A Totally Trendy Tank Or A Summer Basic?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can you see what I did wrong?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s not to love?

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

The links to GreenStyle are affiliate links, which means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase through my link. As always, I only give my honest opinion. After all, it is my blog, which represents me! Thank you for reading and sharing my love of creating, sewing, patterns, fabric, and making beautiful well-fitting garments! ❤

The GreenStyle Simpatico Leggings

A not so basic “basic”

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

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

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

No knee wrinkles, and shaping that fits my calves!

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

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

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

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

The details:

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

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

The links to GreenStyle and the Simpatico Leggings are affiliate links, which means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase through my link. As always, I only give my honest opinion. After all, it is my blog, which represents me! Thank you for reading and sharing my love of creating, sewing, patterns, fabric, and making beautiful well-fitting garments! ❤

Waimea Rashguard & Bottoms And The Stained Glass Effect

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s so fun to personalize your swimwear!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links to GreenStyle and the Waimea patterns are affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase through my link.  As always, I only give my honest opinion.  After all, it is my blog, which represents me!  Thank you for reading and sharing my love of creating, sewing, patterns, fabric, thread, coverstitching, and making beautiful well-fitting garments! ❤

From Lounge Dress To Sexy Dress

Pattern Hacks And Serger Tips For The GreenStyle Valerie Dress

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

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

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

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

Windy days make taking photos a bit challenging!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This post may contain affiliate links.  This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase through my link.  As always, I only give my honest opinion.  After all, it is my blog, which represents me! 🙂 Thank you for reading and sharing my love of creating, sewing, patterns, fabric, and making beautiful well-fitting garments! ❤

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. ❤

Tempo Athletic Tights

How I Upcycled, And Made Them Capri Length

The fun curved details of the GreenStyle Tempo Tights finally made me break down and try a pair.  🙂  When they first released, I resisted because there wasn’t a capri option, and it is hot in Florida.  I wear capri length tights to workout year round.  As a creative sewist, I knew that I could get the length that I wanted, without sacrificing the curved insert at the bottom of the leg.

For my first pair, I decided to do some upcycling, and use a couple pairs of ready-to-wear leggings that were just taking up space in my drawer.  So I carefully cut them apart by using my rotary cutter along the inner leg seam, and up the center front and back seams.  With the fabric smoothed flat, I laid the side panel pattern piece on the capri length striped material.  I aligned the center fold of my pattern with the industrial cover-stitched seam that was down the side of the old workout pants, and left the existing hem in place.  Since the upcycled leggings had been capri length, I just folded up the bottom of the pattern to mark the length.

Tempo fit pattern

Then I used the fabric from a second pair of similarly dismantled leggings to cut out the front and back panels, as well as the bottom leg inserts.  Matching up the seam lines of the bottom inserts with the seam lines at the bottom of the side panel, I folded the insert pattern piece at 1″ longer, to give myself room for a hem (since my side panels were already hemmed).

Then I followed the pattern tutorial to stitch everything together.  I also had my first go at reverse cover-stitching.  It’s definitely not perfect, but it was fun to practice a new skill at hopes of improving.

Tempo front

Tempo back

The look is fun, it kept two old pairs of leggings from being tossed or donated, and assured me that the fit was right.  So I grabbed my Phee Fabrics black Supplex and got to work.

For my second pair I wanted an even shorter capri length, ending just below the knee.  This was going to require more alteration than just folding up the bottom of the pattern!  I took my side panel pattern piece, laid it on my master pattern (I always trace my patterns on waxed or parchment paper, and keep my master pattern intact, in case I need to make changes or grade sizes) and slid it down 4-1/2″, being sure to keep straight on the grainline.  Then I traced the bottom curves in this new location.

Tempo capri adj

Using a compass, I traced a line 3/4″ inside the curve, to give me the alignment for a new custom bottom insert.  Since the original bottom insert is designed for your lower leg, it won’t fit up higher on your calves.  But it was simple to lay a piece of parchment paper on my pattern, follow my drawn inner curve, and trace the side and bottom to match up.

