Monthly Archives: January 2014

The Wine Country Tunic

Oh, boy, it’s been a few weeks! This is what happens when you visit the West Coast, you get sucked into their laid back attitude. Now I’m all like, hey, man, whatever, I’m just loving life and letting the world come to me. Go with the flow, am I right?

I’m just kidding, that’s insane. I can’t even pretend that that’s something that would happen. I would never do anything like that. That’s madness. What’s even the point? How do you get anything done? When did being laid back and relaxed become a good thing? Because honestly it just sounds like a huge barrier to productivity to me. If you aren’t consumed by the constant anxiety that you could be doing more with your time, what is your life even about? How do you get up in the morning without high levels of neurosis is a mystery I will never understand. But because it’s become cool or whatever to be that way, I’m constantly like this:

parks-and-recreation-animated-gif-giphy-1390624547n4kg8-1 (dragged) copyALL THE TIME. I’M ON ICE I’M SO COOL. RIGHT? RIGHT?

Nope. Stupid relaxation. What is the deal with that? I have the heartbeat of a hummingbird through a combination of caffeine and self doubt, and I’m proud of it! Right?

I did have a great time in San Francisco, though! It’s so nice there, I’m naming it an honorary East Coast City, like Chicago, or Austin. YOU’RE WELCOME, all three cities. Dreams equal realized, am I right? Probably not. Still, the point is, I liked it out there, despite this despicable “hey man whatever” situation that seems to have infected the cultural zeitgeist like a venereal disease moving through a shared room during spring break in Cancun. Okay, real world example, I went to a fancy market to buy a popsicle (it was WARM there, okay! A nice albeit brief change from the rather brisk weather we are facing here in Nueva York) and when I got to the cashier, she asked me the price, and when I told her what I thought I remember from the label in the frozen case, she just BELIEVED ME AN RANG IT UP AS THAT. What. The. What. I could have been LYING! She didn’t KNOW me! I mean, goodness, who does that? It’s a small independent business! Every penny counts! Don’t trust me with numbers, lady, what’s-his-face tried to explain derivatives to me the other day and despite his stellar and lengthy explanation if you put a gun to my head and asked me to explain them to you I would be dead by now. That is a truth fact.  You want me to talk about Pushkin or Rushdie or Italian history or Argentine culture or 12th century English politics? I’m your girl. You want numbers? No. I got nothing. The point is, San Francisco. It’s a very nice place but who can possibly trust people who trust other people that much? It’s just absurd.

Still, it’s nice out there, they have fun hills to climb and beautiful houses from the Victorian era (and not a lot from much earlier because…California) and great produce of course, the best part, wine. Lots of wine. Whole valleys of it. Grapes fermenting as far as the eye can see. Obviously I loathed such a thing because wine is not the thing I love more then being as neurotic as I am. Wine is not the only rival my cat has for my affection. Wine is not the best thing there is. ON OPPOSITE DAY. Duh. So, we went to wine country.

I like it there. Because….wine. I had been to Napa once before so this time when Sonoma was proposed, I couldn’t have been more thrilled. And like I do, I forced my companions to shoot my newest creation. Because nothing goes as well with a California Chardonnay as a homemade tunic!

WCT 1Ha, you can see the shadow of what’s-his-face. Classic. So, the pattern is Butterick 5548, which I’ve made once before. The fabric is leftover lining from my coat attempt, an Anna Maria Horner lawn. Having made it once before the process was awfully easy and fast, and I figured this tunic business would be popular on the West Coast. I have no real evidence of this being true, but I liked it!

WCT 3The original one I made was always a little tight in the shoulders, so I added half an inch on both sides, problem solved!

WCT 5All the seams are French. Oh, la la.

WCT 6I love this print. I love love love it. There is a bit of bust dart shaping but mostly it’s a pretty loose comfortable easy fit with no closures. Fantastic.

WCT 7I seamed the back together for fabric efficiency and the print is so busy that it looks just fine, but I didn’t get any good photos, sorry.

More important than this outfit, there was a bunch of wine. How did I feel about all these wonderful wine tastings we attended?

WCT 2Um, swooning with happiness, duh. What else is there?

