I run, I craft, I write, and I make your favorite clothes.

I've never met anything I couldn't sew. Sewing makes me happy. I specialize in heirloom-quality garments and modern but timeless design. I love the challenge of creating garments specific to your needs, whether a tutu for a sensitive little ballerina, an extra tough pair of pants that is soft on the inside for that rough and tumble kid, your every day favorite clothes, or an elaborate formal gown. When it comes to sewing, I make things happen!
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Bold. Brilliant. Beautiful. You: 2014

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There seems to be a synchronicity of bravery and inspiration this January….in fact, it’s one of the few years where I’ve felt lifted up at the beginning of a new year, despite the Flu and Polar Vortex coinciding over the holiday break here.  In fact, there’s just so much goodness floating around the blogosphere and internet in general, I know I’m not the only one feeling this.  If you read the blogs or follow on Instagram my friends Rachel, Jenelle, Jenny (and so many others I’m catching up with today) you’ll see evidence of this exquisite stirring to create something more magnificent in 2014.

BOLD BRILLIANT BEAUTIFUL

I test my patterns by sleeping in garments created from them. No, seriously, if it’s not comfortable enough to sleep in, it’s not comfortable enough for my bold brilliant beautiful new project. And yes, my sheets are the same shade of purple as my hair.

For my part, I’ll have some more new sewing patterns coming out, both with Monaluna and on my own, including a plus-sized extension to my infinity sweater and a full range of sizes on my newest favorite dress (currently in development: see above).  I have some projects being published in my favorite sewing magazine (Spring, Summer, and a special Downton Abbey issue – so far). I’m contributing to a book I believe in, and I have my very own, very personal project that has been incubating for the past few months. I’m building it with my whole heart, and I cannot wait to share it with you.  I hope it will change the way you look at your clothes, and help you learn more than your grandmother ever taught you about caring for what you already own.  I hope you’ll join me in taking care to choose what’s worth having.  There’s so much more coming, but I wanted to share my joy in participating in #boldbrilliantbeautiful .

What I’m not doing is letting myself become overwhelmed.  I’m not taking on any work “for the money,” despite moving Ella to a private school to better encourage and help her along her educational journey. I’m not going to let that pervasive negative self-talk hold any sway.  It’s the year to start again, to live my life, and to share what needs sharing.

 

About the Bold. Brilliant. Beautiful. You. project:

Throughout the year, I’m joining forces with some of my blogging friends to motivate and encourage ourselves and others to be bold and step out from behind the lens, projects, and mama status to show ourselves. That’s right, we’re doing something just for us.

And we’re inviting you to join us! Each of us has something bold, brilliant and beautiful inside—whether it’s a dream to ask for a promotion, wear those sparkly shoes in the back of our closet, or start a non-profit. The #boldbrilliantbeautiful project is a support group for all of us seeking to be real and vulnerable. No judging, no questions, just support and words of encouragement.

Be a part of the project by using #boldbrilliantbeautiful on Instagram and Twitter to find other women like you, who are looking to make 2014 their best, most authentic year yet!

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there are other places…

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I know it seems a little sparse around here, but it doesn’t mean I’m totally inactive. I thought I’d let you know that I can be found in a couple places on the web, and I’d love to connect with you.

My latest favorite place is Instagram
I’m regularly engaged on Twitter
If you make something from any of my patterns, won’t you please tag me in your contributions to Pinterest?
and as of today, you can Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I hope you’ll come find me and let me know you’re around, too.

We’ve had a lot of this:

So we’re continuing to enjoy this:

We’ve even had some of this:

and this:

The flu hit most of us, so we’re all caught up on this:

and I even made time to sew up some of these:


As for today, it’s a Winter Wonderland out there, so to really punctuate the benefit of a Snow Day I’m going to take the kids to see The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug again.

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One Sweater, Infinite Possibilities

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The Infinity Sweater pattern PDF is now available on it’s own.  I know you’ve been waiting patiently since the bundle sale.  I received so many kind requests, that I thought it must be time to share my pattern with you.  You can whip up a couple to give as gifts once you realize how easy it is to make and wear!

