Hack At It

GreenStyle Lille Tank + Norah Nightgown = A Fun New Workout Top?

I’ve made the GreenStyle Lille Tank before, and it is a great basic racerback tank.  I use the optional built-in bra on mine.  I could share a pretty modelled photo, but I like this outtake photo better.  I really can do a nice Dancer’s Pose in yoga class, despite my laughing and falling out of it while doing photos!  I thought it would be fun to hack the Lille with the Norah Nightgown.  Say what?  This means I can avoid doing binding (which is a win in my sewing book!) and use two great patterns to make something new.

Lille outtake

When I do a pattern hack and it turns out successfully, my creativity seems to spark and I like to see what else I can come up with.  After hacking the Norah Nightgown to be more supportive and loving the outcome, I figured I could easily mash it into a workout top.  I used the same method as in my previous post here, so I won’t repeat myself by showing all of the steps in this post.

Because I am making workout wear, moisture wicking, antimicrobial, and supportive fabric is a must.  I used Supplex as my main and lining fabric with Powernet sandwiched in between.  The Supplex from Phee Fabrics is my favorite workout fabric.

I made one additional change to the Norah front bodice.  I measured 10″ up from the crossover point and made a mark.  When cutting out the bodice pieces, I used my clear ruler and rotary cutter to cut a straight line from the point up to the 10″ mark.  This gives the bodice a bit more coverage.  I also decided to not use the dart or gathers so that I could overlap the front more.  I ended up overlapping by 7.5″,  This gave me good coverage, and lined up nicely with my band pieces.  It’s a good measurement to start with, but you will want to pin or baste, and try on for the best fit.

N cup alter

I used the Lille Tank pattern for the main body portion of my top by using the bottom 14″ of the tank pattern, cutting straight across the top.  This ends up being the perfect length for me, you may want it a bit shorter or longer.

N Lille pieces
I used powernet in the bodice front, back, and straps.  As with my nightgown hack, I used 3/8″ elastic along the front 10″ of the bodice, and along the front armpit curve.  Because you want lots of support while working out, I gave the elastic a little more pull while sewing this time.  When laid flat, it looks rather gathered.  But on the body it comfortably hugs and supports the bust.  It’s also important to use elastic in the band.
N Lille flat

Then it’s just a matter of sewing the Lille front and back together at the side seams, and attaching it to the band.  To find the perfect length to hem your top, here’s a tip I picked up from Beth Doglady: “Spread your legs in a standing A shape.  Hem it where it rolls up to.  This way it won’t roll up on you in workouts.”  Brilliant!

Lille N treeLille N back

 

I tested my top with some Vinyasa Flow and everything stayed comfortably in place, even during inversions.  Now I have a fun new workout top for the GreenStyle Fit Capsule Challenge.  The Lille Tank, along with all the athletic patterns, are ON SALE for 25% off through 2/25/19.  Since working out is more fun when you’re wearing new workout wear, I need to do more sewing!  Which pattern should I make next?

 

*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 links.  As always, I only give my honest opinion.  After all, it is my blog, which represents me!  Thank you for reading and supporting my love of sewing!

GreenStyle Norah Nightgown

My Middle-Aged Version of Sexy 😉

Sometimes you come across a pattern that you don’t know you need until you stop and think about it.  It’s always fun to try a new workout wear, or cute top or dress pattern.  But when I thought about what was missing in my wardrobe, (really, what needs to be replaced in my wardrobe!) it was summer nightgowns.  I live in Florida, so summer nightgowns get worn probably 10 months of the year.  And some of my ready-to-wear nightgowns are starting to show that wear.  I scrolled through GreenStyle’s patterns, and noticed that the Norah Nightgown looks quite similar to two of my favorite RTW nightgowns.  Time to start sewing!

I used some purple rayon spandex from Boho Fabrics that’s been in my stash for my first version.  Since I didn’t have any lingerie elastic, stretch lace trim, or lingerie elastic to finish the bodice edges, I decided to “go rogue”, use powernet, and do a lined bodice.  I cut the bodice pieces out of the rayon spandex and out of powernet.  After sewing the bodice fronts to the bodice back, I laid the rayon spandex (main fabric) and powernet (lining fabric) bodices right sides together, stitched and turned them right side out.  I crossed the front over and pinned it and the straps in place and tried it on.   It was comfortable and would have worked just fine as a nightgown.  Since I was trying to manipulate the pattern into being more dress-like, I wanted it more fitted.  I took in the bodice side seams, and while I had it inside out, sewed some 1/4″ elastic along the seam allowances at the center front crossover edges and along the front underarm seams.  Making the bodice more fitted gave me the look I was going for!  I used elastic in the band, which also added support.  This nightgown will get worn all the time.

