{Beginner Sewing} FREE Download: Sewing Practice Sheets

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I know many set a New Year’s Resolution to learn how to sew, to get better at sewing or try new sewing techniques such as sewing apparel. I also know that many have gifted their children or grandchildren with sewing machines for Christmas and are now staring at the box thinking “Now What???” I brainstormed with my daughter how we could help motivate, encourage and educate those who are needing a little jumpstart into the realm of sewing. We came up with some great Beginner Sewing post ideas as well as a fun Instagram Highlight series. We hope you find these little tutorials helpful, fun and supportive as you jump into sewing!

Today’s post is really for those who have some basic knowledge of how to use their sewing machine, can set up their machine with thread and a full bobbin and that’s about it! If that’s not you- don’t worry, we have some more basic posts planned as well as some more advanced posts to reach as many skill levels as we can!

When I started teaching my oldest how to use her sewing machine at age 5, we started with sewing practice sheets on paper. When trying to just master a straight stitch or explore how to sew curves, using practice sheets will help you to build that muscle memory in your hands and your sewing foot (the one that presses your sewing machine pedal!). The cool thing about sewing practice sheets is that you can just print over and over to your hearts content! I’ve created 4 sewing practice sheets for the beginner that gradually advance in difficulty. Skip down to the end of this post for the full pdf download or print as images by clicking each sheet below.


Sewing Practice Sheet #1 focuses on sewing a straight line. You’ll start stitching at the top of the line and continue sewing to the end. The goal is to keep your stitch line as close to the dashed lines as possible.

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Sewing Practice Sheet #2 focuses on sewing straight lines, pivoting at the end of the straight line and continuing to sew. The goal is to keep your stitch line as close to the dashed line as possible. When you get to the end of the straight line, leave your needle down in the corner point, lift your presser foot, pivot the paper, lower your presser foot and continue sewing to the next corner.

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Sewing Practice Sheet #3 introduces curves. The goal is to keep your stitch line as close to the dashed curved line as possible. One helpful hint with curves is to not start and stop, push or pull the paper but rather just slowly manipulate the paper side to side as your needle tracks along the curve. Stopping and starting will cause sharp points and segments in the stitches rather than a smooth curve. This will take practice to build the muscle memory in your hands to learn how much give and how much go it will take to smooth the curve.

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Sewing Practice Sheet #4 focuses on a continuous curve. The goal is the keep your stitch line as close to the dashed curves as possible. You’ll need to get really good at sewing curves when you start to sew apparel- think necklines, sleeves, pockets, circle skirt hemlines, etc. A super valuable sewing skill so take your time and practice perfect practice!

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Full PDF Download: Sewing Practice Sheets

We hope you found these sewing practice sheets helpful!! We’d love to know your thoughts on the series and if you have any particular requests that we cover! Let us know in the comments below. If you’d like to follow along with our fun sewing videos, be sure to hop over to our Instagram and see the story highlights titled “Beginner Sewing.”

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2017 in Review and a Look Ahead at 2018

2017 was a huge year for my muses and I! We started designing for Violette Field Threads and have been so thrilled to be a part of such an incredible team! I thought it would be fun to look at some highlights of 2017 and then get a glimpse at what’s coming next in 2018!

My debut pattern with VFT was Nora. She will always be near and dear to my heart and I have to admit that those sleeves make my heart flutter every.single.time.

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Probably my favorite part of working with VFT has been getting to work side by side with one of my very best sepals, Alexis of My Sweet Sunshine. We had a few fun pattern collaborations in 2017:

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And we finished the year off with an epic duo, Blithe and Valentina:

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Phewww! What a year!!!! I am so happy to end 2017 with a heart of gratitude, joy and so much creativity for the new year to begin!

 

Speaking of the New Year…let’s look at some fabric inspiration for 2018 Pantone Color of the Year, Ultra Violet! Click the image below to see more great fabric choices to get you started in 2018!

