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Archive for the ‘epicdressproject’ Category

My husband and I took a little getaway to Disneyland and California Adventure to celebrate our anniversary (a late celebration of our 15th anniversary last summer/early celebration of our 16th this summer!). After our 2020 WDW trip, I’ve decided that I LOVE wearing Disneybounding dresses in the parks, and so I decided to make a new one for the day we went to California Adventure! (I wore my Belle dress the day we were in Disneyland.) I’m considering this an extension of my #epicdressproject, which I started for our 2020 trip to Walt Disney World.

The pattern is Butterick 6018 view A, and I needed to make significant alterations to fit it comfortably. I documented the process on Instagram Stories; you can see the slides saved HERE as a highlight. For my reference (and yours, if you’re interested), I made the following modifications:

  • moved zipper from side seam to back (created a central back seam to accommodate)
  • shortened hem by over 6″ (probably closer to 8″)
  • graded from size 16 to 18 at the waistline (based on grading that had been necessary for my 2020 dresses), but then I took it in again, so this grading was probably unnecessary
  • changed the shape of the sleeve cap for more ease of movement

The reshaping of the sleeve piece was the most complicated fitting alteration I’ve done to date. A neighbor friend was instrumental in pointing out the problem that needed to be addressed, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that my husband was a great help to me as we read through the excellent blog posts by Ikat Bag to make the modifications. It was pretty exhilarating to discover that the redrafted sleeve piece was dramatically more comfortable than the original!

I made my test version from a red sateen sheet, intending to finish it. At this point, it’s still unfinished, mostly because with the size zipper opening, it is so difficult to get on and especially take off! Maybe I’ll finish it for a Christmas dress…

All along, I knew that the final version would be a Rapunzel ‘bound– not only is she one of my favorite princesses, but I treated myself to a gorgeous set of “Floating Lanterns” ears from Factory 55… It’s totally normal to make a dress for a pair of ears, right?!

My mom came shopping with me for the fabric, and although I saw this purple floral batik almost immediately upon entering G Street Fabrics, it took me a while to commit! I chose a solid purple cotton to coordinate. In the end, I love the combination (but I wish the purple didn’t wrinkle so easily!).

We took the above photos in “Hollywood Land” in California Adventure– I thought the facade here was so perfect with the dress style!

Here are a few bonus shots from other parts of our day in DCA!

My husband spotted this storefront facade and suggested that I take photos behind it!
Iconic photo spot in the Avengers Campus!
My first time ever meeting Mickey Mouse!!

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On our last park day, we went to Magic Kingdom again, and I wore this dress made from a sweet Peter Pan cotton print by Michael Miller Fabrics. Peter Pan has had a special place in my heart ever since Husband read the book aloud to our kids and they dressed up as Peter Pan and Wendy for Halloween that year.

We caught a bus from the Riviera Resort bus stop, and on our way there, we stopped to see (again) the absolutely gorgeous mosaic murals at the Riviera– and it turned out to be such a great photo spot!

This was the very first fabric I bought; I purchased it back in January 2019. I hadn’t even figured out my patterns for this project yet, and I was in Hobby Lobby doing some shopping. I spotted the bolt in the clearance rack, and I totally fell in love with it. I almost didn’t buy it, because I was afraid that pale mint wouldn’t be the best color on me… but I loved it so much, and it was only $4/yd… so I bought some to make a dress. I guessed on the yardage based on patterns I’d been considering for the project, and I’m so glad it worked out!

in line for the Jungle Jingle Cruise– such pretty views in Adventureland!

The pattern I used for this dress is Simplicity 8096, view B. Wow, did this pattern require significant alterations to fit me!  Part of the issue was that the size range for this pattern was just above my measurements, but since I loved the silhouette, I decided to try it anyway. As I mentioned in my #epicdressproject: patterns post, I made a muslin following the pattern exactly for the smallest size, and it definitely needed SO much work. I really appreciated the detailed fitting instructions; this is from the “Amazing Fit” line, and I learned a lot about the best way to make the alterations. Husband is an absolute gem, and he patiently helped me pin and take tucks enough to see that it was worth putting in the work. I ended up shortening the bodice pieces by TWO INCHES in order for the horizontal bodice seam to end up in the correct place. Shortening the bodice also went a long way toward correcting some of the other issues, and because of all the adjustments I made, I didn’t end up needing the elastic in the back of the bodice (and I am very glad for that).

