Made By Rae Patterns, Ruby Dress Pattern, Sewing

Itty Bitty Baby Dress

It is almost Easter and in that spirit I did a bit of sewing last week.img_5424I made a teeny tiny dress.img_5460A friend at work had a baby last week, a little girl. This gave me a great excuse to sew something tiny and cute. The pattern is a free pattern literally called the Itty Bitty Baby Dress from Rae Hoekstra available for download from her site.  It is really small and I even sized it up a bit. It is designed to fit a 3 month old as sewn. My children are all grown. One forgets how small new babies are!img_5472I love the little birds. This fabric is cute but not cutesy which I love. My sewing wasn’t perfect but it really didn’t matter in the end.img_5463I made this little dress from fabric left over from a Ruby dress that I made and love. The fabric is Tokyo Trees from Cloud 9 fabrics. I bought it online at HoneyBeGood which has a great selection of organic fabrics.img_5429 The lining fabric was a fat quarter I had purchased from The Cloth Pocket. It is still available at various stores. The fabric is from a collection called Boardwalk Delight by Art Gallery Fabrics. I couldn’t resist the sprinkles. (below before I hand sewed the bodice lining) I love the rabbit ear shape the ties make. The curves are very small by the way which is a bit of a challenge-sew slowly 🙂img_5433In preparation for grandparenting which I hope to not be too far off-maybe 2 or 3 years?- I had already purchased the Geranium and Flashback Tee patterns when Rae had a pattern sale earlier this year. I love the many variations of those patterns (especially this one which reminds me of outfits my girls wore when they were little) and look forward to sewing them in the future. But this little pattern has no buttons or zippers so I thought I would try it  as I was sewing last minute the day before the shower-as I do. It didn’t disappoint. I simplified it a bit, eliminating the piping in the interest of time and I created a hem facing the same way I always do, only smaller.It is pretty foolproof and quick.img_5467One challenge was not having a small enough hanger to properly show off the finished product.  I tried to improvise. I am not sure I am doing it justice in this photo.I sewed everything by machine except for the last seam where I hand sewed the bodice lining. You could probably do that by machine as well but I don’t trust myself with the tiny gathers. It doesn’t take long.I enjoy hand sewing and it is quicker to hand sew once than to machine sew and have to redo it.img_5469Some more construction pictures below.  Hem facing. Attaching bodice.img_5428Such quick little seams to sew.One lesson learned, it you want to topstitch around the neck and armholes, wait until after you attach the front and back bodice pieces together. Ask me how I know that?img_5422 I got a little ahead of myself. But it all worked out in the end.  img_5476

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Made By Rae Patterns, Sewing

Arizona Cleo Skirt

I don’t have all of April Rhodes’ fabrics but I have many and have used them to make some garments I really love such as a Washi dress with sleeves, this Ruby dress, two pairs of Luna Pants, a Gemma Tank and a Cleo skirt. I am so happy with the green Washi with sleeves that I made with the beautiful fabric below imageand this navy Ruby dress and Gemma tank made in the other colorway of the green fabric, both of which I made and wore last summer.

I actually bought extra yardage of the green and navy fabrics as back-up for when I wear the dresses out which I consider good planning.  Although the fabric is quilting cotton and relatively inexpensive, it is easy to work with and the feel of the fabric is very soft and lends itself to garments you want to wear. I first bought the fabric below from the Arizona line because I liked the geometric design and I thought it would make a good Beatrix blouse but when Rae came out with the Cleo Pattern, I thought it would be fun to see how the pattern worked with gathers. I think it is great as a skirt.I sewed this at the same time that I sewed my Fringe Cleo as I have found it is not a lot more work to make two of a garment than one.  I sewed the hem with my machine using a hem facing, as I do. I used a lightweight white cotton batiste to face the hem because I thought the black lines might show through the white of the fabric if I just turned the hem up using the patterned fabric.I used three inch strips. Details of this hemming method in my prior Cleo posts. It is my go-to, quick method and it works well for me.I sewed the back of the waistband on the machine as directed but sewed the last bit of the front waistband by hand.  I get nervous sewing in the ditch when the fabric is gathered and prefer to finish that last bit by hand. I used the batiste for the pocket as well. There is something so satisfying about a crisply ironed finished pocket. Rae’s instructions are very clear and the skirt is relatively easy to construct but is very polished looking when sewn. It makes me want to sew all the skirts!Here in Connecticut it is technically spring but not quite the weather for this skirt but soon! I have some white double gauze and I am thinking that a sleeveless Josephine blouse would be great with this skirt. It is on my (very long and growing) to be sewn list.