Thank you all for following along this past year. Your comments, likes and support keeps me going when the going gets tough, and sparks my creativity to keep thinking more outside the box, trying new techniques, and striving to be better and better! XOXO.

Gift Guide: Stocking Stuffers for the Sewist

Hey all!!! Happy Holidays!!! First, let me just start by saying you may need to just copy and paste this link to your significant other if you aren’t the one doing the stockings this year…or just go ahead and click each link below and make yourself a nice wishlist to send to family and friends!! But, if you are one who just purchases for yourself- don’t worry- your secret is safe with me!! Click each photo to take you to my affiliate link.

I wanted to share a few of my favorite small sewing supplies that would make for great stocking stuffer gifts for the creative in your friend or family circle! I hope this is a helpful list and if I’m missing any- feel free to contribute ideas in the comments below!

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1. Acrylic Ruler. This will help you be super efficient when cutting rectangle pattern pieces or needing to measure and cut straight lines.

2. Titanium Rotary Cutter blades. If you’re like me and need to get through a few layers of fabric at once- theses bad boys are slick and sharp for the job!!

3. Hot Hemmer. Get an even hemline every time!

4. Walking foot. This varies by sewing machine brand but here’s a good round of up popular ones: Walking foot for sewing machines.

5. Seam Ripper. You can never have too many of these around! I love the silicon cap on this to erase and grab those pesky threads!

6. Tube Turner. Turning those tiny straps out can be troublesome, but not with this handy tool!

7. Bodkins. These will help you thread elastic through casings with ease.


8. Sewing clips. I had a major breakup with sewing pins…and these clips are a game changer, especially when sewing with knits!

9. Pretty Scissors. Sometimes we just want to use something extra fancy…plus they look super chic in an IG photo with your new fabric.

10. Frixon pens. These heat-erased pens are great for marking on fabrics.

11. Sewing Gauge. If you are constantly battling with buttonholes, this tool will help you evenly space and plan out your buttons!

12. Sewing Mugs. For all those late night, early morning sewing projects, a clever coffee mug can help you push through!


I hope that helps get you inspired for stuffing those stockings for all your sewing friends (or yourself…shhhhhh).

Happy shopping!

Friday Favorites: Holiday Fabrics and Patterns

I am sure most of you have gotten a pretty good start on your holiday sewing but just in case…I thought I would share with you what Holiday prints are trending and some great patterns to pair with your new fabrics!

Let’s first talk fabric trends for this Holiday season:

  1. Nutcrackers. Yes, classic and quirky- you’ll be seeing Nutcrackers again this year all over the place! Here are a few of my favorite Nutcracker themed prints:

 

2. Velvet. This trend is all over ready-to-wear fashion, why not bring it to handmade apparel too? The great part about velvet is that is so soft and cozy. The unfortunate part is that it can be a beast to sew with- be sure to stock up on a walking foot and some hem tape and you’ll be good to go! Here are some great velvets:

3. Non-traditional holiday colors. Out with red and green, this year you’ll be seeing more mints, blush pinks, navy blues and rich golds. Here are some of my favorite fabric collections featuring some of those great non-traditional holiday hues:

4. Winter Florals. Big peonies, poppies and bouquets of mixed blooms are popping up all over holiday themed prints. A fun new collaboration between Hawthorne Threads and Indy Bloom, you won’t want to miss Indy Bloom Christmas! Be sure to grab some of these gorgeous prints in the new Rayon substrate and you’ll love the smooth feel and beautiful drape for apparel.

5. Cozy knits. Handmade loungewear is all the rage this year…because nothing makes that quintessential in-front-of-the-Christmas-tree-on-Christmas-morning photo like the most precious mama-made PJs!

6. Embelished Tulle. Move over crunchy, itchy tulle…fabric manufactures are now offering the most gorgeous embroidered and embellished tulles perfect for the special occasion dress!

What a lovely round up of holiday prints!!! The great thing about most of them is that they are subtly holiday and are great for all winter long!


Now that you’ve done your fabric shopping…let’s take a look at some new patterns that would be perfect for your holiday prints!!!

