A Totally Trendy Tank Or A Summer Basic?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can you see what I did wrong?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s not to love?

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

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

The GreenStyle Simpatico Leggings

A not so basic “basic”

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

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

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

No knee wrinkles, and shaping that fits my calves!

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

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

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

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

The details:

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

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

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

Are You Ready For A Treasure Hunt?

The Stitch Upon A Time Treasure Hunt Skirt, Options, Sewing Tips, And Upcycling!

I went on a treasure hunt as soon as I was notified that I was chosen to be a pattern tester for the Treasure Hunt Skirt. My husband has recently commented that I don’t really need to make myself anymore clothes, since my closet is pretty full. Well! OK, it may actually be pretty full, but it’s too full of ready to wear clothes that I rarely wear, and not full enough of comfortable, well-fitting clothes that I’ve made myself! So, it was off to treasure hunting!

Throwing away clothes that you don’t like, or that no longer fit is wasteful. I’ve donated many bags of clothes over the years, but I thought it would be more fun to upcycle a few things. The Stitch Upon A Time Treasure Hunt Skirt has SO many options! There’s a pencil skirt with or without a flounce, a hi-low pencil skirt with flounce, an A-line skirt, a hi-low A-line, and a pleated skirt! There are maternity options as well. So, where to start? I thought the hi-low pencil skirt with flounce sounded fun (and sexy), so that was my first make.

I upcycled an old swing dress that had a pretty print, but never got worn because the polyester spandex “scuba” fabric was a little too stiff to drape nicely as a dress. It may not have been flattering as a dress, but wow! It sure made for a fun skirt!

My husband’s reaction to this skirt? “Whoa baby, that looks good!” 🙂

The skirt is figure hugging, but not tight, the hi-low flounce adds a little bit of sexy sass, and is husband approved! 😉

The shaping over the booty is just right.

It makes me feel fancy, and looks great with heels. The hi-low hem is made a bit subtle with the fun flounce. As with most flounces, it’s basically a little circle skirt. You might dread hemming circle skirts, and I guess if your fabric doesn’t fray or curl, you could leave it unhemmed. But that is not how I roll. I like nice finishes, and the quality look you get from a nice hem. Here’s how I make it easy. I serge along the bottom hem of a circle skirt with the fabric right side up, using a 4 thread overlock, with a stitch width of M, a stitch length of 2 to 2.25, and the differential up to 1.3 or 1.5. This slightly “gathers” the edge so that when you turn it under there isn’t any excess fabric to cause lumps or folds in the fabric. I always use plenty of pins and my hem gauge to get perfectly even pretty hems.

You can see the inside of the pretty hem in this stance.

Since this upcycled fabric didn’t have as much recovery as I would have liked, and because I was working with limited fabric, I used a scrap from my stash for the waistband. Although the scrap matched quite well, it had a tendency to curl, badly. Ugh! I also wanted to ensure that if my granddaughter pulled on my skirt while playing, that she didn’t pull it down! So I decided to add elastic to my waistband.

To test my elastic length, I wrapped it around my low waist where the waistband would end up, and pulled it comfortably snug. This means that it felt tight enough to stay up, but not so tight that it gave me a “muffin top”. I made sure to exercise my elastic before testing the length (stretching it out 10-15 times). The length worked out to be 1-1/2″ to 2″ shorter than the suggested waistband length. Different brands and types of elastic have more or less stretch, so I always like trying the elastic on my body before sewing it into my garment. I overlapped the elastic by 1/2″ or so, and zigzagged all around the overlap. I also cut my waistband 1-1/2″ shorter so that the elastic and band would be the same length.

Having the curling fabric and elastic all perfectly aligned with a basting zigzag made is so much easier when I serged the waistband onto the skirt.

Then I folded the waistband over the elastic and ran a wide zigzag (length 2.5, width 3.0) along the raw edge of the waistband. I made sure that the elastic was 1/4″ inside the edge of the fabric so that it would be caught in the zigzag, but not cut when the waistband was serged on the skirt. This gave me a perfectly fitting waistband that will keep my skirt from being pulled down while playing with a rambuctious 3 year old!

