Puff-sleeve flashback tee + tutorial

Want an easy way to “girl up” your Flashback Tees? How about a puff sleeve? It’s so easy, it’s crazy. Here’s what I’m talking about:

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(she’s wearing a basic rectangle skirt that we sewed together, by the way…I put the elastic in and did all the pressing, but she sewed the side seam, the elastic casing, and the hem, with my help of course. It’s a nice quick project to sew with your kid!)

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I made this tee with my Flashback Skinny Tee pattern but you can do this with any sleeve really. Here’s a quick how-to:

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First, cut your sleeve pieces, but move the sleeve pattern piece at least 1″ away from the fold, keeping the edge parallel to the fold (this will add 2″ to your sleeve width, because the fold doubles everything).

  • If you don’t want your sleeve to have 2″ added to the entire width, tilt the pattern pieces so that the top of the sleeve is 1″ away from the fold, and keep the bottom of the sleeve right at the fold.
  • If the sleeve pattern piece is full-width rather than a half pattern piece like the one shown, just fold the sleeve pattern piece in half to create an edge to place along the fold.

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Gather the top of the sleeves. I use a long stitch length and high tension on my machine, and I sew about 1/4″ away from the edge. I usually cheat and do just one row of stitches. One other thing: you know how the top of a sleeve kind of looks like a hill? I only stitch along the “top of the hill,” not the entire curved top edge of the sleeve. If you want to get technical: I only gather the top of the sleeve where it’s convex, not where it’s concave.

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Pin and sew the sleeve to the armhole.

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Repeat for the other sleeve. Then sew the side seams and finish up the hems!

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A couple other things. First, you can do this with long sleeves too!

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Second, if you don’t like how wide the sleeve is at the bottom, you can sew an elastic casing or a line of elastic shirring at the bottom of the sleeve to gather it, like I did with this top (can’t wait to show you more of this top!!):

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Just in case you missed it, the tutorial on turning the flashback tee into a short-sleeve tee is here:

and the Flashback Tee can be found here:

Ship Shape Button Placket Tutorial

OUT TO SEA DIY BLOG TOURsmallbutton

I’m so excited to be part of Sarah Jane’s Out to Sea Blog Tour today! I’m going to show you the adorable Charlie Tunic I made for Elliot with two of the Out to Sea prints, along with a tutorial on how to add the button placket.

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The Out to Sea collection is absolutely stunning. Sarah is so talented! We met last Spring at Quilt Market and got to see this collection first hand in all of its glory. I also really love her first line, Children at Play, with sweet illustrations that show the carefree days of childhood. I think it’s great that her fabric collections have both featured a number of designs for BOYS!

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Don’t worry though, still plenty of prints for girls as you can see below (see more here). Sarah has designed a lovely collection of Wall Art prints to go with the Out to Sea fabrics as well.

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One of the best things about this collection for me (besides the amazing designs that Sarah draws) is the fact that this line is printed on the cotton couture substrate from Michael Miller. Translation: totally soft, lovely, lightweight cottons perfect for not only quilting, but many types of garments as well. I just had to try it out on a Charlie Tunic for Elliot!

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I thought it would be so clever to have him pose with his Playmobil ship, which goes PERFECTLY with this fabric. For some reason he did not find this as clever as I did.

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He was more about putting the ship in front of his face.

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Then I asked him what his favorite part of the ship was. Guess.

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That’s right, the cannon. He then proceeded to shoot the little spring-loaded cannonball at my head, which made contact with my forehead about the exact same time I took this shot.

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He thought that was pretty clever.

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For this tutorial, I thought I’d show you how to add a cute little button placket that extends across the gap that gets created when you add the neck facings on the outside of the Charlie Tunic. This is a nice way to finish the neckline that doesn’t require button loops!

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Note: I used my Charlie Tunic Sewing Pattern for this one, but really you could add reverse facings to ANY pullover pattern with a simple neckline like Charlie – just trace around the neckline and shoulders and add 2-3″ around the outside and down the center to make a the facing pieces.

