Autumn On A Sunday.

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There was a chill in the air, the lovely patter of rain on the umbrella just outside our window, when I awoke to a tiny finger tapping on my arm.   The little person whispered her request to play with the Bible app on her iPad.  I shook my head and shut my eyes, “not right now“.  Sabbath, the day of rest. …Not for our household. My husband wakes up at nearly 6 a.m. and is out of the house before 7. My Sundays are filled with motherly duties while he is at church for most of the day leading worship [from the drums] and then teaching private lesson(s) between services. Sometimes, we take mid-day naps, which gives us an extra boost of energy for the second half of the day. Finding rest for my soul is a different story. It’s a spiritual stillness that is sometimes hard to find when my mind is cluttered with thoughts of the duties and demands of life that call after me. My time of stillness on a Sunday might only be that moment I sit in to listen to the sermon, while Evie is in Sunday school and my husband juggles squirming Emaline on his lap.  Somewhere in the midst of the crowd and pastor speaking, I might encounter that stillness with my eyes fully open and hear a Word from God.

Evie and Emaline

The moment I roll myself out of bed every day, I am desperately wanted by my hungry daughters. I am not a morning bird, but I’m rooting for myself to be! It would be a dream to wake up at dawn to see the first ray of sun, read, journal, and drink my coffee in silence. Unfortunately, there is hardly a morning that I am motivated to get out of bed without a cup of coffee hovering above me– because no matter how late my husband let’s me sleep in, it never feels like I’ve had a solid amount of sleep, even if uninterrupted…. just one more minute, just one more hour, please?

In the brief moment of walking from my bed to the kitchen on a Sunday morning I rejoice because I have conquered my tiredness, did not press snooze, and did not succumb immediately to the demands of motherhood. First, coffee. Lord, just let me sneak into the kitchen to brew the coffee and then I will surrender myself. Smelling the coffee and listening to it brew as I walk to the girls bedroom to pick up sweet Emaline from rolling around on her quilt is music to my ears, and makes my Sunday mornings much lovelier even if we’re running late. I love waking up to see Emaline’s contagious smile, stretched from cheek to cheek, the moment she catches a glimpse of me in the doorway while Evie is in her zone creating something.

I never regret getting out of bed and making it to church on Sundays, as much as I doubt the night before that I will be too tired to attend. I am elated just to see my handsome husband on the drums, his blissful place. It’s nice to see friends and also to feel Evie’s excitement as she runs to children’s church where her teachers know her name. Seeing all the other families arrive late with their children is a reminder that I’m not the only one who likely had a long morning, even if it just started.

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In-n-Out…doors.

My husband scheduled a private lesson with one of his students after church. We typically meet up at home to eat lunch and take a nap, and I usually have no desire to prepare lunch after church when we’re all tired; especially if we made all of our staples throughout the week– stir fry vegetables and rice, pasta, pita pizzas, stir fry vegetables and rice, pasta, pita pizzas.

We have a very popular fast-food restaurant on the west-coast and scattered around the mid-west, called In-n-Out. Driving from our church in Kerny Mesa, it’s about 10 minutes away in Mission Valley. Lunch time in Mission Valley on a weekend is one of the busiest hours of the week. I anticipated a very long wait in the drive-thru, but thankfully it only took us about 15 minutes. I ordered our usual: 1 grilled cheese with grilled onions, 1 cheeseburger without onions, and 2 fries (1 well-done).

Going through the drive-thru is where the day took a twist from ‘lovely’ to ‘mini-meltdown’. Evie has a great imagination and a cunning way of manipulating someone into thinking they are supposed to go somewhere they didn’t even plan on going. I’m sure she’s used this tactic on her grandparents many times. Somehow she learned how to do this at the age of three years old. Many times she would be at the door in her bathing suit saying, “I can’t wait to go to the beach!” and many times we’ve had to sit her down to explain that she needs to ask us before she gets her hopes up. This was one of those days she put in her mind that we were headed to Grandpa Sterling’s pool. It was a gloomy Autumn day, and she wanted to make it like Summer again!