Get your hands on a copy and see how two yards of a drape-y knit fabric can become the most versatile piece in your wardrobe.

The Infinity Sweater sizes XS – XL is now available.

PDF Pattern for instant download
Buy Now | $12

Janna style-sweater

The Infinity Sweater is designed to be fashion-forward, but it still maintains a lot of classic appeal. There are about a zillion ways to wear it, but let’s cover just a few here to get you started.

1. Loose and Luxurious

Let the sweater hang loose and its long, draped front pieces will fit right in with this season’s trends.

RaeAnna made a grey version that drapes beautifully and would match virtually anything in any wardrobe:

Image courtesy of Sewing Mama Rae Anna

Jodi from Sew Fearless shortened her front panels since she used a heavier fabric, so her Infinity Sweater drapes in a different yet beautiful way:

Image courtesy of Sew Fearless

Sara from The Pretty Pickle made a light blue version that’s a bright pop of color on a dreary day:

Image courtesy The Pretty Pickle

Just grab your sweater and go to pull off this look – no extra styling required!

2. Belt It, Baby

For an equally easy look that shows off the curves of your shape, add a belt to your sweater for a fast look. Simply cross the sweater in front of your body and then fasten your favorite belt around your waist. This look is equally gorgeous with pants or a skirt, and you can change the styling just by changing the belt!

Check out Rachel of Once Upon a Sewing Machine, who styled hers with jeans and a gorgeous bright scarf:

Image courtesy of Once Upon a Sewing Machine

Janna of Lilac Pop took the cover shot wearing the original red sweater, which she rocks with a pair of high-heeled boots and tights.

3. Twist and Wrap

Since the front panels are so long, you can twist them in endless ways! Try twisting them around each other a couple  times, then pull the ends around to the back and tie like Janna did with the cream sweater.

Or twist and tie and let the ends hang long like Rachel’s version here:

Image courtesy of Once Upon a Sewing Machine

With a little practice you can style either version of this look the way you like it.

4. Over the Shoulders

For a fun look that covers your torso and shows off your shape, try crossing the wraps in the front and bringing them up over the opposite shoulders. Once there, let them hang down or tie them behind your back.

Here is Rachel’s take on that look –

Image courtesy of Once Upon a Sewing Machine

This look is as easy as throwing a scarf over your shoulder and it’s a super way to style this top to make it look like an entirely new garment!

5. Tie and Drape

The simplest way to drape this sweater is to tie the corners of the long ends together and throw the knot over your head to tuck behind your neck.  You can also twist the fabric before you put the knot behind your head for an infinity scarf/cowl look.  This is my favorite way to wear mine.

6. That’s a Wrap

One last look for today – the wrap! Simply cross one panel over your chest and wrap it tightly (or loosely, however you like it) around to your back and hold it in place. Then repeat that process with the other panel and tie the tips of the ends together or tuck into the top of your jeans, covering with the bottom edge of the sweater. Now you’ve got a wrap-style top!

Rachel’s wrap, which is a more full-coverage look:

Image courtesy of Once Upon a Sewing Machine

RaeAnna has put her twist on the wrap style, too, going up into the shoulder area for her tucks of fabric:

Image courtesy of Sewing Mama RaeAnna

PDF Pattern for instant download
Buy Now | $12

No matter how you twist it, the Infinity Sweater sure has style. And it’s available now – so what are you waiting for? Two yards of fabric and a couple hours until you could have your very own!
Janna red-style-sweater

We’d love to know – what’s your favorite way to wear this top? Have you tried a different twist on styling a sweater like this? Share with us in the comments below!

PDF Pattern for instant download
Buy Now | $12

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Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids – Review

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I have been sewing from Japanese sewing pattern books for a long time (more than eight  years now), only having taken one semester in college of Japanese. I’m impressed by the sheer volume of us who love the look, the simplicity, and the styles enough to buy these gorgeous books from Japan without knowing a word of Japanese; simply because we know we can follow a good diagram.  If you were familiar enough with garment construction, you could spot familiar vs. novel techniques — then choose  any route to get to a finished item.

