Sewing for the Girl: The Hopper and Twirler

mad mim sewing_girl's jumper and dressMy girlie  scored a two-for-one this Easter. As always I showed her the pattern I wanted to make (remember my vision?), and asked her what view she wanted as well as color choice etc. She wanted the jumper in pink. Done. The next morning she brought the pattern to me and asked “What dress are you making me? Oh yeah, the Hopper. I want a white dress for underneath too.” A Hopper! Love it. So the jumper is now a hopper, and I decided I’d make the white dress only if I had the energy.

Well, I guess I found the energy (there’s always enough for sewing projects, right?!), because few days later I whipped that number up.  Actually, I was rummaging  through some of my fabric and found a small bag with a couple items that I thrown in the toss-pile, but had rescued just to use for the fabric. I found a white skirt that had some fun tiers and tulle, and decided that it would be a lovely skirt for the dress.

So the Hopper is just plain old juicy, and the white dress looks very vintagy. I think almost too vintagy, but my girl Twinkle Twinkle just LOVES it. It has fantastic twirl-factor, and that’s really the only thing that  matters in a 3 year-old girlie’s life. She likes it better than the Hopper, and I can already tell it’s going to be a battle to get the Hopper on top. But I love the pair together, and I least I’ve now documented that they were intended as a duo.


mad mim sewing_girl's white twirling dress mad mim sewing_girl's white twirling dress mad mim sewing_girl's jumper and dress

mad mim sewing_girl's jumper and dress
mad mim sewing_girl's jumper and dress

mad mim_the darling duo


Pattern: Simplicity 3289 (vintage)

Fabric for the jumper or “hopper”: Twinkleann’s cotton solids on sale for $2.5 a yard + buttons for $1.25

Fabric for the white dress: a thrifted white sheet ($2) + an old skirt +vintage buttons on hand

Difficulty: Hmmm. Easy? Maybe just slightly intermediate, but nothing you can’t handle.

Total cost: $8.25

Now that I’ve gone HUGE this year as far as Easter clothing goes I’ll say this: I do/will NOT feel pressure to do this every year. I only do something if I want to, and have the time/energy to make it happen. That’s the way I roll with pretty much everything, and it’s important to me that sewing remain something I thoroughly enjoy and savor. Deadlines and expectations would probably ruin that for me, which is why I’ve never tried to sell anything I make (never say never though, right?) Anyway, do you feel a moral obligation to make/buy and easter dress/outfit? I’m curious.



Oh my GOSH, sooooo cute!! They look like cute little kids in “Somewhere In Time” (if you haven’t seen it, you must). And I looove the picture at the bottom! That one needs to get blown up and put in your house on display!


i love new easter dresses for Sunday. And every little girl loves a new twirly dress. My most memorable Easter Sunday was teaching the CTR 5’s with Bryn, Byron and Brinlee. Brinlee came in and told me how her new dress twirled and spun good circles for all of us. I asked her if she knew why she got a new dress, she said it was Easter. I asked if she knew what Easter was, and it made a perfect intro into the Easter lesson. We then spent probably 10 minutes letting each one roll the stone in front of the tomb. That is how I will always see those little ones.

Beth M. Stephenson

I remember one Easter Sunday when my sister and I had matching dresses our mother had made. The apple orchards were blooming as we drove down Pleasant Valley Rd. on our way to Church. I remember feeling that the Earth breathed renewal and feeling like I would burst with the delight of curled hair, pretty new dresses, new socks and apple blossoms all the same day.


What an absolutely LOVELY memory. That’s exactly the type of feelings I want to create for my kids–that’s why I have such a weakness for making whatever J wants me to. She says the word, and I can’t wait to start, pretty much. Thanks for sharing.


I also have a three year old girl (and her two older sisters were exactly the same) who will not wear a dress that doesn’t twirl. The first dress i ever made was a gorgeous funky t-shirt dress for the little miss, and traumatically (for me) she refused to wear it because “it doesn’t twirl so I is not beautifully mummy”. SO sad!
Your two outfits are nothing short of amazing, would love to have your talent :o)


I was excited to see what you’d whip up for your girl after the darling suit you made your son yesterday. It got me thinking that I didn’t have anything for my kids. My 5-year-old boy doesn’t care, but I wanted a dress for my little girl ( age 2). I remembered a pattern and some fabric I had bought ages ago thinking of her and pulled it out. You inspired me to get it done, Mim! I now have a pretty cute little dress for my Sweetie Heart to wear on Sunday. The fabric wasn’t really very Easter-ish, but I’m happy all the same.

