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idle sunshine

Enjoying life as a series of beautiful moments

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Sewing for Girls

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

Sew Pony – Tic Tac Toe Dress

Hello everyone, It’s my turn to share a Tic Tac Toe Dress by Sew Pony! I was heartbroken that I wasn’t able to squeeze testing into my schedule for this pattern, but I was thrilled when Suz asked me to join the blog tour!

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I was a lucky tester of another Sew Pony pattern earlier this year – the gorgeous Miss Polly! I adored these dresses I made and I knew that the Tic Tac Toe would be the same!

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The Tic Tac Toe has a similar gorgeous vintage feel to it. I absolutely love the Sew Pony design aesthetic! It’s classic, timeless and European inspired 💘. Suz has a great european following and offers some of her patterns translated in Dutch! You can grab the Dutch version here.

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I originally had a beautiful navy blue fabric with clouds picked for my version, but I began to see a lot of blue and white popping up and so I decided to get a little crazy instead!

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I had this amazing multicolour floral in my stash that I had picked up from Spotlight. It’s a quilting cotton by American Traditions. With so many colours in there, I then just had to decide on an accent colour and piping.

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I chose the yellow and initially had a solid yellow sitting along side it, but then I thought – come on Brooke, you said you were going to go a bit crazy?!!! The polka dots were perfect! I only had about a half a metre of them, but that was plenty for the version I chose.

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I have been trying to give my designs a slightly more grown up look to keep my “grown up” girls happy, so instead of predictable pink I chose black for the piping. I love the contrast and my girls loved it too.

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I made this version big enough for both girls to be able to wear, and also big enough to wear with a long sleeve shirt under it when the weather turns cold again next year.

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We took some pictures at the park and my girls were loving watching the Willy Wagtails flitting about nearby! While her back was turned watching the birds dance I got a shot of the back with the invisible zipper. I bought myself an invisible zipper foot for my birthday and it makes a big difference on using the regular zipper foot!

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There are so many different options in this dress to make it your own! The combinations are amazing! We chose the sleeveless version for summer here in Australia, with a pieced bodice, piping and pockets in the skirt, BUT there are 4 different sleeves you can pick from, 2 collars, epaulettes, a sash, more bodice piecing options,  along with the piping and pockets!

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Little Miss loves her pockets – can you tell?! There’s barely a picture without her hands in them haha! I cannot blame her, I am a big pocket fan too!

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Miss 5 has already decided this “special dress” will be her Christmas dress! I love that my girls love what I make for them, but did someone say Christmas? Eeeeek – I have not even started the shopping… HELP!

To see all the beautiful versions on the Tic Tac Toe Tour, please visit the bloggers below!

Thank you Suz for having me join, I am honoured to be included!

The pattern is 10% off on sale for the release (until the end of the blog tour) sale with the code TICTACTOE10 in the Sewpony web shop

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!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Welcome to Twig + Tale Blog Tour

So have you have seen the news? Our beloved Big Little Patterns has had a makeover! They are now known as Twig + Tale Patterns. I love the new name, it is a perfect representation of the beautiful whimsical designs Lisa creates.tt-blog-tour-graphic

To celebrate the new look we would all love you to join in the celebrations! Across the world, sewing bloggers are showing what the brand Twig + Tale means to them! With the generous support of Art Gallery Fabrics, we hope you love all our creations!

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We love Twig + Tale patterns in our house, there’s something for everyone! I first came across the designs when I applied for my very first PDF pattern tester call for the Wild Thing Hooded Scarf for my littlest Miss! What an adventure that began for me from there! I was wanting to sew more for my children, and I knew testing patterns would give me the motivation I needed! I also recently tested the Pathfinder Vest for my middle boy! So it seemed fair that this next outfit was made for my eldest 🙂 Thank you Lisa for starting me on this journey!

We have hit Spring here in Australia and the weather has been beautiful, but Spring can be unpredictable and stormy too! The wind was blowing and my girl was so happy to be cosy in her Crossroads Vest!

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This pattern is a free add-on variation to the Pathfinder Vest I showed you above (modelled by my boy)! If you already have the Pathfinder Vest pattern, you can subscribe to the Twig + Tale Newsletter here to download the additional instructions and pattern pieces for free.

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It is a unisex pattern with many options, such as the round hood I have added, the pixie style hood, flutter sleeves and a pleated back option. You can also create a Wild Things Vest! My eldest is 8 (that’s basically an adult isn’t it?), and really liked the simple design we chose here. She likes classic design with a bit of interest, so the gorgeous tulip shape front was a hit.

