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{Ravello} by Little Lizard King

I'm so excited to share the latest release for Little Lizard KingRavello is a strappy boatneck dress with either a simple or contrast panel bodice, button back and optional front pockets.  This classic silhouette is for sizes 12m to girls 14 and is suitable for woven fabrics.

I've been on the lookout for a boatneck dress and this one did not disappoint.  I've made the super simple version -- no colorblocking, piping or pockets, but I knew this floral on black and white stripes would be perfect for this silhouette.

The back is a button back with placket. (If you look close enough, you can see that I took the time to line up those flowers on the back The placket instructions result in a perfect placket every single time.  I used to dread plackets because they would always pucker.

Let's talk sizing --- be sure to measure before sewing!!  After measuring, consult the sizing chart and please don't get hung up on "sizes".  My girls are anything but average sized. It doesn't mean the size chart is way off.  The size chart is there so you know what measurements they are drafted for.  My girls happen to be petite and need to be tailored as such.  Once sewn, you cannot see sizes.  All you see is a perfect-fitting garment.  For reference, my 10 year old (above) measures a 4 chest, 2 waist and a 7 height.

If you ever need any size blending help, please feel free to reach out to me!! I've been blending extreme sizes for a few years now.  

She loves this dress and felt very fancy in it.  I can always tell by how well her photos turn out -- she gave me so many great pictures so I know this is a winner!! I even dug out my Kate Spade purse for her to "borrow" ... little glimpse into her teenage years, I guess.

I can't wait to make another with the blocking, piping and pockets!!!  Grab your copy today!

{Sweet Melody} by Lila Tueller for Riley Blake Designs

A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it.  It just blooms.  -- Zen Chin
I am so smitten with one of Riley Blake Designs' latest fabric collections.  Sweet Melody by Lila Tueller is full of gorgeous watercolor florals and birds.  It comes in 3 colorways -- white, pink and blue, along with coordinates.  This collection was inspired by a mama bird who flew into Lila's house and got stuck overnight!  Read the full story and see more pictures of this stunning collection here. 

I fell in love with the Sweet Melody main print at first sight and chose it in blue to compliment my daughter's blue eyes.  (Plus, it's her favorite color!!)

To showcase the beauty of the fabric, I selected a simple summer dress with a dainty sweetheart neckline -- Augusta by Little Lizard King.  It's become one of my favorite patterns to sew!

I always choose the elastic back option (great for unexpected growth spurts and it's super quick!)  She also loves that she can dress herself without any help from me.  I know this dress will be on repeat for the rest of the summer.

Living her best life -- carefree and happy, just twirling on the sidewalk barefoot on a warm Summer day.  I love how vibrant this fabric is!  It's like my own little walking flower garden and just brightens my day.

Thank you Riley Blake Designs and Lila Tueller for this lovely fabric.  My girls always love when Riley Blake Fabric mail arrives.  When this daughter saw the fabric, her eyes lit up and claimed it for herself (... it was picked with her in mind LOL).

{Duchess and Hare} Fete to be Tied

As my sister's wedding quickly approached, I knew my girls would want a new fancy dress for the rehearsal.  When I saw Fete to be Tied by Duchess and Hare filling my feed on Facebook, I knew this was just the dress for this joyous occasion.  This dress comes in both extra twirly circle skirt and maxi lengths.  The real showstopper is the strappy rouleau back that looks like you spent hours creating, but takes just minutes.  At just $7.50 for sizes 2-10, it's a fantastic deal.

As we went shopping for new fabric (because fabric from you stash is never what you're looking my oldest came across this Paris fabric.  My sister has promised my girls a trip to Paris when they get older so there was no hesitation that this was the perfect fabric.  As most Walmart stores seem to be clearancing their fabric, my local Walmart has received bolts and bolts of new fabrics.  This happened to be one of them!!   

This back is my most favorite!!  If you're like me and blending very different sizes (4 chest, 7 length), be sure to sew a muslin first.  Because the pattern piece wraps around the back, I found it a bit more challenging to blend.  It comes together really quickly though!!   (To make my muslin even faster, I used ribbon in lieu of the rouleau straps.)

I chose not to sew the circle skirt on this one because my daughter really wanted all those Eiffel Towers standing upright.  I just popped on a gathered skirt using the length of the circle skirt and the width of the maxi as my guide.

My youngest found this very lightweight mystery fabric with a slight tie-dye vibe.  I lined the top with regular quilting cotton just to give it some structure.   When I tackled the double circle skirt, the lack of structure in the fabric became a bit of a pitfall.  No matter how hard I tried to cut it just right, the portions that hung on the bias hung lower than the rest.  So I ran back to Walmart and grabbed some more fabric and used the length of the circle skirt pattern piece as my length guide and cut 2 pieces the entire width of fabric for extra fullness.  It's a very lightweight fabric so it didn't really add bulk to the waist despite being really gathered.

