Early 2017 Springwatch

Hello,

This past weekend presented itself with some lovely weather so I was out on Sunday in the garden – cleaning the greenhouse, sowing seeds, etc. The etc includes taking in the beautiful spring sights.

I don’t know about you but I love the morning after a light shower. The flowers have the droplets clinging on to their delicate petals and its a lovely thing to see. I took these pictures using OH’s phone and I was rather impressed.2017-03-12 09.47.472017-03-12 09.48.082017-03-12 09.48.51-22017-03-12 09.49.132017-03-12 09.50.012017-03-12 09.51.292017-03-12 09.53.242017-03-12 09.53.402017-03-12 09.54.102017-03-12 09.54.282017-03-12 09.55.102017-03-12 09.55.592017-03-12 09.56.152017-03-12 09.44.202017-03-12 09.44.432017-03-12 09.45.032017-03-12 09.45.072017-03-12 09.45.16

Meanwhile at the allotment the garlic and overwintering onions are doing well. I just sowed the seeds for this year. The potatoes are chitting along. This year we are only going to plant one variety of potatoes : Maris Piper.

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Leek bed
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I think it was the birds that did this to our purple sprouting brcocolli

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The onions sets and garlic.

Spring is coming.

BurdaStyle Magazine 10/2014 #105 Cowl Neck Dress Pattern Review

Hello,

Let me preface this by saying that this is possibly my most favourite dress ever! Don’t believe me? Check out this IG video….

Made with some fabric I have been very precious about ever since I bought it at Fletchers Fabrics in Leeds Market.

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Fabric before cutting out

This fabric waited patiently for its partner pattern. In other words, it was a stasher. For a long time. Then I saw this on Burdastyle.com…..

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BurdaStyle 10/2015 #105

 

Like magic, I suddenly remembered the swirly 60’s style jersey knit fabric that was buried somewhere in my stash. It was a perfect marriage of pattern and fabric IMHO and, again, I cant tell you how much I love this dress!!! Pictures first….construction details second…..

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I cut the size 38 which is my Burda size. No alterations at all. I didn’t use the instructions on this one – I just sort of pinned it out and took it from there. So I pinned the overlap how I wanted it to look, not sure if that’s what the designer was going for.

A brief perusal of the instructions had revealed that the sleeve was to be set it – No Burda – much as I love your drafting and style, I will not set in a knit jersey sleeve!!!!! I used the flat construction method instead and its ok.

All seams were overlocked. A simple zigzag finished the hem and the sleeves. I have plans to make this as a top and a shorter dress in a solid knit. I suspect this might become a TNT by the end of 2017 🙂

Thanks for stopping by…and until next time, happy sewing all!

Peace and love,

Hila

Burda Young B6849 Pt. 2 Needlecord

Hello chums,

I sewed up another Burda 6849 in a cotton fine needlecord fabric. This fabric has been a long term stasher so I was glad to finally get it out!

Burda 6849

I have made it in cotton lawn before here….

Burda 6849

I didnt need the instructions this time around as I am quite familiar with shirt construction. Note that this pattern does not have a tower placket so I used the one from the  Angela Kane tutorial. I decided to experiment by adding a velvet ribbon to the undercollar – something I see on OH’s shirts.

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Pocket flaps and repurposed buttons.
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Yoke cut on the bias.
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Very proud of these tower plakets
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Trimmed the undercollar with plush velvet just like some of my OH tailored shirts

 

I actually overlockeed all the seams. I just did not feel like doing flat felled seams. It was lazy. I did wonder if I’d regret it later and frankly speaking I don’t :-).

Working with cord fabric was a revelation. Never has my lint roller been more vital! I had to use it all the time – everything sticks to cord in a most annoying way in the sewing room, thread ends, lint, fluff – you name it and it sticks. My advice is to get loads of the lint roller if you embark on sewing with cord. DOnt even get me started on the amount of cord dust you get when overlocking the stuff!!

And yet I still will sew with cord again. It’s deliciously soft and warm. Cozy and durable 🙂

Here I am on a family night bowling during the Christmas holiday.2016-12-29 18.19.26.jpg

I really ought to make this in a solid colour to really appreciate the wonderful design lines….a chambray blue or a batiste white fabric…..

As always thanks for stopping by. Happy sewing!

Hila

XoX

Selfless Sewing: McCalls M6044 for my brother….but modelled by OH…

Hello everyone,

Here is a shirt I actually sewed in January 2016 for my little brother who lives in Switzerland. He spent Christmas with us and I offered to make him a shirt using McCalls M6044.

