Fancy Dress for Clementine

Clementine's Pink Daisy Bow Dress

Clementine (the other day): “Mom, I’m not a Fancy Girl.”

Me: “What’s a Fancy Girl?”

C: “Well, you know, there are some girls at school who always wear the fancy clothes, like dresses with tights, and fancy shoes, and they like pink and purple and stuff?”

Me (in my head): “There are kids who go to elementary school in tights?

Me (outloud): “Oh, right. So that’s not you? What kind of girl are you then?”

C: “Well, I’m like, a Cool Girl.”

Me: “Ahhh. What’s a Cool Girl?”

C: “Well, you know how I like video games? And I like blue and aqua and other colors, not just pink and purple?”

Me: “Yeah. I love that about you.”

C: “So, that’s like, a Cool Girl. You know that pink dress you made me for Easter, with the bow and the flowers?”

Me: “Yeah?”

C: “That’s what a Fancy Girl wears.”

Me (laughing): “OK. Got it. Wait! There are blue flowers on it??”

C: (rolls eyes)

Clementine's Pink Daisy Bow Dress

Yes, it’s pink and it’s pretty fancy, but she wore it for Easter, and even though she likes blue better, I happen to know she still wears a lot of pink. So I’m not going to write this dress off yet. But even if she never wears it again, I pretty much died of cute when she put it on the first time and danced around like a fairy. I’ll just hold that memory in my heart while I sew her a pair of blue skater punk shorts this summer, right?

Clementine's Pink Daisy Bow Dress

Clementine's Pink Daisy Bow Dress

Clementine's Pink Daisy Bow Dress

Clementine's Pink Daisy Bow Dress

But she’s definitely less “this:”

Clementine's Geranium with Bow

And more “this:”

Clementine's Geranium with Bow

My weird little monster.

Clementine's Geranium with Bow

Fabric: Cotton lawn by Cotton + Steel, designed by Melody Miller

Patterns: Geranium Dress + Geranium Expansion Pack (zipper, bow, and gathered elbow-length sleeve). I used the selvage-to-selvage width of this fabric for the skirt, resulting in a fuller skirt.

PS. This dress gave me a chance to try putting the zipper together with the sleeves (these are the gathered elbow-length sleeves) from the Geranium Expansion Pack. I was v. pleased at how this turned out; I’ve never been a big zipper fan — quick and easy is my personal sewing motto, and surprise! zippers don’t usually fall under that category — but I’m really in love with how this looks. More info on the zipper can be found in the GXP zipper post.

16 thoughts on “Fancy Dress for Clementine

  1. The people who send their kids to school in tights are parents of kids who want to go to school in tights. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with letting our kids be who they want to be, whatever that means for them.

    • Hmmm yes, truly!

      I do think it’s interesting that (and perhaps I’m incorrectly inferring this by the way your comment is phrased) you’ve assigned a negative judgement to the way I reacted to her “fancy girl” definition…that wasn’t intended, but now that I reread it, I can see how that conclusion could be drawn. I will edit!


      • Sorry to have been confusing, that’s not what I was referring to. I was referring to kids going to school in tights.

  2. She looks so cute in that dress! I think it’s super fun that she already has her own sense of style though, I bet you’ll still love making her “cool girl” clothes, especially when you see how happy it makes her 😀

  3. My almost 9 year old is the same – no point sewing her dresses as she will not wear them. I have had to embrace the hoodies and joggers! This dress is so beautiful.

  4. I thought I was reading a conversation between my daughter and me! My 7-year-old alternate “fancy girl” day and “cool girl” day! 😉
    The dress is absolutely beautiful!

  5. So funny and cute! I was definitely a ‘fancy girl’ in elementary school, and now I won’t touch frills at all! (I still wear tights though. Gotta stay warm.) Such a cute dress!

  6. So sad how early children learn the lesson that anything culturally defined as “feminine” is a negative. The worst insult to a young elementary student is to call something girly. We’ve all got a long way to go to help our children feel good about themselves without denying parts of who they are. I love how neutral your responses were to your daughter as she struggled with self-definition.

    • That’s so interesting that you say that, because I actually have found the exact opposite to be true; if anything, I’ve found that early elementary is a time when girls tend to conform to a pro-“girly,” very feminine standard (both behaviorally and appearance-wise). Clementine went through a phase from about age 4-6 when she was obsessed with pink, purple, bows ruffles, and anything Princess-ey or “girly,” all that to say that if anything her feelings about femininity were (and still are) very positive. My conversations with other parents and observations of her classmates indicates to me that this is a pretty typical experience (and honestly, made the feminist part of me despair a little…like, “is she learning that the only thing that’s important is her appearance?!”). It’s been my experience that in the past year or so, she’s begin to explore other aspects of her personality and embracing things about herself and others that are different (and similar), and that’s great, but I think in both cases, it’s something I’ve tried to remain pretty neutral about, no matter which way she feels on any given day.

      So all that to say, I don’t think she would actually consider being called “girly” an insult or that she views femininity as a negative thing, at all. She still very much loves “fancy girl” things as well as “cool girl” things. I think this is all just a part of their self-exploration and figuring out who they are, no need to feel “sad” as you put it?

      Thanks so much for your comment! Such good food for thought.

  7. My two youngest daughters are close in age and size but so different in likes and dislikes, especially clothing, so I get this post. I love those last photos which show her real personality compared to the “fancy girl” one. ☺

  8. My 9y.o. son (Clem!) uses the word ‘fancy’ to describe things too – as a description not a judgement – like ‘that’s a fancy house’ or ‘those are fancy shoes’ and I find it terribly endearing!

    • I love that!!! So sweet.

      The meaning we attach to certain words is so interesting to me. It’s lovely how children use words without judgement or stigma attached.

Comments are closed.