Spark My Interest

GreenStyle Spark Tights and a Power Sports Bra Workout Top Hack

When GreenStyle Creations comes out with a new leggings or tights pattern I get excited. Their patterns always fit me so well, and I always need more workout wear. 😉 I bought the pattern, but made myself finish sewing up outfits for my granddaughters before making something new for myself. Grandma love, you know?

The Spark Tights have a nice gusset, not quite as big as the Super G gusset, but big enough to provide excellent range of motion for yoga class. The pockets are generous, plenty big for even an oversized phone.

Normally, I don’t coverstitch my gussets because I don’t want to draw attention to the area. But the Spark Tights gusset is the perfect size, and I love the look of the coverstitching!

The back of the tights have a “bridge” section for shaping that curves down for the pockets. Sewing it reminded me of the sewing the Motion Shorts for my husband. I love that it’s a perfect opportunity for color blocking.

Isn’t the curve of the bridge fun? It’s a nice accent for the booty. Also, look how nicely the legs are shaped for the knee. No bagginess or bunching behind the knee. Just a smooth fit down to the calves.

The smooth fit of the legs is another hallmark of the excellent drafting of this pattern. I live in Florida, so I love capri length for my workout tights. The pattern includes thigh and calf measurements so you can grade the pattern to fit your body as needed. I didn’t need to grade at all, and I love that the tights don’t ride up my calves when walking or stretching.

There’s no center front seam and the legs are a smooth fit from top to bottom. The shaping is perfection! The high rise cut line of the waistband hits me in exactly the right spot.

Now, let me tell you about my fabric struggles, or rather the lack of fabric struggle. I thought I had plenty of Supplex in my fabric stash. I originally planned to make some very simple black or charcoal gray tights just accented with scraps from a pair of my Simpatico Leggings, and reverse coverstitched with black thread. Yeah. I only had little scraps of black and gray, and not enough of any one color to make tights and a workout top. I could have just ordered some fabric, but I had already waited to start making the pattern, and didn’t want to wait any longer. So I got super creative with my color blocking.

I knew I wanted to hack a matching Power Sports Bra into a workout top to match my tights. I was working with less than a yard scraps. With a very careful layout and using three colors, somehow, it all worked out.

To tie the green and turquoise of the tights to the green, turquoise and neon green of the Power Sports Bra, I decided to use neon green thread to triple reverse coverstitch my Spark tights. Of course I only had two cones on neon green thread, so I used the neon thread in C2 and the looper. I used emerald thread in C1 and C3. Take the time to coverstitch as you go, and the last leg seam will be the only challenging one. Since I was reverse coverstitching, my needles are on the inside of the leg. Start at the top and work your way down toward the ankle. Stitch as far as you can, and keep adjusting the leg so that you can work farther and farther down the seam.

On the left side of the photo, notice that I used the lightning bolt stitch on my sewing machine when adding the gusset, and pressed the seams open. That helped keep everything aligned and smooth, particularly at the pointed ends of the gusset. Pressing the seams open (or to one side when serging) also makes it easier to coverstitch.

I’ve hacked the Power Sports Bra into a workout top before, but wanted a different look this time. And due to the aforementioned fabric shortage, the back of the top would need to be colorblocked. There was a scrap of green left from cutting out the tights that was shaped like a long curved triangle. So that scrap became the center back of my top.

The folded scrap was clipped on the back fold line, and the shape was traced on the pattern with a red pencil. Then a second line was traced 1/2″ inside the red line.

Once a second line was traced 1/2″ inside the red line, the back body was traced from along the outer edges and over to the inner black line. This gave me a 1/4″ seam allowance for connecting the left and right body pieces to the center triangle. You may be wondering what pattern to use for the body. There are so many options! The Staple Tank, the Cami Tank, the Jillian or Lille Tanks. Which one(s) do you own and love the fit of? I like to add a bit of length to the center back of my tanks, curving up to the side seams. This gives me more booty coverage. If you love the way the Cami or Staple Tank fits, use it as is by folding the pattern under just below the bust, you don’t have to add length or a curve for the booty unless you want to.

