Hot! The “Ostrea Lake” dress

The Facts

Fabric: Ikea cotton Celia print, left over from a dress I made in 2011
Pattern:  Butterick 3460
Year: 2000?
Notions: seam binding
Time to complete: 2 hours
First worn: Friday the 13th
Wear again? Yes, but not as a dress.

Total Cost: $1

It’s the perfect alignment of theme and setting this week:  I’m visiting my family in Nova Scotia and I’m back in my ecosystem.  I grew up here, running wild in rural Nova Scotia and it’s great to be back where I recognize every plant, every animal, every bird.  I studied biology and helped edit the Flora of Nova Scotia back in the ’90s, so if I were dropped into the wild here, I could probably survive for weeks (unless the biting flies drove me mad first, which is a distinct possibility).  It’s fun to bring my suburbanized kids here to get a little taste of how I grew up:

Luckily my mother had her sewing machine here for hemming all the curtains in their new beach house, and I quickly ran up this pull-over dress for my daughter. She doesn’t have a serger, so I finished the seams with bias tape, and it took a little longer that it usually would at home, but what the heck; I’m on vacation.

I used the Celia print cotton from Ikea with intermingled birds and leaves, and since my daughter is a bit big for her age, I used size 4.  Oops.  I’ve never sewed for my kids from a pattern before because I usually just trace off of an existing garment.  I now realize that my daughter is long and skinny and I should be cutting a size 5 for length, but a size 3 for width.  Lesson learned. She’ll have to wear it next year as a pinafore over a T-shirt and leggings.

Here are some gratuitous shots of her cuteness:

And the name of the dress?  It comes from the village where we are staying.  “Ostrea” is the latin word for oyster, and the brackish bays around here are full of oysters, just lying around waiting to be picked.  Sweet, meaty, salty, slatey oysters.

*Disclaimer:  to any members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans reading this post: I would never advocate picking said oysters without a license.

No, never.

No matter how delicious.




Vicki used to sew when she was young and free, but then raising young'uns and bringing home (some of) the bacon took up all her time. Now her closet is full of skinny clothes, maternity clothes and post-partum clothes, none of which fit properly. Maybe that's why she started sewing again in 2010.


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  1. Lovely! What an adorable dress, and a great story of your childhood. It sounds a lot like mine, just on the other side of the world.

    • and a lot colder and wetter, I imagine! The fact that we’ve had almost two weeks of sun and heat is almost unheard of around here, so we have been very lucky on our vacation.

  2. Cute fabric and darling photos of your little one. Thanks for sharing your part of the world with us!

    • Thanks Barbara. I’m just back from 4 days at our family cabin in the internet-less Margaree Valley, so it was nice to get back and see this post up with comments already!

  3. So cute! How do you get her to hold still to take photos? Mine is constantly moving!

    • Bright outdoor light + fast shutter speed = catching toddler action ;) The whole time I was taking the photos, she was dancing, singing songs, and telling me stories about all the animals and birds.

  4. Aw, sweet dress. What a lovely place to grow up.

    • It was a great place to grow up in many ways, but it also had those small-town drawbacks that I don’t miss. I visit in the summers and enjoy only the best parts.

  5. Thank you for sharing part of your childhood home. For those of us who don’t travel much it’s a treat. I LOVE the print on the fabric and would have made my duaghter something quite similar when she was that age. If I could find that print at our IKEA I’d make ME something out of it now : ) Adorable!

    • This fabric is leftover from a dress I made for myself, but I have promised never to wear it at the same time as my daughter. That is a little too much, in my opinion.
      Well, my holiday is over and I’m flying off to Florida for work on Monday, so I’ll see if I can provide some interesting location shots there too!

  6. Hi Vicki, love the fabric, she’s adorable. I’ve always wanted to visit NS and your pictures make it even more enticing.

  7. Wow Vicki what a beautiful place to grow up and to read that you helped edit the Flora of Nova Scotia back in the ’90s is really fantastic and interesting! I’m sure there is a weed or plant there to ward off those biting flies. My gosh your daughter is a cutie I bet she just loves her mummy sewing up new dresses for her. Ikea have some great fabrics this is perfect for this little dress. Adorable.

  8. Agree with Kazz: What a wonderful place to grow up in. I am quite jealous (although admittedly, I am even more jealous of Leimomi, our Hawaiian girl). It’s great that you can show your kids that area. The dress is very cute. Your little girl, too. :)

  9. Nice post. And what a cute dress for your cute little one.