Sewing for Christmas: Little Cub

Sewing for Christmas: Little Cub

As you may be able to tell from my flurry of recent posts, things have changed a bit around here since I wrote this post venting my creative frustration. With the radical change in our schedule (kids starting school) and a baby who sometimes naps, I'm actually getting a decent amount of sewing time, and even time to blog about it! This couldn't come at a better time, because I'm gearing up for holiday sewing. I'm not usually one to start my Christmas sewing any time before December 1st, not for any reason other than lack of planning and laziness. Well, maybe transitioning to three kids has taught me that it takes some major planning to accomplish things, but I got one gift made before October 1st! Handmade gifts are in the works for my older two girls, but this sweet little doll for little Lucy is done and ready for wrapping!

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Caroline's Pre K Ania Tunic

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Can you even handle that cute little girl wearing a giant backpack? Caroline started preschool recently and naturally needed a new outfit for the first day since her sister got one for kindergarten. In true middle child fashion, I'm just now posting about it even though she started two weeks ago. Don't worry- we made a big deal about it for her that day!

If you feel like you've seen this already, it's probably because I've made 2 other Ania tunics recently (here and here)- or maybe because I used this same fabric to make myself a shirt (here). Since I'm finally getting back to my sewing groove (hooray!) I'm making the most of it by sewing the same patterns several times. Is this less exciting for you? Maybe, but it means I spend less time taping and tracing patterns together, and also I get quicker each time I sew, so this is allowing my recent flurry of sewing activity. I don't have any more Ania tunics planned, but I do have more of this gorgeous floral lawn, so you haven't seen the last of it yet!

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Just like my other versions of the Ania, I made a half sleeve because I love half sleeves and because we have pretty temperate weather here and so this will get lots of wear. It's easy to layer a cardigan once things get cold, and wears well on its own for fall and spring.

Pattern: Ania Tunic by Coffee and Thread

Fabric: Regent Street Lawn in Charcoal from Urban Sew

Size: 3

Her measurements: in inches below

Chest- 21

Waist- 20

Hip- 21.5

Height- 41

Mods: 

-shortened to a half sleeve and altered the cuff to be narrower

-used my hemmer foot to do a narrow hem

This gorgeous cotton lawn is perfect for the flowy Ania tunic.

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Caroline is loving pre K and thriving having a bit more structure, now that older sister is in kindergarten. We're all adjusting pretty well to the new routine, and I'm enjoying a bit more time with little Lucy and some kid free sewing time while she naps. All in all, it feels like a complete 180 from just a couple months ago when I shared this post- which makes me all the more grateful that I documented that day before our world and routine totally changed.

Thanks for reading!!

Back to School Heartland Tour

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Today I'm sharing two looks I've sewn for the Heartland Back to School Tour, hosted by Karly from Paisley Roots. This blog tour is showcasing the Heartland fabric line from Art Gallery Fabrics, designed by Pat Bravo. Since both of my girls have started new school adventures with Kindergarten and Preschool this was a great chance to sew them something new!

I couldn't say no to this opportunity because

I love the quality

of Art Gallery Knits (their tagline is "feel the difference" and it's totally true!), and because the colors in this line are on trend and coordinate perfectly with the rest of Charly's kindergarten capsule! I shared a few items I sewed for her school clothes capsule

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and

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, but the rest is purchased. It wasn't hard at all to find coordinating pieces at places like Old Navy and Target because these colors are everywhere right now! Too often I've sewn something awesome and then can't find coordinating leggings or something because the colors in stores don't mesh with the colors of the fabrics I choose. Not so with these- in fact, Charly's leggings are ready to wear purchased from Old Navy, and she's got another pair that matches as well!

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I'm really drawn to the variety of prints in this line, in scale and in type, i.e., floral vs more geometric. I think it really lends well to using coordinates without looking too matchy.

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Now, a few details about each piece. For Caroline's outfit I sewed the Ania Tunic and Dressage leggings. This is my third Ania Tunic in the past few weeks (I have one more to share!) and I love this pattern.

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Pattern:Ania Tunic by Coffee and Thread

Fabric: Blomma Garden Golden, Heartland collection by Pat Bravo

Size: 3

Her measurements: in inches below

Chest- 21

Waist- 20

Hip- 21.5

Height- 41

Mods: 

-shortened to a half sleeve and altered the cuff to be narrower

-used my hemmer foot to do a narrow hem

I had a bit of trial and error choosing the right size of leggings for my tall skinny girl. I originally chose based on her waist as directed (size 2) and lengthened to a size 4, but it was a bit tight in the legs. I opted instead to sew a size 4 and match the elastic length to her waist instead. She wears size 4 from Target and Old Navy, so I'd say these are sized pretty comparable to those. I actually was a tester for these and really love the fit- the waistband shaping is spot on!