Tempo insert adj

Then I just cut along the outer curve and folded the pieces under in case I want to make the longer length next time.  Can you tell I don’t want to have to trace the pattern again? 🙂

The tights would have been a faster sew the second time, if I had remembered that I wanted pockets, and didn’t have to seam rip to add them in instead of accidentally skipping right by that first step. Ugh!  Oh well, pockets are totally worth it!

Tempo black

It is notoriously difficult to see details on black fabric.  I love the length, I love the pockets, and I love the black powernet inserts at the bottom.

Tempo black angle

Which I of course tried to photograph with a fun yoga move. 😉

Tempo inside leg

And my reverse triple cover stitch has greatly improved!  Using the curve foot makes sewing the curves so much easier.

Tempo black close

So, do the Tempo Tights beat out the Super G‘s in my workout wear drawer?  The Tempo Tights have a simple triangular gusset, which is fine for daily wear, or workouts that don’t involve major stretching.  Although I like the look and the variety, nothing beats the comfort of the Super G gusset for yoga, my preferred workout.   So, should I hack the Tempo Tights to use the Super G gusset?   Hmmmmm… that could work!

In case you’re wondering, the turquoise top is the GreenStyle Staple Tank, which is truly a staple in my closet!  I have made at least 5 of them, all in Phee Fabrics rayon spandex, and I wear them all the time.  The white workout top is a hacked GreenStyle Jillian Tank, blogged here.  The purple top is a GreenStyle Power Sports Bra, hacked into a workout top, and blogged here.

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. ❤

Open Back Pullover

With A Simple Hack

Do you ever look at patterns and think, I really like that, except for…?  That’s how I felt about the GreenStyle Open Back Pullover.  I like the open back, I like that there’s a deeper scooped back, as well as a closed back option.  I like that it can be sleeveless, or have long or short sleeves.  I like that there is a crew neck, as well as a scoop neck, along with a hood option.  Most people love “hoodies” and banded sweatshirts.  I am not one of those people.

Banded bottom shirts are not a good look on me.  I own one banded bottom shirt, and it hangs unworn in my closet.  I’ve tried to wear it, it looked cute on the hanger when I bought it years ago, but on me, it looks like a maternity top.  If I were an expectant Mama I would wear it and look adorable.  But since I am a Grandma and long past the age of having babies, it’s just not the look I am going for!

Luckily, it is super easy to hack the Open Back Pullover to not need a band.  You are going to want to pay attention to your hip measurement.  Make sure you measure the widest/largest part of your hips and booty.  If it falls within the measurements for the size you are making, you’re good to go.  But if it’s at the upper end or bigger than the size for your bust and waist, you will want to grade your pattern out to a larger size, starting at the waist.   Then use a ruler to add 4″ of length at the bottom of the front and back pattern pieces.

Follow the pattern tutorial, (it’s a pretty easy pattern) and instead of sewing on a band at the bottom, simply pin and press the hem up 3/4″ and zigzag or coverstitch to finish the hem.

OB frontOB side

I like that I can wear a regular bra with the high scoop back, and wear it like any other top.  The low scoop back would really show off a cute Power Sports Bra and be fun for yoga class or working out.  I thought about using powernet in the scoop opening, (there is a pattern piece for that), but the open back is just the right amount of sexy.  It would also be fun to use powernet as the upper back pattern piece for an even airier feel.

I made my top out of Circular Knit, and would totally consider a long sleeved, closed back version in Rayon Spandex or Ribbing for cooler days.  If you’re looking for a more traditional hoodie feel, Cozy French Terry would be so soft and plush!  Supplex would give a more athletic feel, and would coordinate nicely with Super G’s or Stride Athletic Tights.  I’m glad I gave the Open Back Pullover a shot.  It’s a simple, slightly sexy 😉 , comfortable look.

My shorts are the Brassie Joggers, made out of Supplex.  I purchased all my fabric from Phee Fabrics.

This post may contain affiliate links.  This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission/credit 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. ❤

Super Fun Super G’s

And A Simple Pocket Hack

GreenStyle Super G Tights are my “go-to” workout pants pattern.  I’ve sewn more than a half dozen pairs for myself and a pair for my daughter.  I’ve perfected the pattern to suit me, and decided to really have fun with this pair.  Since it’s hot year round in Florida, I prefer capri length (or an inch or two shorter).  It’s easy to fit capri length on one yard of fabric, with enough left over to make a workout top.  The G in Super G stands for the gusset.  It’s one long piece that stretches from calf to calf, and gives your workout tights lots of stretch and movement.

