Sophie Sew-A-Long show off!

There were so many GORGEOUS Sophie dresses made over in the M4M fb group.

Let me show off a few….

Made by Brooke from Five Little Monkeys. Brooke used a knit bodice! How comfortable will that be. She cut the back bodice on the fold, so no closures necessary.10610697_845115068872530_8419293730610722080_n

Made by Megan who used the sweetheart center panel with a lace overlay, exposed zipper and some Ikea curtains for the tulle overlay! 10372785_10107571677773934_8261478764356685823_n

Made by Virginia from Banana Showcase! I love the rick rack detail she added to the center panel.

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Made by Alison from House of Haddie. Alison used the ruffle sleeve add-on from the sew-a-long and added a sash.

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Made by Amanda with matching dolly dresses!

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Made by Alexandra from M & M Bows!

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Made by Heather from All Things Katy! Heather used the sweetheart and ruffle add ons. I adore her buttons too!!

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The Sophie is PERFECT for appliques and embroidery! Made by Jessica from JAB Creations. Jessica added a sweet overlay.

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Made by Karen for her sweet daughter!

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Made by Christi from Abble Dabble Boutique.

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Made by Lauren who hand embroidered the sweetheart center panel!

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We had a fantastic prize donated from Bethany Lane; 1 person with the most ‘likes’ in the finished dress sew-a-long album will receive 2 sets of ‘I love you’ buttons! Bethany Lane also offers adorable personalized buttons that I just adore. Get your shop’s name or daughter’s for a special touch to any outfit!

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BUM BUM BUM, NOW for the winner…. I gasped when I saw this adorable dress! Made by Lorraine from Buttons & Bows!! Isn’t is beautiful and guess what?? Lorraine made it for her shop, it is a size 3 and for sale! If it was my daughter’s size I would snap it up, so cute!! Congrats Lorraine!!!

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Thank you SO MUCH to all the ladies joined and made my first sew-a-long a success!! I hope you join us next month for our next sew-a-long!

 

 

Sophie Sew-A-Long!

 

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We are sewing the Sophie dress together over in my pattern group on fb! Come join us! Even if you can’t sew up your dress this week, there are lots of additional add ons, tips, tricks and even videos to help you along the way. I am adding the videos the my new YouTube channel if you ever need to reference them.

Monday we chose our size and fabric, cut out our dress and embellished our bodice. You should see all the creative, beautiful choices everyone is making. I just love seeing what others create with the same pattern. Yesterday we finished step 2 of the pattern, constructing the bodice. Today we are working on the sleeves and sash. I’m going to give you a quick picture tutorial on how to enclose the sleeve seam in the bodice lining. If your daughter is sensitive or you just like the inside of your dress to look pretty, this is for you. It is not difficult, but is more time consuming.

So here is your sleeve and your bodice/lining. Separate your main bodice and lining…just open along the armhole.

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Now we are going to stay stitch along the armhole curve on the lining side. Use a 1/2″ seam allowance.

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Then clip to, but not through the stay stitch line. Then press the clipped curve toward the wrong side of the lining.

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Pin the sleeve to the main bodice. Careful not to catch the lining. Stitch in place. I finished this seam out of habit, but it’s not necessary since it will be enclosed.

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Press the seam toward to bodice.

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Pin the lining over the seam and hand stitch in place to enclose. TADA beautifully enclosed sleeve seam! Let me know if you give this a try. 🙂

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Is it true to size? What size should I make??

Is it true to size?? She’s 3, so I make a size 3 right?? But I always make her a 3 in ‘such and such’ patterns and she wears that size in ready to wear. Seriously, what size should I make??

I constantly see these questions pop up on sewing boards over and over again! Choosing what size to make in a pattern is SO important!! How frustrating is it to waste fabric, time and sometimes tears on something that doesn’t fit? I want to give you some tips and tools that will help you better your sewing forever. You can use these on yourself, child, husband, dog…anyone 😉 The MOST important step in sewing up a pattern is looking and understanding the size chart.