With all the options the Treasure Hunt Skirt offers, I thought it would be fun to try a different style. Since the hi-low speaks to me, the A-line hi-low was it. I found an old maxi skirt in my closet and it had enough fabric to make my skirt and a cute top for my granddaughter. The polyester spandex ITY made such a fun, swishy skirt!

The A-line is full enough to flow and drape nicely over the body.

I made a slight change to the waistband on this skirt, by adding 2″ to the height. This made it 1″ taller than the original band. I played with a french tuck to show off the waistband.

Do I look like a flamingo in this pose? The fabric kind of makes me think of a Lilly Pulitzer flamingo print!

From the back the skirt just looks like a simple A-line.

But from the side you can really see the pretty hi-low effect.

Even though it’s a flowy skirt, the hi-low gives it a little bit of a sexy look.

I loved the look so much, that the next day, I made another hi-low A-line skirt. It was another upcycle, this time out of a jersey knit.

I love that the hi-low is shorter in front, but not too short.

I wasn’t sure that I’d like the jersey knit as much as the drapey ITY, but honestly, this might be my favorite skirt!

The cut of this skirt just gives such a pretty drape!

It seriously looks good from every angle!

It’s hair flipping pretty isn’t it?

It sure makes me feel pretty! And isn’t a pattern that flatters your body and makes you feel pretty a treasure in and of itself?

Are you ready to go on a treasure hunt and make yourself a new Treasure Hunt Skirt? It’s such a quick, yet satisfying sew! And with all the options available in one pattern, you can make yourself a variety of fun, comfortable skirts.

The details: These are affiliate links to the Stitch Upon A Time site and the Treasure Hunt Skirt. 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! 🙂

The white top is a Titania Tunic tied in a knot. It’s my favorite way to wear this top! It also looks good with my Legend Leggings blogged here.

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

Stitch Upon A Time Legend Leggings

When you go to yoga class four days a week, you need a lot of workout wear! I am super picky about workout wear because if it’s not comfortable, breathable, and able to stretch with me, it’s not getting worn.

Making leggings that work as hard as you do can be a challenge. Some patterns are meant to look cute as lounge or daily wear, but don’t really work for exercise. And obviously fabric choice plays a part in this. But the new Legend Leggings from Stitch Upon A Time meet my workout challenge, even after a sweaty Ashtanga Yoga class!

The waistband didn’t roll or give me a “muffin top”. I even wore a Titania Tunic tied up on the side, exposing my belly, which is definitely not the norm for the 50+ year old crowd! That’s how confident I feel in my new leggings!

I played around while doing photos and actually managed to get a few seconds of air time (while flashing my belly, gasp!) on a public beach. Hahahahahaha! Obviously I was never a gymnast or cheerleader, but I have built some decent upper body strength after doing yoga for nearly 18 years. 😉

The inseam free Legends can be shorts, capri, or full length. They can be solid or have stripes that curve to accent the booty.

You can keep it simple and let your fabric be the focal point, or go crazy and cover-stitch to accent all the seams. The waistband can be low or high, but being a rebel (which is so unlike me) I went halfway between for a mid-height.

I love leggings that give me flexibility in fit and style. I had no problems with them riding up or down, no matter how many forward folds, stretches, or holds.

I love leggings that are comfortable and versatile, that you can wear to lounge about or workout. Here is how I personalized them to suit me:

I am tall, so I added 1″ to the capri length. As mentioned, I cut halfway between the low and high rise for my perfect waistband height. To give the front waistband more tummy smoothing power (I like cookies, okay?) I added powernet to half of the waistband. (Cutting the powernet to fit the entire folded over waistband would give even more holding power.) The powernet was basted to the front waistband, then the front and back waistbands were sewn together as per the tutorial. I recommend cover-stitching the side seams or stitching in the ditch with a sewing machine to keep the side seams aligned if you add powernet. I also gave myself a little more booty room by cutting along the Medium inner back crotch curve line, while cutting everything else on my measured size Large cut line.

It was a great way to give a little more room for “the junk in the trunk”, especially since I like using highly compressive fabric for leggings. Keep in mind that if you have a similar booty/body shape, that you will need to stretch the back waistband a little bit, while easing in the body of the leggings. If you’ve ever had pants that fit nicely over your booty, but gapped at the back waist, this solves that problem.

