Vogue 1486

I finally took a break from Nettie dresses and used neoprene for a different project – a midi skirt from Vogue’s spring collection, a damn fine one at that. It’s hot in NC (sometimes) and officially spring, so I feel perfectly justified starting into my spring sewing list. Behold, Vogue pattern 1486, a design by Nicola Finetti:

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I am always a sucker for the designer patterns within the Vogue line. I hadn’t paid much attention to Nicola Finetti prior to this pattern, but this guy was love at first sight. It’s actually a 2 piece set pattern that includes a crop top. I have a red crepe in my stash to make the top when I finally get settled after a healthy dose of work travel. I couldn’t hold out on posting some photos of the skirt though, so I am partially cheating today and wearing a RTW top.

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I don’t usually wear skirts at a midi length. I’m really picky about this length, as it can easily end up unflattering. This particular skirt seemed very striking and classy though, so I decided to try it out. I thoroughly enjoy that I can wear this at work with a more conservative top and then throw on a more fun (aka skimpy) top for outside of work. Also, the skirt has two big pockets so I don’t even have to carry a purse – winning.

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I made a size 12 with no major fit alterations. I did not remove any length from the bottom, just turned up a 1/2 inch hem and twin stitched in place. The bottom layer of the skirt has a lot of material from pleating and that gets rather heavy when using neoprene. I nixed the interfacing in the waistband because I didn’t have any stretch interfacing in my stash. I did add clear elastic along the top and bottom of the waistband and this made a world of difference keeping everything in place. The patterns calls for an exposed, separating zipper and I found this kind of pointless. I just used a regular zipper and prefer that it is less conspicuous.

Whenever I sew neoprene, I finish seams in the laziest fashion. My serger always jams up with this material, so I don’t even try anymore. I double stitch, trim down the allowance and call it a day.

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Surprise, surprise – this fabric is yet another cut from Mood. They stock a lot of neoprene and I’m good at spending a lot of money – we’re a perfect match made. I only bought 2.5 years of this fabric – it’s 60in wide, but the pattern calls for just shy of 3 yards. I just barely managed to squeeze the patterns pieces in (but only after getting irrationally frustrated, throwing my fabric on the ground, walking away for awhile, and also not following the grain correctly at all. If you make this skirt, take my advice and just buy 3 yards.

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That’s all I’ve got! Happy hump day

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Victory Patterns Satsuki Dress

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Round two of beautiful, strong sleeves – this time featuring Victory Patterns! I absolutely love the styles among Victory Patterns’ main collection. I’ve previously made the Simone dress and it is one of my all time favorite dresses to wear. My mom rules and gave me the printed Satsuki pattern for Christmas, so here we have it. As usual, I am a little late to the party on this dress, but so glad that I finally sewed it.

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I wasn’t positive that I would love the shape of this dress on me, but I am pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoy the fit. I made version 1, but nixed the shoulder cutouts. I think the shoulder cutouts look interesting on the model, but I envisioned them being far too fussy and never sitting in place correctly. I actually like the dress without the belt, even though it’s fairly sack-like, but cinching in the waist makes it even more flattering. I am worried about the stability of my button holes for the belt because this fabric is thin and frays like a bitch….fingers crossed!

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Construction of this dress was straightforward and the directions were easy to follow. I cut a size 6 and made no alterations. I love that the kimono sleeves are cleverly sewn with a line of stitching to completely avoid exposing your bra…and half of your torso. My photo below attempts to show you this, but the angle is poor so it’s hard to appreciate. I used french seams wherever possible and finished the sleeve edges with a rolled hem.

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Let me just put it out on the table for everyone – my hem looks like real shit. My eye is twitching as I’m flipping through these photos. It’s “blind stitched” by hand, but that’s an awfully conspicuous line of stitches. Yuck. I blame the fabric choice, as it doesn’t press well at all.

Speaking of fabric, can you guess where I got this? Mood! It’s a poly blend charmeuse – the price is right and the print is lovely, but as I mentioned, it’s a real pain to press and it also clings to my skin like white on rice (a slip is critical with this dress). They sell the same print in a poly chiffon and neoprene option. I am very tempted to buy a cut of the neoprene (still heavily fixated on this fabric type). Also, the winner of the most recent season of Project Runway used this print, so I consider myself cool by association.