First let’s talk about true to size. True to size. True to size. I see this so much. But true to what size? Ready to wear from… Old navy? Target? The Gap? Gymboree? Ready to wear clothing fits different depending on store….I can’t tell you how many different size jeans I have. I can tell you that most pattern designers use a set of ‘standard’ measurements to create and grade their patterns. Those ‘standards’ may be from a grading book, ASTM book or from their own children. My sister’s, mom and I all use ASTM measurements. It’s a set of measurements taken from all over the body in different age ranges- infant, boys, girls, women and men. Armcyce depth, armcyce width, back to waist measurement, upper arm measurement, ankle width, waist height…. I mean TONS of measurements. We use these to help create our patterns. Designers can be using the same measurements differently. If their child is thin, maybe they size down all the measurements, so their 3 is my size 4. Or vise versa. So ‘true to size’ can be tricky. My patterns are true to my measurements. I also give my patterns a finished fit that I prefer on my daughter. For example my Hailey pants have a lower rise, becuase my daughter will NOT wear her pants high. She wants to wear her pants lower and will just pull her pants down constantly if they are anywhere near that belly button.

This is why I try to give as much information in my size chart as I can AND try give reminders in my tutorials when it may be a good time to fit your model. I like to give chest size and height of the child, finished chest and finished length. This is the size chart from my newest pattern, the Sophie dress.

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First is the child’s chest measurement and the height. My daughter has a chest measurement of 21.5″ and she is 46″ tall. So according to my chart she is a size 2 chest and almost a size 6 for height. She is 4 years old. Now I always ‘mash’ the sizes to get a perfect fit. (My sister explained in that post). But I wanted to go in a little more detail!

So I measure her chest. You want your model to stand straight… even if they whine and cry that they don’t want to….

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You want their hands relaxed at the side. If arms are up, you’re going to get a smaller measurement…no good! Let them stand there for a second and breath normal, no holding breath or sucking in.

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You also want to make sure the measuring tape is not drooping in the back or loose, but do not squeeze tight either!

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You want it nice and straight, all the way around.

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Next I look at the finished chest measurement. How much ease is already built into the dress?? What fit the designer is going for, if it’s a pull on jumper, a zip or button back, does it have sash ties…all this will play into how much ease the pattern has. The Sophie dress has 1.5″ total. That may sound like a lot, but you do NOT want a tight fitting woven dress on a child. They are not going to be able to move or be comfortable. If you think about the dress being on your model, it will have 3/8″ in the front, each side and the back. Plus this dress has ties so you can easily cinch the sides. But hey you may like your daughter’s dress a little looser. Maybe her sister and her are ALMOST the same size, or she may have one too many dresses in her closet for this season (or more like 10 too many dresses?? No?? Just us??) and you want it to fit longer. Looking at the finished measurements can help you choose what size to make. You can hold the measuring tape around your model’s chest with the finished measurement to help visualize how it will fit.

Another EASY tip is to flat measure a finished garment. Choose a dress or top that is in the same type of fabric and similar style. You don’t want to measure a knit t-shirt when we are making a cotton dress. You also don’t want to choose an elastic, shirred or pull on jumper if you’re making a more fitted, zipper or button back dress. They are not going to fit the same. Lay it on the ground flat. Measure under the arm, from one side seam to the other. Okay this dress is about 12″. 12″ flat, means it is 24″ finished (times 2 for the back).

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Looking at my chart, that is between a size 3 and 4.  You must also look at their height. She is almost a size 6 height. This means she has longer arms, legs, torso…she needs more room to get her arm in the dress, more ease to lift her arm and just move to be comfortable. I don’t want her to raise her arm and be stuck. Or have to wrangle her arms CRAZY to get her in the dress….you know you’ve had a dress half on you daughter and she’s screaming because she’s stuck….sorry kid!! This means I choose bigger, the size 4 for her width.

Next finished length. I like to give my finished length from the underarm to hem. I feel like it is more accurate and easier to measure than from the shoulder seam to hem.

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Model stands straight, raises arm slightly and measure right under their underarm and straight down. You don’t want it directly IN their armpit. The armhole is not going to be way up there! I personally usually like her dresses a little shorter. You may like them a little longer. This is easy to adjust, just a little math to figure how much to add or take away from the skirt length measurement. Or if the finished length is a little long, you can also just take a larger hem, then let it out later when she grows, bonus longer wear!

