A wrap jumper or a pinafore?

 

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When I think Fall, I think, it’s ‘jumper’ weather! To me, a jumper is a sleeveless dress that’s meant to be worn over a shirt or blouse. But to my UK friends, ‘jumper’ means a sweater. Maybe, it’s less confusing to call my new make ‘a wrap dress that I am wearing over a shirt’.

This dress is one of my favorite styles because it’s wrapped. To me ‘wrap’ means comfortable, but what I really love about the style is that it’s so flattering. A wrap dress is considered to be perfect for any figure type because it defines your waist (especially nice for those of us who don’t have a waist). Wrap styles are perfect at any age, and you can wear them dressed up or dressed down.

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My sleeveless wrap dress is McCall’s 6884.

The bodice of my ‘jumper’ is view B (without the gathered front), and the sleeves are view D. I eliminated the tie and made a mock closer with three buttons, arranged assymetrically across the wrap.The fabric is black ponte knit that has moderate stretch from my stash.

Under my jumper, I’m wearing a new button-down shirt, Butterick 5526.

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This pattern in a new favorite. I made View D, but used the sleeve tabs from View A for the days when long sleeves are just too much. I chose View D because it has princess seams which makes the fit perfectly tapered. This makes the shirt easy to wear either loose, or tucked in.The fit of this pattern seems a bit snug to me through the waist, so I cut a size up from my usual.

As fitted shirts go, this pattern is pretty straightforward, and the instructions are great. But, it did take a bit of time to complete. From cut to finish, this project clocked in at four and half hours. (BTW, I finished the seams with my serger rather than constructing french seams. If you’re going to do that, add another hour (LOL).

Princess seams are my FAVORITE. Who can resist that tapered shape? The fabric I used is 100% cotton that I found in the quilting department of Joann’s. Honestly, there are bargains to be had there! I paid $5.99 a yard for this perfect pring. The colors go with everything in my closet.

A friend who is very ‘fashion forward’ wears her wrap jumper open as a long vest. Yes, I love to throw long vests over everything, so thought I’d give it a try, but I’m not sure….

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Hmmm, probably not….? 

Here’s to Fall fashion; to jumpers and skirt and coats…all my favorite things to sew! What would you call this make; a jumper, a pinafore, or a sleeveless dress?  Would you ever wear it open as a vest?

Happy sewing, and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

DIY Cropped Pants and an Easy Top

img_7842Hi All! What are these? Cropped pants? Wide shorts? Culottes? Tell me, please. Whatever they are, they’re strangely reminscent of a poppy skirt I bought in junior high. Yes, it has been that long since I had anything in my wardrobe that was poppy! Can’t tell you why I’ve waited this long because the color is so fabulous. In fact, when you think of all the colors you can wear with it (black, navy, white, denim, maybe even army green?), you could almost call it a neutral.

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I’ve wanted a pair of wide shorts/cropped pants since I saw Mimi G rocking them on her website. Yes, I could have purchased one of her excellent patterns to make these, but I felt sure a shorts pattern I had in my stash would work just fine. But after I made them, I realized didn’t have quite the right top to go with them. You know how it goes. One thing leads to another….

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The cropped pants are a long version of Vogue 9008, a shorts pattern that is so versatile. You can make a flat front or pleated front version. I chose the pleats, but then I sewed them down to give the front a smooth finish. To get the full leg look I wanted, I lengthened the shorts by six inches, keeping the line of the shorts wide at the bottom. I love the effect. The shorts are snug at the top, but they flare out like a skirt at the bottom.

The pattern is pretty straightforward. It has a mock fly zipper, which is easy to insert, and you can add pockets if you want. The instructions were clear. It wasn’t hard, but with belt loops and a back yoke (which I love) this pattern is a bit time consuming.

I made them from poppy linen, purchased at Fabric Depot. It is midweight and I planned on lining the shorts with silk, but ended up taking the lining out because it made the legs too full and bunchy.  Yes, I wanted them to be full, but I did not want them to look like clown pants.

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The top is made from a cotton-linen blend that’s the color of denim. I love this fabric and wish I could remember where I got it because I’d love to have more. The pattern is Vogue, 8906.