Once I figured out the difference between the symbols for front and back, and learned to trace patterns adding my own seam allowances, I have been pretty comfortable sewing from Japanese pattern books. That said, I’d never have managed to even get started without a LOT of help from online sources such as this and this one in french.  Nowadays, we are so lucky because Japanese sewing books are being translated into English!

When I was asked to review Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids I jumped at the chance. The publisher sent me a copy of the book, but I’ve had this book for a couple years in Japanese already.  I knew I could wholeheartedly recommend it without even reading the translated version, but I couldn’t have imagined how much more I like it now that I can read the words inside!

HHSCK

As is customary for Japanese Sewing Books,  the first pages are laid out like a catalog.  I LOVE shopping for looks this way.  In fact, Sewing for Boys was inspired by Japanese sewing books – all the looks first, then illustrated instructions later.

inside HHSCK

Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids features 20 patterns for boys and girls, all included in the envelope on the inside back cover. The styles are simple kid wear, with bits of tailoring and finishing to make them special, too.

The pattern sheets themselves are printed on both sides, using nice thick paper, so we can trace again and again to make every size as our kids grow.  They are spaced nicely as well; no need for a microscope to find the correct size line! (forgive the wrinkles, I usually press my pattern sheets, but have been stuck in bed with a back spasms for days and didn’t want to postpone this review any longer – yay for the iPad camera!)

pattern sheet HHSCK

Sizes are marked clearly, grainlines, too, and there are helpful notations as well.

In the past I would have recommended Japanese sewing books for intermediate to advanced sewists only, but Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids can truly be used by anyone willing to read and follow directions.  You will learn how to fold and align fabrics, how to use directional vs. non-directional prints, how to place patterns for cutting, and even a bit about the properties of different fabrics. There are descriptions of handy tools, pictorial seam-sewing tutorials, and even a small section on threads.  I have been sewing for 37 years, and I learned something new in the Sewing Machine Tips.

all about thread

Remember the bit about adding seam allowances?  We aren’t used to that here in the U.S., but I have to tell you I prefer tracing the stitching lines and adding seam allowances myself.  Why?  I like to vary the width of each seam allowance to suit my seam finishing preference (overlocked vs. french seams, choose my preferred hem allowance, etc.) without wasting fabric by trimming away seam allowances that I find should have been smaller to begin with.  I think it allows for more precise sewing and helps me make garments more quickly.  You can also make adjustments more easily for fitting challenges (like a toddler belly on a 7-year-old for instance) or for style changes (want a fuller skirt? add width!  Then add seam allowances.)

Before you get nervous about adding seam allowances yourself, there’s no need to fret; you are guided by diagrams.

how to add seam allowances

 

Under each cutting diagram, there are notes about seam allowance, measurement and symbols specific to each style.  Measurements are given in inches (and centimeters) so you can use whichever feels most comfortable to your brain.

fabric layout

The instructions are succinct and the diagrams are clear. Each pattern begins with a simplified diagram showing the order of instruction.

Stitch order diagram

Each numbered step is then shown as a set of instructions.  It’s such a clear and elegant way to convey a complex process. I wish more sewing patterns employed diagrams in favor of lengthy descriptions. (Myself included!)

If you have never tried a Japanese sewing book before, there’s no excuse to keep you from them now. Give Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids a try and let me know how you liked it!

Check out Tuttle Publishing‘s growing selection of other crafty titles while you’re there.

 

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Winter Wonderland from Pattern Anthology

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tourgraphic

The PDF pattern market has positively exploded with offerings over the last few years, which means makers are spoiled for choice. Four designers have joined forces to put together collections of patterns to form a complete wardrobe and more. Winter Wonderland, the third collection from this group of designers, Pattern Anthology, offers eight patterns to take your child through the winter weather and holiday season up to size 8. I’ll show you a little about the dress I chose to make for my girl, and provide a simple scarf tutorial to make Winter not so terribly chilly for your little one (or yourself!)

