Stitch Upon A Time Max Crop, Top & Dress

Pattern Hacks To Personalize For Your Style

I love pattern testing in the spring and summer, because I love summer clothes! This makes sense since I live in Florida, which has about eleven months of summer, and a month or so of cooler temperatures. 😉 Patterns that have multiple options mean I can make multiple looks with one pattern. I could have gone for the simple scoop or V-neck tops, but I gravitated to the cross-front tops.

Cross-front tops are such a fun, flattering look if they fit well. It’s important that the cross-over doesn’t cut across the bust, but rather, falls below it. Yet the cross-over needs to be high enough to cover your bra. I want to look a little sexy, but don’t want super revealing clothes. This can be a tricky balance, especially if you have a smaller ribcage and shoulders, but a larger bust size. Thankfully, the Max Crop, Top, and Dress patterns includes regular and FBA cross-over pieces.

I love how the cross-over hits at just the right spot!

Testing for designers that listen to feedback from the testers, and make changes accordingly gives me more confidence in their skills. Yeah, they may have made samples, and done some pre-testing, but nobody is going to come up with a “perfect” pattern that fits every unique body. And something that works in theory, may need a little bit of tweaking in the real world. I’m not saying that designers should change everything about their designs, but if a similar issue is noted by several people, it’s probably worth taking a look at.

That being said, it’s important to be a good tester. Take accurate measurements so that you can choose the proper size. Use fabric with the correct stretch requirements (if garment is for knits) and drape/weight (for knit or woven patterns). Be honest in your fit assessments. This doesn’t mean rude or demanding, because hey, the designer is a human being, worthy of respect and kindness. It just means pointing out any and all areas of concern in an appropriate manner. For example, explaining that your shoulders slope more or less than the pattern; or that the bust is too tight/loose/low/high, etc., but the waist fits perfectly. It’s important to take good fit photos so that the designer can see whether the side seams are vertical, whether it’s pulling to the front or back, how the shoulders and sleeves fit, etc. Every body is unique, and though we may fall into the same size, even if sewn exactly per directions, the garment may look different on you than it does on me. The best a designer can do (when designing for a mass market) is get the best possible look on the most bodies in each size range.

See the nice vertical side seams?

That’s why it’s important, (and something you’ll learn as you sew and grow) to know your body. For instance, my shoulders slope a bit, and I am longer than average from shoulder to bust point. Some designers use a more sloped shoulder seam than others, but when I see a shoulder seam that’s nearly square, I automatically know that I’m going to have to increase the slope by raising the seam at the neck edge. If I just angled down from the original shoulder point to the shoulder edge, then the armscye won’t be deep enough for me, and the garment is going to cut into my armpits. This fit issue is way more common than you’d think. It’s worth the time to make tiny tweaks to a pattern so that it fits your body.

The Stitch Upon A Time Max has sleeve options ranging from cap sleeves, short sleeves, mid sleeves, to long sleeves. It doesn’t however, have a sleeveless option. When you live in a tropical climate, sleeveless is a favorite choice, and it’s not hard to hack to be sleeveless. You can do this to your pattern piece, but if you think you may want to use your pattern for a sleeved version later, it’s easy enough to do to with your garment already cut and sewn. Simply make marks around the armscye 1/2″ in from the raw edge. Trim off that 1/2″ of extra fabric.

A rotary cutter and self-healing mat make cutting and trimming so much easier!

I chose to finish my sleeveless looks with a faux facing. First, measure the new edge of your armscye and multiply that number by .95. I know that sounds weird, since bands and bindings are generally 87.5% of a raw opening. But keep in mind that this pattern was designed for sleeves, which have a much closer fitting armscye that doesn’t need to be “brought in”. The faux facing is just to keep the opening from stretching out of shape. Cut two strips of fabric 7/8″ high, with a width of 95% of the length of your armscye. (In other words, cut the strips so the greatest stretch of the fabric will be going around the opening.)

