New Year, New Workout Wear, New Supplies

It’s never a bad time to sew yourself some new workout wear, but losing some weight necessitates making new items that fit! My drawer full of workout wear is nearly all too big. Going to yoga class 4 times a week means that I need multiple outfits that fit.

Obviously making new workout wear is much more fun than seam-ripping apart your reverse triple coverstitched old outfits, cutting them down to a smaller size, and then re-sewing them! So I traced off a tried and true pattern (the GreenStyle Power Sports Bra) and tried a new pattern (the Sinclair Flex Leggings).

As a sewist, I always notice when someone in yoga class is wearing a new style. Several women had worn workout leggings with a deep V side panel with pocket, and I knew just the pattern to try. Sinclair Patterns is known for well drafted patterns that include petite, regular, and tall options in their files. There are quite a few Sinclair dresses, skorts, shorts, and tank tops in my wardrobe. They aren’t necessarily known for workout wear, but the Flex Leggings pattern is super cute, so I had to give it a try.

With no center front seam, the leggings fit smoothly across the abdomen and hips. The color-blocked V side inserts can include a pocket, which in my mind is a necessity. The pocket is deep, as in deep enough for even the largest phone to fit securely down into the pocket. I wore my leggings to Christmas dinner at my sister-in-laws house, and my phone never felt like it was going to fall out of my pocket. Of course I had my phone in and out of my pocket all day capturing moments with people that I love! (There’s one of us in every family 😉 and people sort of count on me to catch a few photos to share!)

Me, my sister-in-law, and niece.
This candid photo really highlights how much taller I am than my sisters-in-law. It also highlights the shenanigans present every time we get together! 🙂

The above photo also illustrates the only thing I disliked about the pattern. I need a contoured waistband, and always serge 1/4″ clear elastic into the top waistband seam in other patterns. The front and back waistband pieces on the Flex pattern are contoured, but fold-over. I added powernet to the front waistband piece, basting it to the wrong side of the fabric before sewing the waistband pieces together. Even with a double layer of powernet (since the piece is folded over) the waistband slid down all day long.

In all fairness, the tutorial does include optional directions to add narrow elastic threaded through buttonholes in the inner side of the waistband that could be tied to fit. I own one pair of Athleta leggings with an inner drawstring that in the past I have never bothered to tie. Since I’ve lost weight, I currently have the drawstring pulled tight and tied in a knot. But with a smooth front and smooth waistband, I didn’t really want a knot of elastic bumping out in the front. So I unpicked a small section of the waistband to leggings seam, inserted 1″ wide knit elastic, overlapped the ends by 1/2″ and zig-zagged the overlap, and serged the small section of waisband seam closed. I wore my new outfit to yoga class this week, and they stayed up perfectly! Problem solved!

Adding the 1″ wide elastic was the perfect solution! As always, I added a note to my pattern piece so I know exactly how long to cut the elastic (and remember to add it!) the next time I make these leggings!

As with every pattern, it is important to grade to fit your body. I have well developed calves (thanks to skating and yoga), so I knew I needed to grade my pattern pieces. The size chart doesn’t include calf measurements, but I’ve made enough workout wear and know my body shape well enough to estimate that my calves are about two pattern sizes larger than my hips. My knees are slender and I wanted to ensure that the leggings didn’t get baggy at the knee, so I started my grading just below the knee.

A french curve ruler is super helpful for making smooth transitions between sizes. The ruler helped me make a gradual curve on the outer seams of both the front and back pattern pieces from a size 8 out to a size 12 below the knee.

Since I couldn’t know for sure whether my grading was perfect or not, I basted the outer leg seam and tried the leggings on before serging the seam and reverse triple coverstitching. No one wants to have to seam rip that as an experiment! The grading ended up being just right, and now that I have the pattern perfected for my body, future pairs will sew up much more quickly!

These are the 7/8 length, and of course I want to make a pair with the lower leg color-blocking. So I’ll have to play around with transferring my changes to the color blocked pattern piece. What fun is sewing if you don’t challenge yourself, right? 🙂

I also like to challenge myself to see if I can still do a cartwheel. Yoga has kept my body strong and maintained my balance. Apparently it is also amusing/fascinating to watch a Grandma do numerous cartwheels while being photographed. As my husband finished our photo session a young woman lounging nearby at the beach smiled, nodded, and gave me a thumbs up. 🙂

The Power Sports Bra is a staple workout and/or swim top pattern for me. Women with smaller cup sizes can get away with flat front bras/tops, but a fuller bust is curvy and princess seams are great for fitting smoothly over your bust projection. I love playing around with it and trying new hacks. Doing double narrow straps with a criss cross was a fun, easy hack. It’s important to take your measurements and compare them to the size chart on a regular basis. I started by tracing my pattern in a smaller size. Previously I’ve used the 34 band size in cups E/F. The F is a little too high in the armpits, so I blend the E and F. My current measurements put me in a 32F. But my bust is fuller at the bottom than at the top. So I take away a bit of the upper curve on the side cup piece. Customizing the pattern pieces to fit your body is the key to a perfectly fitted garment.

Perfectly fitted princess curves fit smoothly over the bust with no puckering at the seams.

Porcelynne has some really pretty rainbow finish rings and slides that I wanted to incorporate into my top. Generally I use wide straight straps on the U-back Power Sports Bra because I don’t like straps pulling on my traps or up near my neck. I’ve found that I need the 1″ wide (final size) straps to be about 13″ long with either elastic or powernet in them, as in this post.

After cutting my four 1.5″ wide straps longer than needed, I zig-zagged 3/8″ knit elastic into the seam as shown here. It’s important to press your straps after turning, so they are as flat and smooth as possible. Also, pressing as you sew gives your garments a much more polished and professional finish.

Extending the strap connection point on the strappy U-back pattern piece by 1/2″ gave room to add the 3/4″ rings to the back by folding the fabric over the ring and stitching it in place. Then two straps were folded over each ring and stitched in place. The two outer straps were kept straight and the two inner straps were criss-crossed.

I love the fun shape the straight and criss-crossed straps form on the back. Kind of like a stylized W. I also like the muscles that I’ve developed over twenty years of doing yoga. 🙂 Not bad for a Grandma pushing 60, huh?

You control how close to the neck your crossed straps are by the placement of the 3/4″ slides. Slide them up, and the straps are pulled farther from the neck. Slide them down for maximum crossing. Once you’ve found the perfect placement for you, the straps get tucked into the bra front and stitched in place as per the pattern tutorial. My straight straps ended up 13″ long, and the crossed straps ended up 15″ long.

Using sliders not only adds a fun look, but gives you an option to slightly tighten or loosen the straps for comfort.

I’m definitely going to use rings and slides again because it’s just such a fun look! Making even a few small changes to a pattern is not only fun, it personalizes the pattern for your needs. I was also excited to try a new fabric called stretch eclon jersey from Mood Fabrics. Eclon is a brand name of nylon, and if you’ve read my blog before, you know that I am a big fan of nylon spandex. I avoid polyester, especially for workout wear because it doesn’t breathe and tends to absorb sweaty odors. Ewwww! Florida is usually hot, and my workout wear fabric needs to be moisture wicking.

I hope this inspires you to play with your patterns, and work towards a perfect fit as well as trying new looks.

I love the definition that reverse triple cover-stitching adds to accent the seam lines of well designed workout wear.

The details:

Sinclair Flex Leggings and GreenStyle Power Sports Bra, made of stretch eclon jersey from Mood Fabrics. This and several rayon spandex prints were my first purchase from Mood, so it’s a new supplier to me. I have to say that I liked all of the fabric that I ordered, except one (because it’s only a two way stretch instead of four way. Apparently I didn’t notice that in the fabric listing!)

