My Sew Style Hero: Shannon from Rare Device

I originally posted on the Sewcialists blog about this project, but I definitely wanted to also post here, because Hello my blog needs this post too! I also have a bunch more pictures to share.

I chose Shannon from Rare Device for my Sew Style Hero for many many reasons.

  1. I love her style. She has a knack for great colour and fabric choices. The things she wears always look great on her and embrace trends like crop tops, wide legged pants, etc.
  2. She plays with gender in her style. Something I used to do a lot, but haven’t done in recent years since I started sewing for myself. It is something I want to do again (I even have a button up shirt cut out!) with a focus on making things that are comfortable for me to wear given my physical disabilities.
  3. She started Sew Queer and that prompted me to start Chronically Sewn to help highlight sewists with physical and mental chronic illnesses.

Speaking of style, Shannon is known for her crop top and flowing skirt or pant sets, either matching or mismatching. She is actually just finishing up another set using a monstera leaf print that makes me super envious!

 

I looooove the look, but I had never tried a crop top before in my life. What better time to overcome a fear of releasing the mid-drift?

I went through my stash looking for a fabric that would be perfect for the set and had just enough of a lovely soft cotton tropical flower print. For the crop top, I chose the bodice from the Simplicity 8096 dress view A.

To the Simplicity bodice, I added a band at the bottom and elastic through the band. I also added a button band at centre front and cut the back on the fold eliminating the zipper back there. The entire top unbuttons from the front and is incredibly easy for me to get on and off with my physical constraints. It’s incredibly comfortable.

 

I made the skirt without a pattern. It’s just a simple pleated skirt with pockets and a button band. The look above on the far right of Shannon is the look that inspired mine. The skirt is cut a bit shorter due to fabric constraints. I am also much shorter than Shannon so it actually looks the same length on me!

A big floppy sun hat completes the inspiration look!

   

And I actually feel incredible in this look! Crop tops are some kind of wonderful.

   

I love the purple buttons I got locally for both the crop top and skirt. They look great with the floral print. The skirt could be a bit tighter. I may actually put some elastic across the back after I run it through the wash once to see whether the fabric shrinks a bit. To add the elastic, I will just open up two spots along the waistband at the back and then run some 1 inch elastic through and tack it down. That should do the trick.

  

Thank you, Shannon, for all that you do for the sewing community. You are an amazing Sew Style Hero!

 

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Some Loosey Goosey Summer Sewing plans

I have a weird relationship with planning sewing. I love planning stuff out, but I hate being confined to the plans. So I am calling these “loosey goosey” plans because I don’t want to feel confined to them. I want them to inspire me but not restrict me.

I’m going to talk categories, because Me-Made-May always makes me think about the areas I really need to replenish my wardrobe or the areas I am lacking.

PJs

It’s been true for a while now that I need to make more PJs/loungewear for around the house. My current flannel pj pants and lounging shorts are getting threadbare and ratty looking after so many washes. Also, many lack pockets and that’s ridiculous to me now. I need a place to stash my phone or my tissue (sinus problems and being an empath mean I need tissues constantly…).

Since these are summer sewing plans, I have two summer pj plans.

Blank Slate Patterns Barton shorts

I know how weird it must seem to pick flannel for the summer to a lot of people. But I love flannel all year round. It’s really difficult for me to regulate my temperature so I often need sweaters all year round. Also, flannel is incredibly soft and there is nothing worse to me than having a lounge/sleepwear in a stupid scratchy fabric. I mean why choose stupid scratchy fabric for anything ever?

The flannel pictured is one of many flannels I have. I hoard that stuff. I will probably make a couple of these in different fabrics. The nice thing is this also helps me achieve a #2018MakeNine fabric objective of using my flannel. Go me!

I’ve made the Blank Slate Barton shorts many times and love them. They are super comfortable.

Hot Patterns Cupid Cami and Tap pants

This pattern is available for free on fabric.com. I have this black and white floral satin that would be great for some warm weather pjs. If these work out well, I might use some other satin I have for another pair. The only issue is that there are no side seams for pockets. I think I will probably add a patch pocket to the top. I also have the Designer Stitch Ella Cami set so I might switch the pattern out to that since it has pockets. Or not. Loosey goosey, after all.

