Anna Dress Sprout Hack

Today’s guest blogger is Kelly, Director of Engineering over at Spoonflower. She also writes a blog where she focuses on sewing, weaving and reading. It’s called Dress Insouciantly – check it out!


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We’ve all had this moment before: It’s late at night and you got carried away working on a project when you realize you’re missing an essential element. But of course, the craft store is closed. Why oh why can’t craft stores be open at reasonable times? Say, 24-hours a day, 7-days a week? Sadly, I found myself in this position just last week.

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I’ve been eyeing By Hand London’s Anna dress ever since Sprout Patterns listed it. It looks elegant without being fussy, and can serve as both casual day dress or evening wear depending on what fabric you choose. With a birthday coming up, I decided now was the time, and designed the dress with a beautiful floral design called Winter Garden Antique from Ceciliamok. I chose the poly crepe de chine fabric because I love the light feeling it has and I really wanted that draped effect the slash-necked bodice has.

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As life so often goes, time caught up with me, and it was the night before my birthday party before I really got down to business and started sewing. I wasn’t worried though, this pattern is beautiful in its simplicity. The use of pleats in the bodice, instead of darts, makes it very easy to fit. And the long straight sides of the skirt are a breeze! And then, of course, I get to the very last step: the zipper. But wait, where is my zipper? I know I put it around here somewhere…

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Long story short, I had no 22inch zipper; what I did have was a 7-9 inch zipper. It was nearly midnight, there were no craft stores open anywhere. And yet, I was determined to wear this dress tomorrow, what could I do?

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Eventually, I realized that the zipper is really only needed for the narrowest part of the waist. Because the dress uses kimono sleeves instead of inset ones, and the bodice pleats encourage a relaxed fit and gathered look, the back of the dress isn’t actually supporting any structure. As long as the back of the neck is connected, the zipper really only needs to go as high as the bodice pleats. I decided that it would be completely possible to still finish the dress and create an open back feature.

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I set my 9inch zipper in the back seam so that the bottom of the zipper met the marks in the pattern and the top of it reached just past the bodice darts. Then I drew a gentle curve on the remaining section of each piece of the back bodice and cut away a little bit more than an inch of fabric. I hemmed these pieces with a double fold, making sure to catch the back facing in for a clean finish. I attached a button to the top of one back piece, and a loop of elastic thread to the other. Voila! I now have a key-hole back on my Anna dress!

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I am very pleased with how this dress turned out. I’m even happy I forgot to get a zipper of the right length; because of that mistake I ended up with a unique dress with an interesting feature. I feel like there are plenty of open back styles that would still work with the Anna dress pattern. You could add cross pieces, or cut the key-hole in a different shape, or don’t cut it out at all and let the pieces overlap each other for a more subtle look. With a little bit of extra scrap fabric you could create a draped cowl. Or you could add a large sculptural button for a statement piece… With so many ideas I’m going to have to save up to buy another Sprout dress again!

Sprout Everyday Tote transformed!

bag.jpgSpoonflower’s new Lightweight Cotton Twill is an absolute dream to work with.  The weight is the perfect go-to for a multitude of projects, especially totes!  The combination of this easy to work with material and its tough weave will ensure that you’ll end up with something that will not just look amazing, but wear well. In this tutorial, Gia from the blog Sew Gratitude will to take you through a simple “hack” using the Lightweight Cotton Twill and an Everyday Tote project.  Each Tote is printed to order on a full yard of twill.  Which means once you cut out and prep your tote you’ll have a HEALTHY chunk of fabric leftover to work with, almost 400 square inches worth!  It’s an amazing deal to have the leftovers to coordinate. Read all of the details and how-to on the Spoonflower Blog.

And if you liked this post, Gia will be doing more hacks using the Everyday Tote in the upcoming weeks. Stay tuned!

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Cat Power Projects on Sprout

At Sprout, we stand for women’s rights. The power of handmade can be a impactful statement, especially when using pink to signify not only caring, compassion, and love, but also STRENGTH. Maybe you want to send a certain message but want to err on the side of subtlety? Or perhaps you just adore cats and the color pink. Regardless, we’ve got some amazing designs that we’ve chosen from Spoonflower for just that purpose.

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How cute are these kittens in mittens on a Penelope Peplum by See Kate Sew? LOVE this design by Andrea Lauren.

 

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Power through peace and diginity on an Alder Shirtdress by Grainline Studio. Demure kitties by Kimsa are perfect!

