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The Charlotte Top by JillyAtlanta

Hey Hey Hey! HAPPY MONDAY!!! We’re kicking of a bright and cheerful new week with this adorable Charlotte Top, pattern by Jilly Atlanta Patterns.

I love testing for other designers because it gives me a break in my own workload and I get to know other styles and encourage the designer along the way! I had a great time playing with the Charlotte top and seeing the great new sews from the other testers.

Honor loves her top, and had a blast taking pics!

The Charlotte top is a simple a-line top and dress pattern for sizes 2-8. It includes sleeve options for sleeveless (shown), short, 3/4 and long sleeve. For the dress version, a cute elasticated waist detail adds some flair and flow to the design.

The cutest part of Charlotte is the ruffle bib detail! I used bias cut chambray ruffles that had just enough fringe to give lots of texture and pizazz!

I adore the professional finishing touches and french seam construction, the inside is just as beautiful as the outside! Great pattern, Jill! Thanks for allowing me to test!

FINN by Blaverry

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I love when I have the opportunity to sew up something fabulous from another pattern designer. It’s a nice breath of fresh air in the midst of my own designs. Christie from Blaverry reached out to me to sew up and share about a great pattern of hers, the FINN top. Let’s take a look at what I created!

The FINN top has a fitted bodice with a super cute hi/low peplum and lots of sleeve options: short (as shown), 3/4, long and layered. You can even lengthen the peplum to a dress length for more variety!

I literally ran (my fingers) to Hawthorne Threads to pick out some fabulous knit for our FINN top and I am absolutely smitten with the new Fleet and Flourish knit, Swifting Flora in Fond. Like beyond smitten. Like I’ve already sewn more garments with it and want to order more (stay tuned for those pics later in Feb!). Maureen Cracknell seriously stole my heart with this entire collection. So romantic, so fresh and colorful. Sigh.

For my narrow framed girl, the fit of the top was splendid! The length was perfect and I love the sweet short sleeve. She loved the little flare of the peplum, and didn’t hold back on her twirls.

Blaverry patterns feature digital images in the tutorial to help guide you through the construction of the FINN top. A great size chart and finished measurement chart is included to help you select the right size, or combination of sizes, to fit your child. I love her concise and direct steps, definitely written for someone who is comfortable with sewing at an intermediate or advanced beginner level. I adore Christie’s clean and simple style with a designer brand look. I always think of Nordstrom and Burberry when I see her collections. If you are new to Blaverry, check out her free pattern, the Zozo Dress, and give Blaverry a try!

Thanks, Christie, for the opportunity to play with the FINN top! This one definitely won’t be our last!

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I totally love when various parts of my world collide and the Strong is the New Skinny Blog Tour is a great mash of two of my most favorite interests: creativity and fitness. I am thrilled to be writing alongside many talented sewists, bloggers, photographers, pattern designers and creative masterminds all coming together in the name of health and wellness.

All week long, others have posted about their love for Yoga and Pilates, Strength Training, Group Fitness, and Outdoor Recreation. When the opportunity arose, I knew I could sign up for every single day but I guess I wanted to share about a fitness passion that I don’t actually get paid to do…hiking! (PS. Now that I think about it, I probably ought to figure out how I can hike and get paid haha!)

Some background on my fitness journey:

Growing up I was always interested in fitness. I would do workout tapes with my step mom (Hello- Jane Fonda, Denise Austin, Buns of Steel- I’m lookin’ at you!), go to kickboxing classes with friends, I played tennis and ran track, etc. I just enjoyed being fit and feeling good about myself.

In college, I started working at a gym in their kids’ club and loved the perk of a free gym membership that came along with the job. I started taking group exercise classes and got to know the Group Exercise Manager really well. She must have saw some potential in me or something because eventually she asked me to take a Group Exercise Certification course and start teaching classes at the gym. I jumped in with both feet (pun intended) and was quickly hooked! Getting paid to workout, motivate others and have a blast being healthy and fit- sign me up!!!

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Well, that was now over 10 years ago and I can’t imagine not being in the gym community, instructing and coaching others and continuing to grow myself as a fitness professional. Curious what classes I teach? Here is a list of my favorites: Body Pump, Body Attack, Grit, CXWorx, Boot Camp, Core, Yoga/Cycle/Cardio combo.

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I also love running!! When I was younger I told myself I would run a marathon every 5 years of my adult life, and I guess that makes me due for one this year! I hope to convince a friend to two to join me…running with a buddy is so much more fun!

