Simple florals (Simplicity 4475)

One dress that I reach for over and over in the spring and summer is my light blue seersucker Simplicity 4475. This is the type of dress I want to wear every day during the summer--sleeves so I don't have to wear a cardigan to work, fitted enough to flatter, but not constrictive, with a full skirt long enough to do all the bending and crouching my job (children's librarian) requires. I also love that I can wear this type of dress with little sneakers and a ponytail for a casual look or espadrilles or wedges and pearls to dress it up a bit. Honestly, it's the easiest possible outfit. At one time, I felt like this was all I was sewing fit-and-flare dresses but looking in my closet, I actually don't have a huge collection of this type of dress, due to purging old makes. Looking back on past Me Made Mays, though, I can see that I love wearing them!

This has the same small modification as my black swiss dot version--a slight small bust adjustment (about 3/8"). This is something that I had been meaning to do since my first version and never bothered to do since it's just a small thing, but it really does make all the difference! This is the best fitting pattern ever, I just love it. I have about 5 or 6 of these by now and love them all.

The fabric is a little cotton lawn from Robert Kaufmann, part of their "London Calling" line, which I think is meant to be reminiscent of Liberty. At about $10/yard, it's so much cheaper. I have to admit though... I treated myself to some Liberty Tana Lawn for my birthday next month to make another of this pattern!


ps: i also have a few stash fabrics that might turn into this pattern as well!

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Me Made May Flowers (Deer and Doe Goji & Harts Fabric Tour)

Thank you to Harts Fabric for providing the materials for this post. See more photos on their blog!

Y'all have seen about 87 versions of the Sewaholic Rae skirt here on the blog so today I'm trying out a similar pattern for comparison, the Goji Shorts and Skirt from French pattern company Deer and Doe. In terms of style these two skirts are very similar--they are both paneled A-line skirts with gathered waistbands. However, the Goji also has pockets and a shorts variation, so if the idea of paying $18 for a super basic skirt pattern seems unreasonable, you can level up to a $20 pattern that comes with a shorts version and pockets!

Both Sewaholic and Deer and Doe both have reliable, high-quality drafting. Although Sewaholic patterns are drafted for pears (and their measurements match mine almost exactly), I've had lots of success with Deer and Doe Patterns in the past as well! This first time making the Goji, I used a lovely soft rayon challis from Harts Fabric as part of their #memademayflowers blog tour! I'm soft for a pretty floral so I couldn't say no. I didn't add a lining or anything since I always wear a slip with my skirts. For more details on the fabric, head over to my blog post on the Harts Fabric blog!

Comparing the pattern pieces from the Rae and Goji, the two patterns are very similar! The Goji skirt is most like view A of the Rae in fullness; I usually make view B/C, the fuller variations. Both have front/back and side panels. The main difference is that the Goji has a separate waistband, while the Rae waistband is all-in-one with the skirt panels. Additionally, the hem of the Goji (shorts and skirt both) are finished with facings, rather than folded under and hemmed that way. That does make the Goji a slightly more challenging sew than the Rae, but both are appropriate for beginner sewers in the right fabric! The main visual difference (besides the pockets, which I left off in this make) is the waistband elastic--the Rae just has one wider elastic casing and the Goji has two rows of elastic and a drawstring for a slightly sporty look.

Although I've made Rae about 100 times and will never let go of my Rae pattern, if you are in the amrket for a new pattern I think the Deer and Doe Goji is a slightly better option just because of the added pockets and the shorts variation. By leaving the pockets off, you can make a skirt that's very similar to the Rae, and either of them are good starting points for my Rae hack tutorial, so why not get the bonus shorts at the same time?


ps: get the fabric here.

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Klum House Maywood Totepack

I mentioned that I wanted to make another Klum House project in my 2019 Make Nine plans so I was obviously so excited when the ladies at Klum House reached out to me to be a reviewer for their latest kit, the Maywood Totepack. I just recently purchased myself a cute Fjallraven backpack and didn't need another backpack at the moment but my husband Alex has been using a ratty old work-swag backpack to lug around all his Dungeons & Dragons gear (books, notebooks, pencils, dice, miniatures, etc.) and it was time for an upgrade. Plus, in waxed canvas and vegetable tanned leather, it totally fits the aesthetic of a roving band of adventurers, don't you think?