The rings and slides were purchased from Porcelynne, along with some lovely nylon spandex fabric that I need to share. I made the cutest outfits for my granddaughters! Porcelynne isn’t new to me, I’ve purchased from her before but I don’t really think I’ve shared my makes using her findings before.

Seams were accented with a reverse triple coverstitch on my wonderful Babylock Triumph using Fantastico varigated thread #5028 Peacock Plume from Superior Threads in the looper using a stitch length of 3. Fantastico is one of my favorite threads to use for reverse coverstitching. It has such a beautiful sheen, and the short color repeat is perfect for adding a classy look to garments.

I’m very happy with my new favorite workout outfit, and will definitely be making more! Thank you for reading and sharing my love of creating, hacking, sewing, patterns, fabric, notions, thread, and making beautiful, well-fitting garments! ❤

Sage Top and Cinder Skirt

An Easy, Breezy Summer Outfit

A fitted strappy top or crop (with an optional shelf bra!) is the perfect complement to a light breezy skirt. I love it when Stitch Upon A Time brings an on-trend look to life!

About a month ago, I was sitting at the beach with family and friends and noticed the skirt a woman walking by was wearing. I know people watching is a common “sport”, but garment sewists, we tend to clothing watch. 🙂 Whenever I see a cute dress, top, skirt, or outfit, I start thinking: do I have a pattern for that? Anyways, the maxi length skirt she was wearing was made of a white gauzy fabric, had overlapping sides, and an elasticated waistband. It looked so cute, but I had never seen a pattern like it. About a week later, the testing call for the Cinder Skirt popped up and I was so excited to sign up for it! The Sage Top was also being tested, and I couldn’t resist the opportunity for a cute new summer outfit.

It’s a perfect beach walking outfit!

The design of the Cinder Skirt is perfect, with beautiful, clean finishes. There are no exposed raw edges, all the seams are enclosed. With quality finishes like this, no matter how many times you wash and wear this woven skirt, it won’t fray. The secret to the hem on the curved sides is the facing. My best tip for the facing is to serge along the inner curve with a four thread overlock, then press that inner curve to the wrong side of the fabric. This will make it easier to press, and keep your fabric from fraying inside the hem, even when using fabric that tends to fray a lot, like linen.

The facing is pinned to the skirt panel right sides together. See how smoothly that inner curve lays? And how badly the linen fabric (along the outer cuve) frays before serging?

When serging the facing to the skirt panel, up the differential to 1.3 or even 1.5 when serging the outer curves. This will help the curved seam lay flat when the facing is flipped to the inside and pressed. Just don’t forget to put it back on N for the straight sections!

I love the beautiful details of the elasticated waistband and overlapped panels on the sides of the skirt!

The waistband calls for either two rows of 1″ elastic, or one row of 2″ elastic, stitched in the middle. The directions call for top-stitching the upper edge of the waistband, inserting the elastic, then top-stitching below the elastic, and inserting the second row of elastic. I followed the rules on my first test version, but decided to try using my coverstitch and a different method on my second skirt.

I thought it might be easier to leave an opening for elastic, stitch the waistband, then insert the two pieces of elastic. To prepare the waistband for this, I serged along both short ends to finish them. Then I sewed the short ends together 1/4″ past the halfway fold of the waistband. I stitched the bottom 1/2″ of the short ends together too. This left me an opening for the elastic on the inside of the waistband. I pressed the seam open and stitched along the opening to finish it.

Notice how the bottom of the waistband is serged and pre-pressed? This will make it easier to do the final top/cover-stitching on the waistband.

Since even a narrow coverstitch is wider than a single row of top stitching, I had to make small changes. Rather than top-stitching 1/2″ from the upper edge of the (folded in half) waistband, I coverstitched 1/4″ from the upper edge. Leaving 1″ of room for the 1″ wide elastic, I ran the next row of coverstitching. As per the pattern tutorial, the raw edge of the waistband was serged onto the gathered skirt. The pre-pressed bottom of the waistband was folded over the serged waist seam, carefully pinned in place, then coverstitched.

It’s important to stitch slowly, and pause to remove pins to avoid breaking a needle or damaging your machine.

I love the beautiful clean finish on the waistband, and the professional look of coverstitching. I will admit though, that it took a bit of work to get both pieces of 1″ elastic threaded evenly through the waistband with this lightweight fabric! It’s such a fun skirt though! And I love that there are three length options- mini (which is what I made), knee, and maxi length. I still need to find some white gauzy fabric to duplicate the maxi skirt that I saw at the beach!

Here’s what the inside of the waistband looks like before adding the skirt and elastic. I could have hand-stitched the openings closed after adding my elastic, but because I finished the edges, I don’t feel the need to get out a needle and thread! Also, my cat obviously likes to hang around and requires petting while I am sewing! 🙂

The Sage Top is such a great companion to the Cinder Skirt! Being a fitted tank, it skims the body and works well with the gathered skirt. I love that it has a built-in shelf bra so that I don’t have to wear an uncomfortable strapless bra.

The shelf bra is surprisingly supportive and comfortable.

The Sage Top with shelf bra is not designed to wear as workout top (unless of course your bust doesn’t really need support for exercise). But for casual wear, it provides adequate support to wear comfortably. Because I have a larger cup size, and have a “grandma” bust, I always use powernet in every bra/shelf bra/swimwear/workout top I make.

The main fabric I used is a lighter weight nylon/spandex circular knit. It is super soft and comfortable, but doesn’t have as much recovery as say an athletic or swim knit. So I used a nylon/spandex swim fabric, and a layer of powernet for the shelf bra. And, I snuck some clear elastic in on the strap section of my binding.

I love that it’s so easy to thread 1/4″ clear elastic through the presser foot of my machine, and it feeds evenly as it’s serged into the seam.

This photo makes it obvious that I didn’t follow the pattern tutorial and do a double folded binding. When doing binding on a knit garment, I just find it easier to use 1/4″ seam allowances, and use the faux binding method. Should I be advising people to not follow the tutorial and go rogue? Possibly not, but it’s what works best for me, and gives such beautiful results that I’m unlikely to change my faux binding habit! 🙂 To accommodate the method, I cut the binding strips at 1-1/4″ wide, instead of the called for 2″. (1/4″ seam allowance + 1/2″ wide binding + 1/2″ folded under).

To prep my binding strips, I serge along one long edge of the binding, using a four thread overlock with a stitch width of M, and a stitch length of 2, upping my differential to 1.3 to add stability to the straps. Then I serge the binding to the garment right sides together, and press the binding up. Then I fold the binding around to the back until the raw serged edge aligns to cover the seam. Use plenty of pins to keep the binding in place, and coverstitch.

I love finding random designs, sandcastles, and messages left by beach-goers. I don’t know who drew this cool design in the sand, but I admire the precision and time it must have taken! It added an interesting background for my photos. So, thank you to whoever made it!

The design of the Sage Top and Crop is so elegantly simple- a seam up the center back, and binding. Easy breezy! Center back seams are great for shaping. In for the waist, and curving out to fit smoothly over the bum.

Yoga has given me some rather serious lat muscles 😉 even if this isn’t the most flattering photo. We were losing the light and it was a cloudy evening, so Dan (my sweet accommodating husband) just took a quick snap.

I’ll wear my Sage Tops with shorts to go skating. It’ll be nice to not have to wear a bra on hot, muggy Florida days. Since we’re busy working on a home updating project, I haven’t had time to skate in weeks. It’s killing me to miss out on my normal Wednesday morning skate around the neighborhood, but such is the life of avid DIYers! It’s also taken away pretty much all of my sewing time, which is why I don’t have any more of these outfits made yet.

The wind didn’t blow the overlapped sides on the skirt open. So there is enough modesty for general wear. Along with knee and maxi lengths if mini length isn’t your style.

