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.

Ready For Some Cute New Shorts?

Stitch Upon A Time Midsummer Pants, Capris, and Shorts

When the tester call for the Stitch Upon A Time Midsummer Pants, Capris, and Shorts came out, I was quick to respond as soon as I saw the line drawings.  Being a Florida girl, I wear shorts eleven months out of the year, and I needed these shorts in my life!

It’s surprising how much the shorts appealed to me, considering that pretty much all my shorts are a variation of slim fit jogger style.  I’m a Grandma.  I don’t wear shortie shorts. But the wrap-around running shorts look is just so fun!  So I expanded my horizons and tried a whole brand new look, and I love it!

midsummer cat front

The curved edges give a sporty look that accentuates your legs.  And they can be wrapped to the front or the back.

midsummer cat back

My favorite pair were made with an Art Gallery Fabrics cotton lycra knit.  The softness of the AGF fabric gives it a nice drape, better than what you would get for an average cotton lycra.

midsummer cat hip

I also made a pair using nylon spandex tricot.  The quick drying fabric would make them perfect for throwing on over a swimsuit.  And they’re great for those beach walks when you might wander into the water because it’s so hot!

midsummer teal front

Fabric choice makes a difference in the fit.  Because nylon spandex has a lot of recovery, the waistband will try to migrate to the narrowest part of your body.  My natural waist is much higher than my belly button, so I think I’ll hack a higher waistband the next time I use this fabric.

midsummer teal back

I like that the shorts give decent booty coverage, while still looking sexy.  The shorts are a quick sew, even including cover-stitching the curved hem.  Seriously!  Center front seam, center back seam, crotch seam, hem, baste, and add the waistband.

midsummer teal full

Which brings me to my sewing tips for the Midsummer Shorts.  I like to up the differential to 1.3 while using a 4 thread overlock on the edge of the hem.  This helps keep knits from stretching out, and makes getting a smooth curved hem a little easier by slightly easing the curve.  Then when you fold it up, you don’t end up with a bumpy hem and it’s easy to top or cover-stitch.  I also recommend top-stitching the wrap over section  for about 4 inches down, starting at the waistband.  This helps keep the wrap flat and in place whether you run or kick or stretch.

Are you ready to try a new look?  Even if you’re not a shorts wearer, I can foresee some soft comfy lounge pant or capris for bumming around town.

Get the look:  the Midsummer Pants, Capris and shorts pattern.

The emerald rayon spandex for the Aushui Tank was purchased from Phee Fabrics.  You can read more about the Aushui Tank (including a fun hack!) here.  The Art Gallery Le Tigre fabric was purchased from my local sewing store, but Stitch Upon A Time and Phee Fabrics both carry a selection of Art Gallery Fabrics cotton lycra knits.

The Titania Tunic was made with white circular knit and I used powernet in the shelf bra.   You can read more about the Titania Tunic, and my workout top hack here.  The teal shorts are nylon spandex tricot.

So, are you ready for some cute new shorts (or capris, or pants)?

 

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. ❤

It’s Time For Cake!

It’s funny how you miss certain things, and just figure that life is different now, so you’ll probably never have them again.  And then you get a text from your sweet husband, and do a little happy dance.

Let me back up a bit and set the stage for this story.  I’ve been blessed with a bit of a green thumb.  I’ve always liked plants, and remember having houseplants since we were first married and living in a little apartment with only two windows.  When we bought our first real house, I spent the next twenty years gradually building up gardens.  The house got surrounded with perennial flower gardens.  Pots of annuals lined the back patio, and were filled with color from spring to autumn.

echinacea annuals

There was always a pot or two of herbs growing on the back deck.  We built a vegetable garden in the back yard and grew lots of tomatoes, peppers, onions, cucumbers, squash, sugar snap peas, green beans, and whatever other plants inspired me when I visited the local garden centers.  One corner of the garden contained a nice patch of rhubarb.  I carefully harvested the rhubarb, never taking more than a third of the stalks from each clump.  The rhubarb grew happily away and provided a harvest starting in spring, and lasting all summer long.