Using a four thread overlock with a stitch width of M, stitch length of 2, and the differential up to 1.3, serge along one long edge of each strip. Sew the short ends of each strip together with a 1/4″ seam allowance, and mark the quarter points of the raw edge. Mark the quarter points of each armscye and pin the facing to the armscye, only slightly stretching the facing to fit. Add additional pins as needed, then serge, right sides together with the same settings as above, using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Fold the seam allowance to the inside, slightly rolling it so that the facing will be completely hidden, and pin the facing in place. Then coverstitch from the right side.

Notice how you can see just a little bit of the bodice along the top edge of the pinned armscye at the bottom of the photo, while the facing is completely hidden in the coverstitched armscye at the top of the photo? It looks even better once it’s pressed!

One of my favorite looks from the pattern was the cross-front ruffle crop top. But I’m not comfortable wearing cropped length tops. And the height of the waistband piece was a bit too long on my body, looking more like a dropped waist. So I decided to shorten the waistband height so it would end at my natural waist. Then I added length to the ruffle so that it would fall at my high hip, rather than be a crop top. Of course I also made it sleeveless #becauseflorida, and it turned out so cute!

I immediately wore it out skating, and love the fun, flirty ruffle!

Besides yoga, skating is my favorite exercise. It’s great cardio, burns plenty of calories, and is just so fun! My neighborhood doesn’t have sidewalks except for out at a main road with busy traffic. So everyone walks, runs, rides bikes, or skates in the street. My skating route is determined by which streets have newer asphalt, and are therefore smoother to skate on. 🙂

Cul-de-sacs are always fun!

My husband usually rides his bike while I skate. He did a good job of snapping photos while riding! He keeps commenting on how fast I skate lately. I think I’ve gained confidence in skating on rough outdoor surfaces after only having (mostly) skated indoors on a smooth maple wood floor at the skating rink I grew up in. Although I recall skating in more than a few outdoor parades back in the day, the parade pace was definitely slow. I had forgotten how freeing it feels to have the wind in your face, listening to music and flying along like I used to fly around the rink as a child and teen.

Sleeveless tops are more comfortable when skating on a hot day.

The back view of the Max top is just as good as the front. It’s such a nice, smooth fit. I’m quite pleased with the bodice shaping on these tops. Adjusting the shoulder slope to fit my body means the back lays smooth with no wrinkles or pulling.

I am loving the sleeveless look!

My next hack idea is to add a skirt to the cross front bodice without adding the waistband. I think it would look super cute too, although I’d probably serge clear elastic into the seam line when attaching the skirt to help keep it pulled in against the weight of a longer skirt. And perhaps a tiered skirt… Ah, so many ideas swirling in my head with this cute pattern! Which I guess sums up my feelings about the pattern. It’s a great base pattern with so many options, from simple V-neck or scoop neck, to cross-front, with cap, short, half or long sleeves. (Although it’s obviously easy to hack into sleeveless) 🙂 With lengths from crop, top, and ruffle crop, to dress.

Obviously I need more fabric to try all my pattern hack ideas!

Even the bird approves of my Max Top and Treasure Hunt Skirt! 🙂

The details: The Max Crop, Top and Dress pattern from Stitch Upon A Time includes sizes XXS-6X. For reference, my hacked green ruffle crop top is size Large, using the Large FBA bodice. My purple cross-front top is a blend of Medium and Large FBA bodice with size Large lower top. The purple top is worn with the Treasure Hunt Skirt, which is blogged about here.

The lime green (and plum shown in my sleeveless hack photos) rayon spandex was purchased from Phee Fabrics. The purple rayon spandex is a lighter weight from my stash. It was probably purchased at JoAnn Fabrics years ago. Can you tell that I love bright, fun colors?

Thank you for reading and sharing my love of creating, sewing, patterns, pattern hacking, fabric, and making beautiful, well-fitting garments! ❤

The links to Stitch Upon A Time may be affiliate links, which means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a few pennies if you purchase through my link. As always, I only give my honest opinion. After all, it is my blog, which represents me!

My 2022 GreenStyle Fit Capsule

Sew Much Fun Making So Many Things!

I go to yoga class four days a week, so workout wear is an important part of my wardrobe. Roller skating has made it’s way back into my life as well, and I’m here to tell you, you can’t skate without smiling. I seem to break out into a grin every time I put my skates on. Having these two forms of exercise in my life brings a certain balance that just feels right.

