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. ❤

Love You “Two” The Moon Birthday Girl!

Can you believe that my beautiful granddaughter just turned two?  I planned to write a post about her birthday party, and thought I would include photos of the decorations and snacks and treats, along with her birthday dress like last year.  But it was a super busy day, and somehow I didn’t take many photos!  So there aren’t any close-up photos of the cute star cookies (you can barely see them on the table behind her), the astronaut ice cream, or moon cheese, chosen for her space themed birthday party.

There wasn’t much doubt that Lila would choose space as a theme, since “moon” was one of her first words, shortly after “Mama” and “Daddy”.  She likes to spot airplanes and helicopters, and “Look at stars!” and “See fireflies”.  Her vocabulary is out of this world, if I am allowed to brag a bit, about all the phrases and sentences she says these days.  She mimics and picks up new words and phrases daily.  Possibly even ones she shouldn’t, such as “OK, girlfriend”, which she learned from yours truly! 🙂  It is sort of funny though, since she inserts it appropriately into conversation!

Her birthday dress was made using the free Sew A Little Seam Birthday Dress pattern.  I muslined it using some chevron foil print purple knit I found on the clearance rack at JoAnn Fabrics a couple years ago.  It looked cute and proportionate, although I couldn’t try it on her since she lives in another state.

purp bday dress

Finding fabric that looked like galaxies was a little challenging, since I didn’t have time or the budget to order a custom fabric.  But I found some hand-printed cotton at my local fabric store (that has a ton of quilting fabric, and very little knit, which seems common in Florida) that looked pretty and sort of galaxy like.  The pattern tutorial calls for a zipper if the dress is made with woven fabric, although it’s only supposed be in the bodice.  After installing the zipper in the completely lined and finished bodice, it made no sense to me to not have it extend into the skirt.  Since there isn’t a back seam in the skirt (which would have been the easiest solution) I just snipped down the center back of the skirt about 3 inches, and folded the snipped edges under.  Attaching the skirt was a bit challenging, since I needed the edges to line up perfectly in order to continue sewing on the zipper.  It isn’t the prettiest zipper I’ve ever done, but it was installed and worked perfectly.

bday flat

To up the “space” and sparkle factor, I added some metallic trimmed satin and chiffon ribbon to the bottom edge of the tulle underskirt.  A simple zig zag stitch through the chiffon layer worked perfectly, and it took every single inch of the 3 yard spool of ribbon!  I also made the hair bow, by following a tutorial on YouTube.  Fortunately, the dress fit perfectly, and Lila wore it all day long from playing in the garden, to learning to ride her birthday scooter.

bday gardenGpa push scoot

Last year, she just leaned forward in her high chair and nibbled her cupcake.  This year, she decided it was too sticky to hold herself, and wanted Mama to hold it for her!  Can you tell that she only gets sugary treats on rare occasions?

bday cupcakebday bite

The birthday party flew by, with kids, neighbors, family, friends, noise, presents, and the general bedlam that one expects at a children’s birthday party.  And it really only ended after it grew dark, and all of the neighbor children finished playing with bikes, scooters, balls, being pulled in wagons, and the adults gathered them inside for their dinners and evening baths.

On her actual birthday, we tagged along on a trip to a local farm.  Lila got to see all the animals, go on a wagon ride, wander through a maze, and look at pumpkins, although she didn’t pick one out to take home.

Lila chickenLila turkey

Lila Gma mazeWill Gma

And she got a shoulder ride from Grandpa, just like her Mama used to when she was little!

Gpa shoulderGG farm

She also opened her present of Grandma made clothes.  She wore her Petite Stitchery Sweetie Leggings (another free pattern) made from a floral double brushed polyester scrap and her Patterns for Pirates Tiny Tulip (also a free pattern), made from pieced together scraps of rayon spandex ribbing from Phee Fabrics the next day.  The leggings are a looser fit like joggers, and the 24 months size fits well.  The dropped shoulders of the Tiny Tulip make the size 2 a little bit big on her.  I had to roll up the sleeves to keep them out of her way.

PS scooter standscooter cat

I made the skirt out of some star printed vintage cotton woven my Mom gave me when cleaning out her house.  It’s just two pieces of fabric 12″ high by 22″ wide sewn together, and gathered with swim elastic.  Swim elastic works best because it’s soft, and stretches enough to gather a wide opening small enough to fit on a simple rayon spandex waistband.

PS Sweetie P4P skirt

I hadn’t tried the free (with code in their Facebook group) Halla Leggings pattern before, but gave them a try because the rise is higher in the front than some of the other kids leggings patterns.  Toddlers have round little bellies, and I dislike low rise leggings with a baby belly and diaper sticking out of the top!  There was a big enough scrap of Polartech Powerstretch left in my stash to make the size 2/3 years.  The Patterns for Pirates Buried Treasure Tunic in size 2 was the basis for the other two tops I made.