Let’s start with some comfy jammies!!! Loving this new pattern:

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Esmee Pajamas

Need a fancy dress pattern for the Nutcracker Ballet, a holiday party or Christmas card photos?? Since there’s always more than one holiday party, be sure to get these both:

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Blithe Dress

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Marissa Dress

As the temperatures drop and you need some velvet coziness in your life, meet Clementine!

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Clementine Jacket

Looking to showcase your favorite quilting cottons? Nora, in the puff sleeve option, is so sweet!

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Nora Dress

There’s not much better than a twirly Velvet dress!!!! The Julianna pattern has the perfect circle skirt for the ultimate twirl factor!

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Julianna Dress


 

I hope you feel inspired to tackle your holiday sewing projects with some new fabrics, new patterns and some motivation to get things done before Christmas Eve!!!

Happy Holidays!!!

 

 

 

 

Blush Fabrics {Blog Tour}

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Hello friends!!! I’m back on the blog today to share my latest make with the most gorgeous Rayon print from Blush Fabrics by Dana Willard for Art Gallery Fabrics. Dana reached out to a great batch of sewing bloggers to join in on the fun with the Blush Fabrics blog tour! It has been so awesome to see what others have sewn up (and so many in this same print!) over the last several days. If you want to check them out, search the hashtag #blushfabrics and see what great things have been popping up on Instagram lately!

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For the tour, I decided to play with the rayon substrate. I *love* AGF Rayon because it’s got the most perfect flow and drape for maxi dresses. And in my house, maxi dresses = ultimate princess dress = mom of the year!

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I used Alexis’ newest pattern, Zoey, for Violette Field Threads with slight modifications (aka late night sewing and I tried to find a shortcut). Instead of finishing the bodice with bias along the neckline, ties and the front placket I decided to sew a lined bodice and add pom trim for the neck ties. A super simple modification that saved me lots of time and turned out super cute!

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This maxi dress made for the perfect dancing, twirling, and moody grinning attire!

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I hope you enjoyed seeing the new Zoey maxi I sewed up with the Floret Rayon in Sunkissed print from Blush Fabrics. Big hugs and a sweet “Thank You” to Dana and our AGF friends!!!! My girls adore this retro, pink and blue collection! Keep scrolling to see some more Blush Fabric makes on my girlies!!!

Flit and Bloom Fabrics {Blog Tour}

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Hey, Friends! I am so excited to be a part of of the Flit and Bloom Fabrics Blog Tour hosted by Patty Young  and Riley Blake fabrics. Be sure to hop over to the Kickoff Post and enter the fabric bundle giveaway!

Let’s take a look at what I sewed up from the new Flit and Bloom collection!

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I sewed my daughter a Luna dress in two prints from the collection.

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For the skirt portion of the dress, I used the Bloom Main Pink print featuring bright pink birds, blue and green flowers and hints of grey.

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For the bodice and big front pockets, I used the Bloom Blossom Pink print. It really makes the dress stand out with the bright pink background!

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Flit and Bloom features prints that combine birds and flowers in fun, cool colors with pops of pink.

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I love how bright and cheerful the colors are in this collection! Riley Blake quilting cottons are such a good weight for apparel fabrics, iron easily and stay vibrant wash after wash.

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Get a quick view and see inspiration of the entire fabric collection here.

Big congratulations to Patty Young on her 20th fabric collection! We love Flit and Bloom and can’t wait to see what the other apparel bloggers have sewn up! Be sure to check the tour schedule on the Kickoff Post and follow along all week as we celebrate Patty’s newest fabric collection for Riley Blake! We’re so thankful to be included along with some other incredible sewists for this tour! Big thanks to Riley Blake for the beautiful fabrics and to Patty Young for the opportunity to join in the fun! XOXO.

 

{Friday Favorites} Room Makeover!

***This post is a collaboration with Beddy’s. The content of the post and opinions expressed are my own.***

Hey Friends!!! As you know, I’ve got two little princesses that just adore sharing a room together. When we originally moved into our house here in CA, they insisted in bunking up so that they could use the extra bedroom as a toy room. We set out to various stores around town to gather new bedding, wall decor and curtains for their first shared bedroom!