Another swoon-worthy back!  I think it was everyone's favorite part.  It kind of like having your cake and eating it too -- looks gorgeous, but also very comfortable for the hot Summer heat.

The twirl was the best part!!  As much as my youngest loved twirling in that extra full circle skirt, this one is almost just as good and my perfectionist heart is happy with the even hem. HA!!

 I know this pattern will be used over and over.  It's surprisingly a fast sew and those rouleau straps are so easy!! (I want to put them on everything!)  I also love that you can sew a maxi or knee length skirt.  I'm off to look for some cotton so I can sew that extra full circle skirt now!!

Everyone ooh'd and aah'd over their dresses, especially the backs.  My girls felt very fancy, yet uber comfortable!

P.S. My youngest had shoes but failed to mention until we were getting ready that her shoes were too small despite just wearing them a month prior for a different event.  So yeah, she carried them. LOL

{Blog Tour} Sew Americana: 2019

Hello!! Welcome to the 4th annual Sew Americana Blog Tour, hosted by the fun and talented Katy of Wild & Wanderful!  I am so excited to join this blog tour again.  This is my third time joining in on the fun (missed year 2).  Last year, I made some awesome swimsuits so we could spend the day at the pool.  This year, however, we will be spending the day with our families as my sister is getting married just two short days later!!  

As I sat down to design the girls' outfits, I had them help me choose dresses or shorts and shirts.  They both immediately said dresses.  While I have a growing stash of patriotic materials, my oldest fell in love with this All American Girl fabric from Walmart.  It's always more special to them when I let them make the choices.  Armed with a 2 yard cut of fabric, I found enough coordinates to get me started.

I couldn't resist trying out Delray from Little Lizard King.  I missed out on testing it but my girls really loved it and hinted they each wanted one.  This pattern came together very easily and even though I have to blend some major size differences, they came out perfect!  They wear the same size except for skirt length so I only had to blend once!  Yay!!  (In case you're wondering, they are size 4 chest, 2 waist, and 7 height -- It's especially important on this pattern to get the chest/waist properly measured so your opening/waistband don't gape open)

Of course, I couldn't help but modify the pattern just a tad.  For my younger daughter's dress, I used the skirt portion of the Milton pattern by Little Lizard King to add some fun red and white stripes.  At 8, I can still add a smidge of whimsy and it suits her personality perfectly!

The Delray has two openings -- small and large.  I used the small opening and I love the size of it.

We often take our freedom for granted, but this picture reminds me that we really are lucky to be able to live such a carefree life.

I just love this shot.  She's perfected the over the shoulder look and she's perfectly framed within the background and the flag is just the cherry on top.

For my older daughter, I went a little more sophisticated with her fabric coordinate and chose a small red/white horizontal stripe.  Being a tween, she's getting a tad harder to sew for, but she really loves this!!

Of course, I had to match my stripes (it's my  and I also made sure the stripes on the straps would seamlessly blend into the bodice.  While it takes a few extra minutes of planning during cutting, it's well worth it in the finished product.

This is her choice for her back shot.  She is holding the flag high and proud!

I know Fourth of July is next week, BUT it only took me a night each to sew these fun dresses, so you have plenty of time!!

My girls can't wait to show off their new dresses to extended family! It will be a weekend to remember 💗 (Next up are their Flower Girl dresses that I have yet to start.... my mom and sister are freaking out I haven't  Stay tuned for those!)

In the meantime, stop by my sewing friends' blogs for more Fourth of July inspiration -- with 25 stops, there's something for everyone!!

{Tutorial} How to Make a Reverse Canvas with the Cricut EasyPress 2

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

If you're in any Cricut/crafting group, "Reverse Canvases" are super popular.  As many as I'd seen, I didn't really realize just how easy they are to make!!  When I was challenged to use my EasyPress 2 on a base I'd never used before, I had to give it a try.

By the way, last month, I featured the new EasyPress Totes and while I had thought about how easy it makes transporting my EasyPress2, I hadn't thought about using them as everyday storage in my sewing nook while not in use!!  Keeps it safe and secure and dust-free!!  YAY!

Here's a step-by-step tutorial so you can make your own!

Materials Needed:

Stretched canvases are easy to find!  I got a 2-pack at Hobby Lobby for under $5.  Make sure you choose the ones where the canvas is simply wrapped and stapled.  There were a couple that looked like removing the canvas would be a challenge... lol

I didn't have a staple remover so I used my Cricut 45mm Rotary cutter and Acrylic Ruler and cut along the outside of the staples.

Once you cut around the outside and remove the canvas, you can go back and pull the rest of the remnants that are under the staples.  The corner staples should be raised enough that you can use a flat head screwdriver to remove those.