As with the Woodland Dopp Kit, the Maywood Kit that Klum House put together was gorgeously packaged, super organized, and contains everything you need to make a professional quality bag. The Maywood is a convertible bag with an ingenious system of straps that allows you to use it as either a backpack or a tote bag. It also has a large internal pocket big enough for a 15" laptop, a front pocket with a magnetic snap, and a zip top to keep all your gear secure!

I did make one large-ish mistake in the construction of this bag--I was so excited about learning my new riveting technique that I got totally carried away and riveted the lining and exterior fabric together in several spots where only the exterior was supposed to be riveted! Klum House's kits do provide extra rivets in case of mistakes but... I had riveted too many rivets to turn back. This made my sewing a little challenging since my fabric was stuck together at spots it was not supposed to be. I would not recommend this--I recommend following the instructions, which clearly state not to do this--but I managed with some wrangling. The end result is that the inside of my backpack isn't quite as tidy as it is intended to be. Everywhere you see leather supports and rivets on the inside, like in the last photo, they should be hidden by the lining.

These kits are not the most affordable afternoon project (for that I'd go with the free Megan Nielsen Acacia undies pattern and some jersey scraps from your stash!) but I do think they are worth the price. First, Klum House does all the hard work of sourcing all the matching notions. They cut and punch all the leather strapping so you don't to invest in a full hide or any leather tools. The even cut the fabric pieces for you, and wrap it all up in a beautifully packaged kit. (Bonus: if you purchase the kit, you also get free access to the virtual class on April 28th.) If you compare the cost of a Klum House kit to, for example, the waxed canvas-and-leather Filson bags my brother collects, it's competitively priced.

It's honestly so satisfying to learn a new skill, and just as when I made my first jeans using a jeans hardware kit, or my first bra using a bra making kit, it's nice to know that you have all the necessary and appropriate gear. Focusing on the skills you are learning without having to second guess your materials is one of those little luxuries in the sewing room!


ps: did i punch through my cutting mat and into my table a little? maybe.

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Little Black Day Dress (Megan Nielsen Sudley)

Just dropping in to let you know I have a guest post up today on the Minerva Crafts blog featuring this sweet and simple Megan Nielsen Sudley dress in black rayon from Atelier Brunette! Click here to read my review.


ps: i also love that this company is called minerva, goddess of arts but also war strategy :)

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Candy Stripe (Sewaholic Granville)

Thank you to Sewing Supply Plus for providing the fabric for this project.

As part of my quest for the perfect fitting oxford shirt, I'm making a few variations, and here is the girliest one by far!

Doing the tiniest fit adjustments here: first, I shortened the sleeve (at the lengthen/shorten line) by 1/4" since the Granville sleeves have always been a tiny bit long on me. Then I did a 1/4" broad shoulder adjustment, which affects the front bodice and back yoke pieces. It only took a few minutes and I don't know why I didn't do it before! I don't actually have broad shoulders (this isn't one of my usual adjustments) but since I plan on wearing this buttoned up all the way, it just gives me a little extra room across the shoulder. I also did the smallest scant 1/4" full bust adjustment (my first FBA ever haha) and slimmed down the hips about 1/2". Overall, it was lot of teeny adjustments that improve the fit almost imperceptibly. I felt confident in making these changes sans muslin because the original Granville fit me pretty well already and none of the changes are that drastic.  You can't really tell in photographs which I why I'm not bothered by just covering up the whole shirt with a sweater :) Y'all have seen 80000 Granvilles from me already.

Unlike the very subtle fit adjustments I made, the design changes I made to this one are pretty obvious! Instead of the Granville collar piece, I cut out a little rectangle and gathered it to make a sweet ruffled neck. Similarly, I shortened the cuff pieces and inserted a little ruffle there as well. I plan on wearing this most underneath a sweater or sweatshirt and having the little ruffles peek out of the neckline and cuffs is just the cutest thing in my opinion. This is a really easy "hack" that changes the whole look of the pattern!