Wasn’t this post about Outdoor Recreation? Oh yea. Now, let’s discuss an area of fitness that I just do for complete and utter fun- Hiking!! My love for hiking really grew when we landed on the glorious island of Oahu. The hiking opportunities were more than I could fathom, and the rewards of getting out and exploring the great island views surpassed any expectation.

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The greatest part of hiking, was that my whole family could adventure into fitness together. Even more, our family and our friends could share those memories in the great outdoors together.

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Enjoy a nice photo spread of some of my favorite hikes on Oahu. If you ever find yourself on island, look these hikes up and be sure to jump on the trail!

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Hiking isn’t where my outdoor adventures end! While on island, we were able to enjoy other activities like paddle boarding, ziplining, swimming with turtles, etc! My husband and I don’t always agree on everything, but we do share the passion for sharing health and wellness with our children. They were so fortunate to be able to take part in these fun outdoor activities year round, something that most of the mainland kids don’t get to enjoy.

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There’s something soothing to the soul to be out in the sunshine, breathing in nature’s sweet fragrance and getting a little sweat in your eyes (in my case, lots of sweat). I hope you found some inspiration in my post to lace up your go-fasters and get out!

Check out a round up of the tour posts and the blog that began it all! Thank you, Becca and Free Notion, for organizing and promoting this awesome campaign. In 2016- let’s embrace Strong is the New Skinny!

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Katy Perry NYE Blog Party: {After} Christmas Tree

The week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve is a great week of relaxation, contemplation and reflection of the previous year, and of course, to eat obscene amounts of cookies, pies, and leftovers. For me, it’s always a time of pondering when to take down the Christmas decorations and what in the world should I do with the Christmas tree? This is K’s pondering face. Or maybe it’s her “Mom, it’s freezing out, why am I standing in a Christmas tree??” face.

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When the Katy Perry NYE Blog Party sign ups went around, I started pondering further: What would Katy Perry do with her Christmas tree? Just throw it out? Leave it up for rockin around on NYE? Too basic. It was a no brainer- Katy would most definitely…wear her Christmas tree.

I’ve been seeing lots of link ups and pins about making a dressform Christmas tree dress, but only came across one actual “dress” from a Christmas tree. I always like to pave the way to new ideas, so here you have it- Christmas tree dress for my sweet December baby.

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I know what you are thinking- how in the world did a Christmas tree (in this specific instance, TWO trees) turn into a skirt like that???? A quick trip to the local Tractor Supply Co. to pick up some vinyl chicken wire (thank goodness they had green vinyl coated wire because that silver stuff is so pokey!), a not-so-quick trip to Jo-Ann’s for some fabulous and on-trend Buffalo Plaid and white faux fur, and we were set to start our adventure!

My husband and I started shaping the wire into a skirt form.

Once we had the skirt base made, we took scrap branches from our Christmas tree and started layering in the tree branches by weaving them into the wire.

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After we used up our existing branches, I wasn’t satisfied with the look and ran out for a second tree. It happens. I’m sure KP herself has a big enough tree to make dresses for herself and her bffs. We only had a 14.5 footer. Seriously.

The second tree provided the right amount of fullness and texture I was hoping for, and so I set my sights on sewing up something for the bodice.

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I was fortunate enough to test the Cora Bolero pattern from Violette Field Threads, but hadn’t had a chance to sew up a version with the awesome asymetrical collar option. I figured KP would like something big and bold- and of course some fun textured fabrics like the buffalo plaid flannel and white faux fur gave it just the extra spunk to meet the celebrity’s signature style.

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To take things over the top just a bit more, I dreamed up styling K’s hair into a Christmas tree topper bow- cascading sparkle ribbon and hair looped extra big and extra glam.

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Now, this ensemble was ready and set to photograph for almost a week before the weather cooperated enough to give us some lovely snow to complete the look. I mean, if you HAVE to be in Michigan for the holidays, it ought to be wintery and full of snow, right???

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So there you have it- a Katy Perry inspired Christmas tree dress fit for a stylish diva. Next year when you are contemplating what to do with that left-over tree, why not hack it up and make something pretty for yourself???

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The party doesn’t end here! Check out this amazing lineup of bloggers that are celebrating the New Year in full Katy Perry style:

The Merry Dress & Andover’s Sophia Fabric Line

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When a great pattern and beautiful fabrics come together, the result is nothing short of amazing! I had the pleasure to playing with the softest, richest fabric from Andover Fabrics and I knew the Merry Dress sewing pattern from Little Lizard King would be the perfect pairing!

