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The Must-Have Book of 2018

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Guide to 18th-Century Dressmaking

My book review of American Duchess’s Guide to 18th-Century Dressmaking! This really isn’t a small guidebook at all but a veritable encyclopedia of 18th-century sewing and fitting techniques, all beautifully illustrated with clear, full-color photos and sharp line drawings. You learn how to cut, drape, fit, and stitch gowns from 1740-1790, including an Italian Gown, which is the main option in my pattern. As an added bonus, there are instructions for accessories, including an apron, chemisette, hat, muff, and reticules. Read my full review! Read more…

A Really-Truly Princess Audio Book Giveaway!

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A Really-Truly Princess

Amanda Kastner has been at it again, and the results this time have become a runaway hit in my household! First, she crowd-funded her adorably illustrated (and very well-written) book, A Really-Truly PrincessI bought the downloadable eBook and coloring book and eagerly await the arrival of the hardback copy in the mail. My little girls have fallen in love with the story and want me to read it to them over and over again. So I was absolutely delighted to find out Amanda has created an Audible audio book, read by a talented British actress! Read more…

Have you done Designin’ December?

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Bodice details of the curtain dress

For Designin’ December, I thought I’d show the results of making my own dress from my new Ladies’ Classic 1950s Wardrobe pattern, as I am super pleased with how it turned out. I opted for the pointed collar and closed the front with a lapped zipper (I’ll be sharing that how-to on the blog in January). The fit is perfect and super easy for this nursing mama. I plan to make a bunch more to do some stash-busting and use up fabric that has been sitting much too long in my cupboards! Read more…

Moving to ePatterns (but paper will still be an option!)…

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I can still remember the first time I saw an ePattern available for sale. I shook my head, thinking, “No way! Who would want to piece together all those tiles by hand?” I was sure paper patterns would always outsell the “e” versions, but I created the downloadable version of each of my patterns all the same to cater to the instant gratification crowd. Well, lo and behold, we have now reached a point where ePatterns outsell the print versions by almost 8 to 1! This has an impact on how we do business, but I still can’t bear to think of parting with paper patterns forever, so let me tell you how we are moving forward in 2017 and beyond. Read more…

The Story of a Pattern…

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Jennie in the classic shirt dress, holding her baby boy.

In early 2010, while hunting for retro-style dresses that I could wear while nursing my baby daughter, I found a deadstock 1950s shirt dress for sale on eBay. Incredibly, I snagged it for only $25, and it was a perfect fit. I really loved the style with its curved collar, self-cuffed sleeves, and pleated skirt. I’d been telling myself for a couple of years that it was time to branch into 1950s patterns, but I hadn’t been struck with inspiration for a new design until I got and wore that dress. Read more…

Update: Beautiful jewelry for word lovers!

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Elizabeth and Darcy earrings by Liz Turner

If you follow my Instagram account, you’ve already seen a sneak peek of this beautiful jewelry, designed and made by Liz Turner from books that have fallen into disrepair and are destined for the rubbish bin. I love how Liz chooses words that follow a theme or come from classic literature, like the “Elizabeth” and “Mr Darcy” earrings you see at right. She can even find the words of your choice in a dictionary or another volume and custom-make your own special jewelry, including pendants to wear as single pieces Read more…

Update: “She Coloured” Jane Austen Coloring Book Winner!

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She Coloured cover by Amanda Kastner

Amanda has now produced a simply charming coloring book, featuring 25 of Jane Austen’s most famous quotes in whimsical settings with delightful hand-drawn ink illustrations.The 8.5″ x 11″ book is printed on smooth white 65# paper, which is excellent for colored pencils, pens, markers, and even light watercolor washes! To celebrate Amanda’s achievements, I am hosting a giveaway of a copy of “She Coloured,” and I’ve also got a special coupon code you can use in Amanda’s online shop! Read more…