April 11, 2010

The "Lemonade" Dress

You probably would never guess this about me, but I'm somewhat of a girly-girl.
Which means I like dresses. A lot. :o)

But I'm also a little on the tall side, which makes shopping for dresses a nightmare! The waists are always way too high, and then the hemline hits at an awkward length. It's just not pretty.

So the other day I took matters into my own hands and added fabric to the bottom of a few shirts and tanks. We've all been doing this with our daughters' onesies, so why not do it for ourselves?

I tried it, I loved it, I named it the lemonade dress:

Doesn't it remind you of sunny days and iced lemonade?
Me too!

1. Start with a shirt or tank that fits you well (it won't work as well with a baggy shirt), and some fabric. I like using vintage sheets for mine because then it's already hemmed! Anything to avoid hemming..... :o) You'll need enough fabric for 1.5 x your hip measurement, cut to about 20" in length.
2. Sew the two 20" sides of fabric together, with right sides facing each other.

3. Sew a straight stitch on the longest length, all the way around the top of your skirt piece, and pull one of the threads to gather until the same size as your shirt hem.
4. Pin and sew to the inside of the bottom of your shirt, using a zig-zag stitch. Try to match up your stitches with the shirt's existing hem, and avoid letting your shirt fabric stretch.
5. If you'd like to make a sash (useful for cuteness, and hiding any rumpled seams for the beginner sewer!) Cut a 8" length of fabric that is your hip measurement + 50 inches. You will probably have to piece two together to get the length, which is fine!
6. With right sides together, fold the sash in half length-wise and sew three of the four sides, leaving one end open.
7. Turn the sash right-side-out, fold the edges of the open end under, and stitch closed.
Wrap it around yourself, and tie in a bow!
It's plenty cute without the sash, too!

Or with a bow!
It's kind of like wearing a skirt and shirt, but without worrying about gapping in the back when you bend over, or the dreaded "waistband pooch".

Oh, and by the way! Just because you're not a girly-girl, doesn't mean you can't try it! I think it would be awesome on your favorite tee, with a striped knit on the bottom! And so comfy, too! Maybe these could be "Diet Coke" dresses ;o)



85 comments:

  1. Oh. My. Lands.

    You are GENIUS. I knew I needed some summer dresses for me...and I knew I wanted to use some of my t-shirts that have become too short...but this is AWESOME!!! Thank you!!

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  2. super cute skirts!
    awesome tutorial!
    they are all great, but my favorite is the white lace!
    xo

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  3. This is hilarious. I just made a skirt for church this morning and I called it Pink Lemonade. I was going to post about it when I saw this! haha great minds think alike :)

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  4. I love it very much and you are SO talented!

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  5. You are so amazing! Thanks for the great idea!

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  6. adorable! I love the scissors shirt (I work in a salon), and would piece it with black and white stripes or polka dots so I could wear it to work (dress code is black and white only, except color Thursdays!). Your lace-y white one is gorgeous!

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  7. These are so cute! I'm also on the tall side and have to sew all of my dress, except for the rare dress I find that fits. I'll have to give this a try.

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  8. Yay, sheets - I even have that one! :) You are like a tutorial machine... I love it. Great job! :)

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  9. I love it! I just made a dress for my daughter like this. Great job Disney!

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  10. I love this idea - so easy, so comfortable, and it looks great!!!
    I had a similar idea to do this with a blouse (http://theopulentpoppy.blogspot.com/2010/02/shirtwaist-dress.html) and make a shirtwaist dress out of it : )
    I really like your Lemonade Dress. The floral print is so Spring!!!

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  11. I have the same problem with dresses. :) Your dress looks great; I love it! I'm going to try to make one. :)

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  12. great idea!! I just loveee the all white one, beautiful :)

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  13. Another winner!!! I am so excited with all of these new ideas for skirts. I am a girly girl, too; so this is perfect.

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  14. Thanks once again for a great tutorial. Adorable and easy to follow.

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  15. I adore your blog! Such creative, easy ideas that anyone can find time to do! A-mazing! Thanks so much for sharing!

    Renee (aka Shalunya)
    http://gypsyshalunya.blogspot.com

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  16. TOO cute!! Stumbled here from crissybell's musing.. Vintage sheets are the BOMB!! I pick 'em up at yard sales, um I MEAN, thrifting. Ton's of great retro material and CHEAP!! Thanks for the tutorial. Adding it to my "create" list right now!
    Glad I found you:)

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  17. very cool! You are a genius! I love that one with the bow.

