Swimwear Shenanigans and Escapades

Hacking The 5oo4 Shenanigans And Escapade Into Fun Swimwear

Since I’ve decided that this is going to be the summer for swimwear sewing, I’m having fun combining and hacking my patterns to make some fun suits!  I like using all the fun colors of Tricot from Phee Fabrics, and always use their Powernet in my swimwear, bras and workout wear for extra support.

The 5 Out Of 4 Shenanigans Skort seemed like the perfect basis for a swim skirt.  Since the Escapade Top and Dress pattern has a drawstring front, I thought it would be fun to add drawstrings on the sides of the Shenanigans.  That way my booty could be covered while walking out to the beach, then I can shorten the skirt as much as I want while playing on the beach.

You can use the shorts included with the pattern, or your favorite briefs pattern for underneath.  If you use a different pattern for the briefs, make them first, without sewing the waistband.  Since my brief pattern has a lower rise, I traced the Sporty Spice length in my measured size for the skirt, and cut on the low rise line.  I didn’t want the sides to flare out too much, so I curved the side seam of the bottom of the skirt front in to the next smaller size.  When I lay the skirt front pattern on top of the brief pattern, you can see that the front waistline curve is the same, and that it’s a couple of inches wider than the brief.

Shen pattern FYou need that extra width to make your drawstring casing, and for your skirt to have a little bit of ease.  The skirt back should also match the curve of your briefs and have the same extra width.  Because I’m tall and have a booty, I added a little extra length to the center back of my skirt, tapering up to the side length.  It’s just enough to cover my bum when the skirt isn’t gathered up on the sides.  Sew the skirt front and back right sides together with a 1″ seam.  Make drawstrings by cutting four 1-1/2″ wide strips of fabric twice as long as the side seam of your skirt.  Fold each strip right sides together and using a stretch stitch sew with a 3/8″ seam allowance.  Use a safety pin or bodkin to turn the strips right side out.

Shen ties

Fold the skirt side seam allowances under 3/8″ and pin in place.  Stitch in place using a 1/2″ seam allowance to form the casings for your drawstrings.

Shen casingFold the bottom hem under 1/2″ and use a zig zig or other stretch stitch to hem.  On the right side of your skirt, make a small horizontal slit in each casing, about 3/8″ above the hem.  Thread a drawstring in each casing and tack the drawstring in place at the top.

Shen insert tiesAlign the center front, center back, and side seams of your brief and skirt and pin or clip in place.   Try it on to ensure everything feels comfortable and lines up nicely.  This is your opportunity to trim the rise a little bit if needed for better alignment.   Easing the skirt to fit the brief, baste them together.  Then sew on your waistband and elastic and you’ve got a new swim skirt!

I’ve hacked the 5oo4 Escapade into a workout top before, so I knew it would make a great bikini top.  I thought it would be cute to have a little cut-out in the back, although due to changes I made after basting the side seams and trying it on, the cut-out is smaller than I’d originally planned.  I used Tricot as the main and lining fabric, with a layer of powernet basted to my main fabric so that it will end up sandwiched between the layers.  (Following the pattern tutorial and basting it to the lining fabric will save you from having to snip through two layers when making your opening for the drawstring!)

Because adding an underbust band to accomplish the cut-out added length to the top, I ended up shortening and altering my front and back pattern pieces to show a little more skin.  I wanted the back bodice to end up 3″ high, so my pattern piece ended up 3-3/4″ high, with a 3/8″ seam allowance at the top and bottom.  (I did not have my strap drawstring go through the bodice back.  If you want yours to go all the way through, add 3/8″ to the height, since the top will be folded under 3/4″ to form the casing per the pattern tutorial.)  Simply fold up the bottom corner of your pattern piece along the center back fold line to get the triangular cut-out.

Esc cutout back

I cut the front bodice on the C/D cutline, because according to the measurement chart, that’s where I should cut.  I definitely need the extra length in the center front, but not so much at the sides.  So I ended up tapering my bodice height starting 3-1/2″ away from the center front angling up to the necessary side height of 4-1/8″ to match up to my bodice back.

Esc front angle

To make my straps, I followed this blogpost from Emerald Erin.  Basically, you cut your fabric four times the width of your elastic, (in this case 1-1/2″ wide).  Fold the straps in half right sides together.  Place the 3/8″ elastic flush with the cut edges, then zig-zag the elastic, right at the inner edge of the elastic.  Then turn your straps right side out.  Take your time when stitching on the elastic, and the straps will end up nice and flat.

