My Blanken World

My world of boys, textiles and moving.

Rounding the corners and creating more space July 30, 2015

Filed under: lessons,Made by me,Sewing — blankenmom @ 1:45 am
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Have you ever looked at a pattern that has curved edges and wondered how exactly you were supposed to do that?  Ten burnt fingers later, after trying to lay the edges down to press it and finally giving in, and ending up with a shirt with wonky edges.   (Wonky is technical word you know.)

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This lesson, I will show you how to round your corners, whether it’s on a collar, a hem, or something in between, without losing your mind, or spending hours burning yourself.  I’ll also show you a quick and easy way to give yourself a bit more space between your shoulders if you’re like me and have “swimmers shoulders”, but no chest.  Meaning, you’re back is bigger than your front.

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Let’s start off with the room in back –

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I tend to pop stitches under my arms and on the back arm seams when I move because of this, even in ready to wear clothes.  But I also have plenty of room in the chest of the same exact shirts.  Sure I could redo the whole back, which would mean adjusting the collar too, but if I just want a quick, easy shirt, why?  Plus, it adds a little style.  Like you were all technical and fancy!

This is not the only way, but it is a very easy way.  Just make sure it doesn’t affect the look of the fabric or style of outfit.  Casual shirts, nice blouses, some dress bodices work well with this, and you can always modify it for your own tastes and affects.  (Click on photo’s to enlarge.)

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shirt 13

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When you put the pattern edge to the fold, creating the center back, place the bottom in the correct spot.  No extra fabric, just as the pattern calls for.

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At the top, give yourself some extra space, I used and 1″ (one inch – more or less, depending on how much more room you need).  Just keep in mind that if you keep the line on the pattern 1″ from the fold, it creates 2″, an inch on both sides.

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shirt 12

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Now you’ll stay stitch the top.  (Stitching the unfinished edges, usually of the neck and shoulders, so the fabric doesn’t shift when you start putting the pieces together.  You will not be sewing together two pieces of fabric, just running the fabric through the machine to make it behave.)  To create this particular fold, I butted the two edges of where the fabric *should* have been cut, up to the center fold and stitched it down and pressed.  By doing this, the top of your shirt will still match the collar.

You could make the fold on the outside, by putting the folds the other way.  You could also place a small tack stitch (a stitch to make things stay put – look at the bottom of a ready to wear zipper) farther down the back, creating a more “bubbled” look.  I have a few vintage patterns that do this.  I wanted something very casual.

By doing it this way, and not adjusting anything else, it created only a slightly bigger back.  Even though I didn’t make any other adjustments, the waste still fit me correctly.

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Now let’s start with those curves –

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shirt 10

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Place your curve, here we have a ruffle edge, under the presser foot close to the edge.  You’re going to sew it as you would a ruffle, gathering as you go.  Put your stitch setting on a long stitch.  I had mine at 5, which is the smallest gathering stitch.  If you have an older machine, this may actually be your largest.

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shirt 8

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Tie off one end so it doesn’t slip as you pull the thread on the other end.

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shirt 6

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When you pull the threads, it’ll look like a big ol’ mess.  It’s ok.  Keep gently pulling until it starts to lay itself on the inside, towards the center.  Press.

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shirt 5

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That big mess, now looks all purdy and lays flat.  Make sure to use steam if possible, to make it easier.

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Now turn over and press again.  If you used a regular sewing machine, you may need to cut some of the fabric away from the edge, so you don’t have a lot of fabric inside the corner, or fold over again, to make the edge look clean.  If you’ve serged, this won’t be necessary.

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shirt 4

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See how nice that looks!

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And repeat at hems.

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shirt 3

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This is a bit more subtle since the corners aren’t as sharp.  And it will be necessary in some places, but not in others since parts of the shirts hem may not have a curve.  You don’t need to run the gathering stitch across the whole hem, only at the curves.  And, there is no exact spot.  It’s ok to eye ball this.  Pull.  Hem stitch and Press.

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shirt 2

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Now show off your curves!

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shirt 1

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A tiny, tiny tutorial January 24, 2015

Filed under: Broken/Repaired,Home improvement,Random thoughts — blankenmom @ 11:52 pm
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Tonight I’m going to divert from my usual… (I hear a collective sigh of relief that it’s not about “that house” this week…  Well pthththt to you!)  But instead it’s a tiny, tiny tutorial on something I was working on recently and could NOT find a single tutorial on!  In this day and age, how could there NOT  be a tutorial on everything?

 

I digress…

 

Last week I was taking all the baseboard’s off through the whole first floor.  To my delight, and slight frustration, the original homeowner did an excellent job of putting this house together, which means taking it apart has been a challenge.  Each baseboard came off nicely, but the nails stayed in the walls.  Too close to the floor to use the hammers claw and too small of a head to use the crow bar or nail remover.  The nails weren’t nearly strong enough to get pounded all the way into the wall, and I don’t want to have to worry about them back there when I put the new baseboard’s on if I just bend them.  On a search I went all over the webs to find out how I was supposed to get the silly things out!