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  18. i love it!
    question:
    is the middle dress (white with the yellow sweater) made with one piece of fabric on the bottom? or is is a solid white piece of fabric with a sheer piece sewn over the top?

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  19. Splendid: It's two pieces; a white cotton, and a white lace that's a couple of inches longer. It's def. my favorite! :o)

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  20. Oh, I llove the flower print fabric, sooo pretty!

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  21. These are so awesome, and they look great on you! Thanks for providing inspiration day after day!
    As a tall lady myself, I'm curious: just how tall are you?

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  22. Love it love it!!! Plus, I am a huge fan of the tip to use sheets, etc. because I'm not a fan of hemming.... I love the green striped one with the yellow... so summery and cute. I think I'm gonna try it! (I have tons of t-s I don't wear anymore and was wondering what to do with them + I was admiring a t-shirt dress at the store the other day, but didn't want to spend the money.... ah-ha!)

    Thanks!!

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  23. They're beautiful especially the 2nd dress...I love the lace. You are so great!

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  24. Mallory: I'm 5'8" (and a half!) :o) Not terribly tall, but just enough to make all my clothes fit funny!

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  25. Oh my gosh!! You are genius! I was just thinking about doing this last week, but didn't have a clue how to do it. Thank you so much for posting this!! In this poor economy, it's nice to have a way to still dress cute.

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  26. Another fabulous post. So many clothes today just aren't long enough in the right places, and I totally know what you're talking about when you mentioned bending over and your backside making an unwanted appearance. I'll have to give this a try!

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  27. So pretty! I was wondering how a "big person" onesie dress would turn out. . . . You've inspired me to try! :) PS the white one is lovely.

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  28. LOVE this! Your dreses are super cute. I'm going to show this to my daughter :)

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  29. This is adorable. I will definitely be making this when I go back home. :)

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  30. woow such a great idea!!! u are a genius...

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  31. what a wonderful tutorial.. as ussual!!!!
    i have the same problem but the other way round, i am quite short, so sometimes i have a bit of a difficoult time finding dreses that suit me well.
    kisses disney!!!

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  32. Love it! Never thought of sewing the skirt UNDER the shirt hem, thanks! Question about the zigzap hem: for maximum stretch do you use a small or large zigzag and what length is best?

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  33. I am loving this idea! I would probably add some ruffles or something to the shirt though! I always have a hard time finding dresses with enough sleeve on them, so this would be perfect! Use a shirt that you already like! Love the sash too! This is definitely going on my project wish list. (And I need to find a sheet to use as well, since I'm no fan of hemming either!) Thanks!!!!

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  34. Honestly! If I just went and tried to sew an old bed cover to a t-shirt, I would look ridicolous. If you do the same, you look ladylike and pretty, it´s just not fair! :-)So maybe I´ll have to try this after all. Especially as I am one of those girls who have a freakishly long waist = all tshirts are too short! Thanks for the encouragement!

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  35. hi disney
    LOVE the dresses, don't love that paige is sick (no fun at all, speaking from experience here) and i really like that you sew for yourself AND for your girl. i haven't ventured into sewing for myself yet and i really could use it as i am 6.2 tall and no store bought dress fits, only skirts and tops separate.
    keep up the good work on your blog, i read it every day and it's a great source of creative inspiration.
    barbara

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  36. Great look. I was looking for something you made yesterday and had to look so hard to find it. You need to update your tutorials page and add these refashions you've been doing to it so they are easier to find! Thankfully I found what I was looking for.

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  37. Wow, your amazing. I read your blog and wish I could sew like you. I get as far as buying the beautiful fabric and having on my shelf and think one day I might get the hang of it. Thanks for all you sewing ideas and tips.

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  38. Thank you, thank you! I've been wanting to do this, but wasn't quite sure how to get it to look good. I love your style. I'm a tall girly-girl too so I really appreciate dresses that cover me while I chase my kids. You are awesome. :)

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  39. How clever are you?! I like this idea because it keeps the shirt from riding up in the front and exposing a bit of tummy when lifting your arms. That's always bad in inappropriate places, like at work or in a more conservative environment. I remember at work, i'd have to reach something off a high shelf with one hand and hold my shirt down w the other, annoying!

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  40. Hey Disney, this is nuts 'cuz I don't even know you, but... last night I had a dream we were thrift store shopping together! Thanks for all the inspiring ideas. You're a doll.

