5oo4 Zen Pants Made As Shorts

And An Internal Patch Pocket Hack

Summer time means shorts, and nothing screams summer like bright, white shorts.  They look great with any color tank or tee, or thrown on over a swimsuit.  In my quest to use every pattern in my collection I decided to try the 5 Out Of 4 Patterns Zen Pants, using the shorts cut line.  The Zen Pants are a slim fit with optional front and back patch pockets and a side cargo pocket.  There is also an optional faux fly, and drawstring waistband.

I like my shorts to be a smooth line under my tanks and wanted a dressy casual look, so I wanted to streamline as much as possible.  Pockets are an absolute necessity, so I decided to turn the large patch pockets into smaller internal patch pockets, and to forego any other ornamentation.  It’s fun to customize patterns to suit my needs, and I’m never afraid to try a simple hack.  As I have noted before, I don’t show full pattern pieces to protect designers intellectual property.

The first step of altering the pocket was to decide how wide I wanted it.  I laid my phone on the pattern pocket piece and knew that I could slim it down to the width of the X-small pocket.  I laid my traced out pants front piece onto the master pattern pocket and used a pencil to draw lines from the hip up and from the top out to the outer top corner.  I also curved the pocket side to follow the curve of the hip on the pants front.  I am pointing to this area in the photo below.  (The dashed line is the original pattern shape of the outer top corner of the pocket.)

Z pocket alter

Laying the pants front on the master pattern pocket piece allowed me to trace the curve to make the pocket opening on the pants front.  That small piece in the upper corner of the photo below is the piece I cut off and discarded.  I also hacked the pocket facing, (which is used to reinforce the pocket opening.)  I like my pocket facings to be about an inch wide, so I traced the top curve of the pocket facing piece and just made it an inch wide.

Z pocket fac

Next I laid out all my pattern pieces and cut them out my fabric.  You could use a ponte or one of the other recommended fabrics, but I find that shorts made of ponte make me feel too hot and sweaty.  I love making my shorts out of Supplex.  It’s moisture wicking, so it really helps keep you cool.  And since it washes and wears so well, you don’t have to worry about using white Supplex to make shorts (or anything else for that matter!)  Because I love the consistently high quality, I buy all of my Supplex from Phee Fabrics.  It is a substantial 18oz., so I never have to worry about it being sheer.  And, it took less than a yard of fabric for my shorts.

Place the pocket facing on the pocket opening right sides together, stitch, then flip the facing to the inside of the pocket.  Give it a good press, then topstitch.  The photo below shows what the facing will look like on the inside (or wrong) side.

Z pocket

Place the pocket right side up, to the wrong side of the shorts front, lining up the top and sides.  Baste at the top and side seam, and pin the curved inner edge of the pocket to the front.

Z pocket baste

Use a zig zag, decorative stitch, or cover stitch to sew the pocket to the front.  I used one of the “overlock” stitches on my sewing machine.  Take your time sewing around the curve to make sure you are catching the pocket as you sew.  Press everything smooth.  From this point you’ll be able follow the pattern directions as written to finish your shorts or pants.
Zen back

I like the idea of the back yoke/waistband on the Zen Pants, because it curves down to meet the pockets at the side seams and gives your shorts or pants a flattering shaped look.  It does however take longer to sew than a simple rectangular or a contoured waistband that’s even along the bottom edge.  I also like that the pattern tutorial gives you photos, drawings, and tips for some common pants fitting issues.  I may try to scoop out the back crotch curve of my shorts a little to fit the shape of my bum.  This should correct the wrinkles I seem to get on all pants patterns, (so I know that it’s my body shape, versus an issue with patterns.)

I love being able to make cute, comfortable shorts that will help keep me cool during the heat of summer.  It’s nice to be able to customize them to suit me by choosing from all the pattern options and by a simple hack for the pockets.

 
Zen shorts

Now I need to search through my patterns to see what else I need to make!