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Great dress, great pattern company – I’ll leave you with that. What Victory pattern will be next?!

 

Papercut Patterns Flutter Tunic

It’s about time that I dusted off this blog and brought it into 2016. I’ve been making wildly, but photographing nothing. Yesterday I finally had a dose of motivation to take pictures of one of my latest projects. So here it is – the Flutter Tunic by Papercut Patterns (but I really consider it a dress). 24 karat gold.

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I’m pretty sure at least 50% of my blog is made up of me singing praises for Papercut Patterns and I’m going to continue that trend. Katie’s got it going on – her patterns are beautiful and never disappoint. They always gravitate to the top of my sewing projects list and the outcomes leave me extremely satisfied. The Flutter Tunic is part of the Chameleon collection, which felt like a pretty recent release, but a new collection is already about to come out (!!!!!!!!!!!). I’ve also made the Sway dress and Yoyo dress (not yet blogged) from this collection. I’ve got a pink twill Waver jacket in the queue.

I digress, but let’s sum this up to say that Papercut Patterns are ace.

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Let me give you more of the scoop on the Flutter. This pattern is super simple, but effortlessly glamorous. I’ve been really into strong sleeve styles lately (soon to come to the blog is also my Satsuki dress by Victory patterns). I love the flouncy sleeve and even more so, the dropped shoulder. I made the size Small with only two modifications – I dropped the point of the bust darts for a better fit and I added ~1.5 inches in length to the tunic. It’s still short, but definitely wearable. The back hemline is even designed to scoop down a little for extra coverage.

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I constructed the whole dress with french seams for a polished finish. I turned up a 1 inch hem and blind stitched it by hand and finished the sleeves with a machine stitched narrow hem. The neckline is finished with a strip of bias from the same fabric. I should have taken a photo of the inside of this guy because it looks damn good. The pattern has an option of binding the neck and sleeve hems with visible bias tape for some contrast, but my fabric was too beautiful to mess with any contrast and distraction.

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Can we talk about the true show stopper? This fabric!!!

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I mentioned in my last post that Mood Fabrics had really knocked it out the park with some high quality polyester blend fabrics. Here is further proof. I got several gift certificates to Mood for Christmas/Birthday and obviously got straight to work spending all of them. This is a textured gold brocade and I have to say, I liked it online (clearly, since I bought it), but I became mildly obsessed with it in person. It is stunning and nice quality. I originally had a jacket in mind for this fabric. It is a lighter and has more drape than I expected, but that ended up a perfect match for this pattern instead. It’s also super convenient that it is 100% opaque so I didn’t have to mess with a lining. Adding a lining is a real drag sometimes, am I right?

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I’ll wrap it now…I’ve got a pretty rad cardio fitness dance class to attend. 🙂 Happy weekend!

Donut Nettie Dress

A donut dress seemed like the only appropriate follow up to a cupcake dress…

I know I am my father’s daughter by my ever so frequent fixations. Currently I am very fixated on neoprene versions of the Closet Case Files Nettie dress. I’ve got one to show you right now and three more coming hot off the press. Did I need four neoprene bodycon dresses? Definitely not. Did that stop me from making them? Nope. I blame Heather Lou for having a rad dress pattern and Mood for having so many great neoprene prints.

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This donut neoprene is the first cut I bought. I got two yards, but only ended using a little over a yard for my dress (…which means I will be making a few donut sports bras soon). It’s a little bit pricey per yard, but totally worth it. Mood has really upped their game with high quality polyester blend fabrics. Their neoprenes feel great! Also, I’m just really down with the fact that neoprene is so in right now. Who doesn’t want to feel like they are about to go SCUBA diving and clubbing at the same time?

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While I am all about neoprene at the moment, let me be very clear on my thoughts around sewing with it – it is a total bitch. Seriously. I laugh-cried at how completely god awful of an experience this was with my sewing machine. I tried 4 different needles and fiddled with the tension forever and my machine still skipped stitches constantly. It was almost comical, except it wasn’t at all because I wanted a donut dress and that was proving to be far too challenging for awhile. I finally managed to get the stitching somewhat under control, but the inside of this dress is pretty hideous. Lolz.

