Apr 20, 2015

Everyday Play Skirt - Sew-A-Long, Day 1

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Everyday Play Skirt - Day 1
I want to start by saying thank you once again to Little Lizard King for having me host the Everyday Play Skirt sew-a-long. I have made so many of these skirts I lost count a while ago. You can not go wrong with this fun playful pattern. Make it simple for everyday play and fancy for an occasion. We will be adding a few extra touches to ours this week including inseam packets and outside pockets. I even added an apron to one of these skirts! While your at it you may want to go snatch up the Perfect 10 because these two patterns go great together!
Day 1- We are going to pick out our fabrics and and trims or buttons you are going to use, if you need your pattern go to Everyday Play Skirt and get it using the coupon code "me&mom" You can also pick up the ladies version using coupon code "mom&me".
We won't be sewing today so read thru your pattern and decide witch options you will be choosing. I look forward to seeing your fabric selection in the LLK Cafe.

Time Table for Sew-a-long.
Sun- Fabric and trim selections
Monday- Cut and piece together skirt (unless you will be adding pockets)
Tuesday- Inseam and Outside pockets.
Wednesday- Trim and ruffles and Gathering Skirts
Thursday - Attaching skirts to waist bands
Friday- Show off your creations
Also make sure you stop over and Thank Andover Fabrics for sponsoring this Sew-a-longs prizes!
Thanks for Sewing a long!

Apr 3, 2015

Everyday Skirt - With a Fancy Modification

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Hey there, fancy pants or should I say sassy skirt?!? A super hot trend right now is tulle skirts for ladies and girls, and many have requested a tutorial for how to modify the Everyday Lady or the Everyday Play skirt for girls into a tutu-style skirt.

I hope this quick and simple tutorial will help guide you towards making a fabulous Mom and Me set of tulle skirts- perfect for fancy occasions, photo shoots and if you and your girls are like us, a daily trip to Target. LOL. Before we begin, head over to Little Lizard King's website to pick up your Everyday Lady and/or Everyday Play skirt pattern for girls. The pattern will contain the step by step directions for constructing the basic skirt, including sizing guides to help you choose the perfect size (or mix of length and widths as needed) and measurement charts to cut the needed pieces.

Read through the pattern first, read through this tutorial next, and then start cutting your fabric. To keep from sharing information contained in the pattern, I will be using hypothetical measurements. Please refer to the Everyday skirt pattern for accurate sizing and cutting measurements. To create the tutu-style Everyday skirt, you will need to use sheer fabrics such as tulle, chiffon, organza, etc. It is easiest to use a soft tulle or chiffon knit, so that no hemming is needed. A good online resource is Fabric.com. You will also need knit fabric for your waistband, as indicated in the pattern.

Use a lightweight cotton woven for your lining, and match it to the sheer fabrics you will be using as closely as possible. Some helpful tips for sewing with sheer fabrics: Use a standard universal point needle for light to medium weight fabrics (70/10 or 80/12). When pinning, place pins in the seam allowance to prevent holes or runs in the fabric.

Use a rotary cutter and a straight edge to avoid jagged edges of the fabric (especially if the fabric will be left un-hemmed). You may want to tape your fabric down to the cutting mat to keep it from slipping or shifting while cutting. To avoid the fabric from being caught in the needle plate, you can sew with a tear-away stabilizer under your sheer fabric (or tissue paper- check out this helpful blog post). To keep the fabric from bunching while sewing, you may want to loosen your tension. Start your stitch 1/8-1/4 inch away from the end of the fabric and use a short stitch length. Sew slowly, keeping a consistent seam allowance as sheer fabrics often shift and pull. Best tip: practice everything (iron, cutting, stitching) on a scrap piece of the same fabrics first.

Once you have your needed materials and a good handle on sewing with sheer fabrics, we can get started!! First, you will need to cut your lining and waistband according to the pattern. Follow the measurements for the skirt length and width per the desired size according to the pattern to cut your lining. You won't be using a ruffle (for the girls version) so adjust the length of the skirt to account for that.

Cut your waistband using knit fabric according to the pattern. With your sheer fabric, you will be creating two layers with two panels each. For a super full skirt, cut your sheer fabric the full width of your fabric and the length according to your cutting chart (same length as your lining). You can also add additional layers as desired, just continue following the tutorial directions until all your sheer layers are complete.