My blog is not monetized and I derive no benefit if you click on the links. I provide links to resources that I find helpful and I hope you do too. Happy sewing!

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Bias Binding, Made By Rae Patterns, Sewing, Washi Dress Pattern

Snowday Sewday: WashiXP and Fringe Cleo Skirt

It snowed in Connecticut this week and the highways were closed. A perfect day to finish some sewing projects! I finished a Washi XP and a Cleo Skirt.The Washi XP is an expansion pack that enables you to make more versions of the Made By Rae Washi Pattern. It gives you many options for customizing your dress. I made the sleeveless version with a big bow. I had cut this dress out last summer when I wanted to use the fabric to bind this baby quilt and had to cut the dress out first to make sure I had enough left for the binding. And then it sat as WIPs tend to do. The Cleo Skirt below was planned from the minute Rae announced that she would be releasing a skirt pattern. I bought this Fringe fabric when I saw the great skirts that April made in both a child and adult version. But while I waited for the skirt pattern to be released (and it was worth the wait) I thought about how great this fabric would be for a pair of Luna Pants (which I sewed last summer) and I ended up buying more for the skirt. I am not sorry.Because this is quilting cotton, it is a bit poofier than say, voile or double gauze. But I have decided to embrace the poof. I love this skirt!It is great right now with boots and tights and it is going to be great this summer with a black tank top. Or this blue Gemma I made last summer that goes with everything. I used another fabric from April Rhodes as a hem facing.I used 3 inch strips. I find this is easier and gives me a nicer finish than a traditional hem. It is also more fun.Dress hanging on the front door before hemming and before I sewed the waistband down on the inside of the front waist. I hand sewed the front part because stitching in the ditch with all those gathers made me a bit nervous. Hand sewing was fast and I was happy with the results.This was a quick sew and the quilting cotton was really easy to work with. Next up, I have versions planned in voile. Pocket in process below. Rae’s instructions are really clear.Next up was the WashiXP. This is not much more work than the regular Washi. I love this fabric from Cotton and Steel. It is quilting cotton but a bit heavier in feel and it drapes really nicely. I have made several dresses with Cotton and Steel quilting cotton that I wear all winter with leggings and a sweater. In this version, the front bodice is in two pieces that are then sewn together to enable you to attach the ties for the bow.This fabric was also really easy to work with, a great thing for the first time you sew a pattern. I also have some Cotton and Steel rayon that I have planned for this pattern but I wanted to sew it first using a fabric that would cooperate.Again the step by step directions are easy to follow.This version of the Washi uses elastic with a casing instead of shirring with elastic thread although you could do either. I ended up machine basting the casing from the wrong side so I could be sure to line it up correctly and then used the basting stitches to guide me when I sewed it in place from the right side. This worked really well for me and was pretty quick.I hand basted the last part of the collar sewing where you sew in the ditch from the right side of the fabric. This kept the collar in place and enabled me to iron it well before sewing so I got a nice result.Here is the dress before I sewed the bias binding on to the armholes. The fit is spot on and I love the bow. Selfie arms below.I decided to use some of the last of my Cotton and Steel floral lawn for the armholes. I love this fabric. One of my favorites. I have a sleeveless Beatrix Blouse cut out of this ready to sew for summer. I need another snowday!It makes the binding so much more enjoyable when you love the fabric. I love the pops of color.Especially the mustard and olive green.I like to turn my binding under so just a hint of the binding fabric shows. I spent a lot of time sewing bias binding last summer when I sewed many Gemma tanks and this is my favorite binding method.Inside of dress below with collar.Finished dress in hallway picture (front door pictures don’t work in blizzards.)Inside view. I didn’t have enough of the floral for the hem so I used a Cotton and Steel lawn in a pink color that harmonizes with the floral.And as worn. Yes it was cold but worth it for the photo. These are both great patterns and I have many more versions planned for spring which is supposed to be here in just five days! 