It makes me happy that I was able to complete two workout outfits as part of the GreenStyle Fit Capsule Challenge. Even though both outfits are Spark Tights and Power Sports Bras hacked into workout tops, they’re very different looks. My first purchase of GreenStyle fabric was this super cool Super Nova Power Flex. It’s a nylon/spandex blend, and I love how colorful it is. Scraps of grape supplex (a color no longer available) from Phee Fabrics was the perfect accent fabric to pair with it, so I decided to go wild and color-block the bodice and then accent everything with a reverse triple coverstitch using MaxiLock radiant turquoise.

Coverstitching in turquoise really accented the fun colors and contrasted with the grape pockets and panels and cool Super Nova print.

I added a panel of white powernet to the back of my top for extra airflow during sweaty workouts. If you’re like me, and dislike straps near your neck, doing straight straps is such a game changer. There’s no need to ever adjust your straps again! To see how to do straight straps and add panels, check out this post.

I love using bra strapping and doing straight straps with the U-back.

My other Power Sports Bra workout top and Spark Tights combination is completely solid. I used a shimmery, almost glittery nylon spandex athletic fabric from JoAnn Fabrics. Since the fabric was shimmery I kept everything one color and achieved an extra pop of color by reverse triple coverstitching with Superior Threads Fantastico #5028 Peacock Plume. I just love their variegated threads!

The rising sun really picks up the sparkle in the fabric, and the beautiful sheen of the thread.

Once again I chose the U-back of the Power Sports Bra and used straight straps. Can you tell that these are well-loved patterns? 🙂 The straps were cut along the edges of the fabric where it wasn’t shimmery, just for a bit of accent. And to not waste that couple inches of fabric! 😉

My non-shimmery straight straps.

The Valerie Dress, another well-loved pattern, hacked to be sleeveless and made in green rayon spandex will get a lot of use. I wear my Valerie Dresses all the time. Sometimes as a dress, sometimes as a nightgown or loungewear. I’ve also mashed it with the Staple Tank for a slightly different look, seen here.

It was a windy day, which made the dress cling to my body.

If it gets chilly, I can slide on my new Sunday Cardigan, hacked to have tiers, butttons, and a sleeve flounce. You can read about that here.

The cardigan works over dresses, shorts or pants, swimwear or workout wear. I love it!

Last but not least, I had to make another Staple Tank! You can never have too many of these tanks. I was gifted some pretty fabric scraps by a woman in one of my Facebook sewing groups. And this fun crocodile skin rayon/spandex print was actually large enough to eek out a new tank! It makes me smile to have such a fun printed tank!

I like using binding to finish my Staple Tanks. It gives it such a clean look.

Whew! That was a lot of sewing and posing for photos. 🙂 I was pretty inspired by the Fit Capsule Challenge this year, and I’m excited to have made so many cute things. It speaks volumes about how I feel about GreenStyle patterns and the way they fit my body so well. I may have plans to make myself another workout outfit. 😉 I bought some navy supplex, and have some pretty fabric scraps to coordinate with it. But I need to make a few things for other people first.

Thank you for reading and sharing my love of creating, sewing, patterns, pattern hacking, fabric, and making beautiful, well-fitting garments! ❤

The links to GreenStyle may be affiliate links, which means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a few pennies if you purchase through my link. As always, I only give my honest opinion. After all, it is my blog, which represents me!

A Fun And Flouncy Cardigan Hack

This idea for hacking the GreenStyle Sunday Cardigan has been floating around in my mind for a while. Finally, I took the time to make a plan, get it done, and I love it! It’s exactly what I wanted. It’s fun and flouncy, lightweight and flowy, and super comfortable. It looks cute with a dress, is easy to toss on when I need a layer, and elevates a simple outfit.