You might be thinking, “Rhubarb?  What in the world do you use that for?”  Or you may have been lucky enough to have been served strawberry rhubarb pie (which is delicious!)  Or perhaps you’ve encountered strawberry rhubarb jam at a farmers market.  If you have the opportunity to try either of those things, I highly recommend them.  But that’s not what I made with my carefully harvested rhubarb.  (Although if you have a good recipe for either of them, I would love it!)  Nope, every bit of rhubarb (that wasn’t shared with family) was made into rhubarb cake.

This is no ordinary “bake it, top it with frosting, and serve it at a birthday party” kind of cake.  This is a super moist, tartness in every bite, slightly sweet, “Please, can I have another piece?” kind of cake.  It is not frosted or crumble topped, because there is no need.  The cake itself is pure deliciousness.  And when we lived in Michigan, I baked it all summer long.

And then we moved to Florida.  I love living here, but have to admit that this Midwest gardener has no clue what to do in this subtropical USDA zone 10a.  We bought a house that has a xeriscaped yard, no grass, no real planting beds, and honestly, not much of a landscape plan.  I love the palm trees, especially the pretty date palm.  And the little orange tree out back is absolutely loaded with fruit this year.  But I haven’t found a good garden center like the nearby ones I had in Michigan.  So we haven’t really done much with the landscape other than pull weeds and trim back the hibiscus.

This year I put forth a little bit of effort, filled some giant pots with soil and planted tomatoes, a pepper plant, two kinds of basil, and cilantro.  Besides the veggie and herb plants, The Home Depot and Lowes garden centers had citrus trees.  So tiny lemon and lime trees joined the orange tree in the back yard.  With temperatures at ninety plus degrees F this time of year, the tomatoes and trees require daily watering, and hopefully they’ll stay alive!  Sadly, it is far too hot for rhubarb to grow here.  So, I had resigned myself to never having rhubarb cake again.

Well, a new produce market opened in the town just south of here.  So Dan went to check it out before heading to the grocery store.  And that’s when my sweet husband texted me this photo:

rhubarb

❤ Cue my happy dance and response to “Buy it all!” 🙂  Ok, I didn’t really want him to buy quite all of it, just a generous handful of stalks.  It was a little late in the day to bake, so the next day I washed the rhubarb, trimmed off the ends and peeled it.  Although rhubarb leaves are huge and interesting looking, they are not edible as they contain oxalic acid.  So you definitely want to cut off and discard all of the leaf.  Then I chopped the stalks into chunks and prepared to make the cake.

As a wedding shower gift (37 years ago!), my Aunt gathered recipes she had gotten from my Grandma and copied them onto index cards.  The recipes are a connection to a wonderful woman that I miss dearly, and I’m so grateful to have them!  You can tell when a recipe is well-loved by how worn, stained, and tattered the recipe card is.  It’s pretty obvious that this is a well loved recipe! 🙂

cake recipe

As I’ve grown older and wiser, I’ve learned to use the highest quality ingredients I can find when cooking and baking.  So I’ve updated the recipe a bit to make it slightly healthier, and certainly even better tasting.  I use up to 4 cups of rhubarb, because I love the extra tartness.  The first time you try it though, you might want to start with just the 2 cups.  I use pure cane sugar, and King Arthur whole grain white flour.  I’ve never used real buttermilk, and have always used the lemon juice “cheat”.  And lastly, don’t use shortening, yuck!  Butter is the way to go, and I am a big fan of Kerrygold Irish Butter.

The recipe calls for baking 45 minutes, but just like baking anything else, you can tell by the delicious smell when it’s done.

cake plate

That first bite of cake was so good!  A flavor that seemed far away and perhaps lost forever brought back happy memories of summers past in our old home.  It was a reminder that connections can be reforged, that the people, places. and things that we love and care about can sometimes back into our lives in surprising little ways.