Norah bookNorah hair

Once I figured out my method, it was time to move on to some fancy fabric.  Valentine’s Day seems like the perfect time to try something sexier.  This makes me laugh, because “sexy” is not my style.  I like simple, clean lines, and am about 30 pounds and 30 years past dressing sexy! 🙂  Whatever!  Embrace where you are in life and go for it, right?

I saw the pretty, wide nude lace in one of Phee Fabrics Facebook posts and immediately wanted to use it.  I am not a lace person at all, so this tells you how pretty I thought the lace was!  Nude, natural colors seem to be the trend right now, so I was happy to note that Phee Fabrics also has nude circular knit.  I placed my order and impatiently waited for the USPS to deliver everything.

I prepped my pattern by tracing the bodice front and bodice back side seams one size smaller.  I also moved my bodice dart 1/4″ closer to the side seam so that it would better line up with the bust apex.  Because I was working with fancy lace yardage, it made sense to fold the bodice straps down 8″ and cut the back straps as separate pieces.  I cut the bodice pieces out of all three fabrics: the wide lace; powernet; and circular knit.  The lace was cut on the bias in order to have the lace edge along the center cross-over.  I cut the skirt out of the circular knit and powernet, trimming just the bottom hem with the lace.

Norah piecesIf the lace and circular knit were an exact color match, I would have just used one layer of fabric for my skirt.  If you’re going for sheer and sexy, you could just use the powernet.

Baste the powernet to the bodice lining pieces (in this case, the circular knit).  If you want to add removable bra cups or a prostheses, don’t baste the powernet at the bodice front side seam. N side bodice When you sew the side seams together, sew all layers at the top and bottom for about an inch, leaving the middle 2 to 3 inches of just the front bodice lining free so that you have an opening in the side seams.

Sew the back straps (strips of fabric 8.5″ x 1.5″) to the front straps.

Norah straps

Sew the bodice main fabric and lining layers right sides together, along the side of the straps down the front, and down the other side of the strap and across the back.  Don’t forget to leave openings in the back to insert your straps!  I found that I like my straps to start about 2″ from center back.

N back strap

Sew 1/4″ or 3/8″ wide elastic along the center fronts and along the front underarm area stretching slightly as you sew.  It’s going to gather your fabric a little bit, but that’s ok, it’s going to look fabulous when it’s on your body!

N elasticThen turn your bodice right sides out and press.  Don’t forget to press all seams open as you sew.  This helps reduce bulk when sewing your layers together, as well as giving your garment a more finished look.  Cross the bodice fronts over as per the pattern markings and baste in place.  Pin or baste the straps in place and try on for fit.  You may want to shorten your straps or move them closer to the center.  Maybe you want to cross them in the back.  The best part of sewing is that you make garments that fit YOU.  Once you’ve decided on strap placement, stitch the straps in place.  Lining up the bottom edges of your bodice main and lining fabrics, baste the layers together.   This makes it easier when you sew on the band.

Norah bodiceN skirt

Sew on the band according to pattern directions.  Cut the band elastic to a snug yet comfortable length and insert into the band.  Sew the skirt according to pattern directions.  I changed this version up a little bit by gathering a wider section of the center for a softer look.  You could also gather the entire skirt, then attach the skirt to the band.

And that’s how I ended up with my middle-aged version of a sexy nightgown!  Made in a different fabric, I would totally wear this as a dress.

Norah sit

See what’s missing in your wardrobe and give it a sew!

 

*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 links.  As always, I only give my honest opinion.  After all, it is my blog, which represents me!  Thank you for reading and supporting my love of sewing!

 

 

 

Lila Prints

Clean it up Grandma!

We recently replaced the trim around our mirrored coat closet doors.  While wiping down the filled nail holes so I could paint, I looked at the mirrored doors once again.  It’s not that I don’t see them every day, because I do.  I walk past them probably 20 times a day.  And I once again glanced at the Lila prints all over them.

I know that I should clean them off.  Some people might be horrified by the fact that I’ve left dirty fingerprints on my closet doors for nearly two months.  But they’re a tangible reminder of Lila’s last visit.  And I miss that baby girl!

