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Pattern testing

Striped Swallow Designs – Highlander Dolman and Rhapsody Joggers

Hi everyone! It’s been a little quiet around here while I settle back into working and studying hasn’t it?

I’ve been keeping very busy behind the scenes in my spare time. Alright, let’s be honest, I’ve been sewing instead of doing my house work, because there is no longer any such thing as “spare time”!

I’ve been busy putting together my first reviews as part of my new role on the Pattern Revolution team (you will hear more about that soon!!) and I’ve also been doing some pattern testing too!

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Speaking of pattern testing… I have been bursting to show you this new outfit from Striped Swallow Designs! They recently released the Mainland Collection which includes the Highlander Dolman and Rhapsody Joggers for Women and now the girls bundle and patterns are ready in their store too!

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I absolutely love this outfit! The Highlander Dolman has a t-bar back option as well as ties but as you can see in my version I chose a single back strap.

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I used a grey marle and a red and off-white stripe tshirt jersey for the front and back (both sourced from Spotlight). These fabrics don’t have a lot of stretch, which is fine for a dolman, but I made sure to use my floral rayon spandex as the binding, as it has the stretch and recovery needed for the job.

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I made my daughter the size 5 width and used the size 6 length per her measurements and the fit and shape are both great. You can choose from sizes 2-14 and I really love how the colour blocking worked in this outfit.

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Ok let’s tuck the top in so we can see these pants!

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For the Rhapsody Joggers, I used this awesome rayon spandex I had in my stash from Lincraft. It feels sooooo beautiful and I am very jealous that I dont have enough to make myself a pair!

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I decided to use the same stripe from the back of the Dolman as contrast pockets, which along with the floral binding on the dolman, really helps link the outfit together without it being too matchy matchy!

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I made the size 6 width with the 6x length per her measurements. WHAAAAAAAT??? My girl must be growing finally! The fit and length are perfect and with sizes 2-14 to choose from, and size blending instructions included in the pattern, you’ll get the perfect fit too.

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I really don’t have much else to say about this outfit, other than – I love it, she loves it,  it’s ridiculously comfy and it looks ridiculously awesome!! I’d love to hear what you think of my crazy fabric combinations though! Knits are really expensive in Australia and we don’t have anything like the range my friends in the USA have! I often fill online carts with fabric from US stores because they are so cheap and beautiful. Then you click checkout, you add your address and then you just about faint from the postage cost! So if someone can find me a fabric sponsor I’d be super grateful 😉

Make sure you keep in touch on instagram and facebook!
Warmest wishes,

Brooke xx

idlesunshine

Laela Jeyne Plaid & Boots Tour

I am thrilled to be included in the Laela Jeyne Plaid & Boots Tour Lineup! I know the rest of these girls are loving getting back into their boots and warmer clothes in the Northern Hemisphere! They’ve been sewing cosy clothes, eating all things pumpkin and looking forward to Thanksgiving and a White Christmas!

I signed up straight away into Day 1 of the tour, which is all about “Date Night”! Now I didn’t sign up to that theme because my husband and I get to do that a lot, in fact with 3 kids and the normal crazy busy life that comes along with that, there’s not a lot of dating going on at all! I can however translate clothes to fit that theme, so let me show you the 3 outfits I’ve come up with made with Laela Jeyne Patterns.

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Here in Australia we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, there’s no Black Friday sales, no game nights and bonfires either at this time of year. We operate a little differently as we are enjoying Spring not Fall (or Autumn as we know it)! So as the weather warms up, Date Night was the theme I could relate to best!

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Here in my part of Australia Spring has been so beautiful so far! I’m not a fan of the cold weather at all so I am a very happy girl right now! We have been heading to the beach on the weekends, swimming in our friends pool, doing bush walks and enjoying the sunshine and BBQ’s with our kids and friends. Then when the time rolled around to take pics of my outfits, the rain set in! Isn’t that always the way?

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So for those cooler spring days, the hero of this outfit is the new Sydney Slouchy Raglan. I absolutely love raglans, I’ve made so many lately and everyone in the house is wearing them! They are so fast to put together and they look so cool!

