Seaside Scallop Shorts

The always amazing Amy of Peek-a-boo Pattern Shop (affiliate link) released her newest pattern today, the Seaside Scallop Shorts.  I was lucky enough to test this great pattern, and you can tell Sophie was pretty happy about getting some new shorts.

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These shorts have some really great details that not only give it style but also make it even more wearable for your little ones.  The waistband is a flat front with an elastic back which is especially great for skinny mini’s like my kids who never seem to keep their pants up.  You can add a fun accent fabric for the pocket lining as well which is a great way to add a bit of fun to the shorts.

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Amy’s instructions are clear and really easy to follow leaving you with an amazing finished product.  Because sewing around curves can sometimes be a bit daunting (I know I usually have the same face as Sophie when I think about sewing around a curve)  But don’t worry Amy gives really great tips for the best way to sew around the scallops.  I learned a few new things in the section that I will be sure to use the next time I am sewing a curve.

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The Seaside Scallop Shorts come in sizes 3 months to 12 years and are easily customizable to your little one by adjusting the length of the elastic.

IMG_6286If you can’t tell Sophie adores this shorts and actually insisted on sleeping in them and then wearing them again the next day.  They are sure to be in constant rotation as the weather warms up here in Seattle.  And for today only you can snatch up this great pattern for 15% off the retail price.  You will definitely want this pattern in your kids sewing arsenal, it is a great staple piece of summer clothing for your little girl.

 

Glamping Anyone?

Have you heard of the new pattern collection Willow & Co.?  Its a collective of 7 amazing designers that all created new patterns for this upcoming Spring/Summer line Wanderlust.  The collection is being released April 22nd but as a bit of a sneak peek I am joining others in the blog tour to show you one of the patterns being released, the Aster Cardigan by Vanessa of LBG Studios.

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When I saw the call for testers I knew this was a piece that I would not only love to sew but would be a huge part of Sophie’s wardrobe, sure to be in constant rotation.  Who doesn’t love a cropped cardigan with peter pan collar and 3/4 sleeves.  I secretly want to find a way to upsize the 12 so I can have one myself.

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The cardigan is best made with a medium weight stable knit like an interlock, ponte de roma, french terry or pique knit.  Since I can’t seem to steer away from stripes I grabbed this luxurious ponte de roma out of my stash, thanks to the always amazing Girl Charlee, because really could it be more perfect for this pattern.  I also love a good challenge of matching up my stripes.  Does that make me crazy?

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The weather here in Seattle in the spring and summer is variable and layers are a must.  This cardigan is a perfect layer for the cool mornings and evenings of spring as well as those cool summer days.  Sewing for my kids requires pieces that are going to have use in multiple seasons as well as practical to wear on a daily basis.  The Aster Cardigan fits those requirements to a T, with the added bonus that Sophie absolutely loves it and wanted to wear it to bed last night.

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The Aster has two collar options, a regular and a faux piping peter pan.  I tested the regular collar but after seeing the pictures of the faux piping I will definitely be making another to try out that method.  Vanessa does an amazing job of taking you through the steps for creating a fully enclosed placket as well an amazing looking collar.  Her steps and pictures are so clear that even if you start to doubt what you are doing, like I did, if you follow along you will arrive at a truly professional looking garment in the end.

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I had such a great time testing this pattern.  Make sure to check out the Willow & Co. collective pattern release on the 22nd.  The other patterns included are sure to be just as amazing as the Aster Cardigan.

KCW Spring 2014 – Day 3

Yesterday life happened and so Kids Clothes Week day 2 did not.  We are in an especially busy phase of life with our kiddos right now so sometimes sewing doesn’t happen.  Thankfully nap time happened today so I was able to whip up a couple of t-shirts for Sophie while they slept.

Since Benny got a few new shirts on Day 1 I thought it was only fair that Sophie got some new shirts this week too.  One of the patterns that was on my to do list for this week was the Celestial Tee from Figgy Studios that I got as part of the Perfect Pattern Parcel #2.

Picking fabric for Sophie is always a lot of fun because I can usually get her to wear anything but if I make sure to have pink I am bound to get lots of hugs and kisses and excitement.  This pink sweater knit has been hanging out in my sewing room for over a year just waiting for a project and this seemed like the perfect project for it because not only is it pink but it has some shimmer to it as well which was sure to elicit excitement from Sophie.

