A Totally Trendy Tank Or A Summer Basic?

The GreenStyle Cami Tank is both trendy and a new basic!

I’m not generally what one would call a “trendy” person. My fashion style tends toward “comfortable classic”. But I’ll tell you, the rib knit cami tanks I see everywhere from yoga class to the grocery store and whenever I am out and about were talking to me. And lo and behold, GreenStyle put the Cami Tank into testing! 🙂

I love testing for GreenStyle, because Angelyn includes lots of options and takes perfecting the fit of her patterns seriously. Let’s start with the options: cropped, waist, and hip length; skinny or wide straps (with lots of strap placement options); and an optional shelf bra with an optional bra cup liner. Whew!

Let’s get down to the fit. The cropped and waist length versions are fitted and body skimming, as you would expect. But the hip length, ah, it is that wonderful blend of fitted at the bust, with a little more room at the waist and hips.

Can we talk about how the shelf bra is supportive and comfortable?

I don’t normally like shelf bras, because they aren’t usually supportive enough for my tastes. I used a nylon/spandex tricot for my shelf bra and was pleasantly surprised at the amount of support it offers.

I am comfortable walking around in public in this. Can you imagine how much better it will get when I use a heavier athletic fabric and removable cups in my next Cami Tank?

On to the big (busted) question. How do I decide whether to use the included full bust adjustment pattern piece? As a D+ bra cup woman whose full bust is 7″ larger than my underbust, technically, my measurements put me in the FBA. But here’s the thing- it depends on where your bust fullness is.

So, during testing of version 1 of the pattern, I tried the FBA pieces. And they worked great for the women with perky, full, round busts. But I am a Grandma who nursed my children way back in the day, and time and gravity have done their thing. My bust is fuller at the bottom than the top.

See how the fullness tends to bunch up under the arm, and yet pulls tight across my bust?

The photo makes it super obvious and shows me that the fullness in the pattern isn’t where my fullness is. This is not the fault of the pattern. The average person with a similar difference in full bust and underbust measurements would probably benefit from the FBA pieces. As a sewist, I have long known that I am longer from shoulder to bust point than average. One of the many reasons that I love GreenStyle patterns is because they actually fit me in the armscye. Have you tried patterns from other companies and been super annoyed because they cut into your armpits?

One of the best benefits of sewing is that you can make garments that fit your body. So I skipped the FBA, and instead graded out one size at the armscye. So the front neckline/shoulders are one size, and I just traced out to the next size under the arm.

Can you see what I did wrong?

And it worked perfectly. However, I did a couple of things wrong. 😦 First of all, I accidentally cut my straps over an inch too short. I figured I’d be fine since the straps are plenty long. However, I also didn’t use the shelf bra for the mint colored tank, because I knew that the wide straps would hide my bra straps. That’s all well and good, but the bra is kind of a padded push-up, and therefore makes my boobs even bigger. Ugh! I need to seam rip and remove the too short straps and cut longer straps. After making it, I sorely regretted not having the built in bra. So, word to the wise- just use the shelf bra!

Let’s talk straps. The skinny straps are cute, but let’s get real. I need the support of wider straps. So I used wide straps for every version I made. Binding and straps can seem challenging, but honestly, if you follow the tutorial, you can do it. Since I wanted the maximum width straps possible, I didn’t do the traditional double fold binding method. I did the faux method. I started by serging one long edge of my straps before attaching them. Knits don’t fray like wovens, but I find that serging the edge (with the differential turned up to 1.3) gives me a sturdier, more stable edge when I turn it under to coverstitch.

I also chose to add clear elastic along the strap, across the back, and up the other strap while serging the binding to the tank. To make life easier, I basted the binding to the tank before I serged it. That way I didn’t have to worry about aligning anything or deal with pulling my pins when serging.

I love that the presser foot has slots for the 1/4″ clear elastic! Somehow I neglected to feed the elastic into the front slot before feeding it down into the back slot and starting to serge, but hey, that perfection thing is highly overrated! 🙂

I think that having elastic continue across the back helps the top lay smooth and not get pulled up out of shape by the straps.

Because I serged the binding on with a 1/4″ seam allowance (rather than trimming off 1/8″ as I serged) I gave myself maximum strap width by just pressing the seam allowance up, and folding the strap over to not quite meet the edge. I use plenty of pins when I do binding so that everything stays smooth and in place. It really helps me keep everything an even width.

Pins are your friend when trying to keep everything aligned and even.

I can be totally trendy, in a comfortable classic style. Who wouldn’t want that? It’s destined to become a summer basic, and then worn all fall and winter with a jacket or cardigan.

What’s not to love?

The details: here is the link to GreenStyle Creations and the Cami Tank pattern. The blue and mint fabrics are a nylon/spandex athletic rib knit from JoAnn Fabrics. The marble print leggings worn with the blue tank are the Simpatico Leggings, blogpost here. The black shorts worn with the mint tank are the Chelsea Pants, cut at shorts length, posted here. The swim bottoms worn with the mint tank are the Waimea Swim Bottoms, posted here. The teal fabric in the FBA version is nylon/spandex tricot from Phee Fabrics. I also used navy nylon/spandex tricot for the shelf bra in the blue Cami Tank. I really should cut out another one in this fabric, and maybe leave the side seams open from below the shelf bra as a fun hack to the tank pattern, since I kind of like the look! I should also note that GreenStyle carries athletic rib knit and lots of other pretty 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! ❤

He Is Risen!