Of course, sometimes the people you ask to snap shots of you get a little camera happy, mad with the power. And then this happens:

WCT 4And that’s just the gesture I would make to the West Coast “too cool to care” vibe. That’s enough of that, silly West. Back to the place where happiness is a luxury, not a requirement, and people know that if you’re not nervous, you’re not trying.

It’s good to be home.

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Filed under Butterick Patterns, Life, Sewing, Travel

The All Over Ireland Scarf

This is just a quick post for you all in between writing one play and another, but I wanted to share a small project I actually was able to complete on my vacation to Ireland! Start to finish, this puppy is handmade in Ireland. I had promised my father, an inveterate clothes-horse, a scarf, for Hanukkah, but had had zero time to actually do the thing. But I had bought the yarn, and had a feeling I might have some time to knit as we drove around the Irish countryside. Some might have taken the time to look out the window, but I’ve actually SEEN sheep before, so….

So here it is, a nice easy project I’ve made many times now in my very favorite yarn, Manos de Uruguay:

AOI 4

The pattern is a free one from Loop Yarns, my favorite Philadelphia yarn store (and this is obviously my favorite father, so it’s all about favorites with this project!) called the Montana Scarf. My father has no particular affinity for Montana but I knew he would like this scarf, and he does!

AOI 1I made it shorter then I normally would have because my mother insisted that it would stretch with time, which, I mean, she’s right, but it still felt kind of weird. I actually finished this on the flight back from Ireland while watching Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters. This is a terrible movie. Please don’t watch it. But if you do watch it, please keep in mind that Nathan Fillion is a good man and we can’t blame him for wanting to make some money. Also, I interned this summer at a place where Alexandra Daddario used to intern before she got on White Collar so the point is look for me soon on White Collar, am I right?

SCARF. It was easy to knit. I don’t know what else to say. Scarves are whatever. But this yarn is just the best, I love the way it shifts in colors:

AOI 2So there you go, a simple gift for my father, a man who loves shopping, so giving him something like this almost seems mean. He seemed into it, though, and what else can I do? At least he has a nice reminder of our trip!

AOI 3See? Always looking on the bright side, my father.

There you go, something very quick and easy but loved. Handmade gifts can be that way sometimes, simple but oh so satisfying!

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Filed under Knitting, Travel

Sewing for Small People updates and a giveaway!

First things first, here is the badge! I figured it out! I know it’s not as nice as someone who actually has skills in this department but whatever, guys, I’m excited!

It looks like this:

SFSPSA

 

And here is the link:

I cannot for the life of me figure out how to put this in a little code box. I have looked at and tried to use so many tutorials to help me do this and all have failed (well, I guess I have failed, the tutorials are just fine, I’m just a technologically illiterate struggle.) So hopefully this is good enough for you guys!

So I have just returned from the Emerald Isle with some giveaway treats for you guys, and some new links and free ideas to play with! First of all, some new free stuff from the great and powerful interwebs:

capsleevedress3 TOMS+side _MG_0481 DSCN2265 charlie1 CRW_8347 mila3+with+IDI know, the adorable never stops. Now, for some goodies! First of all, ripped right off the backs of Irish sheep, we have this lovely treat for one lucky reader!

SFSPG 3Of course I had to pick green, come on, it was Ireland! This is a DK (I think) wool from Donegal Wool Spinning Company, and it’s 214 yards. So it would be perfect for something like this:

58-07-babyschuhchen-miniOr this insanely adorable little set:luring_sett

But that’s not all! No, I also have this for you, two vintage patterns!

SFSPG 1Oh so adorable for a young lady….

AND

SFSPG 2That is some 1970’s style right there, but with modern materials I think it could be pretty damn cute.

So comment to win any and all of these exciting prizes! Just leave a comment for which one you want (and if you want all of them, say that too!) and I will pick a winner after the giveaway closes a month from now, on February 10th!

 

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Filed under Giveaway, Sewalong, Sewing, Vintage

The From India to Ireland Shirt

I was recently at the Met with my friend Becca checking out their latest, rare, textile show. Because the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s costume wing has been closed for renovation for, well, forever, the costume exhibits are few and far between, it’s always very exciting when they have something going up that has a costume slant, and this particular exhibit was pretty amazing, it was a really cool look at European trade in India, Japan and China between 1500 and 1800, and the ways that European tastes effected Asian textile production, and visa versa. Really amazing objects and cloth, and if I had been able to take photos inside I would have to show you, but you will just have to trust me on this one.