So, the next time a new produce market opens, or you stumble across an old family recipe, take the time to wander, discover, bake, make, and enjoy!  I am so grateful for this happy “find”, and for all that I am blessed with. ❤

Follow Me Wrap Dress

And How To Simplify Hemming The Flounce

I couldn’t resist purchasing the Pattern Emporium Follow Me Wrap Dress when it first released, even though I am not a flounce or ruffles kind of girl.  A girly girl, absolutely!  I love dresses and all sorts of womanly things.  But frills, flounces and ruffles?  Not my gig.  The pattern includes a plain wrap version, and four lengths from mini to below knee.  But the flounce version just spoke to me, and I knew a knee length sleeveless dress would be the most worn.

When I traced the pattern in my size, I originally added 2″ to the length of the skirt because a lot of my height is in my legs.  And I wanted it a flattering knee length that could also be worn to church.  Then I tried laying the pattern out.  No matter how hard I tried to Tetris the pattern pieces, I could not make them fit on a two yard cut of fabric.  After debating whether to skip the flounce, and deciding not to, I set the pattern aside for a while.

Most of the knit fabric in my stash is a one or two yard cut, depending upon the weight and intended use of the fabric.  I could have just ordered two and a half yards of fabric, but I prefer to place a larger fabric order to save on shipping costs.  Then the pandemic hit, and I kind of lost the desire to sew for myself.  I made masks for family members, and found sewing joy making clothes for my granddaughters.  It was fun to upcycle unworn clothing and to use some of the older fabric in my stash to make cute toddler and baby clothes.  Finally, it sounded fun to sew something pretty for myself.

So I pulled out the pattern and decided to just go for it as written.  I cut the added length off the traced skirt pieces, and kept the only other pattern alterations.  The seam on the back bodice bugged me, so I folded over the center back seam allowance and cut the piece on the fold instead.  To slightly widen the straps, the low round neckline was traced and cut one size smaller than the rest of the pattern.

Follow Me side

The ingenious design of the wrap means that even when taking a walk along the windy shoreline, I didn’t have to worry about accidental undie exposure.  The wrap crosses over far enough that even when the top panel is lifted by the wind, you still have full frontal coverage.

The dress feels fun and flirty, sexy and yet modest.  You can also increase the modesty factor by using the higher neckline, and adding the cap, short, flounce, or long sleeves.  The below knee length would change the look as well.

Follow Me laugh

The dress was sewn entirely on my serger, and the actual sewing time was much faster than the pinning time! 🙂  It takes more than a minute to pin all that flounce to the bottom of the skirt.  But it is such a fun touch that I definitely plan to use it on the next one.  I also figured out a way to make hemming the flounce simple and easy.

Although you may be tempted to skip hemming, especially when using a high quality knit that doesn’t curl, if I’ve taken the time to sew a nice garment, you can bet that I’m going to finish it off nicely!  Hemming curved skirts, or in this case a very curved flounce can be challenging.  When you pin the hem up, there’s all this extra fabric (due to the curve) and it can get “bunchy” and wrinkly.  But, if you serge along the bottom edge of the hem or flounce, and up the differential feed, it will very neatly, slightly “gather” the edge.  I upped the differential to 1.3 on my machine, which is one click up from N(eutral) on most of the curve.  On the more curved ends, I upped it to 1.5, which is two clicks up.

Follow Me flounce

As you can see on this inside view of the flounce, I used a four-thread overlock stitch.  The darker gray thread is my overlock, and the light gray thread is the looper thread of the coverstitched hem.  On the bottom left where the flounce has a slighter curve the 1.3 differential made slight gathers.  At the center bottom where the curve is sharper, upping the differential to 1.5 kind of gathered it a bit more, while still keeping the fabric smooth and unwrinkled.  All I had to do at that point was take it over to my ironing board and press the hem up into place.  I used a few clips to keep it in place while the fabric cooled, but it was super easy to coverstitch (or topstitch with a single or twin needle if you don’t have a coverstitch machine) at that point.