He is risen! He is risen indeed! Since we could not attend Easter Mass in person last year due to Covid lockdowns, it was all the sweeter to see the church decorated with flowers and experience Easter Mass again in person. It was also nice to see more people in the pews.

If you don’t attend Mass regularly, and only go on Easter and Christmas, I hope that you felt the love of Christ through the readings, the homily, the friendly smiles (albeit only the crinkled eyes due to mask wearing) of the people around you, and through the wonderful realization that Jesus Christ died for us, and rose from the dead to open the gates of heaven for all of us.

You are loved, you are wanted, and the doors are open to you. Is your heart open? It can quickly be filled, and refilled, again and again with the love of Christ every time you go to Mass. Feed your soul, and celebrate God’s everlasting love. Happy Easter!

He is risen indeed!

The GreenStyle Simpatico Leggings

A not so basic “basic”

One of my most worn clothing styles is leggings, which is no surprise. 😉 Between yoga classes and needing “pants” 🙂 for cool days, leggings are a go-to item. When GreenStyle Creations opened up testing, I quickly jumped at the opportunity.

The Simpatico Leggings are literally a basic style with no outside seams or pockets. But don’t let the simplicity fool you. They are perfectly shaped to fit actual bodies. That may sound funny, but we’ve all bought ready-to-wear leggings that are nothing but tapered straight legs that wrinkle behind the knees, feel too tight on your calves, and have waistbands that don’t end up where you want them to.

Excellent drafting skills went into the design of the Simpatico Leggings. The legs are shaped, they fit smoothly over your calves, they don’t wrinkle or sag at the knees, and the waistband is contoured (rather than a simple rectangle) so it fits and doesn’t gap at the back of the waist. And it has petite, standard, and tall options! For anyone that has ever struggled or been nervous about lengthening or shortening leggings, this is super helpful! A beginning sewist can feel confident about sewing beautifully fitting leggings, and a more experienced sewist can quickly whip up a pair when needed.

No knee wrinkles, and shaping that fits my calves!

You can also choose between a mid-rise or high-rise waistband, and capri or full length leggings. The high-rise waistband is perfect for comfortable smoothing under tops and tunics. I used powernet in the front half of my waistbands (for extra smoothing power!) and clear elastic along the top waistband seam. Whether I’m just walking around or doing yoga, the waistband stays perfectly in place.

My husband seems to enjoy being my photographer and making me laugh while showing off every aspect of my leggings! 😉

Whether you’re looking for simple leggings or capris to wear to yoga class, or a basic to throw on with a tunic and cardigan for running errands, the Simpatico Leggings are a solid choice.

The simple design is perfect for showing off a pretty print!

The details:

The marble print fabric is a nylon spandex athletic blend from JoAnn Fabric. It’s not as thick as supplex, but feels like a lightweight supplex. While I wouldn’t “go commando” at yoga class in this fabric, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality. The mint green top is the GreenStyle Studio to Street blogged here. I love that even in the deep V back version, I can wear a regular bra with it!

The navy Supplex is from Phee Fabrics. The top is the Waimea Rashguard blogged here.

The links to GreenStyle and the Simpatico Leggings 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! ❤

Waimea Rashguard & Bottoms And The Stained Glass Effect

Playing with the coverstitch can really elevate and add depth to your garments

Let’s start with the GreenStyle Waimea Rashguard. I never buy or wear raglan sleeve tops because they never seem to fit right. Every time I try on a RTW raglan style, it rides up and chokes me and the sleeves never fit properly. But GreenStyle patterns are so well drafted that I figured I would give it a shot. Wow! Color me impressed! The sleeves are actually shaped to fit your shoulders. Because it fits your shoulders, it doesn’t ride up and cut into your neck.

Had I been making the top as an actual rashguard, I would have followed the pattern precisely, and used the wider neckband. That would give maximum sun protection as the pattern intended. But I like to play with patterns, and make them for the way I plan to use them. So I tried the top on, and the neckline fell right about at the cross on my necklace before adding the band. Since I just wanted a casual top, I cut the front neckline an inch or so deeper than the pattern, and used binding instead. This leaves the neckline more open, which suits my casual wearing perfectly.

I love the cap sleeve option. It makes the perfect summer top whether I throw it on over my swimsuit or pair it with shorts or a skirt.

The (optional) fun curved hourglass design lines on the front and back offer the perfect opportunity for color-blocking and having fun with your coverstitch. I decided to go all out with coverstitching, and tried a new technique. I knew I wanted a variegated look so my top would match whatever bottoms I wanted to pair with it.