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Step 1: Cut out all your pieces.

You’ll need a front and back, two sleeves, a front facing, a back facing, and a placket piece. Cut your placket piece 3″ wide and plenty long so you can trim it down later. The length really depends on the size of your tunic, but 10″ long is PLENTY. I chose to interface my facings but it’s completely optional.

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Step 2: Sew the shoulder seams

I used a 1/2″ seam here. It’s really important to finish these seams with a serger, a french seam, or a flat-felled seam; if it frays, it will show at the neckline!

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Step 3: Mark placket location and measure how big your placket needs to be

Make two marks along the center line of the front facing: one where the neckline seam allowance hits (dotted line) and another where the bottom of the slit will be (the black dot on the pattern piece). Measure between these marks.

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Step 4: Cut your placket piece to size

Add 1/2″ to the measurement you found in Step 3 and cut the placket strip that new length.

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Step 5: Sew the placket piece together

Fold the placket piece in half lengthwise with its wrong side facing out. Sew the ends together with 1/4″ seams. Turn it right-side out and press.

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Step 6: Baste the placket to the front facing

Now place the placket piece between the two marks you made, just over the center line, and machine baste in place along the center line Don’t skip this step. I’m talking to you, Basting Skippers!!

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Step 7: Get the facings ready

Use the same seam allowance you used for the shoulder seams in Step 2 (1/2″) to sew the front facing and back facing together. Press the seams apart. Then press 1/4″ under around the entire outside edge of the facing. Clip the front curves to make this easier.

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Step 8: Pin the facings to the neckline

Be very careful to keep the facing perfectly centered on both the front and back; then pin all the way around the facings.

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Then go ahead and draw where you are going to stitch — around the neck, down the middle of the placket, and up the other side — with a fabric pen and ruler. I draw my lines just over 1/8″ away from the center line (use the basting stitches as a guide).

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Step 9: Sew the facings around the neckline and down/up the center.

Now you’re going to sew all the way around the neckline with a 1/2″ seam, then pivot on your needle and sew down the center line, pivot again and sew a few stitches across, and then pivot again and go back up the center line, etc, until you have sewn around the entire facing/neckline. You want to be SURE that you are sewing through the placket on one side, but not on the other, so stick to those marks you made. Be careful when you turn the corner closest to the placket — you want to make sure that you don’t accidentally sew it down!

Then trim the neckline to 1/4″ and cut right down the middle of the center front stitch lines. Clip to the corners at the bottom of the placket as close as you can without going through the stitching.

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Step 10: Turn the facings to the outside and stitch down

This is the fun part. Press the entire neckline and then flip the facings all the way around to the outside. Press the seams again so the facings lay flat, and pin them in place.

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Nice right? Now edgestitch around the outside of the facings to stitch them down. A double row of stitches looks nice here.

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Step 11: Complete the rest of the top

Start by attaching the sleeves:

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and then sewing the side seams, hemming the bottom, and finishing the cuffs. I used a contrast cuff as shown in the Charlie Tunic instructions.

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Then it’s time to play with button placement! There are so many options…you can keep the button flap on the outside and put the buttonholes on it as shown above, or even put buttons on both sides with the button placket underneath:

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I decided to put the buttons on the placket underneath and sew some buttonholes in the facing right along the center. You could also sew on snaps or even velcro, but I personally like the buttons more.

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So sew those buttons and buttonholes, and your top is finished!

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Thanks for having me as part of the tour, Sarah! Click over to the Sarah Jane blog to see more of her designs and snap up a coupon code for $2 off the Charlie Tunic Sewing Pattern that’s good until Friday.