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Since I was already cutting one shirt out I figured I might as well cut another so I grabbed this great knit from my favourite knit source, Girl Charlee, and got to cutting.

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There are a couple features of this shirt that are so much fun and I knew Sophie would love.  The shirt has a hi-lo hem which is a new favourite of mine, as well as a pleat detail at the front neckline.  Two details that make this just a little different from your average tee.

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As soon as Sophie was up from her nap I surprised her with the new shirts and she was so happy especially when I told her we needed to go take some pictures.  I have a little model on my hands, she never turns down an opportunity to model the clothes I make for her.

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When tracing the pattern I opted to make the 2/3 but in the 4/5 length since I was worried she would grow out of the 2/3 too quickly.  I should have checked the chart like I normally do for a pattern because I think the 18 month top with the 2/3 length would have been perfect.  At least there is room to grow into it.

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This pattern is sure to be in constant rotation as we make our way through the seasons.  Its a quick sew and can be made in any type of knit which means so many possibilities.

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KCW Spring 2014 – Day 1

Today is the start of another round of Kids Clothes Week and I couldn’t be more excited to sew some things for the littles this week.

Both kiddos are in desperate need of basic pieces.  Sophie is getting much taller so all of her pants and tops are getting short and while a midriff baring shirt was really cool in the 90′s it’s not so cool on a 3 year old now.  Benny is busy growing and is finally moving out of 12 month clothes and into 18 months.  So yeah, both kids need shirts and pants.

Ben is the one I sew least for so I thought I would take day 1 as the opportunity to sew a couple shirts for him.

I have had this gnome interlock knit laying around for months just waiting for the perfect project for Ben.  As I was piecing together the pattern for the Anytime At All Tee by Shwin Designs I knew it would be a perfect fit for this shirt.

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Once I got this shirt cut out I figured they were going to be such a quick sew and the kids were both still napping so why not cut out a few more while I was at it.  I should have known that rushing to get 3 shirts cut and sewn together while the kids slept was a recipe for disaster, or the seam ripper.

The gnome shirt came together wonderfully.

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Ben loved it so much he put it right on and refused to take it off so these pictures are before I hemmed the sleeves and the bottom.  Had I know what was to come I would have just left them unhemmed :)

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This t-shirt is so great and really a quick sew when you are just doing the basic tee pattern.  I can’t wait to try it again for Sophie with the colour block option or even the ruffle sleeves.

As I moved onto the second shirt which was made with a very light jersey it was going just fine until I started the collar and then honestly I have no idea what happened.  Things got all twisted and pulled and into a big fat mess.  I am hopeful that I can salvage the shirt once I remove the collar.  But I just didn’t have the energy or time to deal with it today.  Thankfully this shirt took so little fabric that if I have to end up scraping the shirt it isn’t a huge waste.

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After feeling a bit discouraged by the second shirt I was hesitant about starting the third shirt, but Ben needs a white shirt to wear under his vest for Easter so I decided to push ahead and sew it together as well.  And like the first it turned out beautifully.  I think what I have learned is that I need to take a little more time when sewing with lighter knits, especially around the neckband.

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I finally managed to get the gnome shirt off of Ben by bribing him with ice cream so I could hem the sleeves and bottom.  After a few hiccups and a few holes in the fabric I had the bottom hemmed but it was not pretty.  I set this shirt aside and decided to try the white shirt.  Once I got the white shirt all done and only a small hole thanks to overzealous string snipping I decided to give the gnome shirt another try.  Due to my especially horrible double needle job the first time around I actually had to cut a few inches off the bottom of the shirt to ‘fix’ the hole.  Thankfully the second time around the hem looked great.

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So there you have it 2 3/4 shirts completed for day 1 of Kids Clothes Week.  Here’s hoping the rest of the week is a bit more smooth than today.

Do you ever rush to get a project done and then find yourself making loads of mistakes and constantly having to use the seam ripper?

Sewing for Me – Pocketful of Posies Dress

Man, I am on a roll!  I have sewn more for myself this week that I usually do in a month.  It is nice to focus on my own wardrobe every now and then.  Especially with Kids Clothes Week coming next week when I will be solely focused on my littles.