When I first bought my machine and took the “get to know your machine” orientation, I recall the instructor mentioning that if you didn’t have variegated thread, you could use two threads in your chain looper to get a more colorful variegated look. We didn’t try it, but apparently I filed this tidbit of information in my head. I’m sure there are places to buy fancy and fun variegated blends, but I tend to buy my thread from wawak.com when they have cones of MaxiLock serger thread on sale. My favorite and most used variegated thread is called tie dye punch. It’s colorful and multicolored, and yet not the traditional red, yellow, blue, which is just too stark for me.

Although tie dye punch is pretty, it doesn’t lean purple and teal enough for me. And that’s when the filed away thought of using multiple threads in my chain looper came back to me. My plan was to accent the top with a reverse triple coverstitch, which means that I would stitch with the top inside out, so the needle threads would show on the inside of the top, and the looper threads would show on the right side of the fabric. Here’s how I set up my machine:

Can you tell I don’t have a dedicated sewing room and sew at my dining table? 🙂

I put the tie dye punch on the chain looper spool, and set the other two cones (MaxiLock teal, and SureLock purple) on the table just below the looper spool. All three threads went through the thread stand and were fed through the chain looper threading path like normal. I used a thread cradle when autofeeding them through the looper, just like you would when using a thicker thread. To get a “stained glass” look, I used black thread in all three needles. I used Babylock curved foot C to make it easier to sew the curved shapes, and played around on fabric scraps to ensure that I liked the look. Glancing at my practice scrap, I’m kind of impressed at the tight curve near the top of the fabric. Using the curve foot (and having the wide bed space between the needles and the machine) really does make it easier to maneuver tight curves!

I love the fun stained glass effect that using multiple threads achieved!

It’s such a fun look, that I had to play with it some more! The Waimea Swim Bottoms got a similar treatment on the pockets. Since I used black nylon spandex tricot for the bottoms, I changed my thread choices a little bit when coverstitching them. They’re still accented with a triple reverse coverstitch, and again I used tie dye punch variegated thread, along with the purple and teal in the looper. But this time instead of using black thread in all three needles. I used black for C1 and C3, and purple in C2, just for an extra punch of color.

It’s so fun to personalize your swimwear!

How fun is it to have pockets on your swim bottoms? If you’re walking the beach you can easily carry a key or credit card and your phone, and not have to worry about carrying a purse. Of course if you’re a Mom or Grandma, your pockets are likely to get filled with little shells and rocks and some snacks! 🙂

As with every swim bottom pattern I make, I personalize the leg line to suit my body. I don’t like a low leg line, as it’s not flattering on my shape. So I put the bottoms on before adding leg elastic, and carefully pin along the joint at the crease line of my legs. I trace the line of the pins onto my pattern piece to mark my preferred finished leg line. Then I add the 3/8″ seam allowance for the elastic, and trim off the excess fabric. It gives me a beautiful leg line every time!

Can you even take swimwear photos without the obligatory hair flip? 😉

Front to back, I love that I challenged myself to try a new style, that I have some new swim bottoms, and that I played around to create a fun stained glass effect coverstitching look that I know I’ll use again!

I think the hourglass design on the back of the rashguard is quite flattering. And it gave me even more opportunity to coverstitch!

Do you need a rashguard or cute raglan top in your life? And really, who doesn’t need swim bottoms with pockets? 😉 The details:

The Waimea Rashguard has cap, half, or long sleeves. There are two cropped lengths with banded bottoms, as well as a regular full length top. It can be colorblocked or just seamed with fun hourglass shaping, or left solid.

The Waimea Swim Bottoms have pockets and a high or low rise, and an elastic or a foldover waistband.

I used rayon spandex for my casual version of the top, and nylon spandex tricot for my swim bottoms. If I were making the top as an actual rashguard, I would have used the nylon spandex tricot for its UV protecting abilities. All fabric was purchased from Phee Fabrics.

GreenStyle also carries fabric, but I haven’t tried it yet.

Links to GreenStyle and the Waimea patterns are affiliate links. This 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, thread, coverstitching, and making beautiful well-fitting garments! ❤

Are You Ready For A Treasure Hunt?

The Stitch Upon A Time Treasure Hunt Skirt, Options, Sewing Tips, And Upcycling!

I went on a treasure hunt as soon as I was notified that I was chosen to be a pattern tester for the Treasure Hunt Skirt. My husband has recently commented that I don’t really need to make myself anymore clothes, since my closet is pretty full. Well! OK, it may actually be pretty full, but it’s too full of ready to wear clothes that I rarely wear, and not full enough of comfortable, well-fitting clothes that I’ve made myself! So, it was off to treasure hunting!

Throwing away clothes that you don’t like, or that no longer fit is wasteful. I’ve donated many bags of clothes over the years, but I thought it would be more fun to upcycle a few things. The Stitch Upon A Time Treasure Hunt Skirt has SO many options! There’s a pencil skirt with or without a flounce, a hi-low pencil skirt with flounce, an A-line skirt, a hi-low A-line, and a pleated skirt! There are maternity options as well. So, where to start? I thought the hi-low pencil skirt with flounce sounded fun (and sexy), so that was my first make.

I upcycled an old swing dress that had a pretty print, but never got worn because the polyester spandex “scuba” fabric was a little too stiff to drape nicely as a dress. It may not have been flattering as a dress, but wow! It sure made for a fun skirt!