 

*This post may contain affiliate links.  This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase through my links.  As always, I only give my honest opinion.  After all, it is my blog, which represents me!  Thank you for reading and sharing my love of sewing and pattern hacking. 😉

Hack At It

GreenStyle Lille Tank + Norah Nightgown = A Fun New Workout Top?

I’ve made the GreenStyle Lille Tank before, and it is a great basic racerback tank.  I use the optional built-in bra on mine.  I could share a pretty modelled photo, but I like this outtake photo better.  I really can do a nice Dancer’s Pose in yoga class, despite my laughing and falling out of it while doing photos!  I thought it would be fun to hack the Lille with the Norah Nightgown.  Say what?  This means I can avoid doing binding (which is a win in my sewing book!) and use two great patterns to make something new.

Lille outtake

When I do a pattern hack and it turns out successfully, my creativity seems to spark and I like to see what else I can come up with.  After hacking the Norah Nightgown to be more supportive and loving the outcome, I figured I could easily mash it into a workout top.  I used the same method as in my previous post here, so I won’t repeat myself by showing all of the steps in this post.

Because I am making workout wear, moisture wicking, antimicrobial, and supportive fabric is a must.  I used Supplex as my main and lining fabric with Powernet sandwiched in between.  The Supplex from Phee Fabrics is my favorite workout fabric.

I made one additional change to the Norah front bodice.  I measured 10″ up from the crossover point and made a mark.  When cutting out the bodice pieces, I used my clear ruler and rotary cutter to cut a straight line from the point up to the 10″ mark.  This gives the bodice a bit more coverage.  I also decided to not use the dart or gathers so that I could overlap the front more.  I ended up overlapping by 7.5″,  This gave me good coverage, and lined up nicely with my band pieces.  It’s a good measurement to start with, but you will want to pin or baste, and try on for the best fit.

N cup alter

I used the Lille Tank pattern for the main body portion of my top by using the bottom 14″ of the tank pattern, cutting straight across the top.  This ends up being the perfect length for me, you may want it a bit shorter or longer.

N Lille pieces
I used powernet in the bodice front, back, and straps.  As with my nightgown hack, I used 3/8″ elastic along the front 10″ of the bodice, and along the front armpit curve.  Because you want lots of support while working out, I gave the elastic a little more pull while sewing this time.  When laid flat, it looks rather gathered.  But on the body it comfortably hugs and supports the bust.  It’s also important to use elastic in the band.
N Lille flat

Then it’s just a matter of sewing the Lille front and back together at the side seams, and attaching it to the band.  To find the perfect length to hem your top, here’s a tip I picked up from Beth Doglady: “Spread your legs in a standing A shape.  Hem it where it rolls up to.  This way it won’t roll up on you in workouts.”  Brilliant!

Lille N treeLille N back

 

I tested my top with some Vinyasa Flow and everything stayed comfortably in place, even during inversions.  Now I have a fun new workout top for the GreenStyle Fit Capsule Challenge.  The Lille Tank, along with all the athletic patterns, are ON SALE for 25% off through 2/25/19.  Since working out is more fun when you’re wearing new workout wear, I need to do more sewing!  Which pattern should I make next?

 

*This post may contain affiliate links.  This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase through my links.  As always, I only give my honest opinion.  After all, it is my blog, which represents me!  Thank you for reading and supporting my love of sewing!

GreenStyle Norah Nightgown

My Middle-Aged Version of Sexy 😉

Sometimes you come across a pattern that you don’t know you need until you stop and think about it.  It’s always fun to try a new workout wear, or cute top or dress pattern.  But when I thought about what was missing in my wardrobe, (really, what needs to be replaced in my wardrobe!) it was summer nightgowns.  I live in Florida, so summer nightgowns get worn probably 10 months of the year.  And some of my ready-to-wear nightgowns are starting to show that wear.  I scrolled through GreenStyle’s patterns, and noticed that the Norah Nightgown looks quite similar to two of my favorite RTW nightgowns.  Time to start sewing!

