Suit Up For Summer Day Three

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Welcome to Day 3!!  Please tell me you’ve been so inspired and are reading this while prepping to sew your very own swimsuit!  I’m really hoping that we can calm your fears and give you the confidence to tackle your family’s swimwear needs.

Today I faced one of my big fears- the dreaded sewing for a teenage boy!  I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

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Before I was brave enough to sew for big brother I got to sew for a much easier critic!  This little man was dying for a swimsuit out of this cool shark boardshort fabric from Raspberry Creek Fabrics (one of our lovely tour sponsors!).

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I used the Swim and Surf Shorts from Gracious Threads.  I hesitate to promote this pattern in my boy post since it’s drafted for girls in sizes 6 and up but I think these fit his little body well.  I absolutely love the construction and the bias goes on so smoothly.  I used store bought but there are directions to make your own.  I switched up the waistband to just be one wide casing after Brittney’s advice.  I also used swim mesh for the underwear liner inside- I might switch it up to regular swim fabric in the future just for more comfort.

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You know I like to involve my kids in as much of the sewing as I can and with this suit I gave him a handful of drawstring choices.  He shocked me with this choice but was very adamant on the coral cord (a trimmed up shoelace!) because it glows in the dark.  I tried to tell him that at five-years-old he won’t be doing very much night swimming but he was very insistent!  I love it!

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So little brother’s suit was a breeze- cut and done in about an hour.  This guys was a different story!  I used Jalie Boys/Mens Board Shorts pattern and am really proud and happy with the results.  He is too which is such a relief!  I love that I was able to easily modify these to his taste.  We cut about 4 inches from the hem (he’s almost 6′) and brought in the inner leg about an inch so the legs weren’t so wide.  He really likes the more retro fit and I think it suits him well!

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I have such a love/hate relationship with Jalie patterns.  I love, love that they come with so many size options in one pattern.  I could use this same pattern on the 5-year-old and my XL husband- you really can’t get that anywhere else.  I love how well they go together, the end product is always amazing and the finishings are fantastic!  That being said they are usually not my standard quick afternoon projects.  I know I need to concentrate and take my time to achieve a great looking garment.  The instructions are pretty basic (you can preview them before you purchase a pattern to make sure it’s something you want to tackle).  This is where my love/hate comes in.  I love the conciseness.  I tend to read the instructions one or two times through before I start a project and then just go for it, referring back to the directions only occasionally.  With Jalie, you can print the directions on just a couple pages and have them right next to you as you sew.  With this pattern though, I could have used a little more hand holding.  I learned a lot and these were constructed different than I have done anything in the past.  Not bad obviously, just different.

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Lucky for me, my sister came over and manned her coverstitch machine and I did the sewing and serging.  I don’t know what I would have done without her help and the coverstitch.   Almost all the seams are topstitched which can be done with a double needle on your regular machine too but that would mean a TON of switching back and forth between a double and single needle, or if you’re really precise, faking the look by running two single stitches side by side.    Even with the two of us, this project took a good few hours. Granted we were sewing with a lot of little helpers running around too 😉

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This awesome fabric is also from Raspberry Creek Fabrics.  You can find the coordinating navy also.  I can’t wait to share with you all our fun CLUB line suits tomorrow!

Looking for more boys swim patterns?  Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop, Titchy ThreadsLife Sew Savory, and Made By Jack’s Mum all offer them!

Have you entered the link up yet?  I’m loving what I’m seeing so far! You won’t want to miss out on your chance at the fun giveaways!

Now go check out all the other amazing bloggers joining in the swim party:

Hosted by Sew Sophie Lynn & Paisley Roots

Monday: Pear Berry Lane / Inspinration / It’s Liesel / Sewing For Four

Tuesday: Harper Lu / Call Ajaire / Stylin Stacy / Skirt Fixation

Wednesday: Sewing By Ti / Sewing With Sarah / Sew & Tell / Me Made

Thursday: Made By Melli / Life Sew Savory / That’s What She Crafted / Auschick

Friday: Rebel & Malice / EYMM / Stitching & Making / Lilliepawillie

Suit Up For Summer Day Two

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Are you ready for day two of the Suit Up For Summer tour?  Wasn’t yesterday just awesome?! Today won’t disappoint either- you’ve got one swim newbie, a talented children’s pattern designer and tester call, a swimsuit sewing veteran, and a super cute women’s suit pattern tester call!  Make sure to head over to Paisley Roots for another adorable suit and some fabric shopping tips!

