Sage Top and Cinder Skirt

An Easy, Breezy Summer Outfit

A fitted strappy top or crop (with an optional shelf bra!) is the perfect complement to a light breezy skirt. I love it when Stitch Upon A Time brings an on-trend look to life!

About a month ago, I was sitting at the beach with family and friends and noticed the skirt a woman walking by was wearing. I know people watching is a common “sport”, but garment sewists, we tend to clothing watch. 🙂 Whenever I see a cute dress, top, skirt, or outfit, I start thinking: do I have a pattern for that? Anyways, the maxi length skirt she was wearing was made of a white gauzy fabric, had overlapping sides, and an elasticated waistband. It looked so cute, but I had never seen a pattern like it. About a week later, the testing call for the Cinder Skirt popped up and I was so excited to sign up for it! The Sage Top was also being tested, and I couldn’t resist the opportunity for a cute new summer outfit.

It’s a perfect beach walking outfit!

The design of the Cinder Skirt is perfect, with beautiful, clean finishes. There are no exposed raw edges, all the seams are enclosed. With quality finishes like this, no matter how many times you wash and wear this woven skirt, it won’t fray. The secret to the hem on the curved sides is the facing. My best tip for the facing is to serge along the inner curve with a four thread overlock, then press that inner curve to the wrong side of the fabric. This will make it easier to press, and keep your fabric from fraying inside the hem, even when using fabric that tends to fray a lot, like linen.

The facing is pinned to the skirt panel right sides together. See how smoothly that inner curve lays? And how badly the linen fabric (along the outer cuve) frays before serging?

When serging the facing to the skirt panel, up the differential to 1.3 or even 1.5 when serging the outer curves. This will help the curved seam lay flat when the facing is flipped to the inside and pressed. Just don’t forget to put it back on N for the straight sections!

I love the beautiful details of the elasticated waistband and overlapped panels on the sides of the skirt!

The waistband calls for either two rows of 1″ elastic, or one row of 2″ elastic, stitched in the middle. The directions call for top-stitching the upper edge of the waistband, inserting the elastic, then top-stitching below the elastic, and inserting the second row of elastic. I followed the rules on my first test version, but decided to try using my coverstitch and a different method on my second skirt.

I thought it might be easier to leave an opening for elastic, stitch the waistband, then insert the two pieces of elastic. To prepare the waistband for this, I serged along both short ends to finish them. Then I sewed the short ends together 1/4″ past the halfway fold of the waistband. I stitched the bottom 1/2″ of the short ends together too. This left me an opening for the elastic on the inside of the waistband. I pressed the seam open and stitched along the opening to finish it.

Notice how the bottom of the waistband is serged and pre-pressed? This will make it easier to do the final top/cover-stitching on the waistband.

Since even a narrow coverstitch is wider than a single row of top stitching, I had to make small changes. Rather than top-stitching 1/2″ from the upper edge of the (folded in half) waistband, I coverstitched 1/4″ from the upper edge. Leaving 1″ of room for the 1″ wide elastic, I ran the next row of coverstitching. As per the pattern tutorial, the raw edge of the waistband was serged onto the gathered skirt. The pre-pressed bottom of the waistband was folded over the serged waist seam, carefully pinned in place, then coverstitched.

It’s important to stitch slowly, and pause to remove pins to avoid breaking a needle or damaging your machine.

I love the beautiful clean finish on the waistband, and the professional look of coverstitching. I will admit though, that it took a bit of work to get both pieces of 1″ elastic threaded evenly through the waistband with this lightweight fabric! It’s such a fun skirt though! And I love that there are three length options- mini (which is what I made), knee, and maxi length. I still need to find some white gauzy fabric to duplicate the maxi skirt that I saw at the beach!

Here’s what the inside of the waistband looks like before adding the skirt and elastic. I could have hand-stitched the openings closed after adding my elastic, but because I finished the edges, I don’t feel the need to get out a needle and thread! Also, my cat obviously likes to hang around and requires petting while I am sewing! 🙂

The Sage Top is such a great companion to the Cinder Skirt! Being a fitted tank, it skims the body and works well with the gathered skirt. I love that it has a built-in shelf bra so that I don’t have to wear an uncomfortable strapless bra.

The shelf bra is surprisingly supportive and comfortable.