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Pattern: Dressage Leggings by Jennuine Design (affiliate link)

Fabric: Unn Cross Pine in Knit, Heartland collection by Pat Bravo

Size: 4

Her measurements: in inches below

Chest- 21

Waist- 20

Hip- 21.5

Height- 41

Mods:

-cut a taller waistband to accomodate 1.25" pajama elastic

-measured elastic to her waist rather than using the provided measurement

This is also my third Safari Raglan and I'm really happy with this pattern as well! I could size down for a slimmer fit, but like that my gal will be able to wear this through the spring as well. It's a well drafted pattern with great instructions.

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Pattern: Safari Raglan by Titchy Threads

Fabric: Trekant Rows Candid in Knit, Heartland collection by Pat Bravo

Size: 4

Her measurements: in inches below

Chest- 21

Waist- 20

Hip- 23.5

Height- 44

Mods: 

-none

It's been so fun sewing for school, and I've got one more school look coming soon before I dive into holiday sewing. I'm bound and determined to start early this year!

Thank you to Karly and Art Gallery for letting me be a part of this tour! We're going to get lots of wear out of these pieces! Check out the other stops on the tour below!

Sewing for Kindergarten: Aslan Dress

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Hello again! I'm back with another outfit sewn for Mie's fantastic series Sewing for Kindergarten. If you missed it, I shared the first outfit I made for her in this post.

Today I'm sharing the outfit she actually chose to wear on the first day of school, so we took these pictures that morning before the bus came. It was also before her nerves kicked in- she got pretty nervous as we waited for the bus (and I did too!) but she managed to make it to class and back home in one piece (phew!) and mostly enjoyed it :)

This summer we read The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe aloud, so when she saw this lion fabric she immediately asked for an Aslan dress.

Pattern:Safari Raglan by Titchy Threads

Fabric: Gold Lion jersey and gold ribbing from Elvelyckan Design, won in an instagram giveaway (Gold Lion is no longer in stock but they do have it in nude pink, and it's on sale!)

Size: 4

Her measurements: in inches below

Chest- 21

Waist- 20

Hip- 23.5

Height- 44

Mods: 

-lengthened at the lengthen line by 4"

-shortened sleeve to a half sleeve

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I opted to make it larger than her measurements indicate to allow room to grow. She'll likely fit this dress still in the spring!

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Mie sent us a few question prompts, here are our answers below!

- Is this your first time sending a child to Kindergarten? Yes, first one!

- Do you feel like crying or celebrating? A little of both. I'm mourning the fact that I'm not a part of so much of her life anymore. She's a very emotional person, so I've always worked to help her navigate her experiences since she feels things SO deeply. Not being able to do that (and her not wanting to share everything) makes me want to cry. But I am celebrating the fact that I'm no longer policing sibling arguments all day!

- What kind of school does your child attend?  Public school

- Question to your kindergartner: What have been the best and the worst part so far?

Best: Playing at recess!

Worst: Lines! There are so much lines and we all have to stay right in them!

Before she left for school she handed me this weed and said "Keep this so you can remember me if you feel sad."

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I'm so happy for this growing girl of mine to learn and be challenged and make new friends. Here's to new adventures!

Thanks for reading! You can check out who else is sewing along below!

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Sewing for Kindergarten: Checkered Ania Tunic

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Well, it happened. My oldest has gone off to kindergarten, which means I've officially left the world of "stay at home mom with young kids and no schedule" and am venturing into "stay at home mom who is forced to have some sort of schedule" haha!

And since I'm sending a child off to kindergarten I was happy to be able to join in with Mie's series Sewing for Kindergarten! I love sewing special outfits to commemorate important things for my kids. I decided to have a little fun with it and work with Charly to plan a capsule wardrobe. We took to Pinterest and started a board to pin things she loves. I had her tell me what she liked about each thing and it really helped me get a feel for what she likes, and it was super fun to hear her answers! You can see her board, with a quick note of what she liked about each thing, here.

Of course I would have loved to have sewn an entire capsule, but with two other small children to care for that wasn't possible, so we made a plan and have a mostly store bought capsule (including these adorable pink leggings from Target), along with these few special pieces I've sewn. This top was inspired by this pin - which Charly saw and exclaimed "I want a shirt just like Dad's work shirts!"

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Pattern: Ania Tunic by Coffee and Thread

Fabric: Double cloth cotton purchased from Imagine Gnats last year. Sadly she doesn't have any more, but I found a few options here.

