Joy Jacket from Chalk and Notch

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It’s not often that you sew up a challenging, time-consuming project then immediately start dreaming up your next one.  The Joy Jacket from Chalk and Notch has left me wanting more!  It’s such a versatile, lightweight jacket that will get so much love.   Read to the end so you can win your own copy too to make your jacket fantasies come true!

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With Spring on my mind, I knew I wanted a pretty pink jacket.   I ordered a fancy gold zipper and blush fabric only to not have my intended fabric ship on time.  In stepped Diana at Raspberry Creek Fabrics to rescue me!  A few days later this gorgeous blush peach lightweight twill was in my hands and my jacket dreams were a reality.

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All I can think is “Man, that’s a pur-ty jacket!”  I love how it turned out and think it will be a great date night layer.

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The story behind this pattern is a touching one.  Emily of Enjoyful Makes has a much beloved jacket of her late mother’s and searched high and low for a similar one.  In stepped Gabriela of Chalk and Notch.  She took the jacket and drafted a pattern even better than the original.  The pattern is named after Emily’s mom, Joy.  Such a sweet story and I knew I needed one of my own.

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There are multiple options with this pattern.  I chose the wide collar version but there is also a hood option.  I did the square patch pocket but there are cute angled pockets as well.  I did a drawstring at the neck but you can add one at the hem as well.

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The jacket is also fully lined and beautifully finished.  I used this gorgeous rayon challis also from Raspberry Creek.

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With my fabric mix up I was terribly behind in the testing.  We had arranged studio time on a Friday morning and I picked up my fabric that Wednesday morning.  Totally enough time to sew up a jacket, right?!!  I had my pattern prepped and waiting so by the time my fabric came out of the dryer I was ready to roll.  After putting kids to bed, I was able to sew uninterrupted until about midnight and had my jacket almost finished except for topstitching.  I would call myself a timid intermediate sewist and feel like if I could sew this jacket any adventurous beginner could tackle this.  You’ll learn new skills and with a sew-along planned Gabriela will walk you through all the difficult steps too.  I love the feeling you get from a well finished, challenging sew and this jacket is right up there.

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While I absolutely love this jacket, I think this fabric is a bit too light colored and sheer to be practical for daily wear.  There are other colors of this fabric in stock that would work fantastic though.  The Heathered Grey Twill is this same fabric content and would make the best everyday choice.  I’m hoping to make another that I can throw on for errands and soccer games.   Raspberry Creek has stocked fabrics just perfect for this pattern.  There are multiple colors of Tencel Twill that would be beautiful and lots of pretty lining choices too.

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I was so lucky to get together with my sewing buddies for pics.  I love how our jackets all suit us to a tee.  Tiahna of Ammon Lane, Rachel of Little Fish, and Nicole of Merritts Makes are sewing rockstars.  I always love their style and take on patterns.

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Ready to win your own copy?!  Just comment on this post (make sure to leave your email address)- that’s it!  I’ll pick a random winner on Monday February 26th.  I can’t wait to see everyone living in their Joy Jackets!

Toaster Sweater from Sew House 7

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I’ve got a new addiction this winter.  The Toaster Sweater patterns from Sew House 7 have become favorites to sew and wear.  They check all the right boxes for me- comfortable, loose fitting, quick sews, and stylish.

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I shared my first two over on the Cali Fabrics blog.  I made this green one out of a mid weight sweatshirt fleece and it’s the ultimate in warmth and comfort.  This particular sweatshirting has a bit of two way stretch that makes it easy to wear.  It’s the first thing I grab on a snowy day.

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The tall neckline of #1 is so cozy and I love the boxy fit of this version.  The topstitching details add such a professional finish.  I added length to this version to provide optimum coverage!

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After sewing a version #1, I just had to try sewing #2.  I used a luxurious stretch velvet and had the perfect holiday party top.

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It’s loose and chic and I get compliments every time I wear it.  I love that it looks dressy while still feeling like I’m wearing next to nothing.  I think I’d wear velvet all day every day if I could.

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So after those first two sweater all I could think about was sewing up another.  When I laid eyes on this amazing quilted knit from Raspberry Creek Fabrics I knew it had to be a boxy sweater and the Toaster #1 was just what I was after.

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I lined the body and sleeves in a lightweight double brushed poly and kept the length I added to the pattern previously.  This fabric is a bit less stiff than my first version and the neck line has a slouchy effect.  This top is incredibly warm and just about as pretty as a sweatshirt can get.