It has front pleats that form the shape of the bodice, eliminating the need for darts. There’s a zipper in back. To make the sleeves a little more boxy, I added a sleeve band that is 5″ wide. It makes the sleeves look more ‘finished’ to me, and adds a bit of a retro vibe, I think. I also added a v-neck, and adjusted the facings accordingly. This pattern is super easy! I plan on making several more versions including one with buttons down the front. The fit was spot on for me. I didn’t even have to adjust for my narrow shoulders. Nice!

img_7846I’m not sure if Poppy is a fall color, but I’m going to be wearing this outfit now, because linen is so perfect at this time of year. I’m not sure if I’ll really wear this top with the shorts though. Together they might be too much flare for me. Maybe I should wear them with a top that fits snuggly, or maybe something tucked in? Opinions welcome!

I hope your sewing projects are going well. Fall is my favorite time to sew, because the new fabrics are so fabulous. Enjoy!

Vogue 9204 – morphed!

 

img_6263-1Hi All! Sometimes, you just want a dress with pom-pom trim, am I right? That was the motivation that drove me to make this new frock. Frivilious? Yes, but oh so satisfying!  I can’t really tell you where my pom-pom craving came from. Maybe from these inspiring photos?

Pom-poms and lace; who can resist that? I love Blake Lively’s scarf too (Tory Burch, I think).

Pom poms can be tricky, though. You don’t want to look like a walking craft show (LOL). That’s why I tried to use some restraint and placed my pom poms only at the neckline…

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…and cuffs.

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Hopefully, I didn’t go too far🙂

The pattern I used for this dress is a tunic/top pattern that’s new this fall, Vogue 9204. I was determined to make a dress with a v-neck and as luck would have it, the only pattern in my stash that seemed to work was this one, so I modifed.

  • I added 6 inches to the front and back bodice length.
  • I shortened the sleeves to three quarters and added a self drafted 5″cuff to each, inserting pom-pom trim in the seams.
  • Instead of using the tie at the neck, I made it into a wrap belt, by widening it a bit and squaring off the ends. I also added 6 inches to the length of my belt since I knew I wanted to wrap it twice around my middle.
  • I inserted pom-pom trim in the neck facing seam.

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The fabric is a medium weight woven, with an ikat print, bought at Fabric Depot last Spring. I think the colors make it sort of Fall-ish, though, don’t you? If I were going to make this Vogue pattern into a tie top though rather than this dress, I would likely choose a fabric with more drape, like rayon. I chose cotton for my dress because I knew I’d be adding the weight of pom-pom trim to the dress’s neckline and cuffs and I wanted fabric that would hold its shape. (BTW, I didn’t realize it, but pom-pom trim is sort of fragile. If you aren’t careful, the shape can be lost as it is basically yarn wrapped around more yarn. You have to be a bit careful when cutting it and inserting the trim into the seam to keep all of your pom poms intact.)

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All in all, I’m happy with the result. I think the lesson I learned with this dress is that every new project does not require a new pattern (sigh). Although I love pattern shopping and have a pattern stash that is HUGE, it is pretty easy to modify one I already have rather than buying a new one every time I get the urge.

I’ve been gathering ideas for fall sewing in a notebook, cutting out images from magazines, but it isn’t the most efficient method (an understatement). Then, there’s the difficulty of translating those ideas into a project cue. How do you all organize your inspirations and projects? My current method is one big mess.

I hope your fall sewing is off to a grand start. Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

Butterick 6378: Two tie neck tops

IMG_6452Sometimes, you make one version of a pattern, and you love it so much, you rush have to make another.

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It wasn’t just the versatility of the pattern that inspired me to sew two (2) versions, it was envy too. When I saw these versions in ready to wear, I had to have one (or two) for myself.

Version 1 is by Sea, and version two is Chloe. You can wear either one with the tie ‘tied’, or not, depending on your mood and it still works!

 

This pattern is part of Butterick’s fall collection. It offers several options, a narrow tie collar, and a broader tie that’s incorporated into the neckline.

Because the tops slip over your head, they’re easier than some to sew. But as usual, the devil is in the details. I found the two collar options to be quite different to sew.

The bow collar on this version is part of the neck line finish. It’s only two pieces which are sewed onto the collar opening….so easy!!! It becomes the facing and the collar – – so efficient. This version is made from a very stubborn rayon, that was a bit tricky to sew, but feels great to wear.IMG_6640

The fabric was very ‘shifty’. This version is ‘as designed’ with one modification. I eliminated the elastic on the sleeves and added a self-drafted 3″ cuff.

Version two is the narrow tie option. I made this out of a yummy rayon (fabric depot.com).

