First world problems

For ten minutes she looked through her closet, dithering. She was not a ditherer by nature, so this was a matter of unusual difficulty. What to wear?


She could wear the pretty paisley dress, but she’d worn it to the last social event, and probably to the one before that. She could wear the blue, though she could not remember what had led her to choose such an obnoxious shade. The purple was showing snags, the black she had worn for seven or eight seasons, the red was too wintery, the denim was a little tight since the baby, the white and navy had no nursing zipper…

and of course the only good one was in the wash.

10 minutes
+ 12 or 15 pretty dresses
0 options

There are women the world over who wear anything they got now, minus the dithering. {blush} When she saw the math she was ashamed of herself, and she reached out her hand and grabbed a dress.

When the groceries would not fit in her refrigerator, she decided to take inventory of the jars and bottles that crammed her shelves.


She had tried to keep them in their proper sphere (the shelves of the refrigerator door), but after too little attention—and some delectable taste-test gifts from business associates—they were engulfing ALL the spheres.

Here is what her inventory looked like.

Jams Dressings Toppings Sauces Other
Black currant


Hot pepper (x2)


Strawb Jalapeno

Rasp Jalapeno

Cr Romaine





Bacon ranch


Roasted garlic &       parmesan

Poppy seed

Caramel (x2)


Spray whip


Iced coffee



Sw Baby Ray’s






Sweet chili (x2)



Kalamata olives

Green olives


Water (x2)

Lime juice

Lemon juice

Cherry soda

Baby dills

Applesauce (x2)


Oy vey, she said when she was done.

That’s forty-two items.

So she sat down to blog about it, a judicious first step, and then she crossed out the ones to discard (there were only two and a half. she has issues with throwing away food unless it smells like a distillery, as in the case of the second jar of applesauce—her son took one whiff and swore off alcoholic beverages forever)… and she put a little star beside the ones to use up as soon as possible, and she underlined the ones that would remain as permanent staples. She was pleased to see they should all fit nicely into the shelves of the refrigerator door.


Now her list looked SO much better that she turned from it without a twinge of guilt and went back to reading George Orwell, because when her children are sleeping and it’s 10:30 at night, that’s how she rolls.

Her fridge has not changed, but all in good time.

This story is strictly factual,
New dresses are in progress,
And anyone in the market for jam can stop by.

T-shirt dresses for little girls

Confession: I love to sew, but when it comes to little girls’ dresses I’m a cheater. I often start with a T-shirt.


Do you gals do this too? My sis-in-law Kim is the one who taught me how, and got me hooked on it.

All you have to do is buy a T-shirt for a couple of dollars, new or second hand, and raid your fabric stash for something coordinating. You can use a plain T and smarten with a fabric flower for a little pop of color and texture…


Aw, she grew up! This picture was taken last fall.

Or buy a polo for a dressier look.


Cut the shirt off short, for a high-waisted look. Nothing worse on this pattern than having the skirt starting down around her hips.

Now it’s time to choose a skirt! You can go a couple of ways: a slim, flared skirt, or a gathered waist.


For a perfect fit, measure the width of the T-shirt at the bottom (it’s usually 12 inches, in Kelly’s 5 T size), and cut fabric to match. Don’t forget to figure seam allowances, for a total of 13” or so. Now flare the skirt wide—I like it about 22” wide at the bottom.* This is important so your little lady has wiggle room to sit modestly/ run/ climb trees/ things like that.

(*I mean on both front skirt and back skirt, for a total of 44″)

I kept the skirt too straight on this one from last year—you can see it pulling up around her legs instead of draping nicely. She couldn’t wear it very long.


Sew the skirt seams first, then stitch the finished skirt onto the T-shirt bodice.

I usually prefer the look of a slim tapered skirt, unless I’m trying for something sweet with ruffles. Gathering fabric onto an already loose T quickly becomes elephantine, so be carefuland add a tie-belt to tuck in the fullness.


(Simple tip: Use store-bought ribbon for a belt, melted at the ends with a flame to prevent fraying.)

T-shirt fabric can stretch when sewn, but sewing it against a durable cotton fabric actually holds it in place very nicely. Pin it in plenty of places to make sure, before you sew the waist.

Hem up the skirt, and add embellishments if you like. A flower, a pocket, rickrack, whatever you please.


Yes, I pulled that blue one out of the laundry hamper for this picture. Sorry about that.

And now all your sewing problems are solved, right? Unless you have brainless moments like I do, and still sew an occasional seam inside out, with the raw edge on the right side. Ugh. Been there, done that.

But most times? Easy peasy. And you have a whole new dress without worrying about sleeves or necklines or facings. Awesome!

I am not very good at explaining these things, so if you have questions please ask.