Graduation Dress

Back in may, we went back to Texas for graduation. Of course I made a new dress (and a matching now tie for Eddie!). I’ve said for a while that my favorite sewing projects are making dresses and foundation paper piecing (FPP), so I finally got around to making an FPP project part of a dress!

I love paper piecing and dresses…so I finally put them together for my graduation dress ūüéďūüíÉDrafting the pattern around darts and zippers was a new challenge! Eddie got a matching bow tie which peeked out over his robe before we got hooded ūüėÄ

A photo posted by Julia Eigenbrodt (@stars_sunshine) on

Let me back up a minute. If you haven’t been following along with me long, you may not know that my husband and I have been in engineering graduate school at Texas A&M for the past several years. We defended our research in the fall, but didn’t have our graduation ceremony until May. We both started new jobs in Ohio in January so had been up here for a while, but went back to Texas for graduation, to see family, and to eat all of the tex-mex.

Aggie Dinosaur Dress

The main bones of this dress are yet another Emery dress, but with a rounded collar, pleated skirt, and some tweaks I’ve made to the bodice over my last several versions including lengthening the bodice and adjusting the arm scythes to fit me a bit better. And, you know, a giant paper pieced Texas A&M logo on the back. More info on making that pattern at the end, if you’re interested!

Dinosaur Dress

The fabrics are both Lizzy House quilting cotton fabrics – Dinosaurs from Natural History in a maroon color and the Scheherazade print from her new whisper palette line of low volume fabrics. The timing of this dress worked out really conveniently to be an entry in the Lizzy House dress contest – check out the #lizzyhousedresscontest hashtag on instagram to see some other amazing clothing with her fabrics.

Aggie Graduation Dress

This is the third dress I’ve made with this dinosaur print in different colors – check out my purple dino dress and my knit aqua dino dress! I’ve also made a series of dinosaur paper piecing patterns some of which were inspired by dinos in this print – feel free to also check out my recent jurassic park pillow and the quilt pattern featuring all 9 dinosaurs.

eigengrad 002

While undergraduates are sorted alphabetically by last name but separated by departments, the doctoral graduates in the college of engineering are all together by last name – so Eddie and I were able to sit next to each other during the ceremony even though we’re in different departments. My dress was hidden under our gowns during the ceremony, but Eddie’s bow tie peeked out over his perfectly until we put on our hoods.

dress paper pieced pattern

Making the FPP pattern: I make lots of FPP patterns, but this one was a new challenge since it needed to include space for darts and a zipper. I printed out an image of the block ATM logo, then traced it onto a copy of my back bodice Emery dress pattern on freezer paper. The logo was fairly convenient in that I was able to pick a good size such that the ‘T’ fit under the back neck darts, and the back waist darts only needed to be moved a slight bit to fit in the middle of the ‘A’ & ‘M’. I traced the ‘T’ and inner sides of the ‘A’ & ‘M’, then angled the logo I was tracing across the center of the waist darts for the outer sides of the ‘A’ & ‘M’. I then drew out my paper piecing pattern, and copied the templates to additional pieces of freezer paper for the actual piecing. I paper pieced the center sections, then traditionally pieced the outer sections with rough templates for angles and lots of extra room for trimming. Finally, I lined up the bodice patterns with the original FPP patterns on top of the fabric making sure the design lined up and cut out the back bodice pieces. Sewing the darts was a little tricky with all those seam allowances, but it turned out really well!

eigengrad 007

Dress Specs:

Pattern: Emery Dress by Christine Haynes
Modifications: rounded collar, pleated skirt, paper pieced logo on back bodice, and minor adjustments included lengthening bodice and adjusting armscythe.
Size: 6.
Fabric: Lizzy House Dino Exhibit in Red and Scheherazade in Cloud.

Texas A&M Century Tree

Flying Geese Dress

Earlier this week, I pieced 20 4″x8″ flying geese quilt blocks. This would have been plenty for a good sized baby quilt, but instead, I turned them into a dress!

