PM

Oh my lord- too sweet! Not enough people sew any more. Unfortunately, it's not cheaper than buying pre-made, anymore. I used to ask my mom to make me a new outfit for every birthday- I really loved wearing them, it felt so special that I was a part of the process- picking out the pattern and fabric. So lovely! Most of my sewing is limited to quilts- clothes can be tricky but oh so fun when they turn out! Good for you.

Anonymous | 11:25 PM

Those outfits are just gorgeous.

And don't throw them out when she outgrows them! Put them away in storage and pull out when Fable's grown and expecting a daughter of her own.

Lesha | 6:12 AM

I know this wasn't necessarily the point of this post, but I'm wondering where you look for fabrics? This actually inspired me to make some clothes for my little boy and I am not impressed with what I'm seeing fabric wise. And the fabrics you have for these dresses are so awesome. Is it that there is just more fabric choices for girls (completely possible, as there are obviously more PATTERN choices for girls!) or do you have some wonderful selection of stores that carry fabrics beyond the JoAnn fabric run of the mill type places.

Thanks for the inspiration!

mames | 12:25 PM

i always felt so discouraged when i tried to sew. then after the boys, something clicked. i started making them pants and a few little other things and i always felt so happy to see them scooting around in their flannel pajamas and throwing some good old hand made bean bags around.

but now you have me wishing i had some little person to make dresses for. how very sweet that little fable is, especially dressed in your love.

Nora | 1:06 PM

oh my gosh, those dresses are to die for. can you share the patterns with us, or tell us where to find them?

Labor of Love(lace) | 8:17 PM

ZOMG, she is beyond cute. Her little chubs are swoonworthy! Your outfits are adorable should think about etsy?in

Anonymous | 10:26 AM

My favorite is the striped one with the leaf pockets, but they are all so cool because they are not pink!

Anonymous | 5:41 PM

this is just beautiful and sums up so much about how much i love my babes.

and just wait until you can make more adorable clothes as she gets older. it definitely gets more fun.

and halloween! don't get me started!

Anonymous | 1:03 AM

I have knitted a cardigan, hat AND booties for every niece, nephew and friends child - and never had the urge to until the babies were on their way.

The best one of them all? When my cousin's first daughter was ill during her first weeks, in hospital and so tiny, the cardigan I had made her was the only gift that fit. I'm sure it was because it was made with extra love.

The Amazing Trips | 10:28 AM

She is beautiful. Like a real live baby doll.

Oh, I love those chub rolls. How can you stand it?!

andrea | 9:19 AM

aww, yhose dresses are sooo cute

Anonymous | 12:09 AM

WHOA how crazy is it that I have a dress in that EXACT style hanging next to me with the hopes that I can get around to sewing one for my little girl! Did you just make the patter yourself or did you buy a pattern??