Mix It Up With The Moxi Shorts

Moxi Shorts and a hacked Power Sports Bra make a fun summer outfit!

The Moxi Shorts pattern just got updated into the extended GreenStyle Creations size range, the pattern received a few tweaks, and a youth size version of the pattern was released! The Moxi’s are one of the few GreenStyle patterns I hadn’t tried yet. I think I was afraid that they’d be too short, or hard to fit, or something. But living in sunny (although currently rainy, thanks to the tropical storm) Florida, I need all the shorts patterns!

Color me very pleasantly surprised with the fit. I mean, look how cute these shorts are!

Although they are shorter shorts, they’re not too short if you know what I mean. When I cut out the first pair, I figured that I’d want to make the optional bike shorts as a lower layer to cover a bit more leg. But once I sewed them up, I was happy with the coverage and decided I didn’t need either the bike short or briefs under layer. There is a great FIT TIP in the tutorial to help slim the lower back leg, and it worked perfectly to curve in under the booty. I narrowed the lower back one size and it gave me just the fit my booty needed!

Everything stays in place whether I’m jumping into a cartwheel…
…or completely upside down, no one can see my panties!

The Moxi shorts have a unique method of construction, and the wide binding is a great opportunity to add a pop of color whether you’re using a solid or patterned stretch woven fabric. Here’s my little tip for binding: although you can use stretch woven cut on the bias, I think it’s easier to use a high quality knit with plenty of spandex. That way you don’t have to cut on the diagonal and stitch a bunch of strips together. I chose a nylon spandex swim fabric for my binding, and cut it with the greatest stretch (across the “grain”) and it worked great!

Here is another sewing tip for the Moxi’s: although stretch woven is just that- a woven fabric, since it does have stretch, it’s a good idea to up the differential to 1.3 on your serger to keep the seams from becoming wavy. It seems like such a small change, but it can be the difference between a good sewing job and a much more professional looking job.

Isn’t that pop of coral fun against the floral print?

I used GreenStyle stretch woven “Mint To Be” and absolutely love that it coincidentally matches one of my Cami Tanks blogged here. When my husband first saw the fabric, he was surprised that I bought a floral print. I tend to wear a lot of solid colors, and floral is generally not my gig. But once I had them made up, he kept commenting how cute they look. And here’s the proof- the photo he snuck while we were walking.

Husbands take the best sneaky booty shots! 😉

I also like that the shorts are comfortable while sitting. Or preparing to jump off of railings! 🙂

The Moxi’s also look super cute when paired with a Power Sports Bra hacked into a workout top. I hacked this one similarly to the one I made to match my Spark Tights with photo instructions blogged here. Except I used a powernet insert in the back panel, and used two strips of bra strapping for my straight straps.

The Power Sports Bra really does give great support, and looks super cute with Moxi’s!

And no, I didn’t use bra cups in my top, even though it’s white. The design of the bra, thickness and support of the Supplex and powernet is sufficient. Like the Power Sports Bra, the Moxi Shorts are another brilliantly designed pattern that’s definitely worth sewing.

And let’s talk about the updated waistbands. There is an elasticated waistband meant to be used with stretch woven fabric. There is also a nicely contoured waistband meant for knits, with a high and low rise. I ended up making both my waistbands 1/4″ higher than low rise. I know, I know, I’m generally a high rise waistband girl, but going just slightly higher than low rise gave me a perfect fit.

The details: as noted earlier, the mint Moxi Shorts are made of GreenStyle stretch woven. The mint Cami Tank fabric, and the mint waistband fabric came from JoAnn Fabrics.

The navy shorts are Phee Fabrics stretch twill, the neon green and neon coral binding and the navy waistband are nylon spandex tricot, also from Phee 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! ❤

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! ❤

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! ❤

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! ❤

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! ❤

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. ❤

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! ❤

 

I Wish We Could All Be Going Places

In these unprecedented times, when virtually the entire world is under “Safer At Home” orders, it is surreal to look back to a month or two ago when most of us led what now feels like rather carefree lives.  It’s important to remember the beauty and joy of life, increase our faith, and do useful things that make us happy.  Sewing is certainly one of my happy places!  Except when I have to seam-rip because I’ve done something silly, like sew the front and back right and wrong sides together. 😉  Which happened, by the way.  Fortunately I had only sewn part of the way up the side seam before I realized it!

The Pattern Emporium Going Places Dress was the perfect pattern to sew at this time.  Florida is already quite warm, and dresses are a staple in my closet.  There are multiple neckline options from ballet to babe, and high and low square necklines.  And the dress can be fitted or flared.  I chose the deeper babe neckline and love the fit of the flared skirt.  Having a fitted bodice is quite figure flattering, and the skirt flares out at the perfect place so that it skims and shapes the waist without being tight across the midriff.

The neckline and straps can be finished with bands or binding.  But let me tell you- once you have the ability to cover-stitch, binding is just as easy as bands, and looks so beautiful!  I’m becoming more comfortable with using the cover-stitch feature of my machine, and am absolutely loving the results!  It just looks so professional and is so much faster than top-stitching with my old sewing machine.

Going Places binding

I used rayon spandex from Phee Fabrics for my dress, and it is the perfect weight and drape for dresses.  And tank tops.  I literally make all my tank tops out of Phee’s rayon spandex, and a good portion of my dresses.  It’s safe to say that this is one of my favorite fabrics!