Esc strap elasticSew the bodice front per the pattern tutorial until you reach the point where you are supposed to sew the front to the back at the side seams.  This is when I tacked my straps at the side seams, rather than having one long strap run through the entire top of the bodice.  Note: in the photo below, I had not yet made the tapered cut at the bottom sides of my top.

Esc bodice front

Lay the bodice backs right sides together, and stitch along the top using a 3/8″ seam allowance.  Stitch along the triangle cut-out.  Sew elastic to these seam allowances, keeping the elastic taut, but not pulling on it.  This will give these seams stability, and help keep the top of your suit in place.  It might seem intimidating to sew elastic, but it’s not as scary as you may think.  In fact, 5 Out Of 4 Patterns has several blog post videos showing how to add elastic in their Sewing School series.  In the photo below, you can see where I added the elastic.  Note: The bottom of the back hadn’t been trimmed to it’s shorter height yet.

Esc back elasticYou’ll need to poke one side of the back through the narrow space at center back to turn the back right sides out.  Then it’s time to sew your side seams.  I hate bulky side seams, and with the straps, and elastic, and layers of fabric and powernet the seam could get bulky!  So I do it a little differently than you may have seen.  Since the front strap casing is folded down at the top front, my normal method of sewing the main front to main back, and lining front to lining back, lining up the top seam isn’t going to work.

So I folded the back bodice over the front bodice, aligning the seam with the top edge of the front bodice, making sure that the main fabric front matched up with the main fabric back, and the two lining fabrics were together.  Stitch down 3/4″ until reaching the casing stitch line.  Then pin the main fabric front to the main fabric back and the lining front to the lining back and stitch each of the pinned seams together.

Esc side topEsc side pin

Then clip the seam allowances so that you can press them open.  I also clip the top corner at an angle to help reduce the bulk.  Repeat these steps on the other side seam.

Esc side clip

Cut a band the same width as your bikini top, adding in a seam allowance.  If you use 3/4″ elastic, the band should be 2-1/4″ high (twice the width of the elastic plus the seam allowance).  Sew the short ends of your band together, and aligning the seam with one of the side seams, place the band over the bodice right sides together.  Pin the band to the bodice bottom, then stitch.

Use pins to mark the center front and back, along with the quarter points.  Overlapping the ends of your elastic 1″, zig zag  together, then mark the quarter points with pins.  With the band still folded up on the bodice, pin the elastic to the seam allowance, aligning the quarter point pins.  The edge of the elastic should line up with the seamline, and hang down below the bikini top.  Then wrap the band down around the elastic and overlapping up to the inside and pin in place.  Stitch around the bodice bottom using a zig zag set at 2.5 stitch length and 3.0 stitch width.  At the triangle cut-out opening, stitch across the band at the top and trim away the excess fabric.

You can either tie the straps at the neck halter style, or have someone help you pin them in a comfortable spot and tack the straps in place, cutting off the excess strap length.  Now you have a cute new swimsuit!  I love being able to adjust the drawstrings to make the skirt as short or long, and the top as high or low as I want.

ShenEsc frontShenEsc down front

Because it’s boring and awkward to try and look sexy, I decided to have fun doing cartwheels instead.  🙂

ShenEsc cart frontShenEsc cart back

Being able to laugh at yourself and act silly keeps you young, right? 😉  There is no need to be afraid of sewing swimwear.  Have fun with it and mash and hack away!  It’s just another pattern and some colorful fabric, customized to fit YOU!  Does sewing your own swimwear give you super powers?  Maybe not.  But it does give you the confidence to see if you can still do cartwheels!  So sew away and then hit the pool, lake, or beach.

 

*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 sharing my love of sewing, patterns, fabric, and pattern hacking. 😉

 

 

 

 

 

5oo4 Escapade Experiment

From Ties To A Strap, And A Little Ventilation

I literally cannot seem to stop myself when it comes to hacking patterns.  I’ll buy a pattern because it’s a cute design, or has lots of options, and I may or may not make it as written.  Then I’ll start thinking, “Maybe it would be fun to add…” or, “What if I changed that into…”  There are some really talented .pdf pattern designers out there, and I am so impressed by them, because I don’t have the talent to design a pattern.  They’ve done the hard work of figuring out fit and design.  And I get to do the fun part of personalizing patterns to suit me, or fill a need in my wardrobe.