Make sure you see my last post to enter the giveaways.

You can check out the other great ladies on the tour here:

Hosted by Sew Sophie Lynn & Paisley Roots

Monday: Pear Berry Lane / Inspinration / It’s Liesel / Sewing For Four

Tuesday: Harper Lu / Call Ajaire / Stylin Stacy / Skirt Fixation

Wednesday: Sewing By Ti / Sewing With Sarah / Sew & TellMe Made

Thursday: Made By Melli / Life Sew Savory / That’s What She Crafted / Auschick

Friday: Rebel & Malice / EYMM / Stitching & Making / Lilliepawillie

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I’m talking ladies swimsuits today and I’m going to be completely honest with you all- I really have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to women’s swimsuits.  My past adventures in sewing swimwear for myself have been fairly easy.  I’ve only ever made rash guard tops by adding a lining, cups and an elastic shelf bra to the Lane Raglan.  A raglan is about as beginner friendly as it gets- add a couple more steps and voila! Instant swim top!

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Nothing mind blowing but I usually live in these on our beach vacations and long days at the pool.  For this years suits I wanted to change it up but kept going back to the same look and coverage these suits offered.  I decided to use  a couple of Patterns for Pirates  to achieve this look.  Judy at P4P has generously offered a discount code for our readers during the tour.  Use code ‘swimtour’ to receive $2 off any swim pattern in the shop!

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I used the Hello Sailor Swim Bottoms for nice bum coverage!  I hate worrying that I’m flashing innocent people!  I followed the tip to add power mesh to just the front belly area and love the ‘spanx’ effect.    I did a straight size medium and can’t wait to make more of these.  The pattern comes with a handful of fun options so I’ll be changing it up a bit too.

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I used the Layer Me Up top pattern for this hack.  I’ll tell you what I did and what I’d do differently next go round.  With swim I don’t feel like you can really muslin a pattern so I just go for it and hope it works out!  I cut a front lining piece and cropped the tee to my natural waistline in a straight medium also (my normal size).  I added cups to the lining (I ended up doubling them up for a little more umph!) and did an extra wide band at the bottom, hoping to avoid the elastic of the shelf bra.  Well, it wasn’t love so back to the drawing board.

Off went the band and I ruched the sides of the bottom piece with a small piece of elastic for a little detail and added my standard 3/4″ elastic under the bra cups.  I really wanted the top to meet the bottoms and think this is the best I could get.  I think I’d use the LMU in the future but I will just do it the full length I need and add the cups and elastic shelf bra like I did in my raglan rash guards.

One tip I did learn with the elastic under the cups is to have it not quite meet the side seams.  I usually try to catch it in the seams for extra strength but since this was added after the seams were done I just secured the elastic to the lining only.  The benefit is that it doesn’t pull at the side seam- I’ll share a top later this week that has this issue.

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I really like the coverage of this suit and know I’ll be comfortable wrangling my kiddos at the pool in it.  I picked up the fabric for my top and also my bra cups (4/$1!) in the LA Fabric District.  I love that place!

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I’m really tempted to try my hand at sewing an actual swim top!  Our sponsors have some great choices! The Siren Swim Top from Patterns for Pirates is so cute! Closet Case Patterns offers two super chic swim options- the Sophie Swimsuit and the Bombshell (I actually have one that’s been cut and waiting to be sewn for far too long!).  5 out of 4 Patterns has a bunch of fun, sporty options and Rad Patterns has two swimsuits with the most options I’ve ever seen!  Jalie has a ton of patterns to choose from and you can get one for you and your mini me all in one sweet deal.  Laela Jeyne  has two versatile, cute patterns- a fun skirted one piece and a vintage inspired bikini set.  Peek-a-boo Pattern Shop has swimwear for the whole family!

I came across a few more designers that offer women’s swimwear that I’d love to try too!  Wardrobe By Me, Dandelions and Dungarees, Lily Sage and Co, and Seamstress Erin all offer unique swimsuit pdf’s.

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Do you have a favorite women’s pattern I should try?  My Pinterest Board is full of suits I’m dying to recreate!

