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Textile Collage with Mandy Patullo

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Somewhere along the line, I became interested in making small fabric collages using scraps of fabrics left over from my days as an interior designer and also incorporating vintage textiles collected along the way. This has now become such a passion for me that I am willing to travel a very long way to take classes from expert artists in this field. My favorite is Mandy Pattullo, who lives and works in the UK.

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A day in London Life: A look at the Balenciaga Exhibit

​During my first weekend in London, I was able to attend the Balenciaga exhibit at the legendary Victoria & Albert Museum. The exhibit runs through mid-February and is an incredible showcase of the designer's exquisite taste, design, style and legacy. Here, I give you an inside look at some of my personal highlights of the exhibit. 

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A Summer Chateau Jacket

A Summer Chateau Jacket

A few weeks ago our friend Sally sent us a picture of a wonderful version of the Chateau Coat pattern that she had made. Sally made her shortened version using a soft knit stripe, which she bound around the edges. It's such a lovely, casual summer jacket. Of course, we now wanted to create a version of our own. I decided to take it a step farther though, and use black and white stripe rayon crepe which I lined with a zingy hot pink polyester.

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Get the Look: Barn Jacket

Get the Look: Barn Jacket
Living in the Midwest, it isn't unusual to see men and women dressed in what are historically agricultural work clothes. Brands like Carhartt and LL Bean are ubiquitous, their boxy canvas shapes echoing the farms that dot the landscape. Today, bib overalls and fleece-lined barn jackets have walked off the fields and into high fashion. Starting in the mid-1990's, the workwear look started to infiltrate street fashion, and today, proletarian style abandoned the farms and factories to move to New York's 5th Avenue.
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The barn jacket is a classic style whose relaxed lines and comfortable shape have made it a favorite for decades. Our Chicago Jacket has a similar stylistic feel though we have incorporated a number of refined details, including a curved waist seam and diagonal darted seams that continue into the pockets. The minutiae of design elements work together to create a truly sophisticated style.

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The Little White eTee

The Little White eTee

What is the one wardrobe staple that you should have hanging in your closet, right next to your little black dress? The little white t-shirt of course! Or might we suggest adding the little white eTee to your closet? Ever since Marlon Brando donned a fitted white t-shirt in The Wild One, this unassuming garment has become a mainstay in both men and women's wardrobes. As the heat of the summer kicks in, nothing feels or looks cooler than a simple tee paired with a flowing skirt or cropped jeans. This is why the eTee is our featured pattern kit for July. 

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Breton Stripe eTee Dress

Breton Stripe eTee Dress

Since being introduced by Coco Chanel in her 1917 Nautical Collection, the Breton striped shirt – originally designed as a French naval uniform – has held a firm place in fashion's favor. The jaunty stripe is casual yet chic and gives its wearer a splash of insta-cool. You can find the Breton in shirts, dresses, scarfs and sweaters. This ubiquitous stripe has found itself made into every garment under the sun, though it is most popular in a classic t-shirt. 

As the days are getting warmer, I've been thinking about easy summer clothes that take no time to make, but are stylish enough to wear for work or play. Inspired by some dresses I saw online, I decided to make myself a Breton stripe t-shirt dress. Luckily, I had our classic eTee pattern at hand...

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Spring Trends: Wide-Leg Cropped Pants

Spring Trends: Wide-Leg Cropped Pants

Recently, while watching the utterly magnificent Christian Dior Spring/Summer 2017 Couture show (which you can see here, and which I highly recommend watching), I realized something – the models were wearing our West End Pants! Well, the Dior version anyway. Later that same day I received an email from Anthropologie and their models were also wearing our West End style. It was official: wide-leg cropped pants are the pant for this spring. Luckily, I have just the pattern to make them. 

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Memory Vest Project

Memory Vest Project

Years ago, my friend Susan asked me to accompany her to help select a mother-of-the-groom ensemble. We drove to Kansas City where she chose a vintage kimono fabric which was custom-made into a beautiful jacket.