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The Merry Dress pattern, for sizes 12 mo through girls 12, is a great pattern for every occasion in every season! With 5 sleeve options: sleeveless, cap, short, 3/4 and long, the dress is versatile for every climate.

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The Merry Dress has a sweet, fully pleated skirt with a deep hem. The pattern includes these fabulous pleating guides to help mark each pleat space, and to create an even pleat from top to bottom! If you are new to pleating, this is a great beginner pattern.

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Pretty soon you’ll be pleating in your sleep! If you are hesitant to give pleating a go, no worries, you can simply gather the skirt instead. The Merry Dress bodice and skirt can mix and match with other great Little Lizard King patterns to give you even more lovely combos for your little gal’s wardrobe.

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The Merry Dress also features a front boat neckline with a modest scoop back finished with a single button closure, giving a classic yet unique look.

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Enough about that fun new pattern, let’s scope out the lovely fabrics from the Sophia collection by Andover Fabrics. I am totally digging the color pallet: rich blues, greys and neutrals, pops of coral and rose, and on-trend mustard.

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My favorite print has to be the ikat. It’s so fun, gives a nudge to my inner math geek and the colors are so rich and playful!

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Thank you, Andover, for sending along such beautiful fabrics for me to sew up. This trio is fabulous and the little girls are loving their new Merry Dresses!

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Check out the gallery from this adorable photo shoot!

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Fedora by Fat Red Bird Designs for One Thimble Ezine

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It’s one of my favorite times of the year! Each quarter, One Thimble releases a fabulous issue jam packed full with exciting new patterns, great creative articles, sewing tips and tricks as well as exclusive coupons and offers for OT readers (P.S. I wrote a little article about how to create a stylized photo session, be sure to check it out!).

I am joining a stellar line up of bloggers to share our creations using the patterns featured in the new issue. Check the end of this post for the tour schedule, and the rafflecopter entry to win a FREE copy of Issue 8 (or a refund if you already purchased).

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So, what did I get to sew up from Issue 8? A super cute and fun Fedora by Fat Red Bird Designs. I have never sewn a hat before, so this was a neat experience for me! I love a good challenge, and the pattern was quite easy and basic it made the challenge quite small.

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The Fedora Pattern is written for sizes infant to adult and includes great photos and tips for making a great fitting hat. I sewed up a medium for my littlest gal, and she was in love! I added a little bow detail to keep it girly, but the Fedora pattern is written for both guys and gals.

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I was able to sew the hat up in one sitting, taking only a few hours from cut to finish. I found some adorable bow print fabric imported from Japan at my local Fabric Mart. I love that the hat requires little fabric and I could purchase some of the more expensive fabric to make it extra cute and unique!

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I loved all the great tips included in the pattern, as this was a new adventure for me I was a little hesitant about sewing a hat. The designer gave great insight on how to make it a simple and breezy project, as well as offering suggestions for the weight and type of interfacing and wadding to use to yield a great looking hat.

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A little kiddo in a fedora is pretty much the cutest, but I couldn’t stop the vibes there! I paired my two new patterns coming to Little Lizard King, the Daddy’s Girl dress (made from Daddy’s upcycled dress shirt!), and Library Cardi with the hat to complete the ensemble.

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We set off for the library to capture the entire outfit, and H insisted on her favorite pair of Joyfolie’s to keep her look fresh and girly. What a head turner! This girl was the talk of the library (which was of course in a hushed conversation haha).

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I hope you enjoyed seeing this adorable new Fedora that we’ve added to our wardrobe closet. Jump on over to the One Thimble shop and grab your copy of Issue 8, and even pick some stand alone patterns from previous issues to put together a stylish, handmade wardrobe for you and your family.

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Check below to see the entire tour schedule to see more great patterns featured in Issue 8!

Road Trip Racerback with Michael Miller Animal Prints

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The newest pattern for Little Lizard King is perfect for summer. The Road Trip Racerback was inspired by the many road trips my family would take from Michigan to Mississippi each year for Spring Break. As a kid, road trips are hardly fun (remember, back in the day there were no ipods, cell phones, tvs in the headrest, etc). Sitting in the car for hours on end was uncomfortable and well, just plain boring! The Road Trip Racerback is just the opposite! I wanted to create a garment that would be super cute, super comfy and super fabulous for everyday wear- including those long road trips!