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I was involved in the testing of this pattern recently and loved it. It looks great with jeans or the new Taylor leggings (which can be downloaded free with a code from the Laela Jeyne Facebook Group)!!! You can dress it up with heels and some jewellery or dress it down with converse sneakers and a scarf.

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I chose the off-the-shoulder slouchy version with slim sleeves, but there is a V-neck option, swing silhouette and slouchy sleeves included too!

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My next outfit is another take on the new Sydney Slouchy Raglan (can you tell I’m a fan)? For this version I used white stretch lace and cotton lycra.

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I pinned and basted the 2 layers together with my sewing machine before running it up per the pattern just using my overlocker. I was praying the whole time that I wouldn’t make any mistakes because unpicking would have been torture!

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I extended the length of the top to make it dress length (following the existing silhouette of the Sydney and just checking it against the length and shape of a knit dress I’d made recently, but basically adding around 5.5inches or 14cm in length). The only other difference I made was to make the sleeves 3/4 length.

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I kept the same curved hi-low hem, which I find really practical and flattering. No wardrobe malfunctions for me thanks!

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I love this dress! It is soooo comfortable, I think I will have to hit my husband up for an ACTUAL DATE so I can wear it haha!

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My third outfit is the Talia dress! I am a big fan of this style of dress, it is super cute and I will make many more. This is my kind of warmer weather staple. You throw on a cute dress and instantly look great and can pretend you’ve made an effort. It’s actually really lazy because you aren’t having to find 2 pieces that match and are clean and ironed, so I’ve always loved that illusion and embraced the dress!

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It was quite a simple sew with good instructions. I’ll show it first with just a simple set of beads, so you can see the design and fit of the dress. I have since worn this exact outfit down to our local pub with my little family and friends for lunch!

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I made the scoop neck, round back, knee-length version in a 1 inch black and white gingham which i thought looked really cool, and would also suit the Plaid & Boots Tour Theme!

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I had a mustard scarf of some kind on my wishlist and it popped into my head again when I was making this dress. With Winter well and truly over I knew I wouldn’t find what I was looking for in the shops, but then a crochet pattern appeared in my instagram feed!

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I know what you are thinking… Surely she’s not that clever that she can crochet too? You are dead right! I bought the pattern and the wool and dropped it off to my lovely Mother in Law haha! She whipped it up for me and I love it. I knew it would look great with black & white and I will get a lot of wear out of it when our Autumn and winter rolls back around!

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Like all fitted patterns for ladies dresses, I had to make a few adjustments to get the perfect fit. The darts seemed to work well on me, but overall it ended up a bit big, so I had to take it in a bit in the side seams before finishing and adding the zipper.

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I am very high waisted (short body, long legs), so I shortened the bodice (front and back) to have it sit at my natural waist to be most flattering. I then still had to take off a couple of extra inches of length from the  back bodice, which i think might be due to my sway back/high waist/high bum?  One of them or probably all of the above 😉

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So I am working a Fall look for you, with a warmer weather twist! How did I do? If you’d like to come look after my kids so my husband and I could actually go out on a date let me know lol! He wasn’t even home to take my pictures, he was “working” away in Sydney last week, so Miss 8 gets all the credit for them 💘

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I hope you enjoyed my twist on the Plaid & Boots Theme for Date Night! If you’d like to purchase any Laela Jeyne Patterns I have a discount code for you! To get 20% off your cart, the code is P&BTOUR20

Make sure to check out all the bloggers participating in the tour this week!

Tour Schedule

Monday

Kaleidothoughtidle sunshineAllie J.

Tuesday

Sew PinspiredSewSophieLynnThe Wholesome Mama

Wednesday

Nini and AshSew and Tell ProjectSweet Red Poppy

Thursday

Pear Berry LanePaisley RootsThreadbear GarmentsLace and Pine Designs

Friday

Olive AshbySunflower SeamsElegantine

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GIVEAWAY!!! With heartfelt thanks to these great sponsors above – check out these amazing prizes on offer and make sure you enter the via the rafflecopter for your chance to win!