Flying Geese Dress

The fabric is all from Lizzy House’s newest line for Andover, The Lovely Hunt. Its full of magical woodland fauna and flora, and the colors are bright and fantastic!

Fussy Cut Dress

I’ve seen a couple pieced skirts before by @elisabew and @prettybobbins,¬†and making one has been on my to-do list for a while. But, of course, I had to add fussy cutting.

Fussy Cut Flying Geese

Here’s a better view of the back:

Emery Dress

The dress pattern is the Emery Dress by Christine Haynes, with a handful of personal fit alterations to the bodice. This dress has become a go-to favorite for me since it is simple, flattering, and I think I’ve got the bodice tweaked just right to fit my shoulders/arms.

Quilt Block Dress

To plan for the skirt, I cut out some flying geese out of paper in different sizes, and held them up on the skirt of a previous Emery dress to see what size/placement I liked. I cut the top and bottom of the skirt straight across instead of curved,¬†and only about 10″ long. I then added a row of 18 4″x8″ flying geese and another 3″ border to the bottom of the skirt.

Embroidery Hoop Necklace

I made a coordinating necklace with one of my 3D printed mini embroidery hoop necklaces using some little mushrooms. I think I need matching necklaces for all my dresses!

Quilt Block Emery Dress

Here’s a little video of me doing a spin so you can see all the adorable featured prints:

I love to add coordinating prints as pockets – because dresses with pockets are infinitely more practical, and I love to add cute details where I can! This dress was no exception.

Coordinating Print Pockets

This dress will be on display in the Andover booth at Quilt Market this fall – you can stop by and see it in person if you’ll be there!

Quilt Dress

Dress Specs:

Pattern: Emery Dress by Christine Haynes
Modifications: FBA 3/4″ spread, armscythe adjustment, 3/4″ length added to bodice, quilt blocks in skirt.
Size: 6, but with largest size skirt.
Fabric: Lizzy House The Lovely Hunt Рmainly Strawberry Field in Blue


Dino Dress

If you’ve talked to me about fabric, you probably know that Lizzy House is my all time favorite fabric designer. If you talked to me much as a child, you might know that I’m pretty crazy about dinosaurs. So when I found out a few months back that Lizzy House was designing dinosaur fabric, it was a really good day. When I got some advance yardage in the mail from Andover fabrics, it was a better day. And now that I have an awesome dino dress, it is a pretty fantastic day!

Sleeveless Emery Dress

This fabric is part of Lizzy House’s new Natural History line, and the butterfly collar is one of Lizzy House’s butterfly prints which are now available in a range of colors. Go check it out – every single print is amazing. There are definitely more Natural History garments in my future.

Dino Dress Collar

Fussy cutting has always been one of my favorite quilty things, so I get pretty excited about having a chance to fussy cut fabric for garments. Check out those butterflies!

Zipper Fabric Matching

Another version of fussy cutting I go giddy for on garments is pattern matching. Zipper success!

About the dress itself: This is another Emery dress, but this time sleeveless and with a collar. The pattern includes a pointed collar – I just rounded out the edges because I thought it’d look better with the butterflies

Emery Dress Crinoline

I did a FBA this time, which really helped with tightness across my back. I’ve never thought of that as something I would need – but it helped a ton. I used thistutorial – it was a breeze! In addition to the FBA, I widened the darts on the upper back by about 1/2″ each and did my usual lengthening of the bodice by about 1.5″. I also make my pockets quite a bit deeper than the pattern piece (no picture, but they’re purple butterflies too!)

Emery Dress Collar

The Emery dress does not include instructions for a sleeveless version. In the past, I’ve used bias tape or hacked an unlined bodice. This time, I followed this tutorial for finishing a sleeveless, lined bodice – it was a bit finicky near the shoulder seam (I think because of the stiff collar) – but it worked beautifully!