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Let’s talk about this pattern! I love all of the Closet Case Files patterns, but the Nettie is at the top of the heap for me. It’s an American Apparel-ish style, but ten times better and I can actually make it to flatter me rather than make me look like a sausage (I rarely feel attractive in American Apparel). I love the variations – you can use this pattern to make a dress, bodysuit, or top AND you can multiply your options with different necklines. I thought the super scooped out back was hottest, so I went with that version first. A high front neck seemed to balance things out a bit and also helped keep the shoulders  in place.

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The shot above is prior to adding the neckline binding and that point the scoop was very, very dramatic. The binding snugged things up a bit didn’t take away from the look.

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While I knew that I loved the low scooped back, I spent a long time deciding if it was even worth trying out. I love backless options, but going bra-less doesn’t work so well for me. I finally decided to just go for it and am glad that I did. The pattern includes instructions for adding a built-in bra and that worked just well enough for me to pull off this cut. I made the built-in bra out of the donut fabric, as it is quite thick and I wanted as much coverage as possible. It’s not very supportive and my chest has looked better, but I feel satisfied.

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I also was initially a bit worried about using neoprene with this pattern because it doesn’t really have the amount of stretch that the pattern suggests. I could not find anyone else in the internet world who had made the pattern in neoprene, but Heather Lou mentions that 2 way stretches could work for the dress, so that gave me more confidence. I definitely would not recommend using this stuff for the bodysuit option, but it ended up having just enough stretch for the dress. I prefer that the fabric is thick and a bit more stable so that it does not showcase as many bumps and lumps. 🙂

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All in all, a very easy pattern with a very sassy result. No notions, no darts, no gathering, no pleats, no nonsense. The original length of the dress did not feel flattering on me – it made my hips look extra wide. I shortened it significantly and honestly, hacked off too much. It does have a bit of a tendency to ride up, as most bodycon dresses do, so I have be careful to not expose myself to the world. Don’t worry, I learned my lesson and was more conservative on my next versions.

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That’s all Puffy and I’ve got for you for today!

Katy Perry Cupcake Dress

Even if you don’t like Katy Perry, can we at least all get on the same page that her costumes on stage are ridiculously fun? Working as a scientific Recruiting Manager is cool (I guess), but working as a costume designer for Katy Perry would be sweet as hell. Surprisingly, I haven’t received this job offer yet, but I took it upon myself to get some practice by creating a rather elaborate replica of Katy Perry’s cupcake dress. This is going to be a lengthy post – sorry, but not really.

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Equal parts ridiculous and fucking amazing. I love my regular, standard sewing projects that I have going on a constant basis, but it was exciting to start up a project that involved a bit more creativity and some new techniques. I got the idea in my head back in July and took my time working up to the final results for Halloween. I did a pretty shitty job taking photographs, but I can at least share some insight on how I turned into this:

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I started with the cupcakes and had only a vague idea of how in the world I’d construct a crazy tier skirt for the cupcakes to sit on. I found this convenient tutorial on how to make fake cupcakes and it worked like a charm! There are no actual food items used in for any of the 67 cupcakes you see.

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My initial supplies:

  • Expansion foam
  • Washers
  • Lightweight spackling
  • Acrylic paint in a variety of colors
  • Sculpey in a variety of colors
  • Cupcake wrappers
  • Paintbrushes, exacto knife, gloves

If only the employees in Home Depot knew that I was prancing around the store looking for supplies to make fake cupcakes…

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The cupcake base is expansion foam and it’s miraculously lightweight. I tossed my cupcake pan in a garbage bag and set all of my cupcake wrappers in place. The washers in the bottom helped keep the wrappers in place once I started working with the expansion foam…it’s really sticky.

