Stitch Upon A Time Water Faery Twist & Swim Top

Swimsuit And Workout Tank With Pockets Hack

Summer has arrived, so it’s about time for me to get started on sewing up some swimwear!  When the Stitch Upon A Time Water Faery swim patterns were released, I eyed them closely, but put off buying a pattern because I couldn’t decide which one to buy.  The Retro One Piece has a dress option, which I love the look of!  But I never wear one piece swimsuits.  I finally settled on the Twist & Swim Top because I knew I would wear the sexy yet modest top and could play around with the pattern.

The swim top has the option of a plain or twisted front.  Since I was making the fun twisted front, I decided to follow the pattern exactly for my first version to see how it fit.  I made my measured size, using the green extended cut line for the bodice, since I have the noted 4.5″+ difference between bust and under bust, and followed the tutorial.  As I’ve come to expect from Stitch Upon A Time Patterns, the tutorial is well written, with lots of photos to help you visualize each step.  The elastic measurements are perfect, exactly the right length for support and comfort.

I had some swim fabric from JoAnn’s in my stash that was left over from a project I made last year.  There wasn’t quite enough fabric to make the straps the recommended width, so I made them as wide as possible, but had to omit the gathering on the straps.  As experience has taught me when making bras or tops that need support, I used powernet in the front and back bodice pieces, as well as the straps.  The resulting top is cute, and works great for walks on the beach, but had one small problem.

Knowing that my shoulder to bust apex measurement is longer than average, I should have taken that into account and lengthened the straps.  Since the straps are too short for my body, the top cuts into my armpits a bit.  Because the top is held firmly in place under the bust in front, the back is pulled forward and up, which keeps the back from laying properly.  Fortunately, it’s a simple fix.

TT p frontTT p back

I just added an inch to the strap length before cutting out my next version.  This time I used Tricot from Phee Fabrics.  I think the hardest part was narrowing down which colors to use, since it’s available in so many pretty colors!  Because I liked the way the narrower straps turned out, I decided to cut them at 3.5″ wide again.  I also decided to play around with the bottom band construction, to use one piece of 1.25″ wide elastic in the band, rather than elastic at the top and bottom seams of the band.

I made the top as directed until I got to the band.  I sewed the bands right sides together, along the bottom edge.  I marked the band at the midpoint, then marked the quarter point by folding one end over and 1/2″ past the center pin, to account for the 1/2″ seam allowance.  I also placed pins on either side of my center front pin to mark the V placement.  I stitched between the two outer pins, using a 3/8″ seam allowance.  (Note: I used a 3/8″ seam allowance on the top and bottom seams of my band so that I could use  1.25″ sport elastic.  You can also stick to the 1/2″ seam allowance and use 1″ wide elastic.)

TT band pin

Then I carefully cut down to, but not through the stitching at both ends of this V stitching, and turned the band right sides out.  Because I would need an opening to thread my elastic through the band after I attached it to the bodice, I had to carefully plan out stitching the short ends together.  Placing the short ends right sides together, I stitched from one side for 1/2″.  Then I stitched from the other side to just past the bottom seam.  This left me enough opening to thread my elastic through, but ensured that the side seam was completely sewn on the outer side.

TT band end

I turned the band right side out and basted the long edges together.  When sewing the band and bodice together, make sure that the opening for the elastic ends up on the inside of your top!

TT band

Then I matched up the center front, center back, and the quarter points of the band and bodice, right sides together.  Keep in mind that the quarter points may not exactly line up with the side seams, especially when you use the extended bodice cut lines.  Stitch the band and bodice together and insert the elastic.  Use the recommended underbust elastic length, and overlap and stitch the ends of the elastic together.  You can stitch the opening on the inside of the band closed if you want, but since tricot doesn’t fray, I didn’t bother.

Yay!  I had a perfectly fitting swim top!  Now for some bottoms.  I’ve owned the Scrundlewear 2.0 pattern for months, but had never made a pair.  Since everybody seems to love Scrundies, I figured they would make great swim bottoms.  I cut on the foldover waistband line, tapering in at the top following the side seam cutline to give me a high waisted look.  The front height was great, but the back was too high.  I tapered from 1-5/8″ down at center back over to the height of the front side seam.

The legs felt too low, so while wearing the bottom, I carefully pinned where I wanted the leg line to end.  I added in the 3/8″ seam allowance I was going to use for turning my swim elastic under, marked my pattern, and cut off the excess fabric.  The photo below shows how much fabric I cut off compared to my new higher leg cut line.