Now, I don’t know if a ton of that trade made it to Ireland, but I can personally attest to the fact that one piece of Indian cloth recently say Ireland’s emerald shores, and that’s because I brought it there, in shirt form. Check it out:

ITI 1Just about a year ago now, what’s his face brought me a bunch of amazing spectacular fabulous fabrics from India, and this was the last of them, and my personal favorite. The other two projects can be found here and here, if you are curious. All of these fabrics were wonderful and a joy to work with, but this was the one I was most excited about and, typical of me, the one I wanted to deal with last, because I wanted to make sure I could make something good enough for this awesome fabric. So once I nailed down my Archer skills on my last jaunt with Grainline Patterns delightful shirt pattern, I thought, there it is, do that thing. This fabric is nice and a good shirt weight, and I thought that the lovely little figures dancing all over it might like being on an Archer. I only want to sew something the fabric also consents to, you know?

ITI 2

The cutting of this made the repeat a little off, but you know what, whatever with that, I kind of like it, and my mom liked the asymetrical look. In fact, these photos were taken in the National Gallery, a nice small museum with THIS amazing painting (WORTH GOING FOR THAT ALONE), and a very sweet Irish woman came up to me during our imprompteau photo shoot to tell me how much she liked my shirt! How nice is that? The Irish are a kind kind people, it almost makes me sad I’m not one of them.

ITI 4This shirt was very easy to put together, especially because I had already used the pattern once and remembered Jen’s amazing tutorials. I love this pattern. I’m a true convert. I want to go to China or the Amazon and preach about it. I want the Crusades to come back in style so I can go and tell the world about this pattern and, and this part is important, NOT KILL ANYONE. The ONLY thing I would change for next time would be to make it a little smaller but that is literally it. Nothing else. It’s so good I could cry. So comfortable. So flattering. Tell your friends. Spread the message. Get the good word out there. Archer for life!

ITI 6This fabric is just so baller though. I love a conservative style in a wild print, don’t you?

ITI 9What else is there to say that has not been said, shouted from the mountaintops about this blessed pattern? I love the cuffs, and the placket looks so good and is SO not hard. I’ve seen a bunch of versions where people have been topstitching the cuffs, I’m going to try that next time. I used white thread on this which I think was a nice look, a little nerve wracking but I had faith in the great and powerful Archer to see me through. ITI 8The buttons were vintage ones I got for free. They are some kind of shell or something, not plastic. A little collar shot for you so you can see my collar stand. I hope it’s nice enough that it makes YOUR collar stand. HEYo!

ITI 3That’s what she said! That’s what she said! 

ITI 7A little fabric close up for you. SO pretty, no? I love this. I’ve never seen anything like it, it’s the coolest.

ITI 5

Oy, weird grimace. What is the deal with my face? Okay, ignore that, look at the shirt! Look at the shirt!

So the point is, I made my own little textile exchange happen, through my love of this fabric and the Archer. Now I’m back on US soil, having waved a fond goodbye to Ireland after a lovely trip. In a little over a week I’m off to San Francisco but before then I promise there will be a plethora of sew-along updates as soon as I get back to Brooklyn, and some treats and giveaways! Now, wont that be fun? Not as fun as this shirt, but then, what could be?

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Filed under Clothing, Grainline Patterns, Sewing, Travel

The Touch Of The Irish Sweater

It’s the strangest thing, but when I told people I was going to Ireland many of them asked if I was visiting family. It’s not that it would be weird for me to visit family, though I don’t have any in Ireland whatsoever, I don’t know what the Russian Jewish or Puerto Rican populations of Ireland are but I can’t imagine they are bounteous. Perhaps I’m being dreadfully unfair here, and if so I’m awfully sorry, and there is an Irish Jewish Museum here, as a quick google search reveled to my mother and I, but the point is, no, I have no family in Ireland. But it’s not the implication that I would or wouldn’t have family here that surprised me, it’s that people asked. On few other trips I’ve been on has anyone asked me if I was visiting family, which makes me think that’s a thing, many Irish people must come back here to see family or their home town or where their ancestors ate potatoes stuffed inside potatoes on top of potatoes. I’m kidding, the food has been lovely, actually. But the point is, I just think that’s sort of funny that people seem to immediately ask that question about Ireland. Because my family is many things, but Irish isn’t one of them.