If you want to do the same, here are the dimensions I used on this size 6. You can use roughly the same dimensions on shirts around this size and just gather to fit:
- shortened the cuff by 5/8"
- cut neck ruffle 3 1/4" x 32"
- cut sleeve ruffle 2 1/2" x 16"

To make the ruffles, fold in half lengthwise right sides together, sew short edges, flip right side out, press, two or three rows of basting stitches along open long edge, gather to fit cuff length or collar band length. Super easy!

I love how it looks dressed here, peeking out from underneath my sweater, but this change would also look super cute with a blazer or nicer cardigan and a pencil skirt for a more feminine take on business wear. The fabric I used is a really nice Egyptian Giza cotton oxford shirting from Sewing Supply Plus, and it feels so smooth and wonderful--noticeably nicer than other Oxford cloth I have sewn. It was great to sew and should wear really well--I anticipate wearing this shirt constantly!

I have another length of Sewing Supply Plus oxford cloth with which I was planning to make a classic white shirt, but I love this version so much I'm thinking I should make a ruffle collar Granville in white too--I love the little ruffle peeking out and white would go with everything! Once again, how many Granvilles is too many..?


ps: you can add this ruffle onto any collared shirt pattern!

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Gucci-inspired Bomber Jacket (StyleArc Bobbi + Harts Fabric)

Thank you to Harts Fabric for providing the fabric for this post! 

So a couple of months ago I was casually browsing the Gucci website as one does (they have the most amaaazing florals) and found a super-cute black leather bomber jacket with a ruffle and a bow. A few years ago when everyone was making bomber jackets, they never really appealed to me, but after seeing the Gucci bow collar one I suddenly needed a bomber jacket? a black one? with a bow?

I looked at a bunch of bomber jacket patterns but I went with the Style Arc Bobbi Bomber in part because it was lined and had that nice zip guard and in part since I had never tried a StyleArc pattern and thought it was about time! This pattern company came up a lot recently in the size inclusivity discussions since it's one of those super-productive but less hyped indies (like Jalie) that are just doing their thing and doing it well: the Style Arc size chart goes from a 30-58" bust. (For reference, Cashmerette also goes to a 58" bust.) I made the straight size 8 with no fit modifications. It's actually a bit more oversized than I expected (and definitely less fitted than the Gucci version) and I could probably have sized down to a 6 for a more modern fit, but I prefer this slouchy size--it provides a bit of contrast with the bow and it is very warm and cozy.

The fabric I used is this lovely wool from Harts! It's a very fleecy black wool that was wonderful to sew--it's dense and spongy. I will say if you have a white dog (like me) it will pick up dog hair and never let it go! The ladies at Hart's recommended this fabric for the project and they did a great job helping me pick, as always. It is warm and cozy for the tail end of these chillier spring days and I'm hoping to wear this a few more times before wool melton is too warm for North Carolina weather! (Since I had someone ask on instagram, the front is soft and snuggly but the reverse side is a bit scratchy so I wouldn't suggest using this unlined.)

To make the bow neck instead of the traditional bomber rib knit neckline, I drafted a collar band using my pattern drafting book (I lovvvvve this book wow), and then just topstitched the ribbon onto it. I suggest petersham ribbon in applications such as this because you can easily curve it to fit your pattern piece. I was a bit nervous about wearing the jacket unzipped with ribbons hanging loose, but I actually like it more than I though I would. Since I know that I don't like jackets bunching around my hips, I did lengthen the bottom band slightly so that the hem is not quite so gathered. I also made the cuffs a bit longer in both directions since I love having slightly-too-long sleeves on cozy layers like this one. You can see it covers the palm of my hands instead of stopping at the wrist--I think as written the sleeves are just slightly long but would be held on your wrist by the tighter cuff.

As far as my experience with Style Arc, I really enjoyed the drafting of this pattern, the 3/8" seam allowances, and the completed style, but the instructions are very minimal. (If you've sewn a Burdastyle pattern, the instructions are similar.) For most of the project, this wasn't an issue, but my welt pockets and the lining/zipper are not sewn "correctly" because I could not for the life of me figure out how to interpret the instructions. I will definitely make another Style Arc pattern in the future, but I would suggest sticking to simpler patterns you feel confident sewing without instructions--this is not the time to try a new technique!


ps: that pattern drafting book is the industry standard and i would recommend it not only for people who want to learn to draft patterns, but also people interested in doing any significant amount of pattern hacking! it is very useful and easy to use.

