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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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Zayn Sew-Along Steps 25 - 28 – Let's finish this!

Zayn Sew-Along Steps 25 - 28 – Let's finish this!

​One of the great things about our Sew-Along Facebook Group is that we are able to hear your questions about the pattern. We noticed that many of you wanted to adjust the dropped shoulder that we have designed into the Zayn, and were unsure of how to go about it. So before we attach the sleeve, we are going to share with you our technique for armscye adjustment to use on your next Zayn – or any other pattern! Then we will go through the process of actually attaching the sleeve and you will have a finished top. So let's get started!

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Zayn Sew-Along: Steps 23 - 24: Neck Binding

Zayn Sew-Along: Steps 23 - 24: Neck Binding

​The neck binding is really the only part of the Zayn instructions that are radically different for the woven and the knit versions. I'm going to show the woven steps first. If you are making a knit, scroll down to that section. 

WOVEN Step 23: Press your Neck Binding piece lengthwise with the wrong sides together. Before you start pinning, we recommend you prepare your neck binding. Start by laying the folded strip in a curve (with the folded edge on the outside) on a pressing surface. Then, preshape the strip by steaming the curved bias. This reduces some of the extra fullness along the raw edges, and allows the bias to lie flatter.

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Zayn Sew-Along Steps 19 - 22

Zayn Sew-Along Steps 19 - 22

Welcome back to the Zayn Sew-Along! I hope you are all ready for today, we are sewing our sides together and hemming the bottom edge! Get ready to sew...

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Zayn Sew-Along Steps 13 - 18

Zayn Sew-Along Steps 13 - 18

Welcome back to the Zayn Sew-Along! Today we will be finishing the side and bottom of the drape and making mitered corners. That may sound intimidating to some of you newer sewists, but once you get the hang of it, it is pretty simple. Let's get sewing...

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Zayn Sew-Along Steps 1 - 5

Zayn Sew-Along Steps 1 - 5

​Are you ready to start sewing your Zayn top? Hopefully you have already downloaded and assembled the pattern, and cut out the fabric. Now we are ready to breeze through steps 1-5 of the pattern! A few notes: I will be making the Zayn in both a woven and a knit version. Most of the instructions are applicable for both substrates so the bulk of my images will be using woven material. However, if there is a step that is knit-only or woven-only then I will show images of the knit. Look for Woven or Knit in front of specific instructions. Also, don't forget to join us on our Sew-Along Facebook Group. It is a great place to share your project, ask questions and keep up with what everyone else is working on. 

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Zayn Sew-Along – Cutting and Marking

Zayn Sew-Along – Cutting and Marking

​Welcome back to the Zayn Sew-Along! The last time we met I told you how to assemble your digital pattern. Now we need to talk about preparing your fabric, cutting out the pattern and marking. Now, for many this is the most dreaded part of any project. I must admit, it's not my favorite part but it can make or break a project. A well cut out pattern is key to a successful garment. 

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Zayn Sew-Along! Constructing Your Digital Pattern

Zayn Sew-Along! Constructing Your Digital Pattern

Welcome to our first ever Sewing Workshop Sew-Along – I'm so excited to sew with you! Through the next few weeks I'll be sharing our favorite tips and tricks for making both the woven and knit versions of our Zayn Shirt. Before we can start sewing, however, we need to make the actual pattern. For those of you who have never used a digital pattern before, read along for instructions on how to use a download pattern. 

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The Zayn Sew-Along!

The Zayn Sew-Along!

We are so excited to announce that we are going to host our very first sew-along, featuring our new Zayn pattern! We hope you join us on our sewing journey as we work our way through this fun shirt - making both the woven and the knit versions. Over the next few weeks we will explore the pattern instructions step-by-step, and I will share with you our favorite tips and techniques. 

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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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Long Mimosa Vest

Long Mimosa Vest

I love the look of long vests and sleeveless blazers. Our Mimosa Top has a lovely shape and crossover neckline that gives it that perfect structured look. 

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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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Crinkled Cotton Barcelona Top

Crinkled Cotton Barcelona Top

I love crinkled fabrics. Not only are they interesting, but they hide a lot of things that you don't want to show, including your stitches!

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Working with a Border Print

Working with a Border Print

I've known Ellen March, editor of Sew News magazine, for a long time. I wrote articles for her and even fielded questions in the Q&A department for years. When she called me and asked if I would be a guest on her Sew It All TV show, I couldn't resist an opportunity to work with her in another format — on camera!