I took him fabric shopping – on a tangent -I honestly do not understand why he didn’t LOVE fabric shopping – we walked into B&M Fabrics and literally 2 seconds later he just pointed at a fabric and he was like “that one” (literally 2 seconds in the shop!!!!). “Have a look around and see what else is there – there are loads of lovely fabrics.” I said with a big enthusiastic smile across my face.

 

No, I like that one.

But you can’t know that you absolutely like that one because you haven’t looked at the others – plus we have 3 more shops to hit up

Needless to say, recognising the same pattern that was repeated in our childhood, I could see him digging in and being stubborn just cause I was telling him what to do. I retreated, puffed out my cheeks and exhaled.

Ok, sure”  I was really proud of myself – felt like I was the bigger person and congratulated myself. Really I was. But that didn’t stop me dragging him around to the rest of the shops in the off chance that he might see something else he liked. I may have also bought one of two fabrics as well.

So that’s how we ended up with this fabric – a pale muted cotton. I’d say it’s a medium weight cotton which was ok for the shirt. Its not the best fabric I have sewn with but its not the worst either.

I had to trace the small size for him, of which I made a toile. At the toile stage, I took it in at the waist as he likes his shirts figure hugging. I also lengthened it by an inch because that’s what he wanted. He also didn’t like the collar which he felt was too big fo his style and I redrew the upper collar angle to what you see in the pictures.

McCalls M6044 is so easy and fast to sew. I sewed flat felled seams everywhere to give it a professional look. My little brother is the founder and CEO of his own biomechatronic company and he has to look professional.

Unfortunately, he had returned to Switzerland by the time I finished the shirt but he gave permission for my OH to model it before I mailed it.

I had forgotten about this project until the other day when I was sorting out our 2016 digital files. So here is my OH in a shirt that is one size too small;  I think he did a wonderful job of posing in a shirt that really is not a colour or print he’d ever pick for himself.

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McCalls M6044

 

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McCalls M6044

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Flat felled seams……LIKE A BOSS!
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Even the sleeve seam is flat felled.
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This pattern does not have a tower placket – I add one based on a template

If I had to be perfectly honest, I didn’t enjoy sewing this as much because I was riddled with anxiety throughout the process. I was worried about whether I’d make something good enough. Still, I did my best and that’s what matters at the end of the day.

 

Writing this post did make me confront one of the uncomfortable reasons I personally avoid sewing for others outside of my kids and OH – I still don’t feel like I can sew garments good enough for them (hypothetical recipient of my sewn projects) to forgo an RTW option. Like they would only wear it around me to please me rather than be truthful and I couldn’t stand that. It’s crazy – I am so insecure I haven’t even asked my brother if he liked the shirt because I am scared of the answer. (Although I don’t think this fear is unfounded given that, though we speak regularly, he hasn’t brought it up either). The reality is that I shouldn’t think like that. Readers, I have a huge flaw. Any ideas of how I can get past this? Tough love welcome.

On that note, thank you for stopping by. Happy sewing all!

Peace and love,

Hila

 

 

Alder Shirt Dress by Grainline Studio Pt 4

Hello chums,

I must apologise in advance for the deluge of daily posts – I want to catch up with my blogging – only a few more posts to go before I am up to 2017. Please bear with me. And on that note………..

It’s no secret that I am huge fan of the Alder shirtdress having made 3 versions to date

First one was a cotton lawn palm trees & flamingos Alder

The second one was John Kaldor cotton lawn,

The third one was a Nani Iro double gauze.

I finally got around to making the fourth one using the same fabric as my Laurel shift dress.

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Grainline Studio Alder Shirt dress layerd over my Burda roll neck top

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I think one of the simple pleasures of life is the joy of sewing a TNT pattern. I am looking forward to wearing this in summer without any layering.

Thanks for stopping by! Until next time, happy sewing all!

Peace and love,

Hila

Colette Laurel Shift dress

Hello everyone,

This was my first White Tree Blogger Network project. For my first project, I decided to fill a gap  in my wardrobe – the shift dress.cp1025-laurel-12-large-818764633d8862d1b4da235e826b82d41eb9dd463e3a1806080ef1627cb793cb

There were many shift dress patterns available but in the end I chose the Laurel dress by Colette patterns. The fit is semi-loose with a fitted bust and back darts to keep the shape streamlined which is what I wanted. It looked to me like a chic and simple shift dress. When it came to the fabric I had a hard time selecting from all the great fabrics on offer from White Tree Fabrics. After hours of browsing I finally settled on this floral printed denim which has a cute floral motif. I liked that the floral motif wasn’t so small that its ditsy.