 

Nothing!

 

I found several showing how to get them out of the back of the baseboard’s, but not one on how to get them out of the wall?  I’m not sure if they just figured we all knew this, or that no one else has ever had this problem?

 

My search did reveal one thing… I needed a new tool.  Nippers to be exact.  (The twelve-year-old boy in me giggles every time.)

 

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So off to the local store I went!  I had every intention of using these to just “nip” off the end of the nail, and leave the remaining nail behind in the wall.  Can I just tell you here that nails are really hard!  No seriously, those suckers weren’t going to give in!  However, in my attempt, I did figure out a much easier way of using them.  You know, the way they were intended!  *GASP*

 

So here’s my very tiny tutorial on how to get the nails that were left behind, out.

Using a putty knife behind your nippers so that you don’t damage the wall (try it once without it and you’ll see what I mean) and holding the nail very firmly, roll the nippers up until the two handles meet.  It actually slips right out!

 

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No you don’t need the board at the bottom, that was just the baseboard that was laying there.

 

 

 

 

That’s it… seriously, no one could post that anywhere?

 

I feel better now.

 

Textile therapy October 26, 2014

Filed under: Made by me,Sewing,What's happening — blankenmom @ 12:01 am
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I don’t know what you do when you’re in a funk and can’t get out?  Usually I hide from all sewing, knitting and house projects.  And as a person who likes to constantly have two or three projects going at all times (much to the irritation of her ever patient dentist man), doing none of the former, isn’t a good sign.

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And if the house is super clean, run.

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We’ve been stuck in courtroom hell, held hostage by crazy people who, when last texted, “had the ear of the governor for their unjust removal” caused by them not allowing anyone in to make the state required repairs for six months, among numerous other issues.  Trying to do court dates over the phone, manage repair dates that go unanswered and having repairmen physically thrown out has been, well, a challenge to say the least.

What did I turn to in this time?  Are my toilet bowls sparkling clean and kitchen counters shining like usual?

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Nope –

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Instead of fuming over  the time it was taking to remove them and the constant nasty grams they were sending, I finally went out and bought the fabric for baby blankets for the clinic and pillow cases for the foster kidsboxes.  My absence for the last few weeks is due in part to a less than chipper attitude and a complete submersion in my tasks.  It’s been very therapeutic.  I think I’m almost back to normal – I even bought new costumes accessories!  (On discount of course.)

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16 baby blankets –

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And 32 pillow cases –

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Isn’t this just the most awesome fabric!

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Thinking about the little ones that will get these, who really need our help, was much more enjoyable to think about than the nasty things bombarding me day and night.  I went to bed feeling better.  Woke up in a better mood.  And can’t stop eyeing the baby fabric isle.

No worries, the youngest got two new pairs of pajama’s, so I’m not neglecting my own… much.

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*Tip for the day*  “One yard” baby blankets require two packages of pre-made quilt binding.  Buy them at the same time or they will not match.  *sigh*

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What do you sew, or do instead of sewing, as therapy?

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*The Embrace Foster Program is available in most states, google “Embrace (your state name) for foster kids” to find yours if you’d like to help out.  I’m sending these back home since my area doesn’t have it.

 

One of “those” wives. August 15, 2014

 

Here’s the dealio –

 

With my current project affording me extra thinking time, I started to remember when my dentist man was one of the lowest men on the totem pole in the military (we’re talking E-3 here).  I would meet these women in the higher ranks who were sort of loud, sort of  know-it-all’s, sort of obnoxious and sort of ran ram-shot over most of us younger gals… and civilians.  They sort of scared me.  I remember telling him that I never wanted to act like that.

 

 

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Nearly 20 years later and here I’ve discovered I’m “that woman”.   Well crap!

 

In the military world, I was in the middle somewhere.  Not a fresh newbie wife who knew nothing of what was about to happen to her and not the 20 years in veteran wife who had seen it all, either.  Nor was I so ingrained into the military lifestyle that civilian life scared or called to me.  I knew how to get certain things done easily and still had questions about others.  And when I was around other military wives, I fit in just fine that way.  Not too quiet, not too loud.  I knew “my place”  (don’t try to tell me mil wives don’t have a pecking order!).  Not to mention we’ve been in and out of the military, active duty and reserves and in different branches.  We’ve been around!