Melissa of Melly Sews just released her newest pattern the Pocketful of Posies Dress on Tuesday.  You may notice a pattern lately but the second I saw it pop up on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter or I don’t remember now I scooped it up.  Hard to pass up on a pattern that is not only cute but bound to be super comfortable.

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I wanted to sew it up right then and there but as usual life got a bit busy and I wasn’t able to get to it until today.  I knew with the neckline of this dress it would be perfect for my thrifted piece of crocheted lace I have been hoarding in my thrift pile.  A few months back I found this shirt at my local thrift store and knew I had to take it home with me not because of the shirt but because of the crocheted neck.  There was so much potential there.

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After getting it all unpicked I was left with the perfect neckband for my new dress.  Now I just had to figure out how I was going to adjust the pattern to accommodate it since there was no guarantee it was going to be the right length.

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Once I had the front piece of the dress completed I attached the lace in position where I could get it as close to the shoulder seams as possible.  The best way to make the lace work was to not use a contrasting colour neckband but to have it match the rest of the dress.  The lace was about 1/2 inch short but I was able to just bring the neckband forward slightly to fix it and no one is the wiser.

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The construction of this dress was really straightforward thanks to Melissa’s amazing directions and pictures.  I love when patterns like this are nested so that I can truly make a piece of clothing that is tailored to me.  I am a size small top, medium waist and large hips so dresses can be difficult for me most of the time.  It was really easy to make the necessary adjustments to make this pattern work wonderfully for me.

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Leave it to me to make a silly mistake after the dress was all done.  I tried it on and it looked really long so instead of removing my sweats to check I just took it off removed the bottom band cut off a few inches and re-attached the bottom band.  Unfortunately that silly rash decision resulted in the dress no longer being a dress and becoming a tunic, unless that is I was completely comfortable rocking a mini skirt to the park.

Thankfully this totally works as a tunic with some grey ponte pants and my favourite moccasins.  And considering the spring weather here in Seattle I am sure to get lots of use out of this spring and then into the fall.  I absolutely love this tunic it is so comfortable I don’t want to take it off.

Sewing for Me – Day Tripper Top

The ladies over at Pattern Anthology never seem to disappoint.  When they all started hinting on Instagram what the upcoming collection was going to be, I started to get excited because the patterns looked like women’s patterns.

The Just Add Jean collection was announced the beginning of March and I snatched it up within minutes of getting the email. Because I wear the mommy uniform of jeans and some form of a T-shirt every day I knew these patterns would get a lot of use.

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On Saturday I had a preschool registration event to attend and figured why not make a new shirt to wear. Most people might have thought about it earlier in the week but I thought about it while I was laying in bed that morning. So I hopped up and got to work sewing my first Day Tripper top an hour and a half before the event.

I recently got a new order of fabric in from Girl Charlee and thought it would be fun to do some pattern mixing on this shirt. These two lightweight jersey knit fabrics just screamed spring and were a really fun combination.

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I modified the pattern slightly by mirroring the back curve on the front giving it the look of a dress shirt instead of the hi-lo from the pattern.

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In the interest of time I also left off the fun tab detail on the sleeve but I plan to make another one soon with that detail.

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The Day Tripper is a really quick sew which is a great feature when you are trying to make one last minute. I love that a variety of knits would work for this pattern whether it is a lightweight jersey or a heavier interlock.

If you make the longest length it would also work great with leggings and great pair of boots. There is no greater pattern than one that can move you through all the season in a variety of fabrics.

Sewing Buddies – Challenge 2

This month our challenge was a bag swap with our sewing buddy, and just like last month I finished it just under the wire.  If you remember from my write up of Challenge 1 last month I have the coolest sewing buddy of them all, guaranteed.

I was able to actually meet up with my sewing buddy Jeni while she was in town for a knitting conference with a bunch of her friends from Victoria.  We had so much fun walking around the marketplace talking about sewing and knitting and getting to know each other even better.  Do you see that sweater she is wearing in the picture? yeah she totally knit that.

I had so much fun with her and her friends, who were the sweetest people, I had to keep texting my husband that I was going to be just a little bit longer.  Who would have thought I would randomly be matched up with someone and we would get along right from the start.  She even inspired me to start my first real knitting project, more on that in another post.

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Because it seemed so fitting, I decided that day to make a knitting project bag for her because you always have more than one knitting project on the go.  I immediately had a vision for this challenge that involved an upcycled sweater, a brass zipper and a really fun interior fabric.