I used some purple rayon spandex from Boho Fabrics that’s been in my stash for my first version.  Since I didn’t have any lingerie elastic, stretch lace trim, or lingerie elastic to finish the bodice edges, I decided to “go rogue”, use powernet, and do a lined bodice.  I cut the bodice pieces out of the rayon spandex and out of powernet.  After sewing the bodice fronts to the bodice back, I laid the rayon spandex (main fabric) and powernet (lining fabric) bodices right sides together, stitched and turned them right side out.  I crossed the front over and pinned it and the straps in place and tried it on.   It was comfortable and would have worked just fine as a nightgown.  Since I was trying to manipulate the pattern into being more dress-like, I wanted it more fitted.  I took in the bodice side seams, and while I had it inside out, sewed some 1/4″ elastic along the seam allowances at the center front crossover edges and along the front underarm seams.  Making the bodice more fitted gave me the look I was going for!  I used elastic in the band, which also added support.  This nightgown will get worn all the time.

Norah bookNorah hair

Once I figured out my method, it was time to move on to some fancy fabric.  Valentine’s Day seems like the perfect time to try something sexier.  This makes me laugh, because “sexy” is not my style.  I like simple, clean lines, and am about 30 pounds and 30 years past dressing sexy! 🙂  Whatever!  Embrace where you are in life and go for it, right?

I saw the pretty, wide nude lace in one of Phee Fabrics Facebook posts and immediately wanted to use it.  I am not a lace person at all, so this tells you how pretty I thought the lace was!  Nude, natural colors seem to be the trend right now, so I was happy to note that Phee Fabrics also has nude circular knit.  I placed my order and impatiently waited for the USPS to deliver everything.

I prepped my pattern by tracing the bodice front and bodice back side seams one size smaller.  I also moved my bodice dart 1/4″ closer to the side seam so that it would better line up with the bust apex.  Because I was working with fancy lace yardage, it made sense to fold the bodice straps down 8″ and cut the back straps as separate pieces.  I cut the bodice pieces out of all three fabrics: the wide lace; powernet; and circular knit.  The lace was cut on the bias in order to have the lace edge along the center cross-over.  I cut the skirt out of the circular knit and powernet, trimming just the bottom hem with the lace.

Norah piecesIf the lace and circular knit were an exact color match, I would have just used one layer of fabric for my skirt.  If you’re going for sheer and sexy, you could just use the powernet.

Baste the powernet to the bodice lining pieces (in this case, the circular knit).  If you want to add removable bra cups or a prostheses, don’t baste the powernet at the bodice front side seam. N side bodice When you sew the side seams together, sew all layers at the top and bottom for about an inch, leaving the middle 2 to 3 inches of just the front bodice lining free so that you have an opening in the side seams.

Sew the back straps (strips of fabric 8.5″ x 1.5″) to the front straps.

Norah straps

Sew the bodice main fabric and lining layers right sides together, along the side of the straps down the front, and down the other side of the strap and across the back.  Don’t forget to leave openings in the back to insert your straps!  I found that I like my straps to start about 2″ from center back.

N back strap

Sew 1/4″ or 3/8″ wide elastic along the center fronts and along the front underarm area stretching slightly as you sew.  It’s going to gather your fabric a little bit, but that’s ok, it’s going to look fabulous when it’s on your body!

N elasticThen turn your bodice right sides out and press.  Don’t forget to press all seams open as you sew.  This helps reduce bulk when sewing your layers together, as well as giving your garment a more finished look.  Cross the bodice fronts over as per the pattern markings and baste in place.  Pin or baste the straps in place and try on for fit.  You may want to shorten your straps or move them closer to the center.  Maybe you want to cross them in the back.  The best part of sewing is that you make garments that fit YOU.  Once you’ve decided on strap placement, stitch the straps in place.  Lining up the bottom edges of your bodice main and lining fabrics, baste the layers together.   This makes it easier when you sew on the band.