Michael Miller Fabrics sponsored this photo shoot with some amazing animal prints. I instantly envisioned a vintage, safari style road trip. These girls had a blast running around in their sassy Road Trip Racerback tunics, dresses, and maxis!

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The pattern has various lengths included: top, tunic, dress, maxi and a tiered maxi. The tunic and tiered maxi are pictured above. The Road Trip Racerback sports a comfortable knit bodice with either a woven or knit skirt. You can also upcycle premade tops, instructions included!

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Every little girl needs a cute outfit that she can run and play and be a KID in!

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The racerback style allows for a comfortable fit in the bodice with no pulling on the arms- which is perfect when you need to reach out and hold a hand!

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The Road Trip Racerback is great to dress up with accessories!

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Tunic length paired with leggings is great for potty training littles, or those who want some modesty for playground play!

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Maxis give the perfect princess-like feel to this comfortable dress!

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The tiered maxi option is a great stash buster. Some pieces are 2-5 inches in length!

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Head over to the Little Lizard King Website and grab your own Road Trip Racerback pattern today!!

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We wish you a splendid summer, full of fun and great memories! Thank you, Michael Miller, for these fabulous fabrics. These Road Trip Racerbacks are precious and ready for the road!

Violette Field Threads Summer Collection: Quinn Top and Skirt

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Summer is coming and your little one will be SO cute in a Quinn top and skirt from Violette Field Threads pattern, releasing this Thursday! Quinn-8

The Quinn top is a fully lined knit top with super cute cap sleeves with drawstring ties. Optional bodice embellishment of pleats (as shown) or a flat band add a cute detail to this great fitting tank. My daughter loved how comfy and soft it was, and I love not having to iron!

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The Quinn skirt is best made from heavy weight fabrics like home decor, canvas, duck cloth, etc. I used a striped canvas from Fabric Mart and the shape and structure is on point! Quinn-6

I am currently obsessed with decorative zips, and this lace zip is beyond precious! I think I need more in every color! Quinn-5

The skirt has a double or triple layer of decorative elastic for the waistband. I used a plain white as my selections on island were limited and I didn’t find much online that would go with my color scheme. She loved her new outfit- it was comfortable, cute and has a lot of style! Quinn

The best part about the Quinn pattern- it comes in Ladies’ sizes too!!!  As much as I loathe having my picture taken, this outfit was something I was just dying to show off! Ladies Quinn-5

The ladies version is made of the same type of materials. I used this vibrant butterfly home decor weight linen that was in the remnant section (score at $3.99/yard!). I’ve been eyeing this fabric, but didn’t think it would work well for little girls as the butterflies are HUGE! Yet, they were perfect for this skirt!Ladies Quinn-6

The knit top has great cap sleeves that cover straps for a modest, classy look (but apparently not my horrid tan lines hahaha!). I went with the flat band detail for my tank top. I used this great solid white knit, also from the remnant pile (at $2.99 yard for the perfect weight and stretch- I was in bargain heaven!). I love that this top is lined, I didn’t have to worry about anything showing through and the structure of the top held my waist in nicely.

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The decorative elastic waistband and exposed zipper make for a comfortable fit that was easy to wear, wasn’t restrictive or bothersome. I love a cute outfit that I can feel as comfortable in as my yoga pants and this set was a win for sure!

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Are you digging these Quinn’s as much as we are???? Run on over to the VFT website and pick up your Quinn girls and ladies patterns this Thursday!

Top Stitchers: Angels Among Us

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This season of Top Stitchers has been a true challenge for me- as a sewist, as a dreamer and within myself, personally. My challenge prompt was to create an Over the Top look for boys using a song about birds (or other winged creatures) as inspiration. I present to you, Angels Among Us, a beautiful collaboration of an incredibly emotional, creative mind (that’s me), a beyond talented photographer (Hailey Faria), a stellar stylist (Autumn Negron) and one adorable young male model (Jonah Benros, with Wilhelminah Hawaii).

I have been dreaming of this photo shoot for years. I am so thankful for this opportunity to make a dream a reality.

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Let me take you back to 1993, when Alabama first released Angels Among Us. It was a song I remember singing along with my Grandma, Aunt and older brother while bumping down the old dirt road that led to my Grandma’s house. Well over 20 years later, and the lyrics run through my mind almost daily.