DIYB Club Gabriela PJs

Welcome to the over the top crazy plan. I got this pattern for free since DIBY contacted the CSC editors asking us to review a few of their patterns. I immediately jumped on the Gabriela. I’ve been wanting to make a onesie for pjs for a really long time. Until this past year, there weren’t any in my size. There are now two patterns that I know of in my size and above! Gabriela is one and the other is Rad Patterns Cosplay suit. There might be more out there, but I am good with just having one for now. The Gabriela pjs are like old one piece thermal pjs and have a functional butt flap. Amazing! LOL. Perfect for pjs.

I got some Disney Princess cotton lycra from Funky Monkey Fabrics for this pattern. It’s a super indulgent and frivolous purchase for sure! I want to use a solid accent colour for the butt flap, cuffs, and pockets, but I haven’t picked that out yet since I was waiting to see the true colours in the fabric. I think I will likely make the shorts version of this pattern with no hoodie meaning that I might have enough fabric leftover for a tank top. YES!

Tops

The Peplum top is a free pattern from In the Folds is available through Peppermint Magazine. I have two linens (white and turquoise) that I want to make into Peplum tops.

I snapped this Designer Stitch Synthia ruffle top pattern as soon as it was released. Recently, I got this digital print rayon from a local store. The wrong side is a greyscale version of the print and I think that will look really neat with the pattern since the wrong side shows on the ruffles in some places.

Yes, yes, I know. I am the queen of Cashmerette Cedar Dolman hacks. I am the hack queen. ROFL. The idea of this hack is to use the leftover rayon from my M7624. I plan on using the coral to colour block the shoulders/neckline and then the tropical print for the main body.

The Style Arc Blair cropped shirt looks great for summer. I have a bit of this tropical print voile from my first Willow Kimono. I hope I can get it cut out of this fabric. If I can’t amke it work, I will pick up a solid colour and do the bottom half and the button band in the solid.

I bought this cotton lycra on a whim lately and went looking through my stash for a good pattern. Version B of Simplicity 8342 is the one I chose. I also kind of want to make the cropped pants but I would need fabric for that.

Shorts

Cake Patterns was briefly out of commission for a bit and then they were bought out so their patterns are available again. WOO! I am a big fan of the Pavlova skirt. I have so many different versions. I’ve wanted to make the Endeavour shorts for a while. I have a bunch of smaller cuts of fabric that would be perfect for it. Some with a bit of stretch for comfort. 😉

Top Layers

I made a Designer Stitch Willow Kimono for our vacation this winter. I got this idea in my head to make a super weird version using this really bright orange leopard print satin with a ridiculous red fringe trim on the hems. Um yeah, so I am making that happen. This is also a #2018MakeNine fabric!

While it might be summer, I often toss on a light jacket for cooler nights. There are a few jean jacket patterns out there but few in my size so Seamwork Audrey it is. My dream is to make a jean jacket and then put a bunch of patches on it. I want a basic jean jacket and then a ridiculous

Dresses

I need a dress that would work for a wedding and I think this rayon polkadot fabric plus the Seamwork Arden would be lovely. However, I want to swap out the sleeves for some short flutter sleeves. Another #2018MakeNine fabric.

This Burda Keyhole dress has been on my to-make list for a while. I think this polkadot chambray will look awesome with it. Another #2018MakeNine fabric.

You may remember this Designer Stitch Pippa dress and pink polkadot fabric pairing from my Miss Bossy vote! I shall make it happen since it got so many votes.

Helllooooooo mint floral eyelet! You would look lovely as Simplicity 8096 view C. Yes, yes, you would. Another #2018MakeNine fabric.

Etc.

I need to get a move on a new batch of bras. I also need underwear. And some bike shorts for under dresses and skirts would also be good.

Final thoughts

It’s a lot of plans. I definitely won’t get them all done since I have costume making to do as well this summer. But a woman can dream!

Cashmerette Cedar Dolman: Pattern Hacks

Today I am sharing two garments I made back in March… One of the items was waiting on a repair before I could take pictures. I’ll talk about that a bit later.