Going Places strut

So, is there anything that I would change the next time I make this pattern?  I think I’ll make the back bodice one size smaller.  Yoga class has given me a pretty decent back taper, and the back is little looser than I need.  I also think I’ll widen the back straps just a smidge.  While the straps cover my bra straps quite well, my “old lady” bras widen out before meeting the back band, and the straps of the dress don’t quite cover that area.   The Going Places Dress is a pretty quick sew, doesn’t take a lot of yardage, and is definitely worth adding to your pattern collection!  The square neckline option is next on my list.

To complement my dress, I made the Pattern Emporium Songbird Kimono & Cardi.  I own several cardigan patterns, and bought this one specifically because it was designed for woven fabrics.  I found some chiffon at an estate sale for a really good price, and thought it would make beautiful cardigans.  While I love the two cardigans I’ve made, let me tell you, sewing chiffon is not for the faint of heart!

Using chiffon is like trying to cut, pin, and sew a cloud!  It’s a bear to try and get it to lay flat and smooth and not get wavy and distorted when you cut it out.  You have to use so many pins to try and hold everything in place while you’re sewing.  The fabric is so fine that pins tend to slide right out as you handle the fabric.  And it frays, badly.  So a serger is almost a necessity when sewing chiffon.  That being said,  I absolutely love the result of my efforts!

Going Places & Songbird

It’s flowy and fun, and looks great with a dress.  This is the first of the two Songbirds I’ve made, and I sized down for the second one.  I have long arms, and added two inches of length to the sleeves, but certainly could have gotten away with just an inch.  I’ve worn my Songbirds with a T-shirt and skirt, long-sleeved shirts and pants, and dresses.  I’ll certainly throw them on with a tank top and shorts on chilly evenings or in air conditioned spaces.

Here are my tips for sewing with chiffon.  Take your time.  It takes time to smooth and even out your fabric.  Use all the pins.  It really helps to keep the fabric from shifting as you sew.  This also means that by necessity you have to sew more slowly to ensure that you pull the pins before accidentally sewing over them!  Because chiffon is super flowy and has no body, you may want to add some body in certain areas.  I used knit interfacing (specifically Pellon SK135 Sheer-Knit fusible interfacing) to stabilize the band.  I chose this interfacing because it is sheer, and wouldn’t be visible through the chiffon.  I cut the interfacing half as wide as the band, and carefully lined it up with one edge of the wrong side of the fabric to press it on.  Follow the manufacturers instructions and use a pressing cloth!  Even a paper towel works to help keep the residue from getting on your iron.  Just be sure to peel it up as soon as you press a section so that it doesn’t stick to the interfacing.  And enjoy trying new patterns, techniques, and experimenting with a new look.

Songbird outstretched

Embrace life, and enjoy every moment of laughter and silliness!  And sew a little happiness, while we stay at home rather than Going Places! ❤

 

Use Every Scrap Of Fabric

Including A Selvage Design Feature

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

WB Gma

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

WB box

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

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

Wendybird piping

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

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

WB point

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

WB smile

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

WB window

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

Water Faery Workout Top Version 2

Because One Hack Is Never Enough!

Don’t you love it when you feel like you really got your money’s worth out of a pattern?  Fortunately there are quite a few patterns that have enough options, that fit so well, and are a great basis for a pattern hack or mash, and the Stitch Upon A Time Water Faery is one of them.  I’ve used the Water Faery Twist & Swim Top pattern to make swim tops and hacked it into a workout top, blogged here.  I’ve also made it into a dress, linked here.

As my first workout top used the twist front bodice, I decided to keep this top simple with the plain front.  Since the Water Faery is designed as swimwear, the body is quite fitted.  So you’ll want to use a well fitting tank pattern (like the Versa Cami) for the body of your workout top.  To add a little pizazz (and because my charcoal Supplex scraps weren’t big enough to make a solid back body!) 😉 I added a triangular wedge at center back.  I simply folded the back at an angle at the center back fold line from 1″ wide at the bottom, tapering up to nothing at the top.

WF triangle

Using a folded piece of white paper, I traced the line of the angle that was folded away while cutting the two back halves.  The fold line is the center back, the pencil line is the “folded away” section, and then I drew a line 3/4″ further out to account for the 3/8″ seam allowances I used when sewing the purple triangular strip in between the two back body halves.

WF back angle

Other than narrowing the straps to end up 1-1/8″ wide, the bodice is sewn as per the pattern tutorial.  Keep in mind that it is important to use a layer of high quality powernet in the bodice front and back, along with the suggested elastic, to provide support.

Once the bodice and tank body are constructed, slide the bodice inside the body, matching up the center front, back, and quarter points, and stitch with right sides together.  While the body is still folded on top of the bodice, use a zigzag stitch to sew the recommended length of 1-1/4″ wide sport elastic onto the seam allowance.  When your top is inside out, it will look like the photo below, with the elastic hanging down below the underbust seam.

WF elastic

All you’ve got left to do now is to hem the bottom, and you can wear your new workout top to yoga class, or for whatever your favorite exercise routine is!

WF hips close

WF back

Taking the time to press your seams as you sew, and changing your thread color to match the triangular insert when hemming that section really helps to give your garment a professional finish.  I love that a few simple changes, and a little bit of extra time can turn some not-quite-big-enough scraps into a fun addition to your workout wardrobe!

I purchased all my fabric, the grape and charcoal Supplex, and the powernet from Phee Fabrics.

 

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, fabric, and pattern hacking. ❤