Unexpected fabric and a new dress

My most recent make was a complete gamble with the pattern and fabric both. When I got this black foil hacci fabric, I discovered it wasn’t exactly what I had envisioned when I ordered it. I set it aside since it wouldn’t fit for what I had originally intended it for. Then along came the opportunity to test a new pattern for Sonia Estep. I love how she drafts so I felt confident it wouldn’t be a waste of my fabric, but the actual look is not my norm and made me nervous to try. I stepped out of my comfort zone again and I am so happy I did.

The Charleston from Annelaine Patterns, is a swing dress designed for sizes 00-30. It has a scoop neck, a subtle or deep v neck, and a button up v neck. Not into buttons?? You can totally do snaps too. You can pick a short, ¾, or a long sleeve and the three hemline options are straight, a subtle high-low, or a dramatic high-low. Since I was going for it with a leather looking dress I decided to amp it up a bit and picked the deep v neck. I did the long sleeves with the high front hem and the back straight hem. I followed the instructions and graded for my size and height, it fit great. Total shocker I know (insert sarcastic laughing).

Then came the, “how do I wear this”, moment. Since this was out of my norm, nothing came to mind immediately. Thank goodness for my sewing friends, they are seriously amazing!! After some general suggestions and a closet raid I came up with a few ways I could see myself actually wearing this.

Let’s go with the date night look first. I usually dress simple so adding heels, a long necklace, and some bigger earring studs was just enough for me to feel dressed up.

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For a relaxed look I paired it with some white tennis shoes, a subtle long necklace, and a jean jacket. I rolled up my jacket sleeves too and I felt like it gave it a classic relaxed look. I could see myself wearing this out for errands or a lunch with friends.

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For a little less casual look or utilizing an extra layer for those cooler days, I swapped my tennis shoes out for my boots. I kept the necklace and jacket, but rolled the sleeves down. I like how the jacket pulled the dress in a little and gave me some more waist definition yet I still have the movement and comfort of the swing dress.

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Guys!!!! I have a leather look dress, that I love, and will see frequent rotation in my wardrobe. Happy dance for unexpected fabrics and stepping out of my comfort zone.

Pattern is the Charleston and on new release sale for 50% off until March 10th. The fabric was from a So Sew English bundle and isn’t in stock currently. Since this pattern only needs 20%, 4 way stretch, there are lots of other options you can use to make your own Charleston.

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This post may contain affiliate links. This means, if you make a purchase through that link, I may get a % back, at no additional cost to you. Let’s be honest, we all know it goes right back to adding to my fabric stash. All opinions on this blog are my own.

Venice in Spring

Last summer I ventured into woven garments for myself. I really loved the different looks I was able to achieve with them and the variations it added to my wardrobe. With the ever increasing temps here, I went looking for some new patterns to try this year and found the Venice dress from New Horizons Designs. I had previously overlooked this pattern in my search because I didn’t realize it was drafted for wovens. I had seen that it was able to be used with lightweight knits and I completely missed the woven part. Being able to use both wovens and knits is a benefit in my book since it allows me to use it more often and with more of my fabric options. Something about my custom fitting clothing being even more cost effective makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.

The Venice has several length options, mini, high-low, and maxi. I am continually blown away, with how the simple change of length can completely change up the look of a dress, love it! In addition to the length options, you can choose several sleeve options. There is the sleeveless, long sleeve, and both long and short split sleeves. I love how the split sleeve adds just a little something different and allows for air flow while still giving you some arm coverage. I decided to go with the high-low length and the short split sleeves. Look at these pretty sleeves!!!

Since this is a woven, there is the concern about fraying edges and seam finishes. The way the Venice is constructed accounts for that and I just love when the inside of a garment is as pretty as the outside. The neckline has a facing and the way it is finished with the sleeve is super clean.


I usually find something to modify on patterns and this make was no different. I really try to follow things to a T but unless I’m testing a pattern, I usually fail in that regard ha ha ha. Last summer I discovered the rolled hem feature on my serger and this dress seemed like the perfect opportunity to try it again. I feel like rolled hems are so pretty on garments that need flowy drape, it just seems to add to the look. It also makes the inside hem seam not visible when doing the high-low option, which I love.

The second tweak I made was to the split seam hems. The pattern has you fold over ¼” and then fold over again to hem. I like to finish the edge, before folding, by running it through my serger. I’m not cutting anything off and it gives me an easy fold mark for the first ¼” fold.

