geranium in washi + gold

First, I just want to thank you guys for your kind and thoughtful comments on our last post.  Caroline and I both felt the love!  You guys are the best.  Wes has responded really well to chemo so far, and it was a pleasure to get to see him this morning in his own house, being silly and adorable.   A few weeks ago, I threw all sewing stuff to the wind.  I couldn’t really do anything but think about my sweet nephew and how I could help my sis.  But, sewing is therapeutic, and it felt nice to pick up some fabric and make something out of it.  So, while I had some time on my hands yesterday (thank god for children who still nap!), I decided to finish up this little outfit that I’ve had cut out for some time.

This fabric has certainly seen its heyday- Rae made it iconic with her original Washi dress… But I’ve been sitting on a yard of it for almost 2 years.  So, while you sewing blog readers are probably sick of seeing it, well…. sorry!  But, I think it’s the perfect kid fabric with it’s vibrant colors.

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Nothing is easier than using a pattern you know well.  The Geranium is tried and true.  This version is the tunic length, with ruffle sleeves.  I usually use gold thread to finish the zigzag edge because I’m all for a little understated bling.

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The bubble bloomers are self-drafted.  I’ve been working on perfecting the fit, and I’m almost there.  I think they are a nice staple to have in a toddler wardrobe.  And when you make them out of cotton couture,  well… they are almost luxurious.  Rich in color, soft and they almost have a sheen to them.

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This set is not for my darling dear Coco.  Instead, I enlisted her modeling help (in exchange for 2 Cadbury mini eggs… ’tis the season!), and then packed these up to be shipped to a little friend up north today.

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Yesterday it was in the 70′s here.  I hope you are experiencing some signs of Spring wherever you are!

-Erin

kcw day five: flashback dress

 There are plenty of times (like weeks at a time) that I don’t feel inspired to make anything, or my kids don’t need anything, or I just have no creative juices.  But I’m feeling super-charged this week and I think it’s because I’m conquering my fears about sewing with knits.  And it’s mostly because I have too- since it’s all my kids want to wear.

Caroline commented on my flashback tee for Coco the other day, “Congratulations, you are now a Flashback addict.”

Yup.  I am.

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I made this late at night, and could’ve been way more precise about sewing it all, but I wasn’t.  Basically, I cut the shirt off a couple of inches under the arm pit and added a nice big gathered rectangle (I stitched that to the bodice by using zigzag stitch and then I serged it). There is some definite wonkiness (at the gathered seam, and the hem), but Ell loves it!

(a-hem.  This photo shoot was a DOOZY.)

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This rib knit was pretty stretchy and even though I cut a size 5 for my kid, it really started to stretch out by the time she got home from school when I snapped these pictures.  The gray baby rib is from Joann and it’s awesome- great stretch recovery (like all my new lingo?).  It’s great for necklines and cuffs.

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The coral floral (hehe) fabric is from fabric.com, but I can’t seem to find it there anymore.  I got it for $3.49/yard and I am willing to take my chances on cheap knit from an online store.  I am not one of those “have to see it/feel it in the store” type of people.  There is excitement in a little risky fabric shopping!  I did make sure it was mostly cotton, with a little lycra, and I think that’s a good little rule to go buy when buying for basic shirts/dresses.

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Girl is growing like a weed.  Those high-waters and worn-out knees are being taken care of tomorrow, fyi.

Stayed tuned.

-Erin

January Junebug

 Happy New Year Gungie readers!  Resolutions anyone?  Mine are mostly just project lists for each room of our house.  The challenge for me, since I seem to have design ADD, is to just commit to one room, and finish it.  I’m starting with the parts of our home that are exposed to the most general traffic.  I think that’s a smart way to begin.   Hopefully, I will have the nerve to show you the progress as things move along.

As for sewing, well, isn’t it always about stash busting?  Use what you have, and avoid spending on new fabric!  Also, pattern busting for me.  I have been psyched to buy several patterns, but then I strangely avoid them.  I don’ t know why.  My Washi pattern is giving me the stink eye right now!  I’ll get to you, dammit!

First up for both pattern and stash busting is the sweet, vintage inspired, Junebug Dress.  Sewn in Tanya Whelan Delilah Dots, and lined with some pretty floral that I can’t place.