A cute Tinker Bell Magic Shot!

Of course, I made a matching mask with my scrap fabric, and I was careful about the placement so that I could highlight some of the cute scenes in the print.

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Red polka dot is such a fun print for a dress–especially a retro-inspired one!–and so I couldn’t resist doing a Minnie Mouse ‘bound!  I wore this dress for our second day in Hollywood Studios (our 5th park day). 

I felt really glamorous in this dress! I think it fit in especially well with all the classic and glittery retro decorations around the main areas of the park.  I again wore my petticoat from Amazon (affiliate link) to add fullness, and reveled in every swish and swoosh!  I was also pleased with how comfortable the crossed straps were– I often have trouble with halter and cross-back necklines because they tend to pull on my neck, but I didn’t have any problems with this dress!

this is literally the only photo I have of the back of my dress!

All of these photos were taken by various PhotoPass photographers– somehow we completely forgot to take any of our own!  (We took plenty of candid photos, of course–so many!–just not posed ones of my dress.)  

I found the perfect scale of red polka dot in the fabric section of my local Walmart. This cotton woven is a really great weight for structure while still being light enough to drape well. The pattern is Simplicity 8051, view B, and as I’m finding to be typical with this brand on my body, I shortened the midriff pieces after grading out one size at the waist.  I also made a lot of changes to the bodice construction, and I’ve detailed them below.  

I decided to use the main fabric as the lining as well, so that, especially in the front bodice, the lining would “blend in” if it happened to peek out.

I really strongly dislike the as-written construction order of the bodice, specifically because it would make for a zipper installation that would be through several layers of thickness and leave raw edges exposed.  Bleh.  I spent a lot of time thinking about how I could have done it differently, and the best that I could come up with was this (be warned, it’s still clumsy, but it results in a bodice that attaches at the waist in a way that has a lining to stitch over the waist seam and zipper tape):

  • After constructing the surplice section and front band/straps (including hand-stitching the curved edge on the inside, attach the midriff front main and lining pieces by sandwiching them over the overlapped upper bodice pieces, then press with seam allowances pointing down.
  • Complete step 10 as written.
  • Attach the midriff back pieces to the bodice back pieces along the horizontal seams,  pressing seam allowances open or down.
  • Attach back sections at side seams as in steps 11 and 12, matching horizontal seams carefully.  Sew seam through all layers as far down as the notch on midriff pieces.
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  • From this point to the bottom, sew the front midriff seams and the lining midriff seams separately.
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  • Press side seams toward back.

I took the photo below in an attempt to show how the bodice will look; now the outer bodice can be sewn to the skirt with the lining loose.  It also allows for the straps to be adjusted AFTER the zipper is inserted!  I don’t know how you’d fit it properly otherwise!!

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The invisible zipper can be inserted on the outer bodice and skirt; then the lining can be hand stitched over it for a tidy finish on the inside.

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On our fourth day in WDW, we went to Magic Kingdom. In our original plans for this trip, this day fell on my exact birthday, and my Belle ‘bound was going to be my birthday dress.

Although our trip ended up being shifted by about seven months, we treated this new day as my honorary birthday! Husband’s planning was wonderful, and we ended our day with dinner at Be Our Guest, which was magical– and absolutely delicious. That meal was probably my favorite of our entire trip.

Wearing this dress around the parks was the most fun I’d had so far. The bright color and full skirt drew lots of second glances and some compliments, and I even noticed a few little girls remarking to their grown-ups about it, which was so fun! This definitely would have been a dream dress for me as a kid! Cast members outdid themselves wishing me and my daughter “happy birthday” (not only was this my “honorary” birthday, but our trip was so close to my daughter’s birthday that we celebrated hers there, too). My daughter wore a ruffly yellow dress (store-bought) and so we ‘bounded Belle together that day.