Both garments are made using the Cashemerette Cedar Dolman as the starting pattern. I really love this pattern for its versatility. It’s a great pattern to “hack.”

First up is a dress version. For this version, I actually used the Cedar Dolman I made as a pattern tester. I added a neckband and sleeve bands. Knowing that I was going for a loose fit, I didn’t want to cut the length of the Dolman too much. In the tester version, I made the tie version so I cut the tester off just above the tie. It’s probably about 4 inches off the bottom. For the skirt, I just added two panels that were the width of the back and the front.

I added pockets to the side seams and sewed the tops of them into the skirt waist. The skirt waist is sewn to the bodice and then about an inch and a quarter below that, you sew again. Then you press that extra up and sew a line of stitching to secure it and then feed the elastic in through that. It’s the same method used for the Colette Myrtle waistband in this tutorial.

This is the kind of dress that you just throw on after work or on the weekend. It’s comfortable and easy to make as well! I made it using a bamboo jersey in mauve that I got from a friend. I really really love this fabric. It wears well and is durable.

Up next is the garment I had to repair.

This Cedar Dolman hack is exactly like my striped one, but this time with ruffles on the sleeves! I simply cut two strips of fabric, folded them in half lengthwise and then gathered them and sewed them into the seams while I sewed up the side seams. I made sure to have the ruffles fall down towards the sleeve hem.

I wore this once and then washed it and a few holes appeared in the fabric. Luckily, they aren’t super noticeable after I sewed them up; they are on the front but closer to my armpit. It’s a rayon spandex from Water Tower Textiles. After two washes (pre-wash and then washed once after it was constructed), the holes appeared. I’m really disappointed. The cut was from the end of the roll and I am hoping it was just a fluke since they were transparent about a flaw on a different part of the pieces. I’m probably not going to contact them since they told me there were flaws on the end piece and I got extra fabric as a result of that. I thought I had cut around them all, but didn’t catch these small holes that then became bigger in a wash. It’s sad but not the end of the world.

The top will be an at home top because of the holes. It’s super comfortable and I love those ruffles. They do weigh the sleeves down, though, and make the ruffles under the elbow instead of above. I think I would just use one layer of fabric next time and serge or baby hem the edge to reduce the weight and the bulk since it was also difficult to serge over all those layers. I have some lightweight hunter green jersey that might become another one of these soon because I really love it.

I plan on trying the top out in a woven next possibly with some colour blocking fun.

Simplicity 8140

Simplicity patterns haven’t been widely available in Canada since the distributer issues years ago. Fabricland (Canada’s chain fabric store) stopped carrying them and even smaller independent fabric stores don’t carry them. Jen from a Maker Heart saw me lamenting about that and offered to send me a bunch on the next Joann’s sale. Tanya has also sent me a few Simplicity patterns in the past as well. It’s nice to have such amazing sewing friends. ❤

Simplicity 8140 popped out at me as a style I might like. I was excited to make it. Fabricland had a sale on yarn-dyed plaid flannel fabric and I started imagining a plaid version of this pattern with a lace yoke. I had a remnant of a navy lace really wanted to use it. Through some miracle, I had *just* enough fabric for it. The patterns calls for lightweight fabrics and while the flannel isn’t lightweight it still works well.

I made size 28W. I did widen the sleeves for puffed sleeves. Sorry not sorry for loving a puffed sleeve. I have super narrow shoulders so I like the way it gives me the appearance of having wider shoulders and I also love the mobility the extra fabric gives my arms without changing the size of the armsyce which often leads to other fit issues. So for me, a puffed sleeve is always going to be my default.

It was always my intention to wear a belt with this dress. Without the belt, it does resemble the nightgown Ebenzer Scrooge wears throughout the Night Before Christmas….

You’ll notice that I didn’t put the pocket on the bust. To me, bust pockets on a person with my size of bust need to be super tiny or not there at all, because they just tend to empasize that my bust is waayyyy bigger than the pocket and then people stare at the pocket in awe. So I moved the pockets down and cut them on the bias to avoid print matching.

