Posts Tagged ‘sewing for kids’

shearwater kaftan -- probably actually-3

Okay, it’s technically still KCW according to Pacific Standard Time, so I’m squeezing in this one final project – a Mini Shearwater Kaftan from Make it Perfect. Toni released this pattern (it’s a kids’ version of her Shearwater Kaftan pattern for women) a couple weeks ago and was kind enough to send me a copy.

shearwater kaftan -- probably actually-2

This is a comfortable, breezy shirt, perfect for spring. The sleeves can be worn long or rolled up and secured with sleeve tabs, which are my favorite part. It’s a digital pattern and comes in two size ranges (0-5 and 6-10) – I made a size 5, which was a good fit for Lila.

shearwater kaftan -- probably actually-6

Toni suggests something light and airy such as double gauze (like her beautiful Nani Iro version), voile, or lawn, and the minute I saw the pattern I thought of Palos Verdes voile from Cloud9 Fabrics. I’ve been drooling over this line for quite some time, and seeing and feeling it in real life only confirmed my belief that it’s positively divine.

shearwater kaftan -- probably actually-12

It was hard to choose from all the beautiful prints, but I went with Malaga Cove (from LiMa Sews – she has the whole line in stock). And if you’re looking for Palos Verdes inspiration, the new Oliver + S Lullaby Layette was made up in this voile for the pattern cover. It’s perfect.

shearwater kaftan -- probably actually-14

I was happy to discover that last year’s chambray Class Picnic Shorts still fit – they turned out to be a nice match. I think a pair of Sailboat pants would be awfully cute with this top, too.

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Incidentally, the weather has been glorious here. See? Sun.

shearwater kaftan -- probably actually-8

Bye KCW, see you this summer…


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silver dot school bus t-shirt -- probably actually-7

I made this shirt two weeks ago, so it’s technically a cheater KCW project. But Liesl of Oliver + S just announced her collection of digital t-shirt patterns (kids’, women’s, and men’s – you can outfit the whole family!), and I was a tester for the kids’ version, the School Bus T-shirt pattern. I sewed up one for each kid, so I thought I’d share Lila’s today.

silver dot school bus t-shirt -- probably actually-10

The School Bus pattern is a basic t-shirt that comes with several options – three different sleeve lengths and two neckband widths. This is View B, with a more feminine, capped sleeve and a narrow neckband. Views A and C are your standard short-sleeved and long-sleeved t-shirts. It’s so nice to have basics like this from trusted sources like Oliver + S – you always know just what you’re getting into, and it’s always something good. And as with all great basic patterns, the options for customization are endless.

school bus t-shirt-9

I sewed a size 5 and was really happy with the fit – it’s relaxed but not overly roomy, and the capped sleeves and narrow neckband definitely give View B a girlier feel.

silver dot school bus t-shirt -- probably actually-14

The silver dot knit came from a sale rack Old Navy tee. I don’t know if it was the fabric or the fact that I skipped the walking foot this time, but it sewed up like a dream.

silver dot school bus t-shirt -- probably actually

If you want more info on any of these new T-shirt patterns, check out Liesl’s introduction post on the the Oliver + S blog. Each pattern is available on its own, or you can purchase a “Family Pack” that includes all four (men’s, women’s, and two size ranges for kids). I’m looking forward to trying the women’s Metro T-shirt myself. After KCW, of course.


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Okay, Lila and I have collectively changed our minds. This is her birthday dress:

a hide-and-seek dress -- probably actually

She’s actually come around to her Garden Party dress and has agreed to wear it with a sweater, but she declared a strong dislike for its sleevelessness early on. I knew she wasn’t a fan of what she calls “half-quarter sleeves”, but I had no idea that a lack of sleeves would cause such heartache. Luckily, a Hide-and-Seek dress, complete with proper sleeves, was already in the works.

hide-and-seek dress -- probably actually-13

I really enjoyed this pattern. For me, the Garden Party dress was the easiest to love at face value, but I could tell the Hide-and-Seek had great potential and I was excited to play with it.