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Chalk & Notch – Waterfall Raglan

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I have another beautiful Chalk & Notch pattern to share with you today! The Waterfall Raglan is now available for purchase through the Upcraft Club and the Chalk & Notch Webstore! Make sure you stick around as there is a great prize giveaway in the rafflecopter link at the end!

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I have a serious love of raglans! I have made so many in the past few weeks. They come together so fast and easily and they look so cool! I especially love contrasting sleeves and bands, they give the look a little more edge, which really suits my grown up girl’s style!

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I chose to make a dress for my tester version as I wanted a complete outfit from this funky fabric. There are 3 sleeve lengths and I chose to make it short sleeved for our current spring weather! I don’t have as much time for sewing these days now that I am back studying at Uni, but I couldn’t say no to another Chalk & Notch pattern! You might remember my recent post for their last release – The Cascade Maxi.

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Chalk & Notch are actually today celebrating the 1 year anniversary of their first pattern release – The Fishtail Kimono. What a cool way to celebrate with another release and an awesome prize pack! I am yet to make a Fishtail for my girls but I have recently downloaded it ready to go! It is perfect for Spring and Autumn weather and is super cute.

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I made this dress for Miss 8 who is not a pink kind of girl. So I used this awesome green print fabric I got as a ladies maxi dress from an op shop (thrift store). It probably cost me $3 and I used some plain black cotton lycra as the sleeves, neckband, pocket and hem ruffle. I love that hem ruffle! It looks amazing on the top version too, I will definitely  be making some of them.

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She loved it, but in the end I gave up trying to coordinate her busy school and dance schedule with the poor weather we had that week! So Miss 8 was dumped and Miss 5 stepped in to model instead! Miss 8 certainly doesn’t think it’s so great, but it’s lucky for me they are the same size!

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This little ratbag is off to big school next year! Soon we won’t be able to drop the big kids off, go to the park for some photos and then head to a cafe for morning tea! This kid is obsessed with caramel tarts, so that will be pretty disappointing!

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Miss 5 is also definitely not a pink kind of girl. She is a rough and tumble, wild and crazy kid, with a devilish laugh!

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I can’t say anything about their lack of ‘girly-ness’ though… You wouldn’t have caught me dead in pink at their age either lol! I was an outside kid, always on my bike and rollerskates, on the trampoline, riding a horse or climbing a tree. I hated dolls and dresses and my bedroom was blue. Most things were blue – just anything except pink please!

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I love recycling clothes as fabric! Knit fabric is pretty expensive in Australia and hard to source the kinds of prints we like, so I love picking up clothes on sales racks and in op shops. I just check the fabric for quality and condition and check how many seams are in it to see if I will be able to get enough usable fabric. I also don’t throw out clothes of my own that can be used for fabric. It’s a really inexpensive way to sew and it makes me feel better knowing that so many clothes I have repurposed could just have easily ended up as landfill!

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You will love all the versions the other testers have made, so check out the tester round up post at Chalk and Notch here and see all the testers blog links below!

Emi – Just Add Fabric | Melissa – Rebel & Malice | Brooke – Idle Sunshine | Nicky – Mix it Make it | Nelleke – gaafmachine | Sylvia – Lily & Woody | Sophie – Moineau & Petit Pois | Monica – Ma, me, mi… mo | Cassy – Pear Berry Lane | Thao – Little Cumquat | Toya – Made by Toya | Tami – Sew Sophie Lynn | Maria – Fairies, Bubbles & Co. | Indu – Kaleidothought | Julia – trendedero | Eveline – frölein till | Catherine – Mespetitstissus

Now for the fun part – Competition time!

Would you like to win:

A copy of all 4 Chalk and Notch Patterns

+ a $50 voucher to Raspberry Creek Fabrics

+ a $25 voucher to UpCraft Club?

Leave me a comment on this post and enter via the Rafflecopter link below!