OUT TO SEA DIY BLOG TOURsmallbutton

You can see all of the posts in the Out to Sea blog tour by clicking on the image above

Printed Washi Dress patterns: an experiment

I’ve been working on a little side-project, something very new and different to me: having the Washi Dress Sewing Pattern printed on paper. There’s been such a wonderful response to the Washi Dress and as a result I’ve had many requests from shops asking if they could carry it. It also works really well as a teaching garment, and I think it would be so fantastic to have fabric shops teaching Washi Dress classes (which is much easier to do if you stock printed patterns)!! Last week I sent out an email to about 30 shops I “know” in person to see if there’s enough interest to print a limited-run batch of Washi Dress patterns, and so far I’ve gotten a great response! I thought I’d post it here since I am absolutely certain I missed someone, and it would really help to have a general idea of the level of interest so we can decide how many copies to print.

If you run a local quilt shop or independently-owned fabric shop (brick-and-mortar or online webstore) and would be interested in carrying printed copies of the Washi Dress pattern in your shop, or if you know someone who does who might be interested, please fill out our Washi Interest Survey or contact Jessica, my Director of Print Operations (we’re so small-town around here we amuse ourselves with big-sounding titles) directly at jessica [at] made-by-rae.com. Jessica would love to send you more information. And, if you have a fabric shop near you that you would like to see carry this pattern, would you please go ahead and forward this post or Jessica’s email to them?

I don’t want to get anyone too excited about this because honestly I am not sure this little print experiment will actually happen. But it would be cool; the Washi Dress, naturally, has larger pattern pieces than anything else I’ve ever done and just seems like it would lend itself so well to a printed format, especially with all of the amazing digital illustrations my sister Elli did for the layouts. Seriously, I love this pattern, it just seems a shame not to have it in local shops when one of my goals over the last couple of years has been to visit as many local shops as possible in person. Another thing: the main reason I really like my Job here at The Blog is because I’ve managed to keep it pretty small-sauce, which allows me to spend more time with my kids and Not Go Insane. I’m not sure I’m interested in taking the entire Made-By-Rae empire in the print direction; it’s just such a totally different line of work than what I normally do. So if this seems a little campy, to have me literally polling the Interwebs to find out how many copies of my sewing pattern to print, IT IS. That’s pretty much the point.

Thanks everyone!!!

Weekend in Vermont

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photo by rochelle new, used with permission

Every few months or so, Mr Rae and I drop the kids off with his parents and go somewhere fun for the weekend. Last weekend it was Vermont, where we stayed at Blueberry Hill Inn, where I’d been wanting to return since I first visited as a participant at Heather Ross’ fantastic Blueberry Hill Weekend Sewing workshop two years ago. Some pictures from our weekend:

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See more photos:

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Sunday afternoon we headed over to Burlington where I gave a short talk on sewing women’s garments for the Nido 3rd Anniversary Bash. There were so many people there and it was fun to meet new faces and see others again, many of them wearing Washi Dresses (yay! I can’t tell you how incredibly fun and gratifying it is to see people enjoying the pattern so much!). There were incredible drinks and snacks as well, including these amazing multicolored macarons which apparently I could not stop photographing.

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Rochelle (who works at Nido and blogs at Lucky Lucille — if you like sewing women’s garments you should definitely check it out) wrote a fantastic post about the party, so be sure to check out her post (click here). She was kind enough to let me borrow a few pictures of me yapping my jaw:

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photos by rochelle new, used with permission

Here I am with Rochelle (who is sporting her hand-embroidered !! shot cotton Washi Dress):

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It was so great to see Ashley (of Film in the Fridge) and Phiona (owner of Nido) again!!!

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Some more lovely shots of Nido:

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Thanks for a fantastic weekend, Vermont!! We’ll be back.

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Time for Tea Dress

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I don’t even know what was happening with this photoshoot. What IS this??

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Who knows. A chance to show off my new nerdy glasses? Or my favorite teacups?

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OK, I know I know I know!!! So it’s a Washi Dress made with Lizzy House fabric and a peter pan collar, on a grumpy hostess!

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At any rate you can plainly see I’m a weirdo. And I think I have a new bio pic (Yay! That other one was 3 years old).

I have no idea where I plan to go with this collar, if anywhere, but I just find this dress so ridiculously adorbsible, I had to post it. I’ve put up a couple of links on the Washi page in the “Resources” section on how to draft a peter pan collar, should you absolutely need to make one like right now.