Now in the civilian world… all these attributes mean I’m loud, I’m abrupt.  I ask too many questions.  I know a little about a lot.  I’ve been to more places than most people I’m around and experienced things they may never know or understand.  I’m self-reliant and I get it done and now.  (As my poor dentist man recently learned the hard way.)  I may at times, even run ram shot over people to get things done.  “Waiting until your husband get’s home” may not have happened for months, so I’ve gotten used to packing, discipline, home maintenance, school, doc visits, paperwork and anything else the average civilian does with their spouse, done solely by me.  Not because my dentist man is lazy, but because that’s what we’re used to.  That’s what most military spouses are used to.  The last few years in particular!

 

So where is this all leading to?

 

Looking back at those loud, obnoxious, know-it-all women, I now understand them a little better.  I get that they’re loud because that’s how you get heard.  They seem obnoxious, because you sometimes have to be pushy to get things done and really don’t need your approval.  And maybe, just maybe the really did know-it-all… or at least a lot.

 

I think I’m starting to like this part of me.  I get it done.  I get it done quickly.  I have endurance and flexibility for the insane, crazy and throw-up-your-hands changes in life.  I know what I want, because I’ve experienced it.  I know what I really don’t like, because I’ve experienced it.  I also know that I do need my man for support, but I don’t need him right here with me all the time.  A weekend trip (or his two-week tour this month) can sometimes be a welcome break to remember how much I love him.  I can deal with the big boys – once you take on the military to get things done, state officials and inept renters start to feel like small potatoes.

 

While I’m still “finding my place” here –  instead of shying away from this crazy woman, I think instead, I’m going to let her out a little more often.  Enjoy her a little more, and if the people around me find it a bit too much, they’re probably boring anyways.

 

 

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I want to be the type of wife who would do THIS while her dentist man is gone!

 

 

 

Sew seamless June 23, 2014

Filed under: Sewing,Sewing lessons — blankenmom @ 1:31 am
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I wanted to demonstrate how you can make a seamless elastic top seam like you would buy in the store.

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You could just sew straight through the elastic on this top, but it would make a very noticeable line across the top.  Which, unless you are adding it on purpose with a design in mind, wouldn’t look very good for this particular look.

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We want a clean line that doesn’t look like anything is really holding it up so that the pleates can fall freely.

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I’ll start by saying, all I did to measure this was wrap it around me.  I will also make sure to mention (if you didn’t read the other post on this dress) to make sure to measure it around your largest body part.  Once done, sew up the side seam or seams to make a long tube.

When selecting an elastic for this dress, I wanted something larger so it wouldn’t roll or fold.  I wanted it to act as a foundation and as a sort of facing.  It also had to be able to hold up a large amount of heavy fabric.  I believe this was 2″ elastic.

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Sewing the end of the top to the end of the elastic.  (Ok, you could really do this with the machine, but I was watching the World Cup, but you get the idea.)

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What it should look like when you’re done joining the two.

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Flip the elastic over, only showing the fabric.  Here is where you would normally sew it down, creating a seam line.  Instead, tack the elastic down at the side seams and any other inconspicuous places, making sure to add a mark for front and back if necessary.  (Some tops or dresses this isn’t necessary as it’s obvious, but this type of dress, it’s a bit harder to tell.)

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That should be all you need to keep the elastic in place and from flipping every time you try to dress.

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A very nice clean look!

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Bob Ross moment

Filed under: Church,Made by me,Places,Sewing — blankenmom @ 12:57 am
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… “You made a mistake?  Turn that mistake into a happy little bird.  That’s it.  A happy little bird.”

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If you’ve never seen Bob Ross’ show, you have no idea what I’m talking about and now officially think I’m nuts.  Go google him.  He was awesome.  He was also excellent at putting my first-born down for a nap with his quiet tone and calm.  I’m sure the hair helped somehow too.

But beyond that, he teaches a great lesson.  If you make a mistake, you can always turn it into something good!  I got a “two-fer” on this post.  The dress I just finished (and LOVE) was designed around a mistake I made.  And some people I have met at church have shown me that even when we make a mistake, God can use it to make something great!

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Let’s start off with my spiffy new dress shall we!

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Amazingly comfortable btw!!

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So you’re asking… “What was the mistake; it looks fine?”

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That nifty little pleat in the front and back weren’t at first supposed to be there.  It was supposed to be one piece of fabric, wrapped around.  That’s great when you wrap the fabric around your pathetic little chest to fit it and forget that you have an ever-growing posterior.

So what fit up-top, didn’t so much around the middle and ended up looking more like a stylin’ hospital gown with cheeks flapping in the wind.

So a back was also cut out and I figured I’d just gather.  So boring!  When I wrapped the dress around “Betty” for the night, I just really liked the way it looked.  So clean and simple.  And if I really wanted to add more, I could always add a pin or a belt.

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When I first realized what I had done, short-changing my backside, I thought I had ruined a yard or so of fabric.  But when I sat and thought it out, it turned out perfectly!

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Now, on to the people I met at church.