H leggings P4P tops

The sweater knit hacci was part of a panel and I didn’t have enough scraps to make long sleeves.  So I cut them as long as I could, added seam allowances, and cut the rest of the sleeves, neckband, and gathered ruffle on the bottom out of Phee Fabrics rayon spandex.  The floral print was a scrap of rayon spandex from JoAnn Fabrics.  Since the fabric was quite thin, and didn’t have the greatest recovery, I decided to use some white rayon spandex from Phee as the neckband.

btreas puppetbtreas laugh

It makes for a cute outfit that is comfortable for her to run and play in.  She also likes adding the 5 Out Of 4 Girls’ Eleanor Cardigan I made her last year when she is preparing to go play outside.  If Phee Fabrics gets any more Polartech Powerwool in this winter, I will definitely have to make her another cardigan!

eleanor cardi

We had so much fun hanging out with the birthday girl!  The 13-1/2 hour drive each way was brutal, but worth it to be able to visit our sweet, fun, loving, adorable, hilarious granddaughter.  We can’t wait to visit again for Thanksgiving, but we’ve decided we’re going to fly next time!

 

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. ❤

 

 

Open Back Pullover

With A Simple Hack

Do you ever look at patterns and think, I really like that, except for…?  That’s how I felt about the GreenStyle Open Back Pullover.  I like the open back, I like that there’s a deeper scooped back, as well as a closed back option.  I like that it can be sleeveless, or have long or short sleeves.  I like that there is a crew neck, as well as a scoop neck, along with a hood option.  Most people love “hoodies” and banded sweatshirts.  I am not one of those people.

Banded bottom shirts are not a good look on me.  I own one banded bottom shirt, and it hangs unworn in my closet.  I’ve tried to wear it, it looked cute on the hanger when I bought it years ago, but on me, it looks like a maternity top.  If I were an expectant Mama I would wear it and look adorable.  But since I am a Grandma and long past the age of having babies, it’s just not the look I am going for!

Luckily, it is super easy to hack the Open Back Pullover to not need a band.  You are going to want to pay attention to your hip measurement.  Make sure you measure the widest/largest part of your hips and booty.  If it falls within the measurements for the size you are making, you’re good to go.  But if it’s at the upper end or bigger than the size for your bust and waist, you will want to grade your pattern out to a larger size, starting at the waist.   Then use a ruler to add 4″ of length at the bottom of the front and back pattern pieces.

Follow the pattern tutorial, (it’s a pretty easy pattern) and instead of sewing on a band at the bottom, simply pin and press the hem up 3/4″ and zigzag or coverstitch to finish the hem.

OB frontOB side

I like that I can wear a regular bra with the high scoop back, and wear it like any other top.  The low scoop back would really show off a cute Power Sports Bra and be fun for yoga class or working out.  I thought about using powernet in the scoop opening, (there is a pattern piece for that), but the open back is just the right amount of sexy.  It would also be fun to use powernet as the upper back pattern piece for an even airier feel.

I made my top out of Circular Knit, and would totally consider a long sleeved, closed back version in Rayon Spandex or Ribbing for cooler days.  If you’re looking for a more traditional hoodie feel, Cozy French Terry would be so soft and plush!  Supplex would give a more athletic feel, and would coordinate nicely with Super G’s or Stride Athletic Tights.  I’m glad I gave the Open Back Pullover a shot.  It’s a simple, slightly sexy 😉 , comfortable look.

My shorts are the Brassie Joggers, made out of Supplex.  I purchased all my fabric 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. ❤

 

 

 

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. ❤

 

Chelsea Pants Make Cute Shorts!

I wouldn’t normally start off a blogpost with a photo of my booty, but when you’re talking about a pants pattern, one of the biggest questions people have is, “Will it make my booty look good?”  Um, yeah! 😉  So, let’s talk about the above photo.  My husband has the thrilling task of taking photos of me in my sewing creations.  If you think it’s awkward standing on a public beach (where a good portion of the photos get taken) and trying to model without laughing at the absurdity of it, and trying to not look like a total doofus in every photo, can you imagine having to be the photographer?

“I need close, full body shots of the front, side, and back.”  “I need the light shining on the clothes so that you can see the details.”  “Can you get a close-up of the pockets (or straps, or whatever detail is important about said garment)?”  “Are my fat rolls showing too much?”  “Make sure I don’t have any weird wrinkles.”  “Is my hem nice and straight?”  You get the picture.  He puts up with my requests and awkward silliness while posing, and hurries to snap some photos before people walk, run, or swim into the frame.