As you may have noticed, Ella grew out of size 8 many moons ago, but I was able to very easily enlarge the pattern for The Amaryllis Dress to fit and delight her. She mostly needs width in the belly, so I simply added a couple inches overall to the sides of the bodice and skirt, and raised the armhole a bit so she could wear the dress without a blouse underneath. She chose this dragon print fabric a couple years ago, but I never got around to finding a dress twirly enough for her to want to wear. Fortunately for me, I found the Amaryllis Dress. With a gathered front skirt, and a full circle, wrap back skirt, all is well in the world of twirl:
AmaryllisDress

All this talk of Winter has me in the mood for a scarf. If you have a 7(ish) year old, you know that scarves (and gloves and hats) find a way of hiding at school, or at friends’ houses, or underneath car seats. For that reason, Ella needs a scarf that stays put, but isn’t too tight, and doesn’t require wrapping, tying, or otherwise inconvenient fastening. She also refuses to wear anything that feels constricting in any way, but hates to be cold. (Picky kid = design challenge!)

Grab a couple large scraps of knit fabric, and follow the few steps below to make a scarf they’ll want to wear, they can put on and take off themselves, and that stays in place over or under a coat:

stayinplacescarflette

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Last Day of Sew Fab Bundle Sale Fall 2013

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Have you seen my Infinity Sweater out in the wild yet? Heather made herself one. Jodi made one, too, a little shorter for a different look. Sara was the first to whip one up.  Have you made one?  I would love to see it!

I’ve had some requests to see more views of the Infinity Sweater worn different ways.  Here are a couple collages put together by Janna of LilacPOP wearing her sweater and mine.

Karen cream wrap sweater multiple

This pattern is exclusively available in the Sew Fab Bundle right now.

Karen red wrap sweater multiple

There’s no minute like the last minute, so pick yours up before 8 am on 10/8/2013.

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sew fab – available for ONE WEEK ONLY

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Welcome to the Fall and Winter 2013

Sew Fab e-pattern Sale Event!

Last February was the first ever Sew Fab e-pattern Sale and it was so successful and was so well received that Jenny Yarbrough of The Southern Institute, the creator and administrator of the sale, decided to have more!  This sale is bigger and better than the first, with plenty of patterns to get you through the fall and winter (if you live on this side of the hemisphere), and a few warm weather patterns thrown in for those of you who live on the other side of the world.  You’ll also find more gender neutral patterns for those of you who are sewing for boys.  And what about you?  Of course there are a few women’s patterns thrown in for some selfish sewing too!

Over the past several weeks a lot of behind the scenes planning has taken place to bring you this newest bundle of ePatterns from many of the top established and up and coming online sewing pattern designers.  The result is a bundle of 26 PDF sewing patterns that you’re going to love!

For one week only, twenty-six pattern designers have come together to bring you 26 of their best PDF patterns, valued together at well over $2oo.oofor the incredible price of $29.95!!!  That’s over 80% off of the combined retail value!  Plus you can enter to win a dream of a giveaway with several prize packages from some of your favorite online fabric shops!

For less than $30.00 you will have a library of resources that you can use over and over again.

The designers that have joined this sale are experts in their craft.  Each designer has contributed one of their favorite patterns to create a bundle that is sure to please!  Whether you are sewing for your own family or making gifts for others, these are patterns that you will love to use.

If you’ve never sewn with a PDF pattern before, let me tell you how great it is!  After downloading your pattern instructions and your pattern, you will print out the pattern itself, creating pattern tiles, if you will.  Simply tape the tiles together to create the full pattern!  At that point you can cut out the size that you need and pin the paper pattern directly to your fabric, or you can trace the pattern size that you need onto sewing paper or tracing paper and cut it out, saving the paper pattern for later when you need to sew another size.  Pdf patterns are so convenient because you can print them out as many times as you need!

 

Now for the good stuff… the PATTERNS!