The lower left pattern piece is what I got after tracing my pattern over to the black line drawn 1/2″ in from the red line. Don’t forget to mark the grainline! It’s super important to stay “on grain” when cutting out a pattern to keep the garment from twisting out of shape.

Follow the Power Sports Bra tutorial for assembling the bra, but stop before adding the bottom band. You can use any of the variations, I chose the U-back version, but played around with the straps. There have been several discussions in the GreenStyle Facebook group about whether the straps can be made wider instead of strappy, and whether the bra can be made with straight straps instead of crossed in the back. The answer to both of these questions is a resounding yes!

I love the wide straight straps with the U-back!

To make the straps wide instead of skinny, cut out four strap pieces as directed, but instead of sewing each strap individually, stitch the straps in place in the back. Then when the inner and outer layers of the bra are stitched together, the two layers of straps got stitched together too. When turning the bra right side out, it helps to feed the straps through with a safety pin, just like you would normally turn straps. Instead of elastic, I used a layer of powernet in the straps, as well as in all of the bra pieces for extra support. Try the bra on, and adjust the straps to the proper length. You will be cutting off a lot of strap length since straight straps don’t need to be as long as crossed straps.

The straps don’t shift or move whether I am folding forward or flowing through vinyasas.

I added a scrap bit of strap crossways like an H just for fun. I’m thinking of adding another cross strap where the neon bra and green strap meet. But since I don’t have any more scrap straps, I’d have to make one. So it’s probably not going to happen! 🙂

Once the triangle was inserted in the back and coverstitched, the front and back body pieces were serged together at the side seams. Mark the quarter points of the bra, and the quarter points of the body, and baste them right sides together. To make the band for the elastic, cut a rectangle of fabric 2-1/4″ by the length of elastic needed. Overlap your elastic to form a circle, zigzagging to secure. Serge along one long edge of the band, then stitch the short ends together. The band and elastic should be the same length. With the elastic on top, serge the elastic on the wrong side of one edge of the band.

Taking the time to baste (see the black thread?) keeps everything perfectly aligned and makes it easier to serge without worrying about pins or clips.

Then match the quarter points of the band to the quarter points of the workout top, pin, then baste in place. In the photo above you can see that the right side of the body and the right side of the bra are together. Then the right side of the band is on top of and facing the wrong side of the bra. Once it is serged, pull the basting stitches, and wrap the band around to enclose the seam. Pin it in place with the elasticated edge of the band not quite touching the seam line. Coverstich or top stitch it in place.

I love how beautifully finished the top looks on the inside and out.

Now I’ve got a colorful, comfortable, and completely customized new workout outfit.

If you’ve ever wondered whether the Power Sports Bra is supportive, check out the side view. For reference, I measured into and made a size 34F. I’m super happy with the fit of the tights and workout top.

Made with all these colorful scraps, and hacked to perfection, you can see me coming or going from a long ways away! 🙂

The details: The Spark Tights and Power Sports Bra patterns, as well as fabric are available at GreenStyle Creations.

The green and turquoise Supplex was purchased from Phee Fabrics, as well as the neon green nylon spandex tricot and powernet used for the bra.

The neon green and emerald serger thread is MaxiLock. The thread and 1″ knit elastic were ordered from Wawak.

The beach photos were taken by my sweet husband. The yoga studio photos were taken by Jaida Christina Wellness.

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! ❤

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. ❤

Keep It Simple & Add Some Flair

Keeping it simple sounds like a great idea right about now, during a time of uncertainty.  And I (mostly) have been!  My days are filled with sewing, cooking, cleaning, spending time with my husband, prayer and reflection, and texting and FaceTiming family.  Like most people, I also probably spend too much time reading about the virus, watching TV, and on social media. 😦  So it’s time to get back to writing about sewing and patterns and fabric and all the other things that make me happy! 🙂

There were some chilly days here in Florida last month, so I decided to make the Pattern Emporium Keep It Simple Babe Tee shirt.  Patterns with lots of options can be overwhelming and wonderfully useful!  The Keep It Simple Babe has high and low square necks, high and low round necks, boat and crew necks, turtlenecks, and a V-neck.  And everything from cap to long sleeves, so there are definitely options.