Once you start playing with a coverstitch, you tend to coverstitch everything.  The binding at the neckline and armscye was coverstitched, the hem was coverstitched, and the seam where the flounce was attached to the skirt got coverstitched.  I did not coverstitch the waist seam, because who wants to draw attention to that area? 😉

Technically, this is my “muslin” or “toile”, as I went straight to my nice nylon/spandex tricot from Phee Fabrics, rather than making a test garment.  But I know that Pattern Emporium patterns are a good fit with only minor tweaking for my body shape.  And sewing with high quality fabric is so much easier than wasting time with flimsy fabric.

I really like my dress, but as with every garment I make, I’d like to perfect it.  I’m thinking of raising the waist seam on the next one by approximately 1″ to hit closer to my natural waist.  I’m also considering going down a size in the bodice, but doing a full bust adjustment to address the wrinkling across the bust and pulling up into the armpit area.  Should I add an inch of length to the skirt to make up for the inch I plan to take out of the bodice?  Do you think I’m on the right track with a smaller size and FBA?

Follow Me back

Because I need more of these easy breezy summer dresses!  Hmmmm, maybe some soft rayon spandex for the next one?

I hope you have found your sewing joy.  But if you’re struggling, take the time to breathe deeply, then dive back in to a project that sounds fun to you. ❤

Going Forth

I have felt my eyes tear up at Mass on more than one occasion, and generally it is due to the moving words and music of a beloved hymn.  Sometimes it is a remark or observation during a homily that hits particularly close to home.  Obviously I have cried at funeral Masses, but I don’t recall tears dripping down my face and quickly ripping off my mask while hurrying to the car so that I can cry in private.  Until today.

Today was Fr. Jonathan’s last Sunday Mass at our parish.  I love Fr. Jonathan, and will really miss having him here.  The end of June is when Bishops transfer priests within their diocese to fill the needs in other parishes.  Perhaps a priest is retiring, or the needs of a parish are greater than one priest can handle.  Perhaps the gifts a priest possesses are greatly needed at another parish.  This is the time of year that the transfers happen.

When we first moved to Florida, and temporarily lived in the middle of the state, we attended the local Catholic church that my parents had attended when they lived there.  There wasn’t a big sense of belonging, because we knew that we were only living in that city for a short time.  When we bought our home, but hadn’t closed on it yet, we began our search for a Catholic church in the area.

It may seem funny that we didn’t bother looking for a new doctor or dentist, hairstylist or barber, restaurants or stores, but rather began researching our new town by looking for a church.  I guess it kind of shows how important a church family is to a Catholic.  We looked up the Catholic churches in the area, and I chose our church as the first to visit because it also had a school.  To me, this was a sign that the church was invested in nurturing families.  So we got up early on Sunday and made the long drive over to our soon-to-be new county, and went to Mass.

Fr. Jonathan presided over that Mass, and that was it.  There was no need to visit the other Catholic churches in the area, this was the one, this was home.  His passion and sincerity, his homilies that make you think, that speak to your heart, that inflame you with the Holy Spirit.  His reverence for the Body of Christ, all of it, and in a young man not much older than our children.  His preaching is truly inspired, and even guests who have gone to Mass with us have commented on the power in his words.

This, this is why I cried after saying a quick goodbye after Mass.  Because of CoVid 19 social distancing, we couldn’t hug Father, or even shake his hand.

After a particularly inspiring homily last year, I recall asking him after Mass if he had ever considered videotaping Mass, or at least his homilies.  He quizzically asked me, “Why?”  When I perhaps awkwardly explained that I would like to be able to share it with people on social media, he commented that there are others so much more qualified than he, who already had such things available.  And that the church didn’t really have the equipment to do such a thing.  Little did anyone know that just a year later everyone would have to adapt to livestreaming Mass!

Fortunately, we’ve been able to attend Mass in person this past month.  It seemed so disorienting at first.  As per the CDC guidelines, every other pew is blocked off.  We have to wear masks, and aren’t allowed to sing, so there’s no music.  We can wave or bow to others, but not shake hands for the sign of peace.  There are tape marks and arrows on the floor to follow when going to Communion, and sections are color coded to guide people to separate exit doors after Mass.