26 amazing ePatterns from 26 well-known and up and coming designers are instantly accessible to you by PDF download upon purchase of the Sew Fab e-Pattern Bundle.  Here are the patterns that you will receive (click on the links below the images for more  information about each pattern.):

Reversible Zippy Hoodie from Kitschy Coo, Ananda Pants from CHOPSTIX, The Sally Dress from Very Shannon, Best Harem Pants from Too Sweets , Notebook Slipcover from Gingercake, Junebug Dress from Craftiness Is Not Optional, Fancy Pants Leggings from Titchy Threads, Skinny Jeans from peek-a-boo, Pajama Eaters from Sew Fearless, Ruffle Dress from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff, Go To Cape for Women, Sadie Grace Nightgown from Seamingly Smitten, Vintage V-Neck from Blank Slate Patterns, Zermatt Bow Swing Coat from See Kate Sew, Tumble Tee from imaginegnats, Nituna Jacket from Figgy’s, Greenpoint Cardigan from Hey June, Gathers and Giggles Quilt from Sew Much Ado, Billy Car Play Mat and Roll Up from Handmade Therapy, Bimaa Sweater from LouBee Clothing, Candy Carousel Dress from Molly Blossom, Convertible Clutch from LBG Studio , Infinity Sweater from One Girl Circus, Undies Pattern from From the Red Kitchen, Owl Backpack from The Sewing Loft, Ethan Shirt from the Scientific Seamstress

This Sew Fab e-Pattern Bundle is only available for one week and will never be available again!  You can purchase the bundle from September 30th at 8 a.m. EST through October 8th at 8 a.m. EST and there will be no late sales offered.  Due to the nature of the sale there are no refunds.

You don’t want to miss this unique opportunity to purchase a ready made collection of 26 PDF sewing patterns from 26 of the best designers out there!

 

And now for The Sew Fab Giveaways!

I’m so excited about these giveaways!  Can’t buy the pattern bundle?  It’s okay… purchase is not required to enter.  Each of these prizes will inspire you in your sewing as well as keep you stocked with what you need for your upcoming projects.  There are lots of chances to win and each entry applies to all of the giveaway packages.  Just use the Rafflecopter widget below the prize descriptions to enter as many times as you want, no purchase necessary.  

#1: $50 Gift Card to Fat Quarter Shop

The Fat Quarter Shop was founded in 2003 by Kimberly Jolly who began her shop as a side business, cutting, packing and shipping right out of her house during evenings and weekends. From the very beginning, she was committed to delivering top-notch service for every single order and customer.  You’ll still find the same level of service at Fat Quarter Shop, along with an extensive selection of high quality fabrics at great prices.

 

#2: $50 Gift Card to Girl Charlee Fabrics

Girl Charlee Fabrics is your retail and wholesale source for unique knits fabrics at the best price.  Browse their wide selection of fabrics and specially select knit specific sewing patterns from independent designers.

 

#3: $50 Gift Card to Modern Yardage

Modern Yardage has a curated team of talented designers who design fabric exclusively for them. They print your fabric on-demand and offer their prints in small, medium, and large scale and as many as 10 different color options.  Designs  are printed in the standard 44″ width on 58″ wide, pre washed, 100% cotton quilting weight fabric, and they use the 12″ margin to print features about their designers, free projects and patterns for you, and other fun goodies!

 

#4: $50 Gift Card to Michael Levine, Inc.

Located in the heart of the Los Angeles garment and fashion district, Michael Levine, Inc. is one of the Largest fabric retailers and wholesalers in the nation. With two retail outlets and a super stocked warehouse, Michael Levine, Inc. is the place to buy fabric. 

 

#5: $50 from Finch Sewing Studio

Finch Sewing Studio provides a curated selection of modern fabrics and cool tools. Our classes are offered in our physical shop in Loudoun County, VA. We offer fun, on-trend classes for beginner and experienced sewists alike. We teach the skills and provide the materials to make beautiful, handmade goods.

 

#6: $50 Gift certificate from Fabricworm

Fabricworm offers a selection of fresh, modern fabrics that you’ll love, including organic fabrics and japanese import fabrics.  You’ll find children’s fabrics, fabric bundles, quilt kits, and free sewing patterns when you visit Fabricworm’s shop.  Come by and search their great selection today!