I used the scallop edge of the lace on the back. I reallly reallly love the look of it. The dress certainly has a strange cool/warm thing going on and I find myself sort of wanting a shawl. The pattern does call for lining the lace, but I didn’t want to do that.

With the belt, the dress looks awesome. I made no attempt at pattern matching, but it doesn’t look too bad especially with the bias cut button placket and pockets.

That hem looks wavy, but I think it’s just the way it is draping because it is flat… I pressed it a bunch. Burnt my fingers and everything.

This was really easy to make. I followed my favourite method for the button placket and have all the raw edges hidden inside and then the boxed “x” topstitching. I used a glue stick when sewing the collar facing down and it looks amazing. I should really take more detailed shots of these finishes, but I sort of feel like sewists have probably seen enough collars in their lives…

Perhaps my only criticism is the sleeves are really wide at the hem. Instead of tapering down to the hem, they are straight from the armsyce to the hem. It would have looked ridiculous keeping them like that so I tapered them a bit at the hem. Even though they are meant to be rolled up, it doesn’t really make sense to me to have such a wide hem. Also, the 3/4 length that you are supposed to roll them to is really long. I get that I have short arms, but these are basically full length on me… For my next version, I will definitely be moving where that sleeve tab sits for them to actually be 3/4 length on me.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Simplicity 8140
  • Pros: Great size range. Love that hem.
  • Cons: The sleeves are weirdly large at the hem.
  • Make again?: Absolutely after a couple more adjustments to where that sleeve tab sits. I really want to make the top version.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md4.5/5 stars

McCall’s 7094 and an evolving wardrobe

Back when I hacked my Cashmerette Springfield top into a pussybow, I kind of felt like my wardrobe was making some pretty substantial shifts in a new but not completely different direction. I’ve always leaned toward vintage-inspired looks and the way my wardrobe is going is not much different, but maybe a bit more “grown up.” I shudder at that, though, because I think if you are an adult everything you do and wear is adulting. If you choose to wear “twee” outfits, you are still an adult and, to me, there is nothing wrong with that, especially because I love wearing “twee” outfits. Right now, though, I have visions of gorgeous 1940s style blouses and blazers with either skirts or wide-legged, high waisted trousers or shirtdresses galore.

I want to use more lush fabrics like rayons and silks and linens and I want to use different techniques like pin tucks, lace insets, embroidery and I might make everything with ruffles or puffed sleeves…

I don’t think these changes will automatic, but you might notice it all over time. It’s going to fun no matter what because it means sewing and probably buying fabric. 😉

I’ve had McCall’s 7094 in my pattern stash for a really long time. Out of print but still available on the website. This was released at the end of 2014 (as per Michelle’s blog post) and I know I got it shortly after that, because that release contained a McCall’s 7084, which I used for my wedding dress and started early in 2015. It goes to show you how often I buy patterns and how often I use patterns….

This pattern just sort of got moved off my sewing list and back on a few times and never quite made it because of shiny things.

I  made M7094 in view D, but with shorter sleeves. I used XXL. According to the size chart, XXL is 24/26 or 46/48 inches at the bust. I am 51 inches at the bust, but the pattern runs large so it fit fine at the bust. However, I did make adjustments to the sleeves and widen them at the sleeve head for a puffed sleeve look.

 

The fit is just as expected. It’s a loose-fitting top that skims over my hips. I think there are some improvements for next time. The back is a bit tight on me and for someone with a narrow back that is a bit weird… The pattern called for cutting out one yoke, but that would have not been very pretty inside so I cut 2 yokes and used the burrito method. It’s possible that is causing the back to feel a bit tighter than the pattern intended. I will also lower the armsyce a bit since it is a little pinchy. This is also not often an issue that I have. I usually use smaller sizes and then do an FBA so I am confused why this issue is popping up just with this top. I haven’t read through all the pattern reviews to know if it common. Both are easy enough fixes, though. The other strange thing is that the sleeve hem is a bit off and doesn’t sit straight. I think the likely issue there is because of the armsyce so I will correct that first and then see if the sleeve hem corrects itself becuase it is not being pulled up by a too-tight armsyce.