 

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How about a delightful Emery Dress from Christine Haynes? Cats and flowers by Petfriendly = YES PLEASE!

 

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We love the Moneta Dress from Colette Patterns. Caja_Design has the cutest cats in both big and small. SWOON!

 

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Want to scream your message from the rooftops? Check out this Inari Crop Tee by Named Clothing with a frightfully wonderful design by Susiprint.

These are just a few of the literally hundreds and maybe even thousands of awesome cat designs at Spoonflower to use when creating your Sprout project. Have fun creating and stay strong!

 

 

 

You Had Me at Honey: Halloween at Sprout

Today’s blogger is Nicole, Sprout’s Product Development Manager. Halloween is one of her favorite holidays, as you can see in the photo below. 😉


As far as I am concerned, Halloween is the best holiday of the year. It’s the one day where there are no restrictions to what you can be, dreamers rule and the sky’s the limit. Plus, you get to watch scary movies while stuffing your face with candy. OBVIOUSLY, the BEST holiday. And here at Sprout, Halloween opens up a world of endless costume possibilities!

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Most people flock to their local party shop in search of the latest in sexy costumes during the month of October. Not me, I would much rather create something original and more importantly, that is work appropriate. For someone who has several DIY costumes under her belt, making a Halloween costume through Sprout this year was an obvious choice. Though nothing will ever compare to the rainbow glitter unicorn costume that I wore last year…..

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Since I already had clocked SERIOUS hours of mocking up projects, I couldn’t resist making a bee costume using our fun Vanessa wing pattern from Mainsail Studio and the Inari Tee Dress from Named Clothing. These wings are really perfect for playing year round and now I basically want a pair for every kid I know.

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I wasn’t really feeling the Madame Butterfly look at the moment, which is when I had a stroke of brilliance and thought…BEES. Bees have wings! Plus our amazing city of Durham, NC was officially certified as a Bee City USA this year. Basically we are obsessed with bees. Save the bees, y’all!

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The Inari Tee Dress’s cocoon shape is perfect for showcasing the honey bee’s stripes. I paired the dress with the Vanessa Wings in a size Medium – a great size for a kid and a great size for some little bumble bee wings. I found awesome repeat designs of dragonfly wings on the Spoonflower marketplace, which I used on shiny satin.

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The dress was very straight forward to put together (shout out to Named Clothing for having incredible patterns and instructions!). A tip for Silky Faille and stripe matching: if you are attempting to match stripes, I highly recommend basting or using wonder tape along those side seams before sewing the garment up. Silky Faille can be slippery and will slide your matching skills right into the garbage.

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Because the Vanessa wings are made to attach to your wrist for a massive incredible amazing wing flappin time, I had to rethink how I was going to create them for this costume, as there is no way that any adult arms were going to attach to those little babies. I ended up utilizing some aluminum, very bendable, jewelry wire and hand stitched it along side the outer edge of the wing pieces using the fleece interfacing as a backing.

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This is by no means the best method of adding more structure to the wings, but it was the best idea that I had at the time so I just winged it ;). This method proved to work decently well, although turning the wings right side out was the biggest pain. After sewing the center piece to the wings, I decided to add an additional piece of black elastic to connect the wings together and add stability. It worked perfectly.

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As news spread about the fantastic bee making going down in the Sprout room, the requests started pouring in from fellow employees dying to rock the bee look. Honey, please. No really, please bring honey – Julie did, so she won the modeling gig.

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We drove over to Perkins Orchard, the largest and oldest fruit stand in Durham, to stock up on sweet natural goodies, grab pumpkins for our desks, and to let the bee out in her natural environment. Side note: if you’re local and haven’t been to this place yet, go! It’s full of fresh, local produce and other affordable goodies.

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Julie really embraced the Queen Bee life and upped her supply of honey at the same time. I like to call that a costume success.

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Trying to recreate this look on your own? Don’t have time to sew? Order with our White Glove Service and we will sew it up for you. YAS QUEEN BEE! (Wire not included.) Which brings me to my next costume…add a crown to this look and channel the queen bee of lemonade. If you think Julie is as cute as we do and wanna see more pix of her, head over to our Flickr album. ;o)

Need more costume inspiration? Don’t worry, I GOT YOU.

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Use the Kielo Dress and this makeup tutorial to become the most beautiful giraffe in the Savannah. Or be a deer with this makeup and antlers tutorial and pair it with a deer hide Moneta.

