Larkspur’s Request: A Birthday Dress

A few weeks before her birthday, Larkspur asked me if she would have a birthday dress this year.  I asked her, “A birthday dress that you can buy at a store, or a birthday dress that I make?”  I confess that I was sort of hoping she would say that she wanted store bought.  Most of my recent sewing projects have turned out poorly.  But of course her answer was, “A birthday dress that you make.”  Okay then.  She also specified the fabric that I should make it out of, some that she picked out last year, but was never transformed into a dress as she had hoped.  The fabric was red with small pink flowers (it’s Sarah Jane-wallpaper flowers) and while it was cute, I was having a hard time envisioning a dress made of it entirely.  I wasn’t enthused.  A few days passed.  Then one evening I picked up a small cut of Anna Maria Horner fabric from her Innocent Crush collection, and realized that it coordinated with the print that Larkspur had chosen.  She wouldn’t mind if I used it too, I thought to myself.  Remembering Anna Maria’s Needleworks Sampler set that I received as a gift from a friend, I started getting excited.  A plan began to form, and I found myself cross stitching a simple pattern that I made up on linen ribbon that came with my gift.  The perfect colors of matching floss were there in the set, and it just came together perfectly.   Larkspur watched me stitching on that ribbon for a week, wondering what it was for.  I shrugged that I wasn’t sure.  She had no idea that it would end up on her dress, although she mentioned lots of times that if I didn’t know what to do with it, she thought I should give it to her when I finished because she thought it was so pretty.  I finished her dress a day or so before her birthday and had her try it on.  There was a white linen sash, but I hadn’t sewn the cross stitched ribbon on yet.  Larkspur knew that there was something missing, because I had told her there would be a “final touch” added that would be a surprise, but for some reason it didn’t occur to her that it was the ribbon I had been cross stitching on!  On her birthday morning when Jonny carried the dress in for Larkspur to see, her face lit up with the biggest smile.  I had spent the previous night after she was in bed, hand sewing that linen ribbon to the sash of her dress.  She loves it, and I’m just glad that I was able to create something that is her style.  Sometimes that is hard for me, because my own style is so different (picture lots of plain gray and brown rather than ruffled red and pink.)  As far as the pattern for the dress itself goes, I made the simple peasant bodice and the sash using Sandi Henderson’s Claire pattern, which is a go-to for me.  Unfortunately that pattern isn’t available anymore.  You could substitute any peasant type bodice, and then add a simple gathered skirt and sash.  I didn’t use a pattern for the skirt or ruffle.  My only complaint about the finished dress is the length.  I would have made it longer had my cut of Innocent Crush fabric been bigger.  I’m not really complaining though, because Larkspur likes it!  This will double as her Easter dress, so I’m pretty happy about that.

More birthday details tomorrow!


  1. Ginny,
    The dress turned out so lovely and looks perfect for her. The special stitching of the hearts around it is extra sweet.


  2. Oh, that is so beautiful, Ginny! What a lovely dress on a lovely little girl. xo

  3. I tried commenting before and I think it got lost (might have been my fault). The dress is beautiful and the sash is what makes it. I love her style and I love that you accommodate her style!

  4. This looks like it came from one of those jaw-droppingly expensive kids boutiques!

  5. Looks like the perfect dress for her, love the swirly twirls.

  6. so, so lovely! I love the sequence of pictures and the movement…I can just see her swing the dress around and admiring herself!

  7. I love it. What a lovely girl in a beautiful dress!

  8. Nancy Mosley says:

    Oh what a sweet dress. I just love the colors and how it all came together. We have March birthdays in our house as well. It is always a fun time of the year. My daugther’s is the 16th and when she was younger the Forsythia bushes were always in bloom (here in Missouri) for her b-day pictures and it was so special to have this spring delight to bring inside and enjoy for her birthday. Happy Birthday to Larkspur!

  9. It is indeed a beautiful dress — so bright and cheerful in the dull of late winter! A wonderful story that made me think about my own mom making Easter dresses for my two sisters and me. Forty some-odd years later, they remain in our closets back home because they are so special! Your little girl will be telling her children about her special birthday dress some day!

  10. That hand stitched part made it so special! I’m amazed you find the patience and time for such sweetness.

  11. Wow, what a beautiful dress! Do you know They have dresses like that and I love them. Maybe next time Larkspur wishes for something storebought this site might help out?!
    Though after that birthday dress, she might keep asking for dresses that YOU made -I definitely would!
    Love, Maren

  12. What a beautiful dress – just right for swirling around in. I love to see little girls wearing girly dresses and she must feel so special that you made it for her. I would wear girly dresses all the time if it wasn’t for housework and a dog and son who are permanently bathing in mud!! Hope Larkspur has a fun birthday. Lily. xxx

  13. The dress is beautiful – the colour vibrant and fresh, and the length seems to suit Larkspur. Your mixing of materials and elements was very crafty. I can see why she was so happy to have the dress.

  14. What a beautiful dress. You are an amazing mother!

  15. wow, what a lovely dress, how special! I love, love red… I think I need a red dress now!

  16. That is just too, too sweet and I love that you hand stitched the sash. Just beautiful.

I love to hear from you!