Oh! and the back was done with an elastic casing instead of shirring. I cut my back bodice lining 1/2″ below the lowest shirring line and folded it under to form an elastic casing, then threaded 1/4″ wide elastic through:

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Kindof a nice look, eh? I find it a nice change from the rows of shirring. Much like Rachel’s Washi that I love so much.

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My video tutorial series on lining the bodice and links to tutorials on how to draft a peter pan collar can be found via the Washi page.

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Washi Madness!!!

I can’t tell you how much fun it is to watch your Washi Dresses pop up in the Washi Dress photo pool. It’s been just over a month since I released the pattern and WOW you have been doing so many fun things with this pattern. There’s scoop-neck versions, classic versions, facings-on-the-outside versions (which is actually what I had in mind when I first designed this dress, so that’s fun to see!), sleeves, and more. Enough talk, let’s take a look some of the Washi loveliness you’ve been dreaming up…

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Left to Right:1. Freshcut Flowers, 2. Charcoal Washi, 3. White Washi, 4. Light Weight Apparel Cotton

I think this scoopneck version from Kristin of skirt as top has to be one of my favorites. Love the subtle print and belt, so perfect for fall!

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washi dress scoop neckline

All the way from Germany, this great version from fairyandsnail (blogged here):

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A cheerful version in colorful Sis Boom fabric by Sew Caroline :

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A gorgeous minty version by Lauren:

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A lovely Washi from Angela of Fussycut:

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(more pictures of thisover at her blog; be sure to check out her awesome Tova Tanks as well!)

Two of the great tops posted so far from Daphne Blue:

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1. Washi Tunic front, 2. Squirrely Washi Tunic front

A fun zig-zag top from Elaine (blogged here)!

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1. Washi Love, 2. Washi Love

I love how Rachel used elastic casings in the back of this fantastic dress (made with Field Study by Anna Maria Horner) instead of the elastic thread. A perfect solution if you are not a fan of shirring!

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A fantastic floral version by Melissa of cut.sew.press.love:

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1. washi dress, 2. washi dress back shirring

See how nicely her Washi Dress was constructed with this inside view? So fun.

washi dress inside view

More fun with facings on the outside:

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1. Contrasting Neckline, 2. Hidden Hem

Carrieoke made two!

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1. Green with Boots 2. Polka Dots

Brooke has been busy making multiple Washi dresses and tops; here’s a top but I love her lilac shot cotton dress and Flea Market Fancy dress as well:

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1. Washi Tunic, 2. Washi Tunic – back view

What is it about a Washi Dress with a belt that I love so much? This dress version made with the new Storybook Lane fabric by Ever Kelly is really lovely (blogged here):

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And here’s a Washi with a waistband added to lower the waist. Brilliant!

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1. Washi dress!, 2. Washi dress modified bodice

It’s a shame I can’t post ALL of my favorites, but it’s time for me to get sewing! Be sure to click over and see more fantastic Washi Dresses in the Washi Dress photo pool:

Washi, London CallingWashi DressWashi DressWashi Dress Kleid Vintage türkis Polkadots with BeltWashi Tunic.Sleeve.Washi Dress in ChambrayMy First WashiTib WashiTacy WashiBetsy WashiSmall Bow Washi Tunic BackSmall Bow Washi Tunic 4WASHI DRESSabria cardi / washi tunicThe lining of my chambray Washi dressDotty Chambray Washi Front View 1The Floradora Washi DressLemon Tree Washi DressMade by Rae Washi DressDSC04007DSC04008Trying to dress up a Washi dressArrow Washi Dress

And if you need the pattern yet, it’s right here.

Washi Maxi Dress Tutorial

You are going to laugh that I am even calling this a “tutorial,” it’s so campy. But that’s how this one is happening. It’s been campified. New word. You would rather that I spent my time cooking up more new and exciting things for you rather than making my tutorials look more profesh, right? If not, now’s the time to speak up. S’all I’m saying.