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Boyfriend Shirt (Sewaholic Granville)

The Sewaholic Granville is a a tried and true pattern for me--I've made it loads of times and I wear some version of the pattern at least once a week. A classic oxford shirt is such a wardrobe staple! I recently made a whole bunch of teeny fit adjustments for The Best Shirt Ever and now I'm taking my adjustments OTT for a whole new look!

For this version, I went a fair bit off-piste with my pattern hacking and created my "boyfriend" version of the Granville. This pattern is actually one of the more fitted shirt patterns out there, with bust darts, princess seams in the back, and a slim waist, so it may seem a little counterintuitive to take the Granville as a starting point as opposed to, say, the archer, but I just love how this shirt fits in the shoulders and bust and wanted this shirt to fit like a women's version of a men's shirt, not like an actual men's shirt. I've made the Archer before and I always felt like it swallowed be up! There's a big difference between, for example, the American Eagle "boyfriend jeans" I wore in high school and wearing actual men's jeans, and I always felt like the Archer edged too far towards the "actual men's jeans" end of the spectrum.

I made two major alterations to the shirt to transform it from fitted ladies' shirt to boyfriend-style. First, I added a lot of volume into the back of the shirt--the original has princess seams, and I removed them by grafting the center back and side back pieces together. I also added a bit of extra volume by adding pleats  at the yoke like the ones you see on men's shirts. They are 5/8" deep (a total of 1 1/4" each) because I used the seam allowances from the original pattern pieces. The second and simpler style change I made was to straighten out the side seams some. They aren't entirely straight, still slightly curved, but they are much less dramatic than the Granville as written. I kept the side seams the same above the dart and only changed it from the bust dart down, so that I didn't mess with the fit there or have to alter the dart at all, it's just easier! Then the only thing to keep in mind is having the curve be the same front and back!

I love the way this turned out. I had planned on using my last length of oxford cloth to make a "perfect oxford shirt" with the original Granville style lines, but, like, this is my perfect oxford shirt! I'll save that one for a ruffle collar shirt, I think... I can't wait to show you the pink ruffle shirt I have already made too!


ps: im a shirrrrt machiiine

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#SewnWithHart Pajama Shirtdress (Closet Case Carolyn)

Thank you to Harts Fabric for providing the materials for this post.

My love for Harts Fabric is well-documented on this blog so obviously when they asked me to be a part of #sewnwithhart I said yes, of course, duh, any time!! The awesome ladies at Harts sent over this lovely dark blue railroad stripe shirting and coordinating white cotton for me to try out something new--a Closet Case Carolyn pajama shirt lengthened to a nightshirt!

This cute pinstriped fabric is absolutely the perfect weight and feel for pajamas. In fact, I had asked about several different shirting fabrics and the very nice people there were kind enough to steer me towards this particular one and pick out a white fabric in the same weight to make piping.

To make the top into a dress, I added 8 inches to the hem. If you are less pear-shaped than me, you could probably just add 8 inches and call it a day, but I usually make a size 6 shirt and 10 pants. Since I knew that the Carolyn top would be snug around my hips (I tried to pull it up over my butt and, yeah, no) I ended up mushing it together with the hem of the Sewaholic Oakridge blouse, and then adding 8 inches. The hem of the Oakridge is about half an inch wider than that of the Carolyn, so hacking them together added about 2 inches of circumference to the hips. I don't have a tutorial on how to do this--I literally just overlaid the two patterns and sort of... traced both. I eyeballed it. You know. Also, if you are thinking, "oh, when did you make the Oakridge?" I haven't, I just trust Sewaholic to fit over my hips, so it was convenient.

Other than that, I didn't make any other changes to this pattern, and just skipped the pants entirely! One reason I like making dresses is that you get a whole outfit and I never feel like it is any harder than a shirt. This is extra true for something like this! All the harder parts--collar, piping--are all on the top half, so by extending the length it's literally no harder, and you can skip making shorts or pants. Plus, of course, a sweet little menswear-style pajama dress is always cute.

