GreenStyle North Shore Swimsuit

And A Strappy Bikini Hack

I was super excited to see that the North Shore Swimsuit is one of the GreenStyle patterns of the month (which means it’s on sale through July 2019).  I’ve been wanting to try the pattern ever since I decided that this is the summer of swimwear sewing.  It is a classic pattern with options for a monokini, or two piece with a deep V or full coverage front, and a halter or U back, in pullover, tie-back, or S-hook closure.  The bottoms can be scoop, low, mid, or high rise.  Whew!  And you can mix and match the options for an entire wardrobe of swimwear.  If you are completely new to sewing swimwear,  there is a great video tutorial series for the GreenStyle North Shore on YouTube, linked here.

For my first version I went with a mid-rise bottom, and a deep-V full cup front with the S-hook U-back.  It turned out great, and is a classic two piece that looks like RTW.  Using Tricot as the main fabric was a no-brainer, as it is a classic swimwear fabric that can withstand lots of use.  As always when sewing a swim top, all of the top pieces were cut out of the Tricot, high quality powernet for support, and swim lining.  For the bottoms, I used powernet in the front only.  It adds a little bit of tummy control, without giving a “muffin top”.

NS purp frontNS purp side

Basting the powernet to your swim fabric makes sewing so much easier.  I don’t know about you, but there’s no way I can keep multiple layers lined up without basting and a bunch of pins!  The pattern has an elastic chart that makes adding the elastic easy, especially if you are new to swimwear sewing and not yet comfortable with just sewing it on by feel.  Definitely follow the directions about sewing the elastic around the legs.  The extra stretch in the back keeps the bottoms sitting properly on your bum, rather than riding up uncomfortably!

NS purp back

Since the first version turned out so well, I decided to have some fun with the pattern, and turn it into a strappy bikini.  I folded down both sides of the deep-V full cup front, shaping it into a curvy triangle.  I used the halter S-hook back, and cut both pattern pieces out in my nylon spandex fabric, swim lining, and powernet.

NS pieces

Baste the powernet to the main fabric, and sew the front and back together at the side seam.  Sew the lining front and back together at the side seam.  Lay the lining on the main fabric wrong sides together and baste.  Knowing that “triangle style tops” don’t normally have a whole lot of support, you need to add support by stretching the elastic tighter to help the top hug your body.

To figure your elastic lengths, measure along the front edge from the top of your triangle down to the center front.  Subtract 3/4″, (because you don’t want elastic in the 3/8″ seam allowances) then multiply by .75.  Exercise your swim elastic before measuring to that length.  Rather than cutting the elastic, just use a pencil to mark your line.  This makes it easier to hold on to the elastic and stretch it while you are sewing.  Use a zig-zag stitch to sew your elastic to the center front, starting 3/8″ from the top, and stretching the elastic so that the marked point ends 3/8″ from the bottom of the center front.  Then repeat the process to measure from the top of your triangle, down under the armscye to the end of the back piece.  Again subtracting the 3/4″ for the seam allowances and multiplying by .75.  Mark the elastic, start sewing 3/8″ from the edge, stretching the elastic to fit and zig-zag, stopping 3/8″ from the other end.

Then fold the edges under enclosing the elastic, clipping it in place.  Topstitch with your zig zag set at 2.5 length and 3.0 width.  The elastic will want to curl up a bit until it is topstitched down.

NS elastic

Then add the underbust band and elastic, and sew on the S-hook as per the pattern tutorial.  Because my bust is apparently more close set than average, I overlap my front pieces 1-1/2″ before attaching to the band.  You may or may not want to overlap depending upon the shape of your bustline.

Now it’s time to make some strappy straps!  Cut two strips of fabric 1-1/2″ wide by 16″ long.  Fold them in half, right sides together and clip in place.  Lay your 3/8″ clear elastic (you can use cotton swim elastic, but the clear elastic makes flatter straps and is listed as chlorine safe) along the cut edge, and carefully zig zag so that your zig goes just off the edge of the elastic and into the center of the fabric, and the zag is completely on the elastic.  Once the strap is completely sewn with the elastic, use a safety pin to turn it right side out.
NS straps

Baste or pin the straps in place, and try on for fit.  On the back, my straps are stitched in place 1-1/2″ from the S-hook.  You may need to cut some length off the straps in order to pull the front up to where it is comfortable.  But better to have extra strap length to cut off, than to have too short of straps!