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On my day to volunteer, I had asked the woman who oversee’s our area if she knew of anyone that would be able to help us out with “that house”.  You know, a little business advice.  I obviously suck at this and needed some serious guidance.  She thought for a bit and said “Yes!  Can you come by next week to meet them?”  I of course said yes excitedly and even offered to volunteer again since I was there.

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After service, she brought them over and I explained the situation.  They talked with me a bit and I became sort of disappointed that they didn’t have much in the way of business advice as they don’t have rentals.  However (and that’s a GIANT however) what I got instead was not only much better, but what God knew I needed instead.  The encouragement, advice, scriptures, prayers and reassurance that God can turn a mistake into something amazing was much more than I was expecting.

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The place we live in now is called Selah, meaning to pause and reflect.  After meeting these people and a few others here, I really believe that we are here to pause and reflect.  Regather.  Recoup.  Learn and get ready for the next adventure God has in store.

Have you made a mistake?  Selah – Pause and reflect on God’s goodness.  The answer will come and His goodness will set things right.

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selah

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As for your sewing.

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Turn that mistake into a happy bird… that’s right… a happy bird.  Or in this case, a purdy little dress.  That’s right… a purdy little dress.

 

 

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Mistaken May 4, 2014

Filed under: Made by me,Sewing,Sewing lessons — blankenmom @ 12:17 am
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A while back I had promised to share a few of my sewing mistakes.  I went through my closet and found some of the items that I couldn’t quite bring myself to get rid of, but didn’t wear either because I *knew* what was wrong with them.

 

Some are obvious, some not so much.

 

It reminded me of a few items that I no longer have, mostly because they were *so* bad, I just couldn’t bare to look at them long enough to repair them.  *Lingerie that I overstuffed the chest in.  A nightgown that was poorly sewn and impossible to wear.  Tops that I didn’t pay attention to the grain on and they ended up longer on one side than the other and oh so many more…..

 

Why am I showing you these things?

 

When you watch sewing shows, read blogs or magazines, I want it to be understood that those people weren’t born with needle-in-hand.  They too had wonky seams, pockets that didn’t line up and crooked hems.  Granted some people are more talented at this craft than others, but by no means do they *never* have mistakes.  The exact opposite actually – the more creative the person and the better the designs, the more mistakes they most likely had beforehand!  You have to make several mistakes before you get it just right.

 

Let’s get started shall we:

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This shirt, in itself, is not bad.  The sewing is actually done quite well.  The problem comes when I didn’t pay attention to body style.  This is ALL wrong for my body, hits me in all the wrong places and makes me look like a fat old woman.  Which will be fine when I am, but I still have a few years until then.  Maybe I’ll just hold on to it until I get there?

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This top was obviously meant to be worn over a tank top.  I actually made it to go over a mandarin top that turned out excellently!  This however is just sad.  Very sad.  The sleeve caps don’t match and the ribbon edging on the front is pathetic.  I will be fixing this one, once I figure out exactly what I want to do with it.

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Where to get started….. To begin with, yes the print is FAR to big for my small frame, but have you ever tried to look for small tropical prints?  Yeah, there aren’t a lot of them.  Especially in gauzy type fabric.  This little item was sort of slapped together in an attempt to look “casually put together” (read: slapped together).  It’s terrible!  I will be taking the strap off, that dorky under-bust seam will go, and turn it into a strapless maxi.  Because we all know how often I wear dresses?

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This dress I’m actually very proud of – other than the major mistake I made on it. Here’s the back-story:

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“I custom-made this costume about 10 years ago.  I draped the whole thing.  Sewed on all the beads, some you can’t even see here.  It took over 6 months.  I made the whole thing on “Betty”, who is covered in slightly “sticky” flannel.  What a surprise when I put it on my body and realized I had made the opening to the dress far too big for my smooth skin to keep up!  In an attempt to fix this, I made a “collar” of beads to hold the dress up.  Fast forward to the churches Fall Festival.  As I’m escorting my four small children around the church, some poor, random child walks up the back of my dress and proceeds to pop off all the beads on the “safety collar” – the only thing that stood between me and nekedness.  AWKWARD!

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I love this dress.  I WILL figure out a way to fix this.  Idea’s anyone?

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And finally:

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How could you not love this jacket with that lining?  Anyway, the problems include sleeves whose outside fabric is longer than the lining fabric, causing sad, sad ripples above the cuffs.  Pockets that aren’t attached very well, that you can see the lining from the outside of.  And while it fits quite nicely, it looks sloppy when buttoned because the jacket isn’t tacked or sewn down properly to the lining.  This one will also be fixed – I just like it too much to keep it in the closet any longer!

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While there were more, and will be more in my future, I proudly hold on to these few as proof that it can only get better!

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Now go out and make some mistakes!

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