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This was my first time sewing one of Jessica’s patterns.  It went perfectly!  Really well written with lots of pictures.   I sewed the 18 month size  for a dear friend’s first baby, with the thought that she can wear it next spring when she will be walking.  That must be such a strange thing to imagine for the mother of a two month old!  Her teeny little girl will be up and walking this time next year.  Its wild!

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I definitely considered doing the bodice in the floral print, but I waited until I had all pieces constructed to decide.  It came down to the piping.  Doesn’t it always?  I loved the turquoise piping with the turquoise buttons, and those features just wouldn’t pop against the floral fabric.  So red dots all the way!  

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I was hoping Corinne would be up for modeling this, but I caught her too close to nap time.   Wes was my next choice, but I just couldn’t do that to him again.  It’s still too soon.  So, on the hanger it is.

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Ah, it feels good to have one sewing project under my belt in the new year.  What will be next?  Unfortunately, I think it will have to be some theme sewing for Jet’s 7th birthday party.  I haven’t yet seen fabric Minion bunting on Pinterest yet, so I’ll have to think it up myself.

Tell us what projects top your 2014 list!

~Caroline

Another Debbie + A Giveaway

Hello there!

Remember the  Little Debbie dress I made for Corinne earlier this month?  Well, I’m back with another one, this time for my big girl, Ellery.

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  This is the Debbie’s Birthday Dress pattern from Suz of Sewpony.

I tested this pattern in the 18 month size, but I was really looking forward to sewing one up for my 5 year old!  I made a size 6 and I think It’s pretty right on.

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I love this little pattern.  I really do.

I love how different this version is from Coco’s vintage-y one.

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I love that it’s got a sort of Fall-Mod thing going.

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But I think what I love most about it, is that it used to be my dress!

A shapeless shift dress that I wore a small handful of times, but has sat in my closet for almost 5 years.

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I made a couple of modifications to the pattern: I chose to cut my front piece on the fold to keep the print intact.  Also, since this fabric is very thin, I fully lined it, using the original lining from the old dress.  That’s not hard to figure out at all, the pattern has a bodice lining already… I just extended it all the way the length of the dress.

Suz is offering up a free copy of the pattern to one of you sweet readers!  Just leave me a comment here and I’ll randomly pick a winner next week.

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:::Giveaway is open to all and will run until Tuesday at midnight EST.:::

giveaway is now closed!  congrats to Michelle :)

-Erin

This Worked Out

I kind of can’t believe it myself. This upcycle was a major success!

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A few simple steps, and I turned a tired maternity shirt into an adorable back-to-school dress for Aves!

Here’s the before:

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We headed to Gee and Poppy’s for the photo shoot.  But, bear with me, my model was, how-do-you-say, not in the mood.

She said she’d do it if she could wear the Mardi Gras mask.

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I know, the mask is really cool, but focus on the dress.  How cute is that?!  It was so simple that I’m kicking myself for not taking in-progress photos to show you how!

Besides the cute pintucks, its your basic buttondown.  You could probably just as easily do this with a men’s shirt.  Actually maybe even easier since you wouldn’t have to worry about the bust darts making it wonky.

To make the dress, I cut the sleeves off the shirt and then cut up the side seams, keeping everything else intact.  Then, using my Music Box pattern as a guideline, I cut away at the front and back until they were in A-line unison.  I borrowed the buttons that came from the sleeves and added them to the placket.  You probably could skip that step if just using a men’s shirt.  All the raw edges were then encased in the red bias tape.   No hemming, word!

We left her grandparents’ house and headed to the park, in hopes of finding a sunnier attitude.

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Nope. Not gonna happen.  Forget the kid, let’s check out the back.

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The material is a lightweight denim.  It drapes really well.  As evident in this slouch.

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Ha ha.  Someone needs school to start!  (That someone would be me, of course.)

I took my time with the bias tape, sewing it to the wrong side first, and then flipping it over to the right side, and carefully topstitching.  It takes more time than just sandwiching your edge and going for it (like I usually do), but its a more reliable finish.  I can see Avery getting a lot of wear out of this dress.  She actually really likes it.

