{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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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!

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!!!

{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!

Tips & Tricks on Tuesday: Sewing Button Closures

*** This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links***

What is your sewing nemisis? You know…the one part in a pattern or tutorial that makes you cringe, want to throw in the towel or go rouge and alter the construction? I see time and time again that sewists are scared of sewing garments made with buttons because they hate sewing buttonholes. Can you relate??? I hope to help you conquer that fear with a few handy tools and some tips to guide you to sewing perfect, easy buttonholes.

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First let’s talk about my favorite tools for sewing button closures (affiliate links):

This expanding sewing gauge will help you evenly space the buttons/holes without headache!

Fray check will keep your buttonholes looking neat and tidy!

Frixion erasable pens are perfect for marking on fabric. A little heat (such an a warm iron) will erase the pen marks from fabric with no trouble!


Now let’s look at how these tools will help you sew buttonholes without having to hold your breath!

Prep your bodice, skirt placket, etc. with lightweight fusible interfacing. I’ve applied the interfacing to the wrong side of the main bodice. This will help stabilize the buttonholes and buttons and make it much easier for your sewing machine to manage.

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First thing’s first- you need to decide how many buttonholes are needed. In my example, I’ll be sewing 4 buttonholes. I’ll start by sliding open the expanding sewing gauge to have 4 points on my garment.

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If you are attaching a skirt (like in this example) or have any restrictions on where the button/buttonholes can be placed, be sure to keep that in mind. In my example, I want to be sure the button is at least 1/2″ away from the top and 1 1/2″ away from the bottom of my bodice. I slide the sewing gauge until I had 4 points along my bodice with 1/2″ from the top and 1 1/2″ from the bottom.

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I like to lay out the buttons I’ve chosen to be sure the spacing looks good. I also mark where the buttons will be sewn so that can cross check with the buttonhole spacing.

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I love using my sewing machine buttonhole foot to sew the buttonholes. I especially love this one since it has a metal bottom and really grips nicely to my fabric. I find the size of the buttonhole will be by placing the button in the spot in the back (button guide). Then I double check that the buttonhole (shown by the pressure foot scale or the space between the two points that the automatic buttonhole arm travels) will fit.

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I use that space to mark where the buttonholes will begin and end on the left side of my bodice. Using a frixion erasable pen, I mark on the left bodice where the buttonholes should begin and end.

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After a quick run through the machine, I am ready to open up the seams. I place a pin at the end of the buttonhole so that the seam ripper doesn’t take off and rip through more.

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Lastly, you’ll want to apply a thin line of fray check along the buttonholes once seam ripped to keep them looking neat after wash and wear.

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Once your buttonholes are sewn and finished, overlap the bodices/plackets and double check that the buttons should be sewn in the same markings previously made. If all is good to go, use your sewing machine and sew the buttons to the other side of the bodice/placket. If you aren’t familiar with using your sewing machine to sew buttons, hop over to this great tutorial.

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Well there you have it! Button closures made easy!!! I hope that gives you a little more confidence to tackle those cute patterns with button closures. Happy sewing!

Want to win my favorite button closure tools??? Hop over to my Instagram and enter to win!

{Friday Favorites} Summer Fabric Edition

Hey all!!! I constantly see posts in the Violette Field Threads Facebook Group and other groups about what fabrics are trending, where to buy seasonal prints, etc. So, I thought I would start rounding up my favorites each week and share with you all what is hot, coming soon or should be in your cart NOW!

Because we’re half way through summer, I figured I’d squeeze in one summer fabric post and share what I’ve sewn with this season and what’s in my cart to finish out the warm weather! I’ve added links to each print via amazon (affiliate links) so you can just click and shop away! Let’s get this party started!!!

First up, the fruit trend is still is blazing hot from last year.

Art Gallery Fabrics features some of my favorites!

 

 

A great pattern to use with citrus prints would be the VFT Alice Dress.

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I am totally digging these lemons too!!!

Another great summer fabric trend this year was southwest inspired prints such as these:

The new Kaitlynn dress from Violette Field Threads is the perfect pairing for these southwest inspired prints!

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Last but not least (and you know my personal favorite this year), this summer is all about the dainty floral print!

The soft hues are perfect for warm summer days!

These gentle blues remind me of the ocean.


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Alright! Come back next week and we’ll talk back to school prints and patterns!!!

XOXO and Happy Sewing!

{Cricut Blog Tour] Sewing for Vacay Tutorial & Giveaway!

This post is sponsored by Cricut. The opinions expressed in this post are my own. Affiliate links are included.