For awhile, we were quite pleased with how the room came together…but with time, I realized that their current bedding was just not right for the set up. No matter how hard they tried, making their beds each morning was a huge struggle. Their comforters were too big and slouchy for the trundle style bed they shared. Their sheets were always kicked down to the foot of the bed or falling off the top bunk. It was an eyesore, even when they tried their very hardest to make their beds look nice! If you caught our instagram stories, you saw first hand the sloppy-neatness they attempted!

Well friends, I am SO thrilled to share with you the resolution to our messy bed issue. I have collaborated with Beddy’s in this incredible room makeover!

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What is Beddy’s? Beddy’s is a one piece bedding set that includes the fitted sheet, the flat sheet, the cuddle blanket, quilt with a sham and a pillowcase. Along both sides of the bedding there are zippers that are super smooth and easy to use.

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If you asked my youngest daughter what her favorite part of her new bedding was, she would quickly say the super soft minky interior!

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The girls have a white, black and gold color scheme for their room so we picked out two bedding sets that were unique yet still fit right in with their current decor.

Kenzie picked out this gorgeous Goldie Dots set. I love the ruffled detail!

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Honor eagerly selected the Simply White set. I think the Pin Tucks add such sweet and dainty texture to the classic white look.

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Each night, the girls just pull down one side of the zippers, climb into their soft and cozy beds and listen to our bedtime story. The girls love the big pull tabs on the zipper, and they both are able to easily zip and unzip the bedding in seconds!

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Each morning, they get dressed, brush their teeth and “zip their bed.” I’m a firm believer in the positive power of making your bed each morning- accomplishing a quick and easy task within the first few minutes of waking just sets the tone for a great day!

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I have to admit that for the first few days after they got their Beddy’s bedding sets, I would peek in their room while walking by just to admire how clean and polished their room looked!

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The bedding set includes a “comfort panel” that is on the interior of the bedding and guards the zipper so that the inside of the bedding is soft and cozy! The deep pocket sides and elastic around the entire bottom of the bedding keeps the bedding from shifting. I’d have to say that is my favorite feature! My kids must run marathons in their dreams because their bedding would end up all over the place but not anymore!

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The girls and I would like to thank Beddy’s for collaborating with us on this room makeover. We couldn’t be more thrilled with the ease, tidiness and comfort these one piece bedding sets have provided!

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Interested in learning more about these incredible bedding sets? Hop over to the Beddy’s website and watch this great video. Curious about wash care of the one piece Beddy’s set? More information about the care of the bedding is here.

{Friday Favorites} Interfacing and Stabilizers

***This post contains affiliate links***

It’s time for another fun round of Friday Favorites! Today I’ll be sharing with you my favorite interfacing and stabilizers and where/when/how to use them!

First things first…I bet you are wondering what’s the difference between interfacing and stabilizers??? Super simple: interfacing is meant to be sewn into the project, stabilizers are meant to be removed after stitching. Interfacing gets sewn “in,” stabilizers just stabilize the fabrics for the moment. Makes sense right??? So let’s look at some of my favorites and talk about which projects match.


Interfacing

The two most common interfacings used when sewing clothing (which is where the majority of my creativity lies) are woven interfacing and knit interfacing.

Woven Interfacing: Used for woven fabrics. This interfacing will not stretch. It comes in various weights and can be used for a variety of helpful reasons. Some woven interfacing can be adhered to the fabric before stitching, called “Fusible Interfacing.” Woven interfacing does have a grain line, just like woven fabrics, so be sure to cut the interfacing just as you cut the pattern pieces!

For collars: I use lightweight fusible interfacing to help give a little body to collars. I adhere the fusible interfacing to the wrong side of the main collar piece before sewing to the collar lining. This will help keep the shape of the collar, but is lightweight so it won’t make the collar stick up.