Dinosaur Dress

Dress Specs:
Pattern: Emery Dress from Christine Haynes
Modifications:¬†added¬†1.5″ length, FBA adjustment with 3/4″ spread, widened upper back darts by 1/2″ each, and left off sleeves
Size: 6
Fabric: Lizzy House Dino Exhibit in Navy. Find it here.

Epic Pi Day Dress

It’s Pi day! Better than that, it’s epic pi day this year! And, of course, I made a dress to celebrate.

Pi Day Dress

Pi is a mathematical constant. You’ve used it in school to calculate things like the circumference or radius of circles. It’s an irrational number, which means that it has an infinite number of digits, but the first few are 3.1415926535… Because my husband and I are giant math nerds (and we love pie), we have a pi day party every year on March 14 (3/14) with plenty of pies, both of the pizza and dessert variety. Since this year is 2015, or 3/14/15, it is the most accurate pi day of our lifetimes. I decided to make a special dress to celebrate!

Pi Day Skirt

I designed the fabric on my computer, complete with a couple of border prints. The first several digits of pi repeat around the skirt hem, and the large pies get smaller towards the top of the skirt. The other fabric edge had a straight line of small pi(e)s, which I used for a waistband and the edges of the sleeves. I got the fabric printed at spoonflower – it’s amazing that you can get anything you want printed on fabric!

Pi Dress Sleeve

The pattern is my beloved Emery dress, again in a size 6. I usually make the bodice about 1.5 inches longer, but this time I kept the pattern bodice length but added a waistband. I also slightly straightened out the hem since my pi digits border was straight.

Dress Specs:
Pattern: Emerey Dress from Christine Haynes
Modifications:¬†added 1″ waistband and straightened skirt hem to accommodate border print
Size: 6
Fabric: pi(e) fabric designed by me, ordered from spoonflower. You can buy it yourself here!

An Ah-deer-able Dress

If you don’t know this about me, I love Japan. I’ve been lucky enough to travel to Japan for work a few times, but this summer my parents took us around Japan and I got to plan whatever I wanted to do for two weeks (although, less fabric shopping, because my dad and husband were along). It was the best! One of my favorite places in Japan is a town called Nara. Nara has dozens of temples and shrines, and there are tons of deer that roam freely mainly around the large park in town, but also other areas as well. These deer friendly and not afraid of people – they will come up to you, let you pet and hug them, and I’ve seen them inside some of the street shops before. For this trip to Nara, I decided I needed a special dress!

Deer Emery Dress

The pattern is the Emery Dress, by Christine Haynes. Love this pattern! Definitely a new favorite It is simple, comfortable, and lovely (and has pockets, of course!)

Emery Dress Exposed Metal Zipper

I think the deer liked it ūüôā I also got a few¬†comments from people in town from older ladies and young girls – I understand just enough Japanese to tell they thought it was cute and that they liked that I had deer on my dress like the deer in Nara.

Nara Deer Dress

And although I didn’t realize it in advance, it turns out that if you visit Nara in June you can see the baby deer in a special enclosure. They were too cute!

Nara Baby Deer

I also made a cute belt using this simple tutorial from Tilly of Tilly and the Buttons:

Emery Dress with Bow Belt

But I’m not wearing it in most of these photos because after buying some of the deer biscuits and feeding the deer, they nibbled on it some and it got a bit dirtier than I expected (although it washed up just fine!)

Nara Deer Feeding

Dress Specs

Pattern: Emery Dress by Christine Haynes
Size/Pattern Changes: Size 6, lengthened bodice by 1.5″, put in an exposed metal zipper, fully lined the dress, and tapered under-bust darts instead of sewing the straight line triangles.
Fabric: Quilting Cotton – Deer in Black by Copenhagen Print Factory (no longer available in black, but available here in cobalt or red)
Belt: Bow Belt by Tilly and the Buttons (a free pattern!) in a white sateen cotton from a garage sale.

Nara Emery Deer Dress