 I got this print last summer, but ran out of time to use before our “winter” began. I didn’t have to wait long to sew it up, I guess that’s a positive to living in the desert?? This is the Blue Leslie Rayon Challis from So Sew English Fabrics. Rayon challis is one of my favorite woven fabrics I discovered last summer. It has gorgeous drape, it’s not usually see through, and has a cool smooth feel to it. Perfect for all those light and flowy spring/summer dresses I have on my list.

This post may contain affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase through that link, I may get a % back, at no additional cost to you. Let’s be honest, we all know it goes right back to adding to my fabric stash. All opinions on this blog are my own.

Sew Expo – Travel clothes

With my upcoming trip to the Sew Expo, OMG I’m SOOOO Excited, I realized I didn’t have anything to wear. I know this is a typical problem and in the past I would run off to the store and try to find a few new things to refresh my wardrobe. In this case though, I got to sew. The benefit of having a full wardrobe in my sewing room, some assembly required.

Being a desert dweller, I am not used to really cold temps. Layers for me consist of undergarments and one outer layer or two layers of rayon spandex. In the winter my layers are a shirt and sweatshirt. Very rarely do we get to break out the beanies, gloves, thermals etc. When I looked at the weather for the Sew Expo, I realized I was going to be needing actual layers. I mean, seriously, they had snow in the forecast. Of course after deciding this and making my sewing plan for outfits, we ended up with a winter storm and even got snow. It only lasted the one day and two days later we were back out in shorts and t-shirts, but it was a great opportunity to try out my newly expanded layers. Plus the mountains were so pretty!

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I am a planner so I decided to start my outfit planning from day one, travel day. I had just received some camo performance tactel from So Sew English and thought it would make a nice pair of Greenstyle Creations Stride Athletic Tights. The stride tights have a few different options allowing you to do a plain or pocket side insert, mid rise or high rise waistband, and several different lengths. You can also add a gusset, cross cuffs, and a hidden waistband pocket. Since I was mainly wearing these for travel I chose the plain side pocket and high-rise contoured waistband. I really didn’t want to chance them being see through, when bending over, and with my health issues I didn’t want them too snug, so I sized them up. They came out perfectly !

Then I realized I didn’t have any long sleeve t-shirts for layering so I went through my pattern stash to find just the right one. I couldn’t find what I needed and trying to be frugal, I didn’t want to purchase a new pattern. I decided to do a mash and hack from several patterns and some store bought tops to create just what I wanted. “Self drafted” with some white double brushed poly from So Sew English, and I love it.

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I paired my new leggings and top with a new jean jacket. I’m still looking for the perfect pattern so it’s store bought, but at least it was on sale and we had old gift cards so it didn’t cost anything.

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Now I have a comfy but cute outfit, perfect for airport travel. If you see me strolling through the airport, say hi. I’m kidding, don’t say hi, I’m really shy and wouldn’t know what to say, ha ha ha. Again, kidding!!!! I am really shy, but I’d love to meet fellow sewing addicts in person.

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This post may contain affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase through that link, I may get a % back, at no additional cost to you. Let’s be honest, we all know it goes right back to adding to my fabric stash. All opinions on this blog are my own.

Lexington love and my newest hack

The Lexington recently released from Annelaine patterns, and if you saw my last post, you know I absolutely love the pattern. If you didn’t see it, you can read all about it here.

In typical Danielle fashion I immediately pictured a hack of it to create a matching mother daughter maxi dress set I had pinned.

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I decided to do the red, white, and navy combo with double brushed poly solids that I purchased from Amelia Lane Designs.

I used the empire cut line for the bodice and skirt, which meant that the only modifications/color blocking I needed to do was to the skirt piece and this is how I did it.

To start with I eyeballed my lengths for the color blocking and used the peplum front and above knee front cut lines to gauge a starting point. In the case of my daughter’s, it was the front peplum and front dress cut lines.

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From looking at the pinspiration picture, I felt that the top red portion and the bottom red portion were about the same and the white portion was a little smaller than them. I also knew I wanted my blue strips to be the same size, and around 3”, when finished. I marked the skirt pattern piece a few times for each section, until I got it to where I wanted. Keep in mind the actual measurements, for your skirt color blocking pieces, will vary depending on your specific size chosen. Just to give you an idea, I will share what I used for my daughters and mine. I ended up with around 14.5” for the red pieces, 4” for the blue pieces, and 9.75” for the white piece. On my daughters, I ended up with around 11” for the red pieces, 3” for the blue pieces, and 9” for the white pieces.