For smaller sizes (infant sizes), you may want to reduce to 40-50 inches wide for each panel. You will need FOUR total panel pieces cut of your sheer fabrics. For instance, if your skirt is to be 10 inches long, you will have 4 pieces of sheer fabrics cut 10 inches long by the WOF (width of fabric). EPtutu Let's start making our sheer skirt! If you want to go the quick and easy route, you can just sew two sheer pieces together along the short sides, repeat with the second set of sheer fabrics and skip to the lining instructions. However, if you'd like to go for a more professional look with your sheer skirt, follow along to create French seams in your sheer fabrics. French seams are great for sheer fabrics because it keeps the stitches of the side seams from being visible. There are lots of great tutorials and blog posts about creating French seams, but most use cotton woven fabrics. Before we begin sewing, you will need your iron set to either a cool setting or to a "steam" setting. You will not want to touch a hot iron to your sheer fabric, as it will melt. If you are steaming your fabric, let the iron hover over your sheer fabric and apply steam. If you have a cool setting that is safe for sheer fabrics (test before applying to your skirt pieces), then you can apply the iron to your sheer fabrics. Now that you have your iron ready, your sheer skirt pieces ready, let's begin our French seam fun! If you are using sheer fabrics with a print or "right side", you'll need to pay close attention to the very first step, and that is to place two sheer panels together with the WRONG SIDES TOGETHER. I kept the selvedge so I could put my pins through that while sewing my seam allowance starting with the inside edge, just a helpful little trick! EPtutu-2   NOTE: I am using white thread to show contrast against the sheer fabric, you will want to use thread that matches your sheer fabric to keep it from being visible. Sew along one short side of the sheer panels with 1/4 inch seam allowance. EPtutu-3
Trim your seam allowance back to 1/8 inch. EPtutu-4
Now, fold the sheer fabrics back so that the right sides are together. Double check your iron settings are good to go, and then steam or use a cool press on the seam you just sewed.
With the fabrics now right sides together, sew another seam using 1/4 seam allowance (your previous seam will be to the right of the needle, your open end of the sheer fabrics to the left). Open up your sheer fabrics with the right sides out. Voila! A French seam!!! Oui, Oui! EPtutu-7 EPtutu-9 EPtutu-10 Track over to the other raw short edges of your sheer fabrics (double check that the fabrics didn't get flipped or twisted somewhere in the middle, it happens!). Align the short raw edges WRONG SIDES TOGETHER. We are going to repeat the same process for the remaining short side. When you have completed a second French seam, you should have one tube of sheer fabrics with beautiful French (side) seams! EPtutu-11 Repeat this same process with the remaining set of sheer fabrics. Hem your sheer fabrics if needed (tulle does not need to be hemmed, phew!). Hop back to the pattern and follow the instructions for sewing the skirt to create your skirt lining. Once hemmed, the skirt lining will be 1/2 inch shorter than your tulle layer, this is intentional! Construct your waistband according to the pattern instructions, but do NOT sew the skirt and waistband yet! Come back to this tutorial first. Locate one sheer layer and sew a gathering stitch along the top raw edge (or use your preferred method of gathering). Gather the sheer skirt layer to the width of your waistband, aligning the side seams to the quarter side points of your waistband. Tie off your gathering stitches and set aside. Photos and more information for gathering included in the pattern. EPtutu-12 Repeat for the second sheer layer (and any remaining sheer layers you have created). Repeat for your skirt lining. We are going to assemble the skirt now. Stack your sheer skirt layer on the second sheer skirt layer, right sides of both layers facing up towards you. Align side seams. If you are using more than two sheer layers, continue to stack them. Stack your sheer layers on to the skirt lining, aligning side seams and keeping all pieces right sides facing up. Double check that the skirt stack is still the width of your waistband. If everything is aligned, baste your sheer skirt layers together to the skirt lining. Return back to the pattern to follow directions for attaching the skirt to the waistband. Sheer fabrics can be itchy on the inside seam. If desired, you can sew a ribbon over the inside seam as your topstitch your waistband. I didn't get a chance to sew mine all together yet (need more fabric for the lining!), but here's what it will look like when it's complete! EPtutu-13 There you have it! A fun and fancy tutu-style everyday skirt. A great tip my daughter's dance teacher shared with me about tulle skirts- hang them upside down and it will help the tulle to stay nice and full. It totally works! I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, and can apply it to any skirt or dress pattern you have in your collection. Be sure to join us in the Little Lizard King Cafe on facebook and share your tut-style Everyday skirt creations!