That being said, my mom used to get asked if she was Irish all the time. She had sort of auburn hair when she was younger, and she has pale skin and freckles, so I guess she looked the part, and besides, she looks amazing in many shades of green (She’s an autumn). So when I told her I would make her a sweater this year for a (very) belated Hanukkah present, I thought I could make something that would both fit the woman and this trip, as I had a suspicion I might be furiously knitting as we drove across hill and dale. And as it turns out, I know myself very well, because I ended up finishing this sweater literally as we drove about the Ring of Kerry on the 31st of December! So I got it in just under the wire for 2013, that’s something, at least. My mother was amazed, she was sure she would get it for NEXT Hanukkah. Oh ye Deborah of little faith…It’s not that my mom doesn’t think I’m a fast knitter, it’s just that she KNOWS sweaters take forever, and I think she felt guilty about me making her a gift that takes so much time and effort. But if she could gestate me for 9 months and then push me through her body and out into the world, I can make her a damn sweater or five, am I right?

At any rate, the sweater was one thing, convincing my mom to allow me to photograph it was another. So many battles, so little time. But I did it! I made a sweater AND I got my gorgeous mom to pose for me! Victory lap! So let’s see this 6 week long endevor, shall we?

TOTI 1The pattern is a free pattern (FREE PATTERN!) from Berocco, Avocet B, a really nice simple well designed open cardigan. I ended up changing the garter stitch to stockinette stitch, but making no other changes, except, well, I guess because I didn’t use the recommended yarn I just ended up with TWICE as much yarn as I needed by buying the number of skeins suggested. So that was…odd, and I’m not sure what to do with the 5 extra skeins of Berroco Vintage Yarn I now have in this color, Douglas Fir. It’s not a great one for me, sigh, so…

TOTI 3My mom is the cutest. We took these photos on a woodland walk through the grounds of Ashford Castle, a really lovely place.

TOTI 7She loves this cardigan, she was very happy to have it and even happier that I finished it in such (for me) record time. The sleeves ended up a bit long, but otherwise the fit is perfect for her, by her own admission.

TOTI 5She grumbled a bit that I made her take off her coat in the middle of the woods, and what you can’t see from these photos is that my dad is nearby holding all our stuff. Thanks, Papi.

TOTI 8

See? Awesome color for her.

TOTI 9I like this collar detail a lot. You knit these extensions in the side pieces and seam them together into a collar that kind of rolls away from the neck. Simple yet very pretty, I think. In general I found this pattern totally easy to follow and clear, and I’m pretty pleased that a free pattern was this well made and transparent. Why can’t sewing patterns be more like that? I’m looking at you, BurdaStyle!

TOTI 10A little close up of the yarn for you. It’s actually a bit darker than this, but here you can see the gold in the green. It was actually pretty nice to knit with, the acrylic/wool blend is really nice and soft.

TOTI 2As reluctant as she initially was, my mom really got into the posing by the end. She would be the best model. Call Gucci, he should know about this!

The woodland walk was just beautiful, want to see?

TOTI 11 TOTI 12 TOTI 13 TOTI 15 TOTI 16And I knew the whole time that my mom was nice and warm and cozy in her new sweater! She might not have a touch of the Irish in her blood, but at least now she has it in her wardrobe. Not too shabby, right?

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Filed under Berocco, Clothing, knit, Knitting, Travel

The in Grape in Galway Skirt

The castle behind us, we took off this morning for Dublin once again. I have to say, I was fairly thrilled, I’m a city person and while the Irish countryside is just lovely, it’s in Dublin’s fair city where I have been longing to be. Though even urban little me must admit, our tours of the narrow roads and dirt paths of Western Ireland have had some excellent views. Of course, the idea of driving for hours, which we’ve been doing, just FOR a view sometimes strikes me as a bit of madness, but what is Ireland for but a bit of madness, right? How could this country have produced Samuel Beckett, Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, and WHISKEY, without an eye towards insanity? When in Rome…

So we did quite a few countryside jaunts, and I, of course, had to wear something new, I mean, the sheep need to be impressed! So along our terrifying but beautiful drive around the Ring of Kerry, I wore this skirt I recently made, and tried to snap some photos, but the wind and the mist and the salt spray of the ocean all contributed to a struggle of a photo shoot. So I got new photos taken in Galway, and this post will therefore be a mix of those two sessions. Luckily, this is the kind of garment that wants a bit of swish when you wear it, don’t you think?

