California Calling

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you had a wonderful Saint Patricks day and wore lots of green! I’m busy getting ready for the first round of Sew-Vivor which will post on Wednesday, so today I’m bringing home my Sew in Tune post from a couple of weeks ago. Enjoy! I’ll see you all back here on Wednesday for something Emerald and truly exciting. Thanks for stopping by! 

Before I get started there’s one thing you should know about my family: We live in California. On the water. And all my kids are blonde. Yeah, we are totally stereotypical. Haha!

We love California for the weather (of course), the beach, the mountains, and especially the kick-back attitude. I guess those Beach Boys really did know what they were talking about in the song California Calling when they sang,

“If everybody in the U.S.A
Could come with us to Californ-i-a
We could take ’em to a place out west
Where the good sun shines everyday.”
California Calling, The Beach Boys

Well, the sun certainly shines out here almost every day, there’s no denying it! So, with my little California girl in mind, I created a tribute to this bright, sparkly, and beautiful state.

The first thing you’ll notice is a big ole’ drawing of the State of California on the front of Abby’s dress. The outline was created by tracing the State of California onto some Transfer Artist Paper (TAP). (BTW, I found the California image by simply doing a Google search for “California line drawing”). Then I grabbed a pink marker out of the kids’ craft drawer and colored in the outline directly on the TAP, making sure it looked like a colored picture–not perfect. The heart was added in purple marker over the general area where we live.

I love this little detail!

Once my drawing was complete, I simply flipped the image over onto the dress and ironed it on. If you’ve never used TAP before, I recommend using Leslie Riley’s Transfer Artist Paper specifically, and following the tips I share here. The three most important things to do are:

  1. Print or trace your image as a MIRROR IMAGE, otherwise the finished product will be backwards.
  2. Follow the directions for your specific kind of TAP.
  3. Cut away all excess TAP from around your image so no extra sticks to your project.
It’s really so simple and an easy way to customize any product! I use it all the time!
Now, about the actual dress. I started with Made by Rae’s Flashback Skinny Tee pattern and color-blocked by using different fabrics for the sleeves, bodice, and skirt:

As a salute to the great sport for which California is best known–SURFING, of course!–I used fabric repurposed from surf brand clothing. The brands Roxy (as the skirt) and Rip Curl (as the cap sleeves) are represented. Hollister fabrics make an appearance in the neckband. Did you know Hollister is a real town along the coast in California? And I can’t tell you how much I love that Roxy chevron! (The blue is an organic cotton jersey knit I purchased at

I was able to preserve the Roxy symbol along the bottom hem, although I forgot to get a picture of that particular detail. Roxy always uses the highest quality knits in their clothing, and as a result, this dress is so soft I could snuggle up with it and go to sleep!

“There’s a touch o’ California
in anyone who’s ever been out this way.”
And there’s a touch (or two) of California in this dress, too! I particularly love the song, “California Calling” by the Beach Boys, because of how they pronounce the word “Californ-eye–aye.” Listen to it here to see what I mean! I’ve always loved pronouncing California like that, and I’ll just blame it on them. It’s cool if the Beach Boys did it, right?

Well, there you have it: Abby’s Color-blocked California Calling dress! My favorite thing about this outfit is that it fits Abby’s particular style (bright and girly) and our lifestyle, which is influenced greatly by the great outdoors and sunny weather. We don’t stay inside at this time of year if we can help it!

Thanks so much for having me, Melissa! I really enjoyed pushing myself to create in this way. And thank YOU, for reading! To see more of what I’ve been making, visit my blog, CailaMade. You can also find me on PinterestFacebook, and Flickr. Bye for now! 


  1. says

    This is such a nice combo of pattern pieces and fabrics. I love when this kind of thing turns out so well!