One Cast Member, David, made our day particularly fun. He saw us in the pathway as we walked between Peter Pan and Small World and cheerfully wished us happy birthdays. We ended up turning back and passed by him again, and he wished us happy birthdays again, making a (fun) big deal that it was again. Later that afternoon, we rode Small World, and he was in the booth above the waterway as we boarded our boat! He recognized us and called down happy birthday yet again! It was so funny, and when we got off the ride, I made a point of turning around and waving goodbye to him.

So, how about some details about the dress? It’s view A of Simplicity 8051, and I shortened the midriff pieces by 1″ after grading it out at the waist.

The fabric is a lightweight cotton batik that I found at G Street Fabrics. The batik has a subtle yellow-on-white rose pattern, which I thought was perfect for a Belle ‘bound!

The fabric is lovely but also fairly sheer, and so I decided to add a lining to the bodice. This is not part of the original pattern, so I recorded my steps below for future reference:

  • cut out bodice front and back pieces from lining fabric
  • cut down bodice back lining to add main fabric facing along angled edge (see pattern piece for line.  3/8″ seam allowance)
  • construct bodice lining in the same way as main bodice (including basting stitches for later gathering
  • apply armhole facing INTERFACING to lining
  • stitch main bodice to lining at armholes (as facing); understitch; trim seam allowances if necessary (I needed to do so with the yellow dress because the rose batik was so lightweight
  • stitch lining+facing to main at back
  • gather lining front and main bodice front; treat as one and attach yoke as instructed

Because of the open-back design, wearing a regular bra wouldn’t work, so I opted to hand-stitch some bra cups to the lining layer, as well.

I did not line the skirt, because I knew I would be wearing a petticoat to add fullness. I bought THIS one from Amazon (affiliate link), and it was just what I needed, and a good price for what it is. I wore another slip that I already owned under the petticoat so that it wouldn’t be quite so scratchy against my legs.

At the back neck, I added two red rose buttons– I think they’re the perfect touch for this Belle dress!

I haven’t really mentioned the face masks that I made to go with each of my outfits– mostly because they are simply made from scrap fabric from the outfits, or other coordinating fabric I had on hand. For this dress, though, I found a digital embroidery design of a rose that I had stored on my computer and stitched it onto my fabric with metallic gold thread before constructing the mask. Because of the light weight of the fabric, I added fusable interfacing in addition to the tear-away stabilizer, and this made the mask stiffer than my other ones!

One last note: some of these photos of me were taken by Husband, but a good portion of them were taken by various PhotoPass photographers around Magic Kingdom. They were so gracious to take some really fun poses to show off my handmade dress!

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The color palette for Snow White is one of the most recognizable, and I love its striking combination. My next outfit, which I wore at Epcot, is a Snow White ‘bound!

Husband found the perfect little spot for my photos: a wishing well on one side of the Germany pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase!

My top is a Mimi blouse from Tilly and the Buttons: Love at First Stitch (affiliate link).  I made a wearable muslin, and while it fit very well, I did notice that I would like to have the arm hems a little bit looser.  Therefore, for this blouse, I graded the underarm seam out 1/4″ at the hem, and I added a total of 1/2″ to the sleeve facing piece as well. The fabric is some sort of polyester crepe that I found at G Street Fabrics in the clearance section: it is such a beautiful, rich blue!

As I was finishing up the blouse back at the beginning of April, I was chatting with my mom about what buttons I should use, and she had a great idea to make them red! I used some vintage coverable buttons that had been handed down to me. I used flat clear buttons for the two closest to the hem so that the blouse would tuck comfortably. My mom also had the idea to add the red buttons to the sleeve pleat detail as a nod to the red that shows through the slashes on Snow White’s sleeves!

