Alina Sewing and Design

Dusting off the old blog here–life has been crazy busy for our family since April! If you don’t follow me on Instagram, I highly recommend doing so because that’s where I post most of my life updates and small sewing jobs. (I’m @alinadesignco on Instagram.) I’m sorry in advance for the slightly longer post, but I’ve broken it up under different headlines to help you find just the sections you’re looking for if you’re uninterested in everything!


In short, we traveled to San Diego in early May to look for a house–found house, made offer, offer accepted, and inspection completed within that 2.5-day trip. Back in Chicago, we were busy closing on the house (so. much. paperwork.) and getting ready to move for the rest of May. In mid-June, the movers came and then delivered our HHG (household goods) shipment in San Diego at the end of June. On our way west, we stopped in nearly every city where we have family, plus stops to meet Leslie in Albuquerque, hike in the Grand Canyon, and see Las Vegas.

Since early July, we’ve been unpacking, hanging pictures, my husband started residency again (80+ hour work weeks), exploring our new city and making new friends!

I’ve managed to fit in a tiny bit of sewing here and there–I had to wait until the end of July to get the studio furniture I needed, but I’m finally all set up.

The biggest part of all of this is that we found out mid-May that I was six weeks pregnant! We had experienced a miscarriage at 8.5 weeks exactly 6 weeks before, and I had been just waiting for things to return to “normal”…if you know what I mean. Anyway, instead of things returning to normal, we were actually immediately pregnant again. We’ve always left gender a surprise until birth, but the ultrasound technician accidentally told me at our 20-week scan two weeks ago! Oops–haha!

SO–we are having another BOY, due in January. I’m in my 22nd week and this pregnancy is flying by. Not for lack of sickness or fatigue–those are still in full force and I’m still medicated for the morning sickness (it’s never been bad like this before). So, I’m pretty much in survival mode most days, but the weeks still seem to fly by being so busy with Harper and Chloe.



We are LOVING life in sunny Southern California and have already taken a couple of short trips. My birthday was this past weekend, so we took off to Palm Springs for the weekend! All.the.heart.eyes. That place is something special and so unique. I made sure to finish a new dress to wear this weekend, but I was wearing all unblogged handmades all weekend. Make sure to follow me on Instagram to see what else I was wearing!

When Gabriela of Chalk and Notch Patterns released her latest pattern, the Fringe Dress, in August, I was immediately smitten! It is seriously gorgeous, and I quickly started looking at everyone’s photos on Instagram (#fringedresspattern) to see if I could alter the bodice slightly to make it work for pregnancy. I LOVE having normal clothes that will work for both during and after–makes me feel more at home in my quickly-becoming-foreign body.

I chose View A for the button-front because it will also be nursing-friendly for later. I am so glad I got it finished in time to wear this weekend because I got to have this super fun Palm Springs photoshoot, which made me feel like I was getting back into the swing of the things I love so much. Fun fact: those buttons belonged to my late mother-in-law’s button collection. There were three and they matched perfectly–meant to be.

ALL I did to alter this for pregnancy was transfer 1.5″ from the bodice length to the skirt length (Gabriela has placed shorten/lengthen lines on both, as well as telling you how to use them in the instructions, making this very simple and straightforward if you have never done it before).

My pregnancy fitting tip (and Gabriela’s) would be to leave out the back darts if you need more room. There are also darts in the front, but I would size up before leaving those out, as they add a lot to the intended shape of the dress.

There are optional waist ties, which can be sewn into either the front or back darts–I chose to sew mine into the back darts and I love the effect.

I used a gorgeous seersucker lawn from Miss Matatabi Fabric that I purchased a couple of years ago and have since been hoarding for the PERFECT pattern. I had exactly what I needed for the pattern (and was able to cut very efficiently and save a little bit behind, so I’ll probably make my daughter a dress or top). I don’t have a fabric “stash” to speak of–I have maybe 5 pieces of fabric that I’ve ordered for specific garments, and this was the only piece of fabric I ordered simply because I loved it and didn’t know what I would do with it yet. SO, this was a rare perfect alignment of fabric and pattern for me!

This was the first Chalk and Notch pattern I’ve sewn and it was a joy! As a designer, it is really easy to become “picky” about sewing with others’ patterns–not in a judgmental way, just a more honed/critical eye from lotsssss of hours spent perfecting even the tiniest details about your own patterns. It just comes with the territory!

I love how I feel in this dress. When pregnant, that can be a harder thing to accomplish, so I feel that is the biggest compliment I can give the pattern. I can’t wait to sew this up in a really soft, drap-ey rayon as well.

Thanks for bearing with me through this insanely long (but fun!) post! To see more photos of Palm Springs (like the incredible colorful hotel we stayed at!!), other things I’ve been working on, and just what I’m doing in general, make sure to follow me on Instagram!


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