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This version (shown here with my jeans skirt) was a bit trickier to sew because there is a narrow collar that is sewn on after you insert the narrow ties. Narrow ties are hard to turn, for one thing (an understatement. My finger tips will never be the same). Then, the ties have to be placed just ‘so’ before you attach the teeny-tiny collar. Sure, it’s not impossible to get it right, but you need a bit of patience🙂.

I love both versions and can imagine making antoher in silk with, maybe….Hmmm….bell sleeves?!? I am not done with that look yet! Anyway, I’m giving this pattern a thumbs up. It’s a great transion look, I think, a nice bridge between the seasons, and if I could find some great fabric like the Chloe or Sea versions, I’d be all over making version number three.

Long sleeves….I think that makes this a ‘Fall’ project, even though the temperature is in the mid-90s here! Have you started your Fall sewing yet?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

DIY top with waist tucks and bell sleeves

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Greetings from the sultry streets of Portland. The temperature rarely rises above ninety degrees here in the rose city, but this week has been extraordinary. Two days have topped out at 100+ and more hot days are ahead. Weather like this drives me to my basement sewing room where the air is cool. And, as luck would have it, a beautiful piece of silk waited for me there!

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This top was inspired by the runway fashions this Spring that featured Bell sleeves. I can’t seem to get enough of the look (see my other makes here and here), and I can tell as I wear this new top, I’m probably not done with this look even now. Because the bell sleeves have lots of volume, I decided to pair them with a more defined waist to balance out the bigness of the sleeves.  The fabric is from my stash, a lightweight silk that fells like nothing when you wear it. I found it at Mill End Store last Spring and have been waiting for inspiration to strike. The print is bold, so I knew a simple design would be my preference.

 

I modified a much loved pattern, Butterick 5890.

This pattern has loads of personality, with waist tucks and collar variations that are easy and fun to modify. I decided to draft new sleeves that would satisfy my bell sleeve obsession. I also made a long tie belt, that can be wrapped twice to give the waist more definition. The waist tucks are nice enough as they are though, so sometimes, I’ll  just wear the top without the belt.

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I used view C, but modified the pattern as follows:

-I cut the front bodice on the fold.

-I lengthened the sleeve by five inches.

-I added a bell to the sleeve by cutting a rectangluar shaped piece, 8″ by 20″. I gathered one long edge of this piece, then stitched the 8″ ends together before attaching it to the sleeve to create the bell.

-I added a long wrap belt, 70″ by 4″ .

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All in all, I’m happy with this new top. In part, it gets a thumbs up because it was comfortable today, even in the heat. And, it Did Not Wrinkle! Also, I should say, I’m pretty sure my bell sleeve obsession isn’t over yet. I’ve already started to imagine a longer sleeve version for fall, and am toying with the idea of adding a sleeve band detail too. We’ll see how that idea evolves🙂.

Move over Linen! Silk is my new favorite ‘hot’ weather fabric. What’s yours?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

Butterick 6057-Chambray and Floral Top

IMG_4012Hi All! It’s hot here in Oregon, so there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy my vacation wardrobe even though I’m back at home. Might as well keep those vacation vibes going as long as possible, don’t you think? This top was one of my favorites on my summer vacation, completed only a day before I left. In fact, it almost didn’t make the wardrobe ‘cut’. But I threw it into my suitcase at the last minute and I’m so glad I did. It was worth the space it took because it went with everything; skirts or shorts.   IMG_4001 (1)

The contrast print makes this shirt, if you ask me. It’s a Liberty remnant I picked up at a small shop here in Portland, Josephine’s Dry Goods. I love Liberty floral prints, but I can’t always imagine wearing something that’s all floral. But using a bit for contrast is something I can easily get into. I used the Liberty on the sleeves, the pockets and the back button band. I love these colors so much, I might just start calling them my color ‘palate’; blue, black, rust, green, colors that are perfect for fall too. That makes this top ‘transitional’, don’t you think?

This pattern, Butterick 6057, is genius. The buttons and button band down the back just give it that extra something. Oh, and I love the tabs on the sleeves too. I used a solid black for those to try to make that Liberty print stand out even more. This pattern is now, officially, a ‘tried and true’ for me.I made it before here. It’s easy to sew  and the cut is comfortable, but not ‘baggy’ and the high low hem is fun.B6057Here’s the top in ‘action’. This is Nuremburg, Germany,our last stop on the Danube. I’m posing here in chambray with my friend, Suzanne who is wearing a beautiful linen dress.  She bought a bit of fabric on this trip too🙂. Her shoes are cute, mine not so much. What can I say? My feet had minds of their own that day!!IMG_5747

I hope you’re enjoying the dog days of summer and are finding time to sew a few transitional wardrobe pieces for yourself! Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

Simplicity 1318 Kimono Love

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Hi all! I’m back from my travels, and, I’m happy to report, my travel wardrobe was put to good use. I’m now a big fan of the Danube, and my travels there were relaxing but inspirational too. So many of the communities along its shore have a rich history of handmade garments. Everywhere I looked there was something beautiful to see and enjoy.