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Wait, is that a smile?

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No. We’re done here.

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Do you have any items lying around that would be perfect for an upcycle?

~Caroline

Little Debbie

I’m so excited to be the second stop on the Debbie’s birthday dress blog tour!

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Suz from Sewpony has created this pdf dress pattern inspired by one of her favorite children’s books, Debbie’s Birthday Party.  The pattern features a classic A-line style dress, with a button and loop closure at the back.  You can see the two views above,  one with a sweet peter pan collar, center seam, pocket, and buttons.  The other with a separate bodice and trim.

Suz asked if I’d test the 18 month size for my little Corinne, and since I’m a good vintage-loving girl, of course I said YES.

Behold, My Little Debbie!

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For my dress (View 2), I repurposed a chambray skirt, used a cute apple grid print for the collar, and lined the bodice with red cotton.  I decided forgo the pocket and steal the trim idea from View 1, extending it all the way down the length of the dress- I used ivory lace hem tape.

I stitched two white buttons on to the front, but for the back I decided to tie it all together by using this red apple button.  Coco’s big sis thought that was pretty cute.  Ellery loves to help pick out Corinne’s clothes in the morning, and this dress is often her first choice.

Smart little stylist wouldn’t you say?

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I love the length of the dress- it hits Corinne about an inch above the knee, but you could easily add length if you wanted.  On a little gal like Coco though, it’s a good excuse to show off some cute bloomers or her chunky thighs (which I’ve been devouring lately).

I envision her wearing this in the Fall wrapped up with a cozy little cardigan… and of course knee socks and mary janes, like Suz did here- so adorable!

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 I’d highly recommend this pattern to a beginner sewer who is dabbling into making garments.  The pattern is loaded with clear pictures for each step, and a very handy pattern map which really helps the cutting out and taping process.  I sewed my Debbie up one rare afternoon while my entire crew was napping, and it was blissful.

 I’d say the only thing that took some time for me was the peter pan collar.  It was the second one I’d ever done, and I forgot to mark front and back (as suggested!) so when it was time to sew the pieces together I was stumped…but well worth it- I love those apples.

And that face.

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I like that you can stay in the vintage realm here but you could totally go another direction with this pattern (like this rainbow one Sanae did here for KCW- gorgeous!)- it’s a simple design that is a great starting point for your own creative interpretation.

Suz is offering a 20% discount on this pattern for the duration of the blog tour.  Just visit her etsy shop, Sewpony Vintage to purchase and don’t forget to use the code BLOGTOUR1.  And keep your eye out for more vintage-inspired patterns from Suz in the future!

So long,

Erin

(p.s. check out the Sewpony flickr group for some more Debbie dress eye candy!)

Knit Popover

We’re heading to the beach tomorrow for some Summer fun, and I was determined to finish up another KCW project before we left.  Since Ellery has gotten a lot more persnickety when it comes to the things I make her, I decided change things up by sewing her a knit dress- I knew she’d appreciate the soft and stretchy fabric since she still doesn’t like to wear my “bumpy” (a.k.a. woven cotton) frocks!.

So here you have it!

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The pattern is the tried and true (and free!) Oliver + S Popover Sundress sewn in a 5.  I extended the length a few inches, and also cut the pieces wider so I could pleat the front and gather the back so the dress would be flowy.  The main fabric is a repurposed blue jersey maxi of mine (I kept the original hem to save a step), yellow knit from Joann for the binding/straps, and pieced woven cotton scraps for the yoke.

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This is such a great little pattern- actually, it was the first dress I’d ever sewn!

I’ll end with a few of my favorite popovers.

First, this one (I swear it would be a fave even if it weren’t made by my sis!), this vintage-y top version from True, Pure, Lovely.  This one by Kristin- I  love love love the fabric she used!  And this fabulous zebra face one from Rachel… so great!

Hope you all have a great weekend!  I’ll say hello to the Atlantic ocean for you.

-Erin

#allvoileallthetime

Here’s my first completed KCW Summer project.

A breezy colorful dress for my littlest gal, Coco.