Sign up for the Sew Fab Newsletter to get the latest Sew Fab News!  Winners will be announced in the newsletter as well as upcoming sales and other news pertaining to the Sew Fab Sale and the world of pdf patterns.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Sew Fab e-Pattern Sale!

Sew Much Inspiration right at your finger tips…

only $29.95!

Get your bundle now!

 

*Patterns included in the Sew Fab Pattern Bundle are intended for personal use only.  The selling of patterns without designer’s permission is prohibited and punishable by law.  Please contact individual designers for licensing requirements if you desire to create and sell clothing from patterns that have been purchased through this sale.

**For answers concerning sale terms and customer service questions, please see the FAQ page.

 

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It’s Super-excellent SewFab time Next Week!

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Coming next week…

http://thesoutherninstitute.com

 

For one week only, twenty-six pattern designers will be joining together to combine their best PDF sewing patterns (valued together at over $200.00) and selling them to you for the incredible price of $29.95! That’s over 80% off of the combined retail value!

Grab the bundle when it goes on sale next week and you’ll be all set to sew for school and the coming holiday season! You’ll have to wait until next week to see which patterns are included in this fall’s bundle, but I can tell you right now that you won’t be disappointed!

See you bright and early on Monday morning!

 

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I’m teaching a class at Pink Castle Fabrics in October and I’d love for you to join me! If you live in the Ann Arbor area, head on over to the Pink Castle web site now and reserve your spot!

About the Class:
If you’re a quilter who would like to expand into the world of garment sewing, this is the class for you. In this class, we’ll take the mystery out of garment sewing by making my pattern, the Lila Lounge Pant, which is a gentle step into apparel sewing.  I’ll guide you through the process of choosing the appropriate size, preparing a pattern, cutting the fabric, finishing seams, and hemming the dress to the length you want. (Think of all the beautiful scraps you’ll have left over for your next patchwork project!)

Here’s a picture of these awesome and comfy pants from the pattern:

Lila Lounge Pants Coverblog

If you’re not sure if this class is for you, check out what Karrie had to say in the comments for a post I wrote about teaching:

You are such an awesome teacher! I learned so much last Thursday and have been in a great mood ever since! I’m glad that I got to experience garment making for the first time with you. I’ve been in a funk lately haven’t felt like sewing. Only staring at my fabric, and now I’m excited to pick up my 5 WIPs that I have going…ok ,more than five!!! I am so glad that I met you, and I’ll always be grateful that you are my Sewing Teacher <3

 

Supplies You’ll Need:

In order to take this class, you’ll need to bring the following:

1. fabric, yardage shown by size below [contrast fabric yardage is in the brackets]:

XS-2 [+5/8]
S-  2 [+5/8]
M- 2 [+5/8]
L-   2 1/4 [+5/8]
XL- 2 1/4 [+3/4]

2. tracing paper: Pellon Pattern Ease or Swedish tracing paper

3. basic sewing and marking supplies

4. 1 yard of 1″ wide elastic

5. the pattern itself is required and will be available for purchase at the shop on the night of the class

 

Class Details:

The class takes place on Thursday, October 17, 2013 from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm at Pink Castle Fabrics in Ann Arbor (find directions here). The cost of the class is $65. The only prerequisite for this course is that you are comfortable sewing a straight stitch on your sewing machine. It’s as easy as that!

Click below to book your spot:

book now

I hope to see you at the class!

 

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Clover Sunshine Winner!

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Kirsten from Life and the New Normal is the winner!

Now you just have to pick, and send me an email with your answer – Turquoise or Chartreuse??

 

Kirsten September 21, 2013, 8:35 pm

I’m a feathers fan, in chartreuse or turquoise…always chartreuse or turquoise.

 

If you didn’t win this time, don’t despair!  Alison still has a huge giveaway going on over on her blog and you can still enter.

Or you can do like I do, and buy your Alison Glass fabrics from Pink Castle in Ann Arbor, MI or your local quilt shop.

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