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Made By Rae Patterns, Sewing

Loominous Cleo

I was lucky to have the chance to test Rae Hoekstra‘s new skirt pattern the Cleo. I have had so many skirt ideas but didn’t have a pattern I loved so I had been waiting for this one for some time. I have loved all the checked and striped versions that Rae has made and when I saw this beautiful fabric from the Loominous line by Anna Maria Horner, I knew it would be perfect. I love the stripey, checked feeling of the fabric and the different patterns within patterns that are going on in the weave. I have also been loving yellow and blue lately.img_5226The biggest decision for me when thinking about skirts is the length. The floral skirt below is the unhemmed View B that I sewed as a pattern tester and I think it is just about the right length. Rae subsequently added several inches to View B for the final Cleo pattern but since most of my height is in my torso, I am happy with the shorter length. I made my Loominous Cleo 1.5 inches longer than my test skirt to allow for the hem. I ended up finishing the hem with a facing so I probably didn’t need the extra inch.
img_4234I loved this contrasting yellow woven fabric from the same fabric line (Loominous 2) and decided to use it on the inside of the waistband and to face the hem. It gave the waistband a bit more structure to construct it this way. In cutting the pattern pieces, I decided to cut the main skirt pieces perpendicular to the grain to have the stripes feel more horizontal than vertical. I cut the waist band with the grain in order to give it some contrast (also possibly more slimming? Hard to tell.) I am really happy with the way it turned out. Waistband in process below.
img_5203Inside of waistband close-up with under stitching seen below.
img_5199I cut the pockets with the grain because that made the best use of the fabric I had left after cutting the main pieces. One could also cut contrasting pockets but I only had a half a yard of the yellow.img_5213I under stitched along the seam where the pockets are sewn to the skirt. img_5215I love the juxtaposition of the shapes and stripes.
img_5210I finished my seams with a simple zig zag stitch. I bought a serger this fall but haven’t yet had the time to figure it out. One of my 2017 goals!
img_5216Picture of the inside of the waistband after inserting elastic below. This was a quick skirt in a day sew.
img_5221Hem facing being sewn below. I use the seam line as a visual guide when I fold up the hem facing. I used 3 inch strips.
img_5220The 3 inch strips enable me to sew my hems using the edge of the metal plate on my sewing machine as a visual guide to line up the bottom edge of the skirt.  img_5223Hem facing below.img_5224 I added a label as an afterthought right next to the side seam-I had already sewn the rest of the waistband when I thought to do it- because the colors match pretty well. This is the inside of the skirt after being washed and not ironed so a bit wrinkled. 
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I was on my way out the door to work but I had my husband take a couple of pictures.  I had washed the skirt and it is a bit rumpled but you can get a feel for the fit. That is a Gemma tank that I am wearing with it which is a great combination for summer.img_5246-1I  took the pictures with ankle high boots but switched boots after I saw the pictures. I decided that I like the skirt with taller boots or sandals given the length of the skirt. img_5257I probably will make the skirt an inch shorter next time but I am overall very happy with it. It will be perfect for spring and summer months. I have plans for several more Cleo’s in this voile, this lawn and this chambray and have this great fabric by April Rhodes cut out and ready to sew. I sewed a Medium although my measurements put me between a Medium and a Large. The skirt is relatively full and I am happy with the fit. I didn’t make any other adjustments other than sewing it in a shorter length. The fabric is from The Cloth Pocket, which is a wonderful store to visit in person or online. I basically want to buy everything they stock. I highly recommend this pattern and can’t wait to make more!

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Made By Rae Patterns, Ruby Dress Pattern, Sewing

Snowversary 2017

FullSizeRender (14).jpgIt is hard to believe that it was only two years ago that I sewed my first me-made garment, a Made By Rae Washi dress. Since that time I have sewn so many Washi dresses for myself, my daughter, my sister and my mom as well as many other dresses, tops, pants and now skirts.

This week we had a storm in the Northeast. It wasn’t enough to cause a huge disruption in our lives-we didn’t lose power or have trees down and because we knew the storm was coming I planned ahead to stay home and take a vacation day from work since clinic was closed and our patients were rescheduled. It was the perfect snow day.