Windy days make photography challenging. And sometimes, not super attractive! 🙂

I suppose I should start with my sketch. Obviously, I’m a sewist, not an artist! 🙂 But sketching out my ideas helps me clarify exactly what I want to do, and it’s helpful to note how I plan to do it! A well-fitting pattern with the basic shape you want is always a great place to start. Set-in sleeves are a must, since dropped shoulders and boxy shapes are not particularly flattering on my body. Clean edges, rather than bands were also important. The GreenStyle Sunday Cardigan met all my requirements, and, I know it fits well since I’ve made several. See here and here.

Noting dimensions really helps when you’re planning to start cutting into your fabric.

The tiers needed to start below the bust, because it’s much more attractive than having a seam slice through the bustline. A bit higher than my natural waistline, almost an empire look was the plan. Since the average side waist is 8″, I figured 6″ would work well. Keep in mind that if you have a very large or full bust, or a longer than average side waist, you may want the top section of your cardigan to be a bit longer. I marked my pattern pieces 6″ down from the armscye on the side seam, and folded the excess pattern under. The sleeves were also shortened to 6″ below the armscye.

It may have been easier if I had just cut the bottom of the patterns off rather than folding, but I didn’t want to have to tape them back together or retrace the pattern pieces the next time I want to use it!

Since I was looking for a knee length cardigan, I measured down to the knee length mark on the pattern, and figured I needed another 23″ or so from my 6″ mark on the side seam. Since I wanted two tiers, I made them each 12″ high to give me a seam and hem allowance. To figure out the width of the first tier, multiply the bottom of the bodice (where you folded or cut off the bottom of the pattern) by 1.5, and multiply that number by 1.5 to give you the width of the second tier. My first tiers ended up being 12″ high by 20″ wide for the front, and 40″ wide for the back. My second tiers are 12″ high by 30″ wide for the front, and 60″ wide for the back. Since my fabric was only 58″ wide, this was a case of “close enough is good enough”!

See? There’s no way to tell that the back bottom tier isn’t quite as wide as it “should have” been.

Cutting the tiers was pretty easy using my quilting ruler and rotary cutter. I use a ruler and rotary cutter all the time when cutting out bands, bindings, cuffs, or any other rectangular piece. It’s so much faster and easier, and much more precise than cutting around a pattern piece. Making the sleeve flounce was much less precise! 😉

My fancy method of making the flounce pattern piece involved tracing around the largest bowl in my cupboard. You know the big bowl you use when hosting a large backyard party and you make a huge taco/pasta/(insert your favorite) salad? Yeah, that bowl. That’s the outside of your circle. Then measure across the bottom of the (folded under or cut off) sleeve piece, and subtract the seam allowance. That’s how big you want the seam line of the circle to be. Since I used a 1/4″ seam allowance to attach the flounce to the bottom of the sleeve, the cutting line needs to be 1/4″ inside the seam line. I’m sure there is a math whiz who could tell me how to arrive at the proper inner circle circumference, but I just found a mug in the cupboard that was the same circumference as my seam line circle, and used a compass to make my cutting line circle 1/4″ inside the seam line circle.

My super scientifically designed sleeve flounce ended up 15″ across, and the inner cut line 3-3/4″ across. This gave me a flounce depth of 5-3/4″.

With all the pieces cut out, it was time to sew everything together. Gather each first tier piece and attach the front tiers to the bodice fronts, and the back tier to the bodice back. Gather the second tier pieces and attach the front tiers to the bottom of the front top tiers. Attach the back tier to the bottom of the back top tier.

The cardigan is really starting to take shape!

With right sides together, sew the shoulder seams and side seams. Sew the sleeves together, and mark the quarter points on the sleeve bottom and the quarter points of the flounces. Match up the quarter points and serge the flounce onto the sleeve. Set in the sleeves and get ready to hem. My best hemming tip for circle sleeves, skirts, or anything with a steeply curved bottom is to four-thread overlock the hem using a stitch length of 2, stitch width of M, and up the differential to 1.5. This will slightly gather the hem so that when you fold it under it will lay nice and flat for you. Pin up your sleeve hems and cover or top-stitch.

Once everything is cover-stitched and pressed, the flounce hem will be smooth and hang perfectly.

