Ah– beautiful patterns to make Raileigh clothes with. This HAS to be one of my most favorite things! Plus, now that spring is in the air, the sewing bug has bitten me badly! Even though Raileigh has a closet stuffed to the brim with perfectly wonderful store bought spring clothing, I feel the need to add more clothing handmade for her by me. I am sure there is a thing as too many clothes, but I will just pretend there isn’t!
I started looking for patterns back in January. There were a few random warm days, and it got me in the mood to make dresses and skirts. It was not long before I came across what I knew would become a staple in my pattern collection- the Little Miss Madeline dress by Samantha at The Handmade Dress. This dress appealed to me on so many levels. First of all, it looked incredibly comfortable. It looked easy to create as well. I love to sew, but sometimes those quick gratification projects are just what I need! I could also see about a zillion ways to change the dress up so that I would have a unique and different creation every time.
I apologize. I am getting way ahead of myself. Before I tell you anymore about Samantha’s shop or her amazing patterns, let’s get to know her a bit better. I am so happy to introduce Samantha Caffee and her shop, The Handmade Dress!
Where did you get your shop name from? Not much thought went into it to tell you the truth! At the time I was making and selling handmade dresses, so “The Handmade Dress” just sort-of happened.The name wasn’t taken already so it just stuck!
What inspired you to open your shop? I wanted to earn a little extra money. We were going through a “be debt free” program at the time, my kids were little, and I really just wanted to be able to have the money to get out of the house once a week!
Apart from creating things, what do you like to do? Snuggle up with my children, drink coffee, walk, pretend, find new adventures, and think about what I want to make next.
Is there any craft you don’t know how to do but wish you did? I wish I could enjoy to knit. I know the basics and I have tried to get into it several times but I always just end up not liking it. I really wish I could truly enjoy it, but I just can’t seem to make myself! Crochet was my first love, I taught myself when I was 16, and I think that’s why I enjoy it so much more.
Where would you most like to travel to? To a Bulgarian orphanage to get my babies! After that I don’t care if I ever leave our little farm again!
If you could meet anyone, past or present, who would you choose? My children. I dream about them constantly, they are already a part of everything we do. No matter whats going on or what we are doing one of us is always saying something like “I wonder if our new babies will like this?” or “Think of how much fun this will be with our new brothers and sisters”. I think about the moment when we will get to meet them all the time.
What is your greatest accomplishment is life this far? There are two! My husband and my children, no doubt about it. One day soon I hope to add international adoption to that list.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? I can’t even begin to look that far ahead! We live sort of live a day-to-day life here, every time in my life that I thought I had it all figured out…it all changed! All I can say is that I see myself surrounded by my loving family, happy, and in Gods Will (whatever that may be then!).
Anyone or anything else you’d like to tell us about? I would like to tell you a little bit about who we are. I live on a little 10 acre patch of heaven in Alabama with my husband, three children, five goats, five chickens, two dogs, a cat and a turtle. We are in the process of adopting a sibling group from Bulgaria! (You can read about how God led us to adoption on our website ourhandmadefamily.com.) I homeschool our three children and design modest patterns for little girls and young ladies. God has really blessed our business in the last couple of years and it now takes Ben and I both to run it! Ben is a firefighter full-time and a part-time farmer and pattern packer. I feel so blessed that this is what I get to do everyday! I love my job!
I guess I should also tell you a little something about our patterns! All of our patterns are designed with beginners in mind. They are quick and easy two hour projects that can be completed during nap time; this makes our patterns popular with mamas! We know that beginners need projects that have a great result in a short amount of time to build confidence; therefore we leave out any techniques that may seem too tricky or fussy for the new seamstress such as plackets, buttonholes, and zippers. Experienced seamstresses love our patterns too! They offer a good basic design that can be dressed up or down in no time!
So, I contacted Samantha to inquire about reviewing the Little Miss Madeline pattern. Imagine my complete and total excitement with Samantha’s response. She wanted to send me the pattern to review along with the ENTIRE Handmade Dress wardrobe of patterns! That’s right– she wanted to send me every single pattern she had created for her beautiful business! Of course I agreed to that!
Additionally, Samantha didn’t send me the pdf files that are so readily available these days. She sent me hard copies in the mail. These patterns are beautifully packaged, individually, and are so professionally done. I was blown away by the appearance and quality of Samantha’s product. Her presentation is fantastic. I first pulled out the Miss Madeline dress, as it was the one that had first caught my eye. I read through the instructions Samantha had written. The directions are so clear and easy to follow, with diagrams for those who are visual learners.