Since the gusset pattern piece is longer than 36″, simply fold up the ends on the gusset pattern, and cut the ends (adding in seam allowances) out of the same or an accent fabric.  It’s a fun way to add another little bit of accent to the inside of your leg.

Supplex is literally the best fabric for workout tights.  I’ve used Tricot as the accent fabric on the side pocket panels of my Super G’s, but my favorite accent fabric is Powernet.  It gives a little more ventilation, and adds a little bit of sexy sheerness. SG flat

On the teal and navy pairs in the photo above, I used Powernet for the upper and lower pocket pieces.  That makes the panels sheer all the way to the waistband.  This doesn’t bother me, but if you’re looking for more coverage, use Supplex or Tricot for your upper pocket piece.

Normally, the lower pocket panel of the Super G’s gets stitched to the upper pocket, and the lower panel fabric gets folded under to form a pocket, effectively hiding the seam.  Since I’ve made so many pairs of Super G’s, I thought it would be fun to give the pocket on this pair a different look.  (It also means that you can use shorter pieces of powernet, 😉  in case you only bought a half yard.)  The pocket can be moved down about an inch or so, and still be wide enough to hold a large iPhone.  You may have noticed this hack on my Super G’s in this post, where the pocket is Supplex and the upper and lower panels are powernet.

SG panels adj

The fold in the lower pocket panel piece on the left shows where the pocket seam will be.  I cut 3/8″ above that (where I am pointing) to give a seam allowance.  I added an inch to the bottom of the upper pocket panel piece, (on the right in the photo above.)  Now I just need a pocket piece which was made by tracing the folded over pocket section (the top portion of that left pattern piece.)  And then the real fun began!

SG panels white

I placed several long strips of plastic wrap on my glass dining table to protect it, and laid  the powernet pattern pieces I had cut out on it.  The little bit showing at the top left corner was used for a workout top.  The small triangular pieces are the gusset end pieces.  The pockets are on the lower left, and the lower pocket side panels are on the right.  (I used Supplex for the upper pocket panels.)

Art is often an experiment, no matter what media you choose.  It is a wonderful way to play and express yourself.  And you get to play with color, yay!  Since the grape Supplex I was using for my Super G’s was such a fun color, I knew I wanted to do something fun on the side panels.  Michaels Arts & Crafts stores often have 50% off coupons in their weekly email ads.  Which I greatly appreciate, since the Marvy Uchida Fabri-Ink kit I wanted to try was $25.

Fabri-Ink

I chose the fluorescent set since the purple, turquoise, and green fit solidly in my little wedge of the color wheel.  The set includes refillable brushes, but that didn’t sound as fun as randomly dropping splotches of diluted fabric ink with an eye dropper!  The darker splotches were diluted 50/50 with water, and the lighter ones are about 25% ink and 75% water.

SG panels dyed

Things to keep in mind: I always pre-wash my fabric before it gets folded and put in my stash for use.  Never, ever, ever skip this step.  This removes any dust, dirt, or chemicals that may have gotten on your fabric from the manufacturing process or during freight.  You do not want that on your skin, cutting mat, or machine.  It also gets any possible shrinkage out of the way.  Ink is permanent, so protect your work surface, hands, and clothes.  I let the ink dry overnight (although it dries in a matter of minutes) then pressed it with an iron to heat set it.

Mark the back edge of each side pocket panel pattern piece with a clip to avoid confusion later.  To assemble the panels, fold the top edge of the pocket under 1″, press, and topstitch with a decorative stitch.  Lay the pockets on the upper pocket panels, right sides up, aligning the bottom edges, and baste along the sides.  Then lay the lower panel on top of the pockets, right sides together, and stitch.  Press the seam up (so it won’t be visible through the lower panel), and topstitch with a decorative stitch.

sew SG panels

With the side pocket panels done, you can simply follow the pattern tutorial to finish up your super fun Super G’s.