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Maybe your pattern doesn’t have ANY finished measurements, aw oh no! This takes a little more time, but is well worth it. You can flat measure your pattern pieces. For the finished chest, you would need to measure your front and back pieces and account for seam allowances, closures, etc. Worried the sleeve length isn’t going to be right, or you want to change it? Have your model slightly bend her arm and measure from the top of the shoulder to where you want it to hit. Then flat measure your sleeve piece from top to hem. Don’t forget to account for seam and hem allowances, my seam and sleeve hem allowance is 1/2″ each, so 1″ total. (Also I know you love my daughter’s tattoos, which her dad taught her to draw on herself….cool dad trick…)

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Last tip is to make a muslin. I know, I know, NO one wants to make a muslin. But it can be well worth it. Specifically if you’re using special or expensive fabric. To make a muslin, buy CHEAP fabric. Maybe hideous 50 cent fabric you found at goodwill or broadcloth on sale when it was $1.99 is great. Just make sure you are using the same fabric as called for in the pattern. FYI, jersey knit sheets often go on sale at Target and make a great knit muslin. You don’t need to fully construct this dress. For the Sophie dress, you really need the bodice and you don’t even need to do the lining.  Simply baste together the shoulder seams, center panel and side seams. Try on your daughter inside out and pin any areas that need adjusting. For example, maybe the shoulders are a little big, so note and instead of using a 1/2″ seam allowance at the shoulders, use a 5/8″ seam allowance. Badabim, badaboom!

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If  you sell your dresses I suggest listing the finished measurements so your customer can choose. Or if your granddaughter lives in another state, tell your family how to flat measure. I honestly don’t always trust someone’s measurements; kids can be wiggly, whiny and hard to measure if not in the mood.

I hope this helps someone and just maybe it makes you rethink a pattern you used and didn’t have good luck with. I promise this is all well worth the time and these small adjustments will come second nature once you start. Kids are usually not straight sizes or ‘average’. If you aren’t looking and choosing your size by the designer’s chart, you aren’t giving the pattern a real chance! If you have any questions let me know, I love helping if I can. I would also LOVE for you to come sew-a-long with us in my fb pattern group! We’ll be having a lot of fun chatting, sewing and giving away FREE patterns 🙂 Everyone could use more patterns right?? Plus look at all these fun add ons I’m offering exclusively for FREE this week!

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Megan

Understitching?!?!?

I KNOW the boutique world love, loves, LOVES topstitching and is a must to most boutique owners…. but what about understitching??? I saw a post in a group on facebook discussing why PDF patterns don’t include understitching instructions and to my surprise, some didn’t even know what it was!

 

So what is understitching? Undersitching is used to prevent a facing or lining from rolling to the outside of the garment. You press the seam allowance toward the facing or lining and edge stitch in place. Unlike topstitching, which is mostly for looks, understiching isn’t seen at all, but can be very important to the construction of a garment. It is very simple!! If you are a visual learner, I snapped some pictures while working on my daughter’s back to school outfit just for you!

 

Why did I choose to understitch this dress?? I will be honest, I don’t always understitch every lined dress I sew. Why? My daughter has so many clothes I make, on top of that she is the 6th grand daughter in a row and has a mountain of hand me downs. Her clothes only get worn a handful of times and I don’t always take the time to understitch. BUT this little tunic I’m hoping it gets a lot of wear. It is something I can pass down to my nieces, as it isn’t something that will go out of style soon and doesn’t have her name on it…. or Frozen 😉 I also wanted to embellish the bodice, which most often causes the lining to roll to the front. So let’s get started! I’m using a mash up of my Alyssa and Molly patterns here, but you can use this technique with ANYthing lined or with a facing!

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On my example, I stitching my lining (white) to my front bodice (abc’s).  Follow your patterns instructions exactly and STOP when you stitch the lining or facing in place. Then, press seam toward lining or facing.

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Now edge stitch (stitch 1/8″ from edge) on the lining side, catching the pressed seam allowance under. You can see my seam allowance under my white lining! You want to catch that when edge stitching in place.

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Press right sides out and continue following pattern instructions. EASY BREEZY!! This simple step makes a HUGE difference in how professional and neat your sewing will look! Is this something you will try?? Let me know and share a picture!!