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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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Random Ruffle eTee

Random Ruffle eTee

And the stitching goes on! Using the new eTee download pattern and the Alabama Chanin organic cotton knit in Dark Grey, Kathy created this darling t-shirt that she claims is "girly", but we love it anyway for its creativity and charm.

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Modern Piecing

Modern Piecing

Modern Piecing Using Japanese Quilt Fabrics

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Dots & Dashes

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Check out the Fall 2014 issue of Stitch magazine. My Dots & Dashes Pillow made in three colors of Alabama Chanin 100% cotton, all-American-organically-made, knit is on page 37. And the best part is that the instructions for making it are included in the magazine!
 
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Printed Pants

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This is the season for pants to be made in anything but a solid color. Every designer has some style of pants, skinny to flowing, in everything from botanicals, paisleys, travertine and stone patterns to animal prints. I have to say, some of them look and feel like pajama bottoms, but it is a serious trend and it's fun.

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TV Time Vest

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Once a month, a group of like-minded women get together to share their artistic works and listen to a program. The June program was all about the Alabama Chanin experience, and many examples of incredible work, a la Chanin, were shown.

Barbara was wearing a Pearl Jacket that she had made in Alabama Chanin's black organic knit, and she had stitched it all by hand with the seams on the outside. I loved it!

I came home and decided to literally copy her, but I got a little sidetracked and decided to use her technique to make a Pearl Vest (the jacket without the sleeves, as simple as that).

So here's the deal. I love sports of all kinds and the NBA playoffs are going on, so I want to watch every game that I can. That requires being in the TV room rather than my sewing room. But who can just sit and watch TV without a little something else going on? Hand stitching a Pearl Vest was the answer. My favorite team, the Oklahoma Thunder, won their game 7 of the series just as I put the last stitch on this vest.

I used two layers of organic knit, Dark Grey over Gold. I cut out the grey pieces first, then placed them on top of the gold yardage, using the grey pieces as the patterns to cut out the gold sections. After smoothing the two cut pieces together, I hand basted the pieces together along the 5/8" seam allowances using Silk Basting Thread. (Game 1)

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Kathy's Wardrobe

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We're still recovering from our trip out west to the Sewing & Stitchery Expo in Puyallup, WA. We always look forward to our annual trip every year. It's great to see familiar faces, customers and vendors alike. Every year we try to plan our wardrobe, filtering inspirations that we've been collecting into a final garment. Kathy did an amazing job of that this year! Her look was very cohesive, fun, creative and extremely wearable. Take a look!

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Loop Knit Scarf

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Do you save your fabric scraps like I do and wonder why? Here's an idea for how to use all of those small pieces of random knits. Make an endless loop scarf.

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Military Influence

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Army jacket on the runway.

Military influences in fashion come and go. 2010 was a big year for designers to include olive green and khaki in their palettes. But according to Erin, who keeps us young around here, the fashionable army jacket is back.

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Deja Vu

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In 2005, wraps and capes were all the rage, so we re-invented the Cocoon Coat (basically scaled it down), and introduced it into our pattern collection as the Déjà Vu Wrap. We made it in everything from wool crepe to silk organza – all woven fabrics.

It’s almost 9 years later, and the wrap is back. The Déjà Vu came to mind again. But this time, I could visualize it in a knit. Nine years ago, I really wasn’t making much in knits. That has all changed, and I am constantly experimenting with some of our older patterns re-programmed as knitwear.

So I made this Déjà Vu in a soft, lightweight sweater knit, knowing that the stripes would really highlight the unique design of this pattern. This is one of the more unusual patterns that we have in the line. It is essentially one very long rectangle, but after it is folded, origami style, in a few places, you end up with a cape-like wrap with one vertical armhole and one horizontal armhole, plus a deep pleat in the back that adds fullness and style.

Because I used a knit, I could edit the pattern some, eliminating the need for faced edges and hems. I also deleted the pockets. After taking about 30 minutes to cut it out one afternoon, I sewed it together in an evening, just in time for the fall winds and crisp temperatures to descend upon us here in Kansas.

I know you will really have fun making this garment, either for yourself or as a gift this season. We don’t have many patterns left, so don’t dally, order it now.