Since Florida is hot most of the year, tank tops make up a good portion of my wardrobe.  But there are chilly days, so a long sleeved tee is a practical make.  Super soft rayon spandex is my favorite fabric for tops and flowy dresses, and I had enough of this turquoise from Phee Fabrics in my stash to make the long sleeved tee.  The sleeves are slim enough to stay in place when pushed up to 3/4 length, but not feel too tight.

KISB Urban front

The V-neck is a good depth, not too high or too deep, and the neck-band came out perfectly.  The bodice skims over the body and doesn’t cling or show off the fact that I’ve probably eaten too many cookies while staying “safer at home”!  The Keep It Simple is a solid pattern choice.  Now for the Flair!

I had a small bit of Cozy French Terry left after sewing some fuzzy slipper socks for my sister, and managed to squeeze a pair of shorts on the fabric.  The Pattern Emporium Urban Flair Pants are one of my favorite pants patterns.  There are three leg width options and I chose the wide leg version to make a pair of basic black pants a couple months ago.  I love them!  They are super comfortable, the back darts smooth over the booty, and other than adding length I didn’t need to alter the pattern at all!  If you’ve ever sewn pants, that is saying something!

Urban Flair pants

So that’s why I decided to use the pattern to make a pair of shorts.  I marked the pattern to give me a 5-1/4″ inseam, and cut the legs straight across.  Since I was using scraps, I had to cut the pockets out of rayon spandex, and used Supplex and the rayon spandex for the waistband.  Supplex makes great waistbands, because it has excellent recovery.  So instead of folding the waistband pattern piece in half, I hacked it to have an inner waistband of Supplex, and an outer waistband of rayon spandex, so it would match the pockets.  I slightly contoured it, and added a seam allowance so that the finished waistband would be the same height as the pattern called for.

waistband

It’s a fun accent, and worked out great.  I will say that it’s imperative to use a substantial weight of rayon spandex.  Flimsy rayon spandex won’t hold the weight of your phone and will get stretched out of shape.  This is 13oz. rayon spandex, the same as I used for my tee.  My phone easily fits in the generously sized pockets, and the shorts are super comfortable.

KISB Urban pocket

More shorts are definitely on the agenda, along with more walks along the beach!

KISB Urban side

Both patterns were great additions to my collection, and I’m glad I bought and made (more of) them.  I hope that you are doing lots of sewing, and enjoying spending time communicating with the people you love.  So keep it simple, give yourself some grace, and don’t forget to add a bit of flair and fun to your life! ❤

 

Itty Bitty & Not So Itty Bitty Baby Dresses

My granddaughter needs play clothes for the summer, since she’s outgrown pretty much everything from last summer.  Toddlers grow fast!  So my daughter gave me some tops and dresses to upcycle.  They were all XS or small, so children’s clothes would be about all that would fit on the fabric.  I chose three coordinating fabrics, and got to work.

Using my rotary cutter, I trimmed along the side and sleeve seams, and ripped the clothes apart.  A seam ripper was necessary to remove hems and binding as needed, to be able to lay the fabric out smoothly.  It certainly would have been easier and faster to use yardage, but it was fun to think creatively how to fit my pattern pieces and make it all work.

I’ve made a couple of Made By Rae Washi Dresses blogged here, but hadn’t tried any children’s patterns.  This is my latest (and favorite!) Washi Dress, made with a beautiful Art Gallery Fabrics border print called Roads to Flowerhouse.

teal Washi

While scrolling through the Made By Rae children’s patterns, I came across the Itty Bitty Baby Dress.  It’s designed for wovens, but I knew that it would work to use knit fabrics.

The pattern calls for a simple gathered skirt, trimmed with bias tape.  Since I was upcycling, had limited sized pieces of fabric, and had found coordinating fabrics, I decided to make a three tiered skirt instead.  For the Itty Bitty Baby dress, instead of the suggested 9″ high rectangles of fabric, I cut my top strip 3″ high, and the second and third tiers 3-1/2″ high.  Each tier was gathered and sewn to the tier above it, then the skirt was sewn to the bodice as per the pattern directions.  Newborn sized clothes always look so cute!