She wore the jacket to her son's wedding and to other occasions as well. The custom house had used the wrong side of the kimono fabric for its striped effect, but these stripes had floating yarns which made the fabric more delicate. Eventually, the silk started to break down, fray and even shred in places. Susan didn't want to give up on the precious jacket so she asked us at The Sewing Workshop if we had any ideas about how to salvage the fabric.

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Introducing: The Chateau Coat!

Introducing: The Chateau Coat!

Simple and elegant. A dash of Audrey Hepburn with a sprinkle of Jackie O. – that is the Chateau Coat. Whether you make it in a bold Missoni knit or classic black Scuba, this is the jacket that people will stop you on the street to ask about. "Where did you get that fabulous coat?" The answer? "Well, I made it of course!"

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Fashion Fabric Facts: Sewing with Scuba

Fashion Fabric Facts: Sewing with Scuba

It seems like everyone in the sewing world is talking about scuba - and I don't mean the kind with the snorkel. Scuba fabric, a stretchy double knit that is similar to a ponte, has been making its way onto runways for years and now fashion sewers are starting to experiment with this fun fabric.

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Sequin Skirt Inspiration

Sequin Skirt Inspiration

Sequins. It's the perfect festive addition to your wardrobe and we've got the perfect pairing for you!


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Sewing with Velvet

Sewing with Velvet

​Velvet is the ultimate luxury fabric. For many, the deep, rich qualities of velvet bring to mind everything from sumptuous royal gowns to memories of special occasion holiday dresses worn as a child. As this holiday season approaches – and the holiday party invitations start trickling in – I have found myself thinking of creating new velvet pieces for my wardrobe. But I don't want these garments to be worn just for special occasion, I want to be able to bask in the luxury of velvet after the party season ends. 

Erin is wearing our Stella top and Valencia pants. The dark purple velvet of the Stella top has a subtle print that makes the color even richer. The Stella top is a great choice for this fabric because it really shows off the drape of the velvet fabric. While the Stella on its own is a loose fitting garment, it isn't so blousy that you can't tuck it in. A trendy wide belt is the perfect accessory to pull the outfit together, while accentuating your waist line. 

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January Sew Confident! The San Diego Bomber

January Sew Confident! The San Diego Bomber

​It's here! The first Sew Confident! tutorial of 2017, the San Diego Bomber. If you haven't used our Sew Confident! tutorials before, they are our monthly digital tutorials that can be subscribed to by the year, or bought individually as they are released (a first for 2017!). This year our theme is Variations With Verve and each month we will be sharing techniques for customizing patterns for your unique style, To kick off the year, Erin demonstrates how she transformed our San Diego pattern into this on-trend bomber jacket. 

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Sewing with Faux Fashion Leather

Sewing with Faux Fashion Leather

Fall fashion trends come and go, but few have the staying power of leather. The leather motorcycle jacket became a classic look the instant Marlon Brando roared into movie theaters on his motorcycle in The Wild One in 1953. Nothing says sleek, sexy – and rebellious – like leather. Whether you are wearing a full jacket or just a pop of leather trim, leather can take your look to the next level. 

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Linen Gauze Bristol Top

Linen Gauze Bristol Top

​This is the perfect look to transition from summer to fall weather. I'm starting to layer, but still want lightweight options. This has quickly become one of my favorite ensembles!

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Introducing the Madrid Top & Pants!

Introducing the Madrid Top & Pants!

We are so excited to debut our newest pattern...the Madrid! This relaxed fit, hip-length top has a unique diagonal button front, which curves into a funnel collar. The flattering tapered sleeves and Asymmetric hemlines will look great on many body types and, depending on your fabric choice, the Madrid top can be worn as a shirt or a jacket. The pants are fitted with a contour waistband that sits just below your waist. 

As we have been developing the pattern, we have enjoyed experimenting with a variety of fabrics. It is fun to see how one jacket style can look so different, just because of a new fabric choice. Check out some of our favorite looks below...

