Steph Dempsey and I were neighbors at a craft show this summer, so for three days I got to do one of my favorite things: look at pretty fabric all day long. Steph makes lovely handmade dresses for little girls under the label Yellin’ Moon, and has a wonderful eye for combining fabrics in unexpected ways.
Even though none of the dresses were big enough for me, I had great fun looking through them all, just to see Steph’s pretty and unusual blends of pattern and color.
The mixing and matching makes Yellin’ Moon dresses just as appealing to parents as they are to the young ladies they are intended for. . .I heard enthusiastic squeals of “oooh, lookit the dresses!” from women and girls of all ages that weekend!
Steph loves fabric and color, and you can tell by looking at her creations. She says she is “not a snooty shopper” when it comes to fabric, and finds new goodies for her stash wherever she goes: fashion fabric shops, quilting shops, goodwill and thrift stores, and occasionally her husband’s closet.
The vast variety of her sources, and the fact that she buys in small quantities, means that her fabric stash is ever changing, and with it the inspiration for her dresses. Every single dress is one-of-a-kind, and is created from a happy accident of on-the-spot inspiration from the fabrics themselves, and sometimes input from her daughter, who has her own sharp eye for pattern and color.
Steph’s love for quilting and the attention to detail in vintage clothes comes out in the dresses she makes. “It seems like when you only have one small piece of something, it becomes so much more precious,” she says. Combining small bits of fabric not only makes each dress she makes unique, but also adds complexity to her otherwise uncomplicated designs. Steph keeps the silhouettes of her dresses simple on purpose, to make sure they stay easy to wear and care for.
Steph has been sewing all her life, and started saving up for her first sewing machine at age eleven. She’s always made quilts and clothes for herself, but didn’t think to turn her hobby into a business until after her children were born. The first Yellin’ Moon dress (although she didn’t know it at the time) was a sundress for her first daughter, refashioned from an old muumuu. Her daughter loved wearing it, and soon friends started to ask her to make their children dresses.
Eventually, with encouragement from an entrepreneurial friend, Yellin’ Moon was born. In addition to dresses in a handful of styles for little girls, Steph also makes winter hats and mittens, party hats, pants, skirts, shirts, and bibs. She has plans to expand to little boys’ clothes and perhaps even some items for adults.
Steph sells her pretty clothes at local art and craft shows, and you can find her show schedule on her blog. She is also planning on restocking her online shop this fall, so keep a sharp eye out, because everything is one of a kind!