In fact, a garment I spotted on the trip prompted the title for this week’s post: Kimono Love. This is a handmande child’s kimono from Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam (if you have a chance to visit this extraordinary museum, take it.) I could have stared at this all day.

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Another favorite:

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And here’s mine. Ha, not quite in the same league, but we do what we can!

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For this kimono, I used Simplicity 1318, a tried and true pattern I’ve made before (here) that’s so easy to sew!

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Because I knew it was a sure thing, I splurged and used silk. It’s a fabulous piece I found at Fabric Depot last Spring (gone now, sigh). For the front band, I used a silk in a solid contrasting gray. This is an unlined pattern, so I finished all the seams with my serger, but it would be lovely with french seams too.

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This kimono is a breeze to sew because the pattern has very few pieces. The style is loose and unstructured, so you don’t have to fuss with fit issues. The best fabrics for this are wovens with great drape, like this silk. Last summer, I made it from a sheer cotton which worked almost as well. I think a lightweight rayon would be great too, but really! Splurge and buy some silk! It’s so fabulous to wear and you deserve it🙂. I did prewash this silk, by the way, on the gentle cycle with some deteregent meant for lingerie. This made the fabric less slippery, and easier to cut and sew.

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I love the shape of this kimono and the high-low hem. This pattern must be a favorite of many of you, because it was one of the best loved patterns on Pattern Review for 2015.If you have a chance, take a look at the versions posted there. There are so many beauties! You’ll be glad you did.

My trip was fabulous, a much needed break, and I enjoyed the time I spent ‘unplugged’. But I missed visiting your blogs and chatting with all of you about your makes. I’ll be perusing all of your websites, catching up on things this week. I can’t wait to see what you’ve been up to!

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by.

New Look 6429- A Dress with an Inset

 

 

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Hi All! Summer is in full bloom here in Oregon, with blue skies and sunshine, the perfect start to my vacation. I thought I’d show one last addition to my travel wardrobe before heading out for a couple of weeks. Yes, I have alot of clothes (LOL) but wouldn’t you know it? At the last minute, I decided I NEEDED one more dress.  In a frenzy, I grabbed some fabric from my stash, a bit of lace, and a New Look pattern. Here’s the result.

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This sheath is New Look 6429, a dress I wanted to sew the minute I saw it in the catalog. With the options to add an inset or a cut out, this pattern was on my ‘must have’ list right away. I love the raglan sleeves and the great neckline.

I chose view C, because I can never  pass up an opportunity to add a lace inset.

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The pattern went together quickly and easily, but be forewarned. The sizing is really (!!) generous. I had to take seams in everywhere. This is one occasion when sewing a quick muslin wouldn’t have hurt, but as you all know, I don’t have the patience to take this extra step, and here’s the price I pay for it. An easy sew turned into a bit of a project because I had to fuss around with fit.

The fabric I used is a cotton with a  very, very slight stretch. The pattern is designed for wovens and stretch is not required, but I love just a little bit of stretch when I want a dress to be super comfortable, as is the case when I travel. If a dress can’t be worn all day, it doesn’t make the cut, you know?

IMG_4271I love this dress, and am so glad I found the time to squeeze in one more make as I know this will get alot of wear.

I’ll be away from my sewing machine for a few weeks, which makes me a little said. The good news? My stash has shrunk a bit over the last few months, making room for some new vacation purchases. I hope I’ll have some interesting finds to share when I return.

I hope your summer sewing is progressing nicely and that you’re enjoying some great weather. Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

A cold shoulder top, dress or tunic

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I cannot get enough of the cold shoulder look. As with most trends, when I finally get on board, I don’t let go!  This is my second cold shoulder project (first one here) and I can tell you, it will not be my last. Here’s the reason I love the cold shoulder look. Showing a bit of skin at the shoulder gives even a loose, summery top or dress a bit of a sexy vibe.

What’s even better about this top, is that it’s so versatile! By hemming it a bit on the long side, I can wear it either as a top or a dress! Here it is loose and unbelted for a hot day.