So, I’ll have to content myself with this cute outfit until I get some more sewing time! I’d also like to hack the Sage Top, by cutting the crop length, and adding either the Max Top and Dress skirt, or the Wylde Dress skirt. Ah, so many possibilities!

The details:

The Sage Top and Cinder Skirt are new patterns from Stitch Upon A Time.

I used nylon/spandex circular knit, nylon/spandex tricot swim knit, and powernet from Phee Fabrics for the Sage Top.

The 1″ wide knit elastic for the shelf bra in the top and the waistband of the skirt was purchased at Wawak, along with the MaxiLock serger thread used for construction.

The navy lyocell twill fabric for the skirt was a surprise clearance section find at JoAnn Fabrics. I would definitely buy it again, as it was the perfect weight and drape for this skirt.

Thank you for reading and sharing my love of creating, sewing, patterns, patterns, fabric, and making beautiful, well-fitting garments! ❤

The links to Stitch Upon A Time may be affiliate links, which means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a few pennies if you purchase through my link. As always, I only give my honest opinion. After all, it is my blog, which represents me!

Stitch Upon A Time Max Crop, Top & Dress

Pattern Hacks To Personalize For Your Style

I love pattern testing in the spring and summer, because I love summer clothes! This makes sense since I live in Florida, which has about eleven months of summer, and a month or so of cooler temperatures. 😉 Patterns that have multiple options mean I can make multiple looks with one pattern. I could have gone for the simple scoop or V-neck tops, but I gravitated to the cross-front tops.

Cross-front tops are such a fun, flattering look if they fit well. It’s important that the cross-over doesn’t cut across the bust, but rather, falls below it. Yet the cross-over needs to be high enough to cover your bra. I want to look a little sexy, but don’t want super revealing clothes. This can be a tricky balance, especially if you have a smaller ribcage and shoulders, but a larger bust size. Thankfully, the Max Crop, Top, and Dress patterns includes regular and FBA cross-over pieces.

I love how the cross-over hits at just the right spot!

Testing for designers that listen to feedback from the testers, and make changes accordingly gives me more confidence in their skills. Yeah, they may have made samples, and done some pre-testing, but nobody is going to come up with a “perfect” pattern that fits every unique body. And something that works in theory, may need a little bit of tweaking in the real world. I’m not saying that designers should change everything about their designs, but if a similar issue is noted by several people, it’s probably worth taking a look at.

That being said, it’s important to be a good tester. Take accurate measurements so that you can choose the proper size. Use fabric with the correct stretch requirements (if garment is for knits) and drape/weight (for knit or woven patterns). Be honest in your fit assessments. This doesn’t mean rude or demanding, because hey, the designer is a human being, worthy of respect and kindness. It just means pointing out any and all areas of concern in an appropriate manner. For example, explaining that your shoulders slope more or less than the pattern; or that the bust is too tight/loose/low/high, etc., but the waist fits perfectly. It’s important to take good fit photos so that the designer can see whether the side seams are vertical, whether it’s pulling to the front or back, how the shoulders and sleeves fit, etc. Every body is unique, and though we may fall into the same size, even if sewn exactly per directions, the garment may look different on you than it does on me. The best a designer can do (when designing for a mass market) is get the best possible look on the most bodies in each size range.

See the nice vertical side seams?

That’s why it’s important, (and something you’ll learn as you sew and grow) to know your body. For instance, my shoulders slope a bit, and I am longer than average from shoulder to bust point. Some designers use a more sloped shoulder seam than others, but when I see a shoulder seam that’s nearly square, I automatically know that I’m going to have to increase the slope by raising the seam at the neck edge. If I just angled down from the original shoulder point to the shoulder edge, then the armscye won’t be deep enough for me, and the garment is going to cut into my armpits. This fit issue is way more common than you’d think. It’s worth the time to make tiny tweaks to a pattern so that it fits your body.

The Stitch Upon A Time Max has sleeve options ranging from cap sleeves, short sleeves, mid sleeves, to long sleeves. It doesn’t however, have a sleeveless option. When you live in a tropical climate, sleeveless is a favorite choice, and it’s not hard to hack to be sleeveless. You can do this to your pattern piece, but if you think you may want to use your pattern for a sleeved version later, it’s easy enough to do to with your garment already cut and sewn. Simply make marks around the armscye 1/2″ in from the raw edge. Trim off that 1/2″ of extra fabric.

A rotary cutter and self-healing mat make cutting and trimming so much easier!

I chose to finish my sleeveless looks with a faux facing. First, measure the new edge of your armscye and multiply that number by .95. I know that sounds weird, since bands and bindings are generally 87.5% of a raw opening. But keep in mind that this pattern was designed for sleeves, which have a much closer fitting armscye that doesn’t need to be “brought in”. The faux facing is just to keep the opening from stretching out of shape. Cut two strips of fabric 7/8″ high, with a width of 95% of the length of your armscye. (In other words, cut the strips so the greatest stretch of the fabric will be going around the opening.)

Using a four thread overlock with a stitch width of M, stitch length of 2, and the differential up to 1.3, serge along one long edge of each strip. Sew the short ends of each strip together with a 1/4″ seam allowance, and mark the quarter points of the raw edge. Mark the quarter points of each armscye and pin the facing to the armscye, only slightly stretching the facing to fit. Add additional pins as needed, then serge, right sides together with the same settings as above, using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Fold the seam allowance to the inside, slightly rolling it so that the facing will be completely hidden, and pin the facing in place. Then coverstitch from the right side.

Notice how you can see just a little bit of the bodice along the top edge of the pinned armscye at the bottom of the photo, while the facing is completely hidden in the coverstitched armscye at the top of the photo? It looks even better once it’s pressed!

One of my favorite looks from the pattern was the cross-front ruffle crop top. But I’m not comfortable wearing cropped length tops. And the height of the waistband piece was a bit too long on my body, looking more like a dropped waist. So I decided to shorten the waistband height so it would end at my natural waist. Then I added length to the ruffle so that it would fall at my high hip, rather than be a crop top. Of course I also made it sleeveless #becauseflorida, and it turned out so cute!

I immediately wore it out skating, and love the fun, flirty ruffle!

Besides yoga, skating is my favorite exercise. It’s great cardio, burns plenty of calories, and is just so fun! My neighborhood doesn’t have sidewalks except for out at a main road with busy traffic. So everyone walks, runs, rides bikes, or skates in the street. My skating route is determined by which streets have newer asphalt, and are therefore smoother to skate on. 🙂

Cul-de-sacs are always fun!

My husband usually rides his bike while I skate. He did a good job of snapping photos while riding! He keeps commenting on how fast I skate lately. I think I’ve gained confidence in skating on rough outdoor surfaces after only having (mostly) skated indoors on a smooth maple wood floor at the skating rink I grew up in. Although I recall skating in more than a few outdoor parades back in the day, the parade pace was definitely slow. I had forgotten how freeing it feels to have the wind in your face, listening to music and flying along like I used to fly around the rink as a child and teen.

Sleeveless tops are more comfortable when skating on a hot day.

The back view of the Max top is just as good as the front. It’s such a nice, smooth fit. I’m quite pleased with the bodice shaping on these tops. Adjusting the shoulder slope to fit my body means the back lays smooth with no wrinkles or pulling.

I am loving the sleeveless look!

My next hack idea is to add a skirt to the cross front bodice without adding the waistband. I think it would look super cute too, although I’d probably serge clear elastic into the seam line when attaching the skirt to help keep it pulled in against the weight of a longer skirt. And perhaps a tiered skirt… Ah, so many ideas swirling in my head with this cute pattern! Which I guess sums up my feelings about the pattern. It’s a great base pattern with so many options, from simple V-neck or scoop neck, to cross-front, with cap, short, half or long sleeves. (Although it’s obviously easy to hack into sleeveless) 🙂 With lengths from crop, top, and ruffle crop, to dress.