Jennifer is very good at Facetiming with us on a very regular basis.  In fact, we got to see and chat with her and Lila earlier today.  It is awesome to have the everyday technology to be able to see and hear people you love by simply making a phone call.  I love the way Lila’s face lights up as soon as she sees me on the screen.  I enjoy seeing her run around the house (with Mama chasing after her to try and keep her in view!)  It’s fun to see her pull book after book off the shelf to look at, “read”, or just toss on the floor.  She played with a new wooden puzzle this morning, and carefully removed and replaced the pieces.  She likes her stuffed lambs, and it’s cute to see her hug them and carry one around.

We are blessed to have the technology to keep the connections.  I love being able to see Lila wave “bye bye”, and to blow her kisses when we have to say goodbye.  I love that she tries to reach through the computer to touch me.  And I so wish that I could reach through the screen and have her here with me!  But for now I have to content myself with the Lila hand and foot print ornaments from the last two Christmases.

Lila ornaments

These simple little gifts are so precious!  They are a reminder of just how little she was that first Christmas, and how much she has grown in the past year.  And since I have them, I guess I really should go clean the Lila prints off the mirrored closet doors!

Lila 1-18-19

Grandma loves you baby girl!

GreenStyle Studio to Street Top

Change the fabric, change the look!

I am always excited when I am chosen to test a pattern.  I don’t apply to test that often, and I only apply when the pattern looks like a style that I would wear.  You’re generally expected to make two or more of the item, so there’s no point in applying if it’s not something you want in your closet!

I’ll be the first to admit that I am not a “trendy” person.  I tend to choose clothing that is classic, simple, and that I can wear for years.  My career wear leaned heavily toward suits, and dresses with a jacket.  Athletic wear now dominates my wardrobe.  I go to yoga class 4 (or more) days a week, so other than my weekend shorts, tops, and dresses, you’ll generally find me in workout wear.  Which brings me to the GreenStyle Studio to Street Top.

I’ve stopped by the grocery store on my way home from yoga class on more than one occasion.  While it generally doesn’t bother me to walk around in workout wear, stores in Florida, and grocery stores in particular are cold.  They seem to keep the A/C cranked down towards refrigerator level.  While I appreciate that they are trying to keep the food fresh, I don’t like freezing while shopping.  So the Studio to Street Top is perfect for popping on after class, looking “put together” and completing your errands in comfort.

My measurements put me in a size Large, so per testing guidelines I made a size Large, adding 1″ to the length to account for my height.  For my first test version I used some rayon spandex from JoAnn Fabric that I had in my stash.  I chose the V-neck split-band bottom with a crew neck back. (This pattern has so many great options!)

sts v1It could have been the super stretchy fabric, but the size of this trendy style felt a little too slouchy for me.  (Hey, I lived through the ’90’s already, the Flashdance look just isn’t my personality!)  So for my next two tops I sized down to a Medium.  That, and using high quality fabric, was just the change I needed to fall in love with this top.

Winter white rayon spandex from Phee Fabrics is the perfect fabric for the V-neck, split-band front, full length V back version.  It’s a trendy, yet classic top that fills a hole in my closet.  I can throw it on over my workout wear to run errands, and it’s long enough to cover my “assets” if I want to wear it with leggings.

sts necklace

The pattern has sleeve options to cover all seasons.  Long sleeves, 3/4 sleeves, short banded sleeves, or you can just hem the sleeve openings.  Since it’s usually warm in Florida, I decided to go with the banded sleeves for my third version.  I wanted a dressier top that I could wear to church or out to dinner.  Circular knit from Phee  Fabrics gave the V-neck, deep V back, full length top the perfect element of dressiness.   It’s super comfortable and breathable, with just the right amount of sexiness.

sts turq msts turq m deepv

The deep V back looks sexy (but can be worn with a regular bra!)  Or you can totally change the look by wearing a fun strappy bra (hello, Power Sports Bra!)  I will wear this with skirts, shorts, or thrown over my yoga wear all summer long.

I didn’t make a cropped version because it isn’t my tall girl style.  But a cropped sweater knit version would look adorable on my daughter or one of my nieces who live in colder climates!  With so many options (hmmm, I didn’t make a crew neck front yet..) and clear, easy to follow directions, the GreenStyle Studio to Street Top is a pattern worth owning.  Using different types and weights of fabrics will give you so many fun styles it will become a staple in your closet!