The details: I used three different colors of Supplex from Phee Fabrics for this fun striped look. The reverse triple cover-stitching was done using a variegated thread in the looper. I just love the fun look you get from variegated thread, especially when working with solid color fabrics. And yes, I will definitely make another pair (or three!) of Legend Leggings. I think it would be a fun look to use powernet as the outer stripe. Kind of sexy and kind of fun, what can I say?!

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, patterns, and fabric. ❤

Ready For Some Cute New Shorts?

Stitch Upon A Time Midsummer Pants, Capris, and Shorts

When the tester call for the Stitch Upon A Time Midsummer Pants, Capris, and Shorts came out, I was quick to respond as soon as I saw the line drawings.  Being a Florida girl, I wear shorts eleven months out of the year, and I needed these shorts in my life!

It’s surprising how much the shorts appealed to me, considering that pretty much all my shorts are a variation of slim fit jogger style.  I’m a Grandma.  I don’t wear shortie shorts. But the wrap-around running shorts look is just so fun!  So I expanded my horizons and tried a whole brand new look, and I love it!

midsummer cat front

The curved edges give a sporty look that accentuates your legs.  And they can be wrapped to the front or the back.

midsummer cat back

My favorite pair were made with an Art Gallery Fabrics cotton lycra knit.  The softness of the AGF fabric gives it a nice drape, better than what you would get for an average cotton lycra.

midsummer cat hip

I also made a pair using nylon spandex tricot.  The quick drying fabric would make them perfect for throwing on over a swimsuit.  And they’re great for those beach walks when you might wander into the water because it’s so hot!

midsummer teal front

Fabric choice makes a difference in the fit.  Because nylon spandex has a lot of recovery, the waistband will try to migrate to the narrowest part of your body.  My natural waist is much higher than my belly button, so I think I’ll hack a higher waistband the next time I use this fabric.

midsummer teal back

I like that the shorts give decent booty coverage, while still looking sexy.  The shorts are a quick sew, even including cover-stitching the curved hem.  Seriously!  Center front seam, center back seam, crotch seam, hem, baste, and add the waistband.

midsummer teal full

Which brings me to my sewing tips for the Midsummer Shorts.  I like to up the differential to 1.3 while using a 4 thread overlock on the edge of the hem.  This helps keep knits from stretching out, and makes getting a smooth curved hem a little easier by slightly easing the curve.  Then when you fold it up, you don’t end up with a bumpy hem and it’s easy to top or cover-stitch.  I also recommend top-stitching the wrap over section  for about 4 inches down, starting at the waistband.  This helps keep the wrap flat and in place whether you run or kick or stretch.

Are you ready to try a new look?  Even if you’re not a shorts wearer, I can foresee some soft comfy lounge pant or capris for bumming around town.

Get the look:  the Midsummer Pants, Capris and shorts pattern.

The emerald rayon spandex for the Aushui Tank was purchased from Phee Fabrics.  You can read more about the Aushui Tank (including a fun hack!) here.  The Art Gallery Le Tigre fabric was purchased from my local sewing store, but Stitch Upon A Time and Phee Fabrics both carry a selection of Art Gallery Fabrics cotton lycra knits.

The Titania Tunic was made with white circular knit and I used powernet in the shelf bra.   You can read more about the Titania Tunic, and my workout top hack here.  The teal shorts are nylon spandex tricot.

So, are you ready for some cute new shorts (or capris, or pants)?

 

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, patterns, and fabric. ❤

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. ❤

Oh Olivia!

Adjusting the Designer Stitch Olivia to fit my figure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Olivia nightgown

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

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

Olivia panty lace

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

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

Olivia patt adj

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

Olivia stitching picot

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

Olivia hips sbl

Olivia close sbl

 

 

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

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

Olivia lounge sbl

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

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

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

 

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

 

Sinclair Joanne Faux Wrap Dress & Top

Twirly dresses just make me smile!  As does Sinclair Patterns newest release, the Joanne Faux Wrap Dress & Top.  This is one of those patterns that I will make again and again.  The drafting is just so good.  It was obvious during testing that the design was a winner, because after sewing it up, I had to struggle to think of anything that I would change.  The only thing I could think of was to have the wrap swoop a little lower to get under the bust easier without causing pulling at the side seams, and that I would be comfortable with the skirt being an inch or two shorter.

