I’m super excited to be part of the Spring Bloom Blog Hop today! When Amanda from Bella Caronia sent me a photo of her fabrics early last month to see if I’d like to be one of the #springbloommakers it took me all of 30 seconds to reply back – “Yes, please!” Spring Bloom is Amanda’s first collection with Windham Fabrics and I am honored that she has let me play with it! (P.S. Scroll down for the giveaway so you can play with it too! Thanks Windham!)

This Bella Caronia collection seemed to me like I should create a project where several prints were mixed. A quilt would have been great, but since it’s not my strong suit I went with dresses. Dresses with lots of bright pretty colours and mix-matchy prints all in one place – just like a garden!

I decided to make the Ruffled Plaid Madness dress I drafted a few years back – only not in plaid this time. I’ve always wanted to make this dress again and I’m so pleased with how they show off Amanda’s collection! Thankfully our semi-rainy day photoshoot turned out ok too. Just like in spring, flowers bloom with the rainy weather – and apparently flowery fabric too!

Windham Fabrics kindly offered to send me whatever yardage I’d need for this project, but when I sat down to choose I got a bit stuck – so many options! So I let the girls choose their favorites (which happen to be in their favorite colours) and I think they did a great job. It also ensures that they extra-love the finished product. Though, thinking back, I don’t think I’d have a hard time selling layers of ruffles, puffed sleeves and a super-twirly skirt to these girls!

Making this dress turned out to be an exercise in “not forgetting something” that involved this crazy chart and lots of highlighting. With so many ruffles, each skirt front requires 4 or 5 tiers, each one with a ruffle and an under layer to hold it all together. That means lots of pieces, and LOTS of tiny 1/8″ rolled hems. I have never been more grateful that my Janome came with a rolled hem foot. And now I really, really know how to use it. Practice = Perfect – or at least very close!

Since I am a glutton for punishment I made my design based on looks, not “ease of creation“! These dresses curve down to the centre on the back bodice and up on the front bodice I remember going a bit cray-cray drafting the front ruffle the first time. Thankfully everything was already drafted so I could stitch the eight curves per dress so much faster this time around!

These dresses needed to be fully lined, so I also got to work with the new-to-me collection from Marsha Derse called Palette. I love her previous fabrics and the “not-so-solid” batik-like look of these fabrics really soften the colours.

Can I just say that I am super proud and a bit ecstatic over the invisible zipper fabric matching! When I cut matching fabric for the backs of the dresses I was super nervous I couldn’t match it properly – especially with the zipper right in the middle of the back seam! I felt a tad like MacGyver and with some “fabric, a glue stick and an iron” I managed to match it so amazingly well. It’s even a really simple process – really. I know you probably don’t believe me, so I’ll be writing a tutorial about it for sure! (Hint: It’s all in the glue stick!) *edit: I wrote a tutorial that  is now available here.

A huge shout-out and congratulations to Bella Caronia on their first collection! And thanks so much to Amanda and Windham for including me on this hop. I’m sew lucky! (pun intended!) There’s still a week of amazing projects in this blog hop! Check out the schedule below:

April 20 Windham Fabrics Snip-itsBella Caronia Blog ~ April 21 Leah and Bea Koch – Wintergreen and the Bee ~ April 22 Nell Timmer – Nell’s Notions ~ April 23 Jessica Darling ~ April 24 Kristy Daum – St. Louis Folk Victorian ~ April 25 Sherri Sylvester – Thread Riding Hood ~ April 26 Cindy Wiens – Live a Colorful Life ~ April 27 Krista Hennebury – Poppyprint ~ April 28 Felicity Ronaghan – Felicity Quilts ~ April 29 Casey York – The Studiolo ~ April 30 Janice Ryan – Better Off Thread ~ May 1 Deborah Moebes – Whipstitch ~ May 2 Bella Caronia Blog That’s a Wrap

Windham Fabrics is generously giving away the above amazing fat quarter bundle of Bella Caronia’s Spring Bloom Collection! This giveaway will run from April 25 – May 1, 2015. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter – and if you don’t have Facebook to sign in with, just use your name and email address. There’s a “click to enter” no social media login entry too!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: Windham Fabrics sent me this fabric free of charge in exchange for this blog post. I always give you my own, uninfluenced opinion, and would not accept a project I didn’t love! Thanks for reading.