The skirt is also from Love at First Stitch!– you might recognize it by now; it’s yet another Delphine, this time in a butter yellow muslin I found at G Street Fabrics. This time, I decided to add a lining, since the cloth was light-colored and lightweight. I simply cut the main skirt pieces from a lining fabric and treated it as one piece with the outer fabric when I attached the waistband. When I inserted the invisible zipper, I added it to the main fabric only and hand-tacked the lining fabric around it to finish.

To complete my outfit, I borrowed a red bow headband from my daughter! (It’s hard to see in these photos.). I think I’d like to get a wide red belt to further accessorize this outfit– for the future!

and now for a little story time…

We’d decided to basically eat our way through the World Showcase for lunch (so delicious!). We started in the UK with fish and chips, and just as Husband brought our food to the little standing table we’d found in the shade nearby, the background music volume increased dramatically. We didn’t know what was coming for a minute or two—and then we saw a horse drawn carriage with four princesses approaching!!  It was so neat—they came right by us, waving and wishing my daughter and me happy birthday. The last princess was Snow White, and she not only wished me a happy birthday but noticed my outfit and gestured to indicate that she liked it and it matched hers.  She blew kisses at me and it was SO FUN to be recognized like that!   

Later, we were enjoying the train display in the Germany pavilion, and the princess carriage came by again!  As they drove by, we were waving, of course, and Snow White saw me and mouthed, “Nice to see you again!” while pantomiming showing off her dress!  I was so delighted that she recognized me again!

We were so impressed in general with how the characters managed to interact with guests individually even from a distance during the cavalcades and from stages in other “physically-distanced” situations.

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When Husband and I went fabric shopping for my #epicdressproject way back in the beginning of March, I had a few ideas of things I was hoping to find, but in general, I was trying to keep an open mind because I didn’t quite know what sorts of fabrics would be available. The fabric for this dress was one of those happy surprises– as soon as I saw it, I loved it: the color is fantastic, and those yellow stars look like magical fairy dust 🙂

In fact, I didn’t have a specific “bound” in mind for this dress– I toyed with the idea of Tinker Bell or Tiana, but as I planned my wardrobe with our schedule for the trip, I decided that this dress would be perfect for our Animal Kingdom park day, and I thought it was a great fit for the land of Pandora– and that’s where these photos are taken!

The pattern for this dress is Butterick 5209, view B, and it is a retro reprint of a pattern from 1947. I shortened the midriff pieces by 1″ and also graded it out at the waist (in retrospect, that grading at the waist might not have been necessary). Otherwise, I followed the pattern pretty much as it is written. The only change I made was to use an invisible zipper at the side seam rather than a standard zipper. The construction proved to be challenging– the order was not what I was used to, and the back neck was especially troublesome for me. It wasn’t as perfect as I would have liked it to be.

My fabric is a cotton woven (I think I might be a quilting cotton), which I think is a slightly heavier weight than those fabrics recommended on the pattern envelope. It made for a more structured bodice, since it is self-lined. I was concerned that it might be too hot (if we had gone on our trip in April like we originally intended, it really might have been), but it was okay for our November trip. I was also happy that the dress dried out nicely (and pretty quickly) after our two trips down the Kali River Rapids!

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For our first day in the parks, we went to Hollywood Studios.  We arrived before the official opening time, and while the (very light) crowds were all going one way to get into line for other rides, we went the other way and ended up in Galaxy’s Edge first thing.  

Wow, it was incredible–what a way to begin our trip!  Galaxy’s Edge was amazing, not just for the ambience and architecture, but also because it felt like we had it to ourselves!  We wandered around in awe, and even after we walked onto and rode Smuggler’s Run, we had plenty of time afterward to take photos with the Millenium Falcon before anyone else was gathered there!  

For my R2-D2 bound, I decided to go for a straightforward color-block effect and use a belt to emphasize the character.