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The dress has a contrast yoke with a gathered skirt, which together attach to side panels that run the length of the dress (or tunic, which is another option). You can choose short sleeves (shown here) or cuffed three-quarter sleeves. These sleeves were amazingly easy to set-in – hardly any easing necessary. I think it’s the first time in my entire sleeve-setting career that I didn’t have to bust out the seam ripper even once. It was glorious.

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One of my favorite features of the dress are the side seam welt pockets. I love how they look, and they were surprisingly simple to construct.

hide-and-seek dress -- probably actually-6

2hide-and-seek dress -- probably actually

Like Liesl suggests, the yoke gives you a great opportunity to highlight a special fabric. I used a Japanese print from a line called Muddy Works by Tomotake for Kokka – it’s called Large Orbs and the color is an interesting mix of purple and gray. I found it locally, but all three colors of this print are available here. It only takes a half yard of fabric to accommodate the length of the yoke pieces, and you’ll have most of that half yard left over, so it’s not such a big deal to splurge on something special.

2hide-and-seek dress -- probably actually-2

The mustard chambray is from Andover Fabrics. I’ve mentioned before that I’m always on the lookout for great chambrays – they are such versatile garment fabrics and have been a favorite of mine since I started sewing. Just about everything looks great made from chambray, and the available selection seems to have expanded quite a bit. LiMa Sews recently stocked the entire line of Andover chambrays – 18 different colors. I’ve seen them all in person and can attest to their loveliness. They have a nice weight to them, not too flimsy, but still plenty soft. It’s really good stuff.

hide-and-seek dress -- probably actually-7

I know solid yellow probably isn’t the most practical choice for a little girls’ dress, but I loved the shade. Nice for almost-spring.

hide-and-seek dress -- probably actually-5

And yes, this pattern was designed with a notch at the neckline, but what can I say – I think I’ve omitted the notch in almost every pattern that’s had one. It’s lovely with the notch, but you can easily leave it out – just a matter of preference.

hide-and-seek dress -- probably actually-3

I sewed this dress in a size 4 – Lila is at the end of the height and weight range for a 4, but this one has a more relaxed fit, so I think sizing down was the way to go. I added an inch to the length as a precaution, but it ended up too long, so I took it back up an inch after hemming.

hide-and-seek dress -- probably actually-26

Sorry about all the photos. The light was nice last night and I took too many. Plus, she only has six more days to be four years old.

hide-and-seek dress -- probably actually-10

Again, thanks to Liesl for providing this pattern, it was a pleasure to review!

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The spring Oliver + S patterns are here! And I couldn’t resist sewing all of them – they’re sooooo good! There are two dress patterns in the mix, and their arrival happened to coincide nicely with birthday sewing this year. Lila will be five next week, and like every year, a new birthday dress was in order.

garden party dress -- probably actually

This is the Garden Party dress, a lovely little party dress with a gathered bodice and skirt. It’s another a beautiful, clean design from Oliver + S – fun and girly without any crazy frills. Perfectly suited to my style.

garden party dress -- probably actually-9

The dress can be made sleeveless or with cap sleeves, and there’s a blouse option as well. The construction was simple and straightforward, and true to Oliver + S form, everything came together beautifully and without a hitch. I made a size 4 and lengthened it by one inch – I think it turned out roomy and long enough to fit for a good while.

garden party dress -- probably actually-8

The back has a keyhole opening, and the button closes with a thread chain. This was my first attempt at a thread chain – there’s a tutorial on the Oliver + S blog, but if your brain is anything like mine and needs a visual real-time demonstration for all new skills, this video did the trick for me.