SG pocket foilageSG Jillian back

I’ll tell you a funny story about taking these photos.  This pretty foliage is along a rather busy road.  It can be kind of awkward posing for photos with cars driving by.  While posing so my husband could take a photo of the back of my Super G’s, I asked him if my booty looked good.  Right then a truck drove by and the young man in the passenger seat leaned out the window and whistled at me.  Straight-faced, my husband answered, “I think you have your answer!” 🙂 Hahahahahahaha!

Super G pocketSG side

I love these early morning photos because the colorful sky is a pretty backdrop for my super fun and colorful Super G’s.  And who doesn’t love the sound of the ocean as background music?

Sewing is an art, so don’t be afraid to experiment with it, and with other forms of art to make your own fun projects.

All fabric was purchased from Phee Fabrics.  The white Supplex workout top is the GreenStyle Jillian I hacked to have powernet inserts and a pocket, blogged here.  The teal and grape Supplex workout top is another fun hack I’ll be posting soon.

This post may contain affiliate links.  This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission/credit 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, art, and pattern hacking. ❤

Chelsea Pants Make Cute Shorts!

I wouldn’t normally start off a blogpost with a photo of my booty, but when you’re talking about a pants pattern, one of the biggest questions people have is, “Will it make my booty look good?”  Um, yeah! 😉  So, let’s talk about the above photo.  My husband has the thrilling task of taking photos of me in my sewing creations.  If you think it’s awkward standing on a public beach (where a good portion of the photos get taken) and trying to model without laughing at the absurdity of it, and trying to not look like a total doofus in every photo, can you imagine having to be the photographer?

“I need close, full body shots of the front, side, and back.”  “I need the light shining on the clothes so that you can see the details.”  “Can you get a close-up of the pockets (or straps, or whatever detail is important about said garment)?”  “Are my fat rolls showing too much?”  “Make sure I don’t have any weird wrinkles.”  “Is my hem nice and straight?”  You get the picture.  He puts up with my requests and awkward silliness while posing, and hurries to snap some photos before people walk, run, or swim into the frame.

He had already taken some photos of my Chelsea shorts earlier in the morning, and I kept my comfy shorts on when we went to hang out in a nearby city.  I wanted a better detail shot of the jeans style pockets I used, and the hedge and brick fence along a shady sidewalk looked like a good spot to take photos.  Being the good sport he is, he was more than happy to crouch down on a public city sidewalk to take a few photos of my booty!  The dog walkers and random passers-by probably thought we were a little weird, but, those are the lengths we go to for good photos!

The GreenStyle Chelsea Pants are a cute, on-trend pattern.  The legs have a nice flare at the bottom, and with bell bottoms rolling back into style again, they are a good way to ease into the look.  I am old enough to recall bell bottoms being “cool” during my childhood.  And for someone who is not quite ready to embrace the full bell trend, a nice flared pant is a great look.  If it were cold here, or rather, stayed cold here for longer than two weeks in January, a few pairs of Chelsea pants in Supplex would be the perfect addition to your work and play wardrobe.  They’ve got a seam down the center front of the legs, which gives them a slimming look.

Chelsea STS front

The pattern includes a fancy two-piece pocket design, but I decided to make a simple jeans style pocket as it works better for my phone.  You’ve heard me comment on the wonders of Wash Away Wonder Tape before, and let me tell you, pockets are another great place to use it.  In the past I’ve measured, pinned, pressed, and basted the edges of my pockets under so that I could place them on my pants.  Now I measure, lightly pin, press, then put a strip of Wonder Tape in the pressed crease.  The pockets stay perfectly straight, with no possibility of getting twisted or pulled out of shape when you sew them on.  As my Dad used to say, “Having the right tools makes the job a whole lot easier.”  Wash Away Wonder Tape is a handy “tool” to have in your sewing box.

It was easy to hack the pants pattern into shorts.  I knew I wanted a 6″ inseam, which is short enough, but not too short on my long legs.  So I marked my front and back pattern pieces 7-3/8″ down from the crotch points, which gave me the 6″ inseam, an inch hem, and the 3/8″ seam allowance.  Keeping my ruler parallel with the lengthen/shorten line assured an even hem.