My husband’s reaction to this skirt? “Whoa baby, that looks good!” 🙂

The skirt is figure hugging, but not tight, the hi-low flounce adds a little bit of sexy sass, and is husband approved! 😉

The shaping over the booty is just right.

It makes me feel fancy, and looks great with heels. The hi-low hem is made a bit subtle with the fun flounce. As with most flounces, it’s basically a little circle skirt. You might dread hemming circle skirts, and I guess if your fabric doesn’t fray or curl, you could leave it unhemmed. But that is not how I roll. I like nice finishes, and the quality look you get from a nice hem. Here’s how I make it easy. I serge along the bottom hem of a circle skirt with the fabric right side up, using a 4 thread overlock, with a stitch width of M, a stitch length of 2 to 2.25, and the differential up to 1.3 or 1.5. This slightly “gathers” the edge so that when you turn it under there isn’t any excess fabric to cause lumps or folds in the fabric. I always use plenty of pins and my hem gauge to get perfectly even pretty hems.

You can see the inside of the pretty hem in this stance.

Since this upcycled fabric didn’t have as much recovery as I would have liked, and because I was working with limited fabric, I used a scrap from my stash for the waistband. Although the scrap matched quite well, it had a tendency to curl, badly. Ugh! I also wanted to ensure that if my granddaughter pulled on my skirt while playing, that she didn’t pull it down! So I decided to add elastic to my waistband.

To test my elastic length, I wrapped it around my low waist where the waistband would end up, and pulled it comfortably snug. This means that it felt tight enough to stay up, but not so tight that it gave me a “muffin top”. I made sure to exercise my elastic before testing the length (stretching it out 10-15 times). The length worked out to be 1-1/2″ to 2″ shorter than the suggested waistband length. Different brands and types of elastic have more or less stretch, so I always like trying the elastic on my body before sewing it into my garment. I overlapped the elastic by 1/2″ or so, and zigzagged all around the overlap. I also cut my waistband 1-1/2″ shorter so that the elastic and band would be the same length.

Having the curling fabric and elastic all perfectly aligned with a basting zigzag made is so much easier when I serged the waistband onto the skirt.

Then I folded the waistband over the elastic and ran a wide zigzag (length 2.5, width 3.0) along the raw edge of the waistband. I made sure that the elastic was 1/4″ inside the edge of the fabric so that it would be caught in the zigzag, but not cut when the waistband was serged on the skirt. This gave me a perfectly fitting waistband that will keep my skirt from being pulled down while playing with a rambuctious 3 year old!

With all the options the Treasure Hunt Skirt offers, I thought it would be fun to try a different style. Since the hi-low speaks to me, the A-line hi-low was it. I found an old maxi skirt in my closet and it had enough fabric to make my skirt and a cute top for my granddaughter. The polyester spandex ITY made such a fun, swishy skirt!

The A-line is full enough to flow and drape nicely over the body.

I made a slight change to the waistband on this skirt, by adding 2″ to the height. This made it 1″ taller than the original band. I played with a french tuck to show off the waistband.

Do I look like a flamingo in this pose? The fabric kind of makes me think of a Lilly Pulitzer flamingo print!

From the back the skirt just looks like a simple A-line.

But from the side you can really see the pretty hi-low effect.

Even though it’s a flowy skirt, the hi-low gives it a little bit of a sexy look.

I loved the look so much, that the next day, I made another hi-low A-line skirt. It was another upcycle, this time out of a jersey knit.

I love that the hi-low is shorter in front, but not too short.

I wasn’t sure that I’d like the jersey knit as much as the drapey ITY, but honestly, this might be my favorite skirt!

The cut of this skirt just gives such a pretty drape!

It seriously looks good from every angle!

It’s hair flipping pretty isn’t it?

It sure makes me feel pretty! And isn’t a pattern that flatters your body and makes you feel pretty a treasure in and of itself?

Are you ready to go on a treasure hunt and make yourself a new Treasure Hunt Skirt? It’s such a quick, yet satisfying sew! And with all the options available in one pattern, you can make yourself a variety of fun, comfortable skirts.

The details: These are affiliate links to the Stitch Upon A Time site and the Treasure Hunt Skirt. This 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! 🙂

The white top is a Titania Tunic tied in a knot. It’s my favorite way to wear this top! It also looks good with my Legend Leggings blogged here.

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

From Lounge Dress To Sexy Dress

Pattern Hacks And Serger Tips For The GreenStyle Valerie Dress

When the GreenStyle Creations Valerie Dress was first released, I put off buying it. I don’t know why, since 2020 was definitely the year for lounge wear! 🙂 Now that I’ve whipped a couple of them up, I’m really wondering why I waited! It’s a comfortable, flattering dress that can transform from lounge wear, to beach cover-up, to throw-it-on-and-run-to-the-store, to pretty enough to wear to church.

The shaped seamed back gives a flattering, comfortable fit that is so much nicer than a sloppy, boxy T-shirt. It has sleeves ranging from cap to long, but of course I chose to go sleeveless. #floridalife The curved hem (a shirttail hem) gives a more casual look, so I chose that and the scoop neckline for my first make of the pattern.