Let’s talk about that collar. I fucking love that collar. It was incredibly difficult to put in, but thanks to the genius suggestion of using a glue stick for collars from a few people in Instagram stories (Makerheart, Closet Case Files, True Bias and a few others that I can’t remember sorry). I freaked out over this tip and started using it for everything. Talk about a game changer. Now the collar sits a bit higher than the model in the pattern picture, but I like where it is sitting so I don’t want to mess with that.


I am trying to remember to pull my hair out of the way for pictures of the back of garments but I forget so I often have two pictures of the back. Haha. Also, how long is my hair? Sheesh. I’ve taken some pictures lately and I think I understand why people keep commenting about the length. Oh and I have bangs now! I am in love with them. I’ve had bangs before but never with long hair like this and I really love the look.

The placket was incredibly difficult to sew in as well. It has pleats in it. The instructions were also just not making sense to me. I think I will use a different method next time since this method has raw edges on the inside. I prefer the method where you are hiding them all within the placket itself and then sewing an “x” in a box on the front side. I should have just gone with my instincts and used that method, but I was trying to follow directions. In the end, I just ended up moving the raw edges inside and topstitching over the bottom edge. It’s not the prettiest finish, but you can’t really tell.

I love the hem of the shirt. I have another garment to share soon with a similar hem so it seems like I am being drawn to these types of hems lately.

The fabric I used is a poly crepe in navy with orange squiggly lines. It’s not the best material to wear for say…Summer, but it works in my office. I really love the look of the top tucked into a skirt.

It’s definitely going to become a classic in my wardrobe.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: McCall’s 7094
  • Pros: Fits larger than the pattern sizes indicate. Loose-fitting top with lots of great details and that collar!
  • Cons: Fits larger than the pattern sizes indicate… So look at the finished garment measurements for a size with the amount of ease you like. Confusing placket instructions (or maybe that was me…).
  • Make again?: I already have fabric for another!
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md4/5 stars

Cashmerette Rivermont Pattern

I tested the Cashmerette Rivermont pattern and really fell in love with it.  The pattern includes a sheath dress and a peplum top with a high scoop neck. The neckline has shoulder to shoulder facings. And there are big pockets in the sheath dress. The pattern called for medium weight ponte knit or lightweight neoprene/scuba.

When Jenny sent me the pattern preview, I jumped on it. We actually tested back in July/August. I bought some lovely ponti de roma in a deep purple from Fabricland to make my first version.

 

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I sent off the results of testing and hadn’t hemmed the dress yet. I usually take off 3-4 inches from the hem of Cashmerette patterns unless I feel like leaving them long (the Webster dress I left longer). I’m considering going back  and hemming it about 4 inches shorter. Also, because the hem got all wavy in sewing and even after pressing it wouldn’t go flat.

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I realized as I was taking these pictures that most are with my hands in the pockets. They are such deep cozy pockets that I just kept putting my hands in there. Ha! I styled it with a belt from Addition-Elle. That belt is one of my favourite wardrobe accessories.

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I adore purple on me. Weirdly I don’t have a lot of it in my wardrobe. This piece was the start of getting it back into my wardrobe. 🙂

My second Rivermont dress was also using the tester pattern. I had a wedding to go to in Killarney at the end of September and really needed something nice to wear. I got some peach scuba in a Bunz trade at the end of August. Over 86 yards of awesome fabric for a $40 gift card to Staples! Bunz is crazy good. What I noticed was the light peach colour was a great match for my skin and then my brain just needed some lace overlay for it. I got some royal blue stretch lace from Fabricville (sadly not available anymore) and got started the week of the wedding. Yes, I was finishing the dress up the night before we left.

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You can see how the scuba with its lower stretch percentage and stiffness makes it fit a little bit differently. But it still looks awesome imho.

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After seeing all the pictures with my hands in my pockets, I basically was self conscious and kept them out for these pictures. LOL. I styled this dress with a thin gold belt from Winners.