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I had THE HARDEST time choosing an Art Gallery Fabric to match in with the other fabrics I already had planned. Have you ever lost an evening, or maybe a whole day drooling over the collections on their website? I was up till the wee hours of the morning making that difficult decision, but I think it was worth the lack of sleep to see this combination come together!

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This fabric I chose for the lining is the stunning Wild Posy Luminous, from the Forest Floor collection by Bonnie Christine! These fabrics not only have the most beautiful prints, they feel like silk to touch. AGF quilting cottons aren’t like regular quilting cottons. They are lighter and smoother and are beautiful to use for clothing.

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But the best news is that by using snaps on the Crossroads Vest, it makes it completely reversible! Two outfits in one, just like that!!

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The outer fabric for the vest was given to me by my Mother In Law. She cleaned out her sewing supplies earlier this year and gave me most of her fabrics, which she had collected over time. Who knows where this gorgeous wool came from or how old it is, she doesn’t remember exactly, only that she most likely had plans to make it into a coat for herself…

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I’m so glad I got to make that happen for her granddaughter, it is so very pretty!

I whipped up a cute knotted headband (I didn’t use a pattern but I’ll get back to you soon with a tutorial). I accidentally made the headband large enough and with elastic at the back, so that it fits me too! Look, I didn’t mean to make it for me, but it’s so damn cute, I’m totally claiming it as mine now haha!

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I love the mix of old and new. Most of my projects have a hint of vintage to them or upcycling! I love that Twig + Tale shares the same ethos! Did you know that the average Australian buys around 27 kilograms of new textiles each year and then discards 23 kilograms into landfill? I’m sure the statistics are similar in most parts of the world, but this is a big reason why I love shopping in charity stores and upcycling. It’s another reason why I love Twig + Tale patterns, they have lovely fabric recycling guides included in their patterns, to show you ideas to reuse garments and up cycle blankets etc.

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Why would you let fabrics like these go to waste when they can become new works of art?

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The burgundy corduroy fabric came from my op shop travels (or thrift store adventures, depending on where in the world you come from). I am in love with this outfit all together!

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These Pixie shorts are so adorable! I love them with long socks or winter tights, but my girl will wear them though the warmer weather with sandals as well! I plan on making some chambray ones for summer too!

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I made her a basic white long sleeved shirt to wear under her Twig + Tale ensemble, all fabrics again sourced from a local op-shop/thrift store!

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This girl is quite the performer and enjoyed a little song and dance as we took these pictures! She was laughing and enjoying twirling about in the wind!

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Twig & Tale is a place where imagination runs wild and is for everyone who shares a love of creativity and an adventurous spirit—beginner sewers especially! It’s a celebration of the innocence of childhood and the wonder of nature. It’s about comfy clothes and warm things like hugs and capes and coats. It’s about handmade, love, and imaginary play—featuring classic, simple patterns that inspire us all to tell a story.

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Thank you so much for stopping by my entry for the Twig + Tale Welcome Blog Tour!

Here’s the exciting part – DISCOUNTS AND GIVEAWAYS!!!

Twig + Tale is giving you 20% off the Wild Things range of patterns to get your Halloween sewing on track (or maybe just because they are super cute and you need no convincing or excuse to neeeeeeed them 😉 )! No code is needed, you will see the marked down prices on the patterns, and you have until Midnight Friday PST to grab the discount.

Thanks to Art Gallery Fabrics and Twig + Tale, you also have the opportunity to win this great prize!

What would a Blog Tour be without a giveaway!

Art Gallery Fabrics is kindly sponsoring 2 yards of Art Gallery fabric of your choice. To make the prize extra sweet, we are also adding a collection of 5 Twig + Tale patterns of your choice.

International entries are very welcome. Our bloggers come from every corner of the world to celebrate the global nature of Twig +Tale too.

Enter using the rafflecopter below.

(The winning entry will be checked to ensure all criteria are met).

**********a Rafflecopter giveaway**********

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Sofilantjes Down Under Blog Tour

I am so excited to be first up on the very first Sofilantjes Down Under Blog Tour!

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We are excited to showcase the summer patterns & also offer you a special discount code and a giveaway!!

Welcome to sunny Australia in Spring! In the interests of full disclosure, the whole of our beautiful country doesn’t look exactly like this, but the part I come from certainly does! I happen to be on holidays at the moment enjoying the gorgeous Port Macquarie area in NSW, which is right near where I lived as a child and where my parents grew up.