Chelsea shorts length

Besides using a different pocket design and shortening the length, the only other alteration I made was adding to the crotch depth.  I have a bit of a booty, so extending the crotch point a little bit gives my pants a little more space where I need it, and keeps me from having a “wedgie”, which is never a good look!

The pattern tutorial is easy to follow, and the pants are a pretty quick sew.  I used Phee Fabrics circular knit for this pair, and the moisture wicking fabric kept me cool and comfortable while walking around on a 96*F day.

Chelsea STS sideSTS Chelsea back

The Studio To Street Top blogged here is a great transition piece for cooler mornings or chilly evenings, and I love the Deep-V back option.  This one is made out of circular knit, but you’d get a similar look by using Tricot.

I have three more Studio To Street Tops with long sleeves, all made out of Rayon SpandexRayon Spandex Ribbing and Cozy French Terry would be some other great fabric choices for this cozy top.  They are so soft and comfortable, and are a go-to for throwing on before heading out to yoga class in the fall and winter.  If it’s past tank top weather were you live, the Studio to Street is a great style to wear with your Chelsea’s whether you choose to make them shorts or pants length.

These are so comfortable I’m probably going to have to make a pair in Supplex.  You know, for that two weeks of “winter” we get here in Florida! 🙂

This post may contain affiliate links.  This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission/credit 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 mashing and hacking. ❤

GreenStyle Warrior Pants

Made As Shorts, With Other Tips & Tricks

I’ve liked the look of the GreenStyle Warrior Pants ever since the pattern released.  But I don’t often wear pants, so I didn’t buy the pattern right away.  The idea of making them into shorts/culottes opened up some possibilities.  As did the available length of yardage in my stash! 🙂  Originally I considered making them in capri length, but there was no way the pattern would fit onto my available fabric.  So I folded up my pattern 6″ above the capri cut line, and decided to make them into shorts!

The pattern recommends lightweight stretch knit, so I knew that Phee Fabrics Rayon Spandex would give me the beautiful drape that is the hallmark of these pants.  The pattern has an integrated pocket design that is vital to the construction of the pants.  Since I love having pockets on everything, I was curious about the unique pocket technique.  It can seem a little confusing, but if you follow the pattern tutorial, you’ll be fine.

When pinning the pocket overlap, the tutorial suggests draping the pants over your ironing board to help keep everything flat and smooth.  My quilting ruler is a generous 8-1/2″ x 24″, so it was easier for me to slide my ruler inside the pants and not worry about accidentally pinning my pants to my ironing board cover!

I also employed a trick I first used while making the Sunday Cardigan, previously blogged here, and here.  Since I don’t have a serger, rather than “neatening the side edges” by serging or zig zagging, I cut out 3/8″ wide strips of lightweight interfacing using my rotary cutter and clear ruler.  Pressing these strips along the edges made it super easy to turn the edges under and topstitch later in the construction process.

Warrior inter

Since fuller or flowy pants and skirts look best with a fitted top, I wanted to avoid any possibility of a “muffin top” that you sometimes see when using elastic in a waistband.  Using a layer of techsheen (a more powerful version of powernet) worked perfectly!  Simply baste powernet or techsheen to the wrong side of the inner waistband, and treat it as one layer while following pattern instructions.  It will end up sandwiched between your inner and out waistband, and give your tummy a nice smoothing effect.

Warrior tech

I’m happy with my Warrior Pants (turned shorts or culottes, or whatever you want to call them!) and think that they work well with the Staple Tank.

Warrior sideWarrior back

Of course I had to twirl around in them because that’s what you do when wearing comfortable flowy bottoms!  I love that you can make the slit as high or low as you want.  I haven’t tried tying the bottom in a knot, but I think that might be a cute variation.

Warrior slit

These will be easy to throw on over a swimsuit when going to the beach, and are super comfortable for lounging or running errands.  They are a bit dressier than regular shorts, so they’d be appropriate when you want to be comfortable but need something a little bit more “put together” looking.  They are a fun addition to your wardrobe, and can easily transition into autumn and early winter, depending upon the length, and the fabric you choose.  The new Phee Fabrics Ribbed Knit, French Terry, and even Supplex would be fun fabrics to try.

*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 playing with patterns. 😉