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Chalk & Notch – Cascade Maxi Dress

Today is a good day! We get to take a look at the brand new Cascade Maxi dress by Chalk & Notch Patterns AND I have so generously been given a copy to give away to one of my readers! My very first giveaway!

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Wow! I could pretty much leave it at that, add a few pictures and this blog post is done right? This pattern is so gorgeous, that I don’t really have to say much at all!

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I was thrilled to be able to test this pattern. Gabriela’s sneak peek had me obsessed with this dress! Despite its ridiculous good looks, it is quite a simple sewing project that is suitable for advanced beginners. It is cut on the bias, has a simple elastic back and a gorgeous high-low maxi length hem (which is my favourite feature).

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The picture above is my absolute favourite! I tested View B, which has a feature border hem, and I absolutely love how this dress turned out with the contrasting blue I chose! If you are not so confident, or are after a super fast project, then View A creates a dress with the same finished length without the border hem.

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This dress is best made with a light weight woven fabric or one with good drape, such as this amazing printed voile I had picked up a little while ago from Spotlight. It is an absolute stunner! The border is also a voile, and I had the full rainbow of solids to choose from in my stash, but this blue is definitely my colour.

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There is a sweet pleat in the centre front which helps give the dress a great fit and style. If you look closely, you might notice that I exercised a little OCD and added my straps so that the yellow met the pink on the dress & the pink met the yellow. Anyone else do crazy little things like that, or do you just wing it?

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One of the other clever testers made an all white version which looked so beautiful. I can imagine it as a flower girl or special occasion dress! My little Miss has already decided it is SO special, it must be worn for her next birthday (which is not until January)!! I love when my kids love what I make for them.

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I love the cross over back and that the hem just skims the ground, its so elegant and grown up. The volume of fabric is such a gorgeous feature and my little Miss enjoyed swishing about in the afternoon breeze!

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So you should definitely go grab a copy of the pattern while it is on sale (until Sunday 25/9), BUT I bet you would really like to win a copy!

All you have to do is leave me a blog comment and I will use random.org to select a winner.

Of course I would also love it if you would follow me on Instagram and Facebook too! Leave me your instagram handle in your comment so I can follow you back! ❤

Competition closes Sunday 10pm Australian Eastern Standard Time, which is Sunday 5am in California for those of you on the other side of the world!

You can see some of the other talented testers’ Cascade Maxis here in the links below AND the great news is that some of these posts may also contain a pattern giveaway! So please make a cup of tea and enjoy…

Gabriela – Pattern Designer – Chalk & Notch

Natasha from Ellie’s Handmade

Anita from My Own Aria

Indu from Kaleidothought

Emi from Just Add Fabric

Nelleke from Gaafmachine

Leslie from Threadbear Garments

Mieke from Mie Made Memories

Thao from Little Cumquat

Good Luck and warmest wishes,

Brooke x

Idlesunshine

Striped Swallow Designs Anniversary

Striped Swallow Designs 2nd Anniversary Flash Sale!

 

Did you hear it’s Striped Swallow Designs 2nd birthday? Yes two years has passed since the iconic Girls Coachella Shorts Pattern was released! I am only a relatively new customer, but I wish I’d found them a long time ago. Their style aesthetic is super cool boho, and completely on-trend!!

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I have a tiny 8 year old who is a very happy customer! She has always wanted the cool clothes that her friends (her age) wear, but she is still stuck in the little kids section in about a size 4-5 in all the stores. Now I can make her just what she wants!

We recently tested 2 new patterns for Mandalynn. The Girls Midsummer Dream & The Girls Emerie Romper which are now both available for sale on the website. Let me tell you a little about these new patterns and then I’ll tell you about some awesome sales you won’t want to miss!

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The Midsummer Dream PDF Pattern is a gorgeous boho inspired off the shoulder dress, or crop top and skirt. This pattern can be made in sizes 2 – 14 and in either knit or woven fabrics! How versatile is that? I was allocated the knit dress option in testing, so I cut into this amazing vintage style knit I found at Spotlight. I bought this fabric for myself, but after I cut out my planned skirt, I luckily had just enough left for this gorgeous dress!

