Girl sewing, Pattern Review

The last girls dress I’ll sew for the foreseeable future

I know that’s a rather dramatic statement, but justified I think.

Creative Counselor: Desert Rose Dress
Photo by Crystal Liepa Photography

This dress is made from the Desert Rose dress pattern by Caila Made.  I really like this pattern — it’s darling and it sews up really well.  But I’m not sewing for N until she gets a little older.

For this dress, N chose the pattern, chose the fabric, told me what kind of trim and buttons to use, and directed my sewing efforts.  When it was done, she oohed and aahed over it.  But after this photo session, whenever I asked her if she’d like to wear it, the answer was a resounding and persistent no.

Creative Counselor: Desert Rose Dress
Photo by Crystal Liepa Photography

In fact, I think she’s worn this dress exactly twice since I finished it.

I don’t expect a lot of praise and thanks from my kids when I make them things (they’re 2, 4, and 6 after all), and I don’t expect them to wear them every day, but I do expect them to be somewhere in the rotation.  After all, my sewing time is far too limited to spend on garments that will never be worn.

Creative Counselor: Desert Rose Dress
Photo by Crystal Liepa Photography

So this has just solidified my decision that if I’m going to do any non-Halloween kids sewing, it’s going to be for J.  He loves it when I make things for him and is happy to wear them.  Not that he needs any clothes until it’s pants weather, so don’t expect to see much kid sewing in these parts until later this fall 🙂

But back to this dress.  The Desert Rose is a nice, simple little dress that goes together really easily.  The bodice is fully lined, and since it buttons in the front, lining it is easy peasy.  The skirt has a bit of an angle to it, which gives it some nice shape.

Creative Counselor: Desert Rose Dress
Photo by Crystal Liepa Photography

The pattern has you attach the bodice to the skirt in the opposite order of most patterns, attaching the lining first and then topstitching down the outer.  At first I was a little leery of this part of the directions, but then I realized that it was, in fact, brilliant.  By attaching the lining first, I could topstitch  the edge of the outer bodice down in a nice, pretty straight line without worrying about whether I was catching the lining underneath.  Obviously if you don’t want visible topstitching on the outside, you can use the traditional method of attaching the outer bodice and then hand-stitching the lining.  But if you don’t mind the topstitching, this is sooo much easier!

Creative Counselor: Desert Rose Dress
Photo by Crystal Liepa Photography

On to fabric.  The bodice of the maxi dress is a hot pink linen from, and the skirt is the same Van Gogh rayon that I used for my kimono.   I had five yards of the rayon, and I’m now down to just over a yard.  So don’t be surprised if this fabric shows up here again!

Pattern: Desert Rose Dress by Caila Made

Price: $10 USD

Size: 4T

Fabric:  Hot pink linen from and Van Gogh rayon.

Difficulty:  Adventurous beginner.  Figuring out a lining and buttonholes are the most difficult thing here. Maybe not a first project, but once you have a couple of garments under your belt, you should be able to handle this.

Techniques required:  Lining a bodice, sewing buttons and buttonholes, small facing.

Similar patterns:  Geranium dress from Made by Rae, Sweetheart dress from Very Shannon

Modifications:  Lengthened it to a maxi.  Otherwise nothing.

Fit:  Great.  N is a small, petite 4-year-old, so if you have a child who is thicker through the chest, you may need to size up.  Pay close attention to that chest measurement — it’s by far the most important one.

Pattern format:  PDF.  It’s so much easier to piece together kids patterns compared to adult, so this seemed like a breeze compared to some I’ve worked with.


  • I loved how the bodice is attached — so much easier!
  • Classic summer style.  Or you could size up and make a jumper for winter (not a sweater — I’m not sure what the Brits would call the garment that we Americans call a jumper.  A pinafore maybe?).
  • Bodice is a great way to use small pieces of fabric.
  • I found the fit very similar to RTW.


  • No sleeves.  Makes it harder to adapt for colder seasons.
  • I’m not a huge fan of the facing piece in the skirt where the bodice buttons.  I understand the utility of this piece, but I kind of wish there was a different way to do that bit.

Overall grade:  A.  This is a really nice girls pattern.  It goes together really fast and is darling.

0 thoughts on “The last girls dress I’ll sew for the foreseeable future

  1. Omg, I totally understand your feeling about sewing for kids. But don’t necessarily expect it to get better with her anytime soon. I asked my 17 year old son yesterday if he would wear a shirt out of a particular fabric I had. He replied that yes, he MIGHT wear it. I swiftly set it aside. But my one daughter loves the things I sew her. So just sew for those who appreciate it.

  2. I am totally with you. My 4 yo daughter is so picky, but can’t tell me the problem until after it’s made and lots of her cousins get her handmade hand-me-downs after the photo session. My 7yo DS LOVES everything I make him so there we go. Enjoy the new projects!

    1. Yes, just sew for the ones who appreciate it! It’s frustrating because she’s so involved in the process and swears she’ll wear it but then when it’s all said and done she insists on the same grungy leggings and worn out shirt or dress that she always wears. Oh well, guess J will be the focus for now!

  3. YUP. This was K 2-4. Pick out the fabric, pet it as I sew it, beg for it to be finished…. I snip all the threads, deliver it to her with all the excitement I figure she’ll receive it.

    “NO!!” Downright refuse to wear it, be photographed in it, stuff it to the back of her drawers or hide it completely under her bed.

    Good news is, the phase is over. But I totally 100% get it. That’s when I started focusing on building my closet 🙂 My 2y.o. son LOVES his mom made though. I’m just glad someone does LOL

    1. Glad she grew out of it! It’s only about since she turned 4 that N has been bad about this. When she was 2, she would wear anything I put on her! But J is so appreciative of everything, which makes it so much more pleasant to sew for him!

  4. I’ve learned the hard way to do extensive consultations with my 6 year old daughter. I’ll only make her something if she likes the fabric and the pattern – it seems to work!

    1. Glad that works with her! This dress was so frustrating because I did extensive consultations with N, she picked out everything and insisted she would wear it. And then refused. Little stinker.

  5. Such a cute dress. I understand how you feel about sewing for the kids. My four year old is exactly the same. Great review of the pattern, though. I appreciate all the info, and I also like how the bodice is attached. I have seen it done that way before and liked it, but most patterns do not do it that way. Great to know!

    1. I know! She had a ball twirling in it. I still might shorten it a bit and see if she’ll give it another chance. She’s been insisting on maxi dresses lately, but something a little shorter may be easier for her to wear.

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