Itty Bitty dress

There also happens to be an expanded size of the pattern in a size 3, which is the size my two year old granddaughter is growing into.  It’s made the same way as the Itty Bitty newborn size, and it too got hacked to have a triple tier skirt.  Instead of the suggested 15″ high skirt panels, the top tier was a 4-3/4″ high strip, followed by 5″ high strips for the second and third tiers.  The toddler skirt is a bit more gathered, since Lila likes to run and play and climb and move.

Bitty expanded

Since the dresses were already bright and colorful, I thought that it would be fun to use variegated thread to cover-stitch everything.  That’s the funny thing about having the ability to cover-stitch.  You go a little crazy and fun and play around with it.  On the toddler dress, I used a reverse triple cover-stitch to accent everything.  To lessen the scale, I chose a narrow reverse cover-stitch for the newborn dress.

The Bummies pattern is from Brindille & Twig, with a ruffle added across the bum for a little extra fun.  Because I already spend too much quality time with my seam ripper, I just couldn’t bring myself to rip off the leg bands that I accidentally sewed on inside out. So I just reverse cover-stitched over the seam allowance, and turned it into a “design element”!

Bummies design element

 

Admittedly, these outfits are super bright and a bit wild, but that’s what makes them so fun!  Normally, I wouldn’t post without modeled photos, but with the current state of the world, I don’t know when we’ll be able to visit our daughter and her family.  Hopefully before the new baby is born!  And this is as good a way as any to share that I’m going to be Grandma to another little girl!  🙂 ❤

Do you have some unworn clothes in your closet that could be turned into fun fabric for little ones?  Consider upcycling them into to something new.  There are so many cute patterns to try.  And it’s fun to sew for my soon-to-be itty bitty baby, and not so itty bitty girl.

Stay well, and sew something that makes you happy!

 

 

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. ❤

Use Every Scrap Of Fabric

Including A Selvage Design Feature

Sewing for children can be fun, because their smaller size generally means quicker sewing.  And you can be super bold in color and try fun things on kids clothes that you may be a bit hesitant to try on an adult size!  After making myself a beautiful Designer Stitch Madison Dress, I had some scraps of Ponte left over.  They weren’t large enough to make an adult clothing item, but there was just enough to squeeze out a dress and leggings for my granddaughter.

WB Gma

The striped Ponte was quite stretchy, so it was perfect for leggings.  I’ve tried several  baby leggings patterns, and have been happy with most of them.  Since Lila is growing quickly, it seemed time to make the jump from a baby pattern to a girl pattern.  The 5oo4 Patterns Little Ninja Leggings (which is a free pattern) worked very well, and came up high enough in the back to properly cover her bum.  I dislike super low rise leggings, and was very happy with the fit of the Little Ninjas.  They definitely give full range of motion, as Lila was easily able to climb in and out of the box “fort” that Grandpa made for her! 🙂

WB box

The green Ponte was a super soft rayon blend, and had such a pretty fringed selvage that I just had to use it for something!  I found it at Pennie Fabrics in Sarasota, Florida.  It’s an interesting independent fabric store, is a bit of a maze, and is not organized into fabric types at all.  But if you’re willing to wander through and feel all the rolls of fabric, you could come up with something unique that you love.  The green Ponte was imported from Italy, and you could feel the softness and quality.  It was therefore, rather expensive, so I wanted to put every square inch to good use!

The Stitch Upon A Time Wendybird Dress was a great choice for this project.  The simple lines of the round neck, plain front version, with hemmed sleeves let the focus be on the fabric.  To add an extra pop of color, I cut a strip an inch and a half wide out of the striped fabric to use as piping between the bodice and skirt.  After folding the strip in half, right sides out, I basted it to the bottom of the front and back of the bodice.

Wendybird piping

Then I stitched the dress together as per the pattern tutorial.  (Although the photo distorted and makes the fabric look ribbed, it’s actually very smooth.)  I cut along both edges of the green Ponte to get 1-1/4″ wide strips of selvage to trim the hem.  After stitching the selvage to the hem of the dress, I pressed the seam allowance up towards the skirt, and zigzagged it in place.