Since I made a sexy top, I decided to make the bottoms a little sexier by cutting them about halfway between mid-rise and scoop bottom.  To finish the top of the bottoms, I zig-zagged elastic along the top edge at a 1:1 ratio to keep the top snug, but not tight.  Top stitch just like you do the elastic around the legs or swim top.  The scoop shaping is flattering and comfortable, even on a 50+ year old Grandma! 🙂  At least my husband certainly thinks so! 😉

NS frontNS back.jpg

While I probably wouldn’t run in this bikini, let’s be honest- I don’t run!  (Hence the jiggly bits that would make me feel uncomfortable while running.)  Hahaha!  But I definitely feel comfortable and supported while walking the beach and playing in the waves.

All of my fabric came from Phee Fabrics, the Tricot, powernet, and swim lining, as did the matte palm nylon spandex print.  Sadly, this particular print is no longer available, which is why I’ve been hoarding it, and was so excited to play with this pattern.  There are however, so many pretty colors of Tricot and a couple of stripe prints to choose from.

Never be afraid to try hacking a pattern!  Even if it doesn’t turn out exactly like you envisioned, you always learn something from the experience.  I’m contemplating double straps next, maybe criss-crossing a set.  It’s another opportunity to add a pop of color and create a new look.  It’s just sew much fun to play with patterns! 😉

 

*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. 😉

 

The Aushui Tank Transformation

Transforming The Stitch Upon A Time Aushui Tank Into A Dress

I bought the Stitch Upon A Time Aushui Tank pattern because who doesn’t need a unique tank top in their lives?  The square cut neckline was a new look for me, and I love tanks with straps that completely cover your bra.  The pattern is a pretty quick sew, and the facings really help the tank keep it’s unique shape.  It also has options for a button placket and a tie front, which will totally change the look!

Rayon spandex from Phee Fabrics made for a soft, comfortable tank, with excellent drape.  I added two inches to the length because I am tall and like longer tanks.  But I certainly could have stuck to the pattern length and been just fine.

Aushui tankAushui back

Once I made the tank I started thinking that it would be fun to make the Aushui into a dress.  Not only are dresses a summer time staple, they also make it easy to get ready in the morning.  Wanting to keep the lines of the dress clean, a gathered seam at the waistline was out.  A simple fit and flare design fit the bill, so I pulled out the Stitch Upon A Time Calista pattern.  The skirt portion of the Calista flares out nicely, without being too full.

The hardest part of this pattern mash was determining where the skirt should start!  Fit and flare dresses look best when they are fitted through the bust area and flare out at or just above the natural waist.  A novice sewist may be surprised to learn that your natural waist isn’t necessarily at your belly button.  Tie a string, strip of fabric, or piece of elastic around your waist, and bend side to side several times.  The elastic will settle at your natural waist which may be above your belly button.

Lay the Calista skirt pattern on top of the Aushui Tank front, with the center folds aligned.   Slide the top of the skirt up to the bustline marking.  With the patterns taped together, cut out the front of your dress.  Align the Calista skirt the same way on the tank back, and cut out the dress back.  There will be a little area where the tank and skirt pieces intersect at a sharp angle.  Gently curve this area (where the purple arrow is pointing in the second photo) when you cut out your dress.

Aushui Cal tapeAushui Cal cut

Then follow the pattern tutorial for construction of view A.  The only difference will be the length of your side seams.  Take your time and use plenty of pins when folding up the hem.  That way you’ll get a nice even hem when you finish your dress.  Pro tip: sewing a line of stitches down the center of the back facing before construction will make it easy to tell the front from the back when you’re hanging up laundry or getting dressed.   If you have a vinyl cutting machine, a cute little HTV design would make a good “tag”

I used Phee Fabrics Tricot for my dress and absolutely love the drape and swing of my Aushui Calista pattern mash!  It’s a fun, flirty length, without being too short.  It only took two yards of fabric, and I have large enough scraps that I can probably make another swimsuit. 😉  You can read about my Water Faery and Scrundlewear bikini here.

Aushui CalistaAushui Cal full

I need more of these dresses in my life!  I’m so glad I played around with the patterns, and that my dress turned out even cuter than I imagined!  There’s no reason to be afraid of trying something new, and hacking and mashing your patterns.  You might just end up with a new favorite dress, or other cute clothing in your wardrobe!

