blueberry fields dress

05.16.11 | blueberry fields dress

Sewing projects have seemed rather sparse in these parts of late. I’ve been working on a few things in the background, but aside from the blouse, I am at a loss to think of what else I’ve made! Partly to blame is my daydreaming about summer clothes that I need: shorts (I think I need to make a couple more based off this pattern), possibly a little 50-style playsuitthat I can throw a skirt over for street-wear, and tshirts. The latter is something I’ve been putting off for ages, but now that my favorite white tee has finally bit the dust, it’s time for me to get serious and use the jersey I have been saving for just such a project. Expect to either see a post with a tshirt I triumphantly finished, or me avoiding the topic because I made a terrible mess of the whole thing. lol.

05.16.11 | blueberry fields dress

This long-winded paragraph did have a point: I managed a little sewing over the past week: a pretty little 60s-inspired dress from one of the new Lisette for Simplicity patterns: the Passport dress. The unusual dart configuration (at least for a dress pattern from Simplicity!) really drew me to the pattern initially; it reminded me of some of the illustrations in a 1960s dress pattern drafting book I have. For the fabric I used one of the sheets I thrifted earlier this year (though to be honest I still have a good 1/3 of the sheet left…), underlined the bodice and lined the skirt completely. Those eagle eyes will spot that I used a natural-colored cotton for the lining; the was a little bit of “color alteration” on my part. The sheet itself was a bright white, which never flatters my skin, so the creamy tone of the underlining softened the white in a subtle way. (I wore this Saturday and had my hair in a fabulous 60s beehive ponytail ‘do, but alas the weather turned bad and I didnt’ get any snapshots until Sunday–at which point I did not feel like redoing my hair for the day. hehe!)

05.16.11 | blueberry fields dress

I used a couple of techniques I hadn’t used on an actual garment before: piped bias facing around the neckline, and a scallop-hemmed skirt lining. The latter was inspired by the hem of a Anthropologie garment in my closet; I loved the idea of using contrasting thread and the scallop stitch on my machine to create a finished lining edge. I just stitched the scallops at the level I wanted (about 5/8″ shorter than the shell hem) and trimmed the edges. I still need to apply a teeny bit of Fray Check though. The piped facing was something I’d been itching to try (as seen in a couple of my vintage sewing manuals), and was quite fun to do since it gave a decorative edge finish and faced the neckline all in one go! Since I thought this was such a neat technique, I documented how I did it and have shared it below (just in case you’d like to know!). Another minor adjustment I made was to move the zipper from the side seam to the center back; it was just a personal preference on this particular dress and echoed some of my favorite vintage 60s day dresses.

05.16.11 | blueberry fields dress

Thoughts about the pattern? I was highly impressed with how well this went together, the drafting (I cut out the bodice based on the finished bust measure, and miracle of miracles! it didn’t have the enormous amount of ease that the Big Four tend to draft into their patterns. Yay!), and the instructions were impressive as well. I usually have to do some major adjustments (lengthen the bodice, shorten the skirt, adjust for a small bust, etc.), but because finished measurements were included on the pattern pieces, I was able to cut between a couple of sizes and only had some minor fitting to do. Sarah mentioned in her post on making the Passport dress (absolutely adorable version in yellow–you must go take a peek!), that this would be a great beginner project, and I couldn’t agree more. Though it may look complicated because of the darts, it’s really easy and thoroughly explained. Quite a difference from the usual ho-hum drafting and instructions I’ve come to expect from the big commercial companies. Bravo, Simplicity! I think the only thing this dress needs now is a little white bow belt… (But then again, I think everything needs a belt… so I’m a little biased.)

05.16.11 | piped bias binding

If you’re curious how to construct the faced bias piping, read on… You’ll need 1/8″ wide cotton cording (easily found at most sewing stores; just be sure to pre-shrink it first!) and a bias strip (or series of strips pieced together) cut 2″ wide by a few inches longer than the opening you’re facing.

05.16.11 | piped bias binding

Begin by folding 1/2″ of the long edges to the wrong side and press the fold down the entire length of the strip, being sure not to stretch to bias.