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Start the babe’s fandom early with a baseball romper and a matching lil baseball cap to match. Take it up a notch and have your little one SIT IN A BASEBALL MIT! The cuteness…it’s just too much…can’t handle it.

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If you have a young honey lover in the family who isn’t into bees, you can make a furry hoodie and even create ears with your extra fabric to attach to the hood! Add a faux fur trim and a trick or treat bag made out of honey fabric and voila! Hello baby bear!

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The ideas don’t stop there y’all. I’m like a treasure trove of Halloween Sprout inspiration, don’t worry. How cute would my baby niece look as a lil watermelon?!

pop.jpgLike punny costumes? Why not pair this popcorn shirt with a cute movie theater bucket skirt? Popcornception. What time is the movie? When will these previews ever end??  HAHAHAHA!

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And finally, we can’t leave out your little furry friends. Don’t they deserve to dress up for Halloween too? I am dreaming about making the littlest Aaron wings for my cat so that I can be the MOTHER OF DRAGONS, but until then I did create the perfect pizza princess costume for the pup in our house. The happiest pup, decked out in her favorite food for everyone’s favorite time of year.

Now let all of this beauty and inspiration settle into your minds and…get SPROUTIN’! The only question is, WHAT WILL YOU BE??


nic.jpgNicole has a background in fashion development and design and a passion for businesses that do good, which has taken her to places like Uganda, Pakistan, and now Durham, NC. She is thrilled to be working to empower indie pattern makers through Sprout! In her spare time, you can either find Nicole in her home studio creating with her kitten by her side or exploring new places around town and abroad. She loves live music, Asian cuisine, and laughing.

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Sprout x Berlin Fashion Show Recap

Sprout Patterns Creative Director Caroline gives us the low down about the fashion show in Berlin that happened on September 7th at the Spoonflower European headquarters.


Ok, TRUTH? I now have a new appreciation for all runway shows. Let me tell you a secret – it’s A LOT of WORK! Is it fun? YES YES YES! But the coordination, the hair, makeup, models – it’s just a huge puzzle that you seem to be putting together on the fly, even if you’ve organized and rehearsed!

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Yes, that’s me, doing hair for the show, THANK GOODNESS for hairspray!

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Essentials – makeup, hairspray and chocolate – not pictured.

Since this is a “behind the scenes” look at the show, I wanted to also share how beautiful our models were without any special hair or makeup – naturally gorgeous!

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Jasmine and Martha – natural beauties!

We had a lot of help from the Spoonflower office dog, Ben. He made sure everyone got their daily dose of snuggles, petting, and canine slobber.

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Ben says all that snuggling is hard work!

I also got to meet with some of the designers before the show, like Mele de la Yglesia. I can honestly say that I’ve never seen anyone so excited about seeing their art on fabric. I loved Mele’s enthusiasm and it was AMAZING to share in her pure joy!

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Mele trying on a Kielo dress with her design

One of the BEST things about this show was that we hired a professional photographer, Benni Janzen. He is AMAZING, and sweet and super easy to work with. Seriously, if you’re in Europe and need a photographer, HIRE HIM! But of course, since I’m stubborn, I had to take my own iPhone photos, like these:

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Juliana models for Benni and Sophie tries on her Inari dress.

I think the models had a good time and made some new friends. They were all a lot of fun and made me wish I could stay in Berlin longer to hang out with them!

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Martha has some serious attitude – LOVE IT!

We held the show at the Spoonflower office in Berlin – which is in a really cool industrial section of Neukölln. The room we used has great light, but we rigged up some LED’s since the event was at night. Here’s the space BEFORE the magic happened. ;o)

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The other thing about having a photographer is that they sometimes catch you at certain “moments” like me absolutely FAWNING over designer Cristóbal Schmal. Not too obvious at all, RIGHT? HAHAHA!!!

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I hope his GF doesn’t see this photo! ;o)

Then the magic started happening. Pablo forgot that he was shy and rocked the runway.

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Laura from Named Clothing remembered that she got up at 4am to fly to Berlin and see the show. THANK YOU for coming all that way, Saara and Laura!!!

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I got to meet some very cool German bloggers and patternmakers and talked to them about Spoonflower and Sprout.