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I drove the girls up to one of our favorite spots at Presidio Park to have a picnic on one of the cement picnic tables underneath the shade of a Peruvian pepper tree. It smells like peppercorns, but the red berries on this tree are not edible. While we ate our meals, we watched adorable ground squirrels eat tiny pine nuts on the surfaces of tree stumps. Evie decided to leave tiny green immature pine cones on those stumps before we left, just in case a squirrel got hungry.

It’s hard to believe that it was only Evie and I just seven months ago. Our family will only continue to grow bigger, and I am overjoyed at the thought that there will be more little feet and hands getting muddy.

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Rain, rain, don’t go away…

Hearing the rain streaming through the gutters and gusts of wind breezing through the trees is reminiscent of home in Hawaii. The ironic thing is that I’ve always wanted to look outside of my window at bare trees that lost their leaves, but such a thing never happened living in the middle of the Pacific. Watching t.v. shows like Felicity, Dawson’s Creek, and Gilmore Girls entertained the idea of someday living in a place where all four seasons were apparent. It still feels like a fairy tale to step outside to the beauty of fiery red, orange, and crumpled brown leaves at our feet and to look down a street lined with gilded trees. Unfortunately, we know the cool weather will only last a day or two. The forecast for the rest of the week looks identical to summer.

Autumn always brings a breath of inspiration. I am refreshed without having to search for it. I am inspired without having to go anywhere. Every simple pleasure is enhanced and perhaps it is because Autumn is like the prelude to the magical holidays. We begin to think about the ones we love and if you’re a gift giver, you have already began searching for the perfect gifts, or creating them by hand. I love Autumn for so many reasons to list- but most of all, it is a season to gather and such a perfect time to forge wonderful relationships.

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As our days get shorter, my evenings indoors get longer. Thus, my sewing machine and knitting needles will not be idle much longer. Home projects have been pushed to the bottom of my list as our home school was pushed to the top. Hopefully I will get a chance to write up a new knitted pattern soon.

Here is a free pattern to fingerless gloves that I had altered from an the original source linked in this blog from two years ago…

FREE FALL KNITTED PATTERN: Noir Tricoté Des Mitaines!

xx
jena

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Motherhood & The Berrious.

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MOTHERHOOD.

June 27th will mark a year since the launch of this blog, and I am okay with the amount of posts that I’ve published, the things I’ve created, and the amount of work that has come my way since then (which was more than I envisioned doing).  I must remind myself daily that I have one major calling on my life, even before I sit down to write a blog.  It’s called Motherhood— thus, the lack of content.  When I think of my my daughter, I think of a rose garden, and how diligently I would tend to it if we ever had one.  Taking care of it through all seasons until the very day every petal blossoms and she is ready to be let go and let out fearlessly into the world on her own.  Her sweet-natured, gentle and wild disposition causes me to marvel.  Each passing year [she just made five], she grows in wisdom and beauty.  I feel that she understands more about life and the world around her more than my little mind could ever grasp when I was five years old.

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& THE BERRIOUS.
(pronounced “bear-ee-us”)

When I share about my life with people I meet, I want to say–“I’m a stay outdoor mother“; rather than uttering the words, “stay at home.”  My life is genuinely sweet; except on Mondays… those laborious Mondays. It’s the only day that I’ve dedicated to chores and everything to do with “staying at home“, to empathize with my working husband and kindred to the rest of the world for a day.  I try to accomplish everything that needs to be done at home until I am completely exhausted.  Besides Mondays, my life looks [majority of the time] like these pictures that I took with Jaymi’s camera that I hope to someday soon inherit.

And this sight is just fine for me.  I think our lifestyles as mothers and fathers should be tailored to our own personal lives, and not compared to another family or what the world thinks it “should” look like.  I am an introvert, but my daughter is not.  She is my social butterfly that I take to nurture in peaceful places like the Berrious.  It is where I feel the most inspired, motivated and free to teach without distractions.  I get to hone her creativity, focus on her talents, help her to seek out her gifts, and let her imagination run wild among these trees.  I believe she finds herself and sees God more clearly during these moments in the wilderness.  It’s also here during these simple times that I see the hand of God at work in our lives and find my purpose in motherhood.