Mar 14, 2015

Elise Dress, Sewing Pattern, Sew-A-Long, Final Countdown!

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So who is still with me? Have you finished your dress or top yet? Have you been waiting till all my posts are finished so you can decide which new features you want to incorporate? Were you waiting on some AMAZING fabric to arrive?

If you've been sewing along with me each day, your skirt is complete, and all you have to do is gather and attach it to the bodice. You're nearly done!

Don't forget that the back bodice piece is wider than the front of the bodice. But you want the front of the skirt and back of the skirt to have equal fabric. This means that the front half of your skirt is more tightly gathered than the back. If you were to gather equally around the entire skirt, you would have too much fabric across the back of the skirt and not enough in the front.

If you haven't started yet, don't worry. This dress really is a quick sew. You still have time to sew one up and enter to win a $50 fabric shopping spree from Allegro Fabrics! To enter, post your pics to the album in our facebook sewing group so that we can all admire your creation. You've got the whole weekend to complete your project and share.

...and dont forget to find some awesome shoes... life is too short for anything less than epic shoes...

Mar 13, 2015

Elise Dress, Sewing Pattern, Sew-A-Long, Day 5

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Today is the day we sew the skirt portion of the Elise dress or top, and it's still not too late to get started. The sewalong runs through the weekend and you can still get the pattern for 25% off with the code ELISESAL

But first Im going to tell you a little story... I had this awesome fabric I wanted to use for the skirt. See how epic it is?

But the fabric repeat was 12" and the size that I was making required fabric cuts 13" long... oh, and I love fussycutting to match up the side seams, because I am silly like that. But alas, I did not have enough fabric to just chop 13", skip 11" and then chop 13 more. Nope, I only had a yard. So what is a girl to do? Abandoning my fussycutting plans was not an option. There was no time to procure additional fabric.

That left me with two options:
  • I could cut one perfect panel into two pieces and do a 4-panel pieced skirt, with my epic fabric having the dominant "apron" location front and center. But I've already shown you stripwork in the pattern, so that left me at option 2...
  • Add an inch of fabric to the length of my panels. I had bodice fabric left over, so why not. Plus it's a great way to tie bodice fabric into the skirt. There you have it, today's modification is "how to make fabric shortages into I-meant-to-do-that masterpieces!" (or do it on purpose). Even if you arent in this predicament today, one day you will be, and then you'll thank me.
Adding length to the panels is as easy as you might imagine it to be. I need 1" added to my fabric length, but keep in mind that with seam allowances, I will lose 1/2" from the top and 1/2" from the bottom. That means the strips will be cut as wide as my skirt panels and 2" long.

Lay strips right sides together with the main skirt fabric. Sew along the bottom to attach. Finish seams, press towards skirt fabric and topstitch. See? now you have fabric that is exactly the length you need! I'm off to work on my ruffles... I'm doing a single-edge ruffle because after the extra effort needed to make this a 13" long skirt piece, I'm not about to hide that green strip at the bottom!

Can you spot that seam right down the middle? That's the side seam of my skirt. Perfect fussycuts make me ridiculously happy.

Enjoy planning and sewing your skirt! Whatever you do, I'm sure it will be beautiful. If you are making a paneled skirt, you’ve got some cutting to do, and you want to figure out the order of your panels. If sewing a single-fabric skirt, your job is super easy, unless you're taking on the challenge of  crazy fussycut seam matching. Don't forget to add your hemband or ruffles. The ruffles can be a little labor intensive, but SO worth it.