Now it’s time to finish the front edges of the cardigan. I do this little trick on every Sunday Cardigan I make. Cut 3/8″ wide strips of feather-weight fusible interfacing. Press the strips along the wrong side of the entire front edge of the cardigan. Snip the interfacing strips almost all the way through to help it curve when going around the neckline. Then press the edges under 3/8″ and cover-stitch.

Using interfacing along the front edges of your cardigan makes finishing it so easy! It helps the fabric stay perfectly smooth and flat, and keeps it from getting stretched out when you top-stitch.

All that’s left to do is hem the bottom edge. I use the same four-thread overlock settings as above, except I only up the differential to 1.3. Then pin the hem up and coverstitch. You can leave the cardigan with an open front, add buttons and loops at the top bodice, or go as far down the front as you want. I decided on 4 buttons and loops to hold the bodice closed when desired.

I love the dreamy look of the buttoned bodice with the ruffled tiers and flounce sleeves.

This is a super fun and super useful cardigan. It’s pretty over a dress when you want a fancier look, and simple enough to throw on over workout wear. It’s a lightweight cover-up at the beach, and would work as a bathrobe too. I could see it made in a stretch mesh or a soft rayon spandex. My version is made from a pointelle knit that I’ve had in my stash since the ’90s. The store it was purchased from has been out of business for decades, so who knows the exact fabric content. I’m usually pretty good at identifying fabric content by look and feel, and my best guess is that it’s a cotton/maybe a bit of rayon?/spandex blend. I just know that I’m super happy with my pattern hack, and am dreaming about another one!

Floaty, flowy, and fun. What more can you ask for?

The details: the Sunday Cardigan is one of the older patterns that hasn’t been updated to the extended size chart yet. It includes sizes XXS-3XL, and has an optional hood and pockets.

My cardigan is shown over a Valerie Dress (hacked to be sleeveless), made of rayon spandex purchased at Phee Fabrics; and over a Power Sports Bra and Spark Tights, made of a nylon/spandex athletic fabric from JoAnn Fabrics.

Thank you for reading and sharing my love of creating, sewing, patterns, pattern hacking, fabric, and making beautiful, well-fitting garments! ❤

Links to GreenStyle may be affiliate links, which means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a few pennies if you purchase through my links.

Porcelynne Jackie Bra and Tankini

Workout wear makes up a large portion of my wardrobe, so I like trying out new patterns and styles. Porcelynne is known for their bra making books and extensive bra making supplies. Their current warehouse is somewhat local to me, and that is how I stumbled across the Jackie pattern. Jennifer (the designer, author, and owner of Porcelynne) is in a Florida sewing group that I’m in on Facebook. She hosted a shopping event that included fabric from an estate sale at her warehouse. I chatted with her while shopping, and commented on the sports bra she was wearing, asking her which pattern it was. She told me it was a new pattern that would be releasing soon. Once the Jackie Sports Bra pattern dropped, I bought it, and the Tankini Add-On pattern.

Sewing workout wear is fun, and ensures that I have unique, colorful outfits to wear to yoga class.

Since Christmas was right around the corner, I spent the next month sewing for others and put off sewing anything for myself. January rolled around, and with it, time to sew for myself. The Jackie is marked as a more advanced pattern, so, as suggested in the tutorial, I decided to make the “simple” pullover version, rather than the zip up front to ensure that I had chosen the correct size. The size chart is extensive and includes fitting tips for uneven breast sizes, compression fit, etc. Knowing that I planned to workout in my bra, including upside down poses in yoga class, I sized down one size for the band, and used powernet in the bra. I did not size down in the cups, because I know powernet has a strong rebound factor. Snug but not not tight is the name of the game in comfortable workout wear! This meant that instead of making the 34F that I measured, I went with the 32F.

I always baste powernet to the wrong side of the main fabric before serging the pieces together, then pull all the basting stitches. In retrospect, I should have trimmed the powernet back 3/16″ around all the edges before serging to reduce bulk in my seams.