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I realized halfway into sewing this that is the 4th consecutive garment I’ve made with cotton voile.  Hmm.  Might I be a one-trick pony?  Probably… but I love sewing with the stuff!  That hashtag up there? Yeah… could not get that out of my head white I was working on this.

Too much Instagramming I guess. ;)

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The pattern is one that I drew up last Summer (here and here). I’ve hinted before at a possible tutorial, but every time I make one I change it up a little and still don’t feel like it’s quite perfected!

The voile solids in Mist and Coral are by Free Spirit, that I purchased from Hawthorne Threads- one of my favorite online fabric shops.  And the AMH print is one I’ve had for a while… Actually, I kind of hoard it in every colorway, so be prepared to see it again and again.  You’ve been warned.

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The basic construction of the dress is easy.  A long rectangle folded in half for the bodice, A couple of ruffled straps, and a gathered skirt piece.

Since voile is so thin, I decided to line the bodice (that print is one piece of fabric folded over) with a piece of folded over muslin.  It made for a nice weight that hopefully will hold up better than the last ones I made which got pretty wrinkly and shifty over time.

Anyway, the straps are two pieces of voile pieced together, then folded and shifted over.  I then zig-zag the raw edges, shape them with scissors, and make a little casing for elastic.  Pretty easy.

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I love the coral peeking out from underneath the print.

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I added a couple of paper-thin white buttons that were begging to be used for a sweet dress like this.

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 And a big vintage coral button to close the back.

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So there you have it.  One KCW project down.  I’ve got a couple of pairs of shorts on my list, but Summertime has been CRAY-to-the-Z around here, we’ll see if I can get around to it.  Oh, and they won’t be made with voile.

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Not that this face would mind.

#HappySewing!

-Erin

p.s. WordPress just wished our blog a Happy 3 year Anniversary… Thank You wordpress.  And Thank You lovely readers for visiting, and all you awesome sewing peeps out there for making it fun.  :::The Hungie Gungie girls blow you kisses::: #MWA!  #sorrylasthashtag

Vintage May :: Playclothes for all!

:::This post is a part of the fabulous Vintage May series hosted by Craftiness is not Optional and Skirt as Top:::

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We are so glad that Kristin and Jess invited us to participate in this year’s Vintage May series- and wow, what a line-up of talented ladies!

We’re not worthy!  We’re not worthy!

If you are new here, Welcome!  We are so happy you’re here.

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Last year, we sewed along during Vintage May, using floral sheets from yesteryear- here and here.  This year we got our Fraulein Maria on, repurposing bed linens into playclothes for our brood- that’s 6 kids altogether!

Okay, so we were a teensy bit excited for our FIRST GUEST POST!  ::sister high-fives all around::

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Some of our looks were designed around the unique beauty of vintage bedding, and some just have touches of them, as you’ll see below.  Repurposing sheets and pillowcases is great since a lot of the work is already done for you in the form of seams and hems- just make sure to wash them up in some yummy-smelling detergent.  You might find the aroma to be uniquely “vintage” as well.  ;)

Though our photo shoot reflects some nap-time delirium and lingering (and still lingering…) pink-eye- don’t worry, it ended with a full-on Vintage May/Gangnam-Style dance party!

It only makes sense to start with the oldest… so here’s Jet!

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Caroline:  Thinking about vintage looks for the boys, I kept coming back to this child actor, who was in some of our other favorite childhood movies (Swiss Family Robinson, Pollyanna, and Toby Tyler).  You know him right?  He’s the same in all those movies- scrappy, mischevious, and somewhat annoying.  But he’s so cute in the hats and knickers and suspenders!  So for Jet, I worked up a pair of HG tour pants  using a plaid pillowcase for the stripe.  I decided to chop the pants below the knee to encourage summertime boyish mayhem.  Get it?  May-hem? I love a good sewing pun.  The suspenders are simply made with 1″ elastic, and upcycled leather + buttons. 

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Erin: I fell in love with the details and colors of this pillowcase and knew right away that it needed to be a top for Ell.  I utilized the entire thing.  Normally, I’d leave the existing pillowcase hem for something like this, but I wanted to use the yellow in the flutter straps and the chest band, so I ended up cutting off a good chunk of the bottom.  The back closes with a big vintage button and elastic loop. The shorts are E and E’s bubble pocket sailor shorts pattern in yarn-dyed Essex Linen.  I love all the buttons!  You can get a better glimpse of them up in that first picture.