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We named her homeschool, The Secret Garden.  A part of this was inspired by the 1911 novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett.  The idea of it came from the origin of the word “Kindergarten” — [mid 19th century] literally means ‘children’s garden’ in German.  When my sister-in-law, Emiel, shared the meaning with me years ago– I just knew that I would take Evie’s homeschool to a garden.  We have several places that we go to read, write, color, draw, explore, and create together- just the two of us.  I am unaware of time when we’re outdoors.  At home, I am hounded by the minute and hour hand that seeks progress in every little detail.  It’s draining!  When we’re outdoors, the only hand of time is the sunset.  The Berrious is one of those secret places, one of our Secret Gardens.

Jaymi was with us on this day.  And when she is around, her camera is always within reach.  I don’t know what kind of camera she has, nor the lens- but I could not see myself going back to the iPhone camera if I had a camera like hers.  Something about peering through an eye hole is more exciting than holding up a screen.  Anaïs Nin said, “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”  I feel the same way about pictures I take of my family… because it seemed like yesterday that she was just a toddler.

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Left: Evie & Myself | right: Evie & Aunty Jaymi

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Momee’s hat + Shaelyn’s Dress + Hunter Wellies

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Wild Daisies & A Wreath of Eucalyptus Branches.

Wild Daisies in the Berrious

Wild Daisies in the Berrious

“Daisy, give yourself away.  Look up at the rain, a beautiful display of power and surrender, giving us today and she gives herself away.”
Jon Foreman

We came to the Berrious one morning, with a nature list of things to collect to spruce up our home; bringing the outdoors, indoors.  I had ambivalent feelings of the weather, anticipating yet another victory for the sun, whom I wasn’t rooting for at all.  Thankfully, the warmth slowly dissipated as the fog crept in and covered our playing grounds.  We sat underneath the shade of an enormous pine tree, where the air was even chillier.  Evie collected lavender wild daisies, searched for giant pinecones, and came across slithering black slugs that made her shudder a second time as she told me her terrifying encounters with all of them as she fished for squirrels.

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It didn’t hurt.  It was just an accident, mommy.  It didn’t hurt.” Evie said.

What didn’t hurt?  Did you hurt the slug?  Did you kill it?” I asked.

No.  I saw the slug, and was afraid, and so I pressed it with my finger and it didn’t hurt me.  But it put slobber on my fingers and so it died!  But it was an accident,” she replied as her voice trailed off into a whisper.

The slug left a fingerprint of its sticky residue on Evie’s fingertips.  Traces of black pigment from its skin also stained her fingers.  It really nauseated me to think that she practically stabbed the slug to its death.  I quickly pulled out the antibacterial wipes.  My insides twisted and turned as I tried to calmly wipe the residue of slug mucous off her fingers, while at the same time wiping the expression of grossness off my face.  I cannot understand the inhabitance of gross terrestrials that slither and crawl upon this earth; what is their purpose?  I sat there unentertained by the repulsive thought that my daughter just killed a slug with her brave bare hands.  Deep inside, I might have been more traumatized than she was.

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Evie and I gathered large branches that had fallen from the Eucalyptus trees and dissected it branch by branch, forming a pile of mahogany colored twigs at our feet, and also picking off all of the leaves and clustered buds.  I envisioned a simple fall wreath for our front door– dark brown twigs layered together, fastened pinecones and tiny wild red berries bunched along the bottom half, and lastly, a simple satin or lace ribbon to hang it on a nail above the peek hole of our door.  I had no luck finding any red berries.

Wreaths take on many symbolic meanings in different cultures and beliefs.  I am a Christian and our family celebrates Christmas; so I am enamored by all the symbolic meanings behind most of the décor that is apparent in the months of November and December.  The advent evergreen wreath, symbolizes the everlasting life through Jesus; it is circular to represent God– with no beginning and no end.  But even though it hangs in significance, honestly, I just want our front door to be fall-esque; and in December, winter-esque.