The Tankini Add-On is based on your band size and has some cool overlapped pockets on the front side panels. Although I like the looks of the pocket panels, all of my workout tights have pockets, so pockets on my top were redundant. Skipping the pockets meant a little more work to figure out the length on the side panels, but it wasn’t really that challenging to mark a new cutting line. The curving lines on the front panels of the tankini are super cool, but the curves on the side seams are not designed for my body shape. The tankini side seams were too “hippy” on me, with bulges on the sides, then a bit snug at the bottom, which makes the bottom want to slide up to a narrower point on the body. Part of this is probably due to the shape of my booty, which I frequently adjust for when making tops or dresses. Have you ever had a top or dress hem be too short in the back (shorter in the back than the front)? Even on a flowy dress, so you know it’s not because it’s too tight in the hips? Yeah, it’s super annoying, but there is an easy solution as long as it’s done at the “tracing the pattern” stage.

Whenever I’m tracing off a top or dress pattern and the back hem is straight across from center back to side seam, I know it’s going to be a problem if I don’t make an adjustment. Booties protrude from your back, and you need adequate fabric to cover them. Obviously you need adequate hip width, so do any grading out to the appropriate size first. In case you haven’t read my previous posts on the importance of grading, I am a stickler about grading to fit your body. Designers make patterns to fit an average of measurements, and they provide size charts for a reason. Just because your bust measurement falls into size x, it doesn’t mean that your waist and hips do too. Maybe they fall into the measurement range for a size y or z. It’s worth taking the time to grade to your size(s). Now back to the booty issue. If you’ve noticed the “too short in the back” issue on your makes, you need to add length at the hemline in the center back of your pattern, curving up to meet the side seam. Adding 1.5″ at the center fold line seems to be the perfect amount for me.

Notice that more length is added at the center back fold line to about the center of the pattern piece, then it curves somewhat sharply up from there.

Using a curved ruler can help you draw smooth even lines, but you can do this by eye. I do this adjustment on every fitted workout top I make. It’s helpful on more fitted tank and tee shirt patterns as well. Many flowy top patterns seem to include a curved hem. Occasionally after making a pattern with a slightly curved hem, I find that I need to add just a little bit more length to the curve at center back.

The hand on the hip is kind of pulling the fabric, but the top is the same length in the back as it is in the front.

Although I generally followed the tutorial directions when sewing the bra (which is a good idea when trying a pattern for the first time!), I’ve made enough workout wear to feel comfortable making a few changes. Since I had used powernet on all of the front and back pieces, using elastic along the top seam wasn’t necessary. The caveats to this being: first and foremost, having chosen the proper size; using a high quality powernet (not a flimsy powermesh); and using the differential on my serger. When sewing knits, always up the differential (to 1.3 generally speaking) to keep the fabric from stretching out of shape while serging.

Since the neckline has a somewhat squared shape where the center front meets the side front, I found it helpful to sew with a stretch stitch first, then go back and serge to ensure nice crisp corners.

The interior of the bra and modified band.

The bra pattern includes a normal rectangular band with 1-3/8″ wide elastic. The tutorial for the Tankini Add-On recommends serging narrow elastic into the seam when attaching the bra bodice to the tankini. I much prefer a nice solid 1″ wide elastic enclosed in a band on my workout tops. After all, I’m going to be upside down in headstands during yoga class and want a very secure band! On most tops the seam between the bra and bodice is relatively straight, but the Jackie bra has an interesting upward curve at center front. Rather than just using a simple rectangular band, I hacked mine to have a curve matching the curve on the center front of the tankini bodice.

The finished band has enclosed elastic.

Since I don’t like loose elastic floating around inside of a band, I always serge one long edge of the band into the seam when attaching the bra and bodice. Since I’m using 1″ wide elastic, my band is 2-1/4″ high (except for the top center, which is shaped to match the bodice). Here’s what works for me: have the bodice inside out; slide the bra down inside the bodice with the right side out (the bra and bodice will be RST); place the band (sewn into a loop) inside the bra, with the right side of the band facing the lining of the bra, matching all quarter points. Serge from the inside of the top, with the band on top. I like to use plenty of pins to ensure that all layers stay perfectly aligned. Just be sure to pull the pins before they get up to the blade so you don’t hit them! If you’re nervous about this, just baste the layers together, then go over to your serger.