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Hey all!!! I hope you are enjoying your summer- soaking up the sun and warm air, getting to explore the great outdoors and spending lots of quality time with loved ones. If you’re anything like me, you’re planning out a great summer vacation and may be in need of some festive and fun new gear! Today I’ll be sharing a quick and easy tutorial using the new Cricut Explore Air 2 machine, some exciting new iron-on vinyl sheets and the Cricut Design Space. Be sure to read all the way to the bottom to see the entire Sewing with Cricut Blog Tour lineup and enter to win a Cricut Explore Air 2 for you!

My family and I were heading out for a road trip around Southern California so in my clever and creative mind, I planned out this super fun new vacation tote to showcase my Cricut vinyl design.

Before I could start my Cricut project, I quickly sewed up this awesome new tote bag from Art Gallery Fabrics Yuma Lemons Mist in Canvas using this tutorial.

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If you’re new to using a Cricut machine or just want to see what it’s all about, read on to see how quick and easy it is to create a super fun, personalized iron-on decal. If you plan on shopping for some new Cricut gear, use coupon code “ChristmasInJuly” Free shipping for US orders!!!


Creating an Iron-On Decal with Cricut

Supplies (affiliate links):

Before you start designing your decal, first measure the space available for your intended layout. I like to do this first so that I can plan my design from the start using the final dimensions. Sometimes projects look great on screen but when transferred to the size and layout of the space you actually have available, it just doesn’t jive. Once you have your measurements for your decal canvas, it’s time to get the party started!

If you want to customize your decal read on or you can just download my design and get to cutting!

Let’s start by opening up the Cricut Design Space and creating the decal design. The Design Space is super user friendly, really intuitive and basically will walk you through step by step how to go from design to finished cut.

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After I designed the decal, I color coded each vinyl layer in the design so that it would populate all the same layer letters onto one cutting mat. Click “Make It” and the Design Space quickly and easily formats your cutting mat template for you. 

Be sure to click to mirror the design so when it is transferred onto the tote it will read left to right.

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I don’t like to waste any vinyl so I look at the cutting mat layout in Design Space and cut the vinyl to the same dimensions, with just a tiny bit of wiggle room on each side. Transfer the vinyl onto the cutting mat, with the colored side down. Do not peel off the liner at this time.

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You’re ready to load into the Cricut machine! Follow the prompts in Design Space to cut your first vinyl layer. Again, be sure you’ve toggled the “mirror design” switch!!!! Side note- how gorgeous is that mint colored machine?!?!! LOVE!

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Unload the mat and get ready to weed the cut design. I start by peeling off the negative space from the liner (the clear plastic), leaving the design on the cutting mat. I use the handy Cricut Weeding Tool to carefully weed out the rest of the unwanted vinyl. Repeat until you have all the layers of your design cut and weeded.

Next, you’ll lay out the bottom-most layer of your design onto your project. I used these great little Cricut Scissors to cut my design into sections to transfer onto the tote.

Transferring the vinyl from the liner to the tote bag takes care and control to ensure your finished product is straight, well pressed but not melted, and looks incredible. Place the decal on the tote with the vinyl facing up and reading from left to right. I layer my vinyl layers before I start ironing to ensure everything will look the way I want it to once I put all the layers together. If everything is good to go, grab your iron and let’s finish this project up!

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Using an iron on the cotton/linen setting with the steam setting OFF and a pressing cloth, apply heat to the design for about 15-30 seconds. You’ll want to add a light pressure and be sure to pick up your iron and move to the next section rather than swiping across the pressing cloth (NOTE: Use a pressing cloth that is either white or from the same fabric as your project. I used a dark strip of fabric just so it would show up more in the tutorial photos.) After your bottom layer of vinyl is adhered to your tote, you’ll turn the tote inside out and press again from the inside for 15-20 seconds.

Let the area cool and then peel off the liner and admire that gorgeous decal!!! You’ll repeat the transferring steps until all the layers of your design have been adhered. Don’t rush things- not waiting for the layer to cool before applying another layer may result in melted vinyl or bubbling.

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Pack your new tote with a towel, your sunnies and a good book and head to the pool! Before you head out, be sure to hop down this post and enter to win a Cricut Explore Air 2 of your own!


Enter to Win a Cricut Explore Air 2 HERE

Week One: July 19th

Week Two: July 26th

I was invited to participate in the Cricut Party Blogger Program Kickoff.  