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Also – it you’re going to make the sleeveless version, I might suggest hand finishing the bias-bound arm holes rather than edge stitching them by machine (both are listed as options in the pattern). I had trouble getting around the tight curves without puckering, and I’m sure it would have looked much nicer finished by hand. I may even rip out my edge stitching and ((ask my mom to)) stitch the binding closed by hand. Someday I hope to have more patience for hand sewing…

garden party dress -- probably actually-4

And the fabric…oh, how I love this fabric. It’s Summer Grove by Day from Leah Duncan’s new line, Meadow – I picked it up from LiMa Sews where the whole line is available. Leah Duncan’s designs are among my very favorites, and I’ve been anxiously awaiting Meadow’s release. Each of her prints is a like a beautiful work of art, and the canvas is Art Gallery Fabric‘s super smooth, high-quality pima cotton. Art Gallery’s tag line is “Feel the Difference” and I have to agree – their fabrics are far superior to your standard quilting cotton, and the soft drape is really nice for apparel.

garden party dress -- probably actually-5

For the bands and yoke I used a textured solid from In the Beginning Fabrics – Modern Solid in Coral.

garden party dress -- probably actually-7

Of course, Lila will not be having a garden party for her March birthday – Oregon weather does not allow for such things. Sleeveless in March is pretty unpractical around here as well, but that’s what cardigans are for, right?

garden party dress -- probably actually-6

Check out Kristin’s Garden Party dress, too – also in Meadow! And stay tuned for the Hide-and-Seek Dress, which turned out to be my surprise favorite of the three!

Many many thanks to Liesl for the advance copy of this pattern – as always, my opinions are my own.

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roller skate dress -- probably actually-5

I wanted to make something for Lila to wear on Valentine’s Day. It was supposed to be pink or red or covered in hearts, but try as I might, nothing brilliant came to me. So instead I just finished the Oliver + S Roller Skate dress I cut out and abandoned during Kids Clothes Week. I had major trouble getting motivated for this round of KCW – I guess sometimes you feel like sewing, and sometimes you feel like watching bad TV.

roller skate dress -- probably actually-3

Anyway, it’s my second try at this pattern, and I really like the Roller Skate dress. It’s simple to put together, very customizable, and uses only a yard of main fabric for a size 4 – it’s really rare to be able to make a dress with just a yard anymore. I made View B with the neck facing but left out the notch, much like I do on just about every pattern that includes a notch.

roller skate dress -- probably actually-4

She’s about to size out of the smaller range in most Oliver + S patterns, but this size 4 actually came out pretty roomy. I like the fact that it can be worn with a shirt underneath, too.

roller skate dress -- probably actually-13

The fabric is a chambray stretch shirting from Robert Kaufman (available here). It’s very lightweight and drapey, and I think it worked pretty well with a lined dress like this one. I’m always looking for good chambrays, and I’m hoping this one will wrinkle less than Essex linen.

roller skate dress -- probably actually-7

And those colorful half-square triangles are Gem in Mango from Helens Garden by Tamara Kate, which I bought to make a skirt but decided I could spare a little bit for the facing. It doesn’t take much, and I wanted to use something that would stand out since the dress is otherwise very simple. I added the ribbon (another option in the pattern) for that reason, too – it just needed a little extra color.

roller skate dress -- probably actually-8

That’s all. Many more dresses to come, I hope.

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Rae made me do it.

koi canvas floor cushion -- probably actually-3628

I immediately fell in love with the big velveteen square floor cushion she posted on Instagram a few months ago, and as luck would have it, she wrote up a great tutorial for making one of my very own!

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The cool thing about this cushion is that it’s pretty sizable, but only takes one (albeit entire) yard of fabric. I chose It’s a Plus from the Koi Canvas collection by Rashida Coleman Hale. It’s her final line with Cloud 9 Fabrics and I’m excited to see what she has in store with Cotton+Steel this spring. Her designs are beautiful and the canvas was just right for a cushion like this.

