Sew-Vivor Challenge One: Emerald

If you’re visiting from Family Ever After, WELCOME! I’m so glad you stopped by. I hope you find something you like and decide to stay awhile. I’m a wife, mamma to three, sewist, writer, blogger, lover of coffee, color and the outdoors. I love, love, love to sew!

Ok, are you ready for the big reveal? Today my entry for the first Sew-Vivor challenge went live over at Family Ever After! The theme this week was EMERALD: 2013 color of the year. Below are a lot of pictures and details on my outfit. After reading, please take a moment to head over and VOTE FOR ME!


Luck Be A Lady dress by CailaMade

The first thing I want to say about this dress is that it makes me feel pretty. It’s feminine and soft, but my favorite details are those with a modern feel: the printed gold triangles on the bodice, the black hand-stitching on the neckline, the short skirt. I love combining modern elements with classic femininity.

As you can see, the dress has a fitted bodice (knit) with cap sleeves, a full gathered skirt, and an elastic casing at the waist. I love wearing dresses that are both beautiful and comfortable.

The bodice pattern was self-drafted from my own measurements. I’m like every other women–I want my dresses to emphasize the good and hide the bad! It took a few tries to get it right, but the fit is perfect.

See those gold triangles? I printed those by hand directly on the fabric, using a stamp made from a rubber eraser. It worked like a charm and was quick and easy!

I’m a sucker for details, so I also added box pleats to the cap sleeves ย for a little something extra.

I also hand-stitched the neck binding using Alabama Chanin’s techniques and this particular stitch is called the “cretin stitch.” It’s a stretch stitch so the neckline stretches like the rest of the top. I love this part! It’s my favorite detail on the dress and I think theย black embroidery thread really ties the top and bottom of the dress together.

The skirt is gathered and made from rayon with a supple drape. The colors are so perfect with the top! An elastic casing brings things in at the waste and gives the dress a comfortable feel. In most of these pictures I’m wearing a belt, but it looks great without one, too.

With cap sleeves, a hand-stitched neckline and full skirt, this dress is my new fave!

Full skirt, fitted bodice, scoop neck, hand-stitched neck binding, cap sleeves with box pleats. (Shoes: TOMS from Nordstrom. Necklace and belt: Francesca’s).


I had a lot of fun picking out the accessories for this dress! The shoes are platform TOMS from Nordstrom. Since I’m only 5’2″ I really appreciate a good pair of platforms. These are comfortable and trendy, so it’s a win-win. Plus, they are yummy!

The necklace and belt came from Francesca’s, which is pretty much my favorite store right now. When I went into the store I took the dress with me to see how the whole outfit looked together. GUESS WHAT?? The sales associates made my day by thinking the dress came from Anthropologie! They were so complementary, and so excited to talk about dress design and sewing with me. Thank you for your kind words,ย Francesca’s ladies!

And thank YOU for reading this post and VOTING FOR ME! Please head over to Family Ever After to cast your vote. It only takes a few seconds, and I’d love to try my hand at the second challenge. I can only advance if I don’t get “kicked off the island” like in Survivor, so vote to keep me on!

Thank you, everyone, for your support. I’d love to hear any of your questions or comments in the comments section below. You’re such awesome people! Love you all!

UPDATED: I forgot to mention, because I was sleep-deprived when I wrote this, that my awesome and hilarious brother took theses photos. His name is Kyle Cowgill and you can watch his comedic adventures on YouTube! Thank you, brother!!

Make it Wear it Thursday at The Train to Crazy
Creative Juice Thursday at the Momnivor’s Dilema
You. Inspired at The Girl Inspired


  1. says

    It’s gorgeous!! One of the things I’m trying to do in my own work is move beyond the basics to add detail, so this kind of piece is super inspiring. Did you learn the hand-stitching technique from the Alabama Chanin book or one of their courses? It’s my favorite detail. Stellar work! Good luck!

    • says

      HI Michelle! Thank you so much! I learned the hand-stitching techniques from her book, Alabama Chanin Sewing & Design. It’s a great book. I’m so glad you feel inspired!

    • says

      Thank you so much! We are in California, where the trees look like this all year long. ๐Ÿ™‚ Don’t worry, we pay for it in August and September when it’s over 110 degrees. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. says

    THIS. Is. Amazing. So absolutely gorgeous. Can you please make me one? I’mm email you my measurements. ๐Ÿ˜€

    That neckline detail is genius! You’re right – it pulls the whole thing together beautifully. Amazing dress, love it.

  3. says

    Lovely dress, love all the details put into it- you have inspired me to be more creative with my sewing. I actually thought the neckline was plaited at first until I read through to the part about it being hand stitched, what a cool little detail. Love it!!!

    • says

      Kate, I’m so glad you feel inspired! I’m so glad you like the dress. Thank you so much for the kind comment!

    • says

      Angelina, you are an inspiration! Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment. I admire your work so much! Your Hole in One entry is simply genius. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • says

      Oh friend, thank you so much! Having those pictures taken was so nerve-wracking! I’m not used to being in front of the camera, haha!

  4. says

    I think this is SO fabulous, and you did a great job with everything – the colors, the details, the styling (LOVE those shoes) – it’s fab! Super impressed that you stamped the bodice yourself, and the stitching on the neckline is adorable! Seriously – you did such a great job pulling everything together, and I kind of wish you would make a copy for me, lol! (and throw the shoes & necklace in the box) So honored to be competing with you ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. says

    What GREAT comments! You MUST be ‘Over The Moon’! Some by your peers even. I so love this sewing community! I am SO relieved to see such a short dress on such a Beautiful REAL woman, curves and a HUGE Beautiful, Confident Smile! YOU ARE GORGEOUS! I love that dress! What made you choose triangles when the skirt is flowers? Was it the shoes? Again LOVELY dress & such a beautiful smile!! I’m off to vote for you!!

  6. says

    This is a fabulous dress! I love the stitching around the neckline, the triangles on the bodice, and the flow of the skirt. In fact everything about it! Unique, one of a kind, something every woman would adore to wear. Awesome!

  7. says

    Caila, I can’t even tell you how much I love this dress and your photos – right down to the cute shot of the skirt and your toenails! Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!

  8. says

    What a cute dress. You really did a great job on it! And (is this weird to say to a stranger? …Probably), I would love to have gams like yours! Seriously, beautiful all around!