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So before I give you a detailed how-to, here are the key speaking points for making a Washi Dress into a maxi (floor-length dress):

  • Lengthen the skirt pieces so they are long enough
  • Widen the skirt pieces so they don’t trip you when you walk

The key points to remember if you want it fully lined:

  • the lining does not need pockets
  • the front skirt of the lining does not need to be pleated (that adds bulk at your waist, NO GOOD), so you must trim the sides to make the front skirt the same width as the front bodice
  • if you make the lining the same length as the dress, you can hem the dress over the bottom of the lining
  • if you make the lining shorter than the dress (eg knee-length like I did), you need to finish the bottom edge of the lining and then hand-stitch the bottom corners of the lining to the side seam allowances of the dress so that it stays put.
  • you do not need to do the shirring in the back for the lining, but I like to do just one line of shirring so that it gathers a little
  • it may still help to cut a small piece of interfacing and attach it to the back of the front bodice around that little “U” shape to help keep that looking spiffy, as shown in this pic:

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  • for the fully lined version, you need to sew the neckline, armholes and side seams in the exact same way as I sewed the bodice lining in my Bodice Lining Video Series (specifically, you should watch videos III, IV, V)

Finally, if you want to make it sleeveless:

  • I usually trim 1/2″ off of the outside of the shoulder along the armhole (front and back, and linings) to make a narrower width over the shoulder. I think this looks better and is quite easy to do. Here’s a picture:

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Are you ready for some diagrams? Here are my notes on how I made the maxi version, including fabulous hand-drawn illustrations to amaze and amuse you (click on the images to view larger).

Step 1: Cut out your dress pieces, the bodice, front skirt, and back dress with the following modifications:

Maxi Dress Notes 1

Just in case you can’t read that hint, it says: “I used a tape measure to find the distance from my bra band to the floor, then added 2″ = 48″ total (but I am 5’8″)”

Step 2: Cut out and assemble your lining

Maxi Dress Notes 2

Step 3: Assemble the outside of the dress, and attach to lining

Maxi Dress Notes 3

Any questions? I’d be happy to answer any in the comments section (or update the post as needed), so let me know if I can clarify anything!

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In other Washi-related news: The Washi Dress Photo Pool is filling up with amazing Washi Dresses! If you’ve finished your very own Washi Dress be sure to add your photos so we can all admire them. I’ll be doing a round-up post soon!

Washi, London CallingWashi DressWashi DressWashi Dress Kleid Vintage türkis Polkadots with BeltWashi Tunic.Sleeve.Washi Dress in ChambrayMy First WashiTib WashiTacy WashiBetsy WashiSmall Bow Washi Tunic BackSmall Bow Washi Tunic 4WASHI DRESSabria cardi / washi tunicThe lining of my chambray Washi dressDotty Chambray Washi Front View 1The Floradora Washi DressLemon Tree Washi DressMade by Rae Washi DressDSC04007DSC04008Trying to dress up a Washi dressArrow Washi Dress

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Vermont, here I come!

Nido 3rd Anniversary Invite

I will be in Vermont in just a couple weeks, and the lovely Phiona, owner of Nido Fabrics in Burlington VT, has kindly invited me to be a guest of honor at Nido’s 3rd Anniversary party on Sunday, September 16th! Details are on the invite pictured above.

I am so excited and honored to be asked! I will give a short presentation/demo on sewing garments and of course be around to chit-chat and eat snacks, so please by come and say “hello!” if you’re in the area. I’d love to meet you! As part of the festivities, Phiona is offering 20% storewide for the occasion. WOOT!!!

If you are nowhere near Vermont but would still like to shop Phiona’s lovely collection of fabrics yarns and patterns, definitely check out the Nido webstore! And PSST! She still has a little yardage of the Washi tape fabric left!!!

Posted in travel
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First day

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Kindergarten. Waaaaaaaaaaah! *weeps into coffee cup*

(Notably absent: a handmade backpack, which his mother did not make for him, having been distracted this weekend by her Heather Ross stash instead. I’d rather not say which licensed character appears on the back of this backpack)

Posted in at home
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