“I believe there are Angels Among Us,
Sent down to us from somewhere up above.
They come to you and me in our darkest hours
To show us how to live
To teach us how to give
To guide us with a light of love.”

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Those three family members have since earned their angel wings among many other family and friends. I have always wanted to do a photo shoot representing the concept that in your troubled times, or even in the busyness of life, there is an angel among us. Thankfully, Hailey ( Hailey Faria Photography) and Autumn (Dream Compass Styling) were able to capture my vision and make it into this beautiful photo series.

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For the angel’s wardrobe I made a double breasted frock, Sweatshirts for women, chinos and wings.

The double breasted frock was made from a jacket pattern by Shwin and Shwin. I struggled to find the right style jacket pattern pdf, and was able to adapt this free pattern into the frock inspired by this pin:

I used a light blue linen blend for the outer jacket and a beautiful blue dupioni silk for the lining, purchased locally at Fabric Mart.

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The button down shirt was made from the Ethan’s Shirt Pattern by Sis Boom. I modified it to be short sleeve (although not shown), since I knew we’d be shooting in the island heat. I used a cream dupioni silk, also purchased locally.

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The pants were made from Peekaboo Patterns‘ Chinos, with modifications to include a side stripe.

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For the wow factor, I made the angel wings using pages from vintage books. My helpful husband assisted me in creating the mount for the wings, and Hailey helped with putting together part of the wings as well. Lots of glue, staples and blistered fingers- but the end result was a showstopper! We created quite the stir during First Friday excitement in Chinatown! The jacket had perfect shoulder tabs that allowed the harness to stay positioned on the model’s shoulders. He was a trooper as we roamed street blocks looking for great crowds and perfect backdrops.

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If you’ve been a long time follower, you would have noticed that I hardly ever sew boy items. This season of Top Stitchers proved to be a true challenge in that I just had to make things that were not in my normal spectrum of styles. There’s just not a lot of exciting fashion for young men, and so to get creative with a simple jacket, shirt and pant pattern was a definite push to my creative boundaries. I also sew mostly for my own children, who are on hand to measure and test muslins at any moment. Working with a model, it was nerve wracking to hope that everything would fit as I wanted it to, and if it didn’t there wasn’t much I could do about it on location. Also, I am a solo artist, and very rarely get the opportunity to put my head together with some of the most talented ladies around. It was relieving as well as stressful to put vision into play with this dream team. Lastly, this was a challenge for me to open up emotionally to my readers. When I was 15, my older brother passed away in a car accident, yet I survived. Since then, I have felt that he was my every day angel. My parents had a really beautiful painting in their home of a boy angel hugging Jesus and I loved that symbolism. Most often, angels are portrayed by girls and I wanted to be sure that we used a male model to make my vision complete, just like in that painting. I am grateful for such a wonderful young male model to complete the vision, he was so great at following direction and fit the concept to a T! Even his mom had said she always thought he would make the perfect angel; I would most definitely agree!

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I hope you enjoyed seeing this new collaborative project I was thrilled to be a part of! Hop over to the Free Notion blog to see what my amazingly talented competitor created and vote for this week’s Top Stitcher’s Challenge!

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Violette Field Threads Summer Collection: Allie Top and Shorts

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Hey all! I am super duper excited to share with you this darling top and short set I made from a new pattern in the Violette Field Threads Summer Collection (releasing this Thursday! EEEeeeks!). The collection is jam packed with some adorable styles for summer: tops, dresses, shorts, rompers and even a Mom & Me set! Stay tuned because, of course, I had to sew up one of each! I’ll be sharing more throughout this week, but for now…set your gaze upon the Allie set!

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Allie Top and Shorts set features a super fresh pintuck, sleeveless blouse with a keyhole back along with a fabulous bow front short. So cute, so fun!

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For the top, I used a beautiful white linen blend from my local Fabric Mart. Three sweet pintucks along the front center bodice, and a breezy key hole back put this top in high style!

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For the shorts, I paired a print from the Maude Asbury’s new Sunsational line with some vibrant green I had in my stash. Once the fabric arrived, I knew the Makai Pier would be the perfect setting for this fun summer set!

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What look isn’t complete without accessories? Kenzie loves her straw hat from the Target Dollar Spot! I *think* she loves it, can you tell???Allie

Set your alarms for this Thursday, and get ready for an epic release from Violette Field Threads and check back in the rest of this week to see more great looks from the Summer Collection!

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#New Summer Collection 2019

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