The neckline was fixed for the final version. It doesn’t really bother me in either of these dresses. It’s much better in the ponti version since the fabric has better recovery. The scuba version definitely has a more pronounced neckline issue as well as an issue with gaping pockets. I used a lighter jersey to line the pockets due to a few reasons. I didn’t want to have too much bulk from sewing through three layers of fabric at the waist and I didn’t have enough fabric. The dress also had to be cut 4 inches shorter, but that turned out to be a great thing since I love the length.

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I really wanted to take these pictures and get the post ready for the launch of the pattern, because I love it so much. I had a rough September and October due to having gluten back in my diet in order to get tested for celiac disease and spent a lot of the time sick. I’m back on my gluten free diet now and automatically feel better. I mean I still have a chronic illness, but a chronic illness plus an extra amount of horrible migraines, allergy attacks, GI issues, and not being able to eat for fear of throwing up is the worst. I often have all of these issues, but not to that degree. And of course, it is fall here, so if it isn’t me being sick, it’s raining. I actually managed to take these after it had rained off and on all day.

There will be many more Rivermont iterations in the future. I plan on making a stretch velvet peplum next. 😀

SMH It’s been a while…

Luckily, I was not absent from blogging due to illness, but due to summer being busy and fun so far!

My main source of enjoyment has been my garden.

And my plants

I haven’t taken a recent picture of my garden. The tomato plants have grown to be 3 feet tall! The cucumber, red peppers, and beans are coming along too. Sadly, the amount of rain drowned my herb seedlings and made my lettuce turn from good to bad in a day. Oh well, lessons learned. I will buy some mature herb plants soon and just keep them inside, I think.

My jade plant sadly got a mold disease and looks really bad. I used a spray solution on it and all the diseased leaves are falling off. I hope I saved it in time. I have one little cactus that is looking poorly, but stabilized over the past month. If anyone has a clue what is wrong with it, please let me know. I know it isn’t bugs or too much water…

The big news is that I met Kat!

She came all the way from New Zealand and we met up and did some fabric shopping.

She brought me some tasty chocolate and lush merino from New Zealand. We also bought matching pink monkey jersey!

It was so good meeting her. We even discussed a Monthly Stitch meetup in Japan for 2018. I’d love to do that!

In the sewing world, I made three more Pavlova skirts. Cake Patterns is no longer, but this skirt pattern is a staple for me.

Unfortunately, I need to alter the black skirt since I mis-measured and need about another inch and a half. Luckily the skirt has pleats and a long waistband to let out.

The skirts have pleats in the front and in the back. They are meant to copy this Butterick skirt pattern by Gertie. In my version the pleats are a bit different and a bit more flattering on me. I seriously love the black and white skirt and wear it a ton in spite of it being made in a mid-weight suiting material. The blue one is pretty short and works great for a variety of casual cosplay, including Wonder Woman.

I made a new born outfit for a friend’s baby boy.

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And the finished outfit. Yeay! #sewing #sewcialists #babyclothes

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The E is totally covering up a serged hole. 😦

I have two dress cut out and ready to make for two different friends.

I have to get on those and send them off.

I managed to get a wicked good haul at the thrift store and add 30 yards to my stash…

I’m not doing great on stashbusting….

I still have UFOs and am slowly getting through them.

These Misty Jeans require topstitching.

This Harrison shirt still needs button bands and a collar:

I still need to redo this dress.

I think I will take the waistband off and add darts to the skirt. At first, I was just going to do fisheye darts, but now I want to do it properly.

My swimsuit is half done. The bottoms are all done. They look messy when laid flat, but are fine on me. I have to make the bra top soon.

This is an in progress picture of them:

Done now, but I didn’t take another picture after this.

I cut out and made a Concord T shirt yesterday.

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Well that was quick! #concordtshirt #sewing #sewcialists

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I also have an Appleton maxi almost done. Here is a sneak preview.

I also cut out a Webster dress and two pairs of shorts in linen rayon fabric

The Appleton dress will be posted soon. I just have to put on sleeve bands and hem the dress and take pictures. It’s going to be gorgeous. I am trying to meet the dresses deadline on Friday (@ 8pm in Toronto!) for the Monthly Stitch’s indie pattern month. It’s also part of the maxi dress sew along. 🙂

Are you taking part in either of Indie Pattern Month or the Maxi dress sewalong? 🙂