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You’ll also need four yards of 6/32″ piping – I was really hoping to find it pre-made, but no luck, I had to do it myself. Not my idea of a good time (I kind of hate it, in fact), but I do think the bigger piping looks nice. If you make your own and use this size piping, I’d recommend cutting your bias strips 1.5″ wide rather than 1.25″ – those ended up too narrow to accommodate my piping cord and still end up with 3/8″ seam allowance. But I already put my 1.25″ bias strips to use on another project, so it’s all okay.

koi canvas floor cushion -- probably actually-3737

There was a lot of indecision when it came to filling this thing – Rae used fabric scraps to stuff hers, and there’s no shortage of those around here. I wish I were the type of person who could do that without over-thinking it, but I’m a horrible saver of things, and I just couldn’t pull the trigger.

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But then we were snowed in for days and I couldn’t get out to buy fiberfill, and that empty shell of a floor cushion was just begging to be stuffed. Or maybe Lila was begging to stuff it, I can’t remember.

koi canvas floor cushion -- probably actually-3647

So we started filling it, selectively, with fabric scraps. Then we cut up some unused sweatshirt fleece. And some cotton batting. And some poly batting. And then when I thought it was finished, I stuffed it some more. But it still wasn’t full enough (this thing is big!), so my lovely neighbor trekked over in the snow with her batting. Lila helped with the cutting and the stuffing, which made it a great snow day activity…of which we were forced to come up with many over the course of the past five days. Our list included heart shaped anything and everything, more Hidden Pictures than ever thought humanly possible, crying our eyes out watching Charlotte’s Web, and around 236 other things. Snow is exhausting.

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Anyway, this cushion is already well loved around here – I half-heartedly tried to sell it as a reading pillow, but there’s nothing she’d rather do than jump from point A to point B, especially when point B is an enormous pillow on the floor, so I think it’ll get more use in that department. And, of course, Oscar just loves anything that Lila loves.

koi canvas floor cushion -- probably actually-3692

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It’s Kid’s Clothes Week! And look at that, the button matches my first project. I should probably just quit now while I’m ahead.

first birthday ice cream dress -- probably actually-3295

Oscar’s dear friend had her first birthday last week, and since I don’t have a little girl to sew for anymore, I thought it would be fun to make her a birthday dress.

first birthday ice cream dress -- probably actually-3368

The pattern is the Oliver + S Ice Cream Dress, and it’s basically the same dress I made for Lila’s third birthday, but with some peachy-coral/minty-aqua prints thrown in. I used something new to me for the main dress fabric – an In the Beginning Modern Solid (in Lead) – these are yarn-dyed solids with two tonal colors woven together, which gives them a similar iridescent quality to shot cotton. They’re very soft like the shots, but slightly more substantial. I wasn’t sure the recipient would appreciate getting out the iron every time the dress was washed, so I picked this fabric in hopes that it wouldn’t wrinkle quite as much. That’s the one downfall of shot cottons – they wrinkle like crazy.

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Oscar was kind enough to try it on for me, but it barely cleared his big old head. His 6-12 month sized days are long gone…


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acatnap sleepover pjs -- probably actually-2852

Friday was “Pajama Day” at Lila’s preschool, and stuff like that compels me to sew. I had four days warning, which is plenty of time to make a pair, but here’s the problem with pajamas: there’s pretty much no print that doesn’t work. And having too many options paralyzes me.

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I hemmed and hawed over the fabric until Thursday morning, when I saw that Linh had listed Lizzy House’s new line, Catnap. It’s such cute stuff, and the coordinating Jewels and Pearl Bracelets are an added bonus. The Cat Dream print appealed to me right away – it’s just so fun and colorful, and if whimsical weren’t such a dumb word, I’d probably call it that, too. And catnap, cat dream, the cat’s pajamas…I couldn’t resist all the sleeping references. So I picked up some Cat Dream in Linen and Jewels in Peach, traced the Oliver + S Sleepover Pajamas pattern, and mentally prepared myself for a late night of sewing.

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I’ve sewn lots of Bedtime Story pajamas, and usually I just make the pants, then sew a little patch to a t-shirt and call it good. But since the Sleepover Pajamas pattern was new to me, I decided to try the whole set.