He had already taken some photos of my Chelsea shorts earlier in the morning, and I kept my comfy shorts on when we went to hang out in a nearby city.  I wanted a better detail shot of the jeans style pockets I used, and the hedge and brick fence along a shady sidewalk looked like a good spot to take photos.  Being the good sport he is, he was more than happy to crouch down on a public city sidewalk to take a few photos of my booty!  The dog walkers and random passers-by probably thought we were a little weird, but, those are the lengths we go to for good photos!

The GreenStyle Chelsea Pants are a cute, on-trend pattern.  The legs have a nice flare at the bottom, and with bell bottoms rolling back into style again, they are a good way to ease into the look.  I am old enough to recall bell bottoms being “cool” during my childhood.  And for someone who is not quite ready to embrace the full bell trend, a nice flared pant is a great look.  If it were cold here, or rather, stayed cold here for longer than two weeks in January, a few pairs of Chelsea pants in Supplex would be the perfect addition to your work and play wardrobe.  They’ve got a seam down the center front of the legs, which gives them a slimming look.

Chelsea STS front

The pattern includes a fancy two-piece pocket design, but I decided to make a simple jeans style pocket as it works better for my phone.  You’ve heard me comment on the wonders of Wash Away Wonder Tape before, and let me tell you, pockets are another great place to use it.  In the past I’ve measured, pinned, pressed, and basted the edges of my pockets under so that I could place them on my pants.  Now I measure, lightly pin, press, then put a strip of Wonder Tape in the pressed crease.  The pockets stay perfectly straight, with no possibility of getting twisted or pulled out of shape when you sew them on.  As my Dad used to say, “Having the right tools makes the job a whole lot easier.”  Wash Away Wonder Tape is a handy “tool” to have in your sewing box.

It was easy to hack the pants pattern into shorts.  I knew I wanted a 6″ inseam, which is short enough, but not too short on my long legs.  So I marked my front and back pattern pieces 7-3/8″ down from the crotch points, which gave me the 6″ inseam, an inch hem, and the 3/8″ seam allowance.  Keeping my ruler parallel with the lengthen/shorten line assured an even hem.

Chelsea shorts length

Besides using a different pocket design and shortening the length, the only other alteration I made was adding to the crotch depth.  I have a bit of a booty, so extending the crotch point a little bit gives my pants a little more space where I need it, and keeps me from having a “wedgie”, which is never a good look!

The pattern tutorial is easy to follow, and the pants are a pretty quick sew.  I used Phee Fabrics circular knit for this pair, and the moisture wicking fabric kept me cool and comfortable while walking around on a 96*F day.

Chelsea STS sideSTS Chelsea back

The Studio To Street Top blogged here is a great transition piece for cooler mornings or chilly evenings, and I love the Deep-V back option.  This one is made out of circular knit, but you’d get a similar look by using Tricot.

I have three more Studio To Street Tops with long sleeves, all made out of Rayon SpandexRayon Spandex Ribbing and Cozy French Terry would be some other great fabric choices for this cozy top.  They are so soft and comfortable, and are a go-to for throwing on before heading out to yoga class in the fall and winter.  If it’s past tank top weather were you live, the Studio to Street is a great style to wear with your Chelsea’s whether you choose to make them shorts or pants length.

These are so comfortable I’m probably going to have to make a pair in Supplex.  You know, for that two weeks of “winter” we get here in Florida! 🙂

 

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 mashing and hacking. ❤

 

Mashing Patterns To Suit Your Body And Style

People sometimes comment in Facebook sewing groups that they can’t find a pattern that they like, or they want a certain style for the top, but a different look for the bottom.  Do you have patterns with certain elements that you absolutely love, and wish that you could mix and match them with elements from a different pattern?  Have you ever tried mashing those patterns together to give you a new look?  I find myself mashing and hacking patterns all the time.  It’s generally a good idea to make the pattern as designed at least once, to judge how it fits and looks on you.  Once you know how it fits, it’s easier to start playing with your patterns.

A pattern mash can be something as simple as using the contour waistband you love from your favorite workout pants on a different pants or shorts pattern.  I use a modified version of the Patterns for Pirates Peg Legs contoured waistband on P4P SOS Pants and it works great, blogged here.  Mixing and mashing sports bras with workout tanks can really personalize your gym wardrobe.  Like using the GreenStyle Power Sports Bra and mashing it with the body of the GS Lille or Jillian Tank to make a workout top.  It’s always fun to turn a top into a dress, like using the Stitch Upon A Time Aushui Tank and mashing it with the skirt of the Calista Bra, Top, Tunic & Dress.

Sometimes your mash will require a little bit of adjustment in order to work.  Like tracing the armscye from a pattern onto another pattern to ensure that the sleeves you want to use will fit the jacket, top, or dress.  Sometimes it’s a matter of making your best guess as to what will work, then trying it on and adjusting from there.