I know a lot of people stain their frames, but I wanted black frames to match my designs for my daughter's Paris-inspired bedroom so I used spray paint for super quick coverage.  If you use spray paint, make sure to cover your surface beforehand.  I sprayed two coats.

While your frames are drying, prep your designs.  I chose to cut one design on my Maker and for the second frame, I wanted to try out one of Cricut's Iron-on Designs.  I recently invested in a Cricut BrightPad and love how easy it is to weed now!  (Plus, it fits in my top slot on my Maker!)

Note, there is room for error, but this gives you a good estimate as to how to position your iron-on.  Once you have your decal in position, move the frame aside.  Then, you will iron it on according to package instructions.  You can also visit the EasyPress Interactive Quick Reference Guide for temperature and time.  For Cricut Everyday Iron-on, I pressed this for 30 seconds at 340-degrees. Then I flipped it over and pressed for an additional 15 seconds.  Peel immediately.

P.S. In case you're nervous about which side you need to use, you can use whichever!  I used the white side because I wanted it, but if you're going for the rustic look, use the canvas colored side.  You can also paint the canvas and then iron-on on top too!

For Cricut's Iron-on Designs, I used a temperature of 340-degrees and pressed for 50 seconds on the front with an additional 15 seconds on the back.  These are cold peel so I waited two minutes until cool.

Now, you're going to grab your frame again and get it in position.  Using a pencil, carefully trace around the outside of the frame.

Moving 1/4" inward of the traced lines, (marked with yellow, NOT where my ruler is) trim off the excess.  This will ensure that no canvas is hanging over the edge.

Grab your staple gun and start with the corners first.  Then continue around the perimeter.  If you left your original staples in like I did, make sure to not staple on top of one of those!  Finally, add a sawtooth picture hanger on the back top center and it's ready to hang!!

(Unfortunately, I thought I had some nails at home and I couldn't find them anywhere so I still have to hang these on my daughter's wall... whoops!!  Whomp, whomp... crafting fail.  Of course, I waited until the last possible moment to do this project.  #procraftinator)

I am so pleased to have two new framed pictures for her room at the fraction of the cost of just one framed picture.  They will match perfectly with her existing artwork (yes, that's her!!  She was 6 when I transformed her into Coco Chanel for Topstitchers!)

Fox Farm by Melissa Mortenson of Polka Dot Chair for Riley Blake Designs

Ahhh, the simple signs of Spring are all around us.  The beautiful flowers are in bloom all thanks to the incredibly rainy few months we've had.  While rainy days are a bit dreary in appearance, the rewards are well worth it.

At least someone created cute Wellies to get us through it, right?!

I am so happy to share my creation from one of Riley Blake's newest fabric collections:  Fox Farm by Melissa Mortenson of Polka Dot Chair.  Inspired by the English countryside, it's full of Spring charm: flowers, dots, stripes, doggies, farmscapes (probably just made up that word...) and wellies!

I am in love with ALL of  these prints.  It was so hard to narrow it down to just a couple to sew something for one of my girls.  I knew the stripes were a must, especially because the wide-set stripes are not as common or easy to find. I selected the bright red stripes - - Fox Farm Stripes Red I also kept coming back to the Wellies print - - Fox Farm Wellies Navy.  I just thought it looked so cheerful.

I chose the Augusta Dress by Little Lizard King with the simple bodice and elastic back.   It's a quick sew, but the results are beautiful.  Plus, I had been itching to try the simple bodice.  (The sweetheart bodice is gorgeous too, but not quite right for this project.)

I had fun playing with the stripes a bit.   I started from the shoulder strap and angled the front panel slightly towards the center all the way down to the waist.

The back is so simple and dainty and perfect for warm weather.  I love how the stripes look paired with the Wellies fabric.

My daughter's eyes lit up when she saw her new dress.  She had so much fun strolling and twirling through a local garden.

Stopping to smell the flowers (sort of....they're fake. You can't actually pick the flowers in the garden... and allergies...LOL)  True to all of our previous Riley Blake Designs fabrics, they wash up well with no bleeding, have minimal shrinkage and are super soft.

Skipping through the tulip gardens to place a penny in the fountain.  This place is simply gorgeous and has been tucked away in plain sight in our downtown area.  I guess I need to get out exploring more.  My daughter and I had such a fun afternoon looking at all of the beautiful flowers.

Thank you Riley Blake Designs for this fun little fabric package!!!  It's so fun to see what fabrics can turn into.  I hope I've captured the essence of Fox Farm 💗

Although rain was in the forecast, it held off long enough for our photo shoot.  I was kind of looking forward to some puddle pictures to try to capture a reflection shot.  Unfortunately, I didn't have that opportunity, so I tried my hand at creating it.  What do you think?

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