As an interesting side note, both the skirt and Super G Tights are made of Phee Fabrics Supplex.  Obviously it is my favorite fabric for workout bras, tops and multiple styles of bottoms!

 

*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 links.  As always, I only give my honest opinion.  After all, it is my blog, which represents me!  Thank you for reading and supporting my love of sewing!


	

GreenStyle Power Sports Bra Workout Top Hack

How I Made A Good Bra “Workout” Better

I was lucky enough to be one of the GreenStyle Power Sports Bra pattern testers.  As soon as I made my first Power Sports Bra, I knew that I was eventually going to hack it into a workout top.  I like pattern testing.  It gives you a chance to try a new pattern, give your feedback on the fit, construction, and pattern directions.   At the end you get to show off your beautiful creations, so you feel like a model wearing something that you made.  I like the fit, style and multiple options on the pattern, and knew that it would make a cute workout top!

I used gray Supplex from Phee Fabrics for the bra portion of my top.  Since the bra needs to be comfortable, supportive, and able to withstand sweaty workouts, your fabric needs to be moisture wicking with good stability and excellent recovery.  Supplex is my go-to fabric for workout wear.   I used tricot for the body portion and straps because it comes in fun colors, and is also moisture wicking and abrasion resistant.  It is important to use powernet when making a bra.  The support and smoothing provided by powernet is, in my mind, essential to achieving a high quality finished product.  An added bonus is that I don’t have to use bra cups when I use powernet!  It’s that good at keeping “the girls” in place.

Omitting the band, I cut out my bra per pattern directions, as well as cutting a layer of powernet for all the bra pieces.  I trim the powernet about 1/8″ smaller on all sides (which is much easier if you have a rotary cutter).  Doing this will cut down on the bulk in your seams.  I then baste the powernet to my lining pieces, and treat them as one piece moving forward.

top cutOther than the straps, I sewed the bra together per pattern instructions.  While I love the look of the double straps, they are more time consuming to construct.  So I still cut out four strap pieces, but used them flat (as main fabric and lining fabric) rather than as double straps sewn to each shoulder.  I used powernet in my straps rather than adding elastic.

top strapsOnce you’ve sewn your main and lining pieces together along the top, try the bra on, adjust the straps to length, then push the straps through the openings and stitch.

top strap finishTo avoid bulk, be sure to trim the seam allowances at the back strap openings on an angle before turning the bra right side out.  It’s important to press as you sew.  It helps everything lay more smoothly, and gives your projects a more professional finish.  See the difference pressing makes between the left and right straps in the photo below?

top press

Now you’re at the part where you would normally add the band, but are instead going to make it a workout top.  I used the GreenStyle Lille Tank as the tank portion of my workout top.

I literally used a Lille tank that I had made previously, but never wear because I didn’t do a good job on the binding.  Since it was just taking up space in my workout wear drawer, I decided to upcycle it by cutting the top straight across below the arm openings.  The extra length gave me the opportunity to add ruching to the sides.

top bodyThe Lille body was wider than my bra.  If I were making the body out of Supplex, and wanted it more fitted, I would have slimmed the top of the body a bit.  Since I was going for a drapier fit with ruching, I just matched up my quarter points and eased the body to fit the bra.

top to braI could have added a band with elastic on the inside at this point, but wanted to try something else.  I used 3/8″ swim elastic cut to fit me at the snug yet comfortable length (just like you would trial fit the wider elastic in the band).  I overlapped the elastic and stitched it together making a circle.  Then I matched up my quarter points, and zig zagged the elastic to the seam allowance.  After that, I flipped the seam allowance toward the bra, and top-stitched it in place.
top elasticTo ruche the sides, I cut two pieces of swim elastic a couple of inches shorter than my side seams.  I zig-zagged the elastic to the side seams and ta-dah, instant ruching!
top backWhen I go to the beach to get photographs in my makes, sometimes silliness overtakes me.  But we’ll just say I was jump testing the workout top to ensure that everything stays in place!

top jumptop laugh

This workout top passed the jump test with flying colors! 😉  Working out is more fun when you wear cute, comfortable, me-made outfits.  🙂

Happy Sewing!

 

*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 links.  As always, I only give my honest opinion.  After all, it is my blog, which represents me!  Thank you for reading and supporting my love of sewing!