My top is an Abrazo tee from Blank Slate Patterns (affiliate link).  The fabric I found at G Street Fabrics was a remnant cut, and so while I had originally planned to do elbow-length sleeves, I needed to shorten the sleeves by 4.25″ from that elbow length to fit it on the fabric!  I calculated my 3″ long circular ruffle using the Melly Sews tutorial that I’ve used before (it’s so great.  I love adding ruffles for a little extra touch of customization!).  The great thing about this tee is that I can make it from cutting to finishing in one day!  Talk about a satisfying sew.

This skirt is another quick-to-sew, fabulous-to-wear pattern: the Delphine skirt from Tilly and the Buttons: Love at First Stitch book (affiliate link).  Based on my denim wearable muslin, I’ve slightly modified the angle of the waistband side seams for a better fit.  I used some white twill that I’ve had in my stash for ages!

I used a wide elastic belt from Buckle Down (affiliate link) to complete the look. Let me tell you, it was perfect– and it was super comfortable to wear all day!

Here are some more photos–

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On this May the Fourth, let me give you a little sneak peek of my R2-D2 Disneybound– part of my #epicdressproject wardrobe.

We were supposed to be in Disney World for a week in the latter half of April, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that didn’t happen.  The Disney resorts all around the world are closed (still), and traveling is not happening.  We are under a stay-at-home order, and so those circumstances obviously affected this project.

I have continued to work on it, after all, I have the fabric and supplies, and making things is a kind of stress-relief for me.  I was attempting to try and finish all of my projects by our original departure date, but that didn’t quite happen.  Obviously there are extenuating circumstances.  Aside from the general shift in mood, there are some things that I needed to prioritize.  I made and donated a large number of masks, my children are home and I need to do school with them… you get the picture.

Now that it’s the beginning of May, I thought it would be a good time to just give a quick update of where my projects are at.  I had six outfits planned, and I’ll give an update in the order in which I started them.  You can see fabric peeks on Instagram (I posted each time I cut out a garment) and also in THIS blog post.

  • Belle ‘bound: the dress needs a hem, and I also need to complete the yoke (which obviously needs to be finished to hem it).  The yoke is waiting on buttons: I ordered special buttons from Joann, but they shipped me the wrong ones, and so now I need to figure out how to deal with that issue.  (I do NOT recommend Joann.)
  • R2-D2 ‘bound skirt: Finished!
  • Magical green/stars (Tinker Bell?  Magical Pandora? bound): As I started constructing the bodice, I realized that my main fabric was too heavy to also be a comfortable lining.  This was just when the whole pandemic thing really started to hit (I think it was the night that it was announced that our schools were closing), and I have not been able to go out and shop for a matching lining fabric.  The dress is cut out and is sitting in a partially-sewn state.
  • Peter Pan dress: This dress simply needs to be hemmed and I need to sew on the decorative (non-functional) buttons.  I haven’t searched my button stash to see if I have any on hand, but I’m pretty sure I have something that will work.  It’s so close!
  • Snow White ‘bound blouse: Finished!  I am so pleased with how this one came out.
  • R2-D2 ‘bound top: Finished!  I love this top, too!  (sneak peek at the top of this post: pattern is the Blank Slate Abrazo tee (<–affiliate link), to which I added circular ruffles at the sleeve hems).  I bought a great belt (<–affiliate link) to complete the look, so this whole outfit is finished!
  • Minnie Mouse ‘bound: This dress really could be finished.  All I need to do is fit the straps, hand-stitch the lining, and then give it a hem.  I think I was disappointed that the straps don’t fit better, and that combined with the disappointment of our trip being postponed for quite a while just killed my motivation.
  • Snow White ‘bound skirt: I prewashed the fabric!  Ha.  This one really won’t take long– I just need to DO IT!

I’m going to try and finish this wardrobe by the end of May (pending the acquisition of supplies like buttons and lining fabric).  I think that is a perfectly reasonable goal, and I hope that I can make it!

I realized that a silver lining of our trip being postponed means that I have a better chance of finishing my Disney 2016 scrapbook project before we go again, so I’m going to be working on that as much as I can… the Disney magic won’t stop!