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The knit and woven versions have different pattern pieces to ensure the perfect fit. This means no guessing whether to upsize for woven or downsize for knit, all the hard work has already been done for you.

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I dragged my little girl out for pictures before school one morning, as after school seems to be completely full of sports & ballet lessons these days! This was 8am, but the fog just refused to lift that week! This family is not a big fan of winter, and testing summer style patterns can be a little challenging when it comes time to get great pictures! She was a little trooper though, and I only had to promise her $5 for her hard work haha!

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We styled the dress with tights and boots for a winter look, which she definitely appreciated!

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I couldn’t resist making up another version and woven fabrics are my comfort zone so I whipped up this cute little spotty crop from a muslin/gauze I had found some time ago in the remnant bin.

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The skirt was a shirred tunic top of mine that I had put away to upcycle. It was perfect as a skirt for this outfit!

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My girl absolutely loves the crop option, it’s grown up without flashing too much flesh and she cannot wait till summer to be able to wear it!

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Next up: The Emerie Romper for Girls is the latest pattern release from Striped Swallow Designs. It was a much anticipated older sister to the Baby Emerie Pattern that was already super popular!

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It can be made in either a tank option, flounce romper (as I made for my girls) or as a crop top and separate shorts! There are 2 shorts lengths and I chose the longer length as I wasn’t adding trim to the legs.

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My girls absolutely love their rompers! They couldn’t believe I made them, because they look just like something you’d buy from the shops! I don’t know whether to be offended or not… I think I’m going to take this as a win though, because they want me to make them more haha!

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If I’m being completely honest, I look at these and wonder how I made them too! They look so damn awesome, but the pattern was so easy to follow! I can see my girls wearing these every day in summer! They are the perfect combination of comfort and cute in soft stretchy knit.

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We soaked up some gorgeous afternoon winter sun with a quick skate (before ballet and soccer training cut us short)!! I wish every afternoon was like this!

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I love the cross over flounce detail on this version and with some cute pom pom trim you are “The Best Mum in the World!” in no time at all!

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If you are interested in both the Girls and Baby Emerie Patterns, they are also available for purchase in a discounted bundle.

So while I love bombarding you with cute pictures of my kids in cute outfits I make them, there are some sale details I know you will be excited about!

The Girl’s Coachella Shorts Pattern, The Women’s Coachella Shorts Pattern and the Women’s Cloud Chaser top Pattern are all currently on sale in the 2nd Anniversary Flash Sale for only $5 each! You can bet I went shopping as soon as I got the email! So if those patterns are on your wishlist, don’t waste any time, because you only have about 24 hours left to pick them up at that price!

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The other good news is that I’ve heard a little rumour that if you have your eye on any of the other fabulous Striped Swallow Designs patterns you might want to check back on Tuesday for a little surprise… If you want to be first in the know, you can sign up to the mailing list on the website and join the Striped Swallow Designs Facebook Group!

 

Warmest Wishes!

Brooke Smith

Idlesunshine

 

 

The Rosie Cotton Dress

The Rosie Cotton Dress by JillyAtlanta

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The Rosie Cotton Dress! How gorgeous is this bodice cut on the bias in blue check!

I snuck this little pattern test into a very hectic week this week! I was busy sewing many other projects and am also the fundraising coordinator at my children’s school, which means this week was the Mother’s Day Stall! I probably shouldn’t have put my hand up but it was so adorable and I couldn’t resist! Jill is such a humble and supportive designer I really wanted to make something amazing to support her and her business. I was well and truly organized for school anyway, so what could go wrong?

Plenty, could go wrong! That would teach me for being so cocky! BUT there was nothing wrong with the pattern, that’s for sure!!!