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This step goes really fast and I am very glad that I wore gloves. It only took about 20 minutes to pour expansion foam into 70 cupcake wrappers. The foam sets quickly and I could pull the wrappers out of the cupcake pan before the foam was completely hardened…the shape still holds. The most challenging part was figuring out where to store 70 fake cupcakes as they continued to fully set. I needed a place that was not too humid (challenging in July) because humidity will cause the foam to shrink and shrivel a bit in the wrappers. Turned out my bathroom floor was a great spot! 🙂

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Once I had my cupcake bases, I set to work painting all of them with tan and brown acrylic paint so that they more closely resembled a baked cupcake. Not perfect work, but a decent outcome. This step took quite awhile…I dragged it out for weeks and took my time…got distracted for large chunks of time and then came back to it. Eventually all 70 were painted.

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Frosting the cupcakes was by far the most entertaining step. The frosting is just lightweight speckling mixed with lots of different colors of acrylic paint. I’m pretty sure I spent ~$40 on speckling, which is a bit absurd, but I’m committed! Once I mixed paint into the speckling, I dumped it into a pastry bag and piped it onto the cupcakes as you would with real frosting. I had 4 or 5 different piping tips so that I could have some variety in how my frosting looked.

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I made a number of toppings with sculpey: little strawberries, banana slices, chocolate chips, candy pieces. I also used beads and plastic pearls. I even made fake wrapped candy using styrofoam balls and cellophane. It was so much fun!

While the cupcake work involved time and a lot of detail, it was pretty easy crafting. The tiered skirt really made my brain hurt during construction and Sean was a huge help putting this together.

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It’s all made out of cardboard and paper tape. Katy Perry’s dress has four tiers and my original intention was to include four tiers in my own dress. Unfortunately, I am a dumbass and significantly overestimated the amount of space each cupcake would take up so the circumference of the fourth bottom tier was enormous. I could barely fit through a doorway with just three tiers, so three was all I got.

The bottom two tiers are put together as one unit, but the top tier had to fit my waist fairly snuggly to hold the whole skirt up, so it had to be constructed as two pieces. I ended up using industrial strength velcro to secure to the two pieces of the top tier together around my waist and lots of velcro straps along the inside to attach the top tier to the bottom two.

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I first tried to spray paint the cardboard white, but that looked hideous…so I ended up using lightweight spackling to cover the entire unit, giving it a resemblance of a frosted cake. In case you were wondering, that took forever.

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I used an entire bottle of Gorilla glue to attach all of the cupcakes to the tiers. I ended up filling the tiers with only 67 cupcakes and had a few spares. I attached the ruffle to the bottom with Krazy glue. Fortunately Joann’s had that this butt ugly fabric that was exactly what I needed! I did buy silver fabric too, but I ran out of time to add that ruffle on. 😦

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Tada!!!!

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Katy Perry had a sequined top, but all of the sequined fabric that I found was really, really ugly and none of it was multicolored. I found this gorgeous rainbow-foiled-animal-print lycra at Joann’s and I felt like it still channeled the right look, so I bought some and whipped up a stylish leotard. I then made a simple ruffle and tacked it on the leotard around the neckline. I didn’t use gathering stitches, I just bunched it by hand.

That’s the end of my story of construction. I fretted over some minor details that didn’t look as accurate as I’d wanted because I am a perfectionist, but I still felt pretty stoked about the end result. Didn’t get enough quality pictures of me wearing the costume, but here a few little gems.

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Katy Perry as fuck.

Colette Patterns Zinnia!

I’ve got more Colette Patterns magic to share with you today from my hotel bed in Charleston, SC. Introducing my rendition of the Zinnia skirt…. in the sweetest fabric ever!

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The most hysterical (disappointing) aspect of this skirt is that it is tight as hell around my waist. Fail. I cut the size 8 and decided to automatically take in the side seams a bit because I had to do that on the Ginger skirt. What a bad assumption – that was not needed at all and now the waistband feels like a corset. There is a lot of very pretty pleating on this skirt and I could have made shallower pleats to give me more room. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize just how tight the fit was until after I’d tucked the pleats and topstitched them all down. I’ll eventually go in and do some skirt surgery. I’d like to be able to show off the high waist and pleating a bit more, but right now it’s not looking cute.

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This picture above doesn’t really do justice showing how poorly the waist fits, but just trust me. Whoops, lolz, lolz, lolz.