That was my  experience with last week’s pattern mash.  I wanted another new dress, and loved the flared skirt from the Sinclair Yasmin Dress.  Temperatures are still in the 90’s here, so a strappy dress seemed in order.  The Stitch Upon A Time Water Faery Twist & Swim Top (blogged here) fits well, so I figured that mashing the plain front version with the Yasmin skirt would make a super cute dress.  And I think it does.  But it took a little bit of basting and trying on to perfect my fit.  I knew that the V-shaped waistband from the Yasmin wasn’t going to line up with the bodice of the Water Faery, so I cut out the crop length Water Faery body to use as a waistband.  Since it’s technically designed as a swim top, the body is quite fitted, so that it won’t float or ride up when you go in the water.  Since I don’t plan to swim in my dress, I want the waistband fitted, but not too form-fitted.  Since I’ve been known to bake (and thoroughly enjoy indulging in) apple crisp this time of year, I decided to size up one on the “waistband”. 😉

Knowing how a pattern fits, and taking note of any changes you make to the pattern really helps the next time you make it.  When I made the Water Faery into a workout top, I narrowed and lengthened the straps and liked it, so this time I knew that cutting out strips 3″ wide & 14″ long would give me the perfect finished size.  Sewing up the bodice (which is an inner and outer layer of Phee Fabrics Tricot, with a layer of powernet sandwiched between) and straps was pretty quick and easy, and the fit was spot on.  Since I hate seam ripping, I just basted the “waistband” pieces together, and tried it on.  It was too loose under the bust.  So I graded the front waistband piece from my measured size at the top, and somewhat straight down, rather than angling in which gave me more of a rectangular rather than tapered shape.  With the width figured out, I stitched the side seams together and basted the outer waistband to the bodice, right sides together.  Then I pinned the inner waistband to the inside, effectively making an enclosed waistband.  It’s easier for me to keep all of the layers perfectly lined up by basting one layer on before pinning on the other layer and stitching everything together.  Before folding the waistband pieces down into place, I zigzagged 1″ wide elastic to the seam allowance, using the length recommended for my size in the Water Faery pattern.  This ensures that the waistband and skirt will stay down under the bust.

Then it was time to determine how long the waistband needed to be.  I wanted the flared skirt to start right at the natural waist.  Starting the flare at the narrowest part of the body gives the illusion of an hourglass shape.  My natural waist is quite high, pretty much right at the bottom of my ribs, well above my belly button.  It was surprisingly easy to find the perfect spot.  Since the waistband also had powernet sandwiched between the layers, it was definitely going to find the narrowest point for me!  Literally just bending side to side, forward and back, caused the waistband to roll up to the height of my natural waist.  I used my hem gauge to take note of the fact that the waist seam needed to be 1″ up from the bottom of the waistband in the back and on the sides, tapering to 1-3/4″ up in the center front.  Since I prefer using 3/8″ seam allowances, I trimmed 5/8″ off the back waistband pattern piece.  I used a ruler to taper from 5/8″ at the sides to 1-3/8″ at center front on the front waistband pattern piece.  Then I very carefully matched up the side seams of my bodice,  lined up the bottom edges, pinned the bodice together so that the center front and center back were on the two outside edges, and used my rotary cutter to trim off the excess fabric.

Adding the skirt was super simple, sew up the two side seams, match center points and side seams, pin all around, and stitch.  The most time consuming part was pinning up the hem.  I finished the hem with a simple zigzag stitch.  And Ta Dah!  I have a brand new fun and flowy dress!  Because I used powernet in the bodice, waistband, and straps, and elastic under the bust, I didn’t need to add swim cups or wear a bra with this dress.  And I’ve already had two random strangers ask me where I found such a cute dress.

 


WFY side

See how the seam where the skirt is attached runs perfectly parallel across the back?

WFY back

Laughing while modelling your makes is half the fun!

WFY hair

And of course I had to twirl!  Whenever you make a twirly skirt, you can’t help but twirl!

WFY wind

This pattern mash was a complete success, and something I’m bound to make again.  After sewing it, I realize it’s probably pretty close to the Water Faery Retro One Piece dress option, and that’s ok, because it looks like a great pattern.  Since I already own the Twist & Swim Top, and would never wear a one piece, I don’t feel like I have to buy the pattern just for the dress option.  (Although if you’re not yet comfortable with pattern mashing or hacking, it is a great option).

One of the best things about sewing is being able to personalize patterns, mixing and mashing, and hacking them to suit your body, and your style.  Are you ready to try a pattern mash?

 

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 mashing and hacking. ❤ 

 

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. 😉