Megan

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Bundle Up!!

Have you seen all the fabulous women’s patterns in the new Pattern Revolution Bundle Up deal?? There are so many great patterns to sew up for yourself! I don’t sew for myself as often as I’d like…. but my sister Judy sews almost her whole wardrobe… NO joke! It’s awesome! She actually sews for me too, even more awesome! She’s so sweet making me things when I don’t have time, so I thought I would return the favor and sew her up the Four Seasons Cardigan & Duster pattern for Everything Your Mama Made (EYMM).

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Judy was making herself the Greenstyle Taylor shorts, so I decided to make the sleeveless option for her to pair with the shorts. There are LOADS of options in this pattern, cardigan length, duster length, hood, no hood, no sleeves, short sleeves, 3/4 sleeves, long sleeves PLUS it includes 10 sizes, XS – 5X plus! I mean it really is for all four seasons 😉

To say this sleeveless option  is a quick sew is an understatement! FOUR seams ladies, FOUR seams and you’re done! I cut out and whipped this up in less than 15 minutes. Now I did not hem the bottom, Judy is 5’9 and I forgot to add length…oops, but it looks great unhemmed!! Plus bonus that it was quicker. I used my serger to construct the entire thing… well my 4 seams I used the serger 😉

If you have never made a EYMM pattern, the ‘no trim’ pattern piece pages are AMAZING! I actually started using this method on my own patterns I love it so much. In a women’s pattern where you are printing several pages, this really really saves time! Here are some photos of Judy looking adorable… It actually started raining on us, oh no! But we always have fun, so OH WELL! IMG_0721IMG_0729

I can’t wait to make some of these up for myself. I love wearing cardigans and these will be very flattering while I’m getting my pre baby body back 🙂

Judy is going to tell you about her cute Taylor shorts now!!

Megan

 

 

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I was so excited to see the GreenStyle Taylor shorts design! Angela always has such great designs that are perfect for a comfortable, stylish look…just my thing! I love sewing for myself! I’m much taller then average, so I find it very hard to find clothes that fit at all, let alone fit well and are stylish!

So I started with my hip/booty measurement which put me at a medium… But I have a much smaller waist and legs then that measurement. So I like to size down and do a full butt adjustment for a better fit! Here is a quick shot of how I to the adjustment:

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I love that she has no trim pages for her pattern like mine! I mean who doesn’t want to skip that tedious step? Especially in an adult pattern! I used a very light weight denim with a sweet little print on it, because I’m in love with the floral trend!

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I did my construction a tad different only because I wasn’t patient enough to wait to sew them up before I had time to go buy a great zipper! So I constructed the whole shorts besides the zipper and waistband– I’m always so anxious to get started and whip through something I know I will love!!  Since I used a denim I added a few modifications that are only popular with jeans, like lots of topstitching and a metal zipper 🙂 I also love to use topstitching thread when I with with denim! The thicker thread really looks so much better, it really is worth changing it out for every time you topstitch!

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I really liked that she had instructions to double stitch the crotch for durability! That area sees a lot of stress… Especially those of us who needs full butt adjustments 😉 I also adding a couple rows of topstitching to the inside inseam for the same reason!

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I always like when patterns have hem gauges for a cleaner hem line! I like to iron up my hem in the flat… Sew per instructions, then when it is time to hem it folds so nicely into place… It’s the best of both worlds hemming in the flat vs round BC you have the ease of folding/pressing in the first, but have the nicer, cleaner finish off hemming in the round! I went in between the hem lines for a 3″ inseam… I love SHORT shorts, but since I’m tall short inseams tend to look extra short on me, plus as much as I HATE to admit it I’m starting to get older and need that extra inch!

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I also did french seams on my pockets… I didn’t want the serging to be touching my hands in the pockets or my thighs… so I just sewed the pockets wrong sides together, then flipped them right sides together and stitched around the seam.

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Inside of the pocket:

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I love them! They fit so much nicer then any RTW shorts since I’m tall and need that full booty adjustment!  I can’t wait to make up since more!

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June 27

Embellishing your Alyssa bodice…or any bodice!!