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I found these darling tags at Hobby Lobby (in the yarn section) and like to add them to those special things I know will get extra love.  Just a tiny detail that I adore that looks upscale from afar but only I know the care that went into this piece.

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My latest Toaster just might be my favorite.  This beauty happened when I stumbled across this fabric in my stash and realized I had just enough to make the cutest Toaster ever.  This fabric is a remnant from Girl Charlee years ago, a sweatshirt fleece with absolutely no stretch.  I literally could hold the leftover scraps in one hand when I was done cutting this out- totally meant to be!

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I used the original cropped length and cropped the cuffs a bit also.  Because of the lack of stretch in this fabric this top is a cinch to get on but man, oh man do I have to Houdini myself out of it.  If I had thought through this sew a bit more I may have sized up to account for the lack of stretch but I sewed this on a whim from finding the fabric to sewn in under an hour.  No time for actually thinking about it- just a quick, rewarding sew!

I really love how different fabrics take to this pattern.  I’m thinking next fall I’d love a chunky sweater knit version of either pattern.  I think a light jersey knit would look cute as a version 2 for spring or a drapier french terry for that matter.

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Have you sewn up a Toaster?  Any favorite fabrics you loved for yours?  I might have sewn my last version this season (no guarantees 😉 but know it will be at the top of my list when cooler temps hit again this fall.

Project Sew It January: Tees

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I love having something to hold me accountable to get my sewing list done.  That’s why I love pattern tests, blog tours, and sewing challenges.  Project Sew It is right up my alley.  It’s a relaxed concept with a theme for each month but you can pick your patterns in that category.  January’s theme was tees.  I have a handful of t-shirt patterns I’d been wanting to try so I was all on board!

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I picked the Panama Tee Dress from Alina Sewing + Design Co.   I’ve had it on my radar FOREVER!  I’ve been wanting a slim fitting tee pattern and I think this one will be a winner!  This rayon spandex stripe version was my first one.  I did a size 6 graded to an 8 at the waist based on my measurements.  I also graded out the half sleeves to a size 8 too.  I threw on a premade leather pocket for a bit of flair.  I love how this one came out and immediately made another one.

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I scored this pretty lilac fabric in LA and have been saving it for the perfect tee pattern.  It’s super soft, a bit thicker than rayon spandex but has a similar drape.  It’s scrumptious!

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I’ve been looking for a good pattern to use all my favorite Raspberry Creek cotton lycra prints.  I think the shape of this tee works well with this fabric.  It’s just fitted enough that the structure of the knit suits this cut.  This pretty ditsy floral print is glorious!  I love a good tiny print and the subtlety of this one is perfect- not too babyish for grownups!

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I really wanted a cute tee to layer under all my cardigans while it’s still chilly.  I think this tee is absolutely perfect for layering!

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After wearing these tees all month I think I will make a few changes in the future.  I need to grade out the whole sleeve a bit more.  I know my biceps are usually a size or two bigger than my chest and I need to start making that adjustment a regular thing.  This pattern I will need to go up two or three sizes I think to get the best fit.

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I love this stripe in a rayon spandex because it hides a bit more than the solid purple tee.

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This side view really highlights how this fabric hugs all the wrong places.  I usually avoid lightweight fabrics and slim fit patterns for this reason.  I think with a more supportive bra and a little less ice cream (lol!) I will be a bit more confident in this version 😉

Overall I’m really happy with this pattern and so glad I finally got around to sewing it up.  I think it will be great for summer and know these three tops will fit in well in my wardrobe.  If you’re interested in joining in the Project Sew It challenge you can join the Facebook group here.  I’m excited for February’s challenge- Sweaters!

Striped Swallow Hideaway

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I’m always on the hunt for quick, cozy top patterns and was excited to try out the Hideaway from Striped Swallow Designs.  I think it took longer to decide on fabric than it did to sew up this cute top!

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This pattern is meant to be off the shoulder but I used a simple hack Mandalynn posted on her Instagram.  I simply skipped cutting the neckline and hemmed the neck opening 1/2″ before sewing up the shoulder seams.  Since it’s a dolman top and only four pieces, it came together in a heartbeat!

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This reverse french terry I picked up in LA was perfect.  It has excellent drape and I love the muted camo print.  Funny story and bonus for all you local peeps: I wore this top out running errands and stopped in to my local fabric shop, Fabric Center on Redwood Rd.  They totally  have this exact fabric in stock!  It felt a little like when you’re shopping at Target and walk past the display only to realize you’re wearing the same top as the mannequin- doh!