I've saved my altered pattern pieces for the longer version and anticipate using them as much or more than the originals--I just love this cuter version!


ps: i didn't think about it getting ready but looking at the photos, beauty and the beast vibes, right? 

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2019 Make Nine

sezane / about to be me in my perfect fitting shirt pattern

1. White Granville. The Granville fits me so much better than my ready-to-wear shirts do straight out of the package, so I haven't been enthusiastic about correcting the few minor fit issues I do have. However, it's a shame to leave it at not-quite-perfect since it's such a tried and true pattern! This year I want to perfect the fit and make the ultimate white shirt. (I also want to make about 5 more. I love my Granvilles.)

2. Fremont Tote. I was totally smitten by the Fremont tote when I saw it during last year's Project Sew My Style, but was on a self-imposed shopping ban (meaning I only bought two pieces of fabric and two patterns, oops) and the kit is so expensive, I had to pass it up. It really is such a nice bag though, so I ended up getting it during their Small Business Sale! I could probably put together the kit components myself for less than the $140 they ask for, but honestly it was so nice putting together their Woodland Dopp kit, I decided I'd rather splurge and get all the perfectly-matching details.

3. Barbie Cocktail Dress. While I do have black dresses I don't really have an LBD. I'd like to spend a lot of time fitting a muslin (pattern tbd) and splurge on some black silk for the ultimate little black dress.

4. Scrappy Quilt. I am not super interested in quilting in general, but I am quite interested in using up a bunch of scraps, and I think a quilt made of whatever-I-have-on-hand will be a fun way to dip my toes into a new craft while clearing out my fabric stash a bit. I'm not planning on following a pattern beyond "half square triangles all put together somehow" so wish me luck?

5. Orange Lingerie Fenway Bra. This seems like a nice tee-shirt bra option (with the added foam cup) and I had so much fun making (and remaking) the Berkeley. I'd like to try out a couple other bra patterns actually!

6. Camel Opium Coat.  Either this early spring or this fall, I'll make a camel version of the Deer & Doe Opium. This project keeps getting pushed back but I know that I am finally at a point where I have all the skills I need after having made my pink Bamboo coat and I even know what size I need to make having tried on Camille's Opium!

7. We Are Knitters Weekend Sweater. This kit was another Small Business Saturday purchase. I don't know if I'll ever be super into knitting but it seems like a good way to slow down my making.

8. Flannel Pajamas. I have lots of handmade pajamas already, and every time I make more I say "this is the last! I don't need any more!" But I really enjoy making and wearing handmade pajamas and haven't made any in flannel. I have some very ratty L. L. Bean pajamas that could due with replacing.

9. Silk Slip. I have a few full slips in my closet but none of them are perfect. I'd like to make a nude silk slip with a lengthened Ogden Cami pattern and donate all the not-quite-perfect slips in favor of one perfect one that I can wear a lot. You might have seen my silk-dyeing experiments on my instagram already! (UPDATE: Silk slip complete--see the post here!!)

I already have patterns for the Granville, Fenway, slip, camel coat, and I plan on using a stash pattern for the Barbie dress (since I have so so many patterns in my stash, I'd rather not buy a new one!), and fabric for most of these as well. The Fremont tote was a splurge item, as will be the black silk for the Barbie dress, but for the most part, I'm really well situated going into 2019. I'm feeling good about my closet after having purged a bunch of old unworn items, and I'm not feeling any pressure yet to sew a bunch of stuff for Me Made May this year. Also, with the end of my RTW fast, I feel like the world of options has opened up! I also want to expand my skills a bit and take my time with some time-consuming projects: the quilt and the sweater kit. All in all, I'm looking forward to a productive year of making high-quality basics that will get a lot of wear for years to come.


ps: i also have a Gucci-inspired bomber on my list but that is contingent on a few different things so not going on the make nine list :)

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Avocado-Dyed Silk Slip (Measure Fabric)

Thank you to Measure Fabric for providing the materials for this post.

