Desert Rose Dress preview and testing call!



Today is a pretty big day. It’s the day I put on my big girl pants and be brave enough to show you all what I’ve been working on behind the scenes. Behold, the new Desert Rose dress, my first PDF sewing pattern! (Wow, that was pretty theatrical. But better than a boring intro, eh?)


The dress features a dramatic, scooped neckline with a front closure (one big button or two littles), a very gathered skirt, ruffles on the chest and shoulders, and an empire waist. (Shoulder ruffles not pictured here). It’s perfect for  little summer-loving souls and those hot days coming your way. My vision for this project was to create a trendy dress for little girls that can be worn comfortably to both church and the park on a warm summer day. The style can be both modern (with no ruffles), or fancy with chest and/or shoulder ruffles. Can’t you picture this as a sweet little flower girl dress, with delicate fabric and pretty little ruffled shoulders?


At this point, the sizing for this dress runs from size 3 months up through size 8. I’m pretty comfortable with that range and can’t WAIT to sew a tiny little one for a friend’s baby. The pattern isn’t ready for release yet, and that’s where YOU come in. I’m looking for some people to help me test the full range of sizes. I sewed a size three for my daughter over the weekend (she’s four, but tiny), then realized that I should have followed my own size chart and sewn her a size 2 bodice! It’s hard to get my mind around her sizing sometimes.


DSC06042 DSC06133 DSC06138So, I need your help. If you are interested in helping me test this sewing pattern, please click over to my Tester Interest Form (it’s a Google Doc) and fill out your information. I’ve already had a few questions about testing, and below are my responses. You might want to read through these quickly before applying to be a tester. Don’t worry–there aren’t any strict requirements (other than that you know how to sew), but I want you to know what I’m looking for in a tester before you put your name in. (And psst: I’m just so excited you want to apply! Thank you!!)

  1. How many testers are you looking for? I need two testers for each of the eleven sizes: 3m, 6m, 12m, 18m, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.
  2. What is the timeframe? I will send you the full pattern by Sunday evening, May 4, 2014 and you will have one week to send me feedback and photos. Feedback is due by midnight on Sunday, May 11th (PST).
  3. Do I need to be a good photographer or have a fancy camera? No. I am primarily looking for testers who can test the fit and read through my instructions. That said, I will also be looking for some testers who can take great photos and are willing to let me use them on my blog and in promotional materials for the dress pattern.
  4. Do I need to be a sewing blogger? Not at all! I will be taking some testers who blog about sewing, and some who do not.
  5. How will I send feedback? I will create a Facebook group for my testers where we can talk about fit issues, answer questions, share photos, and generally have fun helping each other out. I can’t wait!
  6. How much experience do I need to sew this dress? I think this dress pattern fits into the intermediate/adventurous beginner category. There is only one button hole to contend with, so don’t be scared off if you’re a beginner. The other skills you can learn from this dress are: how to gather a skirt, how to sew ruffles, how to line a bodice, hemming, and topstitching. The instructions are straightforward and simple to follow, with clear, helpful photos. I am looking for testers from a range of sewing backgrounds, so both newbies and experienced sewers are welcome! 

So please, if you’re interested, head on over and fill out my Tester Interest Form now! I appreciate your help SO MUCH, you don’t even know the half of it. 🙂


And now, on a slightly more personal note: I can’t believe how much blogging has changed for me over the past two years. I used to blog mostly about life, then it transitioned to sewing, and in the past two years I’ve been sharing sewing projects, tutorials, and pattern reviews on a regular basis. Lately, that has begun to change. I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting older and need more sleep than I used to (don’t worry, I’m not saying I’m OLD at only 32, just that I can’t push through the fatigue like I could in my 20s), or if it’s because my three precious children are at a stage of needing more of me, or if it’s simply because I’m a little worn out. I have a lot of side work going on at all times, and keeping so many balls in the air tends to wear on me. But whatever the reason, I find myself wanting to refine my work here at CailaMade. That’s where the Desert Rose dress, and the other sewing patterns I’m working on, come in.


I love this space, and I love all of you. I love sewing, and creating, and designing new things. For the immediate future, I plan to keep sharing tutorials and a bit about my life, but I will also be focusing my attention on these patterns. Sometimes, you just gotta step out and do something new. Sometimes, you just gotta be brave.

And sometimes, you just gotta go play with your kids because they are just so dang precious and grow a little bigger every day. Love you all! Thanks so much for your encouragement and friendship. Mwah!



  1. Ashley Spencer says

    I’m sure you heard me enough times on Facebook regarding this dress but I am so excited for you and I think it takes courage to put yourself out there. But I want you to know that your readers/followers love your work because your love for it shows. I’m a huge fan and I only hope that one day I can be good enough and brave enough to do what you’re doing now. 🙂

  2. Kim Odell says

    CUTE, cute, cute. love it. and your daughter is a doll. 🙂 Can’t wait to see more of your future designs.

  3. says

    dress is beautiful! and your little girl too, she is gorgeous! I see your pictures and posts so often on facebook and web, etc, and they are always inspiring. your pattern is going to do well.

  4. tathra says

    The dress – and your daughter – are beautiful. So excited! I wonder if my little whirlwinds would give me enough time to test, hmmm.

  5. April says

    The version with the eyelet lace peeking out is just too cute! I excited to see what you create in the future! And you most definitely need to spend time with those adorable kids.

  6. says

    Wonderful dress, unfortunately in this period i’m over busy and can’t apply this test :(. I hope there is a new one to join soon. Bye bye and good luck for your pattern release

  7. says

    Such a cute dress! I can’t wait for the pattern to be released. I still have a few weeks for my little girl to even be born, otherwise I’d be all over trying to get a tester spot. 🙂

  8. says

    Adorable! Love the “from church to park” comment! That is my kin do dress! Congrats on your courage to do this, not sure why you were nervous… It’s awesome!

  9. says

    So so cute Caila! Wish the timing would work to be a tester because my daughter (almost 5) LOVES wearing her dresses! But with a baby due any time you can probably guess why it won’t work! 😉

  10. says

    Such a lovely dress! Oh, I hope you pick me! I’ve been looking for a simple yet AHdorabale dress pattern for my little girl! Very nice!

    • says

      Oh, and even if you don’t (seriously no pressure!) thanks for making the form! It inspired me to put together a pinterest board of all the things I’ve made & photographed, which is awesome to have, it makes me feel so accomplished to look at it!

  11. Mary Striegel says

    I’d love to see this dress patter go up to a 10/12 if possible. I have a lovely 8 year old grand daughter in the body of a 10 year old. She still needs girly things.

  12. says

    Any chance this would come in a girls 14-16 ?…… My granddaughter & great nieces (age range 6-9) would love this dress……..Thanks.

  13. Arezu says

    Oh so cute!! I didn’t see this until today, but I would be totally trying to be a pattern tester for my 1yr old if I had seen this earlier! I have the perfect fabric for this! Hope the pattern comes out soon 🙂

  14. says

    Hi Caila, I’ve just stumbled across your blog for the first time! Love it! Love what you do and what you represent. I’ll keep following you’re sewing adventures. Good luck with the pattern testing – super cute dress!!! Peppi xx

  15. says

    I just found your blog, as I am just trying to get started at sewing. I can’t wait for this pattern to come out! (and for me to get a little more practiced before trying it!) Love your blog and your fashion choices:)


  1. […] what’s been inspiring me lately. If you haven’t already seen the preview of my upcoming Desert Rose dress sewing pattern, please jump over and take a look! You can sign up to test the pattern (I will be picking people […]

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