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Special Occasion

Simple Life Pattern Company Holiday Blog Tour

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I am thrilled to be returning on the Simple Life Pattern Company Holidays Blog Tour! I love the challenge of creating something special, and this amazing group of makers always push me to challenge myself!

As with all the best blog tours, we have a discount code to give you 30% off all patterns, as well as a giveaway! Read through to the end to get all the important details!

Oh my stars, where do I start ? If you love to hack and mash patterns with a little bit of problem solving thrown in, you will love this project!

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My personal challenge for this year’s post was to make something amazing enough to take its place in the SLPCo Holiday Tour, while at the same time making something really wearable for my girls.

That sounds pretty easy surely? You see most little girls love dresses and feeling like a princess! Not my girls… They like denim shorts and Mickey Mouse T-shirt’s! Oh and tie-dye, if it’s tie-dyed they will wear it! #eyeroll

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Simple Life Pattern Company Holiday Blog Tour – 2017

I made the most amazing special occasion dress last year for the tour. It was such a rewarding and sentimental project, but it has stayed hanging lonely in the wardrobe pretty much ever since! This year I decided something a little less formal was the go…

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I always get some input from my girls when I’m sewing for them, so I set out to lose myself on the Art Gallery Fabrics website to give them a few options to choose from! I love when AGF sponsors my blog posts with fabric, there are so many amazing collections to choose from!

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I decided on a two fabric combination to make matching, but not quite matching dresses. I love a pop of contrast! I wanted to make a combination that looked bright and festive without pigeon holing it as a “Christmas dress”.

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I gave the girls a few options and I’m so glad we all agreed on this combination as our favourite! It is from the Trinket Fusion Collection and the WHOLE collection really spoke to me! Those earthy autumnal colours are my happy place.

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My eldest loved the “Flower Glory Trinkets”, she is a retro/vintage loving girl after my own heart! This print was originally designed by Bonnie Christine. My youngest chose the gorgeous red geometric print called “Wallpaper Trinkets”, originally designed by April Rhodes. Together they are a match made in heaven!

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To create these dresses I used the bodice from the Simple Life Patterns Laguna Dress and teamed it with the skirt and pockets from the Newport Dress! Easy right? Then I decided to make things a little more complicated…

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I decided to remove the partial placket opening from the back of the dress and add a full placket down the centre front! I wanted to use my contrasting fabrics and I thought this would be a great feature.

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So step one was to calculate the centre of the back bodice and cut it as one piece on the fold. Then I cut the front bodice main & lining as 2 pieces each, instead of on the fold. I also added 1″ in length to all the bodice pieces, just because I felt like it would work…

I decided I wanted my finished placket to be 3cm wide, and then calculated the width of my placket pattern piece by doubling my 3cm and adding 2 seam allowances of 1cm each. So I cut my placket pieces 8cm wide and roughly estimated the length by adding the bodice and skirt heights together and leaving myself a few inches extra, just in case.

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I had to recalculate shoulder strap position taking into account the changes I had made, and started construction by sewing up my bodice quite like the Laguna pattern instructions, leaving the centre front unsewn.

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I then cut the skirt front piece down the centre and added the pockets as per the Newport pattern instructions. Then I sewed the side seams and gathered my skirt to fit the bodice using 2 rows of gathering stitches. Once the skirt was attached to the bodice I interfaced the centre 6cm width (and full length) of my placket pieces. I then folded and ironed 1cm seam allowances along both long edges and then pressed it in half lengthways, wrong sides together.

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To attach the placket I lined up the long raw edge of the placket to the centre front of the dress, right side of placket laying on top of the wrong side of the dress, making sure to leave an inch or 2 overhang for both the top and bottom. I stitched in the first ironed fold (1cm from the edge). Then wrapped the placket around to the front, folding over the top and bottom and wrapping it inside the placket. The seam allowance stays folded under and you topstitch from the front to finish it. If you pin it carefully, those stitches on the back should stitch in the ditch and look pretty neat from the back as well as the front.

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Now is about the time you discover you have lost your snap pliers!! Oh my gosh I spent days looking and they have obviously gone on vacation somewhere! Then after you panic and search for a couple of days, you remember you actually have a big snap press you’ve never even tried! So I got that together and got both dresses done, but only one would snap up! I have no idea why!! They were both Kam branded snaps… but those tan/mossy ones were a complete failure! I then made such a mess removing the snaps in the press, I really just wanted my pliers 😦

In the end I didn’t have quite enough red ones to finish it off, but a couple of maroon ones on the back will never be seen! Shhhh!

