Hot! The “Pet Deer” Dress

Fabric: Pet Deer by Michael Miller- quilting cotton
Pattern: Oliver + S Ice Cream Social dress
Year: 2010
Notions: button- from a long dead cardigan.
Time to Complete: 2 hrs
First Worn: May 13 2012
Wear Again: Undoubtedly, worn here with a long sleeved tee for a little extra warmth
Total Price: $0- I have used the pattern more times than I can count, it’s a recycled button and someone else bought the fabric.  I guess the contrast cost about $3.75?

My daughter thinks custom-designed dresses grow on trees.  My bad. (not really, I love it.)  She’s old enough now to choose her own fabrics; our favorite place to go for her fabrics is Voodoo Rabbit.  They stock all kinds of fun, off-beat quilting cotton.  The last time we went, I told Lila she could choose any fabric for a new dress.  I instantly regretted it because she fixated on this weird-colored Pet Deer fabric by Michael Miller and wouldn’t look twice at anything else.  It’s not really typical “little girl” fabric, I mean, it’s BROWN!  Eventually, I gave in.  I had to, after all I told her she could choose.  At least the colors suit her.  Besides, her godmother thought the whole thing was hilarious so paid for the fabric.  What could I say?

It sat in my fabric cupboard for three months.  I hoped she’d forget it, but every so often she’d ask me for her “Deer” dress.  Sigh.  Once again, Sew Weekly encouraged me to accomplish a project I’ve been putting off with this week’s Prints Challenge.  Thanks, Mena!

I have every girl Oliver + S pattern in existence.  Truly.  The patterns are well-written, come in several years’ of sizes and the resulting garments really suit my daughter’s needs.  Earlier this week, I explained to Lila that I was going to make her Deer dress, and we should choose a pattern.  We leafed through my box of Oliver + S patterns, and she insisted on the Ice Cream Social dress.  I have made this one six or seven times for her, and more often than not she reaches for these little dresses before anything else when she’s getting ready for the day.  They layer well, too, and turn into tunic tops as she grows.  Easy.  I tried to suggest another pattern, but she insisted- “I want another one like my Panda Dress.”  Ok, kid.

She helped me pin, cut, and sew this dress.  Ever since she was quite small, I let her sit on my lap and pull pins, lift the presser foot, and trim threads.   This time I also showed her how to overlock/serge and we talked about why we press seams.

My only real input was to choose the contrast fabric.  I like lavender next to her face, and thought it might help brighten the dark tones of the fabric.  Despite all my foot-dragging, I don’t mind the finished dress.  Besides, she loves it.  We went out on Mother’s Day to a sushi train in Chinatown South (Sunnybank Hills) and she wore her new dress.  As we walked out of the sushi train, a grinning man remarked to me “Well- hipsters are getting younger and younger these days!”  I suppose. This dress (and all the accessories) is pure 4-year-old child self-expression.  She’s too young to be trying to be trendy.  I’m just the enabler.



Stephanie mothers, writes, and teaches sewing in Brisbane, Australia. She blogs about sewing, drafting, vintage style and sustainability at 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World.


Comments are closed.

  1. That’s the cutest! Glad she likes it :)

  2. It’s adorable! I think the fabric is perfect for a little kid – fun and happy without trying to push cartoons or childhood on them. And she liked it – so of course it’s kid perfect!

  3. That is so cute and wait, you got an Australian man to compliment a dress – its a miracle! My son loves Sushi train too – he’ll eat anything there! She is very gorgeous. Next you’ll be making her formal (prom) dress!

  4. Your daughter’s dress is precious and it’s so special that she got to pick out the fabric and then help you to sew it. Look forward to a lot of dress making as the years go by!

  5. I would say that your daughter has excellent taste and will continue to very well dressed with your assistance. She looks adorable.

  6. I love the fabric! I say good choice. Ahh sunnybank sushi train. Used to be one of my workday lunch haunts.

  7. She gets cuter every day and this dress is adorable…. little hipster:)

  8. So very cute without being typically “little girl pink”. I haven’t tried an O&S pattern yet, but you’ve sold me. Now that my girl is 3 years old, she’s about ready to start choosing fabrics and dictating her wardrobe orders ;)

  9. So cute! I actually love her fabric choice. The deer are adorable, and despite it being dark, it’s still fun with bright bits. :) I love that she helps you sew. :)

  10. Ohhhh, that fabric is darling! Such a lil’ trend setter! Pretty soon they’ll say put a ‘deer’ on it ;)

  11. I think it is awesome that you share the process of making the dress with you. She is so cute and so is the dress.

  12. Oh Stephanie, I think you have a Minnie Me on your hands, love her creativity! She’s just like her mother.

  13. She’s not the least bit hipster! Silly man. I think the dress is adorable – not what I would choose either, but it makes her happy, so why not? :-)

  14. So so cute. Your daughter has great taste.

  15. Love it….love the Panda dress too. I wish I’d sewn when my two were small, now they’re into football shirts (both types, real football and American….and don’t even mention Australian) and camouflage shorts. Congrats on creating another sewer!