05.16.11 | piped bias binding

On the opposite long edge, place the cord about 1/2″ in and fold the edge over. I just like to start the fold towards the top and manipulate the fabric as I sew. With a zipper foot on your machine, stitch as close to the cording as possible, so the fold around the cord is snug but not tight. Try and keep the fold even. Go slowly–this takes a little practice if you’ve never done it before! Stitch down the entire length of the bias strip, enclosing the cord. Trim cord at the end if necessary.

05.16.11 | piped bias binding

Baste around the neckline (or opening you are facing) the width of the seam allowance; in this case 5/8″ for me. Using the basting line as a guide, pin the bias strip to the neckline, right sides together. Make sure the corded edge is facing towards the garment and the fold edge is facing the seam allowance. Line up the stitch line along the corded edge with basted seam. Gently stretch around curves as needed.

05.16.11 | piped bias binding

With the zipper foot still on your machine, stitch along the cording, over top the previous line of stitching. Again, go slowly and be as precise as you can. Since the edge being faced was a neckline, I started and stopped at the back opening 5/8″ away to allow for the zipper insertion and turning the edges of the facing under after that was installed. If you’re doing this on a closed opening, be sure to turn under and lap the ends so that there is a clean finish.

05.16.11 | piped bias binding

Grade the seam allowance (I like to use an uneven grade on allowances that have more than two layers of fabric) and clip the curves.

05.16.11 | piped bias binding

Press the facing’s folded edge to the wrong side and pin down. Catch stitch along the fold edge with a single thread and taking small “nips” (just two or so threads) of the bodice fabric as you go.

05.16.11 | blueberry fields dress

Done! I really like how nicely finished the resulting edge is, plus the piping detail!

May 16, 2011 · 108 lovely thoughts
posted in sewing,tutorials · tags: , , , ,

Ellen May 16, 2011 at 10:19

The dress is lovely! Good job! I love the fabric too.

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Annabelle May 16, 2011 at 10:28

I really like all of the finishing details on this dress. My sewing machine has the capabilites to do the scallop hem – I was just never sure exactly what the stitch was for. Now that I see how nice it looks on your dress, I am excited to try it for myself. Does it use an insane amount of thread? I also adore piping details, thanks for the tutorial.

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Casey May 16, 2011 at 13:41

Thank you, Annabelle! :) I didn’t notice the amount of thread being used while I was stitching the scallops to be a ton; although I was using a half-empty spool anyway. ;) I would say it defintiely uses more than say zig-zagging.

♥ Casey

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YarnUiPhoneApp May 16, 2011 at 10:43

I”m most fascinated by the scallops…was this done on the sewing machine? What kind of thread did you use, Casey?

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Casey May 16, 2011 at 13:42

I just used the built-in decorative scallop stitch (the machine I primarily use right now is a computerized Kenmore from the early 1990s) for the edges–super simple! :) For the thread I used what I had: all purpose. Although I’d love to try something heavier or even one of the machien embroidery threads in the future…

♥ Casey

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Olivia May 16, 2011 at 10:52

Just beautiful, the scalloped edges for the underskirt are so cute! !! :D How do you do the edges I presume it’s on your machine? Also I have just finnished drafting the scalloped collar and drafting my own blouse to go with it.
xoxo
Livi

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Casey May 16, 2011 at 13:44

Thank you! :) Yes, the scallops were done on my sewing machine using the built-in decorate stitch. Many modern machines have these (the other machine I have–a late 80s non-computerized Singer–also has this function) stitches, so it’s pretty easy to do! :)

Oooh! I cannot wait to see your blouse–you will share it, won’t you? :) I’d love to see the finished product!

♥ Casey

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Stephanie May 16, 2011 at 11:08

How cute! I love the scalloped hem and pipping! I have two sets of vintage sheets slated to become dresses in the near future. I like the idea of using a less bright fabric for the underlining. Sheets can be very white!

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Casey May 16, 2011 at 13:46

I’ve seen some interesting combinations of underlinings to affect the overall color of the outer fabric; I almost paired a very light peach cotton underneath this–which really warmed up the whiteness of the sheet! :)

♥ Casey

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Victoria/Justice Pirate May 16, 2011 at 11:17

It looks so very lovely and perfect for the spring. I love how you made it too!! You’re amazing. gorgeous as always!!!