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Lila is in between a 4 and 5 right now, and while it pained me to buy the smaller size range for her, the size 4 turned out to be a great fit. One nice thing about the Sleepover Pajamas is that the pants and sleeves both have cuffs that can be let down, which gives the set a longer life (shown above with pant cuffs let down and sleeve cuffs rolled up). And it’s a unisex pattern, so there’s still a chance I’ll get some use from it after this pair.

catnap sleepover pjs -- probably actually-2756

And while I love the look of the Bedtime Story‘s kimono style top, I think I actually prefer this style in terms of fit and comfort, since the kimono ties were sometimes tricky to keep closed. Anyway, I was worried she’d reject the top since most of her pjs are knit, but she ended up wearing this ensemble for 48 hours straight! Kinda gross, but we had a lazy weekend. I’ll take it.

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I can’t say I’d recommend starting this pattern the night before it’s supposed to be worn – I really enjoy sleep as a general rule, and I only engage in these types of late-night sewing shenanigans a few times a year. But every now and then I like a little challenge, and it feels good to just power through and make something from start to finish. Even if it means you have to finish it off with three orange buttons and one mismatched pink one.

catnap sleepover pjs -- probably actually-2875

And, as I knew it would, the pattern held up to the high Oliver + S standards: frustration-free sewing with good looking and fitting end results. If you’re going to stay up late, that’s the way to go. It’s crazy (or just poor planning), losing a night’s sleep to send your kid to school in cat pajamas, I know it is. But I’d do it all over again – they’ve already been worn the equivalent of twice, which beats a whole slew of other things I’ve made for her!

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dmk moleskin peacoat -- probably actually-2423

I’m not sure what it is about coats and jackets, but they’re among my very favorite things to sew. I knew I wanted to make Oscar a coat as soon as he started walking – there’s something about being upright that raises the cuteness factor on a little coat like this. He’s still pretty tentative and falls down every seven steps or so, but he’s earned his big kid coat!

dmk moleskin peacoat -- probably actually-2592

The pattern is the Dear My Kids Unisex Trendy Pea Coat. I don’t see this one in their Etsy shop anymore ((update: it’s available! Thanks, Ashley!!)) – I bought it over three years ago to make for Lila, after seeing this version from Adelaide Lemonade. And since then I’ve admired Tara’s coat from Girl Like the Sea, as well as the many versions sewn by Ashley of Everything Else We Do.

dmk moleskin peacoat -- probably actually-2509

I was finally ready to make it myself after coming across some Robert Kaufman Chamonix Cotton Moleskin at my local Fabric Depot – this stuff feels downright amazing. It’s an unbelievably soft, sueded cotton with a very substantial weight, all of which made it seem like a good candidate for coat fabric. Plus it came in gray, which is probably what put me over the edge.

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I picked up the lining from LiMa Sews – it’s from Eloise Renouf’s Bark & Branch collection for Cloud 9 Fabrics. The whole line is beautiful and I was immediately drawn to this print (Passing Clouds in Gold). You know, because of the clouds and all. This coat should go well with the weather around here – we’ll see plenty of gray and cloudy for the next six months. Hopefully it fits him that long.

dmk moleskin peacoat -- probably actually-2491

Speaking of which, I made the 12 month size and added an extra 1/2 to the length, based solely on the fact that I live in constant fear of things ending up too short. I think it came out about right.

dmk moleskin peacoat -- probably actually-2437

The pattern itself was good, and everything came together pretty easily – there’s a lot of great detail and information included in the directions, but it’s missing a few little things in my opinion – like notches (I can’t help it, I miss notches when they aren’t there!), and basting stitches on the sleeve caps to ease the sleeves into the armholes. No big deal if you’ve set plenty of sleeves in your day, but if it happened to be your first time, you might be a little confused.

dmk moleskin peacoat -- probably actually-2591

And one thing I might change next time – it has a sort of flared, swingy shape, and I think I would cut it straighter next time, for Oscar anyway. Lila says he looks like a girl in it, but I think it’s plenty masculine for his 14 month old self. And overall I think it’s a pretty adorable coat – I love the wrist bands and the big, boxy collar, the fit is great, and the construction was really simple and straightforward. Plus, I used a pattern purchased 40 months ago. Based on that fact alone, I’m calling it a success!