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I love the silhouette of this top and that it’s a bit out of my comfort zone.  I already want to sew up a few more to get me through our cold winter months.  I’d love a cozy sweater knit version and you can never have too much french terry!

New Years Eve in style and comfort

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I’ve had this yard of blue sequins just waiting for the perfect project and occasion.  I picked it up for a steal from Fabric Merchants during our last trip to LA.  I kept thinking I’d use it for my girls but man, they get all the fun fabric.  A quiet morning and the perfect pattern and now I’m the proud owner of my very own sparkly top!

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Pair it with my luxe stretch velvet Hudson pants and I’m feeling fabulous!

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I’ve been pinning sequin tops and really wanted to recreate this beauty.  I thought about using the Striped Swallow Hideaway to achieve it but knew I’d have to modify it for my tastes.  And alas I only had a yard of this pretty fabric.  I turned to my favorite woven tee pattern- the Shoreline Boatneck from Blank Slate patterns.  I squeezed it out of my yard of fabric and knew it was meant to be!

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The only modifications I made was to use a knit facing for the neck and sleeve hem.  It helps to not have the sequins against your skin and adds more stability too.  This was my first time working with sequins and I’m happy to say I only broke two needles in the process.  I sewed all the seams on my regular machine and finished them on my serger, which also covers any sequins on the inside making this really comfortable to wear.

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I love that I can dress it up if the occasion arises (hubby totally wanted to hit the town after seeing this outfit!).

I think it will get the most wear layered under a cardigan (I can totally wear sequins to church, right?) or a denim jacket for a more casual cool look.

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Here’s the obligatory back shot for ya’ll 😉

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I absolutely love this outfit!  I’m ringing in the New Year in style.  We spend the evening with my parents, the kids, and cousins.  It’s usually a night of good food, movies, games, and great times- one of my favorite nights of the year.  I hope you all had a great 2017 and here’s to a fantastic new year!

2017 Hits and Misses- Women’s Edition

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2017 has flown by and like everyone we’ve had our share of ups and downs around here.  It’s so nice to sit back and reflect on all our blessings, everything we’ve accomplished, and also the mistakes and trials we’ve had and how we have grown because of them.  For the first time, I’m sitting down and really analyzing this little ‘hobby’ of mine and what I’ve learned this year.  There are a few super memorable makes and a lot of forgotten ones too.  Let’s start with the good things shall we,

1- Velvet Wrap Dress

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This project was one of those that I had in my head for months and it came out even better than my vision.  It was out of comfort zone in many ways.  It was my first wrap dress- I’d never even tried one on, so I was nervous the style just wouldn’t be my thing.  It’s also a much trendier look than I tend to gravitate to.  Despite my trepidation it turned out to be one of my favorite things I’ve ever sewn.  Being able to customize the fit just how I wanted it made this dress perfection in my book.

2- Willamette Shirt

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This Willamette Shirt from Hey June turned into my most worn piece all summer.  I can’t wait to sew up a couple more for spring.  It was a game changer for me.  After sewing this up and seeing how much more flattering this top is compared to my knit tees I realized that woven tops were where it’s at.  I love button ups all fall/winter so it makes sense to want to wear something similar in warmer weather.  I need to fill my closet with these, Key Largos, and Shoreline Boatnecks.  Bonus that they’re pretty quick and easy sews too!

3- Cardigans

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I’m embarrassed to admit that this simple piece is easily my most worn handmade item.  A simple Boyfriend Cardigan in the coziest french terry ever just doesn’t get much better.  It’s a year-round staple and looks great with jeans, joggers, even a cute knee-length dress.

These two new cardigans have quickly become go-tos also.  They are oversized and cozy without looking sloppy- a fine line I feel like I’m always walking.  These three cardigan patterns are essentials in my book and will continue to be must have layering pieces in my wardrobe.

4- Love Notions Bluezette

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While I love to make dresses for my girls, I feel like I struggle finding the right style and fit for myself.  I’ve made dozens of dresses this year and while I still wear a lot of them, many just sit in the back of my closet.  Finding a flattering fit on my body type has proved to be a challenge.  The Bluezette from Love Notions is pretty darn near perfect for me though.  With an elastic casing at my natural waist, a tiny bit of blousiness in the bodice, multiple sleeve lengths, and a pocket modification this dress just gets me.  It’s comfort and style all in one.  This is one I can’t wait to sew up again in the coming year.