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Casey May 16, 2011 at 13:48

Aw, thank you! ;) *blushes*

♥ Casey

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Sunni May 16, 2011 at 11:20

Totally darling Casey! I love the sheet you used here! So cute. I too have been eyeing the Lisette patterns. I saw the Liesl’s (the patterndrafter) versions of all of them and found that they were so sweet and so tempting. I adore the darts! Simple things like that really make the entire pattern great! And what an ingenius way of constructing the bias piping! Love it! I just made up a skirt over the weekend and for the first time included piping – something I’ve never done before and have yet to figure out why. Really really lovely!

PS~I’m of the opinion too that everything needs a belt. Every. Thing.

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Casey May 16, 2011 at 13:50

Thank you, Sunni! I’d been eying these patterns as well for a time, and when Simplicity was on sale for $0.99 a couple weeks back, I snatched up two. ;) Isn’t piping addictive? I didn’t do a lot of it prior to this year (just a few random projects here and there) but am firmly in the pro-piping camp now. lol.!

I have to admit that most dresses just look bare without a belt to me! lol.

♥ Casey

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Jazzy May 16, 2011 at 11:22

I love this dress and all of your creations. I seen that beautiful flower broach in your other outfit stylings. Did you make that?

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Casey May 16, 2011 at 13:52

Thank you, Jazzy! I did make the flower pin; it’s actually for my hair–but I wear it as a brooch too! I’ve been meaning to do a little video tutorial on how I make my floral hair accessories, since I get a ton of questions. It’s pretty simple: just a jumbo bobby pin affixed to the back of a faux flower. Easy!

♥ Casey

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Paige May 16, 2011 at 11:23

Oh, how cute! I love all of the details, especially the seams on the front of the bodice.

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Lisette May 16, 2011 at 11:29

That scalloped edge is so lovely! I recently made this dress as well and love it!

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Gina May 16, 2011 at 11:31

Very pretty Casey! I recently made my own tape too, I like your way of making piping/tape better. Your creations just keep getting better and better. Thanks for showing the the how to’s I feel like I am learning so much!

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Casey May 16, 2011 at 13:53

Aw, thank you Gina! :) That totally made my day! :D

♥ Casey

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Katie May 16, 2011 at 11:31

I love all the beautiful details you’ve used in this simple pattern! Just lovely!

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Jenny May 16, 2011 at 11:32

I love the piped detail. Such gorgeous work, Casey (as usual)! : )

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Kitten May 16, 2011 at 11:32

Oh, the dress looks lovely! And I am now tempted to try my hand at both scalloped edges and piping…Thank you for sharing! :)

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Lauren May 16, 2011 at 11:39

This dress is so darling and all of your stitches are so neat and tidy!
I love the unexpected scallop edge on the inside :) Very Anthro-esque.
I think my grandma had a sheet with that print! I always loved it :)

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Miss Amethyst May 16, 2011 at 11:43

omg!!!! swoon you are soo talented! I just recently got into sweing vintage clothes from vintage patterns ..your blog helps me alot!!! this dress is a dream!!! i just love the colors!!!
so happy and cheerful!!!

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monkeysocks May 16, 2011 at 11:51

wow! I love the piping, that is going on a creation soon! Its so neat and professional looking (mind you it might look less professional when I do it!)

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Casey May 16, 2011 at 13:54

I dare say your’s will look lovely too! :) I think it’s really one of those more “fool proof” techniques if you go slowly and make sure things are aligned, etc. :) You’ll do fine!

♥ Casey

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seeks May 16, 2011 at 12:00

Excellent little tutorial! I will likely be using this one instead of some other piping techniques I was considering. The neckline I’m hoping to use it for is pretty curvy, though. Do you think it will still work okay?

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Casey May 16, 2011 at 13:55

I would think that it would work with a more curvy neckline as well; as long as you make sure the bias is cut on the true bias, and perhaps ease it around the curviest portions, I don’t see why it wouldn’t work! :)

♥ Casey

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Scissors May 16, 2011 at 12:03

I love it! You are so talented!

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Tanit-Isis May 16, 2011 at 12:26

Super cute sundress, but I LOVE LOVE that piped facing technique!

… But then, I may be a bit of a piping addict…

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Casey May 16, 2011 at 13:56

Piping addicts UNITE!!!!

♥ Casey

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zilredloh May 16, 2011 at 12:29

What a wonderful and ingenious way to add the facing and piping all in one go! I’m going to have to use this technique on a few of my projects. You made it look quite simple.