The Sage Top with shelf bra is not designed to wear as workout top (unless of course your bust doesn’t really need support for exercise). But for casual wear, it provides adequate support to wear comfortably. Because I have a larger cup size, and have a “grandma” bust, I always use powernet in every bra/shelf bra/swimwear/workout top I make.

The main fabric I used is a lighter weight nylon/spandex circular knit. It is super soft and comfortable, but doesn’t have as much recovery as say an athletic or swim knit. So I used a nylon/spandex swim fabric, and a layer of powernet for the shelf bra. And, I snuck some clear elastic in on the strap section of my binding.

I love that it’s so easy to thread 1/4″ clear elastic through the presser foot of my machine, and it feeds evenly as it’s serged into the seam.

This photo makes it obvious that I didn’t follow the pattern tutorial and do a double folded binding. When doing binding on a knit garment, I just find it easier to use 1/4″ seam allowances, and use the faux binding method. Should I be advising people to not follow the tutorial and go rogue? Possibly not, but it’s what works best for me, and gives such beautiful results that I’m unlikely to change my faux binding habit! 🙂 To accommodate the method, I cut the binding strips at 1-1/4″ wide, instead of the called for 2″. (1/4″ seam allowance + 1/2″ wide binding + 1/2″ folded under).

To prep my binding strips, I serge along one long edge of the binding, using a four thread overlock with a stitch width of M, and a stitch length of 2, upping my differential to 1.3 to add stability to the straps. Then I serge the binding to the garment right sides together, and press the binding up. Then I fold the binding around to the back until the raw serged edge aligns to cover the seam. Use plenty of pins to keep the binding in place, and coverstitch.

I love finding random designs, sandcastles, and messages left by beach-goers. I don’t know who drew this cool design in the sand, but I admire the precision and time it must have taken! It added an interesting background for my photos. So, thank you to whoever made it!

The design of the Sage Top and Crop is so elegantly simple- a seam up the center back, and binding. Easy breezy! Center back seams are great for shaping. In for the waist, and curving out to fit smoothly over the bum.

Yoga has given me some rather serious lat muscles 😉 even if this isn’t the most flattering photo. We were losing the light and it was a cloudy evening, so Dan (my sweet accommodating husband) just took a quick snap.

I’ll wear my Sage Tops with shorts to go skating. It’ll be nice to not have to wear a bra on hot, muggy Florida days. Since we’re busy working on a home updating project, I haven’t had time to skate in weeks. It’s killing me to miss out on my normal Wednesday morning skate around the neighborhood, but such is the life of avid DIYers! It’s also taken away pretty much all of my sewing time, which is why I don’t have any more of these outfits made yet.

The wind didn’t blow the overlapped sides on the skirt open. So there is enough modesty for general wear. Along with knee and maxi lengths if mini length isn’t your style.

So, I’ll have to content myself with this cute outfit until I get some more sewing time! I’d also like to hack the Sage Top, by cutting the crop length, and adding either the Max Top and Dress skirt, or the Wylde Dress skirt. Ah, so many possibilities!

The details:

The Sage Top and Cinder Skirt are new patterns from Stitch Upon A Time.

I used nylon/spandex circular knit, nylon/spandex tricot swim knit, and powernet from Phee Fabrics for the Sage Top.

The 1″ wide knit elastic for the shelf bra in the top and the waistband of the skirt was purchased at Wawak, along with the MaxiLock serger thread used for construction.

The navy lyocell twill fabric for the skirt was a surprise clearance section find at JoAnn Fabrics. I would definitely buy it again, as it was the perfect weight and drape for this skirt.

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

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

A Fun And Flouncy Cardigan Hack

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The cardigan is really starting to take shape!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Porcelynne Jackie Bra and Tankini

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The interior of the bra and modified band.

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

The finished band has enclosed elastic.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sewing A Sonata

Adjusting The Love Notions Sonata For A Perfect Fit

I just can’t help but be drawn to pretty woven dresses. They are light and breezy in Florida’s heat, and the structure of woven dresses generally supports pockets. What’s not to love about that? The Love Notions Sonata Dress definitely caught my eye.

Well, there are a couple reasons I rarely seem to sew them. The first being that I much prefer sewing knits. Construction seems to go so much faster. 🙂 I can sew a pair of workout leggings with pockets, some kind of panel or shaping design, inner and outer waistband pieces, and a gusset much faster! But I think the main reason that I tend to skip over woven dress patterns is because I know that I’ll need to make pattern adjustments.