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The Rosie Cotton Dress by JillyAtlanta

Usually organising the Mother’s Day stall means ordering a variety of gifts in bulk, months before the stall, then some lovely helpful Mum’s get together the Friday night before the stall (with wine and food platters of course) and we wrap 500+ gifts with paper, ribbon and tags. The orders come from the children the week of the stall and we freak out the day before because we are cutting it fine for numbers and I have to madly shop for an extra 50 gifts the afternoon before, which then also need to be wrapped in time!

So I wasn’t letting that happen this time. I had a few spares from last year as back up and I ordered 550 gifts straight up and felt pretty smug about being so organized. Then the day before the stall we find out we already have a record 608 orders (and there are always inevitably purchases made on the day too) so I pretty much freaked out!!!!! Let’s just say I got it sorted with an extra 100 gifts to be sure, and went to bed at 2am after wrapping with another day of no sewing done…

I was a little stressed at this stage as I don’t like to commit to a project and not come through with the goods, but the Rosie Cotton Dress was such a quick simple sew I had it done the very next evening after I got home from the stall! I felt so much better when I was finished well within the testing period!

 

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The Rosie Cotton Dress by JillyAtlanta

All this sewing must be paying off as my speed is picking up a little, but the construction method and instructions on the Rosie Cotton were so superb, that I had it finished in record time! I was seriously impressed. I have never seen such comprehensive instructions and photographs explaining each step so clearly. This pattern is perfect for a beginner who needs a confidence boost, you will be so proud of what you have made!

 

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Pretty green snaps & pink piping!

The Rosie Cotton is named after a character from The Lord of The Rings, who was a farmer’s daughter, turned Queen’s maid of honour! In this theme there is The farmhouse dress (square neckline) and the castle dress (sweetheart neckline). I made the farmhouse dress without shoulder flutters and used snaps on the back instead of buttons & button holes, as snaps are my new favourite invention AND I had the perfect shade of green (whereas I would have had to have gone shopping for the right buttons).

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In love with this colour combo! Pink & Green is a match made in heaven.

So about that GREEN! Is it not the most gorgeous colour? I fell in love with this fabric (which is in fact a vintage sheet) on instagram chatting to the lovely @amelieandatticus & @katieskitchenblog. It turned out that Katie had some more of this treasure hiding in her stash and offered to send it to me! I nearly did a cartwheel! So I bundled up an assortment of vintage pieces she might like from my stash and we did a vintage sheet swap. Who doesn’t love a surprise parcel in the post?

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I’m addicted to piping!

Well I haven’t been sitting on it too long, I knew it would be used as soon as I had the right project and then along came Rosie Cotton… The bodice is a quilting cotton from Spotlight I’ve had for quite a while. I have it in a blue colourway too, which is also gorgeous. I threw a few combinations on the bed in my sewing room and this one sung out to me!

I had already made my pink piping with store bought bias tape and cotton cord, but there are instructions to make piping in the pattern or you can even buy it pre made, either way I’m addicted to piping and the end result is a stunner!  Instead of piping there is also an option to make a sash that ties around the waist included with the pattern. So you have plenty of options to make this pattern your own. I really love it and more importantly my daughter loved it and even chose to wear it out today for Mother’s day!

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I’m not sure what Daddy was doing behind me here, but it was apparently quite funny!
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Another bunch of flowers? Who could resist!

We had breakfast in a café opposite the beach with my Mum & sister, went for a barefoot scooter ride around the harbour, drove around the beaches, spent some time with my husband’s Mum & Dad, then in the afternoon I relaxed with a glass of wine on the lounge and watched my husband cook dinner! It doesn’t get much better than that, unless perhaps you are surprised with 2 gorgeous vintage sewing machines as gifts on top of the presents that you might have already bought yourself haha!

 

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My gorgeous new toys! A lovely old Janome and a HG Palmer Princess!

I hope your Mother’s Day is as fabulous as mine and if I can give you one tip, it is to buy yourself a gift, because you know you’re going to love it and you know you’ve earned it! You might even get an extra surprise like I did! Fingers crossed!

To get your copy of The Rosie Cotton Dress by JillyAtlanta while it is on sale for the special release price, head to Etsy ASAP and please also join the  JillyAtlanta Pattern Group on Facebook for all up coming patterns, news and sales! You don’t want to miss out on pattern releases like these!