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This cheerful buttery-yellow Mimi blouse (from Tilly and the Buttons: Love at First Stitch <–affiliate link) is perfect for spring.

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I started it way back in February, as I was compiling a set of patterns to use for my #epicdressproject, and I love the gathered details, the shape of the neckline and the collar, and the cute pleats in the sleeves.

But when I got to the buttonholes, I stalled.  I was simply procrastinating, and it bothered me that I was procrastinating.  So I finally finished it up this past week so that I could check it off my list.

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The fabric is from my stash, and it’s a similar feel to a shirting even though it’s a former sheet.  I also found the buttons in my stash, so aside from the thread, this project was free!

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I have to admit, I messed up the buttonholes.  I was trying to multitask and help my kids do some schoolwork review (like almost everyone else in the US, our schools are closed right now, and I made them horizontally all the way down the front!  I don’t know what I was thinking… but since it’s a wearable muslin, I’m not too worried… we’ll just call it a design feature, ha.

P.S. the skirt I’m wearing is the Delphine skirt I made using the pattern from the same book!

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As of the writing of this post, I have fabric to make six outfits for my #epicdressproject (a Disney-bounding wardrobe for our week-long Disney World trip).  I’ll talk a bit about the fabric, and then I’ll update you on the status of the project.

At the very beginning of March, Husband and I drove about 45 minutes to a fabric store I’d heard of, but that I’d not yet been to yet.  And it was worth the drive!  What a great store.  G Street Fabrics has showrooms for different kinds of fabrics and notions, and they have great quality fabrics and great prices.  It was better than being a kid in a candy store!!

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the showroom with garment fabric

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the clearance section–everything in this room was $2.97/yard!

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on my way to check out with my cut yardage!

My wonderful Husband helped me to choose fabrics for some of the outfits for my #epicdressproject. I have appreciated SO much how willing he is to be involved in this project (at the beginning, he sat down with me to talk through and narrow down the patterns I was going to try… he has been invaluable during the fitting process… and he was a great sounding board and co-searcher for just the right fabrics while we were out shopping).

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The stack at the top of the post represents five outfits!  Here’s a closer view:

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From top to bottom:

  • Bright yellow rose batik cotton from G Street (for Simplicity 8051A)
  • Blue knit from G Street (for Blank Slate Abrazo tee <–affil. link)
  • White twill from my stash (for Tilly and the Buttons Delphine skirt <–affil. link)
  • Peter Pan print (Michael Miller Fabrics) from Hobby Lobby (for Simplicity 8096B)
  • Blue poly crepe from G Street (for Tilly and the Buttons Mimi blouse <–affil. link)
  • Light yellow linen from G Street (for Tilly and the Buttons Delphine skirt)
  • Green with yellow stars cotton from G Street (for Butterick 5209B)

I also wanted to find a red-with-white-polka-dot, but I didn’t find the right scale of polkas at G Street… I ended up buying yardage later at another store, and so that is intended for Simplicity 8051B.

P.S. As I’ve started cutting out the different garments, I’ve posted sneak-peek closeups of each of the fabrics on my Instagram account, and I will continue to do so.

~ ~ ~

So all of this fabric shopping and planning happened before the COVID-19 pandemic really set in, and suddenly the world has changed.  There are major restrictions on gatherings, many stores are closed, and we are staying home.  My kids are home from school for at least 6 weeks, and our Disney trip will be postponed.  We are very blessed that we have many of the supplies we need on hand, and we are still able to get to the grocery store every so often for food.

It seems strange in the midst of such dread and upheaval to work on a project that seems frivolous.  However, I have decided to try and continue on, even attempting to finish the six garments by the date we should have departed for our trip.  This sewing hobby of mine is a great stress-reliever and it brings me joy.  I am going to continue sewing for fun when I can for a sense of normalcy and fun.

I am prioritizing other responsibilities, and having my kids home has drastically reduced my available hobby time, so it will be an interesting challenge to see if I can stick to my original “deadline.”

 

 

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