After the snaps were complete I hemmed the dresses by folding under the overlocked edge and then doing a 3cm hem. I figured I had a little extra length after I lengthened the bodice, and I like a deep hem.

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Photos were then put back day after day… The KAM snap stuff up… dance rehearsal day, a reunion catch up at the beach (but the beach had washed away so that didn’t work as a location either)… Early morning was super foggy before school… Stress levels were rising!

FINALLY! These smiling faces braved a swarm of mosquitoes which required a quick location change before we got the shots we needed. I told you this project really tested us!!!

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They insisted props were necessary for a Christmas themed shoot! It was just the fun we needed to finish off ❤

Patterns provided by Simple Life Pattern Company:

Simple Life Pattern Company Newport Pocket Top & Dress

Simple Life Pattern Company Laguna Double Flutter Panel Pocket Dress

Fabric provided by Art Gallery Fabrics:

Trinket Fusion Collection – Flower Glory Trinkets & Wallpaper Trinkets

 

If you’ve found some inspiration here, or from the other ladies on this tour, head over to Simple Life Pattern Co for their winter sale!! All patterns (minus the brand new Betty) are on sale for 30% using code FALLINTOSLPCO. Sale ends the 12th at midnight so get shopping!

 

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Blog Tour Schedule

November 5 – Kutti CoutureSLPCO Team

November 6 – Wonderfully HandmadeAmmon Lane

November 7 – Kainara StitchesIdle SunshinePearberry Lane

November 8 – Sew TwirlySew Sophie LynnBonnie and Blithe

November 9 – It’s LieselCandice Ayala

For your chance to win a

$30 Harts Fabric Voucher

and a $50 SLPCo Pattern Voucher,

don’t forget to enter the

Rafflecopter giveaway!

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Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will add value to my readers.

Back To School With Made For Mermaids

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Hey Guys,

I joined the Made for Mermaids Back To School Blog Tour! We are mid-school-year here in Australia and our children actually wear compulsary uniforms, but I thought – why let that stop me? I have 3 children in school, but Miss 10 here is the trickiest to sew for (Master 9 and Miss 7 wear  a tee and shorts pretty much year round outside of school). So I thought why not take on a challenge that might help you all with your tricky customers too?

I gave her the M4M website to browse the patterns and I already had this fabric set aside for an Isabel Wrap Dress, so when she pointed Isabel out as her favourite I was pretty happy.

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Let me give you a basic run down on how school works here in Oz. I know it’s different in many parts of the world and it is interesting to see how we all operate…

Preschool is for children 3 – 5 years old, with lots of play based learning and social skills in preparation for Primary School.

Primary School starts with Kindergarten, which starts at around 5 – 6 years of age, and also includes Years 1 – 6.

High School includes Years 7 – 12, for ages approximately 12 – 18.

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So Miss 10 is in Year 5 in Primary School here. She actually had an out of uniform day this day, as a reward from her teacher for achieving her silver award in class. She so badly wanted to wear this outfit, she was swishing around everywhere, but I sized up a little and made this Isabel a little longer than the pattern and so I suggested she keep it for another day. So mean I know!

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Isabel is a fantastic versatile pattern. You can make it tunic length, dress length or Maxi length. I thought it was great as a back to school pattern with all those options. You can even wear it open like this (with the ties tied inside the dress behind your back), which makes a super cool duster cardigan.

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It would work in all lengths for this look. We agreed on the maxi with the tulip skirt, she loved the dress on the cover. You also have options for sleeves. You can make it sleeveless, short sleeves, 3/4 sleeved or long sleeved. Again we agreed that 3/4 looked awesome! I must be getting the hang of tween fashion, I’m all over this…

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And doesnt it look stunning as a maxi dress with tulip skirt! I used a rayon spandex from Wicked Fabrics I had been saving for this very dress for quite some time! It is super drapey and soft to wear. She looooves it! The drape probably added a fair bit to the length when I think about it! I should have left it per the pattern!

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It’s winter here and it was pretty cold and windy for these early morning pics! She had a red nose and squinty eyes pretty quickly from the cold wind!