Obviously I need more fabric to try all my pattern hack ideas!

Even the bird approves of my Max Top and Treasure Hunt Skirt! 🙂

The details: The Max Crop, Top and Dress pattern from Stitch Upon A Time includes sizes XXS-6X. For reference, my hacked green ruffle crop top is size Large, using the Large FBA bodice. My purple cross-front top is a blend of Medium and Large FBA bodice with size Large lower top. The purple top is worn with the Treasure Hunt Skirt, which is blogged about here.

The lime green (and plum shown in my sleeveless hack photos) rayon spandex was purchased from Phee Fabrics. The purple rayon spandex is a lighter weight from my stash. It was probably purchased at JoAnn Fabrics years ago. Can you tell that I love bright, fun colors?

Thank you for reading and sharing my love of creating, sewing, patterns, pattern hacking, fabric, and making beautiful, well-fitting garments! ❤

The links to Stitch Upon A Time may be affiliate links, which means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a few pennies if you purchase through my link. As always, I only give my honest opinion. After all, it is my blog, which represents me!

My 2022 GreenStyle Fit Capsule

Sew Much Fun Making So Many Things!

I go to yoga class four days a week, so workout wear is an important part of my wardrobe. Roller skating has made it’s way back into my life as well, and I’m here to tell you, you can’t skate without smiling. I seem to break out into a grin every time I put my skates on. Having these two forms of exercise in my life brings a certain balance that just feels right.

It makes me happy that I was able to complete two workout outfits as part of the GreenStyle Fit Capsule Challenge. Even though both outfits are Spark Tights and Power Sports Bras hacked into workout tops, they’re very different looks. My first purchase of GreenStyle fabric was this super cool Super Nova Power Flex. It’s a nylon/spandex blend, and I love how colorful it is. Scraps of grape supplex (a color no longer available) from Phee Fabrics was the perfect accent fabric to pair with it, so I decided to go wild and color-block the bodice and then accent everything with a reverse triple coverstitch using MaxiLock radiant turquoise.

Coverstitching in turquoise really accented the fun colors and contrasted with the grape pockets and panels and cool Super Nova print.

I added a panel of white powernet to the back of my top for extra airflow during sweaty workouts. If you’re like me, and dislike straps near your neck, doing straight straps is such a game changer. There’s no need to ever adjust your straps again! To see how to do straight straps and add panels, check out this post.

I love using bra strapping and doing straight straps with the U-back.

My other Power Sports Bra workout top and Spark Tights combination is completely solid. I used a shimmery, almost glittery nylon spandex athletic fabric from JoAnn Fabrics. Since the fabric was shimmery I kept everything one color and achieved an extra pop of color by reverse triple coverstitching with Superior Threads Fantastico #5028 Peacock Plume. I just love their variegated threads!

The rising sun really picks up the sparkle in the fabric, and the beautiful sheen of the thread.

Once again I chose the U-back of the Power Sports Bra and used straight straps. Can you tell that these are well-loved patterns? 🙂 The straps were cut along the edges of the fabric where it wasn’t shimmery, just for a bit of accent. And to not waste that couple inches of fabric! 😉

My non-shimmery straight straps.

The Valerie Dress, another well-loved pattern, hacked to be sleeveless and made in green rayon spandex will get a lot of use. I wear my Valerie Dresses all the time. Sometimes as a dress, sometimes as a nightgown or loungewear. I’ve also mashed it with the Staple Tank for a slightly different look, seen here.

It was a windy day, which made the dress cling to my body.

If it gets chilly, I can slide on my new Sunday Cardigan, hacked to have tiers, butttons, and a sleeve flounce. You can read about that here.

The cardigan works over dresses, shorts or pants, swimwear or workout wear. I love it!

Last but not least, I had to make another Staple Tank! You can never have too many of these tanks. I was gifted some pretty fabric scraps by a woman in one of my Facebook sewing groups. And this fun crocodile skin rayon/spandex print was actually large enough to eek out a new tank! It makes me smile to have such a fun printed tank!

I like using binding to finish my Staple Tanks. It gives it such a clean look.

Whew! That was a lot of sewing and posing for photos. 🙂 I was pretty inspired by the Fit Capsule Challenge this year, and I’m excited to have made so many cute things. It speaks volumes about how I feel about GreenStyle patterns and the way they fit my body so well. I may have plans to make myself another workout outfit. 😉 I bought some navy supplex, and have some pretty fabric scraps to coordinate with it. But I need to make a few things for other people first.

Thank you for reading and sharing my love of creating, sewing, patterns, pattern hacking, fabric, and making beautiful, well-fitting garments! ❤

The links to GreenStyle may be affiliate links, which means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a few pennies if you purchase through my link. As always, I only give my honest opinion. After all, it is my blog, which represents me!

A Fun And Flouncy Cardigan Hack

This idea for hacking the GreenStyle Sunday Cardigan has been floating around in my mind for a while. Finally, I took the time to make a plan, get it done, and I love it! It’s exactly what I wanted. It’s fun and flouncy, lightweight and flowy, and super comfortable. It looks cute with a dress, is easy to toss on when I need a layer, and elevates a simple outfit.

Windy days make photography challenging. And sometimes, not super attractive! 🙂

I suppose I should start with my sketch. Obviously, I’m a sewist, not an artist! 🙂 But sketching out my ideas helps me clarify exactly what I want to do, and it’s helpful to note how I plan to do it! A well-fitting pattern with the basic shape you want is always a great place to start. Set-in sleeves are a must, since dropped shoulders and boxy shapes are not particularly flattering on my body. Clean edges, rather than bands were also important. The GreenStyle Sunday Cardigan met all my requirements, and, I know it fits well since I’ve made several. See here and here.

Noting dimensions really helps when you’re planning to start cutting into your fabric.

The tiers needed to start below the bust, because it’s much more attractive than having a seam slice through the bustline. A bit higher than my natural waistline, almost an empire look was the plan. Since the average side waist is 8″, I figured 6″ would work well. Keep in mind that if you have a very large or full bust, or a longer than average side waist, you may want the top section of your cardigan to be a bit longer. I marked my pattern pieces 6″ down from the armscye on the side seam, and folded the excess pattern under. The sleeves were also shortened to 6″ below the armscye.

It may have been easier if I had just cut the bottom of the patterns off rather than folding, but I didn’t want to have to tape them back together or retrace the pattern pieces the next time I want to use it!

Since I was looking for a knee length cardigan, I measured down to the knee length mark on the pattern, and figured I needed another 23″ or so from my 6″ mark on the side seam. Since I wanted two tiers, I made them each 12″ high to give me a seam and hem allowance. To figure out the width of the first tier, multiply the bottom of the bodice (where you folded or cut off the bottom of the pattern) by 1.5, and multiply that number by 1.5 to give you the width of the second tier. My first tiers ended up being 12″ high by 20″ wide for the front, and 40″ wide for the back. My second tiers are 12″ high by 30″ wide for the front, and 60″ wide for the back. Since my fabric was only 58″ wide, this was a case of “close enough is good enough”!

See? There’s no way to tell that the back bottom tier isn’t quite as wide as it “should have” been.

Cutting the tiers was pretty easy using my quilting ruler and rotary cutter. I use a ruler and rotary cutter all the time when cutting out bands, bindings, cuffs, or any other rectangular piece. It’s so much faster and easier, and much more precise than cutting around a pattern piece. Making the sleeve flounce was much less precise! 😉

My fancy method of making the flounce pattern piece involved tracing around the largest bowl in my cupboard. You know the big bowl you use when hosting a large backyard party and you make a huge taco/pasta/(insert your favorite) salad? Yeah, that bowl. That’s the outside of your circle. Then measure across the bottom of the (folded under or cut off) sleeve piece, and subtract the seam allowance. That’s how big you want the seam line of the circle to be. Since I used a 1/4″ seam allowance to attach the flounce to the bottom of the sleeve, the cutting line needs to be 1/4″ inside the seam line. I’m sure there is a math whiz who could tell me how to arrive at the proper inner circle circumference, but I just found a mug in the cupboard that was the same circumference as my seam line circle, and used a compass to make my cutting line circle 1/4″ inside the seam line circle.