For button plackets: I also use lightweight fusible interfacing to help my machine sew neat and easy buttonholes. I usually adhere the interfacing the wrong side of the main back bodice, about a 1″ strip the length of the button placket. The interfacing helps to stabilize the fabric while you sew the buttonholes, and also keeps the buttonhole from stretching out over wash/wear.

To hold fabric together: I use a thin strip of fusible web to set the main bodice and back bodice together when sewing an enclosed waist seam. The fusible web will adhere the two fabrics together and keep anything from shifting while enclosing the waist seam. No pins needed!

To keep zippers in place: My most favorite invention ever! After sewing a million Elodie dresses last spring, I would have been lost without my trusty Peel n Stick! You just peel off the amount you need (the length of the zipper), stick the adhesive to the inside of the garment, and then place the zipper on the tape (it’s double sided sticky!). Again- no pins needed!!! This keeps the zipper firmly in place while you flip the garment over and topstitch the zipper!

For free motion appliqué:  I use a lightweight Ultra Hold fusible webbing to keep fussy cut fabric appliqués in place. This will keep the fabric from shifting while sewing with your free motion foot.

Knit Interfacing: Knit interfacing will have stretch and provide some structure while sewing with knit fabrics.

For hemming: Using a thin strip of knit tape on the hem of a knit garment will give enough stability to keep the hem from twisting or bunching, but will not affect the overall drape of the garment.

For sturdy seams: To keep waist seams from going wonky, to keep shoulder seams from stretching or slumping over wash/wear, I use knit stay tape. This provides stability over time but doesn’t add any bulk to the seam.


Stabilizers:

Stabilizers provide body and structure just while sewing, but then are removed (torn away or washed away) after stitching.

Tear Away Stabilizer: This type of stabilizer is stiff but is only a temporary stabilizer. I often use tear away stabilizer when sewing buttonholes on knit fabrics. I don’t want the stiffness in the knit after I sew the buttonhole so I don’t use an interfacing. Instead, a tear away stabilizer will provide that sturdiness needed for a buttonhole and then is torn away.

Wash Away Stabilizer: This type of stabilizer is thinner, gives some structure while sewing and then will dissolve when wet. I use wash away stabilizer when sewing with delicate fabrics like hemming chiffons, binding with chiffon or sheer fabrics when I don’t want interfacing to show, etc. You can also use wash away stabilizer to embroider really pretty lace appliqués!


Color Coding for Interfacing and Stabilizers:

I thought I would also share some helpful tips when shopping for interfacing and stabilizers at your local fabric store or online. You can buy interfacing and stabilizer by the roll, in the notions section. It will come prepackaged, usually about 10-20 yds rolled or in sheets. However, you buy interfacing and stabilizers by the yard as well.

Some products are color coded to help you select the correct type of interfacing and stabilizer you need.

Pellon: Pellon is a popular brand, carried at Joann Fabrics and other fabric stores.

Pink: Apparel fabrics

Yellow: Craft and Home decor fabrics

Green: Quilting fabrics

Orange: Fusible webs and adhesives

Blue: Embroidery projects

Heat n Bond (Thermoweb): Another popular brand of packaged fusible webbing.

Purple: lite adhesive strength

Red: ultra adhesive strength

Blue: iron on vinyl

Yellow: Soft Stretch (for knit fabrics)

Light Blue: Featherlight (super thin and lightweight)

Pink: Hemming (no-sew)


I hope that helps to kind of debunk any misunderstandings or questions about interfacing and stabilizers! Both can be super helpful in sewing apparel or other sewing projects. I’d love to hear which interfacing and stabilizers you use the most, and if you’d like any specific tutorials showing how to use any mentioned above!

Friday Favorites: Back to School Accessories

Happpppppy Friday y’all!!! So it’s officially August which means it’s super officially back to school shopping season!! I know Target has had their B2S displays out since like June (whyyyyy Target, whyyyy) but for the most of us we are just now starting to plan school wardrobes and getting all geared up for the First Day of School.