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The pattern itself was really easy to follow and faster than I expected to make! I like that it includes sizes 1/2 through to 14, because I think this pattern will be used again and again here!

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You can picture this as tunic length worn over shorts, jeans or tights can’t you?

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Or here you can imagine it as a knee length dress, it works beautifully too.

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There is that show stopper Maxi dress though! Look at that rayon spandex in the breeze! Isn’t it stunning!

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I can tell this dress will be her new favourite! She absolutely loved it. The only question I have is – should I re-hem it or make her wait to grow into it? Ok I’m kidding, that would be torture, I’ll re-hem it, I promise I’m not that mean!!

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What’s on your back to school sew list?

Perhaps these blogs might give you some inspiration! Go check them out!

Remember f you are doing some back to school sewing, post a pic in the Made for Mermaids Facebook group with the hashtag #m4mback2school2018. You may just win a prize ❤

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Warmest wishes,

Brooke x

Idle Sunshine

Introducing Skyler! By Simple Life Pattern Company

We are excited to be featured on the

Simple Life Pattern Company Blog today,

introducing the new Skyler knit dress, top & tunic!

Click here for the full post, details and pictures.

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Candice Ayala’s Upcycling Challenge – Little Lizard King Lexington & Ibiza

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Will you look at that pretty washing hanging on the line! I have quite a collection of items to upcycle in my stash, so when I saw the Upcycling Challenge set by Candice Ayala, choosing my “fabric combo” was not an easy task! I knew this was my kind of challenge though.

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If you follow me, you will know I do a lot of upcycling when sewing. It’s a really cost effective way to source fabric for starters! You can upcycle unwanted items from your own closet, or you can purchase clothes, sheets, curtains, quilt covers, blankets, tablecloths and more quite cheaply from thrift stores to be used as fabric. I upcycle as often as I use new fabric!

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It’s also a great way to reduce landfill! In Australia the average adult purchases 27kg of textiles each year and throws away 23kg! I’m trying harder and harder to purchase less clothes (fabric surely doesnt count right?), but I am definitely an expert at repurposing things we no longer need!

 

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I had been wanting to make the new Little Lizard King Lexington pattern, but my girls are very “anti-dress” at the moment, so I thought why not make a top version and pair it with some cute shorts! I wanted an elastic waisted pair, but I have had no luck finding a woven shorts pattern, with pockets that doesn’t have a flat front. I spotted the Little Lizard King Ibiza pants pattern and thought it would make a super cute and easy pair of shorts!

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It all came together quite easily, with great instructions and fit, but playing with lace meant a few tweaks were needed.

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For each of the crossover front bodice pieces and the bodice back, I cut a main from lace, a backing piece from poplin and a lining piece from poplin (instead of a main and lining only). I basted each lace piece to a backing piece to be treated as the main piece from that point on.

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The only other change needed was to line the skirt part of the top. I cut the lace pieces carefully to match the scalloped bottom at the side seams and cut the lining to be the same length. I sewed the side seams of the lining and the lace with french seams and hemmed the lining. Then I basted the lining inside the lace ready to be gathered and attached to the bodice.

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The shorts were a really easy hack. I just compared the pattern pieces to some shorts from my daughters wardrobe, added a little extra length for a hem and cut! I made sure the length of the side seams and inner leg seams matched between the front and back pattern pieces to work out my straight line to cut for each pattern piece. Otherwise I sewed them up per the pattern instructions. I love those cute pockets.

 

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For the back straps and loops I could not stomach fiddling with the lace for starters, and I also thought it could feel a little scratchy on her back (see that tulle/netting type base in the pic above?)… So I searched my garbage bags full of remnants (thanks Mum for that buy – lots of random pieces of every fabric type and colour purchased from a fabric store employee) and I found some ivory chiffon! Now that thought might scare some people, but I have used chiffon for straps before and found it a snack. All I did was overlock the selvedge off the edge, then overlock just a little more than an inch from that over locked edge. That cuts the strap from the fabric, so you then need to overlock the other edge of your strip and repeat. You then have 2 long overlocked edged strips, which you fold inward twice to hide the overlocking (like double fold bias) and topstich. I use loads of wonder clips to hold it as I go. Easy peasy and faster than it sounds!