A special thanks to all our sponsors:

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Knock it Off Tour

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The Knock-it Off Tour hosted by Sprouting Jube Jube and Lulu and Celeste is for all you do-it-yourselfers.  You know who you are.  You walk through the mall and all you can think is, “I could make that so easy!” or “Man, that top would be so cute if only it was two inches longer/shorter/had sleeves/a v-neck/hood/ruffle/stripes/butterflies/etc…”.  Chances are if you’re a seamstress of any level you will be thinking this on EVERY single shopping trip!

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My inspiration comes from a no longer available Anthropology top I came across during the Tallinn testing.   I loved the simple ruffle and knew the Tallinn was just the pattern for it!

Try not to spit out your soda at my awesome recreation of the pic.  I’m pretty sure this model is a size negative 20 and hasn’t seen a donut in her life.  It’s like I’ve found my long lost twin 😉

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I was really thinking this would be an easy hack.  The Tallinn sweater features the same overlapped front but is a straight angled top piece.  The bands are done in two pieces and the neckline features a turtleneck or slouchy cowl.

Now there’s a reason I don’t really do tutorials. #1- I rarely ever hack patterns.  I can usually just find a pattern that suits my needs.  #2- I definitely don’t have the sewing skill to share with you.  I learn from doing and would hate to teach techniques wrong.  #3- I don’t have the patience to take all the needed pics to properly show what I’m doing.  Now with that out of the way I’ll do my darndest to explain what I did to create this look.

My original mods to the actual pattern pieces were fairly simple.  I used two right front pieces and altered them to be wider at the shoulder and curved at the hem.  I used my french curve for the curve and added 2.5″ at the shoulder seam.  I slashed and spread my sleeve piece to make it a bit looser like the inspiration and made it 3/4 length.  I’m sure I could have just sized up that piece to make it easier.  I also cut the neckline right in between the turtleneck and cowl necklines and made a neck binding piece 1.75″x 80% of the neckline circumference.

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I had to get a little creative sewing it up.  The Tallinn has separate hem band pieces for the front and bottom.  I struggled wrapping my mind around getting one continuous ruffle sewn on since it’s included in the shoulder seam.  I didn’t want the bulk of the ruffle under the other shoulder so my ruffle tapers off underneath and is not included in the right shoulder seam.

So, I got a little crazy and sewed up the right shoulder then sewed about an inch of the outside left shoulder seam.  I then added the sleeves and sewed the side seams.  I could then add the ruffle to the outside hem in one continuous piece.  (My ruffle is 2″ by 2 times the length of the full hem.)  Once the ruffle was on I could then finish the left shoulder seam and attach the neck binding.  Not mind blowing sewing but it did stretch me a bit.

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I honestly wasn’t in love with this when we first took these pictures.  I couldn’t figure out what it was.  I found the original top and read some of the same thoughts in the reviews- not flattering was a general consensus.  For me, it really highlights my broad shoulders.  Not something I usually go for.

That night as I laid in bed I had one of those hallelujah moments.  I knew the ruffle needed to come in on the shoulder to cut my shoulder in a bit and it was as simple as pleating the shoulder piece.  I really didn’t want to unpick all the ruffle and topstitching to fully alter the whole front piece!

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It’s not a huge difference- before altering on the left and after on the right, but I think it helps a ton.  I really love the final top and think it’s such a great transition top for spring.

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For this top I used a super soft blush french terry from Stylish Fabric.  It looks like this shade is out of stock currently (glad others are sharing my current pink obsession) but there are a ton of other beautiful colors to choose from.

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I’m so excited to pair this top with jeans or my favorite new Brassie joggers.  It’s such a great, comfy mom outfit.

BTW- The Tallinn is a great nursing top and this little hack is a great way to switch it up a bit in case you need a closet full of them.

 

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You can catch all the amazing Knock-offs this week here:

Monday, April 24

Lulu & CelesteCall AjairePaisley RootsAdventures with Bubba and Bug

Tuesday, April 25

Sprouting JubeJubemahlicadesignsSew and Tell Project

Wednesday, April 26

Lulu & CelesteSewSophieLynnNini and AshLittle Heart Threads

Thursday, April 27

Sprouting JubeJubesewingbytiInspinrationHouse of EstrelaBeri Bee Designs

Friday, April 28

Lulu & CelesteDuchess & HareCreative CounselorFilles a Maman (FAM)

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Little Kiwi’s Closet Straight Skirt Tour

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Little Kiwi’s Closet is a new to me pattern company but apparently I’m late to the party, they are celebrating 5000 members in their Facebook group– hooray!