Talk about comfortable! This immediately became my new favorite nightgown and got worn to bed that evening. And worn around the house the next day while sewing. Surely I’m not the only one to sew in my lounge wear? Be honest, you know you’ve done it! 😉 I chose to bind the neckline and armscyes rather than do bands just because I can.

Use the same length for binding as recommended for your band, but only cut your strip 1″ high. Stitch the short ends together and quarter and pin the binding to the neckline right sides together. When you serge the neck binding on using the normal 3/8″ seam allowance, with your stitch width set at M, your machine will trim 1/8″ off. Press the seam allowance up, and wrap the binding around to the inside, pinning in place. Then top-stitch or cover-stitch it in place. It’s a super easy, yet professional looking (although technically faux) binding finish.

Windy days make taking photos a bit challenging!

People sometimes get nervous about hemming a curved shirttail hem, with memories of past wonky, wrinkly, bunched up hems. But it really isn’t hard if you do a couple of things. First of all, don’t sew with fabric that doesn’t have “recovery”. Generally speaking, this means it contains spandex/Lycra. When you stretch your knit fabric out, it should come back to its original size. If the fabric stays in a stretched out shape, it’s a sign that the fabric is going to grow and hang oddly and unflatteringly. Just don’t waste your time with it. Secondly, the Valerie pattern has a nice gradual curve not sharp turns, which makes it easier.

And here’s the most important tip: serge along the hemline on the right side of your dress, using a 4 thread overlock, stitch width of M, stitch length of 2 to 2 and a quarter, with your differential turned up to 1.3. This does two things. It gives the hem stability so that it won’t stretch out while top or cover-stitching. It also very slightly brings the edge in a bit. Then when you pin the hem in place, you won’t have excess fabric bunching up. You’ll just have a smooth beautifully curved hem.

Smooth curves and no weird bunching, it’s magic I tell you! 🙂

One Valerie dress led to another… as in the very next day I decided I needed another one! To change things up, I did a mash and a hack. Mashing the Valerie with the Staple Tank was a no-brainer, since the Staple Tank is my most used tank pattern. Simply layer your Valerie pattern with your Staple Tank pattern, matching the natural waist markings. Then trace the Staple Tank bodice merging it into the Valerie body .

This photo led to my next tweak, further pattern grading.

A seasoned sewist has learned and understands the importance of grading. But a new sewist is likely to be a bit nervous about the idea. You mean I bought a pattern and it’s not going to magically perfectly fit my unique body and shape? What??? Okay, the possibility exists that it will fit you perfectly well, at least as well as your basic ready-to-wear. But the more you sew, the more demanding you become about getting the best fit possible. And the first step towards that is measuring and grading. Pattern companies include a measurement chart in the tutorial, and it’s important to look at them.

You may be tempted to say well, my bust falls into size x, and my waist and hips are size z, so I’ll just make size y. Depending on the ease of the garment, it may fit. But it will likely be a bit large on your shoulders, and the top or dress may ride up because it’s a little too snug across the hips. Personally, I like when patterns include an upper bust measurement, as well as a full bust measurement. My bust is fuller than average for the frame of my body. So if I choose a pattern size based on my bust measurement, it’s likely to be too wide across my shoulders, which leads to bagginess above the bust, with the excess fabric digging into the front of my armpits. Super uncomfortable and not an attractive look. So I generally trace a smaller size above the bust, grading out to my bust size below the armscye. If my hips measure on the edge of two sizes, I generally grade out to the bigger size to give myself more room for the booty.

Grading to fit your curves leads to a curvy sexy fit.

All of this is pattern dependent of course, but on a more fitted style like the Valerie Dress or Staple Tank, it’s super important to grade. Some people get all fancy using a french curve to grade their patterns. Since I don’t own one, I just draw gently curved lines from one size to the next. Think hourglass curves rather than straight lines when going in or out on sizes.

Using the lower scoop back of the Staple Tank really changes the look of this dress.

You kind of get a hint of my side vent hack in the photo above. Since I was doing the straighter hem on this dress, I thought it would be fun to add some side vents. I marked the sides of the front and back pieces 4″ up from the hem, and made a 3/8 ” snip.

Apparently it’s time to buy a new marking pencil, since I’m working with just a pencil stub! 🙂

Serge from the snip to the hem, along the bottom raw edge, up to the snip on the other side, on both the front and back.

Serging the edges makes it easy to get a clean finished hem.

Then follow the pattern tutorial for assembling the dress. When sewing the side seams together, be sure to fold the lower vent area out of the way when serging off the snipped edge. Tuck your serger tails, and press the vents to either side and cover stitch. Then pin the hem up and coverstitch. You’ll end up with beautifully finished side vents.

I could have made the vents 5 or 6 inches long and still felt comfortable.

I love the look and fit of this hacked, mashed dress! It’s comfortable, and kind of sexy, while still looking classy. In fact I wore it to Mass on Sunday with one of my Sunday Cardigans.

It was hard to stop grinning in a dress that made me feel confident and pretty!

