happy birthday to me


{This is not, in fact, my birthday cake. I made this one for a lovely friend of mine. Before I drove it over to her house, I dug this dress out of the laundry hamper and ordered Josh to take super quick pictures of me next to this birthday cake that belongs to someone else.}

So, birthdays. I think one’s birthday should be hands-down one of the best days of the whole year. Your birthday should be your own personal holiday, and I treat mine as such. Mine was a week ago, and I had a chocolate croissant from Trader Joe’s for breakfast, followed by some pool time for the boy. (And pool days basically gift me solid naps from the boy, so, happy birthday.) I spent nap time continuing to watch season 9 of Project Runway and managed to cut out a t-shirt pattern I’ve been dying to try. Then came my night out with Josh.

photo 1 (5)

Let’s be honest, I love any excuse to make an outfit. Teaching a lesson on Sunday? New skirt. Mother’s Day? Try out that dress pattern. First day of fall? Hello, pants. And for a birthday? Another knit dress, obviously. I ordered this navy/yellow graphic print from fabric.com several months back. I wanted a dress that was comfortable, flirty, feminine, and transitional. I wanted to feel really pretty. Enter, another Moneta. (Are you tired of Monetas yet, because I’m not. Sorry-not-sorry.)

photo 3 (5)

We spent the evening in downtown Portland, which constantly maintains this funky, urban, hippee-chic vibe. After hitting up Powell’s for a bit, we walked to the Portland City Grill, this restaurant in a high-rise overlooking the city. We waited a little longer for a window seat–worth it. This dress was perfect for such a swanky night of Shirley Temples and pork tenderloin. I certainly don’t want my clothes to be saying, “Ahem, Charlotte, I think you’ve had enough to eat. Now let me tighten around your waist to remind you of that.” On my birthday, I want my clothes to exclaim, “Hey! It’s your birthday! Eat that complimentary chocolate-hazelnut-banana mousse and you won’t even know it because I’ll stretch with you.” That’s what birthday clothes should say. This dress knows how to celebrate a birthday.

photo 2 (4)

I didn’t make any alterations to this version and used the elbow-length sleeve option. I had two sewing revelations when making this dress. First, when shirring the skirt with the clear elastic, use the machine to tack the elastic to the specified anchor points on the skirt. Then use a long zigzag stitch to connect the points. Before, I wished I had a third hand to get that elastic sewed on, but with this method, handling the fabric and elastic is so much more manageable.


Second, Wonder Tape. My mom bought me a roll of this stuff for my birthday. It’s intended to stabilize knit hems while you sew and dissolves in the wash. I used this on the neck, sleeve, and skirt hems, and it changed my life. I mean, look at that twin-needle hem. I’m beside myself with glee. I will use Wonder Tape for all of the knit hems from now till eternity. It’s gold–gold. (The only thing with this is that you have to leave time to run your garment through the wash once before your wear it. Otherwise the hems will be stiff.)


I had a wonderfully romantic evening in this dress (and if you want to know more about the actual date, head here). And then I wore it all the next day to a brunch with friends and then later that night to dessert with more friends. I love that this dress specifically can transition not only from day to night but also from summer to fall. This is, indeed, a dress fit for a birthday.


Now, how about we all go enjoy some cake, yeah? Cheers!

***Specs: Yet another Colette Patterns Moneta dress. I used a Riley Blake cotton jersey knit, and sewed up wonderfully. I made no adjustments to the pattern at all, and went with the elbow-length sleeve to make the dress more transitional. My favorite discoveries of this project were using tacks to anchor the elastic on the skirt waist and Wonder Tape to stabilize the hems of the sleeves, neck, and skirt.

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  1. Carrie
    Posted September 2, 2014 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    AHH!!! Your idea to tack the clear elastic is perfect. I have made two Moneta’s so far and that darn elastic got the better of me. In fact, I swore it off and told myself next time to just do gathers. But I think your idea will be my life saver. Thanks for sharing!!

    • Charlotte
      Posted September 3, 2014 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      I’m so glad to hear this! I can’t wait for you to try the tacking tip–saved my sanity. Good luck!

  2. Emily
    Posted September 3, 2014 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    Guess what?! I am currently in the process of making my OWN Moneta. This is my first time making a dress, so we’ll see how it goes 🙂 Before I started, though, I scoured your blog for tips, and it was so helpful!

    • Charlotte
      Posted September 3, 2014 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      Emily, this makes me so happy! As far as dresses go, this pattern is gold. I think more people should start out sewing knits, because knits don’t require nearly so much fitting as woven fabrics do. I can’t wait to see your result! Ask any questions you need 🙂

  3. Posted September 3, 2014 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    I love the print! I predominantly sew with knits, but have never tried wonder tape. I can’t wait to give it a whirl on some of my own hems!

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  • By the dress I lived in all summer on September 1, 2015 at 7:36 am

    […] Colette Moneta, though this time sewn with a maternity adjustment. This pattern (already blogged here, here, and here) practically begs for a maternity variation, and it’s such a simple design […]

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