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The show was so much fun and I LOVED meeting everyone! I wore a Named Kielo Dress I’d sewn by designer Alexandra Bordallo of Spain. Little did I know that everyone was going to wear their favorite Kielo! Model Juliana won the battle (I’m totally serious, there was almost a fight!) over the show sample from Pete Corrie, then Laura and Saara wore the Kielos they’d ordered from Sprout. This is definitely one of my favorite photos from the show, and no we’re not terribly short, Juliana was just rocking monster heels.

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And the Kielo prize goes to…..

In conclusion: Berlin was awesome. The fashion show KICKED ASS. All I want to know is when the next one will be. Someone want to volunteer their city? LET ME KNOW! ;o) Tschuss!

p.s. If you saw a dress / shirt / top you liked, it’s probably here on Sprout.

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Matching for Grownups, featuring Sprout Patterns

What’s the secret to dressing your man for a special occasion? Guest blogger Gina seems to have figured it out! Read below to get her scoop on matching your date in an elegant and modern way.


Working at Spoonflower has turned me into someone not unlike Miss Frizzle – I tend to want to dress to match the occasion, especially if there’s a theme involved. This gets complicated at events like weddings, where I have a date to drag along that I’m supposed to match. My tendency toward cats and space and llamas makes it kind of hard for a guy to wear a dignified bow tie and look like he belongs with me simultaneously. But I’m here to tell you, it’s totally possible to make yourself a unique dress and coordinate with your man, with only minor complaining on his part, thanks to Sprout Patterns.

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I’d been looking forward to my friend and fellow Spoonflower team member Jennifer’s wedding for months. (You can read her post about DIY bridesmaid gifts with Sprout Patterns here!) She chose a beautiful mountainous venue in Asheville, NC, so naturally – see what I did there – I wanted to make a nature-inspired dress to wear!

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Look at all of the nature, y’all!

I also decided that since this is the first and only wedding of the year that neither my boyfriend, Kenton, or I are in, it would be the perfect opportunity to make him something to wear, too. I’ve been dying to try a bow tie for awhile now, and the Jaxon Bow Tie by Natty Neckware seemed pretty achievable.

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My half of the equation was simple: I’m in LOVE with the Kielo Wrap Dress from Named Clothing because I made myself one to wear on my birthday this year and got a million compliments. I decided that a shortened version would be perfect for Jennifer’s wedding, and picked out a sweet wood and leaf inspired design by Ottomanbrim. I chose Performance Pique for my base fabric, and this dress is the comfiest. Seriously, go make one immediately. And then make ten more, because it’s a really quick project.

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Just a little matchy-matchy 😉

So, here’s where it gets complicated. Kenton is very picky about his bow ties, so he was somewhat apprehensive about letting me choose his outfit for the day. He initially wanted me to make him a Doctor Who themed bow tie, which I vetoed immediately. When I finally settled on a design I deemed worthy, I excitedly called him to let him know. The conversation went something like this:

Me: “So, I picked out your bow tie design today! I think you’re going to like it a lot.”

Kenton: “Yeah? What is it?”

Me: “It’s cool! It’s a wood grain design!”

Kenton: “… it’s not like, camouflage is it?”

He has no faith in me whatsoever.

However, when he finally saw what I picked, he admitted the design, Beached Drift Wood Woodgrain by Joan McLemore, was pretty cool. It also went really well with the design I chose for my dress (though he was definitely glad I did not make his bow tie out of the same thing.)

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The Jaxon was a surprisingly quick project! I did skip adding the adjustable section because Kenton knew what size he needed, which made finishing the bow tie even easier.

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And, he looked pretty darn dapper, IMHO.

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Adorable matching couple outfits achieved!

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I also had enough extra printed fabric to make our new pup Riley a bow tie, too! He didn’t argue with me about the design at all. What a good boy.

Riley.jpgRiley doesn’t really hold still, so this is the best evidence I could capture of his affection for his new bow tie.

If you want to make your pooch a bow to match your fella too, here’s the tutorial I used! Just add a smaller piece of elastic to the bow to fit around a collar.

The moral of this story? Make yourself a Kielo dress, and make your man a Jaxon bow tie. He will love it. Or, if he loves you, he’ll at least wear it with only minor complaining. Don’t listen to him if he says otherwise.

Oh, and adopt a dog, because they will gladly wear anything you put on them.