A few tips as you get started:
  • When possible, I always try the bodice on the child and then measure to where I want it to hit when worn. While patterns are a great starting point, some children are very short or tall, or you may just have a preference for a longer or shorter style. Remember to account for the seam allowances!
  • The length given for tops is a shorter length. If sewing a top, consider adding 2-3” inches to allow for longer wear.
  • This pattern is written with a ruffle hem or hem band. If you choose to omit this (such as in the case of a border print fabric), you must add inches to the skirt length.
  • Before cutting the skirt, lay out your bodice on the floor with your fabric folded the width that the skirt will be. This is a great way to get a feel for how the garment will look when sewn. Now is your chance to make changes, adding length or width.
  • For a super full skirt, add some fabric width and plan to use a pettiskirt for extra fluff.
  • If your skirt fabric is light in color, consider sewing a light “slip” in, at least the top 2/3 of the skirt.
  • Should you decide to use tulle for the skirt ruffle, keep in mind that it has to be gathered much tighter than regular fabrics. You will need 2-3x the ruffle strip lengths, but you wont have to hem!
  • Some people like to use clear elastic for gathering/ruffling fabrics. If you find that the required stretching leaves your ruffle strips longer than you need, just blast them with a bit of steam and the elastic will shrink right up
Tomorrow, we sew the finished skirt to the bodice, topstitch and share our finished creations! Here's a little inspiration for you as you plan your work on your skirt. The first is a simple hemband, second is with the hemband omitted (extra length added), and third is stripwork with double edge ruffle. All modeled by my tiny miss, Aria Elise <3

Do you have any tips/tricks to add? Maybe you learned something during this project that you’d like to share? Perhaps you have some questions still unanswered. Join us for discussion in our facebook group! I’ll be checking in throughout the day and I’m always happy to help if you get stuck.

Mar 12, 2015

Elise Dress, Sewing Pattern, Sew-A-Long, Day 4

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It's Day 4 of the Elise sewalong! See how easily this project is coming together? Today we are working on our optional back bodice loop modification and completing our dress (or top) bodices.

The Elise was designed as a halter, but some have asked how it can be made with straps that go over the shoulder instead of typing behind the neck. There are a couple ways of doing this, while maintaining flexibility in fit and both are fairly simple and straightforward. You may want to make the halter straps longer by a few inches as they have to go further, then you'll need somewhere to tie them. However, the halter strap length was somewhat generous to begin with.

One way to achieve this is to add two buttonholes with a space between. Then, the straps are threaded through the holes and tied in a knot or bow. If you chose to make the halter straps wider, they can be threaded through the buttonholes and tied in separate knots, like a reverse knot dress. (Photo courtesy of Dream Tierra)

But the truth is some people are not fans of buttonholes. Some worry about warping or stretching out, others have a machine that doesn't cooperate with doing them. Some just haven't taken that leap yet, and that's okay.

So for those people, and others who just prefer an alternate method, we suggest sewing two small fabric loops into the back bodice. You can do this with two 5" lengths of bias tape or make your own loops. This takes just a few minutes, and is an easy modification with no risk involved!

In the same manner you used to sew the halter straps, create two 5" long straps. This can be done with fabric cut on the bias or not. Bias cut fabric will yield a little more stretch, but is not necessary. I like shortcuts, so I usually make a single 10" length and snip it in two. Fold in half and press flat.
In all reality, this can be done with lengths as short as 3" each; you will just end up with shorter loops, which is ideal for tiny sizes. What a great way to use up those bias tape scraps you have lying around!

Reference the strap placement chart from the pattern (page 11), to determine the maximum distance from center that loops should be placed. You can place them closer together if you prefer, but don't put them any further apart. Position as shown at the top of the back bodice LINER piece and pin in place. See how the fold is angled inward a bit? Baste to secure. You can make the loops shorter, if desired (or if working with smaller strips).

Trim any overhanging loop length.

Place back bodice piece on top and sew as directed in pattern, backstitching on the loops for added strength/durability.

Unfold and have a peek. Now you have a complete front and back bodice, ready to be sewn together.

Finish sewing the remainder of the bodice per the pattern instructions. Don't forget the side sashes. I've done it too many times to count (like today, for one...)