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Warmest Wishes & Happy Mother’s Day!

Brooke x

Idlesunshine

The Free Trendy Tank

The Free Trendy Tank by Winter Wear Designs

So I am back sewing knit again already! Who would have thought it…? I am on a roll guys!

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The call came from Suzanne at Winter Wear Designs to test a V-neck tank she would be releasing as a gift to her Facebook group members and newsletter subscribers. Yes a gift, a FREE gift! Suzanne is celebrating reaching 3000 members in her Winter Wear Designs Fun Facebook group and the release of a brand new fancy website, but we get the gift! How awesome is that?!

Here it is that fancy new website up and running. I called by to have a little look around and here I am in my Women’s Bateau Garden Dress on the banner! Blushing!!

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Back to the new tank pattern… This is the kind of the tank you can wear every day of the week, in every colour of the rainbow! But first I would have to go fabric shopping! I didn’t really have the time to drive 40 minutes each way to spotlight, not to mention me then spending hundreds of $$ on other material while I was there! Let’s be honest that’s basically what happens every time! There goes my whole day and my husband’s whole pay packet – eeek!! So I called by a local charity shop first with my fingers crossed and my gamble paid off!

I picked up this pile of loot, all knit fabrics to start building a stretchy stash! They varied in size and price but it all cost me about $12 total. I’d call that a win.

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I also picked up this ugly duckling, a slinky knit maxi dress for $3. I always look at clothing as a source of fabric too and this dress was perfect.

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So first up when upcycling a piece of clothing I start by deconstructing it to make the most of the available material. I simply trimmed off the shirred bodice and cut down the side seam of the skirt and it was ready to use.

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Then you just treat it like any other piece of fabric, lay out your pattern pieces and cut. I also used a cheeky trick where I used the original hem of the skirt for the finished hem of my tank – winning!! Sew up your tank using the instructions in the Trendy Tank pattern and it is done in no time at all!

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This tank is a perfect staple piece for your wardrobe! I love the flattering v-neck and while it is fitted nicely at the bust, it is relaxed around the waist and hips. I don’t know about you but this style is perfect for me! It hides a multitude of sins (& chocolate cake)!

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My lovely friend Steph took some pictures for me that afternoon, which was a nice change from using self timer. I gave her a 10 second lesson on how to use my camera and told her to just shoot a hundred photos and we would see how they went. She nailed it guys! We were done within 5 minutes and back in the ballet school waiting room, with our daughters non the wiser that we’d been playing out in the carpark!

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She had me laughing the whole time so there’s plenty of these shots too!

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So you are going to want to join the WWD fun facebook group and get the secret code to get this pattern for free, because it really is a great fast sew that you will want to wear all the time! Drop me a line to show me your version! Tag me on Instagram @idlesunshine 🙂

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Warmest wishes,

Brooke Smith

Idlesunshine

 

Choose Your Adventure Tee and Dress

Will you look at the back on this beauty?! I am in the deepest amount of trouble…

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The Choose Your Adventure Tee & Dress PDF sewing pattern by Little Kiwis Closet

I have been “collecting” fabric for years! Only occasionally sewing until the past 18 months where I have really committed to making time for my hobby. But lets just call it an investment! Some people collect shares and houses, and I’m over here banking on fabric. Fingers crossed people!

So this “collecting” has gotten pretty intense in the last 6 months in particular, because every time you sew one item that basically gives you permission to go buy enough fabric to make 10 more right? Well now there are more than 10 billion metres of woven cotton in my sewing room. You can barely open the door (think about your Mum’s Tupperware cupboard back in the 80’s and you will be close) but there are barely a scant few yards of knit in there! Mostly opshop finds, because who goes looking for knit when they’re scared to sew it?

So this has not been a problem at all, because I only sew with woven right? Wrong!!! I just made this dress from the new pattern by Little Kiwi’s Closet – The Choose Your  Adventure Tee & Dress and well, just look at it! It’s awesome, AND I made it!!!