 

*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. 😉

 

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. 😉

 

 

 

 

 

S.U.A.T. Brazi/Calista Mash-Up

Mash it, and hack it, and make that dress your own!

I love the Stitch Upon A Time Brazi pattern.  I was so intimidated to try making my own bra that I eyed it for a month before I finally bought the pattern!  Since then I’ve made several workout bras for myself, a nursing bra for my daughter and a Brazi dress that I wear all the time.  I’ve hacked it for straight straps and removable bra cups and decided, why not mash it with the S.U.A.T. Calista?  Once you feel comfortable with a pattern and know the best fabrics to make it with, it is easy to branch out and try something new with it.

Brazi patternPlease note that out of respect for the designers, and protection of their intellectual property, I will not show full pattern pieces.  I bought the cross-front add-on when I bought the Brazi pattern because I love the look and knew that it would be the most flattering for my body type.  But you can do the straight strap hack on the original pattern.  I simply marked my pattern where it curves from cup to strap, and folded it under 1/2″ above that.  I folded the back straps under and cut out my modified pattern pieces.  I cut four 2″x13″ rectangles out of my fabric as my strap and strap lining pieces.
Choosing the perfect fabric is always the fun part of sewing.  And using high quality fabric is key when making a supportive and functional bra.  I love using Phee Fabrics circular knit, nylon/spandex, and rayon/spandex for my Brazi’s.  But the not-so-secret part to trim powernetbeing successful at supporting “the girls” is powernet.  And I’m not talking the decorative looking mesh stuff I’ve seen at a national fabric and crafts store.  Phee Fabrics powernet is legit!  It holds everything where it belongs.

I cut out my pattern pieces using the same fabric for the main and lining pieces and also cut all my pieces out of powernet. I trim the powernet 1/8″ to 1/4″ smaller on all sides except the side seams.  

pin powernetpowernet bastedPin the trimmed powernet pieces to your lining pieces and baste in place.  Do not baste along the side seams!  To make the pocket for your bra cups, lay your cups on top of the bra front and mark the height.  Sewing a horizontal line across the height mark will keep your cups from shifting out of place.

cross-frontSew your main and lining front pieces right side together.  The pattern tutorial recommends using elastic along the front edge of the cups.  Using the elastic adds another layer of security if you are concerned about anything showing when you lean forward.

back opening

I marked and pinned my back pieces together and left the center 4″ open when I sewed the top seam so that I would have room to insert the straps later.

 

 

sewing sideseamside seam sewn pinned

Open up your front main and lining piece and match it up with your back main and lining.  Here’s the tricky part: sew the outer main fabric together, sewing down about an inch into the lining and then sew the bottom inch together.  Pull the lining fabric of the bra front out of the seam line and tuck it out of the way as you pin the powernet and back lining pieces together.  You may need to use your finger to hold the fabric out of the way as you sew the other 3 layers together.  This will give you the opening on the inside of the side seam for you to insert and remove a bra cup.

bra cup accessRepeat the process with the other side seam.  At this point you can follow the pattern directions about matching your center front notches, adjusting strap length, sewing on your bra band or skirt and adding the elastic.

hem dipSince I was adding the Calista skirt to the Brazi top, and the bottom of the two bras are different shapes, I knew that I might need to make some adjustments.  You might like the look of the dipped hem my mash produced, but I am kind of old school, and like my hems to be level with the floor.  I had an easy fix for my problem.

alter hemtrimmed hem

I laid the skirt pattern on the skirt, pivoted it up from the center front fold to 2″ above the side seams. I flipped the pattern over and repeated the process on the skirt back.  I hemmed the skirt and my Brazi/Calista mash-up was complete!

In hindsight, I should have just traced the top curve of the Brazi skirt instead of following the straight edge of the Calista skirt.  But since the skirt was already sewn on, and I didn’t feel like seam ripping, cutting the bottom worked.  I’ll definitely use the Brazi skirt curve in my future makes!

Although I can add bra cups if I want, I wore my new dress all day and took these photos without using any cups.  THAT is how well quality powernet works!  So hack and mash and sew away!  And enjoy wearing your comfortable, personalized creation.

Brazi Calista backBrazi Calista1

 

*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!