For my Minnie dress, I did not topstich the front because I wanted the faux collar to be able to stand away from the bodice a bit. Ruffles and plain front bodices look best topstitched to keep them looking neat and finished.
Today's post is a great time to mention a couple of things of note when constructing the bodice. When creating the casing for your elastic, feel free to move it up to the very top just under the topstitching, whether you do back loops or not. I actually prefer it this way when adding back loops. If you do this, be aware that the seam allowance and loops (if you added them) can add a little extra bulk. This can be reduced by trimming the back seam allowance down to 1/4" before finishing bodice construction.
Something you will also notice is that the back bodice piece is wider than the front piece. This is done on purpose. It allows lots of stretch for comfort and fit, while keeping the front fitted to the body. It's easy to second-guess yourself when you sew the back and front pieces together. But don't worry, you're doing it right!

The bodice is DONE. High fives for everybody! Share your pics in our facebook group and tag them #elisesewalong so that we can find them easily. It's not too late to join us. This dress really is an easy sew and the sewalong runs through the weekend. Jump on in and sew something lovely.

Don't forget that one lucky participant will win a $50 Gift Certificate from our awesome sponsor, Allegro Fabrics. They are also offering our customers a special 20% discount on their fabric purchases with the code: 8allegro8

Mar 11, 2015

Elise Dress, Sewing Pattern, Sew-A-Long, Day 3

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So far, we’ve taken some time to plan our projects, cut fabric and sew the sashes and straps. Hopefully, you’re starting to get excited as you see your project coming together.
Today, we are working on the bodice front. The pattern gives directions for leaving the bodice more basic with only the center sash, or adding a bust ruffle for some pizazz. But today we are going to show you another variation that can completely change the look of your project.
Collars are all over everything recently. Since this dress does not have a place for a traditional collar, a faux collar can add a fun vintage/retro look. I made an adorable Elise dress inspired by my baby girl’s favorite character. Can you guess who?

To recreate this look for the Elise dress, the faux collar will replace the optional bust ruffle. You’ll want to print an additional front bodice pattern piece but do not cut it out. We will be using this to make a faux collar pattern piece based on the shape you prefer (rounded or squared off).

Please note that sewing the faux collar, we will use a ¼” seam allowance to reduce bulk. Add ¼” to the FOLD LINE of the pattern piece, then cut out the piece as you normally would, including this extra ¼”. Turn face down so that you can draw on the back without the distraction of printed lines and such.

Refer to the pattern to locate the center waist sash height for the size you are sewing. Subtract ¼” for the edge you will fold under before sewing to the bodice. Measuring from the bottom of the pattern piece, draw this line on your pattern piece.

This is actually something I do anyway when fussy cutting a bodice. It would be a shame to cut an amazing bodice only to discover that part of what you framed up so nicely is going to be covered by the sash! You may also find it helpful to mark the seam allowances with a dotted line, so that you know what will be hidden once sewn up.

The next step is to draw your collar. Start by deciding if you want a rounded edge or more squared off corners. For my Minnie dress, I did sharp edge corners.
Mark where you want the collar to rest in comparison to the remainder of the bodice (represented by a green line on my pattern piece). Add ¼” seam allowance and you have your pattern piece!
Please note that for the angled line (or curved if applicable), you will want to start drawing your slanted or curved line ½” from the top (because the top ½” will be sewn into the bodice seam allowance when constructed).

Look at that; you drafted a pattern piece! Now use it to cut 4 collar pieces (2 with pattern piece face up and 2 with piece face down).

Place pieces right sides together in sets of 2. Sew only along the sides marked in green on the pattern piece. The top and bodice side edges stay open.

Snip the corners (or a few places along the curve) and turn right side out. Press flat and topstitch 1/8” from edge.

Turn collar pieces right side out and top stitch 1/8” from the edges.

If you haven’t already done so, sew the center sash piece to the front bodice piece, per the pattern instructions.

Align top and sides with bodice piece and baste to secure, just as you would do for a ruffle.

Now attach halter straps, per the pattern instructions. If you made your straps with flutters, be certain that the flutters are out of the way!

Making sure that flutters our out of the way of your seam allowance, sew the front bodice lining to the front bodice and stop (same as you would do with a ruffled bodice from the pattern).

You can turn the bodice piece right side out to admire your handiwork, but don’t press anything with your iron just yet. We will be completing the bodice tomorrow and ironing things into place will be done then.