My super scientifically designed sleeve flounce ended up 15″ across, and the inner cut line 3-3/4″ across. This gave me a flounce depth of 5-3/4″.

With all the pieces cut out, it was time to sew everything together. Gather each first tier piece and attach the front tiers to the bodice fronts, and the back tier to the bodice back. Gather the second tier pieces and attach the front tiers to the bottom of the front top tiers. Attach the back tier to the bottom of the back top tier.

The cardigan is really starting to take shape!

With right sides together, sew the shoulder seams and side seams. Sew the sleeves together, and mark the quarter points on the sleeve bottom and the quarter points of the flounces. Match up the quarter points and serge the flounce onto the sleeve. Set in the sleeves and get ready to hem. My best hemming tip for circle sleeves, skirts, or anything with a steeply curved bottom is to four-thread overlock the hem using a stitch length of 2, stitch width of M, and up the differential to 1.5. This will slightly gather the hem so that when you fold it under it will lay nice and flat for you. Pin up your sleeve hems and cover or top-stitch.

Once everything is cover-stitched and pressed, the flounce hem will be smooth and hang perfectly.

Now it’s time to finish the front edges of the cardigan. I do this little trick on every Sunday Cardigan I make. Cut 3/8″ wide strips of feather-weight fusible interfacing. Press the strips along the wrong side of the entire front edge of the cardigan. Snip the interfacing strips almost all the way through to help it curve when going around the neckline. Then press the edges under 3/8″ and cover-stitch.

Using interfacing along the front edges of your cardigan makes finishing it so easy! It helps the fabric stay perfectly smooth and flat, and keeps it from getting stretched out when you top-stitch.

All that’s left to do is hem the bottom edge. I use the same four-thread overlock settings as above, except I only up the differential to 1.3. Then pin the hem up and coverstitch. You can leave the cardigan with an open front, add buttons and loops at the top bodice, or go as far down the front as you want. I decided on 4 buttons and loops to hold the bodice closed when desired.

I love the dreamy look of the buttoned bodice with the ruffled tiers and flounce sleeves.

This is a super fun and super useful cardigan. It’s pretty over a dress when you want a fancier look, and simple enough to throw on over workout wear. It’s a lightweight cover-up at the beach, and would work as a bathrobe too. I could see it made in a stretch mesh or a soft rayon spandex. My version is made from a pointelle knit that I’ve had in my stash since the ’90s. The store it was purchased from has been out of business for decades, so who knows the exact fabric content. I’m usually pretty good at identifying fabric content by look and feel, and my best guess is that it’s a cotton/maybe a bit of rayon?/spandex blend. I just know that I’m super happy with my pattern hack, and am dreaming about another one!

Floaty, flowy, and fun. What more can you ask for?

The details: the Sunday Cardigan is one of the older patterns that hasn’t been updated to the extended size chart yet. It includes sizes XXS-3XL, and has an optional hood and pockets.

My cardigan is shown over a Valerie Dress (hacked to be sleeveless), made of rayon spandex purchased at Phee Fabrics; and over a Power Sports Bra and Spark Tights, made of a nylon/spandex athletic fabric from JoAnn Fabrics.

Thank you for reading and sharing my love of creating, sewing, patterns, pattern hacking, fabric, and making beautiful, well-fitting garments! ❤

Links to GreenStyle may be affiliate links, which means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a few pennies if you purchase through my links.

The Trish Newbery Riley Cape

Because Who Wouldn’t Want A Cape?

Don’t get me wrong, I still love cardigans, but sometimes you just want something with a little bit more drama. How fun to have a garment to keep your body warm, with front slits for freedom of movement for your arms.

This is only the second Trish Newbery pattern I’ve tried. The Shadow Tunic Dress was the first, and I really like it. Hmmm… I should write a post on how I hacked it… Anyway, I thought it would be fun to have a cape, so I started looking at patterns. It was important to me that the pattern have good shaping at the shoulders. There are plenty of patterns out there that are basically a big circle, with a circle in the middle for your head to go through. That doesn’t work for me for the same reason that dolman tops/dresses don’t work well.

When you have more narrow, slightly sloping shoulders and a larger bust, a dolman style just kind of hangs there and creates a big wrinkle at the armscye. Not an attractive look. A nicely fitted shoulder (with set-in sleeves on a garment with sleeves) is a much better look. So, I searched for a pattern with some shaping at the shoulders.

The Riley Cape has raglan shoulder seam lines, with optional front slits along the seam line. Yay, no need for welted openings! I like the look of welted pockets, etc., but dislike the process of sewing them. 🙂

Front slits make the cape easy and practical to wear.

The pattern has options for a hood, cowl collar, or neckband; and a plain front or lower center front opening. I went for the neckband and thought I wanted the lower front opening. Once it was sewn up though, the center front slit didn’t seem necessary, since there were already slits for the arms. So I ripped out the bottom center top stitching, and sewed the center front seam all the way down to the hem, and redid the topstitching. I’d probably use the center front seam again because I think it helped me play pattern tetris and use less fabric. 😉 And I like the look of the topstitching!

With just enough warmth, and plenty of drama, capes are fun!

Though I would have liked to use a stretch Merino wool or some other fancy fabric for my cape, that wasn’t exactly in my budget, or simple to find in sunny Florida! Our winters aren’t exactly long, and generally aren’t that cold. Since I knew that I’d likely only get to wear it for a few weeks or so, anti-pill fleece seemed a logical choice. JoAnn Fabrics had this charcoal marled look fleece, and it looked like a more expensive fabric than it was. Fleece is kind of bulky, so black rayon spandex seemed like a better choice for the neckband.

The only pattern adjustment I made was to straighten out the shoulder seam line. The shoulder seam has a bit of a curve to it, so I got rid of the curve and just kept angling it up in a straight line to the inner neck. It fits the slope of my shoulders so much better!

Climbing stairs with the wind blowing the cape out behind me. 🙂

I’m very happy with my cape/poncho/whatever you want to call it! I wore it out to my birthday dinner and kept it on all afternoon and early evening. It was the perfect topper for a long sleeved top and leggings, and dressed them up a bit. I’d make this pattern again, and probably choose the exact same options! I think supplex, ponte, or a heavier weight rayon spandex would all be excellent fabric choices.

The details: Riley Cape from Trish Newbery

Anti-pill fleece from JoAnn Fabrics

Rayon spandex from Phee Fabrics

Thank you for reading and sharing my love of creating, sewing, patterns, fabric, and making beautiful, well-fitting garments! ❤

Porcelynne Jackie Bra and Tankini

Workout wear makes up a large portion of my wardrobe, so I like trying out new patterns and styles. Porcelynne is known for their bra making books and extensive bra making supplies. Their current warehouse is somewhat local to me, and that is how I stumbled across the Jackie pattern. Jennifer (the designer, author, and owner of Porcelynne) is in a Florida sewing group that I’m in on Facebook. She hosted a shopping event that included fabric from an estate sale at her warehouse. I chatted with her while shopping, and commented on the sports bra she was wearing, asking her which pattern it was. She told me it was a new pattern that would be releasing soon. Once the Jackie Sports Bra pattern dropped, I bought it, and the Tankini Add-On pattern.

Sewing workout wear is fun, and ensures that I have unique, colorful outfits to wear to yoga class.