Here’s the takeaway: grade to fit your body; don’t be afraid to mash the Valerie with one of your favorite patterns; side vents are fun; and try my serger tips and tricks. The details: both the emerald and navy dresses were made with rayon spandex purchased at Phee Fabrics.

So, which version should I make next? I’m thinking I need to try the V-neck!

This post may contain affiliate links.  This 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! ❤

Jackets For The Girls

The Stitch Upon A Time Gnome Jacket

Colder weather moved into Tennessee, and my granddaughters needed jackets. Sewing a jacket just sounds so overwhelming, doesn’t it? Especially if the the jackets are reversible, and require reversible separating zippers! 😮 But Grandma love prevails, so it was time to get sewing!

For some reason, zippers seem to intimidate me. It’s silly really, because as a teenager I made a pants suit with a bomber style jacket and both pieces had zippers. (I recall that my mother saved that jacket for years after I quit wearing it, probably because she was just so impressed that I made it. 🙂 )

Let me put your mind to rest now, installing the zipper in the Stitch Upon A Time Gnome Jacket is no big deal. The tutorial is well written, and the directions are easy to follow. Seriously, the only challenging part was shortening the zippers. And that’s only because I purchased super heavy duty brass zippers and my husband had to help me remove the teeth by cutting them off with nippers! 😉 Plastic coil zippers would have been easier, but I love the sturdiness and bold look of the brass zippers!

Can you tell Lila loves playing with vehicles of all kinds? 🙂

The Gnome Jacket calls for woven fabric, and JoAnn Fabrics happened to have some quilting cotton and beautiful batiks on sale. I wanted the girls jackets to match, so the main sides were made with a swirl pattern quilting cotton. I personalized the lining side with pretty batiks in complementing colors. Lila likes purple and turquoise, and blues really bring out her eyes, so this “salt dye” batik was perfect for her.

When looking through some photos from a few years ago, I noticed how nice green looked on my son-in-law. So I figured a green would really flatter Zoey’s darker coloring. The green and turquoise circle print batik was a perfect choice for the lining of her jacket.

(Before anyone becomes concerned, Mama just sat her in the swing for a quick photo. She is ALWAYS strapped in when she’s actually swinging.)

Construction of the jackets really is easy. Honestly, the fancy gathered, completely finished pockets were the most time-consuming part! 🙂 I like finished pockets, especially on wovens, because you never have to worry about the fabric unraveling. The pockets are just as smooth and pretty on the inside as they are on the outside.

Doesn’t the zipper guard give the jacket a nice couture finished look? It also keeps the zipper from rubbing against the sensitive skin at the neck.

I made life easier by using simple rectangular pockets on the lining side of the jackets. Because of course little ones need pockets, no matter which way they wear their jackets! Where else are you going to store your snacks, random pebbles, and whatever other treasures you find?

The jackets got a little crumpled during shipping, and what Mama with two little ones, including a VERY active 3 year old dares get out a hot iron and ironing board?

The jacket has a plain back or a gathered two-piece flared back option. The gathered back is a sweet feminine touch, and only takes a few minutes longer. It’s worth the extra time for the extra girly touch!

Mama got in a little walk by pushing the girls to the playground.

Double strollers are SO handy!

The girls got plenty of play time at the playground. Climbing, perching, sliding, swinging and playing outside are always fun.

Look at that big girl sitting up by herself!

They headed over to the swings, where lots of giggling commenced! Lila was so excited to push Zoey on the swing. Zoey loved her very first time playing on the swings.

Look at that happy baby giggle!
Swings are always fun!

The Stitch Upon A Time Gnome Jackets are well worth the sew! The foldover cuff option gives a little extra “grow” room, so hopefully they’ll be able to wear them for quite a while. I am super happy with the outcome, and have already made (actually hacked to personalize!) another one for Lila. So you can tell I really like the pattern. 🙂

Slides are great for climbing too!

No matter how rough and tumble the play, or how wild the child 😉 my girls are wearing the cutest jackets at the playground!

The details:

Kid’s Gnome Jacket by Stitch Upon A Time (it doesn’t cost you anything extra to use my affiliate link, but I may earn a few pennies to buy more patterns! 😉 )

Quilting cotton and batik fabrics from JoAnn Fabrics

Reversible separating zippers from Wawak. Don’t forget to order zipper stops in the coordinating coil size if you use metal zippers!

This post may contain affiliate links.  This 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 things for my granddaughters! ❤

 

Thanks & Giving

2020 has been an unusual year, with plenty of challenges. (You don’t say! 😉 ) But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t an abundance of things to be thankful for.

I am thankful that our son and daughter-in-law were able to have a beautiful wedding in early February. Our families and a few friends gathered together to celebrate the happy occasion.

“Uncle Jon Jon look! I threw all my petals for you!”
Getting my sweet little flower girl to exit stage right so that the bride could make her way down the aisle was a bit of a challenge!