I bought the 5 Out Of 4 Patterns Escapade Top and Dress pattern months ago, and hadn’t gotten around to making it yet.  I love all the options: bikini top; tankini style top, and dress.  When I first bought the pattern, I think I planned to make the dress first.  I love dresses.  And since the Escapade has a built in bra, it’s an easy way to get dressed in the morning!  But I usually go to yoga class 4 days a week, so a workout top was a bigger need than a dress.  Which is what led to my experiment.

The Escapade is designed to have a drawstring style strap that can be tied halter style (handy if you are nursing or want to easily adjust the strap length), or tacked in place as straight or criss-crossed straps.  Since I enjoy Ashtanga and Power Flow yoga classes, there is a lot of movement involved, and I do NOT want any movement or shifting of my straps!  There is also a center front tie that gives separation, shaping, and lift to the bra front, but I didn’t want to feel the tie when we do upward bow or other floor work.  So that’s what led me to my hacks.

I made my Escapade using Supplex and Powernet from Phee Fabrics.  Supplex is hands down my favorite fabric for workout wear.  It’s moisture wicking and antimicrobial, so you don’t feel all sweaty or get stinky clothes from your workout.  High quality powernet is essential for good support when you’re making bras, so I always use it in the front and back of my workout bras.

I cut out all my pattern pieces except for the drawstring strap, since I made that by cutting two 1.5″ x 30″ strips of Supplex and one strip out of powernet.  I sewed them with the Supplex right sides together and the powernet on top along the two long sides.  I used a safety pin to turn the strap right side out, then pressed it flat.

Esc turn strap

I basted the powernet to the wrong side of the bra front and back lining pieces, then sewed the lining together at the side seams.  I also sewed the bra front and back together at the side seams.  I turned the bra right sides out, and slid the bra lining over it, right sides together.  I pinned them together along the top edge, then sewed along the top edge leaving an inch in the center back, and an inch at the bra front top points open.

Esc pinnedI used a strip of powernet 1.5″ x 4″ to make my center back strap loop.  I folded it in half lengthwise, and sewed it with a 3/8″ seam allowance.  I turned it right side out, made a loop, slid it inside the center back opening I had left in the bra, and stitched it in place.  Then I sewed 1/4″ clear elastic in the seam allowance along the top of the bra using a zig zag stitch.  I stretched it slightly from the side seam up to the bra front points.  I also stretched it slightly along the center front from point to point.

Esc elasticStitch one end of your strap in place at one of the bra front points, turn the bra right sides out, string the strap through the loop and try it on.  Adjust the strap length to fit you comfortably, while still feeling supportive.  Then turn it inside out again to stitch the strap at the appropriate length, and trim off the excess.  I think I ended up cutting a couple of inches off of mine.

Esc strapsBecause I didn’t want the center front tie, I just made a gathering stitch down the center front of the bra top, and stitched my gathers in place with a zig zag, followed by a stretch stitch to ensure that my gathers stayed in place even with the frequent wearing and washing my workout tops get.

To add interest and a little ventilation to the back of my top,  I marked a spot 5.25″ down from the top of the center back bodice, and 2.5″ from the center back fold and cut this triangle off with my rotary cutter.

Esc cut triThen I cut a 6″ triangle out of my powernet.  You can use the triangle you cut out of the bodice, (adding 3/4″ on the two sides to give yourself a seam allowance) as a pattern.

Esc triangles

Stitch the powernet insert in place on the center back, taking your time when you get to the point, lifting your presser foot, and swiveling to continue the seam up the other side of the triangle.  I’m not going to lie, my triangle shifted a bit while sewing, and I seam ripped and resewed the point more than once.  Oh, the joys of perfectionism while sewing!  Use lots of pins to hold things in place, take your time, and hopefully you won’t have to seam rip and resew like me.  Press the seam allowance toward the Supplex so that it won’t show through the powernet, and topstitch in place.

You can follow the pattern tutorial at this point to finish up your top.  I wore my top to Ashtanga yoga class yesterday, and appreciated the ventilated triangle in the middle of my back.  It was a great, rather sweaty workout and I felt cute and comfortable.