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Now comes the fun part. Since the center of the skirt piece color blocking was lower than the side seams, I needed to create that V for each piece. To do so I measured from each point I had marked on the fold line, UP 2”, and marked it on the side seam edge (pictured in red below).

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I repeated until I had all 4 pieces marked.

Then taking my ruler I drew a line from the upper mark, to the lower mark, for each one. I wanted to curve my centers so I went slightly past my lower mark when connecting the two marks.

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I chose to make my center points less V like because I figured it would be easier to attach the pieces and with the skirt gathers I didn’t want my lines to look choppy once the dress was done. Then I smoothed out the line and the marks to have a clear cutting line.

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Seam allowance needs to be added to each piece as well. You can choose to do so now, by making new pattern pieces for each color block, or you can do what I did, and add it when you cut the fabric out. If you choose to add it when cutting the fabric, make sure you do, or your skirt will end up too short. I forgot on two of my pieces and it made me panic before I reminded myself that it was my hack so I didn’t have to follow exact amounts, whew, bullet dodged. To account for this “design adjustment”, I added a little more seam allowance to the connecting pieces.

When adding seam allowance, you will only need to add it to the bottom of the top red piece (R1), the top and bottom of the blue pieces (B1 & B2), the top and bottom of the white piece (W), and the top of the bottom red piece (R2). The original skirt pattern piece has the top seam allowance and the bottom hem allowance already included, so we can skip those.

You can use your new skirt pattern pieces to cut out your chosen colors. Since we are doing the straight floor maxi skirt, the front and back skirt pieces are the same which allows for us to cut two of each color block piece. When cutting, I marked my pieces and made sure to keep them in order so my skirt would fit back together correctly. I labeled them as R1, B1, W, B2, R2, in descending order from the top of the skirt.

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Once you have all your pieces cut out (10 in total), you can assemble your skirt. To assemble I did both the front and back skirts at the same time, to avoid any confusion of which piece went where. I have this bad habit of walking away to tend the kids or some house thing, and I forget where I was in my sewing. I didn’t want anymore “design adjustments” and I figured this would be easiest to keep it organized.

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Take your R1 piece and lay it right side up, fully open. Taking your B1 piece, lay it right side down on R1, lining up the bottom of R1 and the top of B1. Clip and sew that seam. Repeat for the back skirt piece.

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Take your R1B1 piece and lay it right side up again. Place your W piece right side down on R1B1, lining up the bottom of R1B1 with the top of W. Clip and sew that seam. Repeat for the back skirt piece.

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Take your R1B1W piece and lay it right side up again. Place your B2 piece right side down on R1B1W, lining up the bottom of R1B1W with the top of B2. Clip and sew that seam. Repeat for the back skirt piece.

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Last one! Take your R1B1WB2 piece and lay it right side up again. Place you R2 piece right side down on R1B1WB2, lining up the bottom of R1B1WB2 with the top of R2. Clip and sew that seam. Repeat for the back skirt piece.

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Now you have your front and back skirt pieces complete and you can attach them together and finish the dress exactly like the pattern instructs.

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We really love our matching pinspiration and are on the lookout for our next color combos.

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Pattern used was the Womens and Girls Lexington from Annelaine patterns which is on sale through February 13th. We used the empire, floor length maxi, sleeveless, and the scoop neck options. Fabric was red, white and navy solid double brushed poly from Amelia Lane Designs. If you haven’t heard of Amelia Lane, they are a newer fabric company. They have some pretty neat offerings and I’ve been impressed with the quality, shipping speed, and customer service. They are currently having a site wide 20% off sale with code PERFECTPAIR ending February 17th.

This post may contain affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase through that link, I may get a % back, at no additional cost to you. Let’s be honest, we all know it goes right back to adding to my fabric stash. All opinions on this blog are my own.

Wrong this whole time but now I’m obsessed

You want to know what I learned during a recent pattern test for Annelaine Patterns?? I learned that I measured my side waist wrong, let’s say, around 2 years ago. I have been operating under the assumption I had an 8” side waist when in reality I have a 9” side waist. How is this possible and how have I not had major fitting issues? As for the fitting issues I usually add length to my shirts at the natural waistline, but for my overall height. Add that to looser fit garments that have less defined waistlines or slouchy fits, and I haven’t had any issues. Kind of like a, two negatives equal a positive, type situation.

In the case of this recent test though, the side waist measurement was extremely important. The top/dress was designed to be a slimmer fit and hit right at the natural waist, thus making my inch difference very noticeable.