I took advantage of the day to do a little sewing. I have had two plaid flannel Pearl shifts cut out since before Christmas, one for my daughter and one for me. The only tricky part of this pattern is inserting the zipper so inserted the zipper on the purple Pearl destined for my daughter  (I only had to unpick it once)fullsizerender-15 and then, since I had already loaded the machine with a deep teal thread, I decided to sew a up the teal double gauze Ruby blouse that I cut out last July (!)img_5117I tend to cut projects out way before I actually sew them, often because I want to use the fabric for more than one project. It works best for me if I lay out the pattern pieces for both projects  at the same time so I can be sure to cut the pattern pieces in such a way as to have enough for both projects. In this case, I had used the teal for the pockets and waist facing for my Fringe Luna Pants so I cut the Ruby pieces at the same time. I had originally thought I would sew it last summer but then Rae released the Gemma Tank pattern and Gemma Madness ensued.

I made my first double gauze Ruby last summer, a plum version. I have been wearing that blouse more now in the winter than I did last summer-it is one of my most-worn me-made garments. See below after many washes and wears.fullsizerender-8 I made it using Rae’s sausage technique for lining the bodice. See this post about a favorite Ruby Dress for a detailed illustration with links. Both the bodice lining (a floral lawn that is one of my favorite fabrics) and the pink double gauze fabrics are from Cotton and Steel. It is the perfect layering piece under a cardigan and I tend to wear it with an olive green or grey cardigan with dark jeans. Add a necklace and it is a comfortable, flattering look for winter on those work days when I don’t see patients and am just catching up on paperwork. I have probably worn my pink Ruby over 20 times since I made it last summer. It just gets softer and softer and I can wear it right out of the dryer-no need to iron. I originally purchased the teal fabric online on sale from Fabric.com. It is also Cotton and Steel double gauze and it is called Indigo. I actually thought it was going to be navy which I thought would be a great basic and when it came in the mail, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like the teal as much as the navy but then I thought of how great it would be with my mustard cardigan. So when I had an unexpected snow day this week, I decided sewing up this Ruby would be the perfect way to spend it.

The Ruby Blouse by Made by Rae is a relatively simple sewing project but lining the bodice elevates it to a more polished garment and makes it more fun because you can choose a fun fabric to use for the lining which only requires a fat quarter of fabric. I looked through my ever-growing stash and found a fat quarter of a beautiful floral quilting cotton from the Cotton and Steel Cat Lady collection. No cats in sight on this fabric, at least that I could see, but I love the colors and how it works with the teal. fullsizerender-13I have used the sausage technique so many times on my many Washi dresses and Ruby dresses and blouses that I didn’t need to refer to the videos but they are awesome.img_5125I did look back at the videos briefly to remind me how to do the bias binding on the lower armholes. I use a 1.5 inch strip rather than 1.25 inches. I do find that part a bit tricky with double gauze but a couple of hand stitches on the inside of the blouse fixed the areas that my machine stitching missed. Before sewing the sausage I generally topstitch around the neck. I used matching thread.fullsizerender-12 I machine wash my garments and it seems as though that extra stitching gives the neckline a bit more stability and strength. img_5149The sausage technique leaves two seams on the inside of the blouse that require hand stitching. I actually enjoy hand stitching so I enjoyed this part of the project. I was able to sew the entire blouse in an afternoon and wear it to work the next day without rushing or cutting corners. It is sometimes very relaxing to just enjoy the process and make something beautiful without worrying about how long it takes. img_5143I even had time to make home-made soup for dinner after I finished sewing. I often make what I call “refrigerator soup” where I look in the refrigerator and see what I have and make it into soup. A couple of weeks ago, I had half a butternut squash, a sweet potato and some carrots and I ended up making soup with some sautéed onions, chicken broth, fresh ginger and a little curry for seasoning. It was fantastic so today I made it on purpose. “Vitamin A Soup” below. I think the bright orange and yellow color speaks to me in the dark days of winter. fullsizerender-9I have been drawn to oranges and yellows all winter. I have made several Isla Dresses in these colors and am very partial to this one below which I recently wore to NYC for a birthday celebration with my mother with whom I share a birthday. What are the odds of that?fullsizerender-11I am also loving this book which coincidentally has an orange cover and have this fabric on order from my favorite fabric shop with plans to make this skirt. So many things to look forward to on this snow day! Winter has its consolations. Finished Ruby blouse below. I know it will be worn and worn. I highly recommend this pattern in double gauze. It is worth the bit of extra effort. fullsizerender-16