Since Christmas was right around the corner, I spent the next month sewing for others and put off sewing anything for myself. January rolled around, and with it, time to sew for myself. The Jackie is marked as a more advanced pattern, so, as suggested in the tutorial, I decided to make the “simple” pullover version, rather than the zip up front to ensure that I had chosen the correct size. The size chart is extensive and includes fitting tips for uneven breast sizes, compression fit, etc. Knowing that I planned to workout in my bra, including upside down poses in yoga class, I sized down one size for the band, and used powernet in the bra. I did not size down in the cups, because I know powernet has a strong rebound factor. Snug but not not tight is the name of the game in comfortable workout wear! This meant that instead of making the 34F that I measured, I went with the 32F.

I always baste powernet to the wrong side of the main fabric before serging the pieces together, then pull all the basting stitches. In retrospect, I should have trimmed the powernet back 3/16″ around all the edges before serging to reduce bulk in my seams.

The Tankini Add-On is based on your band size and has some cool overlapped pockets on the front side panels. Although I like the looks of the pocket panels, all of my workout tights have pockets, so pockets on my top were redundant. Skipping the pockets meant a little more work to figure out the length on the side panels, but it wasn’t really that challenging to mark a new cutting line. The curving lines on the front panels of the tankini are super cool, but the curves on the side seams are not designed for my body shape. The tankini side seams were too “hippy” on me, with bulges on the sides, then a bit snug at the bottom, which makes the bottom want to slide up to a narrower point on the body. Part of this is probably due to the shape of my booty, which I frequently adjust for when making tops or dresses. Have you ever had a top or dress hem be too short in the back (shorter in the back than the front)? Even on a flowy dress, so you know it’s not because it’s too tight in the hips? Yeah, it’s super annoying, but there is an easy solution as long as it’s done at the “tracing the pattern” stage.

Whenever I’m tracing off a top or dress pattern and the back hem is straight across from center back to side seam, I know it’s going to be a problem if I don’t make an adjustment. Booties protrude from your back, and you need adequate fabric to cover them. Obviously you need adequate hip width, so do any grading out to the appropriate size first. In case you haven’t read my previous posts on the importance of grading, I am a stickler about grading to fit your body. Designers make patterns to fit an average of measurements, and they provide size charts for a reason. Just because your bust measurement falls into size x, it doesn’t mean that your waist and hips do too. Maybe they fall into the measurement range for a size y or z. It’s worth taking the time to grade to your size(s). Now back to the booty issue. If you’ve noticed the “too short in the back” issue on your makes, you need to add length at the hemline in the center back of your pattern, curving up to meet the side seam. Adding 1.5″ at the center fold line seems to be the perfect amount for me.

Notice that more length is added at the center back fold line to about the center of the pattern piece, then it curves somewhat sharply up from there.

Using a curved ruler can help you draw smooth even lines, but you can do this by eye. I do this adjustment on every fitted workout top I make. It’s helpful on more fitted tank and tee shirt patterns as well. Many flowy top patterns seem to include a curved hem. Occasionally after making a pattern with a slightly curved hem, I find that I need to add just a little bit more length to the curve at center back.

The hand on the hip is kind of pulling the fabric, but the top is the same length in the back as it is in the front.

Although I generally followed the tutorial directions when sewing the bra (which is a good idea when trying a pattern for the first time!), I’ve made enough workout wear to feel comfortable making a few changes. Since I had used powernet on all of the front and back pieces, using elastic along the top seam wasn’t necessary. The caveats to this being: first and foremost, having chosen the proper size; using a high quality powernet (not a flimsy powermesh); and using the differential on my serger. When sewing knits, always up the differential (to 1.3 generally speaking) to keep the fabric from stretching out of shape while serging.

Since the neckline has a somewhat squared shape where the center front meets the side front, I found it helpful to sew with a stretch stitch first, then go back and serge to ensure nice crisp corners.

The interior of the bra and modified band.

The bra pattern includes a normal rectangular band with 1-3/8″ wide elastic. The tutorial for the Tankini Add-On recommends serging narrow elastic into the seam when attaching the bra bodice to the tankini. I much prefer a nice solid 1″ wide elastic enclosed in a band on my workout tops. After all, I’m going to be upside down in headstands during yoga class and want a very secure band! On most tops the seam between the bra and bodice is relatively straight, but the Jackie bra has an interesting upward curve at center front. Rather than just using a simple rectangular band, I hacked mine to have a curve matching the curve on the center front of the tankini bodice.

The finished band has enclosed elastic.

Since I don’t like loose elastic floating around inside of a band, I always serge one long edge of the band into the seam when attaching the bra and bodice. Since I’m using 1″ wide elastic, my band is 2-1/4″ high (except for the top center, which is shaped to match the bodice). Here’s what works for me: have the bodice inside out; slide the bra down inside the bodice with the right side out (the bra and bodice will be RST); place the band (sewn into a loop) inside the bra, with the right side of the band facing the lining of the bra, matching all quarter points. Serge from the inside of the top, with the band on top. I like to use plenty of pins to ensure that all layers stay perfectly aligned. Just be sure to pull the pins before they get up to the blade so you don’t hit them! If you’re nervous about this, just baste the layers together, then go over to your serger.

Since different brands of elastic can be more or less stretchy than others, I like to pre-stretch my elastic 8 or 10 times, then wrap it around my body where the band will fall (just under the bust) and pull it to a snug, yet comfortable tightness with a 1/2″ overlap. (Using the 1″ elastic from Wawak, mine ends up 27-1/2″ long.) Overlap the ends 1/2″, and zig-zag together, securing the ends. Mark the quarter points on the elastic (I just use a pencil). Pin the elastic to the wrong side of the unfinished long edge of the band, matching the quarter points, and serge, stretching the elastic to match the band. Then fold the elastic up inside the band, overlapping, and just matching the top of the seam. Pin, then coverstitch in place. This will keep the smooth side of the band against your skin, with the seam on the side against the bodice.

No matter how you bend, the band will lay comfortably against your body.

The wrap-up: I like that the Jackie bra is unique, and different from other sports bra patterns. It’s rated as a more advanced pattern, and I’m glad that I have plenty of experience sewing workout wear. It would probably be intimidating to a beginner sewist, but Porcelynne has a pattern discussion and a sew-along group on Facebook, as I recently discovered. It can be helpful to have a group of people to refer to and ask questions of who are familiar with a pattern. When people ask questions in a pattern or sewing group, and I’m familiar with the pattern or problem, I always try to help. Share your experience to help others who are still learning. That’s how we learn and grow, by doing, and seeking help from those with more experience. And I want people to love sewing, not get frustrated with it and give up.

The contrasting inserts on the side back are fun, and give you more seams to accent with a reverse triple coverstitch!

Rather than the padded adjustable straps the pattern calls for, I chose to add fixed double straps of 5/8″ wide plush bra elastic. If I were going to wear the bra as just a bra, those padded adjustable straps would probably be quite comfortable. I really should make a version with adjustable straps even if only to show off the pretty rainbow rings and sliders and plush bra elastic I bought from Porcelynne!

The details: the Porcelynne Jackie Sports Bra and Tankini Add-On patterns are available in .pdf format as well as paper patterns.

The charcoal gray supplex, powernet, and plum nylon spandex were purchased from Phee Fabrics. This particular purple is from my stash and no longer available, but there is a very pretty purple nylon spandex tricot on the site. It’s easier to sew when you use high quality fabric, and moisture-wicking nylon/spandex fabrics are your best bet for workout wear!

When reverse triple coverstitching, I used Superior Threads Fantastico #5154 High Society in the looper. I just love the sheen, and how prettily it accents my fabric. Their variegated threads are fabulous!

Thank you to Ashley @coastalyoga for taking photos while at the studio after a sweaty Ashtanga class!