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Stripe Inspiration from Sonia Rykiel

Stripe Inspiration from Sonia Rykiel

The fashion world was saddened when legendary designer Sonia Rykiel passed away this week. Rykiel, who unknowingly got her start as a designer when she started sewing maternity clothing for herself, was known as The Queen of Knits for her fashion-forward work with knit design. As I thumbed through Pinterest, looking at Rykiel designs, I noticed that she not only loved knits, but also loved a knit stripe (though, who doesn't?). In honor of this great designer, I've put together a few Sonia Rykiel inspiration boards, pairing our knit stripes with her design inspiration. 

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Tremont Vest Variations

Tremont Vest Variations

Our customer Nancy Means has used the Tremont Jacket pattern to make some fantastic vests. She is our guest blogger for this post. Whether you like sleeveless for summer, or layering vests for the cooler months ahead, we think you'll like these ideas.

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Japanese Painted Grass Liberty Shirt

Japanese Painted Grass Liberty Shirt

At our latest Sew Kansas workshop, Jan selected this stunning Japanese print cotton to make a Liberty Shirt.

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Introducing the Barcelona Top!

Introducing the Barcelona Top!

​We love pattern debuts around here at the Sewing Workshop! We finally get to spread the love about what we've been working on over recent weeks or months. The Barcelona Top has had many forms during it's design process. Through trial and tribulations, we're so happy with the result. A year round garment, depending on your fabric choice, the Barcelona looks great in lightweight knit gauze with short sleeves for spring and summer or try it in a medium-weight, stable knit for fall and winter, like this Houndstooth Print Pique. Here are a few of our favorite fabric choices.

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Evolving Peony with Hand Stitch

Evolving Peony with Hand Stitch

Martha Myers is a wonderful customer and Sew Kansas participant. She writes about many of her projects on her own blog. She made this amazing variation of a Peony Vest so we asked her to share the story as our guest blogger for this post. Enjoy and prepare to be inspired!

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Stretch Denim Bristol Top and my Inspiration Emancipation

Stretch Denim Bristol Top and my Inspiration Emancipation

So, I had this brilliant idea for a stretch denim top that ended up looking awful...

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Everyday Sequins

Everyday Sequins

I love fabrics with sequins, but I don't have tons of opportunities to dress up and wear them for evening. So the idea of pairing a stretch sequin knit fabric with denim to wear to work or a casual event seemed like a natural for me.

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Party eJacket

Party eJacket

I can attribute my re-entry into sewing in 1986 to my friend and tennis partner, Hildegard McManus.

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Plaid Flannel Florence Shirt

Plaid Flannel Florence Shirt

One of the pleasures of having my daughter home for Christmas is to get to sew for her. This year's request was for a plaid shirt.

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Not Too Floral Ivy

Not Too Floral Ivy

When my sister wanted a tunic to match her new leggings, I chose a combo with a floral print. Since some people really dislike florals, I made sure to check with her first. She agreed it would be acceptable in small doses and not near her face!

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Hand-Stitched Wrap Skirt

Hand-Stitched Wrap Skirt

Who says faster is always better? Reviving my love of hand sewing, one stitch at a time.

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Mood Boards

Mood Boards

There's definitely something in the air. At the same time that I was producing the June Sew Confident! tutorial about using photos and magazine images as inspirations to build mood boards for wardrobe and sewing concepts, my daughter, Alex, was doing a similar thing in her fashion design class at ESMOD design school in Paris, France.

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Stitching Progress

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Inspiration. Admiration. Creativity. Drive. Ambition.

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Alabama Chanin Weekend

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The dust has settled and the new website has launched! Now we can really concentrate of the important things - our love of sewing.

We had our first Stitch Night at our Topeka studio last night. Our first gathering since returning from the Alabama Chanin studio. It was a great reminder of how much fun we had during our visit August 1-3.

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Everything's Coming Up Orchid

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Stella Top in silk crepe

According to the Pantone Color Institute, we are going to be craving a flowery pinky-purple color in the coming year. After tavelling the world analyzing everything from cultural influences to fashion runways, Pantone announced Radiant Orchid as the Color of the Year. Add a vase or towels as your interior accents, and think about wearing this joyful and energetic color.

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Captain's Coat for Fall

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Kathy's many versions of the Verona Coat.