When I received the fabric I was really impressed by its beauty. It’s a lovely lightweight tightly woven chambray fabric with a beautiful drape. It feels so comfortable and sewing with it was a joy! It irons beautifully and sews like a dream. The blue background is like a lovely denim blue. I prewashed it at 30 degrees and tumble dried it.

Construction wise I cut the size 2 on the Laurel (Version 1) and sensibly made up a toile. The fit at the bust was pretty perfect but the armholes were a tad too tight so I had to reduce the seam allowance for a little bit more ease. That did the trick. The waist and the hip were much too wide for my liking so it was clear I had to take it in. Here is what I did – I started at size 2 on the bust dart and graded to size 0 at waist and hip. This created the look of the shift dress I wanted like in the line drawing

Once my fitting was done I cut into my delicious fabric and made some bias binding for finishing the neckline with. This pattern sewed up very quickly for me. I left out the zipper because I found I could put it on easily without one.

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Colette Laurel Dress

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Colette Laurel Dress

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Colette Laurel Dress – Bias Bound neckline

I love this dress – it will work well in fall with layers underneath and it will be perfect for spring and summer too. I also really love this fabric and will be getting more to make a shirt – this is perfect shirt fabric as well.

Do you like chambray shift dresses for autumn too?

Thanks for reading guys and until next time – Happy Sewing!

Hila

Simplicity 1473 Girls Hooded Dresses

My greatest sewing pleasure is sewing for my little people – but sewing for the twinks is my joy. I love choosing contrasting fabrics to make them garments that are the same but different. I have a soft spot for Simplicity 1473 as it was one of the first garments I made for my son. The top I made then in 2014 is still around and my twins wear it now  <link here>. Here is the pattern cover.1473

I am proud of these makes because the fabric was not a stasher (stasher is long term resident of the stash). I made them within 1 month of buying the fabric.

I bought the fabric from B&M Fabrics. It’s a fleece backed sweater fabric that is very warm. It washes really well. When I took these pictures the dresses had been washed several times already but the colour is still good.

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I have cut out another pair of these dresses already waiting to be sewn up. The new owners love their dresses :-).

Thanks for stopping by, until next time, happy sewing,

Peace and love,

Hila

McCalls M7430 Pattern Review

Hello everyone,

I am so behind with my blogging – though its February I still am blogging things from last year – still better late than never.m7430_a

I purchased this pattern during a half price sale around September last year and got around to sewing this dress up in December.

 

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McCalls M7430

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Pattern Description: Misses’ Knit Side-Panel Dresses with Yokes

McCalls M7430 is a fitted pullover knit dress with side panels (no side seams). It has a front and back yoke with neckline variations. The neck variation is a bound, round neckline or a turtleneck. The hem variation is a shaped hem or a straight hem. The dress may be made sleeveless, three-quarter sleeve or long sleeve.

Pattern Sizing

Pattern sizing combinations are A5(6-14) and E5(14-22). I cut out a size 10 based on finished garment measurements and I thought it was not too far off the mark ease-wise.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

I made view D, using a black contrast stretch pleather with a pink and black cloque fabric. And it looked like what I was expecting based on the pattern cover.

 Were the instructions easy to follow?

I read through the instructions before embarking on this project and they were huge easy to follow diagrams accompanying the written instructions making this beginner friendly. This is a relatively simple dress to make anyway. It scores more points on the beginner friendly scale as there is a YouTUbe sew along by Anita Design . You can’t do much better that! If you don’t like reading instructions it’s worth checking that out. 

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

I like patterns with interesting seam lines. This has princess seams at the front combined with a front yoke as well which gives plenty of colour blocking options. There are endless possibilities.

Fabric Used

I bought the main fabric during SewUpNorth in November last year. It is a bold black & cerise jacquard blister ponte (cloque). I have since found out that composition is viscose, polyester & spandex (which explains why it’s so comfortable). It has a beautifully-soft handle and a firm stretch with good recovery across the width and length of the fabric. This is the same fabric I used for my Lady Skater Dress <link here>.

What really drew me to the fabric was the easy flamboyance of the vibrant rococo-style pattern. In terms of fabric care: I machine washed at 30°C and tumble dried as normal.

For the contrast, I teamed it with fabric I already had in my stash from Leeds Market. The stretch pleather was bought to make leggings but I am glad I didn’t make leggings with it. I didn’t want stretch pleather on my neck so I used what little black ponte I had for the upper body. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough of the black ponte for the side panels.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

I took in the princess seams at the waist line to reduce a swayback issue. Swayback is a standard alteration for me but I skipped it on this because I had princess seams down my back to work with. Though for future makes I will do the adjustment on my paper pattern.