Curious about how to measure your side waist? This is how. You know those stretchy selvedge pieces you usually throw away or let your kids tie things up with? Those work great for this, so grab two. Take one and tie off your upperbust. Then sing, “I’m a little teapot”, and when you get to the tipping part, make a note of where your side crease is and tie it off. You can also tie off where you think your waist is and move around for a bit, allowing the fabric to move to its natural spot, for those of you not into fitting musicals. Now that you have your two spots tied off, you measure from the upperbust one down to your waist one. Here is the important part and what I missed my first time. This measurement should be along the body, tracing your natural curve. Mind blown people. I had an extra inch hanging out in my curve.

Once I knew about my extra inch I was able to add it to the pattern and ended up with a wonderful fit. So wonderful that I have made 4 for myself, plus I hacked a 5th, and made two matching ones for my daughter. I’m totally obsessed !!

The pattern is the Lexington and is available in womens sizing (00-30) and girls (9 mon-20). It has several options so you can decide which look you prefer and allows for year round wear.

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For this one I used this floral vine rayon spandex from So Sew English. I chose short sleeves, scoop neckline, the waist cutline for the bodice and the skirt is the subtle hi-lo peplum. It was the perfect top to wear with my new pair of hunter green ponte (available at SSE) Peglegs. I have been wanting a green pair for a while so I was really excited I finally could make them and get them in my closet.

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For my second one I went with this gorgeous floral Amber bulgaree ITY. I got it last year from So Sew English and I can’t believe there is still some in stock. I just love how it gathers and drapes. Combine that with the above knee subtle hi-lo skirt and I am in love!! I chose the sleeveless, empire cut bodice, with a scoop neckline.

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This third one I saved for “last”.

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I’ve had this ombre blue Venezia ITY in my So Sew English stash, for quite some time. I hadn’t found the right pattern to showcase the gorgeous ombre so it sat in my cabinet. Once I had the first two done I knew this was the right pattern for it. I did the sleeveless, empire bodice with a scoop neckline. I also did the optional side slit for a little extra. I LOVE it!! I’m so glad I saved the fabric for this floor length maxi.

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My daughter saw my Lexingtons and asked for a matching one. Since I didn’t have enough of the fabric I used for my first three, I ordered some double brushed poly from Amelia Lane Designs and made us a matching pair. This solid navy compliments the Santa Fe print beautifully and she loves her Lexington as much as I do. These are both the sleeveless, empire cutline bodice. Mine is the scoop neckline and hers is a standard. Both are the floor length maxis.

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Not only have I found an amazing pattern that will get lots of use in our house, but I also learned something new about measuring my body to ensure a better fit. I call that a sewing win.

*Enabler alert*

The women and girls Lexington is on sale for 40% off until Wednesday February 13th, 12pm mst.

Amelia Lane Designs is having a 20% off site wide sale until Sunday February 17th. Code PERFECTPAIR  Plus they are running a shipping special that all orders over $40 ship for $10 (international excluded) WOWZERS!

This post may contain affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase through that link, I may get a % back, at no additional cost to you. Let’s be honest, we all know it goes right back to adding to my fabric stash. All opinions on this blog are my own and I have a lot.

Sewing for my son – Sawyer Shirt

My son loves when I sew for him. He enjoys picking out his pattern and shopping in my fabric stash. His favorite part is picking options though. I just love his reasoning behind what he picks too. This last sew was the newly released Sawyer shirt from Annelaine Patterns. I showed him the pattern and got his resounding approval. “Mom, I like that one, and I need a new shirt because I’m 5 now and I’m bigger.” It’s amazing all the things that have changed, now that he is five.

Annelaine patterns has a large size range (6 mon – kids 20) which I particularly love. Kids grow so fast and I like being able to use the same pattern repeatedly, it really makes sewing economical. The sawyer shirt is loaded with some great options too. There is the classic tee version, with sleeveless, short, standard or faux layered long sleeves. You have an optional placket, color blocking, lined or unlined hood, and pockets (inseam or circular kangaroo). You can either hem or cuff your sleeves and hem or band your bottom hem. I have no idea how many combos you can make with all of those options, I’d rather sew than do the math, but it really allows customization and talk about maximizing a patterns use even more.

The options my son picked were the classic tee, faux layered long sleeve, cuffed sleeves, and regular hem. Are you ready for his reasoning?? He likes hoods but since I just made him his Bubby and Bee hoodie, he wanted, “something different this time”. Then he said he likes two shirts on the sleeve but doesn’t like how, “the under shirt gets all twisty in my armpits and I can’t do this.” At which point he jumped up and down and waved his arms around. Ha ha ha, guys, this kid cracks me up. As for the cuffed sleeves, that was because they “hold up my sleeves when I’m eating food”, and the regular hem, he just liked the line drawing. Makes total sense to me.