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I love how this set turned out and so does Miss 10! These little customers of mine are getting harder and harder to please! It’s so hard to listen to them when they say “no” to pretty dresses – I mean have you seen the amazing dress versions of the Lexington? This top is pretty stunning though, so I guess we’re all happy today 😉

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Simple Life Pattern Co – Special Occasion Tour

Welcome to my stop on the Simple Life Pattern Co Special Occasion Blog Tour. The calendar keeps creeping closer and closer to Christmas and the party season, so this is perfect timing to get some beautiful inspiration for the holidays, especially when you can shop all the patterns for 20% off! (Use code: SLPcoSpecial)

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When my friend Becca from Sunflower Seams asked me to join in the tour, we were on a 3 week trip travelling thousands of kilometres in our caravan. I had blown out the data allowance on my mobile phone, but I said yes, stole my husband’s phone and started scrolling immediately through the SLPCo Pattern shop!

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I picked out my favourite patterns that I thought were right for the theme, then I let Miss 9 choose her favourite from the snapshots (that are most likely still sitting on the camera roll on my husband’s phone).

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She chose the Lexi Strappy Back Maxi Dress which I love! It has a V-neck bodice at the front, a cutaway side with no side seam and 3 straps on each side at the back.

I raised the front a little and created a curved front neckline, then used some vintage silver braid I had in my stash for the straps. They were wider than the straps in the pattern and I didn’t have enough of the braid to do 6 straps so I chose to do 2 each side instead.

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I was covering a snap with fabric to match at the back, and the dress was all but finished, when I noticed that one of the straps was starting to fray! When I looked a little closer, all the straps were pulling out of the bodice… I was devastated!

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I had zig zagged back and forth over all the ends and thought I was clever for thinking to do that, but I think the zig zag was too wide to be effective enough.

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I unpicked the bodice just in the parts where the straps attached and created some new straps with the chiffon I used for the skirt. Then I hand stitched them into place, closing the bodice at the same time. I actually love how they turned out.
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I found it a little scary working with these delicate fabrics. I like to iron the heck out of everything I make in each step to get a great finish, so I was scared I was going to melt this dress every step along the way!

I am trying hard to sew from my stash (which is beyond ridiculous by the way) and when digging through bags and tubs of fabric, my eyes went to this crinkle chiffon straight away. It came from some bags of remnants that my Mum bought from a lady who worked in a fabric store. When looking for options for a coordinating fabric, I found this shantung and lining which was actually left over from when Mum made my bridesmaids dresses around 12 years ago! So I guess that makes this dress extra special ❤ .

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It is really warm here at the moment and being spring the Jacarandas are just beautiful. If it is cold where you are, a maxi is great for hiding tights underneath, and a faux fur Juliet cape (which is a free pattern) would look beautiful over the top.

I thought it made a beautiful flower girl dress and so we made a posy to take along for our pictures. I took the pink and purple blooms from a beautiful bunch of flowers my friends gave me for my birthday last week. They were the flowers from the bouquet that lasted the longest, as well as matching the dress best! Isn’t it funny how those things work out…

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To see all the special makes my friends have been making on this tour please make your self a cup of coffee and click through the links below. Or if you would like to hire out this cute little flower girl, we can arrange that too!

November 13 – Kainara StitchesAmmon Lane

November 14 – Sew and Tell ProjectLace and Pine

November 15 – Sunflower SeamsSewSophieLynn

November 16 – Wonderfully HandmadeIdle SunshineI am Mami de Sofiona

November 17 – Pear Berry LaneIt’s Liesel

Now for the fun part!

There are TWO ways to win in this giveaway!

While both giveaways are open to everyone, contestants outside of the U.S. will be responsible for any excess shipping and fees and subject to the sponsors’ shipping guidelines.

Enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win the following.

One winner will be chosen at random after the Rafflecopter closes.

1 winner of the Rafflecopter will receive:

5 Patterns of choice from Simple Life Pattern Co.

$50 Gift Card from Cotton Coterie with FREE shipping

$50 Gift Card from Little Feather

***Click here for a Rafflecopter giveaway***

Already sewing for the holidays with Simple Life Pattern Company? Share what you make for a chance to win the Link-Up prize!

One winner will be chosen at random after the link-up closes.

1 Winner of the Link up will receive:

5 Patterns of choice from Simple Life Pattern Co.

$50 Gift Card to Harts Fabric

$50 Gift Card to Sincerely Rylee

$30 Gift Card to Punkin Head Threads

Enter the Linkup HERE!

 

Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.

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