I absolutely love the finished look!  It’s super fun, totally unique, and a great way to use what would otherwise be scraps.

WB point

Obviously Lila loves it too, judging by her smile. 😉

WB smile

I’m glad I made a larger size so that she’ll be able to wear this outfit all next winter too.  If you’re looking to personalize your makes, take a look at the selvage, and don’t be afraid to use every last scrap!

WB window

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. ❤

Oh Olivia!

Adjusting the Designer Stitch Olivia to fit my figure

Pattern testing can really stretch your sewing and pattern adjusting skills.  Especially when the pattern involves princess seams.  While some people are lucky enough to have “average” bodies, I think most of us need to do at least a little bit of tweaking and fine tuning of patterns.  In fact, that’s probably why some of us started sewing in the first place.  To get a better fit than off the rack clothing.

The Designer Stitch Olivia Bralette and Knickers, Briefs, Panties pattern is a gorgeous set designed for comfortable lounging, while looking enticing. 😉  It isn’t designed to be a mega supportive workout bra, though my husband did say that it looks like a cross between a workout bra and a swimsuit top!  To be fair, I have made plenty of workout bras and swimsuits, so I can see where he’s coming from. 🙂

Ann (the designer at Designer Stitch) always recommends making a muslin or toile to perfect your fit, before cutting into your “good” fabric.  When making a muslin (practice garment), it is important to use fabric with the same stretch as your good fabric.  If your fabrics don’t have similar stretch, you aren’t going to get the same results.  The Olivia size chart and tutorial give clear instructions on selecting your size.  So I traced the pattern in my size and got to work.

Years of sewing for myself have shown me that my bust apex is lower than average.  Time, gravity, and having breastfed my two children also means that my bust is much fuller on the bottom half than it is on the top.  So I knew that a round curved princess seam was going to need a little bit of adjustment.  It’s not hard to fix, it’s more a matter of trial and adjustment, trial and adjustment.  I stitched the cups together, held them up to my bust and kind of pinched out the excess fabric at the top of the bust to make my first adjustment.  I took the cups in along my pinned together line, and marked the change on my pattern.

Then I stitched the rest of the bralette together without bothering to use any elastic, since this was just my muslin.  The top curve needed to be flattened out even more, so I carefully pinned the excess fabric and again marked the change on my pattern.  Finally I felt ready to move onto my good fabric.  Which, surprise, surprise, 😉 also led to a pattern hack.  Since the bralette was such a fun design, I decided to make it into a nightgown.  Who doesn’t need more summer nighties?

Since I like adding support to all my bras, swimwear, and workout tops, I used all the bralette pattern pieces to cut a layer of powernet, and another layer of fabric to use as a lining.  I basted the powernet to my main fabric, and treated it as one layer, sewing the bralette together.  Then I sewed all the lining pieces (out of the same nylon/spandex tricot fabric) together, basically making a second bralette.  After carefully pinning the two bralettes right sides together, I stitched the two together along the top edge.  (I did leave openings at the top to insert straps).  I tried it on, determined my strap length, and sewed the straps in place.  With the bralette inside out, I added clear elastic within the top edge seam allowance, zigzagging it in place.  The pattern tutorial gives suggested elastic lengths, so you don’t have to guess what length to use.  Then I turned the bralette right sides out, and basted the bottom together.

I cut a rectangle of fabric 21″ high by the 60″ width of my fabric.  After folding the “skirt” in half right sides together, I stitched along the short end of the fabric, leaving the bottom 7″ unsewn to form a slit.  Using a long zigzag stitch, I gathered the top of the skirt until it was the same width as the bottom of the bodice.  Evenly distributing the gathers, I aligned the slit with one of the bodice seams and attached the skirt to the bodice.  Then I hemmed the bottom and edges of the slit to complete the nightgown.

Olivia nightgown

My topstitching caused a few puckers along the princess seam, so it’s not perfect, but it is perfectly wearable and comfortable.