It’s quite different than normal, but it is SO GOOD to be able to receive the Body of Christ again!  It’s funny how something that we probably took for granted for years became so missed during the months we had to stay at home.  You certainly realize how going to Mass on Sunday really sets you up for the week.

During his homily, Fr. Jonathan reflected on the apostles being sent forth on their mission.  Bishops send their priests forth on new missions when they relocate them to a new parish.  We have to have faith and follow God’s will to go where we are needed.  Even when it feels challenging to leave self behind, we have to trust and look forward to what God has planned for us.  Easier said than done, huh?

So it’s sad to have said goodbye, but I am excited for the people who will now benefit from Father Jonathan’s encouraging words.  And I know that God will certainly bless him for sharing his faith.  Life can feel scary with all the changes and disruptions in our lives lately.  But God loves us, He has a plan, and no matter how crazy the outside world may seem, we need to focus on the big picture, share our faith, and stay on the path that leads us to our final goal- eternal life in Heaven with Jesus.

 

Note: this photo was taken on Easter a couple years ago, before the church was repainted, and before social distancing was a thing.  Sadly, I don’t have any recent photos of our church to share.

Spot On With Spoxxy

I’ve been guilty of buying a pattern, but not printing and sewing it right away on more than one occasion.  Silly, I know!  The racerback look is popular, cute, and probably why I hesitated on sewing one up.  I’m not a fan of my bra straps showing, strapless bras aren’t really comfortable, and I don’t own a well fitting racerback bra.  That sounds so silly, especially when you consider how many Brazi’s I’ve made.  But here’s the thing- all the Brazi’s I make for myself have been hacked to have straight straps because I don’t like straps near my neck.  My daughter likes the cross back Brazi, and tracing the pattern in her new postpartum and nursing size is on my agenda for today.  Anyhow, the Spoxxy sat unprinted in my computer for a few months.

Then I saw someone post a Spoxxy made as a nightgown on the Stitch Upon A Time Facebook page, and quickly decided to make myself one!  Who doesn’t need some new nightgowns after a few months of social distancing at home?  Not that I lived in nightgowns, hahahahahahaha!  😉  Who am I kidding?  I put on shorts and a tank top to go for walks and thoroughly enjoyed being comfortable in a nightie the rest of the day.

Since this was “just going to be a nightie”, I used some lightweight rayon spandex that I found at an estate sale.  And of course I end up loving the look and want to just keep it as a dress!

Spoxxy front

Look at that grin on my face- I couldn’t stop smiling because it’s just such a cute, comfortable pattern.  The racerback fits well, and the bands don’t bunch up where the upper back meets the gathered body.  Which is a problem I have seen on similar styled patterns by other designers.  I thinks it’s the angle of the cut?

Spoxxy back

The smooth curve of the racerback, the gathering at the back, and the over all shaping of the dress is quite flattering.  The pattern calls for a band at the hip for the top version, and elastic at the waist for the dress version.  I contemplated adding the waist elastic, but since the shaping hits perfectly at the natural waist and flares out to skim the hips, I didn’t see the need.

Spoxxy laugh

After I sent my daughter a photo of my dress, she commented that she needs some comfortable dresses that she can nurse in.  So Mama dug through her stash and found bits of charcoal and gray rayon spandex that were just big enough to piece together a color-blocked version for her.  Due to fabric constraints, I had to add a seam to the bottom section center back, but it’s still quite wearable and fun.  I don’t have any modeled photos of her yet, since it takes a while for packages to get to another state.

Spoxxy gray Obviously, I need to make myself a few more Spoxxy dresses and/or nightgowns because the fit is just so spot on!   Using a more substantial weight of rayon spandex (rather than the flimsy estate sale stuff I started with) will make it even better with improved drape and recovery.

So, the next time you notice an unused pattern sitting in your computer, print it out, and sew it up!  Or give the Spoxxy a try, and see if you end up with a happy smile like me!

Spoxxy hand

 

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, fabric, and patterns. ❤

 

 

Shorts Or Swim Trunks? How About Both!