The V-shaped dart is pretty neat. I wonder how it would turn out with a striped fabric….

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Debi May 16, 2011 at 12:56

Lovely Casey! I adore piped facing and the scallopped hem is such a fabulous idea!!

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Tasha May 16, 2011 at 13:02

Lovely dress! I really like the little scallops. And thanks for the tutorial. I bought a vintage dress over the weekend and noted it had faced bias piping at the waist.I wondered how such a thing was accomplished, and now I know!

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Casey May 16, 2011 at 13:57

Hooray for good timing with this tutorial! ;) lol.

♥ Casey

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Sarah May 16, 2011 at 13:30

Yours ended up great! I have to think about doing piping next time, it’s such a great detail. Thanks for the link. :D

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Lindsey May 16, 2011 at 13:51

The piping add the right amount of detail to such a simple dress!! I love it! I have been wanting to try sewing piping on dresses.

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Kristin May 16, 2011 at 13:54

I love it! Especially the scalloped edges- I have that stitch on my machine, and I’ve never used it for anything. But now I think I’ll have to. =) I think I even bought this pattern a while back, so after seeing your dress, I’m excited about trying it.

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Casey May 16, 2011 at 13:58

This was my first time using the scallop stitch as well, and now I’m addicted (and curious to try all the other decorative stitches I haven’t used yet…). lol. ;)

♥ Casey

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Emily May 16, 2011 at 14:39

Love the dress! I need to make shorts too (which I have never made besides pajama pants) I just made a 40′s style top and skirt, and the top is just begging for some sailor shorts!

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Heidi May 16, 2011 at 14:50

Cute dress! Would love to see it with a skinny belt at the waist! :)

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Elise May 16, 2011 at 14:51

This is so pretty, love the fabric! :)

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Hannah May 16, 2011 at 15:22

You look beautiful, love the piping detail x

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Tilly May 16, 2011 at 16:08

Very pretty! I particularly like the lining and the piping. Ooh and gorgeous brooch too.

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Rebecca May 16, 2011 at 16:39

Your dress turned out wonderfully! I love your use of a vintage sheet. I made this dress about two months ago and agree the drafting is superb. I love how you piped the facing, I’ d love to give that a try if I make another one. Great sewing as always!

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Corinne May 16, 2011 at 16:40

Polka dots, bows, piping, scallops, embroidery, special trims…these are the components of sewing that add character and style to our garments that one cannot readily find in RTW. If you do find it, you will likely need to mortgage the farm. Your piping is beautiful Casey. I like to even put a little piping on pocket edges, sleeves etc. Good job.

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Casey May 17, 2011 at 08:25

You’re so right, Corinne! It’s amazing how these little details really add to the specialness of a self-made garment; and I find make me reach for them all the more often in my closet! :)

♥ Casey

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Claire (aka Seemane) May 16, 2011 at 16:45

Ah, this is so cute – lovin’ the unusal bust/waist dart placement, piping and scalloped edge hem-lining :) ! Great job.

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Eleanna May 16, 2011 at 16:47

Very cute dress! Thanks for sharing this technique – I was thinking of adding piping to a dress I’m planning to make, so I might try this technique instead. Oh, and by the way, I really like your shoes!

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Casey May 17, 2011 at 08:27

Thank you! Don’t tell anyone (it’s a secret! lol. ;) ), but I found these shoes at Forever 21 of all places! Plus they’re actually comfortable! hehe.

♥ Casey

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sarah May 16, 2011 at 16:52

the dress is lovely and the dart detail and the piping make it even more lovely, I like how you’ve used underlining to off set the colour too :) )

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Rhia May 16, 2011 at 16:52

I love piping but I have always found it a bit tricky to do. I have also wondered how to finish the reverse side if piping is not between lining and fashion fabric ? Now I know how to do it , thank you for sharing. You did on it lovely. And I do love scalloped trimming on the skirt lining. Contrasting colour makes it even more cute than just plain cream would have done.