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compagnie-m swing skirt -- probably actually-0978

I only recently discovered the talented Marte of Compagnie-M – it was this spectacular version of her Mara blouse (made by Laura of Behind the Hedgerow) that first caught my eye – and while it was that crazy-amazing Liberty animal print that drew me in, I was really excited to uncover Marte’s blog and pattern shop as a result. Not long after I visited her blog, she emailed and asked if I’d like to make her new Swing Skirt – and I definitely did. I loved the skirt the minute I saw it.

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There are so many great details – the big wrap-around pockets, the piping, the box pleat, the invisible zipper. I’ll admit I was a little nervous about sewing it – there was that zipper (my first! and it was no big deal, though tragically mine came out a little uneven at the top), and just the fact I’d never sewn one of Marte’s patterns, which meant I was going to have to think a little more than usual. I also knew I’d be sewing it very last minute because the past week has been a whirlwind first birthday around here.

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And last minute it was – I woke up the other morning at 2:45am and decided to capitalize on a few quiet hours and sew this skirt. It’s never really a great idea to sew at that hour, and a few mistakes were made, but I’m happy to report that Marte’s directions are solid – she even goes into extra detail (should you need it) with tutorials on her blog for the piping and the zipper and the optional adjustable waistband. I had a little trouble printing out the pattern – a couple pages printed with the very top cut off, but I was still able to piece them together just fine by leaving a little gap between the connecting circles.

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Also, my waistband ended up a tad too small for the skirt, which caused a little puckering and seam ripping, but it all came right in the end. And while there was really nothing too tricky going on, I will admit that I longed for a few notches while sewing this up – I know not all pattern makers use them, but they really take the guess work out of putting pattern pieces together, and I do love it when they’re there.

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That said, it was really fun sewing from a new pattern maker – everyone does things differently, and while I’m accustomed to a certain style of sewing, picking up something new is always a good thing. Marte has you finish all the raw edges of the pattern pieces first – which, admittedly, I thought was insane as I was doing it, but once I started sewing and had zero seams to finish? Well then it seemed completely brilliant.

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I made a size 3 lengthened to a 4 based on Lila’s measurements, and the fit is really good. A little big maybe, but she likes to wear her skirts low, so it’s just about right. With the invisible zipper there isn’t much room for error in sizing, but there’s also an option to make the waistband adjustable with elastic, so that’s another way to go. One thing though – if you end up lengthening the skirt, make sure you also lengthen your pockets and pocket facings. When you hem the skirt those are supposed to be tucked inside and sewn down with the hem, but mine weren’t long enough.

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And last, the fabric…you probably recognize the blue as Essex yarn-dyed denim (again, yes), and the pocket fabric is Windmarks from Leah Duncan’s beautiful Tule line. I picked up some fat quarters from Lima Sews awhile back, and had hoped to squeeze the box pleat and the pockets out of one of them, but it wasn’t quite enough. So I settled for just the pockets. But not before cutting the rectangle for the box pleat…then sewing it back to the fat quarter so I could cut out two pockets. These are the things that transpire at 2:45am.

compagnie-m swing skirt -- probably actually-1138And there’s my wonky zipper for the all world to see. I don’t care, I still love this skirt :)

Would you like a chance to win a copy of the Swing Skirt pattern? Just click on the link below and you’ll be directed to Rafflecopter, where you can enter the giveaway. It’s open through the 9th, and a winner will be chosen on the 10th!

Swing Skirt giveaway!

That’s all, folks. Visit Marte at Compagnie-M if you haven’t before, it’s worth a trip. And if you’d like more Swing Skirt inspiration, here’s the pattern tour line up – lots of great skirts to behold!


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