5- Camila Swimsuit

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In all my swimwear sewing this year, I made myself four suits and this was by far my favorite.  I can’t say it’s the most flattering (let’s face it though, no swimsuit is going to magically make all my flaws disappear) but it’s the suit that I feel the best in.  The on trend style, amazing fabric, and the option to wear the ruffle off the shoulder or under the arms makes this suit the first one I grab.  It’s such a quick sew too and the first pattern I’d recommend to anyone wanting to venture into swimwear sewing for themselves.

 

You might have noticed I’ve left off all my hoodies and tees from this list.  It’s no question that I’m a HUGE lover of all things french terry, brushed poly and cozy and they are left off the list because they are just too obvious.  Nothing groundbreaking and learned by making my tenth Halifax or Sloane Sweater.  If YOU haven’t made one though I challenge you to add it to your 2018 line-up stat!

 

Ok, are we ready for the misses?  These are things that just aren’t getting the love they deserve.  They linger in my closet, unworn for various reasons.  Some are just not that practical for me.  Some are too far out of my comfort zone.  I will tell you that these are all fantastic patterns from amazing designers but they just don’t work for me.

1- Dresses

I mentioned above how much I struggle with dresses.  I love, love to sew them up and I’m always game to try a new pattern and style.  These dresses in theory should work for me.  Like the Bluezette, the top two dresses feature an elastic waist with a loose fitting bodice.   The Catalina Dress on the upper left is just a matter of fit on me.  The loose, wide neck and arms just don’t work with my modest style.  I wear it with a undershirt and it’s fine but not ideal and so it’s not one I reach for.  The Timeless Dress on the upper right is just a matter of wrong fabric choice I think.  I had visions of chambray and lace but it quickly turned too ‘Little House on the Prairie’ for me and I just can’t get over it.

That Olympia on the lower left is stunning in real life too.  This dress is a matter of tester girl problems.  This was a test dress that has a slight issue in the shoulders that was addressed and fixed in the final pattern.  During testing it’s our job to point out any and all weird fit issues and then when you wear those garments it’s hard to ignore those issues however minor they may be.  The solid color makes the issue harder for me to ignore and also makes any body issues more difficult to hide.  This is a sad one for me to see sitting unworn because it’s a beaut!

The Cadence in the lower right is just a matter of not being my style.  It’s super cute and an easy to wear silhouette but falls into the too casual for church category.  Like my girls, I always think I’ll wear dresses during the week but rarely actually do.  Every single tee-shirt dress I own just sits in my closet reminding me that no matter how much I want to be the cute mom in sneakers and a dress- it’s just not me.  This little rayon dress is a step above the knit dresses I own so I thought it’d be worn but alas, I reach for my other dresses first everytime.  This could be more of a matter of having too many other choices too 😉

2- Tallinn Sweaters

Guys, these two Tallinn Sweaters are so, so good!  Like, I look at these pictures and totally want to wear them everyday.  It’s such a cute style and the pattern is so well done. That pretty cream sweater though brings out my inner toddler.  The turtleneck is buggy and itchy, the sleeves seem too tight and the open flap means I feel the need to wear an undershirt and another too warm layer.  Totally my own issues and not the patterns and I still drool over every Tallinn Sweater I see.  I’m hopeful that lovely blush version will get worn this spring though.   Without the turtleneck and added width in the sleeves it’s comfortable and so cute- problem is it’s a little ‘too cute’ for me.  Not too crazy girly though so I’m not giving up on her yet!

3- Farrah Blouse

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This is another AMAZING pattern by an amazing designer.  The Farrah is one of those patterns that the more I see it the more I love it too.  It taught me a lot though.  It’s so hard to see everyone looking stunning in their garments only to realize it just doesn’t work for you.  I will still wear this cute top but thought I’d share my thoughts on it with you.  First, it’s not very practical for me.  I need to wear sleeves for modesty issues and these cute flutters just don’t cut it.  I wear a cap sleeve undershirt with this and it works but it’s just not comfortable.  My other issue with this top is completely my own body issue.  I struggle with my upper arms and my small chest just accentuates my larger than normal guns (haha- if only it was all muscle ;).  If you notice, I tend to gravitate towards elbow sleeves and shy away from any kind of puff shoulder or cap sleeve.  Add in the fact that the ruffles make it hard to layer with this top and it’s just not a piece I wear.  Sad, huh?!  It’s so hard to not want to sew up every hot new pattern but this has taught me to really think about my pattern choices.  Does it work for my body type and lifestyle?  What I’m really asking is, “Will a lazy, stay-at-home middle age mom really wear this?”