Then it was time to move along and make a pretty set using stretch lace and trimming with double plush picot edge elastic.  The high rise waist of the panties felt a little too high for me, so I cut an inch off the top at the waist.  Some of my favorite RTW panties have lace accents at the hip, so I decided to try a similar look with my lace.  After picking out a pretty motif in the lace, I laid the flowery design on top of the front panty piece on an angle, and pinned it in place.  The lace got stitched in place with a zigzag stitch, then I laid the lace on the opposite hip and tried to get the mirror image motif perfectly aligned.

Olivia panty lace

Once the lace was zigzagged in place it was super easy to follow the pattern tutorial and complete the panties.  My foolproof tip for sewing on the picot elastic (I use the same technique with swim elastic on swimsuits) is to set the zigzag stitch length at 2.5, and the width at 3.0, and sew with the fabric and elastic lined up with the edge of my presser foot.  (The tutorial has a labeled drawing showing how to divide the elastic length along the leg opening for the perfect amount of stretch in each area.)  Then I flip the elastic to the inside and pin or clip it in place.  Using the same stitch length and width, and sewing on the right side of the garment, zigzag around the leg opening, again lining the fabric up with the edge of the presser foot, and gently stretching the fabric until it lays flat while you stitch.

When it came to the bralette, I again cut a layer of powernet and basted it to the fabric, treating it as one layer.  I basted the bralette together, and did one last little adjustment to the cups so they fit perfectly smooth.  Never underestimate the value of basting and trying on to perfect your fit.  Then take the time to trace your changes onto your pattern piece.  I started with the yellow highlighted lines, which got trimmed back to the orange, which got adjusted to the blue, and in the final tweaking, down to the green.

Olivia patt adj

I added a layer of the stretch lace to the Cup Center Front, again aligning the lace motifs so that they would match.  Rather than hacking to add a lining, I followed the pattern tutorial, and finished the bralette edges with the picot elastic.  I took the time to change out the thread to match the fabric and elastic on each side for a professional finish.

Olivia stitching picot

And I ended up with a very pretty set, that almost looks beach ready!

Olivia hips sbl

Olivia close sbl

 

 

I could not help but laugh at the ridiculousness of me trying to take “sexy looking” photos!  It’s just not gonna happen!  I’m a 50+ year old Grandma, who enjoys the occasional cookie or apple crisp, (after a delicious salad of course), and I’ve got the real life body to prove it! 🙂

So I kicked off the heels, and hopped on the lounge chair and tried again.

Olivia lounge sbl

Eyes closed and laughing, with leaves blown into the pool.  Yep, that’s as sexy as it gets!  Hahahahahahahaha!  #reallifesexy

So, if you’re looking for a real life sexy set, that can pretty easily be made as swimwear, or hacked into a nightie, and adjusted to fit your curves, Olivia has got you covered!

The nightgown was made of nylon spandex tricot, purchased at Phee Fabrics.  The bralette and panties were made of circular knit, with powernet, stretch lace, bra strapping, and picot edge elastic all purchased from Phee Fabrics.

 

Thank you for reading and sharing my love of sewing, fabric, patterns, and pattern hacking. ❤

 

Lila & The LLK Kensington Dress

I did a bit of Christmas sewing, making microwavable bowl cozies for my Mom, siblings and family, and adult children, making a total of (I think) 22 cozies by the time I was done.

bowl cozies

We use our cozies all the time, whether cooking broccoli or oatmeal, or keeping our fingers from freezing while eating a banana split.  Not that we do that often, really! 😉

bowl micro

I also sewed a few things for Lila. ❤  I thought the Little Lizard King Kensington would be a cute dress, but I had to make a couple of alterations.  My daughter dislikes buttons.  She has disliked them since childhood.  Which presented quite a challenge when trying to find the collared shirts required at their elementary school!  (I didn’t have time to do much sewing back then).  So, she didn’t want Lila’s dress to have buttons.  Which meant I had to alter the pattern to use a zipper.  It wasn’t really hard to do.  I just found the center point of the back overlap, and instead of using the button placket, I reduced the width of the bodice back to just having a 1/2″ seam allowance.  I had cut only one skirt panel the width of my 45″ fabric, and put the seam at center back.