As a thank you to members, they are offering a code for this darling FREE Straight Skirt! I love to try out new designers and their free patterns are the perfect start.  This pattern from LKC did not disappoint.

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I paired the skirt with the Flutterby Peasant Dress and Top.  I’ve been missing a basic peasant top pattern in my collection and this one is fantastic.  There are multiple sleeve, elastic, and ruffle options and it comes in sizes newborn to 12.  Peasant tops are such a great starting point for so many looks so I know I’ll turn to this pattern again and again.

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She’s been wanting an off the shoulder top and it was a super easy hack to get this look.  Ready for it… just use longer elastic in the casing- DONE!  It’s such a trendy look and I love that I didn’t have to get a special pattern for it.

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This skirt is really so darn cute!  I used more Raspberry Creek CLUB fabrics for this whole look.  These fabrics should be available again starting this week.  I love that you can play around with fabric combos with this pattern.  Those pockets just beg for a contrasting fabric!

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There are a variety of options with this skirt too.  You can do angled or curved pockets, yoga or elastic waistband, above or below knee and banded or hemmed bottom.  It comes in sizes 12 months- 14 years.  I did a straight size 7.  She measures a 7 waist and 10 height, this is the below knee option hitting her right at her knees.

I love that right after we took these pictures she was climbing poles and running around.  That’s a sign of a comfortable outfit!  Definitely kid approved!  And yes, she habitually wears shortie leggings under all her dresses and skirts so she can feel free to play to her hearts content in style!

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This sweet, girly outfit has won Little Kiwi’s Closet another fan!  Make sure you join the Facebook group to get your copy of the Straight Skirt today!

You can check out more fun looks here:

Idlesunshine

ChristaCoDesign

SewSophieLynn

Tales From A Southern Mom

Phat Quarters

Living in Twinado Alley

Curtiepie

Lilliepawillie

Woohoo by Davina

And head to the Little Kiwis Closet Blog for more pattern details AND an awesome giveaway too!

Fiesta Fun Fabric Tour

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Guys, I got an email from THE Dana.  The one that I started following when these girls were just babies.  The one that lit the fire in me to get my sewing machine out after years of neglect.  The same Dana that introduced me to pdf patterns and KID Shorts.  Is it weird that I already felt like we were buddies?  I don’t think I could have jumped on board this tour any faster.  Throw in gorgeous fabric celebrating one of my favorite places in the world and I was all over this one!

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I got my girls on board and let them pick what fabrics they wanted and boy was that a tough decisions.  The colors are so vibrant and the patterns are unique and so happy.

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My oldest settled on the Zocalo Lemon and Mexican Dress Morning prints.  I picked the later in canvas to use as a bottom-weight.  It was my first go with Art Gallery canvas and I will definitely be using it again.  It was the perfect weight for these shorts and I’d love a cute bag out of it too!

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My sassy girl made up her mind in no time.  She saw the vibrant Desert Flor Summer and knew she just NEEDED a dress out of it.  I love, love how bright and fun this pattern is.

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When picking patterns to really highlight this fabric I wanted something different and a little bit out of the safe silhouettes I usually gravitate to.  Shwin Designs newest collection came out just in time!  The Oh Darling Top and Dress is ready to party.  For my oldest’s outfit I went with the Pensacola Beach Petal Top from Seaside Notions paired with the Emilya’s Skinny Pants from Simple Life Pattern Co.

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Tell me this fabric and pattern combo weren’t meant for each other.  This print actually called to me in the middle of the night and told me it needed to be a shoulder flounce dress.  And these yellow pom poms in my stash had been dreaming of the day when they would grace this little girls’ arms.  I couldn’t let them down…

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I love the that this dress has the fun flounce but also covers her shoulders.  It makes it church appropriate which is THE place to wear a fun fiesta dress.

I altered the pattern just a bit.  I added an extra inch to the width of the ruffle making it even more dramatic.  I then added elastic at the waist to bring it in.  Simple modifications that really make this dress extra delightful.