My newest pattern, the Alyssa, was just released! It comes in sizes 1/2 to 14 years. There are 3 different length options: top, tunic or dress. Fit to grow style with tie straps and elastic back. 2 elastic casings in the back for a secure fit. Banded skirt makes for a quicker sew, no hemming, and a great way to use coordinating fabrics. The bodice is perfect for showcasing a sweet fabric or adding embellishments. ZERO pattern pieces, means you can start right away!! ON SALE $5 until Friday 6/13!! No code on craftsy, code ALYSSA on etsy

As I said above, this pattern is PERFECT for adding embellishments to create different looks. This top I made using Tayna Whelan Rosey fabrics. I JUST wanted to show off the beautiful fabric on the bodice, like these other testers! (Hover over photo to see tester name and shop!)

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I used Jennifer Paganelli’s new Beauty Queen line, SWOON, for this one in dress length. I wanted to add a little something to the bodice to break up the stripes, so I added a faux placket, ribbon and buttons. I also used two different fabrics to create a split skirt!

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Adding this bodice detail is SUPER easy to do on any dress and I’m going to show you how!

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First want to cut your faux placket the same length as your bodice piece. The width is preference, but I always think 1/3 of  bodice width looks best.

NOTE: When I took these photos I hadn’t decided what I wanted on the bodice and didn’t want to cut into my stash of Beauty Queen, so I just used a scrap of broadcloth. I have a real fear cutting into any Jennifer Paganelli fabrics because I love them so much that I don’t want to mess it up or waste ANY. I just keep them hoarded in my sewing room and admire them….. I’m telling you, the fear is real.

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Iron both your bodice and faux placket in half. This will help keep it perfectly centered when you stitch it on.

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Iron back 1/4″ to wrong side of fabric, along  each long side.

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Line up your center creases. Edge stitch along each long side. OR add rick rack, lace or ribbon on long edges before stitching in place. Play with the placement of your trims. Try under the placket or over to see what you like best.

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I added a piece of ribbon and two buttons down the center. Just cut the ribbon the same length as your bodice, stitch the center of the ribbon to the placket. Easy peasy, done!

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What about a tuxedo ruffle?? Julie from Little Darlings Designs added one on her tester tunic.

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This time you want to cut your ruffle 2 times the length of your bodice. Again, width is preference. You can go wide or go thinner! Or try adding two ruffles, one wide then place a thinner one on top.

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Roll hem along each long side or do a narrow hem if you don’t have a serger. Place a gathering stitch down the center of the ruffle and gather to bodice length. Add rick rack, ribbons or lace to center if you want to hide those stitches!

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Now let’s talk about adding bibs! This is my Molly pattern by Becca from Vintage Bebe Props! Adding this sweet like ruffle bib on the front completely changed the look and is OH so cute!

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First cut your bib piece the length of your bodice minus 1/2″. This is to allow for the seam allowance when attaching the skirt. Width… guess…… yep it’s preference!

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Iron in half width wise and cut a ‘U’ shape for your bib.

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Now we need to turn under the unfinished curved edge. You can turn 1/4″ to the wrong side and add rick rack, lace or my favorite a ruffle!! Stitch ruffle along curved bib edge, right sides together, ruffle should be facing in. Press the seam and simply stitch bib to bodice along curve.

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The possibilities are endless and there are no right or wrong ways to do this! It’s amazing how little details can completely change a pattern! Here are some more fabulous tester photos!

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What about the split skirt?? Again, SUPER simple! When you cut your skirt, cut 1 of each skirt piece in 2 different fabrics. Stitch side seam together per pattern instructions. Then instead of leaving open one side and adding the band flat, you want to stitch the other side seam to create a tube. Same with the band, stitch each side seam to create a tube. Iron band in half width wise to find center. (This is so you don’t end up with the band side seam in the center of your skirt.) Pin center creases of band to center seams on skirt and continue per pattern instructions! I love split skirts. It’s a  fun way to use coordinating fabrics or if you don’t want to use all your hoarded Jennifer Paganelli….. anyone else have the problem with fabrics they love??? Tell me I’m not the only one 😉

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I hope you enjoyed these quick little tips and give them a try! Don’t forget to go grab the Alyssa while it’s on sale!!

 

Megan