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Side note: I did not make this top, I got it while shopping in my mom’s closet. I did, however, make this necklace! By make, I really just mean that I bought the stone, had some chain cut, added the clasps, and called it a day. It was a really fun activity though – I went to a little bead store in Raleigh called Ornamentea and my sister and I made these necklaces to match. They have classes too and I’m waiting for the next metal stamping class to be scheduled. That’s going to rule.

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Back to my pretty, super tight skirt. While the fit is poor because I am stupid, the design is great. I have always found Colette patterns easy to construct. I trimmed a few inches of length off the hem, as I wanted the skirt to be voluminous. I thought it looked a little weighed down and frumpy at it’s original length. I used black thread for all of my stitching/topstitching and finished the skirt with a rolled hem.

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The back closure it just a machine stitched invisible zipper and a really cute purple button that you can’t see. Yay!

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I’ll finally give you some insight to the best part of this skirt: the fabric! It is a crazy print, but I love it. I snagged it online from Elliott Berman Textiles. It was rather pricey at $20/yrd, but I don’t regret my purchase. I’m all about fabrics with digital prints. The particular print is described as tie-dye animal print, which I’d say is quite accurate. The black is intentionally printed to appear somewhat pixilated, but I like it. This is cotton batiste, which works well for my floaty skirt desires, but it is a little sheer. I lined with black bemberg rayon and that did just the trick.

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If you were planning to make this skirt, I still thoroughly encourage you to do so. It’s a great skirt! Perhaps use caution with sizing? Or perhaps I should stop eating so many cheeseburgers. 😀

The last few pictures that I’ll leave you with are terrible, accidental motion shots that look super stupid because why not?

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Two Piece Setacular: Colette Ginger + Burda 6765

It’s time to celebrate a two piece set….or out of the mouth of the biggest sewing babe, Sophie from Ada Spragg, a two piece setacular. Two piece sets are pretty “in” right now and I say hell yeah to that. This is basically the joy of a dress, but maximized because I can wear together as a set or mix things up and separate. It’s like I made a party.

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I made the skirt first using the Colette Ginger pattern. This pattern has been around for years and I’ve always liked it, but felt mildly underwhelmed by it. What I dummy I was because now that I’ve made it, I understand why people love it so much. It’s super simple – I made it in an afternoon – and it’s really cute! I wasn’t that into the shaped waistband options, so I used the simple and straight (version 3) waistband. I did not cut the skirt pieces on the bias as version 3 suggests, as there was no need. I nipped in the side seams just a tiny bit extra and machine stitched a 1 inch hem. I also inserted the zipper by machine. Simple as that.

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It’s also quite high-waisted….and you may have caught on by now that I am really down with that.

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I do somewhat regret my decision not to line this skirt. Seriously, Beth – it’s white! wtf. I felt like the fabric was quite opaque while sewing it up and it mostly is, but a lining would have made me less concerned about showcasing my underwear. Speaking of fabric, I purchased this at none other than …House of Fabrics! Are you tired of me talking about this place yet? You’ll get a little bit of a break until I buy more because this is the last of my fabric from that trip. It’s a nice, soft cotton twill. It is a great weight for this skirt, but it wrinkles like a complete bitch. Whenever I wear this outfit all day, I just pretend the “I slept in my clothes” look is cool.

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Ok, now let’s discuss this sweet crop top. It’s Burda pattern 6765 and similar to the Ginger skirt, it is an instant gratification project. I’ve actually made two of these tops and have been rocking them all summer with my Papercut Patterns Rite of Spring shorts. My favorite aspect of this top is that the back dips down a bit, which I’ve done a crap job showing you in these photos. The extra length makes it feel less inappropriately revealing.

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You could easily whip up this top in a few hours. There are not many pieces to it and it’s straightforward construction. I didn’t make any fit adjustments, but I will say the sleeves caps are kinda whack. They fit a bit awkwardly, but look fine on the finished product, so I’m not going to lose sleep over it.

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There’s not a lot more to say about this project other than I really like it. I’m sharing two of the easiest pieces you could sew. You really should go lurk all of the two piece sets that Sophie has made (here, here, here and definitely here). Girl knows how to look great!