Size: 3, with the length of a size 5

Her measurements: in inches below

Chest- 21

Waist- 20

Hip- 23.5

Height- 44

Mods: 

-Bias cut the bodice, pockets, and bow centers

-staystitched the neckline rather than interfaced

-omitted the bodice lining and bias bound the neck and center back edges

-shortened to a half sleeve and altered the cuff to be narrower

-removed some width at the bottom to create a straighter side seam

-increased the hem depth to 1"

I used more of this fabulous floral (used in this project), cut into bias tape, to bind the center back and neckline since I omitted the lining. The double cloth cotton has a looser weave and is two layers of cotton- similar to double gauze but a bit heavier. I love the weight of it, but I discovered a little too late that it isn't very conducive to cutting on the bias, at least not without stabilizing it somehow. The weight of the fabric pulled it out of shape a bit, which you can see where the bodice meets the bottom portion.

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I love being able to make her something special, and add little details like the floral binding that make her so happy!

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 Thanks for having me, Mie! I'll be back tomorrow with one more thing I sewed for my kindergartener. You can also check out others participating in the series below!

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Now if you'll excuse me I'll be weeping over baby pictures trying to figure out where the time has gone...

Beatrix Top Hack

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Hey hey hey! I managed to make myself something! I've had a list of things I'd like to sew for my postpartum body because I don't have much that fits me now, but this is the first one I've managed. It took me nearly a week because babies need attention and stuff. Haha!

I needed a loose fitting top that I could easily breastfeed in, that was also cool for the unbearable heat and humidity of Virginia summers. I'd planned to buy the Scout tee pattern, but then I saw Erin's hacked Beatrix, a pattern I already own, and figured I could work off of that! Sewn in this fantastic lawn from Urban Sew means it drapes beautifully and keeps me cool- because we've got a month of heat left here! It's just loose enough to pull up for easy breastfeeding access without drowning out my frame.

This has quickly become my favorite top and I'd love to sew another one or two! I didn't have to make many adjustments, and was happy to have a built in full bust adjustment to use. I also got a chance to use my new hemmer foot for my sewing machine which made this narrow hem super easy! Normally I cringe when I have to work through a narrow hem, but the hemmer foot makes it simple! Details about sizing and mods are below!

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Pattern: Beatrix by Made by Rae

Size: Straight medium, View A, with the C/D cup front option

My measurements: in inches below

Upper Bust-34

Bust- 37

Waist- 31

Hip- 41

Mods:

-Cut back on the fold using the center back line on the pattern

-omitted the button placket

-omitted facings (I hate facings!) and bound the neck with single fold bias tape

-added two 1" fisheye darts to the back to give some shaping for my swayback after assessing the fit on my muslin

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So now I'm thinking I need a few with view B- a banded hem and longer sleeves. I'd definitely recommend this pattern, as it was detailed and easy to follow and a great fit!

That awesome red necklace is from Madre Beads- I love these necklaces because they're a perfect accessory that my little lady can pull, chew, and grab with no worries about breaking chains. You can check out more at madrebeads.com! I'm a Madre Beads Enthusiast, which means I share my love for this brand and receive discounts (score!). I was not paid to share this, and don't make any money if you purchase. I just love having jewelry that fits my lifestyle and love sharing :)

Thanks for reading!

On motherhood and creativity

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I'll be honest, here. I've been struggling lately with feeling fulfilled. I'm fully aware of how cliche that sounds. But with a new baby and Matt working hard in the evenings on his ice cream business I feel like I'm in the trenches of motherhood at the moment, and sometimes it's rough. I love my job. I love that I get to stay home and spend my days with these amazing little people, but sometimes I hate cleaning bodily fluids off the rugs and for-the-love will you just be quiet for a moment so I can scroll through instagram in peace while the baby sleeps?! You know?

But really, honestly, I can handle all that stuff. I can. What is really hard for me at the moment is not having the time to pursue my creative interests. Because when you're an inherently creative person, the ideas can be consuming and it's like having a twitch that you just can't quite get rid of. I need to get the ideas out of my head through my hands and make them happen so I can stop obsessing. So I can relax. I read an article recently about creativity and motherhood, and while I can't find the link at the moment, the thing that stuck out to me most was a line that said "it isn't what I'm doing that's the problem; it's what I'm not doing"- and I feel that SO HARD. But I guess that's the point, right? I mean, time is the great equalizer. Money and opportunity and ability are so variable, but we all have the exact amount of hours in our day. And here we are, using it all up and in the end whatever we did with it is what we have to show. And the things that need done may come at the sacrifice of those things we want to do. And even if I WANT to stay home with my kids (I do) I still mourn those things that I currently can't do because mothering these little beasts requires all of my time.