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This growing girl needed new shorts and the Emilya’s were perfect.  She likes bermuda length which is fortunate because that’s what her school dress code suggests too 😉  The pattern comes with a cargo pocket option and shorts cuff but we kept it simple with just the addition of piping in the side seam.

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Now that top is so cool, right?  The scoop back is darling and the layered, curved skirt pieces really make it stand out.  You know big sister needed poms too, can’t let lil’ sis have all the fun.

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That square neckline makes me happy!  So do those sweet, innocent eyes.

The girls were feeling so playful in these outfits.  They just crack me up!

I am so glad I got to join in on the Fiesta Fun.  This southern California girl-at-heart is always ready for a fiesta.  Now I’m craving a frozen limeade on a sunny beach- maybe it’s not the fiesta I’m wanting but a ‘siesta’ that this mama needs 😉

Thanks so much for letting me in on the party Dana!

Coffee and Thread Tour

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I’ve been following along on the amazing Coffee and Thread Patterns Tour and it has blown me away!  The huge amount of inspiration has been overwhelming- dozens of amazing bloggers and Instagrammers sharing their takes on all things Coffee + Thread.

Head on over and do a little shopping and save 20% with the code ‘coffeeandthreadtour’.  Stay tuned to the end of my post for a huge giveaway too!

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For my stop on the tour, I had the hardest time picking what I wanted to sew.  I’ve had the Eleena Dress pattern for-ev-ah and that was my original plan.  That classic silhouette is one of my favorites.  As I was preparing though the new Polina Dress hit the shop and it just begged to be made.  Those ruffles and a twirly circle skirt are everything!  And in true SewSophieLynn fashion, I just had to make two dresses, no way could I leave a sister out of this gloriousness.  The Ania Tunic is another classic pattern that lent itself to a little hacking for little sis.

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I’ve been spending a lot of time at Raspberry Creek Fabric (Diana is a gracious sponsor of the tour) and I just had to have these two fabrics for my looks.  Diana has a ton of fun gingham in the shop and I’d actually been stalking the return of this floral from Cotton and Steel.  Together they make an unexpected pairing for Easter.

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This floral from Cotton and Steel was perfect for the bohemian vibe I was going for.  It’s soft and sweet and looks so cute on this girly.

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For her look, I modified the Ania Tunic a few ways.  First and most obvious is that I made it dress length by adding about 10 inches to the tunic length for a size 7- she’s almost a 9 for height so that’s a couple inches more than average.  I switched out the button in the back for a tie since my girls are forever getting their hair caught in back buttons.  With the help of Olga I took a little height off the sleeve cap to make the sleeve less puffy at top- I was thinking puffy sleeves AND a sleeve ruffle would be too much.  Finally, I added a ruffle at the sleeve hem for the ultimate boho look.

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She’s my accessories gal and as soon as she’d picked out her baubles I knew this dress was made for her!  She’s all about the glam but is still just 7 so comfort usually trumps all.  This dress suits her to a T!

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This Polina is LOVE!  This one is a lot less girly so the gingham is a perfect pick.  Those ruffles down the bodice add just the right amount of playfulness.  For this one I did it just as the pattern says, only switching out the buttons for KAM snaps in the back (to avoid the hair tangles).  She’s a size 7 also with a 10 height which was an easy alteration with the circle skirt.

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Her ruffles are lined with little sister’s floral so the are matching but not totally twinning.  I don’t think I could get away with making them full-on identical outfits but they sure do love to coordinate.

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The best part about this dress- THE TWIRL!

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I’m so excited to have their Easter dresses done- they have some cute knit ones too that I’ll be sharing later this week that they’ll wear for all the easter egg huntin’ fun.    For this shoot we headed to our favorite little shopping place, Gardner Village.  It was also the location of our Easter shoot last year too- you can’t beat the gorgeous flowers and fun buildings as backdrops!

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In typical Utah spring fashion, we took these pictures and as we walked to the car the heavens opened!  The rain turned to snow and we woke up to a winter wonderland the next day!  So as the snow melts outside I’ll cling to these pics and the hope of more beautiful spring days ahead.

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Make sure to check out all the other stops on the tour- but be careful, there are so many cute things that you’ll just have to copy for your own little one!