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Organic Knit Peony Vest

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Peny Vest using Organic Cotton Jersey, beading and hand stitching.

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West End Shorts

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I love the West End Pants anyway because they are so cool and comfortable and chic, too. Shortening them if just a matter of deciding how to make them and cutting them off at the bottom. It's that easy!

Here are my two summer favorites.

I used green linen to make the shorts.

But if I have time, I'll be using cobalt blue linen,

EB14983 coral cotton and lycra

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Linen Gauze

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Linen Gauze is our favorite go-to fabric right now! We've created everything from tops to jackets. My favorite? The Eureka Top in Aquamarine Linen Gauze. The perfect design for July in Kansas.

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Summer Vests

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On a recent trip to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, Melissa Greene showed me two linen vests that she had made using both the Liberty Shirt and the Tosca Dress patterns as starting points. I was so intrigued, that I just knew that I had to make some summer vests incorporating that concept.

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Gourmet Sewing!

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Nora, one of our wonderful customers had an Ann's Cardigan class in a friends home recently.  She's here with a little Guest Blog Post about her fun evening!"Start with friends.  Add some great food.  Stir in beautiful fabrics and a stylish pattern.  Top with a large portion of fun.  The result-----a day of creativity with a new garment to wear home!

This class was in a friend's home.  We met two weeks before our scheduled class date to discuss supplies and techniques.  Then we had time to prepare and organize. What fun we had working together! Next------the Soho Coat!"

Thanks Nora! We look forward to your Soho Coat installment.

Happy Sewing!

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More Stripes Please!

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If you haven't noticed, we're a little obsessed with stripes around here. Knit stripes to be exact.  The evidence is all over our latest pattern download, the eDress (and don't forget the Skirt Variation).

We've decided to take the stripe trend a step further. 

First of all, we never shy away from horizontal stripes. Daring I know. This Skirt uses horizontal stripes in the skirt and bottom band.

When paired with a black Ann's Tank, the overall look is very slimming.

Using the same fabric, Kathy decided to change the look ever so slightly.  Notice the bottom band uses vertical stripes. Just that small change makes a huge difference. 

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Best Travel Bag

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I am constantly searching for the best all-purpose travel bag. This satchel comes as close to perfection as any that I own. It is very large (22" wide, 20" high, 6" deep) with lots of large pockets on the interior (some with zippers), and sturdy upholstery-weight Ultrasuede handles and trim.

I used a very cool fabric from Calvin Klein, a coated linen LL752. I lined it with a natural striped linen, LINNOV1-004 and used 2 nifty silver zippers.

I am trying to decide if this is worthy of making into a pattern, so I would love to hear from you. Would you carry this?

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Simple Tank - Simple Details

Simple Tank - Simple Details

Nine Times Out Of Ten I love a quick project. The Ann's Tank is a simple, one night sew. Start to finish.

Then again, there are nights when I'm in the mood to add a little more detail.  One easy way to do that is to start with a simple pattern like the Ann's Tank, one I know all too well, then add embellishment.

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Change It Up - Woven to a Knit

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Even though it is summer here, I always like to have a collar on my knit shirts.  I was getting tired of my polos.  One of my favorite knit fabrics this summer was the little dot and line knit we have in three colors--black & cream, bronze & black and red & orange.  This viscose knit has stretch on the crosswise, but not very much on the lengthwise so it does have a certain stability, wonderful drape and washes great.

   Each of the garments in our MixIt Pattern can be made with a knit or a woven.  This is the MixIt Top.  I did not make any changes to the pattern or alter any detail because of the knit.  I didn't even need to use a lightweight interfacing at the front keyhole or collar.I now have a really comfortable and cool summer top with one of my favorite patterns.

Kathy

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Spring Scarves-Can't Make Just One!

Who says you have to stop wearing scarves as the temperature rises?  Scarves are a great way to transition into spring.  Create a wooly scarf to wear now or use spring colors & fabrics for the coming spring!

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Create-Your-Own-Stripe Infinity Scarf

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Nothing says winter like a rich, classic Infinity Scarf. 

Create your very own using our luxurious Organic Fleece-Natural. This beautiful fleece comes in a 28" tube, which makes creating your Infinity Scarf really easy!

Supplies:

Tube: 1/3 Yard Organic Fleece-NaturalKnit Strips: 1/4 Yard Lightweight Viscose Knit (comes in 18 colors)Fusi-Web or Iron-on TapeThread (2 colors: Scarf Fabric & Stripe Fabric)

To create your own Striped Scarf download this quick tutorial.