And thank you to my sweet husband for taking photos at home. Sadly it’s too cold and windy for outdoor photos right now!

Thank you for reading and sharing my love of creating, sewing, patterns, fabric, and making beautiful, well-fitting garments!

Sewing A Sonata

Adjusting The Love Notions Sonata For A Perfect Fit

I just can’t help but be drawn to pretty woven dresses. They are light and breezy in Florida’s heat, and the structure of woven dresses generally supports pockets. What’s not to love about that? The Love Notions Sonata Dress definitely caught my eye.

Well, there are a couple reasons I rarely seem to sew them. The first being that I much prefer sewing knits. Construction seems to go so much faster. 🙂 I can sew a pair of workout leggings with pockets, some kind of panel or shaping design, inner and outer waistband pieces, and a gusset much faster! But I think the main reason that I tend to skip over woven dress patterns is because I know that I’ll need to make pattern adjustments.

I am longer than average from shoulder to bust point, and I always need to lower the armscye on woven patterns. These are relatively common adjustments, and really aren’t that hard to make, they just take a little time. If you’ve ever tried on a top or dress, and noticed that the bust dart is above, or quite high on the bust, this fit issue may apply to you too.

The Sonata Dress pattern has cup sizes, which is what really drew me to it. Depending upon the block that pattern designers use, many pattern companies tend to design for an “average” B and sometimes C sewing cup size. They only seem to venture into a D cup in larger size patterns. But the Sonata includes a D sewing cup size, which is what I measured into according to their sizing chart. I love when size charts include upper and full bust measurements, because it’s so much easier to determine what size to make.

Your upper bust measurement tells you what size to make the shoulders of your dress. Have you ever made a dress according to your full bust measurement (which is sometimes the only bust measurement on a size chart) and had it seem too wide at the neck, perhaps showing your bra straps, and with the shoulder seam overhanging your shoulders? Using the upper bust measurement will help you choose the size that fits the frame of your body.

A pattern that fits my shoulders properly makes me happy!

The pattern tutorial shows how to raise or lower the bust dart. I find it easiest to trace the front bodice pattern except for the side seam, and then slide the tracing paper up, keeping the edge of the tracing paper aligned with the center fold edge of the printed out pattern so that everything stays straight on grain. In order to know how far to slide it up, you need to measure from your shoulder (where the front and back seam intersect on top of the shoulder) to your bust point (generally the nipple area) wearing the bra that you plan to wear with the dress. Note that measurement (for instance 12″), and transfer the bust point to your traced pattern piece from the shoulder seam line (3/8″ away from the pattern edge) down that same measurement (ie: 12″). Slide your tracing paper up until your marked bust point aligns with the bust point marked on the printed pattern piece. Now you can trace the side seam and dart marking and it will be in the right spot for your body.

If patterns tend to cut into your armpit, you probably need to lower the armscye too. When I trace the lowered bust point and side seams, I need to trace the bottom half of the armscye too. Apparently I am average from armpit to waist, because if I try to stick with the original pattern armscye depth, and then trim away until it fits comfortably, guess what my trimmed away shape ends up being? EXACTLY matching the original pattern if I trace the bottom half of the armscye when I trace the lowered bust point. Gosh I would have saved myself a lot of time if I had just done that in the first place! 🙂

I love the elastic in the back.

The elastic at the back waist makes the Sonata such an easy fit. It gives the dress some shaping even if your waist doesn’t really curve in all that much. 😉 I’ll admit that I kind of cheated when installing the elastic. After sewing the bodice and skirt back pieces together with a 1″ seam allowance, you’re supposed to stitch the casing to the bodice and run elastic through the casing. My “cheat” was to stitch the 1″ seam allowance, slip my elastic in between the two layers of fabric, and anchor the two ends with a zig zag stitch. Then stretching the elastic until it lay flat in the fabric, I pinned the center, then serged along the raw edge, keeping the fabric and enclosed elastic flat and even.

Then press the enclosed elastic seam up, stretch it flat and pin it in place. Coverstitch 7/8″ from the seam line, stitching the serged elastic edge in place. Tip: it will be easier to keep a straight line while coverstitching if you mark the line with chalk or a disappearing marker before adding the elastic.

I’m always excited about having pockets.

Integrated side seam pockets are such a handy thing on a woven dress. Even when carrying a phone or car keys, your pocket doesn’t get pulled out of shape. Here’s my favorite tip for sewing side seam pockets with a serger: starting a couple of inches below the pocket, use your sewing machine to stitch up to the marked pivot point, and with the needle down, rotate the fabric and stitch around the pocket to the top pivot point. Keeping the needle down, rotate the fabric and continue stitching up the side of the skirt. Then snip the corners up to but not through the stitching line. Then when you serge the seam, you can easily straighten out the stitching line to finish the pocket edges.

Stiching, then snipping up to the pivot point makes it super easy to serge the side seam pockets.

A cute new dress with pockets? What’s not to love about that? I’m super happy that I took the time to adjust the fit and perfect the pattern so that I can make more Sonata dresses. The skirt length is a perfectly flattering above knee length. And it was totally worth the time to make matching bias tape so that my armscye finish looks as pretty as the rest of my dress.

Store bought bias tape wouldn’t match this wild fabric!

After nearly burning my fingers while pressing my hand-made bias tape, I’m thinking it would be worth spending the money to buy a bias tape maker. So, here’s to more Sonata’s in my future!

The details:

My Love Notions Sonata Dress is sleeveless, but the pattern includes short, flutter, and bishop sleeves. The neckline facing can be sewn on the outside for a fun punch of contrasting color, or inside for a more invisible look.

The watercolor floral fabric is a vintage cotton from my stash. If I had to guess by looking at the colors and print, I’d have to say I probably bought it in the early ’90s to make a dress for my daughter. I made her a lot of dresses back then, but work probably got in the way of me making one out of this fabric. Which works out well for me now. 😉

The purple facing fabric was a scrap of Art Gallery Fabrics cotton purchased from Phee Fabrics.

Thank you for reading and sharing my love of creating, sewing, patterns, fabric, and making beautiful, well-fitting garments! ❤

The Corset Look

Sewing Tips And A Fun Hack

The new Corset Bra and Top from GreenStyle Creations is so fun! The princess seaming gives it shaping, the pattern design is clean finished, and it includes small, medium, and large cup options in every size.

According to the measurement chart, I need the large cup option, so those are the pattern pieces I printed. I’m so glad that the high hip length was added during testing. It’s not like the bra length wouldn’t get used, but why hide a pretty new make? And that leads me to the corset or crop length and my rant about tankinis.

Have you ever been super excited about the idea of buying a tankini because hey, a tankini will cover more skin than a regular bathing suit top. And you’ll feel more confident in a tankini. Until you try it on. How come tankinis and crop tops look so cute on some people, but when I put one on, all it does it highlight the bit of no-longer-flat belly between the bottom of the top and the top of my bottoms? 😦 I’m sure it has something to do with the combination of my size, height, and/or body shape, but let’s get real. I’m not going to be rocking a crop top. Ever. I make and wear two piece swimsuits because they are much more flattering on my body.

Which brings me back to my excitement about the hip length top being added to the pattern. First off, I could wear it as a tankini because it’s actually long enough to cover the top of my swim bottoms. 🙂 It’s a versatile top and looks cute with Warrior Pants.

A slim, fitted top is a great contrast to flowy Warrior Pants.

I love that the straps of the Corset Top easily cover even the wide straps of my bras. The clean finish of the bra and top is so professional looking, and is accomplished by using either the included shelf bra or lining pattern pieces. The pattern tutorial has clear instructions on how to do the “burrito roll” finish. By the time you make a top or two, you’ll feel quite accomplished using the finish!

I love that my bra straps are hidden, front and back.