I am longer than average from shoulder to bust point, and I always need to lower the armscye on woven patterns. These are relatively common adjustments, and really aren’t that hard to make, they just take a little time. If you’ve ever tried on a top or dress, and noticed that the bust dart is above, or quite high on the bust, this fit issue may apply to you too.

The Sonata Dress pattern has cup sizes, which is what really drew me to it. Depending upon the block that pattern designers use, many pattern companies tend to design for an “average” B and sometimes C sewing cup size. They only seem to venture into a D cup in larger size patterns. But the Sonata includes a D sewing cup size, which is what I measured into according to their sizing chart. I love when size charts include upper and full bust measurements, because it’s so much easier to determine what size to make.

Your upper bust measurement tells you what size to make the shoulders of your dress. Have you ever made a dress according to your full bust measurement (which is sometimes the only bust measurement on a size chart) and had it seem too wide at the neck, perhaps showing your bra straps, and with the shoulder seam overhanging your shoulders? Using the upper bust measurement will help you choose the size that fits the frame of your body.

A pattern that fits my shoulders properly makes me happy!

The pattern tutorial shows how to raise or lower the bust dart. I find it easiest to trace the front bodice pattern except for the side seam, and then slide the tracing paper up, keeping the edge of the tracing paper aligned with the center fold edge of the printed out pattern so that everything stays straight on grain. In order to know how far to slide it up, you need to measure from your shoulder (where the front and back seam intersect on top of the shoulder) to your bust point (generally the nipple area) wearing the bra that you plan to wear with the dress. Note that measurement (for instance 12″), and transfer the bust point to your traced pattern piece from the shoulder seam line (3/8″ away from the pattern edge) down that same measurement (ie: 12″). Slide your tracing paper up until your marked bust point aligns with the bust point marked on the printed pattern piece. Now you can trace the side seam and dart marking and it will be in the right spot for your body.

If patterns tend to cut into your armpit, you probably need to lower the armscye too. When I trace the lowered bust point and side seams, I need to trace the bottom half of the armscye too. Apparently I am average from armpit to waist, because if I try to stick with the original pattern armscye depth, and then trim away until it fits comfortably, guess what my trimmed away shape ends up being? EXACTLY matching the original pattern if I trace the bottom half of the armscye when I trace the lowered bust point. Gosh I would have saved myself a lot of time if I had just done that in the first place! 🙂

I love the elastic in the back.

The elastic at the back waist makes the Sonata such an easy fit. It gives the dress some shaping even if your waist doesn’t really curve in all that much. 😉 I’ll admit that I kind of cheated when installing the elastic. After sewing the bodice and skirt back pieces together with a 1″ seam allowance, you’re supposed to stitch the casing to the bodice and run elastic through the casing. My “cheat” was to stitch the 1″ seam allowance, slip my elastic in between the two layers of fabric, and anchor the two ends with a zig zag stitch. Then stretching the elastic until it lay flat in the fabric, I pinned the center, then serged along the raw edge, keeping the fabric and enclosed elastic flat and even.

Then press the enclosed elastic seam up, stretch it flat and pin it in place. Coverstitch 7/8″ from the seam line, stitching the serged elastic edge in place. Tip: it will be easier to keep a straight line while coverstitching if you mark the line with chalk or a disappearing marker before adding the elastic.

I’m always excited about having pockets.

Integrated side seam pockets are such a handy thing on a woven dress. Even when carrying a phone or car keys, your pocket doesn’t get pulled out of shape. Here’s my favorite tip for sewing side seam pockets with a serger: starting a couple of inches below the pocket, use your sewing machine to stitch up to the marked pivot point, and with the needle down, rotate the fabric and stitch around the pocket to the top pivot point. Keeping the needle down, rotate the fabric and continue stitching up the side of the skirt. Then snip the corners up to but not through the stitching line. Then when you serge the seam, you can easily straighten out the stitching line to finish the pocket edges.

Stiching, then snipping up to the pivot point makes it super easy to serge the side seam pockets.

A cute new dress with pockets? What’s not to love about that? I’m super happy that I took the time to adjust the fit and perfect the pattern so that I can make more Sonata dresses. The skirt length is a perfectly flattering above knee length. And it was totally worth the time to make matching bias tape so that my armscye finish looks as pretty as the rest of my dress.

Store bought bias tape wouldn’t match this wild fabric!