My sweet Lila was one of the flower girls, and it’s safe to say that she truly enjoyed the experience! She made sure to toss all the rose petals, but then didn’t want to just leave them there! 🙂 Toddlers always add a bit of laughter to a wedding! On a side note, when my daughter (Lila’s Mama) was three years and two days old, she was the flower girl at my sister’s wedding. She provided the laughter when she proclaimed “I have to go potty right now!” My Dad laughed so hard! And, being the good Grandpa that he was, quickly jumped up to rush her to the bathroom. Ah, memories!

I am also very thankful for our second granddaughter. The sweet babe was born back in May, during the height of CoVid. Which means that we didn’t get to meet her until she was nearly 48 hours old. But we did get to care for Lila while Mama, Daddy and baby sister stayed at the hospital, and I really enjoyed all the one on one time. It’s hard to believe that the sweet newborn babe is already 6 months old!

You can’t help but smile at her happy grin, and I swear she can see your soul when looking at you with those dark eyes!

I’m also grateful for the ability to sew. It’s one of the things that gave me focus and joy during the stressful times of 2020. Being able to create something beautiful and useful is a wonderful gift, and I definitely thank God for blessing me with this talent.

I am thankful that the yoga studio I attend was only closed for two months during CoVid. A regular yoga practice helps burn off anxious energy, and yoga breathing is definitely calming. It’s been a great form of exercise for me. And seeing the familiar faces every week has kept a sense of normalcy in my life.

photo courtesy of @coastalyogafl

I’m very grateful to be able to live in sunny Florida, where, despite the ridiculous number of hurricanes and tropical storms this year, we haven’t suffered any damage beyond broken palm fronds and a small roof leak. We have the opportunity to visit with family who live within a few hours drive. We get to walk the beach, breathe the fresh sea air, and see beautiful sunsets over the ocean.

Dan and his brother enjoyed having a dolphin swim quite close to them during our last beach day.

In short, I have much to be thankful for. Now for the “giving”. Obviously I believe in charitable giving. Our faith calls us to share and care for others. I’m talking about a different kind of giving, more specifically giving up the things that no longer serve us.

2020 has been a very contentious year on social media. Mean-spirited attacks on people with different beliefs on everything from politics, faith, CoVid restrictions, you name it. Some people have become downright mean turning to threats and bullying. It’s just silly! Arguing and acting like a child throwing a tantrum just because someone holds a different point of view certainly isn’t going to win them over to your POV! 🙂

Hopefully we can all give up our feelings of superiority, and give others the opportunity to discuss their beliefs. Let’s give up our judgemental natures and recognize that everyone is created in the image of God, and therefore we all have value. Can we also give up the temptation to so easily wander into sin? It’s not like we don’t have a simple guide to life in the ten commandments! 🙂

I plan to work harder at giving up a grumpy attitude when things don’t go as smoothly as I’d like. To not let the small irritations in life turn into major worries. Instead I plan to give in to God. To surrender my need for control, and recognize that God loves us, and wants us to be the best possible version of ourselves. That no matter what challenges life in 2020 brings, God is and always has been there for us.

Happy Thanksgiving dear readers! I am thankful that you read, follow, and like my little blog. No matter where you are in the world, I hope that you too are giving thanks for all the good in your life. I also hope that you’ll join me in giving up the negative and give in to God’s call. ❤

Stitch Upon A Time Legend Leggings

When you go to yoga class four days a week, you need a lot of workout wear! I am super picky about workout wear because if it’s not comfortable, breathable, and able to stretch with me, it’s not getting worn.

Making leggings that work as hard as you do can be a challenge. Some patterns are meant to look cute as lounge or daily wear, but don’t really work for exercise. And obviously fabric choice plays a part in this. But the new Legend Leggings from Stitch Upon A Time meet my workout challenge, even after a sweaty Ashtanga Yoga class!

The waistband didn’t roll or give me a “muffin top”. I even wore a Titania Tunic tied up on the side, exposing my belly, which is definitely not the norm for the 50+ year old crowd! That’s how confident I feel in my new leggings!

I played around while doing photos and actually managed to get a few seconds of air time (while flashing my belly, gasp!) on a public beach. Hahahahahaha! Obviously I was never a gymnast or cheerleader, but I have built some decent upper body strength after doing yoga for nearly 18 years. 😉

The inseam free Legends can be shorts, capri, or full length. They can be solid or have stripes that curve to accent the booty.

You can keep it simple and let your fabric be the focal point, or go crazy and cover-stitch to accent all the seams. The waistband can be low or high, but being a rebel (which is so unlike me) I went halfway between for a mid-height.

I love leggings that give me flexibility in fit and style. I had no problems with them riding up or down, no matter how many forward folds, stretches, or holds.

I love leggings that are comfortable and versatile, that you can wear to lounge about or workout. Here is how I personalized them to suit me:

I am tall, so I added 1″ to the capri length. As mentioned, I cut halfway between the low and high rise for my perfect waistband height. To give the front waistband more tummy smoothing power (I like cookies, okay?) I added powernet to half of the waistband. (Cutting the powernet to fit the entire folded over waistband would give even more holding power.) The powernet was basted to the front waistband, then the front and back waistbands were sewn together as per the tutorial. I recommend cover-stitching the side seams or stitching in the ditch with a sewing machine to keep the side seams aligned if you add powernet. I also gave myself a little more booty room by cutting along the Medium inner back crotch curve line, while cutting everything else on my measured size Large cut line.