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The best shape for the bag seemed to be a box bag so there was more than enough room for a ball of yarn and knitting needles.  I was limited in the amount of outer fabric I could use since I was using an upcycled sweater so I had to wing it a bit in the construction.  Thankfully the basic concept of how to put together a box bag is pretty straightforward.  I was pleasantly surprised at how well the zipper went in on this bag considering this is only the second zipper I have sewn into a project.

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Thanks to my large stash of fabric I was able to find the perfect interior fabric that complimented the colour of the sweater fabric while still being a pop of colour and interest.

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I love this bag so much I want to make another one for myself.  It may have to be a smaller version since I am almost out of sweater to cut up.  I hope Jeni loves this bag as much as I do.

Spring is Here – Evelyn Dress and Tunic

I love when designers reach out over social media to gather volunteers for testing their new or revamped patterns.  Many of these designers get hundreds of responses to the tester call so when I submit my name I don’t get too excited because I know there are so many other people.

But I have to say, when I get the email that I have been selected to test a pattern I seriously get so excited, as in there may be some squealing involved.  I think the reason I love it so much is that I am being given the opportunity to test something for the designer and offer my opinions and feedback as well as pictures of my finished version.  In all the testing of patterns that I have done I always feel like they truly value what I am saying which makes the work of testing a pattern even more worth it.

Recently the amazing Amy from Peek-a-boo Pattern Shop was looking for some testers for her revision of the Evelyn Dress and Tunic pattern.  I have a large collection of Amy’s patterns and I knew this one was going to be just as great.  There was a pretty quick turn around on the test but after looking at the pattern I knew it was something that I would not only enjoy sewing but Sophie would love wearing.  Since spring has finally arrived in Seattle I looked through my fabric stash and settled on this super cute big flower print and a accent of hot pink.

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I was selected to test the 3T tunic version with a plain accent down the front, there is also the option to make the center panel ruffled which is super cute.  I think the ruffled center panel in the dress length would be a wonderful addition to Sophie’s spring/summer wardrobe.  I may even make one for kids clothes week that is coming up later next month.

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Another really fun detail of this pattern is the keyhole at the neck in the back.  The addition of this detail makes this top just scream spring and summer.

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The instructions that Amy provides for this pattern are wonderful from adding the key hole at the back to the gathering on the sleeves you are not left guessing what she is trying say, everything is very clear.  By using bias tape around the neck, key hole and sleeves it helps add a more finished look to the piece.

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The pattern calls for bias tape along the bottom but I opted to omit that and just do a simple hem along the bottom.  I felt like the accent on the sleeves and neck was more than enough of the bias tape and it didn’t need the bias tape along the bottom with an already busy pattern.  But if you choose to add it the instructions are wonderful and the end result is also great.

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The revised version of this pattern has been released today and you still have time to snag it for 15% off so head on over to her shop (affiliate link) and get this wonderful pattern that is sure to get you through the spring and summer as a new staple to your little girl and tweens wardrobe.

Felt & Fabric Memory Game

feltandfabric I am constantly looking for projects that will use up my ever growing stash of fabric scraps.  For some reason I can never quite get rid of fabric even if I have less than a few square inches because you never know when you need a scrap of fabric.  This is one of the projects that is easy to make and uses some of those small scraps of fabric you have lying around.

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For a few years I have been thinking about making a fabric memory game for my kiddos but never seemed to sit down to do it, thankfully that all changed today.

The kids preschool is having an auction next week and Sophie’s class is putting together a basket for raining day activities and I thought a fabric memory game would be perfect.  Because felt is so much easier to work with for the  frame part of the pieces I grabbed some wool felt in a great olive colour I have and got to work.

The first step was to determine what size I wanted the finished squares to be.  I settled on 2.5 inch squares for the frames with a 1 inch square for the fabric piece in the center.  Since you will just be doing a top stitch on the outside you don’t really need to account for a seam allowance for the frame pieces.  When deciding how many squares to cut take the total number of pairs you would like and multiply by 4.  So for my game I wanted 7 fabric pairs so I cut 28 felt squares.

IMG_4595 Once I had all of the felt pieces cuts I needed to cut out the center from all of the front pieces.  What I found to work best was to find the center of the first square and measure 1/2 inch in each direction and mark with your chalk.  Just cut on the chalk lines and then cut to connect your chalk lines resulting in a square.