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Here it is over jeans, perfect for a day that’s a bit on the cool side.

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I think this pattern plays to the advantage of a cut-out shoulder. Even though the cut of the top is unfitted, the shoulder gives it a bit of interest, and makes it look more shapely than it is. You can belt it, or not, as the mood strikes.

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The pattern is Butterick 5889, an easy top, tunic and belt.

It’s a bit oversized with a slit opening at the sleeves that could not be easier to construct. The sleeve hems and the sleeve splits are just finished with a narrow hem. So fast! The cold shoulder look is created when you tack the sleeve split together at the top and bottom.

The shape of this top is rather loose and boxy, so I choose a very lightweight cotton with great drape (Mill End Store) so that it wouldn’t overwhelm my small frame. The hardest thing about this top, was getting the pattern perfectly lined up on center front, so you know this top is easy!!

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I can imagine wearing this top/dress both ways, belted or loose (although the unbelted version might be a bit of a man-repellant, if you’re worried about that sort of thing, LOL).

From cut-out to finish, this top took only a couple of hours to create. It might have taken less if I wasn’t watching High Society (Grace Kelly could not be more gorgeous. And the clothes!)

This top is such a fast, fun make, I might try it again out of a rayon challis. View B also has pockets and a front placket, so I might give that a go at some point. If you decided to try it, I recommend sticking with a drapey fabric, as it does have a very generous cut. The pattern came out in 2013, but it’s still easy to find and on-trend now.

What do you think?  Do you prefer it as a top, a tunic or a dress?Isn’t it nice to have some easy projects during summer? There’s so much to do outside, away from one’s sewing machine.

Happy sewing, and thanks for stopping by!

A Dress with a Few of my Favorite Things

 

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I’m smiling because this dress has three of my favorite things: linen, lace and silk. Yes, linen wrinkles, but I’m prepared to overlook that fact because it breathes like nothing else. If the weather is muggy, no worries!  When it comes to heat, this fabric is invincible.

IMG_3568To make this dress even more humidity resistant, it’s lined in silk, a splurge I never will regret. The textured linen is so special, it deserves a great lining. Not only that, but it was such a bargain! I found two yards on the remant/sample shelves at Mill End Store last summer. I bought it immediately, of course, but then I stalled. The fabric was so wonderful, I dithered about what to do with it. A dress? A top? Or, maybe a skirt? I perused pattern books, websites, flitting from one idea to another. How typical. If I love a fabric, I become paralyzed by its perfection! No idea or pattern is good enough for it. Finally, though, I settled on this idea. It’s a good thing because this linen dress is a dream to wear. The linen hangs perfectly, but feels like nothing.

IMG_3504 My dress was inspired by several RTW versions. Here are two fabulous dresses by Derek Lam and Caroline Herrara.

The pattern I used for my dress is McCalls’ 7285. I’ve made it before as a top, but decided I wanted to convert it to a dress.

To do so, I had to modify. The top pattern as drafted is a cropped style so if I extended it to dress length’as is’, it would be too tight in the hips. So, I took my hip measurement, and, as I extended the front and back bodice, I made the shape A-line, making sure the bodice was wide enough to accommodate my own width.

To add the lace embellishment on the bodice, I cut a length of lace the width of the front and back bodices just above the bust line. I stitched the lace in place on both the front and back bodice before setting the sleeves in. That way, when I did finally sew them in, the end of the lace was hidden in the sleeve seam. To add the lace to the bell of the sleeve, I sewed the lace on the bell before sewing the bell’s center back seam so that the end of the lace would be hidden in that seam as well. Also, textured linen has a tendency to fray (this is an understatement!). So, to keep my dress from unraveling into a pile of thread, I overlocked all the seams on the dress, and the silk lining as well.

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I love my summery dress, and I think the top pattern transitioned without too much of a struggle. However, I’m certain my method could be improved upon. I feel like I should have taken fabric drape into account as I extended the top to dress length, and that I’m lucky that it turned it as well as it did!  There must be more to it than just adding a few inches, a ‘method’ with a bit more of a rationale? Have you extended a top to a dress?  Did you just add a few inches, or did you ‘draft’ an extension?

I took my dress for a test drive today, and it was so comfortable. I’m glad I splurged on silk for the lining, because it makes it extra yummy to wear. So, if you wonder if silk is worth, my answer is ‘YES’! Go for it! You deserve it.

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by.