GIG 1It’s a circle skirt! I’ve been wanting to make myself one for a while and I had enough fabric left over from my Well The Point Is It Happened Coat, and I thought, okay, let’s do this thing. They do take up an awful lot of fabric, I will say, but they make up for it in swish factor. And I am all about the swish factor!

GIG 2So much skirt! Yeah, those are some pockets. Because why not? With a skirt this full, pockets are a must. I totally do recognize that I am in all purple tones here, hence the title of the skirt. I wore this outfit in, can you guess? The seaside town of Galway, a beautiful city that didn’t seem to mind my many grape-like tones one bit.

I also wore this on the Ring of Kerry:

GIG 5That’s some wind factor, there.

GIG 6In retrospect I recognize that maybe the issues with these photos weren’t the skirt but my HAIR.

GIG 4I don’t know what to say about the construction of this, really. It was a very simple skirt, I pinked all the seams, added pockets, hand-picked a zipper up the back, cut a waistband and put in a button that weirdly matches the coat! Hahah, I am awfully predictable. I didn’t use a pattern for this, I used one of the ten million tutorials online calculating the shape based on my waist measurement. I hung it overnight and then hand stitched the hem. HOLY MOLEY does that take a long time. I was furiously stitching it right before I left New York for Philadelphia and I have no idea how I got it done. This fabric hangs a bit strangely and drapes soooo much, but in real life I adore this.

GIG 7Because you can do this! There is nothing like a circle skirt for the twirl factor, I promise you. There might be people who don’t make things just for the twirl factor but such people are fools, in my humble opinion.

GIG 3There you go, it’s an easy enough project but I’m awfully glad I made it, I love a full skirt and I love that a circle skirt has fullness in the hem but is relatively smooth through the hips, it’s the grail.

GIG 9Oscar Wilde really liked it. And if THAT guy is happy, you know you are doing something right. Write. Right. Write. Right. GET IT?

Ahem. Excuse me. Moment of extreme hero-worship/dorkiness over. Wilde took one look at me, quoted himself: “Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.”and then turned back into bronze.

Now, for more Ring of Kerry shots, for those who like that sort of thing:

GIG 10 GIG 11 GIG 12 GIG 14 GIG 15 GIG 16 GIG 17 GIG 18

Nice, right?

I realized recently that my favorite shot has been conspicuously lacking from my blog posts. So I’m bringing it back!

GIG 8THERE it is! I’ve missed that, haven’t you? Jumpshot! Best thing ever! Oh, how I’ve missed you….how much fun does that look? Nevermind the looks I got from passersby and a pair of VERY judgemental swans (swans are jerks. Fact.) The jumpshot is the most fun, and I’m happy I did it. Thanks, Galway!

Stay tuned for more updates from the land of Aran. Now, where was that whiskey I was talking about?

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Filed under Clothing, Sewing, Travel

The Old Hat Outfit

As I write this I’m sitting in an impossibly fancy cocktail lounge in an impossibly beautifully and grand castle that has been converted into a hotel in Western Ireland. I have no idea what I’m doing here, and I really hope no one kicks me out. This place is stunning and elegant and I keep swirling my cognac like I know what I’m doing and hoping no one notices that my shoes are from H and M. Suffice to say, 2014 is going wonderfully for me so far, how is everyone else doing?