I paired the top with my GreenStyle Super G’s, which have powernet side pocket panels, so my new Escapade top gave me a cute matching workout outfit.

Esc frontEsc back full

Don’t be afraid to try a hack to make a great pattern suit your needs.  I will definitely use this pattern again.  I think I will try the dress version next.  Maybe in circular knit, or tricot… Which do you think?

 

*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 sharing my love of sewing and pattern hacking. 😉

 

5oo4 Zen Pants Made As Shorts

And An Internal Patch Pocket Hack

Summer time means shorts, and nothing screams summer like bright, white shorts.  They look great with any color tank or tee, or thrown on over a swimsuit.  In my quest to use every pattern in my collection I decided to try the 5 Out Of 4 Patterns Zen Pants, using the shorts cut line.  The Zen Pants are a slim fit with optional front and back patch pockets and a side cargo pocket.  There is also an optional faux fly, and drawstring waistband.

I like my shorts to be a smooth line under my tanks and wanted a dressy casual look, so I wanted to streamline as much as possible.  Pockets are an absolute necessity, so I decided to turn the large patch pockets into smaller internal patch pockets, and to forego any other ornamentation.  It’s fun to customize patterns to suit my needs, and I’m never afraid to try a simple hack.  As I have noted before, I don’t show full pattern pieces to protect designers intellectual property.

The first step of altering the pocket was to decide how wide I wanted it.  I laid my phone on the pattern pocket piece and knew that I could slim it down to the width of the X-small pocket.  I laid my traced out pants front piece onto the master pattern pocket and used a pencil to draw lines from the hip up and from the top out to the outer top corner.  I also curved the pocket side to follow the curve of the hip on the pants front.  I am pointing to this area in the photo below.  (The dashed line is the original pattern shape of the outer top corner of the pocket.)

Z pocket alter

Laying the pants front on the master pattern pocket piece allowed me to trace the curve to make the pocket opening on the pants front.  That small piece in the upper corner of the photo below is the piece I cut off and discarded.  I also hacked the pocket facing, (which is used to reinforce the pocket opening.)  I like my pocket facings to be about an inch wide, so I traced the top curve of the pocket facing piece and just made it an inch wide.

Z pocket fac

Next I laid out all my pattern pieces and cut them out my fabric.  You could use a ponte or one of the other recommended fabrics, but I find that shorts made of ponte make me feel too hot and sweaty.  I love making my shorts out of Supplex.  It’s moisture wicking, so it really helps keep you cool.  And since it washes and wears so well, you don’t have to worry about using white Supplex to make shorts (or anything else for that matter!)  Because I love the consistently high quality, I buy all of my Supplex from Phee Fabrics.  It is a substantial 18oz., so I never have to worry about it being sheer.  And, it took less than a yard of fabric for my shorts.

Place the pocket facing on the pocket opening right sides together, stitch, then flip the facing to the inside of the pocket.  Give it a good press, then topstitch.  The photo below shows what the facing will look like on the inside (or wrong) side.

Z pocket

Place the pocket right side up, to the wrong side of the shorts front, lining up the top and sides.  Baste at the top and side seam, and pin the curved inner edge of the pocket to the front.

Z pocket baste

Use a zig zag, decorative stitch, or cover stitch to sew the pocket to the front.  I used one of the “overlock” stitches on my sewing machine.  Take your time sewing around the curve to make sure you are catching the pocket as you sew.  Press everything smooth.  From this point you’ll be able follow the pattern directions as written to finish your shorts or pants.
Zen back

I like the idea of the back yoke/waistband on the Zen Pants, because it curves down to meet the pockets at the side seams and gives your shorts or pants a flattering shaped look.  It does however take longer to sew than a simple rectangular or a contoured waistband that’s even along the bottom edge.  I also like that the pattern tutorial gives you photos, drawings, and tips for some common pants fitting issues.  I may try to scoop out the back crotch curve of my shorts a little to fit the shape of my bum.  This should correct the wrinkles I seem to get on all pants patterns, (so I know that it’s my body shape, versus an issue with patterns.)

I love being able to make cute, comfortable shorts that will help keep me cool during the heat of summer.  It’s nice to be able to customize them to suit me by choosing from all the pattern options and by a simple hack for the pockets.

 
Zen shorts

Now I need to search through my patterns to see what else I need to make!

 

*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 sharing my love of sewing and pattern hacking. 😉