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Casey May 17, 2011 at 08:27

I’m so glad this little tutorial was timely, Rhia! I do hope it works for you!!! :)

♥ Casey

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Sarah S. May 16, 2011 at 17:01

I always enjoy seeing your new creations, Casey! Like me, you seem to have great fun adding your own touches to a pattern and customizing it for what you want! That is SO fun to do. I’ve done a fair bit of piping over the years; the first time was on a Civil War dress and I fell in love with it. I often pipe the neckline and armscyes, even on a simple blouse, and it sure adds a touch of class. Also, I did indeed notice the different color of lining on your skirt….that is a wonderful trick I first read about a few years ago and never tried until last summer, with stunning results. I was preparing my wedding dress for my Sept. wedding…. I was blessed to find a simply gorgeous dress at the local thrift store…heavy satin, full of lace and pearls and a train and scalloped lace on the hem….everything I’d dreamed of AND it was the perfect fit!!! And, for a smashing low price, too!!!!! Anyway, the only trouble with it was, the style was an off-the-shoulder princess cut and I most definitely wanted sleeves and a jewel neckline. So we bundled the dress off to JoAnn Fabrics and were matching up every satin they had…too white, too ivory, too dull, etc. Well, I found one fairly close but it was a wee bit too ‘yellow’. Then I remembered the different-color-underlining-trick. With a pure white satin lining and a mediumweight layer of interfacing, it was a perfect match and weight of the original fabric. HURRAH!!! ;) The material sewed up beautiful and the alterations were barely noticable on the dress. Talk about a fun time, great memories, and one VERY SURPRISED and happy groom when I walked down the aisle!!!! :)
God bless!
Sarah S.

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Casey May 17, 2011 at 08:34

Oh wow–that is a great story about matching a certain shade of fabric through underlining! Plus one of those “whew!” moments that a bit of sewing know-how could save the day. ;) hehe!

♥ Casey

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Jen May 16, 2011 at 17:03

I love the piped neckline! Thanks so much for the tutorial, it was so clear and well written.

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Jenny @ Kerrfect May 16, 2011 at 17:23

Beautiful! I love sewing with vintage sheets; you have a very pretty one there. That looks like a difficult front to get right but you did great!

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emma May 16, 2011 at 17:36

My hair was very similar to this today only in a side pony tail instead and I thought it looked very Casey while I was doing it! You look so pretty in this dress Casey, well done! Love the corsage too!

Emma x

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Casey May 17, 2011 at 08:35

Aw… you’re so sweet! :)

♥ Casey

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lizajane May 16, 2011 at 18:24

Gorgeous! I just finished a Passport dress myself, though it’s not nearly as nice as yours! The details like the scallop lining hem and piped facing make it absolutely wonderful.

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Portia May 16, 2011 at 18:38

What a great technique!! REALLY like this. Funny with the scalloping; I sewed a machine sampler for my college work recently and I kept being drawn to the scallop stitch and thinking, hmmmmm, and here it is! Amazingly executed as ever. Love the darting too. Nice details all round! What a triumph :)
Px

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Renee May 16, 2011 at 19:07

Casey that dress is adorable (I KNOW I had a set of sheets like that). I love the way you used another fabric color under the white and love the hem. My machine can do that but I never thought of doing it.

The dress pattern is very cute. I love that dart.

Good job.

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Casey May 17, 2011 at 08:37

That it too funny about the sheets! I seem to have gotten more than a couple comments like that. ;) lol.

♥ Casey

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megannielsen May 16, 2011 at 19:37

Casey!! Your sewing is always so truly beautiful! I love seeing the insides of your garments, because you take such care with them – something which is incredibly rare these days. I’m not normally a fan of simplicity patterns, but you’ve made this dress look so incredibly pretty – I love it!!!

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Casey May 17, 2011 at 08:49

Thank you, Megan! I’m not usually keen on modern Simplicity patterns either; some of the worst sewing disasters I’ve had in the past have been with Simplicity! I think though that they’re starting to tweak a few things here and there, especially on the “designer” lines like Lisette. Which makes me hopeful for the sewing community in general! :)

♥ Casey

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marmielu May 16, 2011 at 19:45

That is just lovely! You really inspire me to be determined to get back to sewing.
Mom

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Marianne May 16, 2011 at 21:49

Fantastic! I love the crossover effect on the bodice with the darts :)

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Samantha May 16, 2011 at 23:57

This is beautiful! Lots of work must of gone into this. I love the fabric. Gorgeous!!

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Danielle May 17, 2011 at 00:18

so pretty!

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Isis May 17, 2011 at 00:24

That’s so cute! I love the fabric!

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