Even after reading through all of the directions, I managed to cut my fabric wrong! Ugh!! I can just imagine how often this would happen if I didn’t read through everything first. Anyhow, that dress is now in my scrap fabric pile waiting to become something else. So, I went to dress B. I used the pattern for size 1 year. Raileigh wears a size 2T in store clothing, but I found the pattern to run a bit bigger than those clothes. Samantha suggests measuring your child to get the perfect fit, and I think that is an excellent idea.
Sewing went rather quickly. That’s saying a lot because I am a VERY slow seamstress. I am really a perfectionist and that makes me very slow and deliberate when I sew. Samantha designs all her patterns to be made during nap time so that even busy moms can squeeze in a sewing project. It did take me longer than that, but I also never just sew. I take frequent breaks to chase Raileigh, do laundry, snack… you get the picture!
Another fabulous thing about Samantha’s patterns are that they are designed with the beginning seamstress in mind. So, all of you who have not been sewing long, don’t be scared! The directions really are simple! Plus, there are no zippers or buttons to worry about. And, if you do get stuck, Samantha is one of the sweetest ladies I have had the pleasure of working with. I know she would be happy to help you with any questions you might have.
I have several other things cut out to sew from Samantha’s patterns. I have Miss Iris bubble skirt cut out of some fabulous red hippo fabric from Ikea. I also am using the apron from the Miss Madeline dress and adding it to this cute bubble skirt. I also have Miss Lily cut out of some plain old brown and white polka dot fabric. I am dressing it up by using pink for the middle band. I also have been eying some fabrics for the Miss Alice dress, I just can’t decide what to use yet!
As Samantha mentioned in her interview, her family of 5 is in the process of adopting a sibling pair from Bulgaria. As you can imagine, that is an expensive endeavor. I encourage you to support this wonderful family as they grow. Samantha’s patterns are very affordable and every single purchase will be put towards bringing the siblings home. Plus, you should check out the fabric that has just been added to The Handmade Dress shop. I think you will be impressed with the gorgeous selection!
I was hoping to have some more garments sewn before I got this review up, but life has been so hectic lately. Between getting ready to move and being sick, I just can’t seem to put my sewing machine to good use lately. It’s quite sad, really. However, I didn’t want to delay this post any further because I have fantastic news for one of you! One lucky Wee Share reader is going to receive the ENTIRE Handmade Dress wardrobe just like I received! That is such a lucky prize for one of you to win. You will receive:
Miss Madeline Size 6 months- 4 years
Miss Madeline Size 5- 10 Years
Miss Lily Size 6 months- 4 years
Miss Lily Size 5- 10 Years
Miss Iris- Size 6 months- 16 girls
Miss Alice- Size 3 months- 4 years
Miss Alice- Size 5- 12 years
PLEASE include your email address in your comments. I have had several people who have not included their email lately and it is not available on their blogger profile. If I cannot contact you, then you cannot win!
Mandatory Entry (MUST be done before any extra entries will qualify)- Go to the The Handmade Dress Shop. Tell me which pattern you would most like to try out.
Extra Entries (Must leave a separate comment for each entry):
– 1 extra entry- Become a Facebook fan of The Handmade Dress (leave Facebook username in comment)
– 2 extra entries- Sign up for The Handmade Dress mailing list (leave email address you used in comment)
– 1 extra entry- Join The Handmade Dress flickr pool (leave flickr ID in comment)
– 2 extra entries- Subscribe to The Handmade Dress blog- part of the way down, on the right below blog archive (tell how you subscribe in comment)
– 1 extra entry- PUBLICLY follow The Handmade Dress blog
– 1 extra entry- PUBLICLY follow Wee Share using Google Friend
– 1 extra entry- subscribe to Wee Share via email (must be activated to count)
– 1 extra entry- follow WeeShare on twitter (include your twitter ID)
– 1 extra entry- tweet about this giveaway (may be done daily) You can use this tweet: Win a wardrobe of sewing patterns from The Handmade Dress! Enter to win @WeeShare http://tinyurl.com/yfbfxq3 ends 4/20 #giveaway
– 3 extra entries- Blog about this giveaway and provide a link back to the giveaway (please include web address of blog in your comment)
– 2 extra entries- Add this giveaway to any linky (can be done up to 5 times for 2 entries each time)
– 2 extra entries- add my button to your blog. Let me know where I can find it!
– 20 extra entries- Make a purchase from The Handmade Dress. Make sure to let Samantha know that you found her at Wee Share. Let me know what you bought! NOTE: This is worth double the entries it normally is because I want us to help Samantha bring her babies home!
Giveaway will end at 11:59 EST on April 20, 2010. Open to US only! Winner will be chosen using a random number generator. Winner will be contacted via email and will have 48 hours to respond before I choose a new winner.