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Linen Eureka Tops

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I love the Eureka vest and have made it out of wool, raw silk and lightweight linen. But I wanted to make one that had a "skirt" or underlay so that I could use two coordinating pieces of linen—a plaid and a stripe—that I'd gotten from Cy Rudnick's years ago. (Sorry but the store closed years ago.)

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Any Excuse to Wear Sequins!

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I love this time of year! December is in full swing with holiday parties, sparkling decorations, delicious winter treats and time with family & friends.  What do you think I look forward to most about these holiday festivities?

Sequins! Lace! Shimmer!

I'm not typically that fancy but there's something about sequins that brighten a cold winter day.

Something must have gotten into Linda and Kathy as well. Most of our Eureka Tops are perfect for special occasions!

  

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Reverse Your Color Emphasis

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For years I have worn basic colors of black, brown and charcoal on the bottom in pants and skirts. I have a closet full of them. But a new concept has been introduced this fall season. Reverse the color emphasis and wear your signature color on the bottom and keep the tops neutral.

Finding your signature color is actually pretty easy. While is a nice idea to "get your colors done", I am more inclined to listen to my own instincts and pay attention to what I am drawn to and to listen to what people say to me. If someone says, "You look tired.", then I definitely have on the wrong color. But if I hear, "Have you just returned from vacation? You look so rested.", then I know I am wearing "my" color.

My favorite color is a greyed yellow green that seems not to have a name but is something like a mustard olive (thanks to the paint company, Benjamin Moore). So I worked with the lovely new Ponte Knits that have arrived in our warehouse/studio this fall and made the Quincy Top in a dark charcoal and used my favorite color to make the Quincy Pants.

I know that I can't wear a blue pink/purple/magenta, but I love the color. So thanks to the fashion pros, I have permission to wear this zany color on my feet. And I love it!

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How Do You Wear the Ann's Cardigan?

We've had a such mild winter here in Kansas.  All my sweaters were still packed away in the attic-until this week!

The temperature is finally starting to drop, so cozy up with a winter Ann's Cardigan.

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Sparkle & Shine this Holiday

The HOLIDAY SEASON is here! START the SEASON with a little GLITZ & GLAMOUR!

Create & give handmade this season!

Handmade gifts for the holidays! The eShrug is quick & easy with a versatile fit. Make in a shimmery knit, vivid red viscose or a black & white lace knit. The options are endless.

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Left: Charcoal Glisten Knit Lengthened eShrug, Sequin Tank (pattern coming soon!), Black Hudson Pants

Right: Lace Knit eShrug, Lace Knit Trio T-Shirt, Black 8th Avenue Skirt

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Left: Red Knit Lengthened eShrug, Gold Lame Trio T-Shirt, Gold Silk Ikina Pants

More Holiday Glamour-Don't forget to Read More

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eStyling for Fall Weather

We've really been happy with the ePattern trend.  With our free time becoming more limited, it's nice to whip out a quick garment in 1 evening or over the weekend. Download the pattern, paste together, cut-out, sew & wear!

We started with the eShrug which is a great beginning project. Leave the edges raw with a rolled knit hem-perfect 1 night project. If you prefer a more finished look, hem the front & bottom edges. You could even try it in a woven. The options are endless.

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Left: Magenta Knit Trio T-Shirt, Stretch Lace Print eShrug, Hudson Pants

Right: Grey Knit eShrug (similar here), LetterKnit Alex Top

More eStyling after the jump......

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How Do You Wear the Stella & Luna Tops?

A great new pattern to style-Stella & Luna Tops! Great pattern with two styles, two great silhouettes. A pattern for everyone!

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I love the Stella in a knit!  This elegant green lace knit simplifies the cowl shape and softens the fitted silhouette.

The Luna Top is normally my preference.  The boxy shape & short sleeve was great for summer.  But add a knit long sleeve tee underneath & I can transition easily into fall. And of course, the PLAID! I can't get enough of plaids.  This great Cotton Plaid - Pink & Grey also comes in Grey & Lime and Grey & Aqua.

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Left: Green Lace Knit Stella Top, Chocolate Brown Corduroy eSkirt
Right: Pink & Grey Cotton Plaid Luna Top, Grey Textured Linen Trio Pants

More Stella & Luna styling after the jump.....

