There is nothing like being a Grandma. I’ve always heard people say that and wondered what they meant by it. I love being a Mom. We were blessed with great kids who are truly wonderful people that we always enjoy being around and spending time with. So of course I would love being a Grandma, as it’s our baby’s baby.
Dan and I were fortunate to be at a stage in our lives that allowed us to be close by at the crucial time. We had sold our house in Michigan, and hadn’t yet found a new home in Florida. So we rented an apartment for three months that was about 12 minutes away from our daughter and son-in-law’s home. We were able to help with some last minute baby preparations, and to be there with Jennifer through 3 days of labor. The excitement of our granddaughter’s birth was topped off when I finally got to hold her in my arms. Her warmth, her smell, her soft baby skin, still covered in birth fluids. My heart was overflowing with love.
I made breakfasts and dinners, and cleaned and did laundry, and waited impatiently for my share of baby snuggles. Baby Lila wormed her way deeper and deeper into my heart. The daily visits ended when we moved back to Florida. But I am so grateful that we had the opportunity for that early bonding time.
We fly up for visits every month to six weeks or so, and Lila is always happy to see us. We’ve watched her mature and grow, and seen the milestones and developing talents in person, in photos, and via Facetime. It cracks me up how she tries to reach out through the phone or iPad to touch us. The first year has flown by.
When Jennifer started planning Lila’s first birthday party, I was hoping that Lila would be able to wear the dress Jennifer wore on her first birthday. Unfortunately, there is a stain on the front of the dress that I don’t think will come out after 30 years! Since I like to sew, I knew I could make her something pretty to wear instead.
Jennifer chose a “She’s a wild ONE” jungle theme for the party and I instantly knew what fabric I was going to use. I had ordered the palm print leaf matte nylon/spandex from Phee Fabrics intending to make a dress for myself. But I hadn’t decided on the perfect pattern yet, so the fabric was stashed and waiting for me. I thought it would be fun to make something for all three of us to wear on the special occasion. I also thought that I had three yards of fabric stashed, but in reality only had two. Yikes!
That ruled out the possibility of making dresses for all three of us, so Lila got a birthday dress, and the two of us got tanks. I have made my daughter tank tops before, and have three different patterns cut out in her size. Her favorite seems to be the Patterns for Pirates Essential Tank, so I chose that for her. Its flattering, simple, yet shapely design is also great for layering, so I knew she would be able to wear it year round. I debated between the Essential Tank and the Made for Mermaids Women’s Mya pattern for myself. I decided on the Women’s Mya since it’s a bit roomier, I knew it would be a busy day, and there would be snacks and cake involved!
The birthday girl’s dress needed to be flowy and pretty and work with a knit fabric. Jennifer and I both liked the Ellie and Mac Be Dreamy dress, but I had a few concerns. Since Lila is a busy baby and a beginning walker, a floor length dress was out of the question. The high-low hemline is cute, but still not practical for a one year old. So it had to become a knee length dress. This would be an easier fix if they lived close by and I could compare the pattern to her and her other dresses to judge the fit. But she doesn’t, so I had to work off measurements. “No longer than seventeen inches” was the answer I received to “How long from her shoulder to hemline?” So I overlapped my pattern pieces by the seam allowance, measured down from the shoulder, added a hem allowance and drew my new hemline.
Now to fit all these pieces onto only two yards of fabric! I always take my time with pattern layout and cutting. Everything needs to be perfectly on grain, and I hate wasting fabric. Talk about your fussy cutting! Fortunately, the palm leaf fabric is a true 60″ wide, so I was able to cut all the pieces facing (what I considered) upright on the fabric. Since the leaves go in all different directions, it isn’t an obvious directional fabric and I could have made life easier by flipping things to fit, but that’s not how I roll!
The tank tops and dress sewed up easily, if slowly, since I just use a basic Brother sewing machine. I like to finish my neck and arm band seams with my machine’s overcast stitch, followed by topstitching to get a clean, professional look. (Someday I’ll get that fancy Babylock serger/coverstitch on my daydream wishlist!) 😉
The full circle flutter sleeves on the Be Dreamy dress were my other concern. They needed to be light and fluttery, and preferably out of a solid, since the underside of the fabric shows. Jennifer didn’t want to mix in a color with the palm leaf print, so that nixed the circular knit and tricot I had on hand. My solution was white powernet. I always use it to add support to the bras and workout tops I make, but it’s a versatile fabric. I’ve added powernet side panels to workout capris, and have an idea percolating for a top with powernet insets. Since it doesn’t fray, careful cutting with my rotary cutter was all the finish the fluttery sleeves needed. I carefully tacked on some organza ribbon rose trim around the bottom of the bodice and along the hem and the birthday dress was complete!
Let the “She’s a wild ONE!” party begin!
There is indeed nothing like being a Grandma! Lila fills my heart with joy and is a spectacular gift from God. Her big blue eyes with mile long lashes, her laughs and saucy little grin, her backward waves, and heart-stopping desire to walk up and down the stairs, the way she practically runs while pushing her walker, and her undeniably fun personality all combine into one beautiful bundle of wonder that has completely stolen this Grandma’s heart.
Happy 1st birthday Lila! I love you!