Sewing For Men, Episode 3

My husband isn’t often interested in patterns, or in being my model for a pattern test. 🙂  He did however, really like the line drawings for the new GreenStyle Motion Athletic Shorts.  Since he basically lives in athletic shorts, he was more than happy to let me sew them for him!

The Motion Shorts are designed for stretch wovens, with an optional liner layer made in 4-way stretch fabric.  The front pockets are deep and large, so no matter how big your phone, there’s plenty of room for that, and all the other stuff guys tend to carry!  The curved back gives shaping and is quite flattering on the booty.  And the side and back panels give an opportunity for contrast fabric and pretty top-stitching.

Motion back

The liner layer can be made of mesh for a traditional swim trunk style, or Supplex or other compressive fabric for support for working out.  I chose to use nylon/spandex tricot so Dan can wear his shorts for workouts and swimming.  Moisture wicking, quick drying fabric is key when making swim or workout wear.  I use the same Phee Fabrics tricot for my swimwear and dresses, and he’s lucky I had this khaki steel color in my stash and used it for him, rather than the dress I had intended to make with it! 😉

Motion lining

After I made the first pair of shorts, he requested that I add a “hammock hack” to the liner layer, so that they would fit like ready-to-wear Saxx, and all the underwear I make for him.  No problem sweetie, I can do that! ❤  Powernet is the fabric of choice for the gusset hammock, just as it is added to bras and swimwear, because of its supportive nature.

The hammock is a partial moon shape, with the straight edges toward the center, and the curved edges sewn to the center panel of the liner layer.  After cutting out the mirror image hammock pieces, I do a tight rolled hem on the straighter side of both pieces.  If you don’t have a serger, you can also use cotton swimwear elastic tautly stretched and zig-zag stitched to the straighter edges.  Lay the hammock pieces on the lining center panel and pin along the curved edge.  Then baste along the sides and across the top with a zig zag stitch set at 2.5 or 3.0.  Then stitch the dart at the bottom of the center panel.  Snip the top of the dart up to, but not through the stitch line, and press the seam open.  Then baste it in place.  Notice how having a larger curve on the hammock piece, compared to the curve on the center panel gives the wearer space to tuck everything in?  (I’m trying hard here to be descriptive without being too descriptive if you know what I mean!)  This is a family friendly blog!

Motion gusset

At this point, the center panel can be sewn to the liner pieces as per the pattern tutorial, and the shorts can be completed.  Here’s a photo of the inside of the finished shorts.

Motion gusset complete

The pattern has options for 5″, 7″, and 9″ inseam lengths, which is great because they can be customized to fit your needs.  Dan prefers the 7″ inseam, because he doesn’t like longer shorts that get caught on his knees when he’s working out.  If I were making myself a pair, I’d choose the 5″ length.  And yes, I tried his shorts on.  I’d need a smaller size, but they were pretty cute on me too!  The pockets are so much bigger than any other shorts I’ve made, so who wouldn’t want that?

Motion pocket

They are flattering from every angle, and I am so excited that the beach has reopened so we can go for walks along the shore again.

Motion right side

And no photo session with a guy is complete without plenty of silly poses for your viewing pleasure! 😉

Motion guns Motion buff

Obviously I need to make him a few more pairs, because he is loving the look!

I used stretch twill from Phee Fabrics as the main fabric, with a scrap of (no longer available) reflective chevron as a fun accent.  It’s funny how making them out of all one fabric color gives them a dressy look, while using an accent fabric gives them a more sporty look.  And I know that I’ve found a winning pattern when he starts asking me to customize and hack it for him! 🙂

 

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, fabric, patterns, and pattern hacking. ❤

 

 

Keep It Simple & Add Some Flair

Keeping it simple sounds like a great idea right about now, during a time of uncertainty.  And I (mostly) have been!  My days are filled with sewing, cooking, cleaning, spending time with my husband, prayer and reflection, and texting and FaceTiming family.  Like most people, I also probably spend too much time reading about the virus, watching TV, and on social media. 😦  So it’s time to get back to writing about sewing and patterns and fabric and all the other things that make me happy! 🙂

There were some chilly days here in Florida last month, so I decided to make the Pattern Emporium Keep It Simple Babe Tee shirt.  Patterns with lots of options can be overwhelming and wonderfully useful!  The Keep It Simple Babe has high and low square necks, high and low round necks, boat and crew necks, turtlenecks, and a V-neck.  And everything from cap to long sleeves, so there are definitely options.