This experience is based strictly on my opinion.  Others may have a different opinion or experience with the product listed above.  I was provided the sample free of charge by the company or PR agency and I have given my honest opinion.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Bountiful Fabrics for Kate

Hey friends! Today’s post isn’t for anything special other than just a regular ol’ “check out what I made” photo bomb! Sometimes, it feels good to just create for the sake of creating, without any other agenda or deadline.

The lovely ladies at Violette Field Threads are going through some of their older patterns and adding in new features, a more precise fit to their measurement charts and of course, the layer printing option! An update to Kate will be coming soon so in anticipation, I sewed up a Kate in all is country-charm cuteness with the new Bountiful fabrics from Sharon Holland for Art Gallery Fabrics.

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Kate is a jam-packed pattern: A dress or top option, a scalloped apron, and a handkerchief style headband.

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How perfect was the Myrtle Creek Botanical Gardens & Nursery for this shoot? I was so glad I brought this outfit with us when we were photographing for the Fiesta Fun blog tour!

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I added some of the beautiful flowers from the Perennial Renewal print in a free motion appliqué to the apron for some fun flair.

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Kate and Bountiful were a match made in sewing heaven! I just adore how sweet this outfit turned out…so here are some more photos to admire!

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Big thanks to our friends over at Art Gallery Fabrics and special sweet hugs to Sharon Holland for sharing her amazing fabrics with us!

Keep an eye out for the upcoming Kate update from Violette Field Threads and start dreaming up your next sew!

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Fiesta Fun Fabrics {Blog Tour}

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Hey all!!!! If you’re anything like me, as soon as those temperatures start creeping up after a long winter and the sun starts shining longer into the evening hours, your creative soul begins eagerly planning for summer sewing! Right?? Good news- Fiesta Fun Fabrics are out in your favorite quilt shops and online fabric stores such as Hawthorne Threads and are screaming all things summer! I am so honored and excited to be a part of a stellar blog tour showcasing some of our favorite prints from the Fiesta Fun Fabrics collection by Dana Willard of Made Everyday for Art Gallery Fabrics. Alexis of My Sweet Sunshine and I got together for a festive afternoon at a local Botanical Garden. Let’s take a look at our fun shoot:

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What a trio of cuteness, right??? For my oldest daughter’s outfit I sewed up an Allie top with the Piñata Confetti print, trimmed with bright blue mini poms. I played with the incredible canvas from the collection in the *updated* Fawn shorts pattern.

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Thanks Target (and Alexis) for these perfectly perfect sunnies and headband- it’s like they knew we needed some props for this blog tour!

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Alexis sewed up the most darling dress in the Citrus Sunrise print- I seriously want to make one for myself!!!

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And for my youngest, a June dress sewn also with the canvas print. I haven’t made a dress with canvas before but the Art Gallery canvas has a great drape and structure, but still gathered up just fine for the full skirt. How fun!!!

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And because I can’t ever keep my posts short and sweet…here are some more photos of our day!

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Thanks for checking out my stop on the tour! Be sure to hop back to the Blog Tour Kickoff Post and check out all the other amazing makes with Fiesta Fun Fabrics!

Big thanks to our friends from Art Gallery Fabrics, and big squishy hugs to Dana for including us in the tour! Happy Sewing!

{Sage Fabrics} Mae and the Desert

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Hey there!!! I’m here to *finally* share with you some more Sage fabric love!!! Back in February, I released the Mae pettiskirt pattern with Violette Field Threads. The original intent for the Mae pattern was to be a super full, fluffy skirt that would layer great under other VFT pieces for added flair and fluff! But, I also wanted to make some everyday Mae skirts for my girls to wear as standalone skirts. SageMae5

Woah. Did you see that??? Your eyes are not deceiving you; those are not two different skirts. Yes, folks- that is a [reversible] Mae!!!! Because when you have to ruffle that much, you better get two skirts for the work of one, right?? HA! The reversible option is included in the pattern and is a great way to really maximize your sewing efforts!

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And when you have lovely fabrics like these two prints from the Sage Fabrics collection by Bari J for Art Gallery Fabrics, a reversible skirt is the perfect way to showcase that beauty!

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I used the Bougainvillea Lilac print for one side. I love the deep jewel tones and contrast in colors. And, since we live in sunny SoCal, I had to sew up some of the Coyote and Quail in Lavender for the reverse side.

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We had to take a trip to the gorgeous Cactus Garden in Balboa park- the most perfect setting to really compliment the Southwest flora and fauna featured in the fabrics.

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The Allie top in a white linen blend was the perfect pairing for the Mae Skirt. Pick up both patterns with coupon code “SPRINGDRESS” to save 15% this weekend only!