Before someone says it: I KNOW. Treasure these moments, the time goes by so quickly, you're lucky you're able to stay home with your kids, you chose this life, first world problems. I KNOW. Soon the baby will sleep better and things will change. And this phase won't last forever, and I'll try to enjoy it as much as I can. And I DO enjoy it. I have so many beautiful moments that I wouldn't change. But feeling those creative urges with little chance for release is harrowing. So I did this. I woke up one morning staring at my sweet tiny baby in my giant bed, and I got my camera. And I started clicking. And then I just kept going. And by the time we had breakfast I realized I was really enjoying it, so I kept going. This is my spontaneous photo project. A day in my life. The challenge of documenting my day in photos did amazing things for my creative spirit. And at the end of the day, looking back at these little snapshots of my real life moments reminded me why I do this. These are my people. And I'd do anything for them.

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Lucy's Nursery: Crib Sheets

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I'm breaking two of my long ago pronounced rules of nursery decor. Back when I was pregnant with Charly and was sure I was going to be the hippest mom with the most beautiful nursery, I was adamantly against animal motifs and the classic pastel colored nurseries. That was "old school" to me- the teddy bears and elephants and pink and blue was NOT hip and NOT in. I decorated her nursery with Amy Butler prints that were certainly less theme-y than the nurseries I was used to seeing at the time. Remember now, 5 years ago none of us had heard of Pinterest, so trends spread much more slowly. I actually wrote a blog post about Pinterest when I first discovered it and I thought I was the bees knees when it exploded and everyone and their grandma had an account. I was a total Pinterest hipster.

Back to the nursery- I loved how I did Charly's nursery- it was sweet. But after two girls and 5 years I was ready for a change. Little miss Lucy could have certainly used the same nursery decor. It's in good shape and still cute. But we're in a new house, and you know, sometimes you just want to change things up. So I settled on the idea of a monochromatic nursery. And then I saw this bear print from Cotton and Steel. And I had to have it.

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The tiny gold details just slay me. Bears wearing bow ties and party hats definitely wouldn't have been on my radar 5 years ago, which is why it's fun to change things up and break a few silly self imposed rules!

There are lots of good DIY crib sheet tutorials all around bogland (I followed this one), and they're all basically about the same. I strayed from them a bit and here's why: a crib sheet uses the full width of quilting cotton- typically listed as 45". In reality, quilting cotton varies from 41"-45", and that extra few inches can make a big difference to whether your sheet stays on the mattress or not. A narrower fabric will mean less overhang to wrap around the back and hold it on.

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As it happens, the fabric I used is 42" with selvage included. Rather than narrowing that measurement by 1) removing the selvage, and 2) folding over to form an elastic casing, I left the selvage intact and added a separate elastic casing, giving my sheets a better chance of staying put. It doesn't hurt that this selvage is beautiful in and of itself!

This is super simple to accomplish, and means less ironing. Trust me, your fingertips will thank you! I used gold metallic polka dot fabric a friend gave me that was already cut to be quilt binding, which made the process even simpler. After sewing together the corners of the sheet I sewed the binding (already folded with both raw edges together) to the right side of the edge of the sheet all the way around, leaving a small opening for inserting elastic. Once I inserted the elastic I sewed the last bit closed then finished the seam allowance.

Although Lucy is 2 months old her nursery is still in progress. Third kid problems, you know. So I'll be sharing her nursery in stages because the rest of it is still very much unfinished- and having some in progress posts might help me keep momentum going to finish it!

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Lucy's Blessing Dress

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In my LONG blog absence I was busy busy laying on the couch in pregnancy exhaustion and then subsequently having a baby. Her name is Lucy and she is sweet as can be, and now two months old! I'm planning to share her birth story (like I did for Charly and Caroline) but today I'm jumping the gun and sharing the blessing dress I made for her special day last weekend (a baby blessing is something we do in the LDS church and is similar to a christening). I made dresses for both of my other girls (here and here) so while I'm still super duper in love with Caroline's dress and contemplated using it again, it only seemed fair to make our little Lucy her own.

I decided to go a totally different direction with this one after doing some searching and pinning. I put together this board and realized I was digging a 60's babydoll vibe.

The only problem was I couldn't find a pattern that suited my vision. And true newborn patterns are hard to find- most start at 3 months- and I just couldn't get past the idea of having it actually fit her tiny shoulders. So I drafted my own! It was great to jump back to drafting a bit as I haven't done much since releasing the Blue Ridge Dress.

