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idle sunshine

Enjoying life as a series of beautiful moments

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Sewing with voile

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

Midsummer Mama!

A Mini Wardrobe Capsule 

Striped Swallow Designs Midsummer Dream for Women 

I was recently lucky enough to test the newest Women’s pattern by Striped Swallow Design, the Midsummer Dream. I had been stalking the facebook group, waiting so patiently since the girls version released, which I also tested. That’s not weird at all, is it? We all hoped the Women’s version would be coming soon, because we knew it would be awesome!

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I’ve been inspired lately by the idea of the wardrobe capsule, trying to clear out items that don’t work and now anything new I make has to be versatile and fit in! So I had this picture in my head and it involved lengthening the separates so that they could double as a dress and as a top to wear with jeans and other skirts!

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First I will show you the dress, as the pattern is intended to look. It is an off the shoulder top with an attached high waisted elastic skirt. The top has this gorgeous wide flounce and there is an option to add shoulder straps as well.

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The skirt measurements included in the pattern mean that it can be made as a mini, knee length, midi or maxi. I have made mine knee length per the pattern. The part where it gets funky is where I added 5″ in length to the hem of the top. I added a bit of shape to the bottom to allow for my hips and just gave it a narrow hem. I also used bias to finish the armholes rather than lining the top, to save fabric mostly! Instructions for both methods are included in the pattern.

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Now we have the illusion of the dress and the added bonus of separates! This version was made with a soft voile from spotlight, but it can be made with knit too.

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Onto version number 2… I wanted plain black rayon but I did not want to drive 40 minutes to get it (and they never have what i want in stock anyway) so on the off chance I thought i’d hit the op shops. I found this awesome black silky tablecloth for $2 at lifeline! SCORE!!! It was big enough that I could cut my pattern pieces so that no hemming was required. I cut the front and back with the hem done and both ruffle pieces with the hem done! But seriously, who doesn’t love a little short cut now and then! You have to take your victories any time you can in sewing!

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I teamed it with this a-line knit maxi I had already made myself. I just drafted a pattern from a knit skirt I had in my closet. It’s as simple as running up the side seams and adding a waistband, no hemming required! I will do a tutorial for that another time, but I knew this outfit would work so well with the girls version I had made my daughter!

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I originally made this dress for Miss 8, and you can see her wearing it here, but on this particular day Miss 5 wanted in on the pictures more than she did AND they are the same size so that did not worry anyone haha!

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It was a great excuse to grab a photo with my little mini and I matching! I think I’d best get back to Spotlight while this yellow floral knit is still in the current range so that all 3 of us can match, or would that be too much? Too bad ;-P!

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We all hit the foreshore park as a family and the kids played while my husband took some pictures for me. It’s the first time I’ve “made” him take pictures for my pattern testing, I usually just use self timer or ask a friend to help me out, even my daughter has played photographer! While I had to drag him there to start with, I think he settled in quite happily behind the camera (not that he’d admit to that) and he did a pretty great job (with a little bit of direction of course).

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Then if I am being honest, this is probably the outfit that will get worn the most! I am a jeans girl all the way! Dress them up or down and wear them every day!

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So that’s 4 outfits I’ve shown you with me making 2 tops and 1 skirt with this pattern. I should have put the black top with the red skirt as well and grabbed a shot, that would make it 5! Everyone thought I’d been really busy, but this is such a quick pattern to run up, it took no time at all!

Grab the Womens version of the Midsummer Dream or the girls version from Striped Swallow Designs and share with me what you make! Are you interested in the idea of a capsule wardrobe? What are your must have pieces?

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

 

 

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