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Winter Sweater Knit Workshop

We love our new pattern, the Ann's Cardigan & apparently so do you!  We just completed our first Winter Sweater Workshop using the Ann's Cardigan. Since this workshop was such a great success we've decided to offer another one in May to create a Spring Cardigan!

For a complete listing of our events, view our Events Calendar.

The Ann's Cardigan class was very inspirational!  We had a full house with 14 participants, each with a complete cardigan by the end of the day.  Sewing the Ann's Cardigan is quite relaxing with an ultra flattering end result.

What a good looking group! I love how each person (well, almost each person-the Caramel & Brown Floral Wool Knit was quite popular) created a different look using the same pattern.  Such versatility in one style!

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Linda (left): Animal Print Wool Knit Ann's Cardigan

Kathy (right): Black & Grey Striped Knit Ann's Cardigan

Click through for more images.....Read More

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Luxury Warmth & Style

Is it possible to stay warm and stylish? We like to think so, especially when you add a touch of glamour with fur, wool & accessories.

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Sewing on the Prairie

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I had a great time yesterday sewing with my friends in the most fabulous sewing space on the Kansas prairie near Hutchinson, Kansas. Karna Lackey, the owner of the most fabulus studio at the end of a dirt road, and Bebe Bass hosted the event for nine ladies. We fit patterns, made Quincy Tops, and ate real food. We all need more days like this one.

Quincy Tops in the making.

Karen and I pretending to be really interested in those scissors.

Karna in front of her personal sewing "barn" that she lets us invade.

This is the fabric that most of the ladies used. Check out

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Keep to the Classics

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Clean & Modern, Simple & Always Fabulous!

Simple button-down shirt: Whistles Shirt with French Dubuffet-style Cotton Print

Slimming, narrow-leg pants: Zigzag Pants in Wool & Lycra in Black

 

Other Black & White Favorites:

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Simple Tanks for Summer

Kansas summers are normally hot, muggy & humid.  So I live in simple, lightweight tanks all summer long!  Here's a fun update on the MixIt Tank using a sheer pink gauze layered over a soft cotton knit.  Nothing says summer like the perfect white tank.

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Some Garments Just Feel Good!

Certain garments just make you feel good! The Alex Top is one of those garments that's flattering on so many different people with it's shaped waistline & curved hemline. One problem, how to do wear it in the spring & summer?

Here's a great solution: sheer, stretch lace.  We're fallen in love with this type of fabric and we've acquired quite the selection.

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Winter Sewing Part 3

So many sweater knits, so little time!

Cardigan sweaters are so comfortable & easy to throw on.  Why not make multiple sweaters to get you through the season? Multiple, are you crazy? Well, with an easy pattern like the Nine Live Vest, making multiple cardigans is easy.

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Winter Sewing Part 1

This is the best time of year to really get into your craft.  The cold weather just screams for creative nights at home, just me & my sewing machine.

Here's a peak at what I've been working on recently.

Liberty Shirt

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The Perfect Gift for My Daughter-The Village Bag

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I love making my daughter something personal for Christmas. And this year's project is the Village Bag. There is so much room in this bag for books and other personal items for a college student to tote around, but it collapses into a manageable shoulder bag and is easy to carry. I made this one using a cotton velveteen print by Anna Maria Horner that I bought a Mulberry Silks in North Carolina, and then I went to Sarah's in Lawrence to find the right cotton prints for the lining. The Sewing Workshop has all sorts of colors of Ultrasuede - perfect for the handles. It only took me 3 1/2 hours to make this bag, and now I am off to make another one.

 

Anna Maria Horner Fabric, Village Bag

Verona Jacket for Summer

The heat is blazing outside. This afternoon, I believe it's going to top out at 98 degrees here in Kansas. Hooray for summer!

But when the sun is overwhelming outside, the AC is working in overdrive on the inside. This situation calls for a summer jacket. My go-to work appropriate jacket this summer? A sophisticated Verona Jacket. Make this new jacket in a classy, floral brocade and you will turn heads at the work place.

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Fabulous Scarf

The big sewing show in Puyallup, WA, Sewing & Stitchery Expo, is always a great place to see fabulous new products and what people are doing with them.

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