Scrundies leg

I also cut a front and back out of swim lining.  And as you can see, the swim lining from Phee Fabrics is nothing like the stuff I’ve bought from JoAnn’s.  It’s soft and lays smoothly.  The edges don’t curl up, and it’s super easy to sew with!  I also cut a front piece out of powernet.  Hello tummy control!  Not only is powernet great for bras and swim tops, it works fabulously to smooth out the tummy and hold everything in place.  Baste the powernet to the fabric front, and sew the front and back together at the side and bottom seams.  Sew the swim lining front and back together as well.  Place the swim lining layer inside the fabric layer wrong sides together, and baste at the leg and waist openings. Using a zig zag stitch, sew the elastic on the inside of the leg openings with the elastic lined up with the edge of the fabric.  Turn the fabric under and top stitch using a zig zag with the stitch length set to 2.5, and the stitch width set to 3.0.  This will give you a professional, even finish.

I used a strip of 2″ wide fabric to make my waistband.  I sewed the two short ends right sides together, then layered the swim bottoms and waistband, right sides together, with 3/4″ knit elastic on top.  I stitched through all three layers, using a 1/4″ seam allowance.  This was easier than anticipated, since all three layers were the same length.  I didn’t have to worry about stretching or pulling.  I flipped the waistband open, and carefully folded the waistband fabric around to the inside and pinned it in place.  Using the same zig zag settings, I topstitched the fabric in place just below the waistband.

scrundiesMy Scrundie swim bottoms were a success, and I have a cute new swimsuit!  I love that it’s modest enough, while still being sexy.  My husband definitely approves of my creation!

TT suit frontTT suit back

Since I seem to think that every bra or swim top can be made into a workout top, read the 5oo4 Escapade Experiment, Hack At It, and the GreenStyle Power Sports Bra Workout Top Hack as proof of my workout top obsession! 🙂  I decided to make the Water Faery Twist Top into a workout top too.  I made the Twist & Swim Top out of Tricot, per directions (with the narrower and longer straps out of Supplex) through to basting the completed bodice layers together along the bottom.  Then I got to work on the tank portion.  Supplex is my absolute favorite fabric for workout wear, so that’s what I used for the tank.  The pattern includes a tankini option, but since I was making a workout top rather than a swim top, I didn’t want the negative ease that the swim top has (to keep the tank from floating up while in the water).

If you have a well fitting tank pattern, you can use that, or you can just trace the tankini piece wider, with a gentle slope down to the bottom, rather than with the inwardly shaped waist curve of the original.  I thought it would be fun to color block a stripe down the center back, and add some pockets to the front for practicality and a pop of color.  I cut a strip of tricot 4.5″ wide by the length of the center back tank piece.  Then I folded my tank pattern piece in 1.5″ at the center back.  That way, when I cut out the two back halves (not on the fold), I would be missing 3″ from the center back.  Sewing the strip to each of the back pieces right sides together, with a 3/8″ seam allowance meant that the color-blocked back ended up the same size as my tank pattern piece.
TT wo back stripeI cut out two 4-3/4″ x 7-1/2″ rectangles for my front pockets.  I wanted them to be hidden seam pockets like the one I did on the GreenStyle Jillian Tank.  I laid the pocket pieces on the tank front and marked the 3/8″ seam line at the top and bottom of the pocket with a pin.  I flipped the pocket toward the center, and with right sides together, pinned the pocket to the tank, then stitched 3/8″ in from the pocket edge.

TT wo pocket pinI flipped the pockets back to the outside edges after stitching and basted them in place.

TT wo pockets.jpgAt this point, I should have been able to sew the tank front and back together, and sewn the bodice to the tank.  But I had made a couple of rookie errors. 😦  The first was that I had made the tank too wide at the top.  This was easily remedied by angling the tank in at the top so that it was the same width as the bodice (and the original tankini pattern piece.)  The second error was not considering the fact that I am tall, and should have added an inch to the length of the tank.  The problem was remedied easily enough by adding a band.  I cut out the band pieces, and sewed them onto the bodice per the pattern tutorial, except using a 3/8″ seam allowance, and spacing my bodice front center V only 1/2″ apart.  I don’t want to show too much skin at yoga class!

Because the 1.25″ wide sport elastic had worked so well on my swim top, I decided to use it for my workout top as well.  With the bands still folded up on the bodice, I used pins to mark the quarter points on the top, and a pencil to mark the quarter points on the elastic, and stretching to fit, stitched the elastic to the seam allowance.  I had the elastic lined up with the stitching line, and hanging down below the bodice.  Then I folded the inner band down, and stitched the elastic to the band.