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Once you had one felt square cut you could use it as a guide for cutting the rest.  Just fold your next square in half and lay your template on top so you can make a chalk line where you need to cut on the fold.  Repeat until you have cut a window out of half of your felt squares, in my case 14.

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Now it is time to move onto the fabric pieces that will be sewn into the windows of the felt.  Since they are 1 inch squares I decided to cut the fabric pieces 1 1/2 inch square.

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I really appreciate when a fellow crafty person shows that not all of their projects turn out the way they intended.  So here is the moment when I tell you that once I moved onto the next step I realized that my fabric squares didn’t allow for enough room to secure into place with a topstitch.  Since I didn’t want to go back and recut all of the fabric squares I improvised by adding a little fabric glue on the areas that were very close to the edge.  That should strengthen it up enough to make it last.  Just remember when you are making them yourself make sure you cut the fabric squares at least 2 inches square.

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Once you have cut out the correct sized fabric pieces all you have to do is lay it behind the frame of your front piece and top stitch around the opening to secure the fabric.

IMG_4622 To finish up just match up your back piece and top stitch around the outside to secure the pieces together.

IMG_4632 And just like that you have a fun felt & fabric memory game your kids will get lots of use out of.

Is this print too big? Schoolboy Vest Test

When it comes to picking the right fabric for a pattern sometimes the process is easy and other times you begin to question whether your vision is going to work in reality.  My recent test of the Schoolboy Vest by Sew Much Ado in Sophie’s size was exactly one of those times where I started to doubt the awesomeness that I had envisioned.

Sophie has pretty clear wishes when it comes to the fabric for clothes I will be making her.  No surprise that has resulted in most of her clothes being either pink or with pink in them.  Because I can only sew so many pink things I decided to try and branch out and incorporate at least one of her other loves, flowers.

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While browsing through Fabric.com I came across this amazing twill fabric from Premier Prints.  What a perfect fabric for a spring vest for Sophie.  I snatched the fabric up right away.  You know when you are so excited for a project that you begin to wonder if it could possibly live up to your vision, I totally experienced that with this sewing project.

Once the fabric arrived I quickly laid out my pattern and then the doubt set in, was this print too big for the pattern?  Then my husband came into the room and said that the print was too big for the project.  Serious doubt set in.  I decided to trust my original vision and hope that the end result turned out.

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Oh my goodness I am so glad that I went with this amazing twill fabric, it turned out better than I could have ever imagined.  There is just enough of the blue flower for you to tell it is a flower and the colours just scream girly spring.  I pulled some sparkly grey polka dot fabric out of stash for the lining and used a grey linen for the back so the print wasn’t too overwhelming.

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Putting together this pattern was really straightforward thanks to Abby’s wonderful instructions and pictures.  The pattern is very well written with detailed steps so great in fact that it helped me to complete my first ever welt pockets.  The welt pockets were so satisfying as they were coming together because the end result feels so professional and finished.

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I had a bit of a hiccup putting the pockets together but that was totally due to sewers error and not the pattern.  Somehow I managed to miss the part where I was supposed to sew the pocket onto the right side of the front piece and did the whole thing on the wrong side.  In reading the steps again I see where I went wrong and managed to pick some seams and match everything up and continue on the correct way.  Just goes to show you should follow the instructions as they are written and not how they are interpreted.

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Once I straightened out the pocket situation the whole thing came together really quickly and with such a profession finish.  Sophie was in love at first sight and insisted on wearing it for the next few days.  Picture taking for this project was a breeze.

IMG_3655 This pattern is so great if you are looking for a casual vest to wear with jeans and cowboy boots in Sophie’s case or if you are looking for a great piece for holidays like easter.  While the pattern is originally created as a boys vest the lines and details work great for a girl as well.

IMG_3607 One of my favourite parts of this pattern is the ties on the back where I was able to use the fabric from the front as an accent on the grey linen.  It adds an element of interest to an otherwise plain back.  Such a fun and easy detail that adds so much  to a pattern.  It is details like this that Abby adds to her patterns to give them that extra little touch.

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If you haven’t sewn one of Abby’s patterns before I highly recommend you check them out.  I hope to be trying out her Seafarer and Skipper top soon and they may even be matching for Sophie and I :)

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