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This dress is a baby doll or tunic length, a line, lined and features a bow front detail, hem facings, and front pleat. I used a hook and eye closure at the back neck because I was strapped for time, but I had planned to do a button and loop or ties.

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I used dupioni silk that I had left over from a wedding dress I made for a friend of mine a few years ago, and while I love the look, it definitely wrinkles like the dickens. The bow detail is a sequined lace from Joann Fabrics. I brought the sequined lace in to the bloomers, as well, which are made from the free Blousy Bloomer pattern from Sew Caroline. While I love the details of these bloomers, they aren't well suited for this fabric and ended up too baggy looking. I also sized up, so both those are my own fault. I'll definitely give these a try in another fabric some time- I love the options for trims and contrast fabrics with the front panel.

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My little Lucy looked precious on her blessing day and was given a wonderful blessing by her dad. We were happy to share the day with some family. I'm so happy with the way her dress turned out and that I could make her a special keepsake.

And since I've already drafted it, I'm tweaking a few things and planning to release it in newborn size as a free pattern! I'll have lined and unlined options for a more casual look. I can't wait to make a few more of these for her for summer- keep your eyes peeled for the free pattern in the coming weeks!

Thanks for reading!

Thread Faction ss2016 Tour

Hello Friends! I'm thrilled to be participating in a blog tour for Thread Faction* today. Liz Elliot is the designer behind the children's pattern company Thread Faction, and she's just released her spring/summer line. It's a fabulous looking collection of patterns using knits- perfect for easy summer wear!

Thread Faction SS2016 Blog Tour

There are links for the other stops on the blog tour at the bottom of this post, as well as details on the GIVEAWAYS so make sure you check that out!

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I've sewn up #106- a girls skater skort perfect for my gals who love skirts but still need a little more coverage for play. After I decided on a pattern I took to my Kidcouture Pinterest board to get some inspiration, and came across this image that I pinned a year ago. I love how the stripes seem to curve due to the shape of the skirt and I love the simple drawstring detail.

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#106 is the perfect shape for this, and stripes will get lots of wear since they're basically a neutral, right? I bought some double knit from Joann Fabrics (the same fun stripe/polka dot I used for this dress a couple years ago) and some white jersey to try to form some sort of drawstring out of. I ditched the drawstring idea because I was sewing against the clock, and by pure coincidence Liz posted this video tutorial for the knit fabric twine just yesterday so I took it as a sign and added it! I love the little something extra it adds and I love that Liz and I were on the same wavelength!

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The shorts underneath mean they can run, skip, dig, jump, and climb without showing their unders. Caroline just recently toilet trained and not having to layer up separate shorts under a skirt will help prevent those wardrobe related accidents that seem to happen in the early days after ditching diapers.

The only changes I made to the pattern were to lengthen both skirts according to the pattern instructions for my tall skinny girls, and adding the twine detail on the front.

I hadn't sewn any of her patterns before, and I'm happy to report that I fully enjoyed my sewing experience with this pattern! There were lots of great tips included on things like fabric selection and tips for sewing with knits, and an included crib sheet for those who don't need the full instructions. The diagrams well drawn, clear, and easy to understand. This pattern had lots of extras but was still simple and straightforward without too much extra fluff. I love the waistband construction method and am really happy with how quickly these came together without sparing any quality. I'm already planning to purchase more and can definitely see myself sewing this pattern again! It could easily be hacked as separate skirt and shorts, too! You can find it and all the other patterns from the collection over on the Thread Faction* site.

Liz has an awesome giveaway going on over on her blog- head over to this post to enter to win an amazing prize package of fabric and patterns!

But wait! You can also enter here to win a pattern of your choice from the SS2016 Collection below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't forget to visit the other stops on the tour for more inspiration on how you can sew up these patterns! Each link won't be live until their post date.

26/5 Nap Time Creations Miss Castelinhos Swoodson Says Needles to say

27/5 Made By Sara Sew Not Perfect Hello Holli Whisk 'em

28/5 House of Estrela Made By Amanda Rose Max California Brave Fabrics

29/5 Create 3.5 Bless by Tone The College Seamstress

30/5 Ma Me Mi Mo Paisley Roots Skirt Fixation

31/5 Sew Very Rebel and Malice Call Ajaire

1/6 Better Dressed Child Buzzmills Handmade Frenzy

2/6 Lamb and ewe crafts All Things Beautiful Pen, Seb & Rox

 

*This post contains affiliate links. I love this pattern and I think you'll love these patterns, too, so I signed up for the Thread Faction affiliate program. If you purchase through my link I'll receive a small commission. Thanks for reading!