TT wo elasticI brought the outer band down and basted it in place before attaching the tank portion.  I sewed on the tank, hemmed the bottom, and I’ve got a cute new workout top!

TT wo frontTT wo back

Everything stayed perfectly in place during a sweaty Vinyassa Flow class that included inversions.  Everyone in the lobby when I walked into the yoga studio commented on my top.  None of them could believe that I made it, including the instructor, who knows how to sew.  I went for a walk later in the evening, and the pockets worked great to hold my phone and house key.  It looks like I’ve got a great new swimwear and workout top pattern to add into my rotation!

 

*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. 😉

 

 

 

 

Sewing For Men, Episode 2

GreenStyle Men’s Hampton Shorts

I don’t often sew for my husband, and that’s unfortunate.  Like most sewists, there are so many projects on my never-ending list, and so many patterns I’d like to try, that I don’t seem to get around to sewing for him very often.  When I showed him the GreenStyle Hampton Shorts pattern (on sale for $8.50 for the month of June 2019), he said, “I’ve been thinking about buying a couple pairs of shorts like that!”  So I knew that it was something that he wanted and would wear.  Then came the more challenging part- convincing him to let me photograph him wearing the shorts.  He knows that that is part of the deal.  He’s taken enough photos of me in my makes to know that I like to share what I sew, whether in a Facebook sewing group or on my blog.  Surprisingly, he agreed pretty quickly, so I knew he really wanted the shorts!

He wanted the shorts to fit like his favorite pair of RTW gym shorts.  So I measured his waist to choose a pattern size, and grabbed the shorts to compare to the pattern.  I noticed something interesting about the gym shorts- the back of the shorts was much larger than the front.  Unlike some men with a flat butt, my husband has a booty.  Hmmm… so perhaps that explains why he likes the fit of that particular pair of shorts.  (That, and the fact that they are a little bit shorter than the rest of his workout shorts.)  He also isn’t a fan of low rise pants or shorts.

Armed with this information, I traced out the pattern, with a few modifications.  His measurements put him in a size Large.  So I traced the back pattern piece in a size XL.  I traced the front pattern piece in a size Medium, but used the rise of the XL to keep them from being too low in the front.  Since this was an experiment, I used some old 2-way stretch cotton jersey that’s been in my stash forever.  Since most knit patterns nowadays call for 4-way stretch, my old 2-way stretch fabric has just been stashed in a drawer.

The pattern is easy, a front, a back, a waistband and pockets.  What makes it look nice is the top-stitching.  It always gives a garment a nice finished look.  Since the old jersey fabric had questionable recovery, I wanted to make sure that the pocket openings didn’t get stretched out and floppy.  So I cut a 1″ wide strip of interfacing and ironed it on to the edge of the pocket lining where the lining attaches to the shorts front.  To avoid any stretching, I made sure to stitch with the interfaced pocket linings up when sewing them to the pants fronts.  It worked perfectly, so I did a double row of topstitching to accent the pockets.  As per pattern directions, I also topstitched the side seams, which gives them a stylish, finished look.

Hampton tan pocket

The shorts sewed up pretty quickly.  I made buttonholes for the drawstring, sewed the elastic casing, and attached the waistband to the shorts.  My husband picked out the fun camouflage looking paracord to use as the drawstring.  I enlisted his help to melt the cut ends to keep them from fraying.

Hampton tan sideHampton tan back

Since my husband is not tall, I had taken an inch off the length when cutting out my pattern pieces.  They still ended up too long for his liking, so I cut off another inch and a half and hemmed them up.  The shorts were a success and looked good from every angle, so I knew I was good to go on making another pair.

I had some Twill Polartec Powerstretch left over from the Patterns for Pirates SOS pants I made for our daughter, blogpost here.  I knew it would give the shorts a dressier look, making them even more versatile.  The fabric is thicker, with a nice 4-way stretch.  To keep the pockets trim, I used a scrap piece of woven cotton for the pocket linings.  The blue coordinates well with the gray twill.  It is also my husbands favorite color, because, as he says, “It matches my eyes.” 😉

Hampton pocket lining

Since the cotton woven also stabilized the pocket, I didn’t bother with the interfacing at the pocket lining edge this time.  The shorts sewed up just as quickly, and obviously my husband loves them and had fun modeling for me. 🙂

Hampton gray muscles

Having used two completely different fabric types and weights, with stretch at the opposite ends of the spectrum, and getting great results each time, this pattern is a winner.  Having added to the rise, I would feel comfortable making it in a board short type fabric with only minimal stretch.