April 4
Handmade Frenzy || Replicate Then Deviate || Fairies, Bubbles & Co || Coral + Co

April 5
Made By Sara || Naeh-Connection || The Bag of Unexpected || Circle Meets Line

April 6
Skirt Fixation || Sewing Like Mad || Hello Holli || Buzzmills ||

April 7
Little Cumquat || Thread Bear Garments || Pearl Berry Lane || Plus 2 is 5 || Sew Chibi 

April 10
Stahlarbeit || Knee Socks and Goldilocks || Bonnie and Lottie || Sew Sophielynn 

April 11
Mouse House Creations || While She was Sleeping || Mix it Make it || By Dagbjort 

April 12
Gaafmachine || Beletoile || LBG Studio || My Cozy Co  || As It Seams

April 13
Moineau & Petit Pois || Just Add Fabric || Sweeter Than Cupcakes || Frances Suzanne || Sew Liberated 

April 14
Stitched Together || S is for Sewing || Boevenbende || Lafolie Sewing Booth || Sew Pony ||With Love By Eva 

You better take a minute and enter the giveaway too for your chance to win a TON of fabric from Imagine Gnats, Raspberry Creek Fabrics, The Fabric Fairy, AND Hawthorne Threads, not to mention a couple of women’s patterns from the lovely Nah-Connection.  How cool is that?!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Twig and Tale Upcycle Tour

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I’m here for another tour today.  This time I’m sharing an upcycle project featuring the Traveller Cape from Twig and Tale.  This was a sentimental make that I can’t wait to share with you!

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Make sure to head over to the Twig and Tale Blog for links to all the other great bloggers sewing along, a giveaway and a fun link-up!

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Ready to get a little personal?  I’m extremely sentimental- I save weird stuff, I cry at sappy commercials, and love a good chic flick.  My home is filled with treasures from our travels and tons of knick knacks and furniture from my grandparents and other loved ones.  This here is my handsome paternal grandfather Allen.  He was just about as good as they come, a shining example to all his posterity.

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When he passed away, my husband inherited his car and this wool blanket was tucked away in the trunk.  It was tattered and worn but I couldn’t get rid of it and it sat waiting for this project for almost 9 years.

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This tour was just the push I needed and this cape pattern couldn’t be more perfect for it.  I love, love that this pattern is called the Traveller Cape for my dear grandparents instilled a huge desire in me to explore the world.  They traveled to exotic lands and I couldn’t wait to hear about their latest adventures.  I loved their pictures riding camels, petting tigers, or in front of an amazing landmark.  Growing up my family moved all over the country and my sweet grandparents would make the trip to visit us multiple times a year, no matter what coast or city we lived in at the time.

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I had to have my girly reading for this shoot because it was my grandma Lola that encouraged my love of reading.  She was such an avid reader and would save her favorite books and pass them on to me when she would come visit.  I loved her murder mysteries and historical fiction she would share.  I may have been the only teenager I knew who loved a good Mary Higgins Clark book!  I’m so excited that this girl of mine shares the same enthusiasm and can usually be found with her nose in a book.

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I’m a firm believer that those who pass on are still in our lives, watching over those they love.   I feel them all around me through the good times and through the times of trial.  Their family was their life and I hope we’ve done them proud.  I feel lucky to have such amazing examples to strive to be like.

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Thanks for indulging my sentimental heart.  We all have those special people that shape our lives and I’m so thankful for mine.  Who is that for you?  Was it a special grandparent? Aunt? Uncle? Maybe even an extraordinary teacher?

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Ready for a little project deets?  This was such a fun sew!  Like I mentioned, this blanket was a bit tattered and torn. It measured 50″x 50″ and I barely got this cape out of it.  I’m not too experienced with upcycling but I knew I just had to go for it and not worry too much about matching the plaid.  I was just happy that I could get all the pieces cut!

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I lined the cape in a soft slub sweater knit.  The blanket is thick and a bit itchy so this lining makes all the difference.  I used a deep mustard color hoping that my little guy might wear it one day too!

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I used a fun faux leather toggle as a closure- again hoping that it makes it a bit more unisex.  This is the 8-teen size in the classic length.  I love that she can wear this for years to come!

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We had the most fun on this photoshoot.  It was one of those super stormy days that cleared up just in time for golden hour.  We love this little equestrian trail just a few minutes from our house- it proved the perfect backdrop for this outfit.  I love these little one on one moments I get to steal with my kids.

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Thanks for joining me and make sure you head over to Twig and Tale for all the other good stuff!