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Made By Rae Patterns, Sewing

Pearl Necklace Isla Top

I have just completed a month of sewing knits and I am feeling much more confident in my ability to sew a knit garment successfully. I love the Isla Pattern from Made By Rae as evidenced by all the Isla dresses I have sewn. I was not as happy about the fit with the tops because of my long torso or as my Dad used to say, it just didn’t seem to suit my style of beauty, at least when I made it with the same adjustments I made to my Isla dresses. But after giving it some thought,  I felt I owed it to the pattern to give it another chance adjusting the bodice to have it hit at my natural waist and see if I liked that version better.

I am 5’9″ and all my height is in my torso. I wear  inseam 31-32 for my jeans.  I took a picture with a measuring tape for anyone out there with this body type planning to make this pattern (wearing another Isla dress I recently sewed). From the bottom of my neck to my natural waist is 16 inches. I had previously had my daughter take pictures of me wearing my Isla dresses with my hands at my waist and using that as a guide, I added 4 inches in length to the Medium bodice which I had already added an inch to so 5 inches in total.img_5008I also added a bit of width and smoothed out the curve on the side to see if it would help with the riding up of the top that I had with the others I have made.  Here is the front.img_4999Here is the bodice as sewn.img_5003I cut the ruffle using the regular medium cutting line because I had added so much to the length of the bodice that I didn’t want it to end up as a tunic but I wasn’t sure if I would like the top with such a disparity between the bodice and the ruffle. I think it is cutest when they are more in balance size-wise but I figured the only way to find out was to try it. Luckily, this fabric was easy to work with, gathered easily and the whole project took only a couple of hours start to finish. I took pictures of the finished bodice prior to attaching the ruffle with the measuring tape to show the length.img_5005And a second picture to remind me that I took a picture of the back not the front of the bodice. I use these pictures as a reference when I make a pattern a second time. It is easier for me to remember adjustments I made than writing them down.img_5007And here are the photos of the finished garment. as worn. Somewhat forced smile because my daughter is saying: Smile, Stand up Straight, Shoulders back, Belly in. I thought I had lined up my pearl necklaces when I cut the ruffle but as you can see, I have a bit of a diagonal thing going on here which was not intentional. It is a little more tricky to line up the circles with the knit than the woven which I used to make a Washi dress that I love and wear all the time in Spring and Summer.img_5022I also had an issue with the hem rolling up which I don’t seem to have with the dress version-thinking maybe it is the lighter weight of the fabric piece. Side view.img_5029Backimg_5033So overall I would say that for my body, I am happier with the Isla as a dress. In fact I may end up cutting off the ruffle and adding the dress length skirt to this and make it into a dress for myself or my daughter at some point.  The top is so cute on many people but I don’t think that it works for me well enough to continue to make it. I love the dresses and will wear them all the time I am sure. As for tops, I have so many to choose from after my summer of Gemma Madness. In fact, today, I wore this beauty in Macrame fabric which you can learn more about here.img_5016Now it is back to woven fabric and on to the Cleo skirt pattern which was released today. Can you believe how beautiful this one is?

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Bias Binding, Gemma Tank, Made By Rae Patterns, Maine, Pearl Shift, Quilting, Reading and Books, Ruby Dress Pattern, Sewing, unplugged, Washi Dress Pattern

Nursebeansews a lot: 2016 year-end wrap up

I sewed a lot of garments in 2016, close to 40-I have lost track of the actual total. Most of them were for me, some were for others. When I looked back over the year, I found that although I sewed many garments, I actually made several versions each of seven favorite patterns: the Pearl Shift pattern from Green Bee Patterns and six patterns from Made by Rae: the Washi Dress, the Beatrix Blouse, and the Ruby Blouse which I had made before and the Luna Pants pattern , the Isla knit dress pattern and the Gemma Tank which were new to me in 2016. The newer patterns are from a line that Rae calls Presto patterns. They are less expensive and simpler to sew, which is probably why I was able to sew so many! Here are a couple of pictures of some of my makes with links to the patterns and my blog posts about things I learned while making them. I tend to make things in multiples because it is not much more work to cut out two versions than to cut out one.