Since Florida is hot most of the year, tank tops make up a good portion of my wardrobe.  But there are chilly days, so a long sleeved tee is a practical make.  Super soft rayon spandex is my favorite fabric for tops and flowy dresses, and I had enough of this turquoise from Phee Fabrics in my stash to make the long sleeved tee.  The sleeves are slim enough to stay in place when pushed up to 3/4 length, but not feel too tight.

KISB Urban front

The V-neck is a good depth, not too high or too deep, and the neck-band came out perfectly.  The bodice skims over the body and doesn’t cling or show off the fact that I’ve probably eaten too many cookies while staying “safer at home”!  The Keep It Simple is a solid pattern choice.  Now for the Flair!

I had a small bit of Cozy French Terry left after sewing some fuzzy slipper socks for my sister, and managed to squeeze a pair of shorts on the fabric.  The Pattern Emporium Urban Flair Pants are one of my favorite pants patterns.  There are three leg width options and I chose the wide leg version to make a pair of basic black pants a couple months ago.  I love them!  They are super comfortable, the back darts smooth over the booty, and other than adding length I didn’t need to alter the pattern at all!  If you’ve ever sewn pants, that is saying something!

Urban Flair pants

So that’s why I decided to use the pattern to make a pair of shorts.  I marked the pattern to give me a 5-1/4″ inseam, and cut the legs straight across.  Since I was using scraps, I had to cut the pockets out of rayon spandex, and used Supplex and the rayon spandex for the waistband.  Supplex makes great waistbands, because it has excellent recovery.  So instead of folding the waistband pattern piece in half, I hacked it to have an inner waistband of Supplex, and an outer waistband of rayon spandex, so it would match the pockets.  I slightly contoured it, and added a seam allowance so that the finished waistband would be the same height as the pattern called for.

waistband

It’s a fun accent, and worked out great.  I will say that it’s imperative to use a substantial weight of rayon spandex.  Flimsy rayon spandex won’t hold the weight of your phone and will get stretched out of shape.  This is 13oz. rayon spandex, the same as I used for my tee.  My phone easily fits in the generously sized pockets, and the shorts are super comfortable.

KISB Urban pocket

More shorts are definitely on the agenda, along with more walks along the beach!

KISB Urban side

Both patterns were great additions to my collection, and I’m glad I bought and made (more of) them.  I hope that you are doing lots of sewing, and enjoying spending time communicating with the people you love.  So keep it simple, give yourself some grace, and don’t forget to add a bit of flair and fun to your life! ❤

 

Baby Gowns With Fold-Over Cuffs

I’ve been sewing a summer wardrobe for my granddaughter, because sewing pretty things brings me joy while we’re all under “safer at home” orders.  I texted my daughter to see if she needs any baby gowns for Lila’s soon-to-be-arriving baby sister, and if so, what size she needs.  Since she only has one newborn gown, and a couple of 3 months size gowns, newborn gowns are definitely on her need list!

It would have been easiest to buy a baby gown pattern, but where’s the fun and challenge in that? 🙂  Hacking the Patterns for Pirates Wee Lap Tee into a gown was simple enough.  Adding 12-3/4″ to the length of the tee, and angling the pattern out from the bottom of the armscye, to 6″ wide at the bottom of both the front and back pattern pieces worked perfectly.  I also curved the bottoms up slightly at the side seam.

WL pattern

To keep baby from accidentally scratching herself, (and to keep tiny fingers warm at night) fold-over mitten cuffs were needed.  So I cut the sleeves at the normal hem cut-line and hacked some cuffs to add to them.  You need two pieces of fabric 5-3/4″ high x 2-3/4″ wide, and two pieces 9-3/4 high x 2-3/4 wide.  (The direction of greatest stretch is across the width.)  Use 3/8″ seams to construct the cuffs, rather than the 1/2″ called for in the Wee Lap Tee pattern.