4- Quilting Cotton and Cotton/Lycra Tops

Tell me I’m not the only one that falls for all the cute prints available in quilting cotton?  Whenever a new fabric tour rolls around I always want to sew up the pretty prints for myself.  I think what I’ve learned with the thicker quilting cotton is that they need structure and clean simple lines.  That darling Shoreline Boatneck in the upper left would make a great maternity top judging by the fact that it totally makes me look six months pregnant.  The fabric is just a too stiff for a gathered peplum style.  The Beatrix in the upper right needs just a couple tweaks to really work.  My main issue is where the sleeves hit and that the fabric is too thick at the elbows making it super uncomfortable.

Now onto cotton/lycra.  I really love the feel of it.  Raspberry Creek Fabrics makes some of the best and it’s like the softest stuff ever.  Art Gallery fabrics prints are so beautiful too!  It’s a dream to sew with- nice and thick, doesn’t curl, and presses well.  It makes a perfect fitted tee, problem is I don’t like wearing fitted tees.  My preferred loose boyfriend tee style just doesn’t work well with the thickness of cotton/lycra.  This is a sad thing for me to come to grips with but those unworn tees in my closet just can’t be ignored.  I will continue to sew up ALL the cotton/lycra for my kiddos and I’ll be on the lookout for the perfect top pattern for me too.  Do you have any suggestions?  What’s your favorite adult pattern to use up all those pretty cotton/lycra prints?

5- Floral Jumpsuit

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Oh man!  This outfit may possibly be the most comfortable thing I’ve never actually worn 😉  I’d been wanting to make a jumpsuit and thought a simple knit version was the perfect place to start.  It’s just too much guys- just looking at these pictures makes me cringe.  I was super sick and just couldn’t hide it too.  Maybe that’s why the outfit is tainted for me.  Dressing up and heading outside in freezing temps while feeling icky and out of my comfort zone was probably too much for me.  This print is fantastic but I know I should have stuck with a simple solid when trying out something so new to me.  Jumpsuits looks incredible on the young and hip but this just made me feel old and so uncool.

This is another lesson learned.  It’s so fun to try new things and push our boundaries.  Nothing was really lost in this failure and I get a good laugh when I think about this day.  That’s what sewing is to me- A chance to learn and grow, to find what works for me, to really learn about myself and my own individual style, to try new designers and silhouettes, and to really increase my sewing knowledge.  With every success, I get more confidence.  Every failure, brings lessons too.  Thanks for joining me on this journey and I can’t wait to see what 2018 will bring!

Love Notions Rockford Raglan

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Are you ready for another amazing pattern from Love Notions?!!  (This post contains affiliate links. Purchasing through them provides me a little kickback to keep up this lil sewing habit of mine!)  The Rockford Raglan is such a versatile top and will be a staple in your wardrobe!

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There are so many fun options with this pattern that I had to keep sewing them up!  There are swingy top and tunic versions, an asymetrical overlay, and a banded option.  Add in multiple sleeve lengths and this could be the only raglan top you need.

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I sewed up four different tops during testing and love them all.  The view D banded version is a great everyday basic.  This one is done in french terry from Raspberry Creek Fabrics.  It’s fun to dress up with a scarf and cozy enough for pairing with my favorite joggers for snuggling on the couch.

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Double brushed poly is perfect for the view A swingy tunic option.  This pretty fabric is also from Raspberry Creek (surprise, surprise).  I’m going to need to grab some leggings to match this one.  It’ll be too cute paired with boots!

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This view B top version might be my surprise favorite.  I paired these fabrics from my stash on a whim and love it so much!  These flowy versions are perfect for hiding those extra holiday pounds and look great under a cozy cardigan too.

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I think raglans are the perfect blank slate to add a little vinyl fun.  This pretty white and pinecone version (also from Raspberry Creek Fabric) was just asking for a little bling.  I wanted to do something wintery that could be worn through the new year too.  My Cricut sure is getting a workout this time of year!

Which view are you going to sew up first?  It’s so hard to pick a favorite!!

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I was lucky enough to get together with fellow testers Rachel from Little Fish and Anna from Kainara Stitches.  It’s so fun having sewing buddies close by and even more fun when we’re pattern testing together.

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Rachel is a rockstar for braving our freezing temps in her short sleeve version!  I love seeing the various versions on our different body types.  Such a cute, flattering top!

You can grab your copy while it’s on sale here through December 19th!  Perfect pattern for a little breather between holiday sewing projects!

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Can’t wait to see all your versions!!