This meant that rather than following the pattern tutorial, after attaching the collar and bodice lining at the neckline, the skirt had to be gathered and sewn to the bodice.  The zipper was installed (ending about 3″ down into the skirt).  Then the bodice lining, (which I had pulled up out of the way while installing the zipper) was sewn down into place.

LLK porch

The most challenging part of the pattern was the scalloped collar.  It wasn’t that it was hard to do, just very time consuming.  The scallops on a size 2 are rather tiny!  I took my time, and very carefully trimmed and clipped each scallop so that it would lay neatly when it was turned and pressed.

Another important consideration when using a fabric with an obvious pattern to it, like this Art Gallery Fabrics Evanescence Blackout, is to take your time when laying out your pattern pieces.  For a professional finished product, the design needs to line up and be evenly spaced.  Notice that the darker “stripe” going across the collar is the same on the left and right?  I also took care when cutting the skirt and bodice to ensure that the almost plaid-like design was evenly spaced where they meet at the waistline.  The print doesn’t have perfectly straight lines forming an even plaid.  It’s more of a pretty graphic design and loosely drawn and wavy grid pattern.  Although I tried to get the sleeves as perfectly aligned, the right sleeve lines up better than the left.  Oh well, perfection escapes me again!  Hahahahahaha!

At least my granddaughter is perfect, and perfectly adorable! 🙂

LLK yard full

And a bit of advice for photographing toddlers: always bring snacks.  Everybody is much happier when there is food in their tummy!

banana

Lila also got a rayon spandex dress, trimmed in stretch lace, hacked from the Ellie & Mac Grow With Me Pajamas.

LLK flat lay

I cut a strip of the stretch lace to half the width, and added it at the bodice to skirt seam line.  I shortened the skirt to make it dress length, and gently curved the hem so that it would hang nicely when on the body.  After gathering the lace (about 2-1/2″ yards worth), I zigzagged it onto the hem.  Lila likes the orchid color, and the soft, breezy comfort of the dress.

EM grow pj

It’s such a comfortable play dress, that she just didn’t want to stop swinging for photographs.

swing

It didn’t take long to whip up a couple of Made For Mermaids Hadley Hand-Tied Bows, and attach them to hair clips for a finishing touch.  Maybe I’ll make one of the larger bow sizes next time.  After all, Lila is a little southern belle!  😉

Hadley bow

She is also fun to sew for, and pretty much looks adorable in everything I make for her!  Now I need to sew up a couple more patterns for this sweet girl. ❤

The bowl cozies (link to tutorial here), Kensington dress, and bow, were all made with Art Gallery Fabrics 100% cotton purchased from Phee Fabrics.  The 13oz. rayon spandex was also purchased at Phee Fabrics.

Thank you for reading and sharing my love of sewing, fabric, patterns, and pattern hacking. ❤

Wrap Up A Holiday Outfit

Do you attend fancy Christmas parties that involve dinner, dancing, and drinking adult beverages?  Or do you prefer a simpler setting that includes sweatpants, eggnog, snuggling your kiddos and pets, and perhaps a Hallmark Christmas movie (or two)?  I used to really enjoy attending the fancy fun parties, because other than a wedding reception, how often do you get to dress up, enjoy a nice dinner and dance the night away?  But I also enjoy the simple (and sometimes noisy, chaotic, crazy, and wonderful) days or evenings gathered with family and friends.

Either way, I like to feel comfortable in what I’m wearing.  There aren’t any super fancy parties on my schedule this year.  Just a couple of gatherings that are sure to include delicious food, conversations with people I love, and the normal fun and silliness that ensues whenever people get together.  So I decided to make a fun wrap top, that could also work as a cardigan.

The first step was choosing comfortable fabric.  I strongly considered using Phee Fabrics nylon/spandex Tricot.  It would be a great choice- it has a pretty drape, excellent recovery, and would give the top a more elegant look.  But in the end I went with Rayon Spandex for a softer, more cozy feel.  Because of the more substantial 13oz. weight, the drape is beautiful, and even the white isn’t sheer.