To assemble each cuff, fold the 9-3/4″ high piece (the pink fabric) in half, wrong sides together, lining up the 2-3/4″ ends .  Lay it on top of a 5-3/4″ high piece (the flamingo fabric) that is right side of fabric up (but with the print upside down if using a directional fabric), aligning the 2-3/4″ ends at the top, like below left.  Then carefully fold the bottom of this sandwich up, until it lines up at the top, and pin the sides, like below right.

WL cuffs step 1

Stitch along the two pinned sides.  When you turn the cuff right sides out, the seams will be completely enclosed inside the cuff, and the mitten can be folded back as a cuff, or folded over like a mitten.  It’s almost magical when you try it! 🙂

WL cuffs sewn

Follow the pattern tutorial for basic construction, except you will need to sew the side seams and then set-in the sleeves, rather than sewing the sleeves in flat.  Personally, that is how I always sew sleeves, because I think set-in sleeves are easier and cleaner.  Keep in mind that it’s easier to sew the tiny cuffs to the sleeves, by leaving the sleeve right sides together after sewing the sleeve seam.  Slide the cuff inside the end of the sleeve, carefully quartering and pinning it in place.  You may have to wrangle the sewing machine foot inside the cuff, and slowly sew it on.  But the finish is so much more professional than having an unfinished edge on a basic cuff sewn on flat!

WL gowns top

I also chose to finish the neck edges by binding rather than banding.  But that’s because I now have a cover-stitch and seem to be binding everything I sew! 😉  I played around and did a reverse triple cover stitch on the neckline of the flamingo gown, using a variegated thread in the looper.

It was fun to try different methods of finishing the bottom of the gowns.  The white and teal striped gown was finished with a band.  It’s super important to use a fabric with excellent recovery if you want to do a band.  The main fabric was some old interlock from my stash, with poor recovery, so I knew I would need to use fabric with great recovery for all the finished edges.  I chose teal nylon spandex tricot from Phee Fabrics for the cuffs, binding, and band on the gown, and it worked out perfectly.  The 2-1/4″ high, by 13″ wide strip was folded in half, and the short ends sewn together to make the band.  The band was folded wrong sides together, and carefully pinned to the bottom of the gown at the quarter and eighths points, then sewn.  The band really needs to stretch to get the bottom evenly gathered.

The flamingo gown was finished with elastic at the bottom, stitched, then turned under and top-stitched.

The pink gown was finished with an envelope flap.  Mostly out of necessity because I didn’t have enough fabric! 🙂  The front was cut out as normal.  The back was as long as I could make it.  So the rosebud print fabric was folded in half, then half the opposite way, then the balance of the gown back bottom (plus seam allowance) was cut out.  The gown front was hemmed.  One end of the rosebud extension piece was sewn to the gown back, and the seam top stitched.  The other end of the extension was slightly gathered with elastic to keep the envelope flap from being floppy.  Then the elastic was folded under and top-stitched.

To complete the envelope bottom, with the gown back right side up, fold the back extension piece up, so that it is right sides together.  Lay the gown front on the gown back, right sides together, and stitch the side seams.

envelope seam

When you turn the gown right sides out, the seam will be enclosed inside the back extension.

WL bottoms

It felt good to use up the old cotton interlock fabric in my stash that really isn’t useful for anything other than baby and children’s clothes.  The stripe, pink, and rosebud fabrics are super old, and I couldn’t begin to tell you where they were purchased.  It’s pretty likely that the stores they came from are no longer in existence!  The flamingo fabric came from JoAnn Fabrics a few years ago, so you may still be able to find it in their Doodles line.

I hope that you are finding joy while sewing through your fabric stash, and using patterns you may not have tried before.  Being able to make something beautiful for someone who truly needs it makes me happy.  I hope that sewing to help others is making you happy too!