Since different brands of elastic can be more or less stretchy than others, I like to pre-stretch my elastic 8 or 10 times, then wrap it around my body where the band will fall (just under the bust) and pull it to a snug, yet comfortable tightness with a 1/2″ overlap. (Using the 1″ elastic from Wawak, mine ends up 27-1/2″ long.) Overlap the ends 1/2″, and zig-zag together, securing the ends. Mark the quarter points on the elastic (I just use a pencil). Pin the elastic to the wrong side of the unfinished long edge of the band, matching the quarter points, and serge, stretching the elastic to match the band. Then fold the elastic up inside the band, overlapping, and just matching the top of the seam. Pin, then coverstitch in place. This will keep the smooth side of the band against your skin, with the seam on the side against the bodice.

No matter how you bend, the band will lay comfortably against your body.

The wrap-up: I like that the Jackie bra is unique, and different from other sports bra patterns. It’s rated as a more advanced pattern, and I’m glad that I have plenty of experience sewing workout wear. It would probably be intimidating to a beginner sewist, but Porcelynne has a pattern discussion and a sew-along group on Facebook, as I recently discovered. It can be helpful to have a group of people to refer to and ask questions of who are familiar with a pattern. When people ask questions in a pattern or sewing group, and I’m familiar with the pattern or problem, I always try to help. Share your experience to help others who are still learning. That’s how we learn and grow, by doing, and seeking help from those with more experience. And I want people to love sewing, not get frustrated with it and give up.

The contrasting inserts on the side back are fun, and give you more seams to accent with a reverse triple coverstitch!

Rather than the padded adjustable straps the pattern calls for, I chose to add fixed double straps of 5/8″ wide plush bra elastic. If I were going to wear the bra as just a bra, those padded adjustable straps would probably be quite comfortable. I really should make a version with adjustable straps even if only to show off the pretty rainbow rings and sliders and plush bra elastic I bought from Porcelynne!

The details: the Porcelynne Jackie Sports Bra and Tankini Add-On patterns are available in .pdf format as well as paper patterns.

The charcoal gray supplex, powernet, and plum nylon spandex were purchased from Phee Fabrics. This particular purple is from my stash and no longer available, but there is a very pretty purple nylon spandex tricot on the site. It’s easier to sew when you use high quality fabric, and moisture-wicking nylon/spandex fabrics are your best bet for workout wear!

When reverse triple coverstitching, I used Superior Threads Fantastico #5154 High Society in the looper. I just love the sheen, and how prettily it accents my fabric. Their variegated threads are fabulous!

Thank you to Ashley @coastalyoga for taking photos while at the studio after a sweaty Ashtanga class!

And thank you to my sweet husband for taking photos at home. Sadly it’s too cold and windy for outdoor photos right now!

Thank you for reading and sharing my love of creating, sewing, patterns, fabric, and making beautiful, well-fitting garments!

The Corset Look

Sewing Tips And A Fun Hack

The new Corset Bra and Top from GreenStyle Creations is so fun! The princess seaming gives it shaping, the pattern design is clean finished, and it includes small, medium, and large cup options in every size.

According to the measurement chart, I need the large cup option, so those are the pattern pieces I printed. I’m so glad that the high hip length was added during testing. It’s not like the bra length wouldn’t get used, but why hide a pretty new make? And that leads me to the corset or crop length and my rant about tankinis.

Have you ever been super excited about the idea of buying a tankini because hey, a tankini will cover more skin than a regular bathing suit top. And you’ll feel more confident in a tankini. Until you try it on. How come tankinis and crop tops look so cute on some people, but when I put one on, all it does it highlight the bit of no-longer-flat belly between the bottom of the top and the top of my bottoms? 😦 I’m sure it has something to do with the combination of my size, height, and/or body shape, but let’s get real. I’m not going to be rocking a crop top. Ever. I make and wear two piece swimsuits because they are much more flattering on my body.

Which brings me back to my excitement about the hip length top being added to the pattern. First off, I could wear it as a tankini because it’s actually long enough to cover the top of my swim bottoms. 🙂 It’s a versatile top and looks cute with Warrior Pants.

A slim, fitted top is a great contrast to flowy Warrior Pants.