Last week I shared with you some of my favorite on-trend fabrics for fall and some fabulous patterns for various age groups. I know we all are really dedicating the next month or two to filling our kiddo’s closets with some mama-made goodness. But, now let’s talk about the things that you won’t be sewing!

This week we’re diving into Back to School Accessories!!! I have to openly admit that since I “save” money (hahaha) by sewing my girls’ wardrobes, I tend to splurge on accessories that I don’t want to or just won’t be making myself. Yes, even that includes BOWS. Don’t think I’m being lazy, I’m just supporting the handmade market. Right???

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So let’s get shopping!! First up, backpacks!!! Backpacks can be super cute, super cheesy or super boring. My girls and I picked out a few favorites for this upcoming school year- some that are more practical and some that are big splurges. Stay tuned to see what ones they actually select for their 2017-2018 backpacks (big deal, I know you are going to be glued to your computer waiting for the results).

My four and seven year old are currently obsessed with all things ponies and unicorns.

 

And if I had the time to actually sew a backpack, this would totally be the one:

Just to reassure you I’m not 110% lazy when it comes to the backpack thing…here’s proof that one day I did actually sew a backpack.

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Anyway, back to shopping. A total splurge but this has my oldest written allllll over it:


Next up, let’s talk another thing that I won’t be making this year (and my personal favorite thing in the whole entire planet)… SHOES!

Practical first…Livie and Luca are a go-to school shoe. They hold up really well, are comfy all day long and are super duper cute.

Another favorite, but usually saved for special days at school or photoshoots, Joyfolie.

And because gym day is a favorite for these girlies, I had to grab a pair of tennies:


There’s probably nothing more precious than sweet little girls and knee high socks! Recently, I’ve discovered a few cute small shops that carry knee highs but we usually stick with the ol’ trusty target brand. I love that they are adding more colors to their offerings this fall. We’ll be stocking up on pink and navy for sure!


And last but not least, BOWS! We’re huge fans of these big 6″ bows and you can’t beat the price!

I’ve had my eye on this shop for a little while and I can’t seem to catch the releases before they are sold out. But seriously, how darn cute are these Liberty of London handmade bows:


Well that’s all for today. I hope your shopping carts are full of awesome accessories for your little girlies! Back to school shopping can be so fun- enjoy!!

Want to see more back to school accessories?? Check out my full Pinterest board here.

{One Thimble Issue 16} Hally Dress

Another smashing success for One Thimble Sewing E-Zine – Issue 16 is now available and it’s jam packed with incredible patterns, sewing articles, tips for small businesses and fun tutorials. I’ve had the pleasure of sewing and reviewing many patterns of the years for OT and I’m super excited to share with you my sew from this latest release.

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There were so many fabulous patterns to choose from but since we get a nice, long summer here in sunny SoCal I decided to go for the Hally Casual Dress pattern by Ainslee Fox. A little peek at the details in the Hally dress:

– Sizes 1 through 12

– Intermediate sewing level

– Written for woven fabrics

– Bodice facing and elastic back

– Bias trim finishing

– Two construction methods

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I sewed this Hally dress using two prints from Art Gallery Fabrics Garden Dreamer fabric collection. I wanted something summery but that could transition to fall with a layering tee.

The Hally dress is great for showcasing a few different prints in the color-blocking pieces that make up the dress. I love the side panels- really cute for contrasting fabrics.

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The Hally dress has an easy, pullover style to the fit and will last her through next Summer. There is a small cased strip of elastic in the back to keep the shoulder straps in place. The front and back skirts are slimmer than our usual twirly dresses but they really compliment the silhouette.

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The Hally dress has bias binding to finish the bodice and create the straps. Jen includes two construction methods for the binding to give you two subtly different looks. I chose the second method.

Nothing will stop this girl from dancing! She loves her Hally dress and has plans for many more! I sewed this dress up in about 2 hours and about a yard and a quarter of fabric. Such a cute and simple style that will quickly fill your closets.


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Check out the entire lineup and click around to see the other incredible OT Tour bloggers!