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Gina is a printer operator at Spoonflower (or as she likes to call her position, “Slayer of Ink Beasts”) and a summer intern with Sprout. When she’s not having audible conversations with machinery, she can be found sharing facts about pigeons or Wonder Woman or old buildings with anyone who will listen. Her hobbies include fabric hoarding, wrestling her sewing projects away from her poly-dactyl cat Oz, dressing her new pup Riley, and aimlessly wandering with coffee in one hand and her Polaroid in the other.

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Lucy Pajamas + Eye Mask = Heaven

Today’s guest blogger is Allison Bowles, the patternmaker behind Artemis Clothing Co. and pajama-maker extraordinaire. We’re loving her tutorial for using the extra fabric from your Lucy Pajamas to create a cute eye mask!


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I feel like you can never have too many pajama bottoms, so I was very excited to sew up my latest pattern – the Lucy Pajama Pants.  I wanted something fresh and spring-like to remind me of warmer weather when it gets chilly, so I chose a beautiful floral print called Oriental Blooms by Scrummy. Spoonflower’s Kona® is a great apparel weight fabric that is super breathable and easy to wear, so choosing a fabric was easy for me.

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The Lucy Pajamas are so comfy and perfect for lounging around the house, and I can also wear them on errands when my fur baby needs an emergency snack!

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I realized after I was done with the pajamas that I had leftover fabric that was just begging to become a second project.  I thought that an eye mask would be the perfect matching sleep accessory to my Lucy pajamas.  It was super easy and quick to sew and it makes a great sleep set!

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Here is how I made my eye mask and what you’ll need:

  1. Scrap fabric from your Lucy pajamas
  2. Satin lining (I chose a dark color to block as much light as possible)
  3. 21” piece of piping
  4. ¼” thick elastic cut to whatever length you need to wrap comfortably around your head (mine was 15” long)
  5. Eye mask pattern (like this free one from BurdaStyle.com)
  6. Scissors
  7. Pins

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Start by cutting one eye mask piece from your scrap fabric and one eye mask piece from the satin fabric.  The patterned piece will face the outside and the satin will be the part of the mask that touches your face.  That’s why I chose Satin as the backing; it’s super gentle on my skin, but Spoonflower’s Fleece or Minky would probably also be just as comfortable.

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Next, using a zipper presser foot, sew the piping around the perimeter of the printed eye mask piece so that the raw edge of the piping lines up with the edge of the fabric.  The zipper foot should press right up against the round part of the piping.

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After you have stitched the piping all the way around the perimeter of the mask, snip the edge of the piping (NOT the actual eye mask fabric) up to, but not through, the stitch line. This will help the piping bend around the curves of the mask and lie flat. Attach the elastic to the patterned piece on each side of the mask, making sure the edge of the elastic lines up with the edge of the mask.

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Now it’s time to sew the two eye mask pieces together.  Place the two eye mask pieces together face to face so that the shiny side of the satin faces the printed side of the patterned piece.  The piping and the elastic should be sandwiched between the two pieces.  Pin the pieces in place along the edge.

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Using the zipper foot again, push the foot right up against the piping that is in between the fabric and stitch around the mask.  Leave an unstitched gap at the top of the piece so that the mask can be turned right side out.  Clip the seam allowance up to, but not through, the stitch line.

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When you turn the mask right side out you should see the piping along the edge of the mask and the elastic should be secured in the seam you just made. Press the mask so that it lies flat. There will be a large hole at the top of the mask that you will need to close up.  The satin fabric at the hole should be pressed so that the seam allowance is folded to the inside of the mask.

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I’ve got a little trick to close up that hole so that the stitch line isn’t visible on the front of the mask.  Make sure the folded edge of the satin back is overlapping the piping just a little bit.  Now we want to topstitch the hole shut from the front of the mask so that the stitch catches the folded satin edge on the back.

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If you stitch right against the edge of the patterned fabric on the piping, then the stitch should be undetectable from the front.  It’s a little tricky (you can see below where I missed a little bit) so if you have trouble, feel free to topstitch directly on the patterned fabric instead of the piping so that you can catch more of the satin edge on the back.

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Voila!  Now you have a sleeping eye mask to match your Lucy Pajamas!  Now go make a pair of your own and Sweet Dreams!

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Allison Bowles is a graduate of North Carolina State University College of Textiles, where she is currently finishing up her Master’s degree studying zero­ waste garment design. She founded Artemis Clothing Co. in 2014 after working in the textile industry for several years and realizing that she wanted to focus on locally ­made sustainable clothing.

 

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