Joanne1 angle

Other testers struggled to find anything to critique as well.  The dress just looks so good on everyone!  It will be hard for you to see the differences in my periwinkle dress (version 1) and my blue dress (version 2).  Very subtle changes were made to deepen the pleats a little bit so that the crossover was a smidge shorter at the side seams, and the skirt was shortened an inch or so.  There is also a midi skirt cut line, so if you want a longer skirt you’re good to go.   I literally couldn’t stop myself from twirling and swishing this skirt like a little girl! 🙂

Joanne1 blurJoanne full

Both of my dresses are sleeveless, because Florida is hot.  As in temperatures are still above 90*F in late September hot.  For that one month of winter that we get, I would really like to make a Joanne with sleeves.  Because there are options galore- short, 3/4, long and my personal favorite, a flounce sleeve!

Since the test went so well, Oxana (the designer at Sinclair Patterns) added a hi low peplum option and it is gorgeous!   She also added the shaped tie belt, which I love.  It really adds to the look of the dress and top.

Joanne tie

The genius secret behind having such a nice crisp bow?  The pattern tutorial suggests using knit interfacing.  If you’ve never used knit interfacing before, it’s a little different than the interfacing you use for woven fabrics.  It’s an open weave knit, so it still has some stretch, and you just iron it on the wrong side of your fabric.  Except you absolutely have to use a pressing cloth, or you will be spending some time cleaning your iron, and could ruin your garment with glue residue.  Due to the open weave of knit interfacing, the glue will spread when heated, and if you don’t use a pressing cloth, the sticky glue will get all over your iron.  Obviously, I am speaking from previous experience here! 🙂  The first time I ever tried it, I spent some quality time cleaning my iron after realizing that yes, you should read the directions included with your interfacing!  Here’s my pro tip: If you don’t have a pressing cloth, use a paper towel.  You will have to kind of peel your paper towel up after pressing, but the residue won’t come through the paper towel and it didn’t leave any paper fibers stuck to my belt.

My other tip for sewing is the same as I mentioned for the Sinclair Yasmin Dress blogged here.  Small pieces of Wash Away Wonder Tape are great for holding your pleats in place.  I also used a strip of Scotch Tape to ensure that they stayed in place until the side seams were stitched.

wonder tape pleatsscotch tape pleats

The Joanne is a pretty quick sew, and with all of the options, it’s bound to be a staple in my closet!  I’m envisioning a black or white rayon spandex hi low peplum top because it would go with literally everything!  And of course a couple more dresses!

Joanne sideJoanne back

I know I’m gushing, and probably oversharing photos, but the fit is great whether you look at it from the back or side.

Joanne1 twirl

I am grinning in every photo, and twirling in most of them.  It’s pretty obvious that I love this pattern!  During the release sale is the perfect time to buy the Joanne Faux Wrap Dress & Top pattern, as it is on sale for $7.99 through Wednesday September 25, 2019.  I hope you’ll check it out, and share photos of your makes!

I used Rayon Spandex from Phee Fabrics for both of my dresses.  It’s a substantial 13oz. fabric and works perfectly for this (and every other tank, top, and dress) pattern I’ve ever used it for.  The drape is perfect, and it has enough recovery to make excellent bands.

 

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

 

Sinclair Yasmin Dress

A Few Tips For Simpler Sewing & A Peplum Hack

I was super excited when I was chosen to be one of the testers for the Sinclair Patterns Yasmin V-neck Dress with pleated accents.  I love dresses, and wear them all the time.  And let’s just say that the pleating and detail in this dress spoke to me.  When I saw the line drawing and tester call I immediately filled out the tester application!

Sinclair Patterns are rather unique in that their patterns come in petite, regular, and tall.  No more having to add a couple of inches to a skirt or dress so that it is long enough to wear without worrying about showing more leg than I want when bending, or climbing in and out of a vehicle.  Armscyes that are actually deep enough.  All the things that a tall sewist has to constantly adjust on a pattern are already figured out for you!