Norah bodiceN skirt

Sew on the band according to pattern directions.  Cut the band elastic to a snug yet comfortable length and insert into the band.  Sew the skirt according to pattern directions.  I changed this version up a little bit by gathering a wider section of the center for a softer look.  You could also gather the entire skirt, then attach the skirt to the band.

And that’s how I ended up with my middle-aged version of a sexy nightgown!  Made in a different fabric, I would totally wear this as a dress.

Norah sit

See what’s missing in your wardrobe and give it a sew!

 

*This post may contain affiliate links.  This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase through my links.  As always, I only give my honest opinion.  After all, it is my blog, which represents me!  Thank you for reading and supporting my love of sewing!

 

 

 

GreenStyle Power Sports Bra Workout Top Hack

How I Made A Good Bra “Workout” Better

I was lucky enough to be one of the GreenStyle Power Sports Bra pattern testers.  As soon as I made my first Power Sports Bra, I knew that I was eventually going to hack it into a workout top.  I like pattern testing.  It gives you a chance to try a new pattern, give your feedback on the fit, construction, and pattern directions.   At the end you get to show off your beautiful creations, so you feel like a model wearing something that you made.  I like the fit, style and multiple options on the pattern, and knew that it would make a cute workout top!

I used gray Supplex from Phee Fabrics for the bra portion of my top.  Since the bra needs to be comfortable, supportive, and able to withstand sweaty workouts, your fabric needs to be moisture wicking with good stability and excellent recovery.  Supplex is my go-to fabric for workout wear.   I used tricot for the body portion and straps because it comes in fun colors, and is also moisture wicking and abrasion resistant.  It is important to use powernet when making a bra.  The support and smoothing provided by powernet is, in my mind, essential to achieving a high quality finished product.  An added bonus is that I don’t have to use bra cups when I use powernet!  It’s that good at keeping “the girls” in place.

Omitting the band, I cut out my bra per pattern directions, as well as cutting a layer of powernet for all the bra pieces.  I trim the powernet about 1/8″ smaller on all sides (which is much easier if you have a rotary cutter).  Doing this will cut down on the bulk in your seams.  I then baste the powernet to my lining pieces, and treat them as one piece moving forward.

top cutOther than the straps, I sewed the bra together per pattern instructions.  While I love the look of the double straps, they are more time consuming to construct.  So I still cut out four strap pieces, but used them flat (as main fabric and lining fabric) rather than as double straps sewn to each shoulder.  I used powernet in my straps rather than adding elastic.

top strapsOnce you’ve sewn your main and lining pieces together along the top, try the bra on, adjust the straps to length, then push the straps through the openings and stitch.

top strap finishTo avoid bulk, be sure to trim the seam allowances at the back strap openings on an angle before turning the bra right side out.  It’s important to press as you sew.  It helps everything lay more smoothly, and gives your projects a more professional finish.  See the difference pressing makes between the left and right straps in the photo below?

top press

Now you’re at the part where you would normally add the band, but are instead going to make it a workout top.  I used the GreenStyle Lille Tank as the tank portion of my workout top.

I literally used a Lille tank that I had made previously, but never wear because I didn’t do a good job on the binding.  Since it was just taking up space in my workout wear drawer, I decided to upcycle it by cutting the top straight across below the arm openings.  The extra length gave me the opportunity to add ruching to the sides.

top bodyThe Lille body was wider than my bra.  If I were making the body out of Supplex, and wanted it more fitted, I would have slimmed the top of the body a bit.  Since I was going for a drapier fit with ruching, I just matched up my quarter points and eased the body to fit the bra.

top to braI could have added a band with elastic on the inside at this point, but wanted to try something else.  I used 3/8″ swim elastic cut to fit me at the snug yet comfortable length (just like you would trial fit the wider elastic in the band).  I overlapped the elastic and stitched it together making a circle.  Then I matched up my quarter points, and zig zagged the elastic to the seam allowance.  After that, I flipped the seam allowance toward the bra, and top-stitched it in place.
top elasticTo ruche the sides, I cut two pieces of swim elastic a couple of inches shorter than my side seams.  I zig-zagged the elastic to the side seams and ta-dah, instant ruching!
top backWhen I go to the beach to get photographs in my makes, sometimes silliness overtakes me.  But we’ll just say I was jump testing the workout top to ensure that everything stays in place!

top jumptop laugh

This workout top passed the jump test with flying colors! 😉  Working out is more fun when you wear cute, comfortable, me-made outfits.  🙂

Happy Sewing!