I hope you enjoyed today’s sewing. Share pics in our facebook sewing group and tag them #elisesewalong so everyone can find your post.
I’m loving all the fun and creative things you are all doing and I’m super proud of those of you who may have been a bit intimidated at first, but are jumping in and sewing this pattern for the first time. As a designer, it is SO very rewarding to see how each person can use the same pattern to craft a special one-of-a-kind handmade garment. THANK YOU for sewing along with me and sharing your special creations!

Mar 10, 2015

Elise Dress, Sewing Pattern, Sew-A-Long, Day 2

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If you’re on track, you’ve got your fabric all cut out and ready to sew. If you haven't cut it all out yet, I'll let you in on a little secret... neither have I! Life happens and kids are crazy or don't nap, or color themselves with marker while you made lunch today. I get it, for real. So if you are just getting started, don’t worry, it’s not too late.

Today is a super easy day: Sashes and halter straps (with optional flutters!) are on the to-do list. Sashes will be sewn as directed in the pattern, but you may wish to add a little something extra to your halter straps.

 Flutter straps are all the rage right now, and it isn’t surprising because they are absolutely adorable. This is an easy modification to make, and I’m going to show you how.

My favorite flutter for this kind of strap is a single-sided ruffle because a single layer of fabric adds less bulk to the halter strap. A tapered curve at the start and finish yields a beautiful result. Because of the curve, I find it easiest to do as a narrow rolled hem on a serger.

If you are skilled at hemming on a curve, feel free to do this by hemming the edges the traditional way of folding the edge under twice 1/4 inch and sewing to secure. If you aren’t familiar with hemming on a curve, simply skip cutting the tapered edge, hem the long outer edge and then tuck and sew the unfinished ends when sewing the flutter into your straps.

Other options and ideas for hemming the ruffle:

  • hem the edges with bias tape 
  • serge or zig-zag over the edge to prevent fraying
  • then sew ric rac or piping on the right side of the fabric, turn under and topstitch. 
  • Skip hemming entirely by using gathered lace for your flutters instead!

Keep in mind that this dress is designed as a halter, meaning that the straps tie behind the neck. Because of this, the flutter/ruffles will be shorter than they would be if they were to go over the shoulder and to the back of the bodice. You don’t want them interfering with the straps tied behind the neck.

Please note: I do know that some of you are very excited about the back bodice loops we are going to show you. If you are doing back loops, you may wish to add a couple extra inches of ruffle to your straps.

Now that you’ve considered all the options, it’s time to start those flutters (if you have chosen to add them). Cut and iron the straps as directed in the pattern, but do NOT sew them closed. Set aside. For serged rolled hems or ric-rac trimmed flutters, cut strips as follows, according to garment size. For traditional hemming, add ¼” to the length (smaller number).

For bias tape hemming, subtract ¼”:
3-6m: 2.25 x 6.5”
6-12m: 2.25 x 7.5”
12-18m: 2.5 x 8”
18-24m: 2.5 x 8.5”
2: 2.5 x 8.5”
3: 2.75 x 9”
4: 2.75 x 9.5”
5: 3 x 10.5”
6: 3 x 11”
8: 3.25 x 12”
10: 3.25 x 12.5”
12: 3.5 x 13”

Once cut, taper 3-4 inches along both short ends of the flutter piece.

Hem in the method you have selected for your design.

Once hemmed, use your preferred gathering method to ruffle one long raw edge of the fabric. Gather to half the original length. Repeat with the other flutter. At this stage, I like to press the gathered edges flat for easier pinning and basting.

Unfold the straps you have already cut and pressed. ¾” from the raw short end, pin the flutter right sides together with the straps. With strap fabric facing up, flutter should be face down.

Repeat for the other strap, making a mirror image. I find it helpful to position and pin on both straps at the same time since they flutter in opposite directions. Otherwise, you could end up with two right or two left straps. This would totally happen to me. I've sewn skirt on dresses inside out... more than once... Sew a basting stitch to attach flutter approximately 3/8” from the raw edge.
Now refold the straps and sew closed in the same manner as plain straps.
See how easy that was? Have other creative strap/flutter ideas to share? Post in our facebook sewing group and inspire others!

If you haven't done so, get your bodice pieces cut out. You will need them for tomorrow.