It was a great way to give a little more room for “the junk in the trunk”, especially since I like using highly compressive fabric for leggings. Keep in mind that if you have a similar booty/body shape, that you will need to stretch the back waistband a little bit, while easing in the body of the leggings. If you’ve ever had pants that fit nicely over your booty, but gapped at the back waist, this solves that problem.

The details: I used three different colors of Supplex from Phee Fabrics for this fun striped look. The reverse triple cover-stitching was done using a variegated thread in the looper. I just love the fun look you get from variegated thread, especially when working with solid color fabrics. And yes, I will definitely make another pair (or three!) of Legend Leggings. I think it would be a fun look to use powernet as the outer stripe. Kind of sexy and kind of fun, what can I say?!

This post may contain affiliate links.  This 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 sewing, patterns, and fabric. ❤

The Sinclair Alana Princess Seam Dress

Don’t you just love princess seam dresses? The curves fit your curves, you get the opportunity to color-block and really personalize your fit, and best of all, it’s truly a universally flattering style!

I was excited when Sinclair Patterns posted the tester call for this pattern and quickly applied to test. I enjoy testing patterns for a few reasons: it gives me a deadline and focus for my sewing (especially helpful if you’re in a sewing slump); it’s an opportunity to learn or try different techniques or finishes; you get to provide input on how a pattern fits on different bodies and body shapes; and of course you get to play with a new pattern!

The Alana Princess Seam Dress has gently flared skirt which accentuates (or gives the illusion of) an hourglass figure, and, it has pockets!

It’s not often that a knit dress includes pockets, because of course knits stretch. Pockets can become distorted or cause unflattering lumps and bumps when “hidden” in a side seam. But the Alana pockets are integrated into the design, and the tutorial provides instructions for stabilizing the pocket opening so they don’t get all droopy and ugly.

Obviously, fabric choice is going to affect the look and fit of any pattern. A higher Lycra or spandex content is going to give a firmer fit and more “hold”. A softer knit is going to give more drape. This dress was made with coordinating Art Gallery Fabrics cotton Lycra prints.

Because the AGF cotton Lycra has excellent 4-way stretch, I laid the front and back center panel pattern pieces cross grain to give me vertical stripes. And I was super careful when laying out the side front and side back pieces so that the stripes would align down the side seams.

What was I thinking when I decided to use a striped fabric on a time-sensitive garment? \_O_/ Hahahahahaha! If you want perfectly matched stripes, you have to take the time to do lots and lots of pinning to keep everything aligned when you sew!

Sinclair Patterns are somewhat unique in the .pdf pattern world, as they include short, average, and tall pattern options. Most of my height is in my legs, but I am also longer than average from shoulder to bust point. So I use the tall pattern from the shoulder through the armscye, and the regular pattern for the balance of the dress. Have you ever noticed a ready to wear (or sewn by you) top or dress cutting up into your armpits and creating wrinkles? Well, you probably need a deeper armscye.

Do you notice wrinkles on the side of the bust radiating out to the side seams? And sometimes a big wrinkle above the bust going out to the side seam? That tells you that there isn’t enough room for your bust in that top or dress. Simply using a larger size isn’t the solution, as then the top will be too large in the shoulder and neckline area. What you are likely to need is an adjustment in the bust area. There are plenty of full bust adjustment tutorials and videos online, and they generally do a good job of solving the problem. It’s a little different on a princess seam pattern, and there are princess seam FBA tutorials online too.

But for me, I really only need extra width specifically at the bust area, basically, some bust projection room. To personalize the pattern, I literally drew a C-shaped extension on the front side panels at the bust level. At its widest point, the C extension is about 3/4″ wide. I don’t need extra width at the top of or under the bust, so this type of adjustment is perfect for my body and bustline.

It adds space for the bust, but no extra fullness above or bagginess below the bust. It’s amazing how one small change can make a pattern fit so well.

So, was there anything that I disliked about the pattern or tutorial? I am not a big fan of the neckline facing. I get the point of it, and really like the idea of a clean finish. If I were using a more structured or thicker fabric, it would be a great finish. But if your fabric is a little more stretchy, or lighter, or at all sheer, I don’t like that I can see it through my main fabric. It’s also more time consuming than a simple bound neckline would have been.

In the future, I’m likely to just do a binding at the neckline. It’s quick and easy, and hey, any excuse to cover-stitch is good for me! 🙂

If you’re looking for a fun princess dress pattern, give the Alana Dress a spin! You can color-block, go solid, or use coordinating prints. There are high or scoop neck options, it can be sleeveless or have short, 3/4 or long sleeves, and the dress can be short or knee length, and the pockets are optional. This is a pattern I will use again and I love the comfortable fit. If you don’t use stripes, it’s a pretty quick sew! 🙂

The details: I used the scoop neckline, shorter length, and of course, pockets! The fabric is Art Gallery Fabrics cotton Lycra, purchased from my local sewing shop. AGF is available from online shops and may be carried at local independent sewing shops.