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Litore & Solis by Sofilantjes

My family have had an awesome few days away to celebrate my husband’s birthday and declared it even better than our big holiday to Fiji! Sheesh… I wish we’d known sooner that we could have saved all those $$$$$ on airfares, accommodation and passports haha! Why do we take overseas holidays when we have all this at home though? They could be on to something…

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I have been admiring the sweet Sofilantjes Dutch designs, for some time. The brand really hit my radar when I saw the Solis Tunic & Dress release. I bought the Solis straight away, but I had been waiting for warmer weather to sew it up. As you can see here, the warmer weather has well and truly hit! My other choice for the tour is the Litore Tunic & Dress and I think they look awesome together – without being too matchy matchy, which we all know would not be “cool” at all!

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We are pretty lucky in Australia to have the beautiful weather and landscapes that we have! The trip we took for my husband’s birthday was a last minute decision, so these dresses of course came with us. They are easy to pack and don’t need ironing as they are made from lovely comfortable, wrinkle-free knit (YAY)! The stripe I used is a ponte, lined with plain white cotton lycra, the skirts are silky, poly lycra florals and I think the green is an ITY (don’t hold me to it, I picked up a huge bundle of it from a charity shop for a few dollars, so it had no label).

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Each dress pattern has several skirt options. The Solis has a pleated skirt & circle skirt as well as tunic length options. The Litore has a high/low circle skirt, handkerchief and an A-line maxi. All the skirts are interchangeable between the two patterns which make them great companion patterns. I decided to use the straight circle skirt from the Solis for both dresses, for a cohesive look.

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Solis & Litore by Sofilantjes

I found these pattern’s fit together perfectly and the instructions very clear. I am absolutely loving sewing knits at the moment and I don’t know why it took me so long to become a convert. I also love the opportunity these dress patterns give you to pair together different fabric combinations. I think this stripe and floral combo looks awesome and so did my girls! I love that they coordinate so well without being an exact match. I can actually see these being worn for Christmas. They epitomise the kind of Aussie Christmas we enjoy – relaxed and comfortable with a bit of style!

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Inseam skirt pockets

I love that the skirt has pockets, I can’t believe I didn’t ask the girls to put their hands in them for a picture, I guess they were too busy clowning around for me to remember!

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You see, I have this one girl who is an absolute professional, doesn’t need any instructions… So sensible, mature beyond her years…

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Then I have this other gremlin, who we will call a free spirit! I’ll just include this angelic, full of life picture, not the ones where she wants to climb and balance on the edge of everything, scaring the life out of me! We were all dressed ready for dinner, so I wasn’t in the mood to jump in the river to fish her out haha!

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But this is her all over – her poor big sister is saying “Whoah, hold on!”, while she is just going for it! Nothing stops this girl haha! She can do anything (even with her eyes shut lol)!!

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Please don’t fall in kiddo! The sensible sister always has a hold of her wild little sibling!

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I know my pictures all seem to be of their backs, but with these patterns it’s all about the funky back features!! The Litore has these gorgeous double cross straps. I added regular elastic to the straps to help them retain their recovery and not get overly stretched out. The pattern suggests clear elastic, but I didn’t have any in my stash and regular braided elastic works perfectly.

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The straps connect to the front with the shoulder tabs (shown in my version in the floral fabric). I like the simple front shape with good coverage.

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The Solis has this funky t-bar back design. This works really well on my narrow framed 8 year old. As I said – I am a sucker for a cool back design ❤

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The front is again a smooth and simple shape design, with great comfortable coverage.

I actually made both dresses in a size 4 width with 6 length as per the pattern and their measurements. Both my girls are a similar size (at age 8 and 5 – ridiculous I know 😉 so they can swap and wear either dress as they feel like it! The patterns both include sizes 12m – 14 years, so you have a great range to work with!

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Follow along on the Sofilantjes tour and catch the other bloggers from Down Under! You might be from our hemisphere, excited to see a tour that relates to our season.

Maybe you are from another part of the world and are excited to see how we interpret the Sofilantjes brand and what our part of the world looks like?

Later this week you will see posts from other Australian and New Zealand bloggers. Make sure you follow along for more chances to win!

Monday Idle sunshine

Tuesday Horris And Deedle

Wednesday Little Cumquat, Bartacks and Singletrack

Thursday Tea, Dust and Stitches, Brave Fabrics

Friday While she was sleeping, Mend and Make New

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Thanks for visiting and let me know where you are from, and whether you have heard of Sofilantjes before. If you have sewn any of their patterns, which are your favourites?!

So here’s the exciting part for you guys! I have a giveaway for you and a discount code!

Enter below to win a copy of the sweet Litore Tunic & Dress Pattern

**********a Rafflecopter giveaway**********

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Sofilantjes is also offering you 15% off for all of their summer patterns (including the Domis and Semper). They have bundles including the Aura.

The code to use is DOWNUNDER. This discount expires on October 16th & is valid on summer patterns only.

Warmest wishes,

Brooke x

Idlesunshine

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

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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