The Joanne Faux Wrap Dress & Top by Sinclair Patterns easily became an actual wrap top.  I love the fit of my Joanne dresses (blogged here), and knew that I wanted to make a top version.  With a little bit of customization, it was easy to make my vision come to life.  I wanted the peplum to be a bit longer than designed, so I traced the peplum front and back pieces on my size for width, and followed the lines for the largest size for the length.  Since Sinclair Patterns come in Petite, Regular, and Tall, all you may need to do is print the Regular or Tall version of the peplum pieces to get extra length.

bow

A true wrap top needs nice long ties.  I cut four pieces at 2-3/4″ high, by the 60″ width of the fabric.  I also cut strips of knit interfacing 2-1/4″ high, and ironed them onto the wrong side of two of the tie pieces.  After laying an interfaced and a non-interfaced tie piece right sides together, I trimmed one end at an angle.  I used the markings on my quilting ruler to get a perfect 30% angle, but you can use whatever angle looks good to you.  Then stitch along one long side, along the angled end, and back along the other long side using a 3/8″ seam allowance.  (I know the pattern uses a 1/4″ seam allowance, but my sewing machine prefers 3/8″!) 🙂  Turn the tie right sides out and press, and repeat with the second tie.  Do you want to know my trick for helping to push the long sides of the tie out in order to press them?  A yardstick!  It really made it easier to press and not worry that the fabric was still folded inward.  An interesting thought occurs to me.  If you live where the metric system is the common form of measurement, I suppose it’s not called a yardstick.  Is there such a thing as a meter-stick?  Go ahead and laugh, I might bother to google it later.  Or not.

The basic construction of the top is the same as the pattern tutorial, except the pleats, and the side seams.  Sew the shoulder seams together,  then sew on the neckband and top stitch.  Without overlapping the two front pieces, stitch the front and back bodice together at the sides, starting at the armscye, and stopping 2-1/4″ from the bottom.  Stitch the bottom 1/4″ of the seam.  Repeat with the other side seam.  Cut four pieces of interfacing 2-1/2″ long by 1/4″ wide.  Press the interfacing within the seam allowance of the bottom side seams of the bodice on the wrong side of the fabric.  This will help stabilize the open slits on the side seams when the seams are pressed open.  Press, then top stitch around the slits.

Insert the sleeves, being sure to put the back of the sleeve toward the back of your top.  (The pattern piece is clearly marked.)  Sew each peplum front and back together at the side seams, and attach the peplum to the bodice, leaving 1/4″ unsewn at either end of the seam.  This will allow you to turn the peplum under 1/4″ at the ends for a clean finish.  Now for the trickiest part of the top, the pleats.  Basically, you need to accordion fold 1″ wide sections, leaving the band at the top free, and leaving an extra 1/4″ at the bottom to fold under.  I kind of gently spread the folds a little bit, so that the folded section ends up two inches wide.  Baste.

wrap attach

With right sides together, pin just one layer of the tie to the basted bodice pleat.  You’ll have to carefully get your presser foot inside the end of the tie to stitch the tie to the bodice.  Clip your threads and flip the tie out.  Fold the raw edge of the tie under and pin it in place, being sure that it covers the seam line.  Then stitch in the ditch to secure the back side of the tie.  Repeat with the other tie.  Hem your sleeves and the peplum and your top is done!

Joanne wrap angle

I love that the long ties allow a bigger bow for an extra bit of drama.  I like that since it’s a true wrap, I can throw it on over a dress or top as a cardigan.  The extra length in the back gives me a little more coverage and looks great with a slim skirt.

Joanne wrap back

The high low look of the peplum just seems to dress it up a bit.  But being made out of soft rayon spandex, it would look just as great worn with some joggers.  No matter what I wear it with, it’s super comfortable, and is a great way to wrap up a holiday outfit.

Joanne wrap hair

In case you’re wondering, my skirt is the Shenanigans Skort by 5 out of 4 Patterns, made in Supplex.  This simple style, that’s just long enough, made in a stretchy, smoothing, moisture-wicking fabric is a comfortable basic for your wardrobe.

Have you wrapped up your holiday outfit?

 

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. ❤