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Caroline: Avery’s look is also reminiscent of Pollyanna.  If you need a fix, watch this.  I loved her drop-waisted dresses and sailor ties.  Avery’s modernized version (say if Pollyanna were to take up tennis) begins with a Flashback tee (minus the sleeves) on top and vintage pillowcase on the bottom.  I simply cut the pillowcase in half and pleated it to match the circumference up top.   Using the same pillowcase, I made bias tape and stitched it around the collar and arm holes.

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ERIN: I love the idea of little boys in vests, but it’s not a look you really see anymore.  So, I decided to try one out for Grant using Lindsay’s tutorial modifying it into a racerback… and I love it!  I made it with Essex linen (same as Ell’s shorts), and the pockets are cut from the hem of a pillowcase.  The inside is a pretty yellow floral sheet (the most masculine one I had).  Grant’s pants are based on the Parsley pants pattern, but modified a bit to make them skinnier, and of course shorter.  If we had a creek out back, you bet this boy would be wading it.

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Erin: For Corinne, I definitely wanted to keep it easy!  I love the idea of a one-piece outfit for babies, so I made some bloomers from a sweet pillowcase I had and then attached it to a basic tank onesie- I used 1/4″ elastic to gather the leg holes, and added 3 snaps at the crotch.  I thought it’d be fun to add a faux peter pan collar since, they were and are all the rage, aren’t they?  I appliqued some shiny gold fabric and added a sweet ivory ribbon rosebud in the center.  It’s pretty, but so practical for summer days.  (note to self: make more of these.)

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Caroline: Wes is wearing faux-suspenders (grosgrain ribbon, d-rings, steam-a-seam) attached to a onesie, along with pillowcase lined pants (based on A.M.H’s Quick Change Trousers).  His newsboy cap is from this free online pattern/video tutorial that I found for an adult, and eventually had success with scaling it down for a small head. 

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Do you remember this part in the Sound of Music?

Captain Von Trapp: “Do you mean to tell me that my children have been roaming about Salzburg dressed up in nothing but some old DRAPES?”

Fraulein Maria: “Mmm-hmmm. And having a MARVELOUS time!”

Duh!

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Thank you all for stopping by!  Come back tomorrow for a tutorial on Corinne’s pillowcase romper- it’s an easy one! :)

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And if you know what’s good for you, check out today’s other Vintage May post by Jessica of Happy Together.  Thanks again Kristin and Jess for letting us in on the fun!

So long, farewell….

Erin + Caroline

“quickdress”

Suddenly, when Ellery turned about 4 years old, all that precious time I spent sewing into the night was wasted.  She stopped liking pretty much anything I made (except for this sundress that she all but slept in last Summer).

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i love this photo of her literally ripping off a Pierrot dress 1 second after she tried it on….

Why?  Oh, many reasons…. “it’s TOO BUMPY!!!!!” (i.e. made with woven cotton).  Or, “it’s just TOO short!!!” (i.e. it wasn’t a ball gown).  Or “I look like a BOY IN IT!!!!” (i.e. it wasn’t the color pink).  You can see why the dress above wasn’t her fave… hehehe.

So, I found myself buying cheap basic knit dresses from Old Navy and Target.  And no offense to those stores (i still do my fair share of shopping there), but if a dress significantly fades after 2 or 3 washes, I’m annoyed.  Especially if it cost me over $10.

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So, I started making these little dresses by attaching an existing tank top we already had to a thrifted skirt or dress, and she just gushed over them.  I’m sure she likes them because they are comfy… which means I can get away with some different colors she wouldn’t normally wear.  Actually when she first saw this dress she was concerned because there were 2 shades of brown polka dots on it, but she forgot about it once she pulled it on… Livin’ on the edge, my gal!

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 Really.  I feel like a cheater, but whatever- I’m so much happier spending about 12 minutes of my time whipping one of these up for a few bucks- as long as she’ll wear it.

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And wear it she does.

About 3 times a week.

Love my girl!

Happy Wednesday :)

-Erin