There is a little more ease across the upper back than there should be for a fitted dress- it was also slightly roomy for me around the bust area where I took in about 1” in total.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

I am making this again for sure. Its easy to both make and wear. Comfortable and practical. I would definitely reccommend it.

Here’s a tip. The back of the dress is almost identical to the front so much so that when sewing it up its easy to mix up the pattern pieces unless if you make sure to mark them – I didnt and honestly will never not mark them again!

And another thing; my biggest issue was trying to get the sleeve head lines to line up with the yoke. My initial preference would have been to make this in a stripey main fabric. However, I realised that I had a bit of trouble with a solid colour – imagine trying to line up stripes! It is possible but its something to bear in mind when cutting out especially if one is fussy about perfect pattern matching.  

Conclusion:

It’s a good basic wardrobe staple. I may make a more summery one at some point with a shorter length, normal collar and no sleeves . this dress was on the shorter side – its fine for me but if you like more covereage there, pay attention to the finished garment length measurements before cutting so you can add length. I recommend McCalls M7430 if you are looking for a dress that is  well-fitting and easy-to-make. Alternatively, shorten it to make turtleneck top.

Final point about the dress: if made in one solid color, the detail of the princess seam and yoke seam is lost which would be a shame. So if you make this I highly recommend using contrasting fabrics. I also I love the slimming effect of the contrasting side panels (especially when black is used like I did for mine) – but any dark colour will have a similar effect.

Many thanks for stopping by my little corners of the interwebs. Until next time, happy sewing!

Peace and love,

Hila

 

 

 

Sew It With Love Delia Top

Hello chums,

Today I am sharing my tester version of the Delia top which is a pattern that was released just before or after Christmas last year. I signed up when I saw that it had raglan sleeves.sew-it-with-love-patterns_delia-top_instructions

I decided that I wanted a peplum after I had cut out the hip length variation and saw no reason why I couldn’t add the peplum too :-).

I double-faced the peplum so I wouldn’t have any hemming to do. I also added cuffs to the long sleeves to avoid hemming. Sewing it up was quite easy and I thought the instructions were great making this a beginner friendly pattern.

The fabric has been in my stash for about 2 years now. I had bought it to make a Moneta dress but I fell out of love with the idea of an apple green Moneta. It’s a ponte knit with a lovely sheen. I used just under 1m to make this and my fabric is  57″ wide.

The hip length variation is not supposed to have a peplum – that is one of the 2 design changes I made. The other being the cuffs. In hindsight, I realise that I suck at pattern testing because I should have made it as it was supposed to and report back on that. I will do that in the future if I ever find myself pattern testing again.

Fit wise I thought it was true to size. I cut the size 10 based on my bust measurement and despite the wrinkles, it has a good fit. It’s also very comfortable. The one thing I will change though is the neckline. It’s a bit too high on me – I will lower it by about 1/2″.

I forgot to mention that this is not a sponsored post. I was given the PDF file for free but everything else was bought with my own money. There was no stipulation that testers had to blog about their make. I am sharing it because I like this top and I have been wearing it most weekends.

Pictures

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I like the subtlety of the peplum – I don’t think its too much
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I may need to size up the sleeves and that might reduce those drag lines…
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I need to lower the neckline

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Thank you so much for stopping by! Until next time Happy Sewing All!

Peace and love,

Hila

P.S. You can watch me prattling on about it below 🙂

Lady Skater Dress No. 3

Hello everyone,

Just before Christmas last year I sewed another Lady Skater dress – and its quite possibly my favourite. I already get quite a lot of wear out of my teal scuba one (post here) and my light weight jersey one (post here).

The nice thing about a TNT, as you well know I’m sure, is that there is no added stress of fitting woes etc. This gives extra mental space to think about creative ways of making the same pattern. But first, let me talk fabric as the fabric directed the changes I made.

The fabric was described as blister ponte but I rather disagree and think it’s actually cloque fabric knitted from two colours (pink and black). It has (for want of a better word), oodles of beautiful texture that has a baroque look to it.Joe Cover CD pics 136.jpg

I made this one using leftover fabric from another dress project so the cap sleeves were a necessity. The fabric, despite being a poly mix of some sort, is rather comfortable and cozy. Much as I love the scoop neck on the Skater dress – I needed this dress to be more covered for winter – the fabric texture and thickness won’t work in spring or summer. I decided to raise the neckline and make it a slash neckline to maximise chest coverage. I tried to make a roll neck but alas there was insufficient fabric. This had to do.