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  41. Disney!! Oh My Crazy Goodness!!
    I have been searching for THAT vintage sheet for a year.. I got a fat quarter last spring in that pattern and have put in on a patchwork scarf and made a bracelet with the rest..it simply makes me happy..so pleasing to my senses.. by any chance would you still have any extra lemonade at the stand??:) I would be so happy to pay for any remnants you may have...
    joyfully His...
    Joy
    ps...BEAUTIFUL DRESS!!! LOVE THE SASH!!! Drool..Sigh!!

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  42. Anonymous: Thanks so much for the suggestion! I actually updated them all last night, coincidentally! I'm sorry it took me so long, life just gets busy sometimes, I'm sure you understand! :o)

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  43. I love your blog! I have "waist issues" too, this is a great idea, thanks for sharing, (again)!!

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  44. Wow...it always amazes me how you seem to read my mind. My 17 year old has been asking me to attempt some dresses for her. She is quite jealous of all the little skirts I am making for her sisters. I thought I would start with a tank and create the skirt...since I am a novice! Thanks for the tutorial!

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  45. seriously! of course i love this, but am dying to know.... how did you know that i have been scowering the local thrift stores for fabulous vintage sheets to use for projects like this!? you are always ahead of the re-purposing trend! LUV you!
    ~selina

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  46. Love it! It's cute AND it solves potential wardrobe malfunctions - yay!

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  47. That is exactly my problem! I'm tall and long waisted so dresses off the rack never fit me right! Thanks for the tutorial.

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  48. oooh, so pretty!! ALL of them!! I love all the different looks you can get with the same basic dress style.

    I linked to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:
    http://sewing.craftgossip.com/tutorial-make-a-lemonade-dress-from-a-t-shirt-and-yardage/2010/04/12/

    --Anne

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  49. this is my first visit! i'm following now. =)

    i don't even sew, but i'm following. i love everything that much!

    i love that your name is disney. my name is love. i wish i would have embraced it my whole life instead of lamenting about it in 5th grade.

    looking forward to reading more!

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  50. Super easy idea that looks great! Here in Australia its going into Winter so I'm thinking I might try this with a long sleeve T ;)

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  51. Love it!! Been looking for some fabric to go with my justice league tee I just bought...now I can't claim the idea was mine alone LOL!!!

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  52. Great dress. I could see wearing that. I love that there would be no gap when you reach up. As a teacher that is fabulous. I feel like I am always having to find longer shirts so when I reach up I don't show tummy :)

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  53. What a lovely fabric for your lemonade dress! I liked the one with lace skirt a lot. thanks for sharing your tip. /Therese

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  54. Somehow you managed to make t-shirt dresses fashionable. I'm impressed.

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  55. Haha...diet coke dresses! I love the white one with your yellow cardi.

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  56. This is so cute Disney! I really appreciate your tutorials. They are so simple, cute, and practical. I've had some t-shirts hanging in my sewing room, now I know what I want to do with them!

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  57. darling. i love!!! my mom always makes these for my little nieces and nephews but never thought of making them for myself! you are amazing!

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  58. Tried it today! I linked up your tutorial to my blog. Thanks for posting! :)

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  59. Finally! Thank you! There's so much cuteness out there for the little ones....like pillowslip creations...and little for the mommas.
    I'm going to try this and will let you know if it works out. The big difference here is not just sewing skills but that I am a plus sized person...which adds a whole new dimension.
    Thanks for the new creation and inspiration!

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  60. This is the cutest! I think I might just have to make one for me and one for my daughter!! I also featured it in my DIY roundup yesterday. Thanks so much for sharing!!

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  61. And I'm flattered that you look at my blog (to notice that I featured this) lol. Seriously though, what a fun idea, love it!

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  62. I must say that the model steals the show. You really are an inspiration - be it be for looks or for crafts. Love your style. And I loved the pink tee a lot. :-)

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  63. I finally made mine...and blogged it!
    http://lolo-craft.blogspot.com/2010/05/thing-20-lemonade-dress.html

    I'm teaching friends how to make them this week, too. :-) Your dresses are going to take over New England. hehe

    Thanks again!

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  64. love it but then again, you make a ton of great stuff. thanks for sharing.

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  65. My mom used to make these for us when we were little girls/young teens. But, try as I might, I cannot seem to keep the shirts (or onesies) from stretching out. (My 3-year-old still has the one I made for her sister at her age, before giving up and leaving the rest of my fabric for these in storage, and calls it her "potato sack dress.") Do you have any tips for this? I would so love to be able to sew on knits, but I've been completely unsuccessful so far!