The Washi Dress by Made By Rae, which I made for myself three times: two versions had sleeves and two versions were in double gauze. I also made a version with polka dots for my sister and a paisley version for my mother. The double gauze, while a bit tricky to work with, makes a wonderful winter version of the Washi. I have my eye out for another double gauze to make another long sleeved version of the Washi. I wear my charm version all the time.img_4434I have two more  Washi dresses cut out that I plan to finish soon. One is the Washi XP with a bow. I cut them out last summer before Gemma Madness took over my sewing life. Finishing my WIPs will be a priority for me this winter.img_2414I am excited to see how the XP version turns out. I think it will be perfect with a sweater and tights and boots for winter. I cut this out way back in the spring when I made a baby quilt for a friend and used this for the binding.

I also sewed several new versions of the Beatrix blouse and modified a shift dress pattern by adding Beatrix sleeves.img_4435I lengthened the Beatrix to a tunic length using the Pearl Shift pattern as my guide and made this Cookie Book version with a curved hem and this Alison Glass version with an exposed zipper and a straight hem. I wear them all the time with leggings and jeans.

I made the Pearl Shift four times: two in heavy cotton flannel and one each in a cotton-linen blend and in a black and white checked fabric. img_4436I have two more cut out and ready to sew, one for my daughter and another plaid flannel version for me. The original plaid Pearl that I made a year ago in the fall is probably my most worn garment ever.

I surprised myself this year by making pants! I highly recommend the Luna Pants pattern from Made By Rae. I made this clay colored version and this Fringe version, both with fabric by April Rhodes. I lived in them all summer.img_4437 I was surprised at how flattering they ended up being and they are incredibly comfortable.

I made three versions of the Ruby Pattern this summer, a plum colored double gauze blouse for me, a double gauze blouse with a yoke made of quilting cotton for a friend and a dress which I love in April Rhodes fabric. I just love her designs for garments.img_4439I have several other versions of the Ruby blouse cut out and ready to sew. Sew all the WIPs is going to be my resolution for 2017!

I learned a bit about how to sew knits on a regular sewing machine and made one each of the dress and top versions of the Isla Pattern. img_4440I have several more cut out and ready for an afternoon when I can sew them up. I highly recommend this pattern for those of you who are new to sewing knits.

The pattern I sewed the most though turned out to be the Gemma Tank. Rae launched this pattern over the summer and once she did, all my other WIPs went by the wayside. I literally have things I cut out to sew back in July that never got sewn because I was too busy sewing so many versions of the Gemma. I lined it, I lengthened it, I sewed it for my kids, I sewed many versions for myself. I sewed it out of thrifted men’s shirts and I learned a lot about bias binding. It was a lot of fun, a bit crazy but a great way to experiment with different fabrics. I am wearing them all the time. It has become a great layering piece for me. These are actually not even all of the Gemmas I made. Craziness!img_4438Other non-garment items I sewed this year were this quilt for a much awaited new baby boy-so much fun! and an afghan for my mother in law made from thrift shop sweaters. I also was privileged to be a pattern tester for the first time for this great skirt pattern which will be launched in the new year. I have fabric picked out and ready to go.  It is going to be a great new basic to add to my rotation.

Highlights of my sewing year included Me Made May-which is always fun and which brings so much inspiration from other sewers and a couple of mini-breaks (long weekends,) one in Maine and one at home and a micro-mini break (afternoon) that I spent exploring my old neighborhood. I also read a lot this year and tried very hard to stick to my 2016 New Year’s resolution to commit one day a week to being unplugged. That worked for about half the year and then life got busy and  I ended up having to spend time each Sunday in the office. But I tried to spend at least some of each Sunday unplugged from media, reading, taking walks,, going to church regularly and doing yoga. These are things I hope to find more time for in the New Year.

With best wishes to all for a happy and healthy New Year and time and energy to finish the sewing projects (I know that I can’t cut out one more thing until I sew through the pile I have accumulated of cut out projects, ) and thanks to all for following along with my sewing adventures!

 

Please note that my blog is not monetized and has no sponsors. I provide links to share online resources that I enjoy using. I do not derive any financial benefit if you click on links on my blog.

 

 

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