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SEWcation with the eShrug

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SEWcation-A Sewing Vacation! Get it? Yes, it's late on a Friday afternoon. Humor me.

A weekend in the Northwest: hike, bike, cook & sew. That sounds like my kinda vacation. 

I love this story.  A group of moms & their teenage daughters take a vacation together to be creative.  Along with hiking, biking & cooking, they sew.  The sewing enthusiast amongst the group teaches them a simple sewing project.  This year we're so proud that they decided to make the eShrug!

Don't they look fabulous?

It's wonderful to see a group of women, of all ages, wearing the same garment.

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Threads: Top-Drawer Shirts

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Have you seen the latest Theads magazine? 

Bells Shirt using the Bells and Whistles Shirt pattern.

Whistles Shirt without the "whistles" with added side panels and diagonal inserts.

Kwik Sew pattern with reversed stripe bottom band, contrasting cuffs and collar stand piecing.

Get the latest issue, September 2011 here.

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How Do You Wear the Quincy?

 

We received such positive feedback with the How Do You Wear the Tosca Dress, we decided to do it again with our latest love, Quincy Top & Pants.

Enjoy!

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Linda, Kathy & Erin each have their own unique style. We decided put together a few looks to introduce our latest pattern, the Quincy Top & Pants. Three different people, wearing the same pattern in completely different ways. 

Read More for style tips from Linda, Kathy & Erin.......

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Look for Spring: Stripes & Florals

A little spring inspiration to jump start April!

You can get inspiration from so many places; fashion, art, interior design, or nature.

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Jil Sander Striped Dress

Photo Credit: Style.com

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A little dream, a little fashion......

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Long Verona Coat in leopard print would be divine. Pair with the Zigzag Pants.

Image via Refinery 29 Street Fashion

 

Since I would love to make every pattern a dress, I see a Now Shirt "Dress". This idea is in the works right now in a silk print. Can't wait to show off the results!

Image via Lucky Magazine "Lucky Right Now"

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Holiday Gifts 2010

Need a last minute gift idea? The holiday season is quickly approaching. I have so many family & friends that deserve amazing gifts this season. I love having the talent to create gifts for my loved ones. It makes the gift giving season feel so special.

Here's a few gift ideas brought to you by The Sewing Workshop!

Every girl needs a new handbag. Why not create the Village or Daily News Bag using our new "Shades" fabric from Echino. This fabric comes in green or black with this amazing laminate coating. You can create a stylish bag that's also very practical.

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Creative Evolution

It's funny how things evolve. I cut out some fabric to make an Ikina Jacket, intending to leave the side flanges off and the side seams open. I got to the side seam step, felt a little blocked on the engineering of it, so I put the whole project away.

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A month later, I picked it up to finish and decided that it needed a little spark. So Kathy rummaged through our remnants and found some hand-dyed silk that had some bits of colorful silks fused to it in strips.

 

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Create a Cotton Voile MixIt Top

I don't know about you, but I'm ready for fall. Just one problem, the temperature outside is still reaching the upper 80's.

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So I need a few garments that will transition into fall. It needs to be light enough to wear in the August heat. Once the temperature drops, it should easily work with a cardigan or jacket.

 

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Rediscover the Ikina Jacket

Have you ever browsed through your closet and found a hidden gem? We recently found a beautiful, red silk Ikina Jacket in our collection.

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This Ikina Jacket has always been beautiful. It's mixed with 4 different vintage kimono pieces that blend together wonderfully. For one reason or another, this garment was rarely worn.

 

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The Ever Versatile Liberty Shirt!!

Do you know what I love about sewing? The endless possibilities! You can create multiple garments from just 1 pattern.

The Liberty Shirt is a perfect example. You can make the pattern the way it was intended, using a shirt-weight cotton.

But what fun would that be? Mix it up a little; try using a knit. But don't stop there-use 2 different knits; a solid and a vivid stripe.

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Get Ready for Summer!

Whether your summer is cool, hot or somewhere in between, summer is on it's way. Get ready for the season with new fabrics from The Sewing Workshop!

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