 

*This post may contain affiliate links.  This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase through my links.  As always, I only give my honest opinion.  After all, it is my blog, which represents me!  Thank you for reading and supporting my love of sewing!

P4P SOS Pants Contoured Waistband

Long Distance Pattern Hacking

I received a text from my daughter, “Mom, you’ve completely ruined me for regular leggings!  It’s so much more convenient to have pants with pockets.”  Hahahaha, so true!  I’ve made her Patterns for Pirates Peg Legs with the side panel, pockets and contoured waistband, as well as the SOS (skinny or straight) Pants which have pockets.  While she likes the SOS skinnies, they are a bit too low rise for her comfort.  But she does like the dressier look and convenience of four pockets.

I had ordered some Twill Polartec Powerstretch from Phee Fabrics because it sounded like an interesting fabric, and I thought I would make myself some cute pants or joggers.  But since my daughter actually needed new pants (and I really don’t!) I knew the Twill Powerstretch would be perfect for SOS Pants.

I’ve seen comments on the P4P Facebook group page that the SOS Pants pattern is being updated, but it’s cold now, so I went ahead and cut out her pants.  I decided that making a contoured waistband would be the simplest way to change the rise for her.  It would be easier for me if she lived nearby so that I could measure her, make a waistband, have her try it on, and alter as necessary before attaching it to the pants.  But since she and her family live in another state, I just went with her measurements and requests.

She wanted the pants three inches higher in front and one inch higher in back.  The P4P Peg Legs add-on pattern has a contoured waistband, but are designed with much more negative ease than SOS Pants.  It is a good reference though, to help visualize how to make a contoured waistband.  I laid the pocket on the pants front, and the back yoke on the pants back pattern pieces to help me figure out my waistband shape.

SOS pattern

That helped me get the bottom curved shape of my waistband pieces.  The SOS Pants pattern calls for a 5″ high rectangular piece, which when folded over and sewn gives you a 2″ tall waistband.  Note: I like to use a 3/8″ seam allowance on the waistband, rather than the 1/2″ the pattern calls for, so add 1/4″ to my measurements below if you want to stick to 1/2″ seams.  Since my daughter wanted the front 3″ taller, I made the center front of the waistband 5-3/4″ tall.  She wanted the back 1″ taller, so I made the center back 3-3/4″ tall.  I tapered both pieces to 4-3/4″ tall at the side seams.

Since you are not folding over like a standard waistband you will need to cut out two front and two back waistband pieces on the fold.  One set will be your main waistband and one will be your waistband lining.  I sewed up the pants per the pattern directions, then sewed on the new contoured waistband and sent the pants off to my daughter.

Jen SOS waistJen SOS side

Ta Da!  SOS skinny pants with a contoured waistband and pockets galore!  It’s just what a busy wife and Mama needs.  You can use this hack on other pants patterns as long as you use a quality knit fabric with appropriate stretch and recovery.  I recommend trying your waistband on and making any tweaks before you sew it onto your pants.  Unless of course you are mailing the pants to another state like I did!  🙂

Happy sewing and hacking!

 

*This post may contain affiliate links.  This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase through my links.  As always, I only give my honest opinion.  After all, it is my blog, which represents me!  Thank you for reading and supporting my love of sewing!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

back opening

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

 

 

sewing sideseamside seam sewn pinned

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

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

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

alter hemtrimmed hem

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

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

Brazi Calista backBrazi Calista1

 

*This post may contain affiliate links.  This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase through my links.  As always, I only give my honest opinion.  After all, it is my blog, which represents me!  Thank you for reading and supporting my love of sewing!