Geranium Expansion Pack: the neck bow

made by rae GXP neck bow

Neck bows or “pussy bows” are really trending right now and I knew I needed to add one to the Geranium Expansion Pack! Isn’t it cute? It really stands out when you use a contrasting solid fabric, as shown in this newborn sample made with Liberty of London lawn and a Robert Kaufman Greenwich solid:

Geranium XP - neck bow

The neck bow cleverly utilizes the the U-shape cutout from original Geranium Dress pattern. The ends of the bow are nicely hidden between the bodice and the lining of the dress.

Geranium XP - neck bow

As far as difficulty, making the two bow pieces is not at all difficult, but sewing the bow into the U-shape can be a bit tricky. I’d give it an “intermediate” level rating, but it’s not too hard to tackle, especially if you’ve sewn the keyhole neckline before.

I’d recommend choosing a lighter fabric for the neck bow if possible; this makes it not only easier to sew into the dress, but also easier to tie!

Geranium XP - neck bow

Here’s a peek at one that I made in size 8 for Clementine for Easter; I’ll post more pics of this dress soon!

Clementine's Pink Daisy Bow Dress

The pink dress from the cover shoot really highlights how even in a solid matching color, the neck bow really stands out beautifully.

Geranium Expansion Pack sewing pattern

Visit the Geranium Expansion Pack Page to see all of the posts I’ve written about the expansion pack elements, or head to my shop to buy the Geranium Expansion Pack now!

Geranium Expansion Pack: the sash

made by rae GXP sash

One of my favorite reasons to make the Geranium Dress is for a fancy occasion, such as a wedding or a family celebration. I decided to add this lovely sash to the expansion pack for just those sorts of occasions, for dress up, for any other reason you might want a sash, or no reason at all. I could envision the sash in a solid color to match a print on a dress, or vice versa. My dream is to see this made up one day in a little flower girl’s dress, in a fancy fabric with a sash and hem band to match (more on that hem band here).

Geranium XP - sash (front)

We’ve included three different ways to attach the sash in the instructions, so you can gather it, pleat it, or just attach it directly to the dress (shown here). It’s added after the dress is completed so that you could even detach it when washing the dress if you need to (try adding small snaps instead of stitches to attach it if you’d really like to be able to do this). And if you think it looks sweet from the front, it’s even cuter from the back.

Geranium XP
The samples shown in this post are size 0 (newborn), so the proportions of the sash/dress in other sizes will differ slightly depending on what size you choose. In all sizes, I think you’ll find that it’s fairly dramatic in both length and width, and of course you could adjust both to suit your own taste.

Geranium XP

Here’s another little sample in a slightly larger size (6-12 months) with the sash pleated at the side seam where it attaches:

GXP with sash

Visit the Geranium Expansion Pack Page to see all of posts I’ve written about the elements in this pattern.

The Geranium Expansion Pack is available now in sizes 0-12y from my shop!

Geranium Expansion Pack: the hem band

made by rae GXP hem band

I’m particularly fond of the hem band as a design detail and have made many Geranium Dresses with this easy-to-add element, so it only made sense to include it as one part of the Geranium Expansion Pack.

One way to add the hem band is to use a solid fabric, like I did here on this newborn sample by adding a teal double gauze to draw out the blues and greens in this lovely floral Liberty lawn:

Geranium XP - hem band

Another way to incorporate the hem band is to use a coordinating fabric, like I did for this Ice Cream Birthday Dress for Clementine:

Ice Cream Dress for Clementine

Ice Cream Dress for Clementine

One thing to note is that the hem band definitely adds length to the skirt, so if you add it to the top-length Geranium, you won’t have a top anymore; you’ll end up with something that’s almost more dress- or tunic-like in length, like this one shown below from my collaboration with Cloud 9 back in 2013 to feature the Tsuru fabric line.

Tsuru Geranium

You can read more about the dresses and that project in this post: Tsuru + Geranium

Tsuru Geranium

(I personally love the extra drama that the length adds, but if you want to preserve the original length of the garment, it’s quite easy just to shorten the skirt pattern piece before cutting it out)

Here’s another dress from that Cloud 9 collaboration (from this post: Taking flight) with the dress-length skirt.
Taking Flight

Taking Flight

Finally, another option is to use the same fabric for the hem band, but turn the print sideways to produce a contrast effect, like I did for the striped dress in the bodice extension post.

Adding a hem band is so easy, and it’s even easier since we’ve taken the guess-work out of it with pattern pieces that are perfectly proportioned and designed to fit both the View A and View B skirts. I hope you’ll have fun and experiment with adding this element to the Geraniums you make!