Beth @ Living Simply

We live in Minnesota, so Easter comes before it really even gets warm — with Easter being so late this year it is actually supposed to be 50 degrees! So, I just pick one of the “new” summer dresses to be my little girl’s Easter dress. Then Easter is the first time she wears it and also can wear it for the rest of the summer!
This year we have a beautiful, vintage, pale yellow eyelet twirly dress! The great thing is that my grandma found it at a thrift store — cheap and beautiful!

Martha Ware

i think i feel obligated to buy one, or at least hope to inherit one (this year it was inherit). your duo is just insanely adorable. i cannot stand how cute they are together.

Emily Balling


Beth’s comment takes the cake, I could step right into that Easter blossomed memory.
A white sheet, really? You are amazing. That white dress is too precious, I love the collar thing. Btw, M’s bowtie is a dream. He’s a dream. I love the tabbed pants and actually would like some myself. (I saw some at the mall, they are sort of like balloon pants with tabs like that on the cuffs.)
J’s hopper is so darling.

I well I did it I made Easter dresses for my daughters. I made Hazel a hopper so cute you’ll probably want me to mail the pattern. Milly’s dress sent me sewing till 3:00 a.m because I took a blasted short cut that gave me a couple more hours, then I tried to fit the pattern that I had altered, and its such a pale pink it washes her out a bit, but, that said, I kept thinking of the one pink easter dress mom sewed for me and how much I loved that one dress, (sorry you may not have been so lucky, that was the one dress I think she ever sewed.) So, I did that sacrifice, it was a sacrifice for me.

Riley bought Sam’s club sweater outfits for the boys so we went to the nursing home and the oldies were so tickled. “Oh Easter dresses!” “No-one wears dresses anymore!” Besides a bit of fighting it was sweet–one old man took our picture, and this one lady fondled Rawl’s muscles since he told her he could lift up 200 pounds with each leg. 🙂
Your Easter 2, are way too cute! Email me about how Josies dress opens, does it zip in the back? Is that panel sort of a sew and turn inside out sort of panel under that darling Peter pan collar?


Em the back buttons up like the hopper. I thought that was unusual at first, having two button ups right on top of each other, but it works. The front is just a little tab with the edges sewn under–just like that one a-line jumper I made from your pattern, remember? Your family sounds like they were a dream! I can’t wait to see photos!


Well, I love that– Hopper and Twirler–so, sew fun! And I failed to mention the bow tie on your little man IS smashing! They are so cute together, the outfits and the kidlets. You’ve got some frameable shots out of this shoot, for sure. I remember feeling compelled to sew Easter outfits as a young mom, because that’s what my Mom did. But she was such a perfectionist that I couldn’t meet that standard (which was only in my mind) and it was VERY stressful to me. My Mom had a thing about matching dresses, so as special as it was to get a new dress, once we got one, I was going to wear that dress for YEARS, as I grew out of mine and into my older sisters, again and again. So that sort of scarred me on the whole sew for everybody thing. Instead of creating something different for everyone, I abandoned the ship. I remember being amazed at what my sister created for her girls, and in talking to her she said that sewing was a joy to her and relaxed her. For whatever reason, it was not that for me, so I decided that wouldn’t be my tradition for Easter. On the one hand, I feel badly that my girls, particularly, don’t have those happy memories of new beauty associated with Easter, or et cetera. But on the other hand, everyone needs to run their own race. I like some of your other commenters ideas which include thrift stores, summer dresses ‘new’ to the season and inherited wear, each working perfectly for their situation and temperment. I’m so happy you inspired one commenter to create her own! But there is enough to do in the world besides feel guilty if sewing doesn’t happen to be your thing. I say let us each seek our own gifts, appreciate the gifts of others, and don’t worry if our gifts are not the same. Some gifts are not as “visible” as others, such as being patient, or enthusiastic, or a good listener, or being a great affirmer, etc. But these are gifts as well. You manage to be blessed with all these gifts, visible and invisible, and I love the opportunity to be a fly on the wall to see the glimpses into your life that your blog gives. You go, girl.


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