You can insert clear elastic in the neckline and around the arms, and it would probably be helpful if you were making a bra for the gym. In which case, I’d probably add powernet too. But since mine is just a casual top, simply upping the differential on my serger to 1.3 was enough to keep the neck and arms from being baggy. (Having the correct fit also helps!) Another tip I figured out is that if you have the main fabric on top while sewing the neckline and “burrito roll” the fabric is less likely to roll outward and show the lining. You can under-stitch if you want, but by serging with the main fabric on top I didn’t feel the need to do so.

I must have been talking with my hands when my husband took this photo.

Another thing to consider when making the Corset Bra, crop or top is that fabric will make a difference in the fit. Fabric with a lot of spandex, and excellent rebound properties will fit tighter to the body, and will be super helpful when making the bra. Fabric with a lighter weight, but still a decent amount of spandex (at least 5-10%) will be less form fitting (which may be preferable in the hip length) then something like supplex or swim fabric will be.

The flattering fit of this top makes me happy. And taking plenty of yoga classes made it easy for me to balance on the railing without falling backwards into the seagrass!

Can we just talk about the beautiful princess seaming on this pattern? It’s a great opportunity to color-block, but I really wanted to bring out the lines a different way. I figured that a reverse triple cover-stitch would almost give the illusion of boning channels, which seems appropriate on the corset style. I recently ordered some Fantastico variegated thread from Superior Threads, and I am super impressed with it! It has a beautiful sheen, and the color repeat is only one inch. That means that you get see all of the colors in the thread cycle through frequently.

I love how the thread highlights the seamlines and makes them pop!

I know a pattern is good when I start dreaming about how I can hack it. And the Corset Bra and Top was just begging to be made into a top and/or dress. I’ve seen some advertisements for knit tanks with a chiffon “skirt” and I knew that it would be an easy hack. I had made a corset length top during testing, and it was easy to trim off the bottom so that it would end at my natural waist. I find tops and dresses most flattering if the narrowest part falls at the natural waist.

Then I cut a strip of chiffon 12″ high by the width of the fabric (approximately 58″ wide). You want the width of your strip to be between one and a half to two times the width of the bottom of your top. Depending on the width of your fabric and the size you are making, you may need to cut two strips, giving you a front and a back to get the width you want. Serge the two short ends of the strip together as a side seam, then serge the bottom edge to help prevent fraying. Fold the hem up 3/8″ then another 5/8″ so that the serged edge is completely enclosed. Cover or top stitch the hem. Gather the top edge of the skirt, and match the quarter points up with the quarter points of the bodice. Baste the skirt to the bodice and adjust any gathers as needed before serging.

The simple gathered chiffon skirt gives the top a whole new look!

The fun floaty look of the chiffon combined with the fitted bodice of the Corset Top looks great over a skirt. Lengthening or adding a second (one and a half times wider) tier of chiffon would totally change the look. As would making the skirt out the same knit as the bodice. I’ve got so many top and dress ideas floating through my brain!

It’s such a fun hack!

And that’s the beauty of a pattern like this. It’s a bra, it’s a top, it’s a swim top, it’s the bodice of a dress. I’ve got some GreenStyle Power Flex fabric just waiting to be sewn into Spark Tights and a cute new workout top. It’s time to sew all the things!

The details:

The navy top is nylon/spandex tricot from Phee Fabrics. It is accented with reverse triple coverstitching using Superior Threads Fantastico #5028 Peacock Plume. Worn with Warrior Pants and Moxi Shorts.

The fully lined purple top is a lightweight nylon/spandex circular knit from Phee Fabrics. It is accented with Fantastico #5154 High Society. The chiffon in my stash came from an estate sale. Worn with a Pace Skirt.

The links to GreenStyle are affiliate links, which means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase through my link. As always, I only give my honest opinion. After all, it is my blog, which represents me! Thank you for reading and sharing my love of creating, sewing, patterns, fabric, and making beautiful, well-fitting garments! ❤

Mix It Up With The Moxi Shorts

Moxi Shorts and a hacked Power Sports Bra make a fun summer outfit!

The Moxi Shorts pattern just got updated into the extended GreenStyle Creations size range, the pattern received a few tweaks, and a youth size version of the pattern was released! The Moxi’s are one of the few GreenStyle patterns I hadn’t tried yet. I think I was afraid that they’d be too short, or hard to fit, or something. But living in sunny (although currently rainy, thanks to the tropical storm) Florida, I need all the shorts patterns!

Color me very pleasantly surprised with the fit. I mean, look how cute these shorts are!

Although they are shorter shorts, they’re not too short if you know what I mean. When I cut out the first pair, I figured that I’d want to make the optional bike shorts as a lower layer to cover a bit more leg. But once I sewed them up, I was happy with the coverage and decided I didn’t need either the bike short or briefs under layer. There is a great FIT TIP in the tutorial to help slim the lower back leg, and it worked perfectly to curve in under the booty. I narrowed the lower back one size and it gave me just the fit my booty needed!

Everything stays in place whether I’m jumping into a cartwheel…
…or completely upside down, no one can see my panties!

The Moxi shorts have a unique method of construction, and the wide binding is a great opportunity to add a pop of color whether you’re using a solid or patterned stretch woven fabric. Here’s my little tip for binding: although you can use stretch woven cut on the bias, I think it’s easier to use a high quality knit with plenty of spandex. That way you don’t have to cut on the diagonal and stitch a bunch of strips together. I chose a nylon spandex swim fabric for my binding, and cut it with the greatest stretch (across the “grain”) and it worked great!

Here is another sewing tip for the Moxi’s: although stretch woven is just that- a woven fabric, since it does have stretch, it’s a good idea to up the differential to 1.3 on your serger to keep the seams from becoming wavy. It seems like such a small change, but it can be the difference between a good sewing job and a much more professional looking job.

Isn’t that pop of coral fun against the floral print?

I used GreenStyle stretch woven “Mint To Be” and absolutely love that it coincidentally matches one of my Cami Tanks blogged here. When my husband first saw the fabric, he was surprised that I bought a floral print. I tend to wear a lot of solid colors, and floral is generally not my gig. But once I had them made up, he kept commenting how cute they look. And here’s the proof- the photo he snuck while we were walking.

Husbands take the best sneaky booty shots! 😉

I also like that the shorts are comfortable while sitting. Or preparing to jump off of railings! 🙂

The Moxi’s also look super cute when paired with a Power Sports Bra hacked into a workout top. I hacked this one similarly to the one I made to match my Spark Tights with photo instructions blogged here. Except I used a powernet insert in the back panel, and used two strips of bra strapping for my straight straps.

The Power Sports Bra really does give great support, and looks super cute with Moxi’s!

And no, I didn’t use bra cups in my top, even though it’s white. The design of the bra, thickness and support of the Supplex and powernet is sufficient. Like the Power Sports Bra, the Moxi Shorts are another brilliantly designed pattern that’s definitely worth sewing.

And let’s talk about the updated waistbands. There is an elasticated waistband meant to be used with stretch woven fabric. There is also a nicely contoured waistband meant for knits, with a high and low rise. I ended up making both my waistbands 1/4″ higher than low rise. I know, I know, I’m generally a high rise waistband girl, but going just slightly higher than low rise gave me a perfect fit.

The details: as noted earlier, the mint Moxi Shorts are made of GreenStyle stretch woven. The mint Cami Tank fabric, and the mint waistband fabric came from JoAnn Fabrics.

The navy shorts are Phee Fabrics stretch twill, the neon green and neon coral binding and the navy waistband are nylon spandex tricot, also from Phee Fabrics.

The links to GreenStyle are affiliate links, which means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase through my link. As always, I only give my honest opinion. After all, it is my blog, which represents me! Thank you for reading and sharing my love of creating, sewing, patterns, fabric, and making beautiful, well-fitting garments! ❤