After nearly burning my fingers while pressing my hand-made bias tape, I’m thinking it would be worth spending the money to buy a bias tape maker. So, here’s to more Sonata’s in my future!

The details:

My Love Notions Sonata Dress is sleeveless, but the pattern includes short, flutter, and bishop sleeves. The neckline facing can be sewn on the outside for a fun punch of contrasting color, or inside for a more invisible look.

The watercolor floral fabric is a vintage cotton from my stash. If I had to guess by looking at the colors and print, I’d have to say I probably bought it in the early ’90s to make a dress for my daughter. I made her a lot of dresses back then, but work probably got in the way of me making one out of this fabric. Which works out well for me now. 😉

The purple facing fabric was a scrap of Art Gallery Fabrics cotton purchased from Phee Fabrics.

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

The Corset Look

Sewing Tips And A Fun Hack

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s such a fun hack!

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

The details:

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

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

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

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! ❤

Frolic Dress Fun All Summer Long

Tips for adding support and sewing the binding

Summer clothes are so much more fun than winter clothes. They’re light and comfortable, and tend to be more colorful. Swishy sundresses that you can throw on and head out the door are a great summer look.

The new Frolic Romper and Dress by Stitch Upon A Time is perfect for summer breezes. The wrap around skirt is full and swishy, and the top can have a halter tie or cross back straps. Mine started out as a halter top, which I thought was really cute.

The open back of the halter, is certainly sexy (so says my husband!)

But after wearing it a while, the weight of my bust pulled on my neck too much, so I turned it into a cross back.

I love the cross-back!

I think it’s just as sexy, and it’s certainly more comfortable for my neck. The wrap skirt is perfect for skimming over the belly, without being tight or revealing.

It’s such a fun look, I can’t help but smile!

I thought it would be fun to climb up on the railing for a photo, to show the slit of the wrap around skirt. Try not to laugh at my version of a “sexy pose”. Hahahahahaha! Of course after climbing up on the railing, I had to jump down, in a perhaps not quite so lady-like fashion. 🙂

As you can see, it overlaps pretty far in the front, so there won’t be any wardrobe malfunctions!

I love the drape of high quality rayon spandex, it’s perfect for dresses. As I am not small-chested, I decided to use a nylon spandex tricot swim fabric as the inner layer on the bodice. The stronger rebound of the swim fabric gave me extra support and coverage. During testing, it was suggested to add elastic at the bottom of the bodice, sandwiched between the inner and outer layers for more support. Since I need maximum support, I used 1″ knit elastic.

To help keep the elastic in place (and give myself a guide for sewing the skirt on), I basted the main and lining layers wrong sides together, 1″ from the bottom edge of the bodice. I cut the elastic to fit snugly, yet comfortably under my bust, overlapped 1/2″, and zig-zagged the elastic to form a loop. Then I slid the elastic in between the fabric layers, and pinned at the quarter points.

I added more pins to ensure that the elastic would be evenly stretched before serging along the bottom edge.

After I serged the elastic around the bottom, it was time to add the binding. Since this is a summer dress, I wanted a fun pop of color for the binding, and decided to use the same teal nylon spandex tricot as I did for the bodice lining layer. To give my bust even more support, I added clear elastic when serging the binding to the bodice.

I always serge along the unfinished edge of binding before adding it to my garments. It adds extra stability when you wrap the binding and top or coverstitch it.

Then I pressed the binding up toward the seam allowance, wrapped it around the inside and pinned it in place. Then it was time to coverstitch.

You might think I use too many pins, but, I like everything to stay perfectly in place so I can do a good job of coverstitching the first time, and not have to spend any time seam ripping!

Next came gathering the skirt. Have I mentioned that I dislike gathering? I like the look when it’s done well, but it is so time consuming to gather and pin in place! This is where that basting line above the elastic came in handy. The skirt got pinned to the bodice, right sides together, leaving the (encased) elastic below. Because I wanted to ensure that the skirt was even, I hand-basted the skirt to the bodice. Can I just mention how very grateful I am to live in this era of fancy sewing machines, sergers, and coverstitch machines? I cannot imagine how long it used to take to sew all your clothing by hand.

The hand-basting paid off with pretty perfect gathers!

While I love the result, it was a bit time consuming to sew the skirt to the bodice above the elastic, rather than just serging it on. The next time I make this dress, I plan to add an inch to the bodice lining so that I can serge the 1″ elastic on, flip it up and coverstitch it. Then I’d take an inch off the main fabric bodice so that the skirt could just be serged to the outer bodice (and still line up with the bodice lining). It’s important that the seam line falls right under the bust to give the most flattering shaping.