I didn’t do a year-in-review post this year, partially because I was traveling, and partially because I couldn’t really stomach the idea of summing up my year of sewing/life (in that order) in just one post. I have learned so much over the past year, from my continuing work at the Costume Shop, to sewing for other people with its challenges and delights, to trying new projects for myself, I can hardly contain it all. I made a coat! I made yoga pants! I made three swimsuits! (One was for my mom so you didn’t get to see that, she isn’t as brazen as I am, though she looks really good in a swimsuit, never fear.) I traveling a lot of places! I forced so many good friends to take photos of me and, and this part is important, they still say they like me! So I feel happy about what I did, sad for the failures, but I can honestly say that anything that didn’t work on my I either gave away to the Salvation Army or to the Textile Recycling in my neighborhood. I also made the shift to recycling all my fabric scraps, large and small, at the Textile Recycling as well, which makes me feel amazing. So big days.

But I will say, I did not keep my sewing resolutions all that well, or at least one of them. I had vowed last year not to make the same pattern over and over again and yet I think I have done that more this year then ever before. I guess I sort of unintentionally reverse-pyschologied myself. So, well done, self, but also, you are silly. Honestly, maybe this is just a part of growing up, that you realize there are certain things you reach for over and over so you had better make yourself a bunch of those because that’s the best thing for your wardrobe and your getting-dressed-sanity. Is this boring? Maybe. Is it practical? Certainly. Don’t get me wrong, I also tried and will keep trying new patterns, but I think I will also stop beating myself up when I make another of something I love. I might not always document it, but I plan to keep making certain things again and again for the simple reason that I love them, they look good on me, and if it ain’t broke…

So without further ado, I present to you my new Old Hat Outfit, worn on a visit to Kilmainham Gaol, in Dublin:

OH 2Do I even have to say this at this point? The skirt is obviously Simplicity 4529. I really need to make another skirt pattern. OR DO I? I don’t know. I love this thing. Ten darts. Curves for days. Kick pleat. Less than a yard of fabric. I may never stop making this. NEVER.

OH 5I only dislike how shirts create a roll underneath pencil skirts. How do I avoid this? Any ideas? The shirt is a Hemlock from Grainline Patterns. I’ve made, like, five of these. It’s a great pattern. I slim them all down and get them out of about a yard of knit fabric. Ha, two yards, one outfit! Style for yards! Don’t groan, that was brilliant. Can’t stop, wont stop.

OH 4It was so cold when we took these but my mom warmed me by making my laugh at myself. She is the best.

OH 8

I was a little worried about the stripes of this fabric, a Costume Shop freebie, by the by, with all the many darts happening here, but somehow it worked pretty well! You can see the darts, of course, but I don’t really mind that. I mind more the small dish soap smudge there, but what can you do? At the side, in an earlier photo, you can see that the large hip dart kind of makes a chevron thing happen, which I personally support.

Oh 6As you can see, I put in a red zipper. Which is showing, quite a bit. I hand-picked it, and it really doesn’t usually show this much, or at all, I promise. Maybe it’s all the hip sass happening here? Could be, could be.

OH 7

The button is a vintage button.

OH 1

This skirt is so warm and cozy, I can’t even describe it. No lining, just soft wool.

OH 3

The fabric from the shirt is from GirlCharlee.com. Obviously. That’s kind of a give-in with my knits at this point, honestly.

OH 10I forced my mother to take these photos (I tell you, that woman is a Jewish Saint, I swear, the princess moments about photos that she puts up with from me. With anyone else I’m like, it’s great, so great, thank you so much, and with my mom I’m like, DO THIS BETTER, GOD, haven’t you ever used a CAMERA before? This woman gave birth to me. What is my deal?) in the courtyard of the former Royal Hospital, which is now the Irish Museum of Modern Art. We didn’t actually go inside this museum because homie don’t play that with contemporary art (but you get me near some 17th century something something and baby, we got a stew going!) but it’s right across from Kilmainham Gaol, a large prison which has housed some of Ireland’s most important political prisoners and rebellious heroes. It’s an amazing place, and if you ever come here I can’t recommend it enough. Check it out:

OH 12OH 17OH 16OH 15OH 13Grim, isn’t it, and this was a very NICE prison by Victorian standards. Oy.

Okay, enough sadness. here is a cat photo from a nice Irish cat we met:

OH 11So handsome, with those green eyes. Cadfael, forgive me, who can resist a bit of Irish charm?

 

 

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Filed under Clothing, Grainline Patterns, knit, Sewing, Simplicity Patterns, Travel, Vintage