When you sign up for a pattern test, you’d better have some fabric on hand.  Testing obviously moves along quickly, so you need to be prepared to print and tape your pattern together, trace your size, cut your fabric, and get sewing.  Luckily, I had ordered some of the new rayon spandex ribbing from Phee Fabrics, and was smart enough to have ordered 3 yards.  I have a bad habit of usually only ordering 2 yards or less of a fabric, and when you are tall, that is not enough for a dress with a full skirt!  The ribbing has a luxurious feel, a pretty ribbed texture, and beautiful drape.  I knew it would look great sewn into a Yasmin Dress!

Call me brave, call me crazy, but I am not one for using cheap fabric for muslins.  Cheap fabric is generally a polyester blend, ewww!  I don’t like the feel of it, it’s unlikely to lay as nicely as quality fabric, it’s generally a pain to sew with, and it’s probably not going to be substantial enough or have adequate recovery for the type of clothing I like to sew, so I just don’t bother with cheap fabric.  That being said, you do run the risk of wasting nice fabric when you test.

This is the first time I’ve tested for Sinclair Patterns, and I have to say that I am very impressed with how thorough Oxana is.  She asked for our thoughts about the pattern before we even started.  I mentioned that I was interested in a sleeveless dress, since Florida is warm most of the year.  Other testers also commented that they would wear a sleeveless dress.  She added a sleeveless cut line to the pattern.  She asked for honest input and made changes as needed as tester photos and feedback came in.  Another thing you’ll notice about Sinclair Patterns is the way the garments are finished.  Just look at how pretty the inside of the bodice and waistband look.  The shoulder seams and waistband are enclosed, and the neck has a neat interior banded finish.

Yasmin inner back

The pattern itself isn’t hard, but the pleats are a bit time consuming.  Don’t worry- the tutorial is thorough, and I’ve got some tips to make the pleats a little easier.  Here’s my first tip: print the bodice front in just the size that you need.  I generally don’t print in layers, preferring to print all sizes of a pattern in case I want to grade sizes, or make the pattern for my daughter who is a much smaller size than me.  You need the pleat markings to be precise in order to get even pleats.  And when you’ve got lots of markings in 12 different sizes all in one general area on a pattern, you need to narrow things down!  So trust me when I say to print the bodice front in just one or two sizes if needed.

Tip number two: Wash Away Wonder Tape is your friend.  You still need pins to mark your pleats, but putting a tiny piece of Wonder Tape for your pleat to fold over and stick to, makes things easier.

Yasmin pleats

Tip number three: Scotch tape is surprisingly helpful.  Of course I didn’t figure this out until I sewed my second bodice and thought, “Hmmmm….I wonder if a piece of Scotch tape will hold the pleats better than the pins did so that I can keep the pleats even while sewing?”  The answer is YES!  It (and the Wonder Tape) definitely kept the pleats perfectly spaced and even while I sewed the bodice to the waistband.

Yasmin tape

Tip number four: Powernet is an awesome fabric.  If you follow my blog, or read my posts or comments on the Facebook sewing groups I belong to, you know that my love for Phee Fabrics powernet is strong.  It is supportive in bras, workout, and swim tops, makes a great accent on workout tops and tights, and has magical tummy smoothing powers in waistbands and swim bottoms.  It is recommended to use an athletic fabric for the inner waistband pieces of the Yasmin to help support the weight of the skirt, and lend stability to the waistband.  Since the Supplex I have on hand is destined for workout wear, I decided to baste some powernet to my waistband to give it the necessary support.

Yasmin powernet

Use plenty of pins to keep everything aligned, and sew with the powernet facing up.  I don’t know if I’ve mentioned that before, but when helping someone who was struggling a bit with powernet, I realized that some people may not even consider fabric stretch when they sew.  Generally speaking, you want anything smaller, or with less stretch on top while sewing, such as powernet, elastic, bands, or when easing pattern pieces together.  If your larger piece or stretchier fabric is on top, your presser foot will tend to stretch it out even more.

Summer in Florida is the rainy season.  But it will usually rain for a short time, and the sun comes right back out.  Not this week!  It rained for two days straight as I sewed, and rained all the next day as I waited to take photos of my dress.  Finally, the rain slowed down to a slight mist, and the sun started to peek out from the clouds.  My dress was all pressed and ready to go, so we quickly drove to the beach for some photos.