I really need to order some more Stretch Twill from Phee Fabrics and make him more Hampton Shorts.   Should I get charcoal, black, or more of the navy like I used for my tunic dress?  Father’s Day is right around the corner, and since he is a great Dad, he deserves some more cute and comfortable shorts!

 

*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, and fabric. 🙂

Wandering Back Into Wovens

When I first learned to sew, it was with woven fabric.  I think most people start out using wovens either because that was the type of fabric their Mothers and Grandmothers used and taught them with, or because they gravitated toward garment making after learning to quilt.  I made myself plenty of cotton woven clothes in my teens, and so many pretty dresses for my daughter when I was in my twenties.  I also recall making a bathrobe for my husband (with tons of piping) and a dress shirt for my son (all those buttons and buttonholes!)  But sewing with knits seems so much easier and forgiving, so I had completely switched over to knits and didn’t look back.

Then two things converged that has me wandering back into wovens.  Phee Fabrics started carrying stretch twill, which intrigued me.  A local sewing store held The Tunic Bible workshop, which sounded sort of fun.  And it would have been fun, but it was way out of my budget range, so I put it out of my mind.  But then I started seeing the dresses the women made at the workshop on a Facebook sewing group I belong to.  And I needed the pattern!

It’s totally my style- a simple and straight-forward design, yet with the opportunity to personalize.  So I looked for “The Tunic Bible”, by Sarah Gunn and Julie Starr at a couple of local stores and neither had it in stock.  I probably should have driven to the closest bookstore, but it was easy enough to order the book online.  ISBN 9781617453564.  The pattern is included in the book as two large copy shop sized pages printed front and back.  I traced the basic tunic and all the placket options in my size, dug through my 25 to 30 year old stash of wovens for fabric to use as my muslin, and got started.

The book is kind of a “look book” with lots of photographs of the tunics to give you inspiration, and includes directions for basic tunic construction and for each of the placket options.  It recommends finishing your seams with French seams to give your tunic a more couture finish.  I chose to use flat felling on my shoulder seams, as it seems easier/cleaner to me.

I made a sleeveless tunic length top with a wide split placket as my first muslin, and like the basic look.  However, it was immediately obvious to me that it is too wide across the shoulders in the front.  Frankly, it’s too wide even if I were adding sleeves, even though I had traced on the sleeveless line.  Despite yoga class and trying to have good posture, years of deskwork and hunching over a computer have taken their toll and given me forward rotated shoulders.  While wearing it, I placed a row of pins in my top where I wanted the shoulders to end.  After taking it off, I laid the pattern on my shirt and marked my new cut lines adding in the seam allowance.

TB turq topTB turq side

Thinking that I had solved my fit problem, I moved on to a dress length muslin using the V-neck placket.  Although the pattern includes all the plackets, the tunic is NOT marked with all the neckline cuts.  You are expected to match up the center lines and shoulder seams and trim away the excess fabric on the front and back bodice after sewing on the facing.  If you are an experienced sewist, it’s easy enough to do, although it can feel nerve-wracking to not know for sure that you are cutting it properly.  This could be a bit overwhelming to someone that is just learning to sew.

Trying on the dress revealed my second fit issue.  The bust darts are not in the proper place for my body.  I am longer than average from shoulder point to bust apex.  This fit issue should not have been a surprise to me, since I frequently have to adjust patterns because they cut into my armpits.  Since knits are so forgiving and most knit patterns don’t have bust darts, I didn’t really think about the bust dart.  As you can see in my dress, the bust darts are way too high and too far apart.  Since that puts the fullest part of the bodice above my bustline, there is a bit of pooling there.

TB V dressTB V side

So I did a bit of research online to figure the best way to lower a bust dart.  I had determined the amount I needed to lower the bust dart by measuring from where the dart fell on my body, down to the bust apex, and ended up with an inch difference.  I also decided to make my bodice a size smaller, since my measurements put me between sizes and I had traced out the larger size.  A couple of sites recommend just cutting out the bust dart section of your pattern, moving it down to where you want it, and filling in the cut out section with paper.  Since I always keep my master patterns intact and trace out the size I need, I decided to move my pattern piece up an inch on the master pattern and trace the bust dart and smaller size bodice.