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28 October 2013 Roasted Pumpkin Seeds in the Berrious

28 October 2013 Roasted Pumpkin Seeds in the Berrious

Time goes by quickly when we’re outdoors.  After a couple hours in the Berrious, we sat on our picnic blanket and munched on the snacks that I had brought.  I don’t think I can resist pumpkin sales this year, especially after roasting my first successful batch of pumpkin seeds.  The seeds were lightly golden, the insides were perfectly crunchy, and the salty taste and process of cracking the outer shell was just as addicting as eating sunflower seeds while watching a baseball game.  Unmindfully, I haven’t thought much about pumpkins being the prime vegetable on our table, rather than just a front porch halloween decoration.  When I was a child, my mother roasted the pumpkin seeds from our carved jack-o-lanterns, and both my grandmas occasionally made soups using pumpkin squash and other types of gourds for cooking.  In all honesty, I don’t know how to make one dish from my ethnic background; I am Filipina.  Needless to say, pumpkin is not a foreign food to me, it is part of my culture; I just did not anticipate the day that I would have to pick up where my mother and grandmas left off after I became a mother and a wife.  This includes, decorating for the holidays!

"These are your flower earrings mommy, put them on!"

“These are your flower earrings mommy, put them on!”

FALL WREATH

SUPPLIES:
A Bebe Florist
Branches
Pinecones
Hot Glue Gun + Glue Stick Refills

1.  Circle Template.  I used my largest circular knitting loom and traced a template with chalk on my working surface.

2.  Break branches into smaller sizes and start laying out your sticks following your circle template and hot-gluing it together at the same time.  Keep adding more branches and filling spaces until you are satisfied.

3.  Fasten pinecones and other nature finds to your wreath.

 xx
JENA

Noir Tricoté Des Mitaines!

8 October 2013

8 October 2013

I chase the orange setting sun in the remainder of these shorter days, feeling a tragic loss of sunlight after starting my morning too late.  My body, sleeping soundly, is never present at the first gleam of dawn, and my tiredness spirals deeper throughout the humdrum of the day.

“The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day.”
Proverbs 4:18 NLT

I refuse to live detached from any season, especially the whimsical fall.  These months have the potential to be the most therapeutic of all, inspiring transformation; deeper discoveries in myself, and my surroundings.  I am always attempting to change the ambiance in our place with every new season– both in decorating and de-cluttering.  After I have gone through our compacted closets and have made a clean sweep around our apartment to remove the things we no longer need, I feel refreshed and capable of letting all my creative ideas pour like fresh water into my thirsty mind.  The old and outgrown things are then handed down to friends, sold to Buffalo Exchange, or donated to our friend’s  homeless ministry.

It is liberating and a joy to give away the things that we no longer have use for; knowing that somebody else in the world will find it sufficient for their needs.  Evie outgrows her clothes and shoes almost twice a year, and it warms my heart to hear her thoughts of someone she is giving her things to.  Out of love, her friends have kindly given her their own treasures.  These exchanges leave a true impression of the virtue of giving, and I am grateful for these children that are living examples of such kindness to her.  I think we learn most about how to give when we experience the joy of receiving– and through this, it sparks the desire in us to share that same joy with others.

Psalm 113:3

Junipero Serra Museum

Junipero Serra Museum

In the fall, nature sheds such beautiful things at no cost– giving us materials to produce wonderful things with our own hands.  It is the perfect time for us to collect woodland treasures and disposable decorations which we have been wanting to bring home since late summer.  Up the side steps from the Junipero Serra Museum in Presidio Park, there are heaps of pine cones in the bushes.  I feel like I get to re-live my childhood as I explore with my darling Evie.   On this hill, the park staff pile up dead palm tree leaves and trimmed branches.  I bring Evie to this hill once in a while to get her nature fix– collecting leaves and breaking the sticks off of already sawed branches.  She could destroy an entire park landscape in an hour if I told her it was acceptable.  Every flower would be picked, every leaf and branch broken off, and patches of grass would be uprooted.  In her innocence and reasoning, she needs to make stews and nests for the animals that are not being cared for.  She thinks that all animals should be pets, and have an owner that would care for them and feed them daily.  I get to share with her that our heavenly Father feeds them, and it makes her happy knowing they aren’t neglected {Matthew 6:26}.  I am a bit afraid that if she ever had a pet, there would be excessive feeding and a lot of terrorizing– this is the manner in which she loves her stuffed animals, and her first real beta fish, poor Teken.