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Now on to his fabric choices. I will usually show him a few options when I’m ordering and allow him to pick some things for my stash. Then he has some options to choose from when we decide to make him something. He knows where most of his picks are located in my stash so it makes it quick for choosing. This time he picked the blue corey stripe double brushed poly and a solid black double brushed poly to go with. He really likes how soft double brushed poly is and I love how well it holds up. With the amount of washing his clothes get and the things that end up getting washed with his clothes (rocks, tissues, toy cars, etc), I appreciate things that stay bright and don’t get all pilly.

The best part of sewing for my son is his reaction when I finish and show it to him. He usually runs up and hugs it and asks if he can wear it. He has learned that I like to get pictures before he wears them, so he usually asks if we can do pictures, right now, so he can have it immediately.

Pictures with a 5 year old active kiddo can sometimes be a challenge and this time he asked if he could do a video instead. Who am I to say no if it helps him get his wiggles out? His video turned out so cute I just had to share, and note, no armpit twisting while he jumps around with his arms waving.

Enabler alert – the Sawyer shirt pattern is on release sale until Feb 5th, so be sure to check it out before it ends. All fabric is from So Sew English Fabrics.

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Love this faux sleeve detail!

This post may contain affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase through that link, I may get a % back, at no additional cost to you. Let’s be honest, we all know it goes right back to adding to my fabric stash. All opinions on this blog are my own and I have a lot, ha ha ha.

Pinspiration – You win some and you lose some

Where do you find your sewing inspiration?

I have my own ideas (usually when I’m trying to sleep), get inspired by other seamstress makes, and “shop” on Pinterest.  I really love “shopping” on Pinterest because I can save the things I like and can come back to it when I need something to sew or I find the perfect fabric. Another thing I love using pinterest for is finding examples of those late night ideas I get. I can search for things that are similar and make my notes to save them for later. Usually, when I find something I want to make, I have to search for a pattern or figure out how to hack one I already have, like I did for my first pinspiration (blogged here). In the case of these two recent pinspirations, I had both patterns already and no hacking needed, yay for saving time and money !! It also helped that I have made both patterns several times before so I knew they would be a good fit.

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Pinterest pin #1

I’ve had really great luck with my pinspiration creations and usually love the way they turn out. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case with this purple cardigan. Let me start by saying, I love the pattern I used (Coffee and Tea from Annelaine ). It has several different options which allow for you to make a bunch of different cardigans from the same pattern. Another yay for saving money!! I have used it several times, several = 5, and each time it comes out beautifully. This time, my 6th, was no different.

I liked the fabric too. It was a Purple Hair I snagged in a bundle from So Sew English Fabrics. It washed well, sewed up well, even with the extra “hair”, and it had a unique look to it.

The problem came when I tried it on. I really did not like the way this specific combo looked on me. I tried it with several different looks and just couldn’t say I loved it. I was so bummed too. I had really wanted this to turn out. I mean, a purple fluffy sweater, who doesn’t need a purple fluffy sweater??

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To get this look I used the Coffee version, length between the long and short cut lines, hemmed loose sleeves, and the slim bands. Plus pockets, because, POCKETS.

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Pinterest Pin #2

My other recent pinspiration was a solid landing in the win column. I love this pattern too (Union St. Tee from Hey June Handmade)!! I have made several, several  = 4 in this case. I like all the options the Union St Tee has, but I really found the v-neck instructions easy to follow. All three of the  v-necks I have done, have turned out great.

Then there was the fabric. It is a brushed hacci from So Sew English, and is so so SO dang soft. Soft and cuddly, and soft. It is soft ya’ll ! I tried it on and it was instant love! The hardest part was trying to photograph it to make it look like the pinspiration picture.

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I gave up, I’m not a good selfie taker, and I’m okay with that. Making my bed and cleaning the mirror is totally not worth it. I’m kidding, but seriously, selfies are hard. I applaud all of you with selfie skills!

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The options I used for this top were long sleeves and v-neck.

Pinspiration. You win some and you lose some.

Anyone looking for a fluffy purple cardigan?? I happen to have one just hanging around.

This post may contain affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase through that link, I may get a % back, at no additional cost to you. Let’s be honest, we all know it goes right back to adding to my fabric stash. All opinions on this blog are my own and I have a lot, ha ha ha.