Visit the Geranium Expansion Pack Page to see all blog posts related to this pattern, or head to the shop to purchase a Geranium Dress Expansion Pack for yourself!.

Geranium Expansion Pack: the bodice extension

made by rae GXP bodice extension

In this post I want to introduce you to the bodice extension, a new pattern piece included in the Geranium Expansion Pack. The bodice extension is probably the easiest element in the expansion pack to add, and I love how it really transforms the dress into something more sophisticated and “grown up,” which i think you’ll love, especially if you’re making this dress for an older child.

To help you visualize what the bodice extension does, I made two Geranium dresses for Clementine in the same size, one with and one without the lengthened bodice:

Geranium XP - bodice extension

As you can see, the one on the left has the bodice extension added, and the one on the right is the original bodice. For both, I started with View B of the original bodice, which has the faux cap sleeve. Both have the top-length skirt from the original pattern. I added the hem band to the one on the left to make it into a longer dress.

See how the hem of the skirt is lower on the left? Something to consider when you add the bodice extension is how the entire length of your dress will change; the one on the right is tunic-length, and works nicely with leggings, pants, or shorts underneath, while the one on the left (even without the hem band added) is definitely a dress, even though I used the top-length skirt for both.

Geranium Expansion Pack - bodice extension

Here are some photos of them on Clementine, so you can see the difference when worn.

Geranium Expansion Pack - bodice extension

Geranium Expansion Pack - bodice extension

Geranium Expansion Pack - bodice extension

As you can see, Clementine loves her new Geraniums. Diva much?

Geranium Expansion Pack - bodice extension

Here’s a look at the back. You can either add an additional button, or just spread the buttons apart if you add the bodice extension:

Geranium Expansion Pack - bodice extension

Geranium Expansion Pack - bodice extension

Geranium Expansion Pack - bodice extension

Here’s another side-by-side look at the bodice extension. For our cover shoot, we made the pink dress with the bodice extension, and the gold dress without. I love how it looks with sleeves and the neck bow!

Geranium Expansion Pack sewing pattern

Level of difficulty
The bodice extension pattern pieces are taped to the bottom of the original bodice pieces before cutting them out, making it by far the easiest element in the expansion pack to incorporate. You can also slide the extension down for more of a drop-waist effect, or up if you want something in between. This adjustment is something that is easy to do (even if you don’t own the expansion pack), but I thought that it would be a nice addition to have these pattern pieces to make it super easy. They produce a really nice proportion, and you’ll love how this simple addition can really transform your Geraniums!

Visit the Geranium Expansion Pack Page to see all blog posts related to this pattern, or buy the Geranium Expansion Pack in my shop!

Geranium Expansion Pack: the collar

made by rae GXP collar

Let’s talk about the collar! This adorable element included in the Geranium Expansion Pack is both sophisticated and sweet. I love that it looks fantastic both in a contrast fabric, and in the same fabric as the rest of the dress. It also works beautifully with or without sleeves (personally, I think the faux cap sleeve + collar is ridiculously cute, and a great option if you want to try the collar for the first time and want to keep it simple).

Geranium XP

The collar has a lovely subtle curve in the front and is divided in the back to accommodate either a zipper or buttons. Like the sleeves, the collar is tidily sandwiched between the lining and the outer bodice for a truly professional finish.

Geranium XP - collar (back)

It think the collar is really cute with the gathered long sleeve, below. When made in the same fabric as the main dress, it’s really great:

Geranium XP - gathered sleeve with collar

But I also love the drama that making it in a contrast fabric adds:

Geranium Expansion Pack - collar + zipper

I sewed this little sample to test out how the collar would work with the zipper, and it turned out really nicely. I’ll post more about this little flamingo sample (which is a size 2) in the zipper post, so you’ll also get a chance to see this sample inside-out!

Geranium XP - zipper

Geranium Expansion Pack - collar + zipper

Geranium Expansion Pack - collar + zipper

And finally, why not try a solid on solid collar and dress? So lovely in this sample Rachel sewed for our cover shoot!

Geranium Expansion Pack sewing pattern

Level of difficulty
The collar is fairly easy to sew; it’s four collar pieces, sewn together in pairs, turned right side out, and basted to the bodice before adding the lining. As long as you can sew a smooth curve, the biggest difficulty might be turning and pressing it right-side out, so we’ve made sure to include some hints to help you along. I think you’ll find it’s quite easy to add the collar if you have some sewing experience!

Visit the Geranium Expansion Pack Page to see all blog posts related to this pattern, or buy the Geranium Expansion Pack now in my shop!