It is more rewarding to pick up a soft skein of worsted yarn and produce something satisfying, than driving to a shop and purchase fingerless gloves that do not literally fit like a glove.  After a week of watching documentaries with my husband on my laptop, bottoms glued onto our forest green suede-like sofa and backs pressed against faux fur white throw pillows, I finally completed three sets of noir tricoté des mitaines (black knitted fingerless gloves)!  I like to use French words to describe my projects because it always sounds better than English.  Vous voyez?  The hours knitting a set of gloves are soon forgotten after I try them on, and I also feel as though I’ve gained knowledge of the world while watching:  Happy People: A year in Taiga, China’s Mega Dam, Pururambo, Park Avenue, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, and listening to a few audio (dramatized) books in the bible on the Bible Gateway app.  I’ve become so accustomed to movies and productivity combined; that if I were to simply watch a movie by itself, it would feel like wasted time.

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Evie’s fingerless gloves were quickly crocheted using this lovely ‘Fingerless Gloves with a Bow’ pattern that has been archived in my bookmarks for a few years.  I am constantly bookmarking in my web browser, pinning, or searching in Ravelry for new ideas and patterns so that when I do get the chance to knit, I have endless options in front of me.  Evie wasn’t too excited about black gloves, but the bows gave way to approval.  She also requested her name in pink embroidery thread and the number 4, for her age, to be stitched on the palm of each glove.  I will probably knit her a mini-size pair like mine (below) because I like the stretch in ribbing and how much more insulated it feels.  I’m sure if I used 100% wool, it would be very warm; despite the exposed fingertips.

Knitted Fingerless Gloves |Pattern by Life In Cleveland

Noir Tricoté Des Mitaines

View the original pattern by Life In Cleveland HERE.

To knit these fingerless gloves, the pattern calls for double-pointed needles (DPN’s), which are pointed at each end and work similarly to circle-needles where you knit in the round.  There is no need to reverse stitches in each row, like you would on straight needles.  Knitting in the round for gloves, socks, hats, and other tube like pieces of garments (sleeves, pant legs…etc.) create a seamless product; meaning, you do not have to sew up a side seam.

If you are petite like me, you can always go down a size of DPN’s which is what I did.  I used a size  6 and 7.  I did make a few adjustments for a custom fit, but did not change the overall results:

Sizes:
Small(Large)

My adjustments:
CO 32(40) with size 7 DPN’s
For the ribbing at the cuff, I did 15(20) rounds
And at the end of the gusset, when you start knitting plain rounds, I knitted 7(12) rounds
Switched to 6 DPN’s before you work the last 5 more rounds of the glove.

After the gusset has 13 stitches between the markers, I would probably knit about 5 more rounds before removing the markers– so that the thumb has a little more warmth.

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Sunset from the Junipero Serra Museum in Presidio Park

Streaming “Dawn” written by Dario Marianelli & performed by pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet
xx
JENA

Easy As π

Evie in her full-circle floor-length skirt

Evie in a full-circle floor-length skirt

Evie calls this place “The Berrious,”  and I’m not sure why.  It is a secluded part of the Presidio that not many people pass through, and it has become our secret wonderland.  It is a hillside of green grass, encompassed by tall pines and wild daisies, under a picture framed blue sky.  It is the most perfect place to lay our blanket in the early evening, when the air is cool and the sun passes over the Mission.

She brought her ponies and unicorns, and I brought a book called, “Anthology of World Poetry“, edited by Mark Van Doren.  My mother-in-law, Sherry, gave it to me two Christmases ago.  I turned the pages to French poetry and found the most beautiful stanzas of life.  I then decided to read to Evie a few Psalms which is listed under Hebrew poetry, and there we stopped at Psalm 8.

She blinked... and it was perfect.

She blinked… and it was perfect.

My bundle of joy.

My bundle of joy.