I sewed it all up on my overlocker and used a zigzag stitch for the hems, sleeves and neck. I am always impressed at how quickly this dress comes together and no doubt there will be more variations in my future.

Pictures….*the skirt is slightly off grain and I am calling this a design feature people. Design feature m’kay.

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Lady Skater Dress
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Lady Skater Dress

With this third make, Lady Skater Dress has made it into my TNT Hall of Fame! Next up – a maxi version I think…….red and white stripes maybe……

Thanks so much for stopping by and until next time, Happy Sewing!

Paece and love,

Hila

XoX

Self Drafted Men’s Tee shirt

Hello chums,

One of the perks of enrolling on the pattern drafting class was that I had access to loads of drafting paper and a large spacious studio to work in. Once I finished my project I still had a few weeks left on the course and so I used that time to start drafting a T-shirt block for my OH.

Using Winifred Aldrich, I drafted an easy fitting t-shirt. It is a very quick draft – I think menswear might be easier to draft for than women’s because men don’t have as many curves? This is based on this one easy draft :-).

Personally I thought the neckline on the draft was too high and narrow  for something that is supposed to come over your head. But I didn’t remedy it immediately so I could see if my instinct was correct. Upon making the t shirt I was chuffed to see that I was correct – the neckline was far too high and narrow so I lowered it by 3/4″ at front and widened by 1/2″ at shoulder.

There was lot of ease on this t-shirt. OH complained that it was too much and so in a dramatic role reversal – I was pinning out the excess while he had to pose in front of a mirror and say when :-). He was eventually happy when I had taken out about 1.75″ (one and three-quarter inches) from the sides.

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The fabric is a really great quality cotton jersey that I bought from B&M Fabrics. Its nice and slightly thick with good stretch recovery. I used 1m which cost me ÂŁ14/m – worth every penny for my loudest cheerleader.

OH had choice of neckband in either same fabric of contrast black cuffing – I think he made the right choice. I finished the neckband and hems using a twin needle. A lot of effort went into making him this t-shirt. Now that we have a block for him I expect that there will be a few more t-shirts in the future – he even mentioned screen printing his own graphics…….

He is very pleased with it and he wears every time its clean and available. One of my loosely defined goals this year is to sew more stuff for him – because- he is worth it 🙂

Thanks for stopping by and until next time Happy Sewing everyone.

Peace and love,

Hila

Simplicity 1317 in Red Stretch Velvet

Hello chums,

Here is a top I made last year near the festive season. The fabric was left over from my twins Xmas dresses here.  It’s an underrated pattern called Simplicity 1317 which has raglan sleeves.

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Simplicity 1317

 

My first one still gets worn loads especially on weekends. I had to lengthen the arms by 10cms as they were too short before. I think this sort of style has a lot of mileage. I am glad I bought it during my early pattern buying sessions.

The fabric is of a lightweight drapey variety. Sewn up on the overlocker it leaves an awful of lint behind but it more than makes up for it by being a super quick make. It has good stretch recovery and I would buy this fabric again if I came across it. I think I’d like a sheath dress in this fabric….with a low plunging neckline….Tangentially, I think this pattern could easily lengthen into a dress.

The cuffs and the hem band were cut on a different grain – insufficient fabric – but I think I mostly got away with it. The neckband was the only casualty.  Which makes me think about grain and its importance with stretch fabrics – perhaps there is more wriggle room than with wovens…I digress.

Sizing wise I actually felt that this was true to size. I cut the size Small based on my bust measurement and I am amazed that there was not the usual excess ease I associate with BIG 4 patterns.

Pictures

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Simplicity 1317

 

Some more pictures from one of the Xmas dos that had a Santa’s Grotto for the kids…

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Taking over Santa’s throne…
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I think he was checking his IG 🙂
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Mini Santa
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Eye of the tiger
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Panda baby…
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Pretty butterfly

****I am not supposed to have favourites but the butterfly is just perfect!******

I feel resplendent in this top and sure enough it was worn to a couple of Christmas events where I was trying to pull off festive nonchalant chic as way of covering up my ever bulging tum ( all that festive feasting was intent on revealing itself!). Currently, crunches and planks are now de rigueur until that festive tum is banished!

Off to my yoga mat…..you know resolutions and all that…..la di da…..

Thanks for stopping by and until next time Happy Sewing all!

Peace and love,

Hila