I currently have a few full slips: this bias-cut blush slip made from a vintage pattern, a very short nude poly lace slip (sounds a lot sexier than it is honestly), and a black polyester slip that came with a Ted Baker dress. None of these are exactly the perfect slip, though, and making one would be easy: all I needed for the pretty and practical slip of my dreams is about a yard and a half of nude silk and my lengthened Ogden Cami pattern. So here I am! Of course, I decided to complicate it slightly...

Measure Fabric has a nice selection of silks and few of them are PFD White aka "prepared for dying." They also have the required dyes so you can create any color of silk your heart desires. For my Ultimate Silk Slip, however, I wanted a pale warm pink, and I knew that one way to achieve that color was through avocado dyeing! I mean, just look at the gorgeous colors avocados create! (Plus, it was a great excuse to eat a bunch of avocado.) I think part of the magic is that you don't quite know what color it will be, but basically every color I've seen online has been in the range of just pretty to absolutely perfect so I wasn't too concerned with the exact shade--and although my silk turned out more peachy than millennial pink it's actually the just about the exact right shade for my skin tone!
(...which is why I look naked in all these photos haha)

There are a million tutorials for both avocado dyeing and lengthening the Ogden Cami into dress-length out there, so I wont retread that ground in depth here, but basically:

1. To make the Ogden slip dress length, I added about 10" at the bottom.
2. I dyed the fabric before I cut and sewed my pattern since I wasn't sure if the dyeing process would affect the size/texture/drape of the fabric.
3. Avocado dyeing is super super easy and basically everything I have is now crying out for a little dip in an avocado dye bath.

As for the sewing, I made up my usual size and did teeny little french seams at the side to make this project a bit more durable and topstitched down the facing since I want this to be pretty wash and wear. My french seams aren't quite perfect so I have a bit of seam sticking out out at the sides--I always have this problem! I don't think I am aggressive enough trimming my seams. I added little bows to the front straps so I can easily tell front from back.

I had a lot of fun doing my first natural dyeing project and I'm looking forward to experimenting more... I'm so so into this--are you?


ps: thank you so so much to Measure for allowing me to be a Measure Maker these past 6 months!

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January 31 x 31 Challenge

For the past few years I have really been leaning in to that whole "new year, new you" January reset/"detox" vibe. I have done dry January for three years I think, and eaten vegan for the past two. It's such a good way to relax after the stress and overindulgence of the holiday season! My philosophy is "January will be miserable no matter what so I might as well go all in." Does this sound super ascetic of me?

This year I'm adding another element for additional misery! (But I love it.) If you aren't familiar with the 10 x 10 Challenge, it's a capsule wardrobe challenge where you wear the same ten pieces for ten days. There are loads of examples on Pinterest! You can also do more days and more clothes, i.e. 14 items for two weeks of outfits, etc. I'm doing mine for the whole month of January so it will be 31 items and 31 days--phew! Here's my wardrobe; I've marked the items that are off the rack and linked to the blog posts of the handmade items:

2. trench coat - rtw
3. leather jacket - rtw

5. grey sweatshirt - rtw
6. black sweater - rtw
7. cream sweater - rtw
8. camel sweater - rtw
9. navy sweater - rtw
10. black cardigan - rtw

11. black ogden
12. nude ogden
13-14. white tee (2) - rtw
15. grey tee - rtw
18. mariniere

22. black Rae skirt (unblogged?)


25. black Adidas sneakers
26. black Cole Haan heels
27. L. L. Bean Signature loafers
28. White sneakers
29. Dr. Martens boots

It's about half and half handmade and ready to wear, basically because almost all my wovens are handmade and all my knits are purchased (and I don't have any handmade shoes). It's also a little bit generic--lots of blues and black and white, as are many of the capsule wardrobes on pinterest--it's just so easy to start from there! This is definitely not a capsule with tons of personality, but hopefully that will make it easy to mix and match with for the whole month. I have been documenting what I wear every day on instagram, but of course, January is the worst month for lighting! This is a bit like Me Made May, I suppose, if you only had a limited number of handmades, unlike me, who has a closet overflowing with them. Maybe I should do some destashing while I'm at it...

Have you ever done a challenge like this before? I'm excited about it!


ps: you may notice that in fact this 31x31 currently only has 29 pieces... that's because I plan on adding a couple things throughout the month as I figure out what I am missing.

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