Welcome 2019

The sun has set on 2018 and 2019 is here.  Many people make resolutions of things they want to change or accomplish in the new year.  I remember celebrating New Year’s Eve at our brother and sister-in-laws home maybe 25 years ago when we all wrote our resolutions on a piece of paper, and put them in a shoebox.  Our sister-in-law put the box up on top of the china cabinet and said we should read them in a year.  I don’t recall if that’s what we did, but I do remember that my resolution was for us to buy a house.

It’s fun to recall memories of time spent with people we love.  It may or may not be so pleasant to recall the events of the past year.  Perhaps we have lost someone we care about, or lost a job, had a health scare, or aren’t happy with our current situation in life.  We have little or no control over some of these things, but we can work and make changes to help with others.  Everyone knows that they should eat healthier, and probably need to exercise more.  Taking a different perspective, improving our attitude, and putting in the hard work that is necessary can help us to change things.

One thing though that should be a constant in our lives is increasing our faith and reliance on God.  That may not be a particularly “cool” thing to do in today’s society, where popular culture tells us that even if God is real, we don’t really need Him.  You might think that too.  But what do you do when things are tough?  Who do you rely on?  Who do you thank when things are good and life seems to be going well?

I can tell you that I have faced hard things in life, the deaths of my Dad and all of my grandparents.  The unexpected and shocking death of our 35 year old niece comes to mind.  Like nearly everyone, we have faced financial challenges, health concerns, and dealt with all the normal problems and issues that arise in life.  But the problems have not overtaken me, because I have faith.  Sometimes it seems so hard to put it in God’s hands.  We like to try to control everything.  (Insert sound effect of a buzzer here, eeeee!)  Nope!  We can’t!  I have peace of mind because of my faith in God, in Jesus.  No matter how insurmountable our problems may seem, it will all work out in the end.

If you feel like you’ve lost your faith, or don’t think that you’ve ever had it, I invite you to open your heart.  God does not demand faith.  He doesn’t push His way into your life.  He knocks on the door and waits to be invited in.  That tiny little spark of desire in your heart?  Feed it!  Read the Bible, go to Mass, visit a church, pray, and talk to God.  Nourish your soul.

Go ahead and make your resolutions to workout, go to the gym, eat healthier, lose weight, etc.  But you can accomplish so much more and live a calmer, happier life by increasing your faith.  I challenge you to truly open your heart to God.  Invite Him into your life.  Put your troubles, problems, and desires in His hands.  Trust Him, talk to Him, and let peace and joy enter your life.

sunset 12-30-18

The sun has set on 2018, and 2019 is here.  Let the new calendar year be the beginning of a better year with the peace of Christ in your heart.

Good Morning!

It’s Another Beautiful Day

Early morning is a peaceful time to write and reflect.  It brings the promise of a new day no matter what the frustrations of the previous day were.  Yesterday I went to yoga, had just eaten breakfast and finished my chores to settle in for some sewing when the power went out.  Not just a little flicker, but out and didn’t come back on.  Dan was gone on a business trip, and we pay our bill online, so I didn’t have any paperwork to reference for an account number or the phone number to call the utility company.  I used my phone to search and was able to report the outage online, and the power was estimated to be restored in 3 hours.

Normally this wouldn’t be that big of deal, I could go for a walk, read a book, etc.  But it was a windy, chilly 55*F, so a walk didn’t sound fun.  And I am participating in a pattern test, and really needed to get sewing so I could turn in my fit photos on time.  I enjoy pattern testing.  You get to participate in trying a new and possibly challenging pattern.  Your input helps perfect the pattern so that it will fit multiple body shapes and sizes well, and ensure that the instructions are easy to follow and will help give sewists the direction they need to achieve professional results.  I take it seriously and put pressure on myself to do a good job.  Not being able to sew was a bit frustrating.

Fortunately the wind died down a bit and it didn’t get too cold, and the power came on sooner than anticipated.  Things improve.  We experience stressful situations, things don’t always go the way we like.  But every sunrise is a new beginning, a new opportunity for a good day.  I love early mornings.  It’s the perfect time to appreciate life. With coffee in hand and the cat snuggled against my legs I can write, watch the sunrise, and know that it’s going to be a beautiful day!

Lynx 12-6-18

So take a deep breath, forget your frustrations, appreciate your many blessings, enjoy the sunrise, and have a beautiful day!