TB bust dart

I finally felt confident enough with the pattern to cut into my navy stretch twill and make a dress.  I loved the look of the wide split placket on my top, so decided to use it again.  The Tunic Bible recommends using petersham ribbon or bias tape for trimming your tunic, but since I had a vision of the look I was going for, I had ordered three colors of stretch twill and made my own “bias tape”.  Here’s where the beauty of stretch twill comes into play.  On my muslin top and dress, I had cut strips of fabric on the bias to trim the arm openings, etc.  Since stretch twill has spandex in it, and 10% stretch, I didn’t have to cut my trim on the bias!  I used Wonder Tape (a wash-away double stick tape for fabric) to hold my trim in place on the placket while I top-stitched it, and let me tell you- it is a total game changer.  I used to pin all my trims or pockets in place, then sew and hope that things didn’t shift or get a weird bubble from the pins.  Wonder Tape is awesome and so much easier.  I highly recommend trying it.

I love how my first dress turned out!  It reminds me of a dress my Grandma used to have when I was a little girl.  She was rather stylish, and very beautiful, and an all-around wonderful person.  ❤  I miss her so, and wish I had a photo of her in the dress I remember.  I swear a photo exists, but my Mom didn’t recall it.  Sigh.  Anyway, I have a beautiful new dress that reminds me of her, and I will wear it all summer long!

TB navy fullTB navy back

I decided to go with a solid color for my next dress, and used the ruffle neckline.  This is an unusual choice for me because I don’t “do” frilly.  Lady-like, yes.  Girly and frilly, nope!  I’ve put ruffles on the bummies I made for my grand-daughter, but what looks cute on a baby or toddler doesn’t equate to looking cute on me!  I don’t know what possessed me to try it, but I actually like the end result.  The coral stretch twill is so bright and summery, and it looks like something I would wear to a cocktail party.  (If I were one of those people who throws or gets invited to a dressy cocktail party, which I’m not. :-))  But I feel pretty in it and will probably wear it to my nephew’s wedding this summer.

TB coral standTB coral sit.jpg

I’m happy to have wandered back into wovens, and all it took was the intrigue of a new fabric and a few Facebook posts to do it!

Now I’m contemplating what other woven patterns I have to play with.  I bought a yard of the white stretch twill, and hope I have enough left to make a GreenStyle Havana top out of it.  I made a maxi length Havana out of some random gauzy fabric in my stash about a month ago, and liked it.  I think the stretch twill will flow just as prettily.  Are you ready to wander into wovens?

Havana leftHavana back

 

*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, fabrics, patterns and creativity. 😉

 

 

 

Cardigan And Again And Again

Because A Cardigan Goes With Everything!

I have grown to love cardigans.  It’s not that I haven’t always liked them, it’s more that I didn’t know how to rock one.  In the corporate world, I was more of a suit or dress and jacket kind of girl.  If only I had owned this pattern then.  Because a duster length cardigan over a dress is a great look!

I’ve made the GreenStyle Sunday Cardigan before, and I’ve even written about it in a previous post.  I just keep on making them because I love the look.  The pattern has several options: knee length; duster length; sleeveless; cuffs, lace-up sleeve cuffs; two sizes of pockets; and a hood.  You can get so many different looks with this pattern.  But I have to admit that I keep making the duster length because I just love the simple drama of it.

I live in a state without a real winter, am “of a mature age” and easily overheat, so I have no need for a hood.  But the hooded version made in a soft hacci would look so cute on my daughter, who lives where it still snows.

I remember reading a discussion on the GreenStyle Facebook group page about whether you can rock a long cardigan with shorts.  The answer is yes, you absolutely can!  I think the key is using a lightweight fabric to keep it flowy and seasonally appropriate.  I used a fun purple waffle mesh from Phee Fabrics for my latest cardigan.  I purchased the fabric late last year knowing that I wanted to make this cardigan with it.  (The purple is no longer available, but there is some magenta left in the last chance section!)

mesh cardi rightmesh cardi leg

A sweater knit version would look great with jeans or pants.  You could rock it with boots or flats.  I wear my navy rayon spandex Sunday Cardigan with dresses, or thrown over my workout wear if it’s chilly on my way to yoga class.

Sienna Sunday churchSienna Sunday down

Other than workout wear, dresses are a big part of my wardrobe, and I like the duster length because it looks great with any length dress.  Longer dresses, short dresses, even a high-low hemline.  I can rock them all with this cardigan!  This foil-print fabric was a JoAnn clearance rack find last Spring.  It may be a little dramatic and over-the-top, but sparkly is in, right?

foil cardifoil cardi1

I can’t control the wind, but at least I can look cute in my cardigans!  Even when I use the same version of the pattern, I end up with a new look every time because I’ve used different fabrics.

My husband commented that I was looking a little slimmer (thank you yoga class and power walks!) so I cut my pattern down a size and I love the slightly more fitted look even more!  I may have to change the title of this post and add another “and again” because I know I’ll be making more.  What fabric should I use for my next one?

 

*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!