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Full length view of the dress option with long sleeves

I did not even know I could do that. I was frightened of knits so I just steered clear. I’d tried to play with them before but my machine ate them and threads snapped and, well I don’t think I need any more excuses – aint nobody got time for that garbage!

I’ve learnt a few things since those days though, and I’ve spent so much time on my machine sewing in general, that I know how it works now. So here’s my first couple of tips if you’re scared or been having any trouble…

  1. Don’t use crappy thread, the quality of thread was the reason it snapped all the time. It was the simple swap from the 3 for $5 reels from lincraft, or the bulk buy of colours from big w, to guiterman and Birch thread, that stopped that happening. Now I can get back to finishing my Love Notions Pemberley Tunic that I threw in a corner because the threads snapped every 2 inches in every seam!!! I can’t tell you how frustrating that was. I don’t give up easily, but I fully wigged out, blamed my sewing machine and threw my hands in the air on that very rare knit project.
  2. Don’t start your seams on the very edge of the fabric. Start a little further in, hold your threads taut at the back, do a couple of stitches, back stitch and away you go, then your machine wont eat the material.
  3. Don’t stretch your knit as you sew. Feed it gently under the foot so that it sews evenly. A walking foot will do this for you, feeding both pieces of fabric evenly but I don’t have one of those. Put it on the wish list…
  4. Use a ballpoint needle in your machine and a stretch stitch. A straight stitch will snap when stretched.

So now you’re ready to go! If you would prefer a simpler pattern to experiment with knits, you can try another LKC pattern. Lydia has many knit patterns, like the Women’s Take Flight Dolman, which can be made in girls or ladies sizes. That was my first go back with knits, which gave me the confidence to go again. Well Lydia and her tester friends at LKC gave me that confidence really. Thanks for having faith in me!

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Women’s Take Flight Dolman PDF sewing pattern by Little Kiwis Closet

The options in this pattern will keep you busy for quite some time. I have made a simple long sleeved dress with the peep hole back feature and binding around the neck. I nearly chickened out on the pockets because, well, knit sewing is scary in general and I was still packing it! So glad I didn’t though, they were easy peasy and I’m basically shocked at how easy it was to make this gorgeous dress.

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Look at those cute peekaboo circle pockets

So this pattern can be made into an a-line dress as I have made, or a more slim fitting tshirt for both boys and girls. Both have a huge number of options. You can colour-block with diagonal panels on the front. You can do the peep hole back (which looks amazing in stretch lace too), you can do a simple plain back for the boys or girls or a colour-blocked back instead. You can add 1 or 2 bound or cuffed peekaboo pockets to the front, or chicken out like I almost did (but really there’s no need to be frightened). You can add binding to the neck, do a cuff, add a hood or a cowl. You can do short sleeves, long sleeves, ruched sleeves or bell sleeves, you can even add a cuff to your sleeves.

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If you are feeling adventurous you could even size up and make a nice thick fleecy sweater knit dress or hoodie. With sizes NB-12 and all these options, it really is a fabulous versatile, value-for-money pattern! If you look at the line drawing (which I always look for in a pattern – tick!) you can imagine how many garments can be made by mixing and matching the options.

Lydia’s patterns are always expertly drafted. I love testing for her because you know it is always going to be an accurate, well thought out pattern. The sizing is great and I am always confident cutting into my fabric for that first test that it will not go to waste, it will be a gorgeous and wearable garment. I think she might have been really good at maths back in school kids. So clever!

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This new pattern has already released and you can get it on sale for 30% off with the code found in the Little Kiwis Closet Facebook Group. In fact that magic code will get you 30% off all LKC patterns! But be quick, it expires Saturday night (April 23 2016) NZ time.

If you have any questions ask away! I’ll do my best to help and you can join the group to meet lots of new friends making LKC patterns.

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Shot at Blackbutt Nature Reserve Newcastle NSW

 

Warmest wishes,

Brooke

Idlesunshine

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