THE CHILD READS AN ALMANAC

The child reads on; her basket of eggs stands by.
She sees the weather signs, the Saints with awe,
And she watches the fair houses of the sky:
The Goat, the Bull, the Ram, et cetera.

And so the little peasant maiden knows
That in the constellations we behold,
And markets like the one to which she goes
Where goats and bulls and rams are bought and sold.

She reads about the market in the sky.
She turns a page and sees the Scales and then
Says that in Heaven, as at the grocery,
They weigh salt, coffee and the souls of men.

LUDWIG LEWISOHN

Top : Zara Kids

Top : Zara Kids


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SUPPLIES:
A little girl with a pony
Sewing Machine
Thread
Paper Scissors & Sheers
Chalk
Pins
Measuring Tape
Chiffon Fabric (or any sheer woven)
Jersey Lining
Elastic
Tissue Paper, Tape, and Pencil (to draw out pattern)

WAISTBAND FORMULA
pi : π = 3.14

1.  Waist Measurement + 2 = x

2.  x / 2π = Radius of Waistband

The Radius of Evie’s Waistband:
19″ + 2 = 21″
21″/ 2π = 3.34 (or about 3 3/8″)

HOW-TO MAKE A FULL-CIRCLE SKIRT

1.  Lay out the tissue paper on your cutting mat aligning it to the grids.

2.  Take your measuring tape and place the 1″ mark to the corner of the tissue paper.  Find the measurement of your radius of the waistband and like a protractor, take your pencil and while the 1″ mark is held in place, create dotted lines across the tissue paper while dragging the measuring tape.

3.  Do the same thing with the length of the skirt you’re making + 1/2″ (hem that will be taken under).

4.  Cut out your pattern.

5.  Take your fabric and fold it in half, and in half again.  Place it on your cutting mat so that the folds are on both sides of starting point.

6.  Place pattern on top of fabric and pin down.

7.  Cut out fabric to pattern.

8.  Repeat steps 4-7 if using lining.  You can make the length of the lining about 2″ shorter than the chiffon.

9.  Pin chiffon to lining, and sew at waist with a 3/8″ seam.

WAISTBAND

1. For Evie’s waistband, I put elastic in the back half of the waistband (11″).  First I took the waist circumference of the skirt I made and used that as the length + 1″ (seam allowance).  The thickness of the waistband depends on you.  I made Evie’s about 1″.  So you would take that 1″(2) + 1″ (seam allowance) =  3″.  Evie’s waistband pattern was about 24″ x 3″.

2. Sew together your chiffon to lining on both length edges with a 3/8″ seam.

3.  With right sides facing, sew waistband into a circle.

WAISTBAND TO SKIRT

I am not the best seamstress, so ironing, basting, and lots of pins at this point is a lifesaver.

1.  Take your skirt and waistband, and with right sides facing each other, pin all the way around.

2.  Sew 1/4″ seam together.

3.  Take two pins and mark the side seams.  The front half of the waistband will be a smaller measurement and it will not have elastic.  Evie’s front half measured about 11″.  Everything else will be gathered with the waistband.

4.  Take your elastic and sew it at one of the side seams (where you marked with a pin) on your waistband.

5.  At the raw edge of the waistband, you will fold about 1/4″ under.  Sew 1/8″ seam from fold.

6.  You will be now closing up the waistband.  Fold the waistband in half, and pin so that it is aligned to the front.

7.  Top stitch from the outside of the waistband about 1/8″ from edge.  When you start getting to the end, leave about 1 1/2″ opening.  Pull the elastic until it reaches the other marked side seam.  Sew the elastic down to the inside of waistband.  Then close it up waistband by sewing the last 1 1/2″ of the waistband.

8.  I went back and secured the elastic by making stitches from top of waistband to bottom of waistband at the side seams.

HEMMING

The hem of the chiffon will can be challenging if you don’t iron and pin.  There are a couple ways you can do this, but I chose to do a basic hem.  I folded 1/4″ under, and another 1/4″ under.  Sew with folds faced down about 3/8″ from hem bottom.

The jersey lining will have a raw edge and will not need to be hemmed.

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xx
JENA