Yasmin frontYasmin back

The rain may have stopped, but there was plenty of wind to whip my skirt around!  I love the pleats at the shoulders and under the bust, and how the V-shaped waistband gives nice definition.  I used the gathered version skirt on my dress, and love the drape and comfortable ease of this dress.

Yasmin hipsYasmin back US12

Since I still had some time before the pattern released, I decided to make the other skirt option.  Apparently I need to order some fabric, (says every sewist and fabric hoarder 🙂 ) because I didn’t have enough fabric for a knee length skirt, let alone a midi length.  So I decided to try a peplum.  I NEVER wear peplums.  But the flare of the skirt really spoke to me, so I had to try it.  I dug through my fabric and found scraps of floral that sort of matched the bit of rayon spandex and ribbing I used for the bodice and waistband.  I marked and cut the skirt at 13-1/2″ from the waist, and used a 1″ hem.  A smaller hem would be easier on a curved skirt, but I was just guessing at the length when I hacked the skirt into a peplum.  If I were short, I’d probably make the peplum 8-9″ long, and would probably cut it at 12″, no more than 13″ for my tall self next time.

Yasmin peplum frontYasmin peplum backYasmin peplum twirl

It’s such a fun look that I couldn’t help but twirl!  And I’m branching out and trying a new style of top.  That’s one of the fun things about sewing, sometimes you end up with a surprising, unexpected new style in your wardrobe.  Although the skirt I’m wearing is RTW, using a pencil skirt along with a peplum overlay would be another cute hack for this dress!

There are options for knee length, midi and maxi length in the gathered skirt version.  The elegant look of this pattern would look so beautiful as a maxi dress.  Since I also love the flared skirt, I guess I need to make another Yasmin Dress (or two)!  Once I order more fabric, of course. 😉

 

*Note: I recieved the pattern for free as part of the testing process.   I always participate fully when I test by submitting fit photos and commentary, offering constructive feedback on the fit, process, etc., comment on other testers posts, noting any fit issues, and applauding beautiful work, and filling out the survey to try and help ensure that the pattern fits well, and the tutorial is easy to understand and follow.

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

The Staple Tank

Call It A Basic, Call It A Staple

You can call it a basic, or call it a staple, just know that you need the GreenStyle Creations Staple Tank in your wardrobe!  A few months ago there was a post on the GreenStyle Facebook page asking if there was a pattern you hoped would be designed.  Everyone was invited to share Pinspirations, photos, or whatever they wanted to convey their idea.  Some people envision something fancy or fashion forward, but I am a basic girl.  I shared a .gif from the Lara Croft Tomb Raider movie, you know the one.  Where she’s running through the jungle, and her tank top stays perfectly in place.  Her bra straps are covered, and the top looks perfect from every angle.  That is what I was looking for- the perfect tank top.

And Angelyn of GreenStyle designed it!  Can you imagine trying to design a top that fits XXS to 3XL, with all of the wonderful body shapes and heights that encompasses?  I was lucky enough to be on the pattern testing team, which means that I have sewn several of these tanks.  The pattern is a simple sew, and includes the option for neck and arm bands or bindings.  So if you love the clean look of bindings, you’ve got it.  If you do better at sewing bands, you’ve got that too.

layer whitelayer w cardi

It’s the perfect fit to throw on with a pair of shorts (in my case, Brassie Joggers cut at shorts length, made out of Phee Fabrics Supplex).  My bra straps are completely covered, and the scoop neck is a flattering depth, without being too high or too low.  It’s a slim enough fit to look cute tucked in, and you can layer it under another top, a sweater, a jacket, or cardigan.  I love my Sunday Cardigan(s), and even when they are made of a super lightweight or sheer fabric, the Staple Tank lays smoothly under them.

layer skirtlayer cardi

I love a dressy basic that looks great with a skirt.  The super soft rayon spandex from Phee Fabrics is the perfect weight to not be sheer and has enough recovery to make perfect bands (or bindings).  I need a Staple Tank in all the spring colors!   I can get dressed in minutes, throw on my cardigan, and look put together and ready for the day.  It’s definitely a staple in my closet!

*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!