I love that the straps of the Corset Top easily cover even the wide straps of my bras. The clean finish of the bra and top is so professional looking, and is accomplished by using either the included shelf bra or lining pattern pieces. The pattern tutorial has clear instructions on how to do the “burrito roll” finish. By the time you make a top or two, you’ll feel quite accomplished using the finish!

I love that my bra straps are hidden, front and back.

You can insert clear elastic in the neckline and around the arms, and it would probably be helpful if you were making a bra for the gym. In which case, I’d probably add powernet too. But since mine is just a casual top, simply upping the differential on my serger to 1.3 was enough to keep the neck and arms from being baggy. (Having the correct fit also helps!) Another tip I figured out is that if you have the main fabric on top while sewing the neckline and “burrito roll” the fabric is less likely to roll outward and show the lining. You can under-stitch if you want, but by serging with the main fabric on top I didn’t feel the need to do so.

I must have been talking with my hands when my husband took this photo.

Another thing to consider when making the Corset Bra, crop or top is that fabric will make a difference in the fit. Fabric with a lot of spandex, and excellent rebound properties will fit tighter to the body, and will be super helpful when making the bra. Fabric with a lighter weight, but still a decent amount of spandex (at least 5-10%) will be less form fitting (which may be preferable in the hip length) then something like supplex or swim fabric will be.

The flattering fit of this top makes me happy. And taking plenty of yoga classes made it easy for me to balance on the railing without falling backwards into the seagrass!

Can we just talk about the beautiful princess seaming on this pattern? It’s a great opportunity to color-block, but I really wanted to bring out the lines a different way. I figured that a reverse triple cover-stitch would almost give the illusion of boning channels, which seems appropriate on the corset style. I recently ordered some Fantastico variegated thread from Superior Threads, and I am super impressed with it! It has a beautiful sheen, and the color repeat is only one inch. That means that you get see all of the colors in the thread cycle through frequently.

I love how the thread highlights the seamlines and makes them pop!

I know a pattern is good when I start dreaming about how I can hack it. And the Corset Bra and Top was just begging to be made into a top and/or dress. I’ve seen some advertisements for knit tanks with a chiffon “skirt” and I knew that it would be an easy hack. I had made a corset length top during testing, and it was easy to trim off the bottom so that it would end at my natural waist. I find tops and dresses most flattering if the narrowest part falls at the natural waist.

Then I cut a strip of chiffon 12″ high by the width of the fabric (approximately 58″ wide). You want the width of your strip to be between one and a half to two times the width of the bottom of your top. Depending on the width of your fabric and the size you are making, you may need to cut two strips, giving you a front and a back to get the width you want. Serge the two short ends of the strip together as a side seam, then serge the bottom edge to help prevent fraying. Fold the hem up 3/8″ then another 5/8″ so that the serged edge is completely enclosed. Cover or top stitch the hem. Gather the top edge of the skirt, and match the quarter points up with the quarter points of the bodice. Baste the skirt to the bodice and adjust any gathers as needed before serging.

The simple gathered chiffon skirt gives the top a whole new look!

The fun floaty look of the chiffon combined with the fitted bodice of the Corset Top looks great over a skirt. Lengthening or adding a second (one and a half times wider) tier of chiffon would totally change the look. As would making the skirt out the same knit as the bodice. I’ve got so many top and dress ideas floating through my brain!

It’s such a fun hack!

And that’s the beauty of a pattern like this. It’s a bra, it’s a top, it’s a swim top, it’s the bodice of a dress. I’ve got some GreenStyle Power Flex fabric just waiting to be sewn into Spark Tights and a cute new workout top. It’s time to sew all the things!

The details:

The navy top is nylon/spandex tricot from Phee Fabrics. It is accented with reverse triple coverstitching using Superior Threads Fantastico #5028 Peacock Plume. Worn with Warrior Pants and Moxi Shorts.

The fully lined purple top is a lightweight nylon/spandex circular knit from Phee Fabrics. It is accented with Fantastico #5154 High Society. The chiffon in my stash came from an estate sale. Worn with a Pace Skirt.

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! ❤

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!