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  66. So i'm working on a project for church and i decided to use your pattern.(thanks for putting it up bytheway!)i started it about a month back and just picked it up again. >__< My birthday is this month and im determined to finish it by then. i went to a goodwill and found a lime green blouse and a beautiful polkadotted (twin) sheet. i had to adjust the shirt because it was too low, but was wondering where you got your fabric from? I exspecially love the yellow jacket and lace one, which seems to be a popular choice. you could sell these they are so darling! is there a way to send you the pics? id like you to see the finished product!

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  67. lovve it soo much!

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  68. hey Disney, how old are you? do you have kids? you look like a teenager!

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  69. can you use elastic in the waist? i dont understand how to gather
    >__<

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  70. Brilliant! Love your idea of using vintage sheets also.
    I am really enjoying your blog and am happy to be a new follower. Thanks!

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  71. What a cute idea, especially not having to sew a hem, my least favorite sewing task! I stumbled across your site following a link from AllFreeSewing and almost freaked out when I saw your "vintage" fabric as I still have that exact sheet set I used on my bed as a child! My mom sent them to me thinking I could use them on my girls' beds, but even repeated washings won't remove the powerful cedar smell from the chest they were stored in for 30+ years! Anyway, I plan on trying this idea out with some other fabric in my pile - love it! God Bless!

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  72. I'm sure you know, but this is pure genius! I followed the link from AllFreeSewing.com also. I am tall too, and the waists never work out quite right when I try on dresses. And, I am so long in the torso that it is hard to find a t-shirt long enough, and 50% of the ones I do find long enough shrink! Eeeekk! So now I have a solution for my pile of too short t-shirts. Thank you so much!

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  73. Question: Okay so I'm not tall by a long shot, but I am plus sized with a long torso and plus sized dresses make me look pregnant. And plus sized tshirts are just way too short for me. I was trying to 'fix' the tshirts by cutting out the neckline which would work for one day, but I don't want to buy 6 dollar disposable shirts. Ugg. Do you think that this dress idea would work for me?

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  74. Hi There
    This is Ity here. I am so glad I bumped into your blog. I love your ideas. I am myself a bit of a sewing person, but not at all so good as you are. I loved your apron ideas and the idea of the t-shirt frock. I am soon going to try it. I myself have a blog, if you fancy just stop by. I am sure one day you will see some stuff made by me inspired from your blog. http://oppositetheshivmandir.blogspot.com/
    Thanks for your hard work on your blog, I am sure so many women like me have found happniess in doing little things.
    take care
    ity

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  75. I know this tutorial is a couple years old so pardon my being late but....I have a question....When you attached the skirt to the t, you didn't put right sides together? You just literally attached it with the skirt under the bottom of the t? Does my question made sense? It does in my mind but not sure it's coming across right.

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  76. Carolyn: Yes, that's correct. I wanted to make a dress with a long enough torso, so I wanted the full length of the shirt. And I wanted the original hem of the t-shirt to show on the outside. You could put right sides together as well, though, of course!

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  77. I'm somewhat tall, which isn't the problem. I have a classic "Rubenesk" figure, which is a nightmare for ANY type of clothes shopping. Ergo, I learned to sew. :-) I love this idea, especially since my daughter is now topping 5'10 and has wide shoulders, my hips and her father's chest. (Clothes shopping is a nightmare for her, too!) I can see her wearing something like this, as she's not really into frills, but likes comfortable, especially in the summer. :-)

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  78. This is just an amazing idea!!!. SOOO simple for every one, every level to enjoy. Very Budget friendly as well.
    Thanks for so many amazingly simple yet functional and Beautiful ideas!!!

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  79. Love this!! I could never find a skirt that fits me just the way I like it! Can't wait to give this a try! Very Excited!

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  80. I've been toying with the idea of making a t-shirt dress for quite some time and now I have no excuse not (thank you to a friend that introduced me to your blog)to make one except I have to find just the right fabric. I have been scouring the thrift store(only one in town and no fabric store thanks to WM) for just the right sheet to make my skirt out of. I have also been watching at WM for some to go on clearance that would work. I figure I could get 2 or maybe even 3 skirts to go on t-shirts out of one large sheet. I was thinking about using white t-shirts and dying them to match some of the colors in the sheet so they all wouldn't look alike. I would really like to find a vintage sheet to do this with because they are so much prettier than the ones you get now.

    I also have a problem similar to yours with the length. I like to wear my skirts/dresses/jumpers down to my ankles or close to them. This pattern may not go quite that long but I just don't like short dresses/skirts/jumpers that show off much of my legs. I try to dress very modestly, but I LOVE your pattern and I will be trying it very soon. Thank you again for the tutorial and the pattern.
    Hugs, Paula
































































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