The Frolic Dress just screams summer!

Suffice it to say that I love this dress! It’s comfortable and flattering, while hiding my love of buttered popcorn! 🙂 It’s going to get worn all summer long. Ok, did anybody else just start singing?

The details: the Frolic Romper and Dress, along with all their other patterns and fabric are available at Stitch Upon A Time.

Technically, the cross back straps should have gone through loops, and then just tied in a bow. But I am long from shoulder to bust, and the straps didn’t seem quite long enough for a bow. And well, I like things clean and simple. So I just sewed them into place. It works for me!

I purchased the rayon spandex and nylon spandex tricot from Phee Fabrics.

The links to Stitch Upon A Time 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! ❤

GreenStyle Venice Beach Shorts

And Tips For Easy Binding

The Venice Beach Shorts pattern has been out for a little while, and despite it having the option for pockets, (which is an absolute necessity for shorts) I hadn’t purchased the pattern. Perhaps noting all the binding gave me pause? 😉

The Venice Beach Shorts are a rather popular running shorts style, and would give me a different look from all the Brassie Jogger shorts currently filling my shorts drawer, so it was time to branch out a bit! And, since I make a lot of tops and tanks with binding, I’ve gotten pretty comfortable with my binding and coverstitching abilities.

There are two methods of binding and construction shown in the pattern tutorial, and I chose the second “alternate construction method”, as it made the most sense for the way I sew. Since I own a serger and was using a knit fabric, doing a single fold faux binding was the way to go. After attaching the pockets and sewing the shorts front and back together at the inner leg seam, it was time to work on the binding.

When doing a single fold faux binding, I like to cut my binding strips 1″ high, rather than the recommended 1-1/4″. To give the binding extra stability when coverstitching, I serged down one long edge of the two strips of binding with my stitch width set on M, and the differential turned up to 1.3. Then right sides together, I pinned the raw edge of binding all the way around the outer edges of the back, bottom, and front of each leg, being super careful to not stretch the binding at all when going around the curves.

Use plenty of pins to keep everything aligned. Not stretching the binding on the curves will help keep it from flipping up when the binding is wrapped around to the back.

After stitching, press the binding outwards, then wrap it around the back, and pin it in place. The side panels are going to be stitched into place while coverstitching. To ensure that they stay properly aligned, I basted them in place first, being sure to keep my basting stitches well away from my stitching line.

I generally don’t stitch over my pins because who wants to risk bending or breaking a needle? Since it is important to keep everything smooth and aligned, I took my time basting and was very careful to avoid hitting a pin.

Then it was just a matter of coverstitching all the way around the binding. Having a machine with plenty of harp space (my beautiful Babylock!) makes it way easier to get your hands up in there to maneuver the leg and curves. But if you’ve ever top stitched leggings, or a neck or sleeve binding, you can do it. Take the time to adjust as needed when going around the curves. Make sure your needles are down in the fabric before lifting the presser foot to adjust. That will help keep your stitching line straight.

Did you see my fancy new pins? 🙂 They’re called magic pins, and they are pretty magical! The heads are silicone and easy to grip. They’re also heat resistant, so no worries when pressing a pinned item. They’re so much sturdier, sharper, and easier to use than my generic or glass head pins (which all seemed to be bent or curved, which was super annoying when trying to use them to mark and match up center points). I highly recommend them.

I use curved foot C when coverstitching, as the shorter length makes it easier to “follow your line” when stitching around curves. Then pull the basting stitches, and follow the tutorial for sewing the rest of the shorts. I used the contour waistband, which is recommended over the elastic foldover waist when adding pockets.

I love the smooth look of the contoured waistband under my Cami Tank.

As I always tend to do with contoured waistbands on my leggings, I added a layer of powernet to the front waistband, and serged clear elastic into the top seam when sewing the inner and outer layers together. That keeps my shorts from getting pulled down when I carry my heavy phone in my pocket.

I just love shorts with pockets!

It’s fun to have a new style of shorts! These are the 4-1/2″ inseam, #becausegrandma, but you know, I’d feel comfortable trying the 3-1/2″ inseam. I’ll leave the 2-1/2″ inseam to you runners out there though. 🙂

Oh, did you notice how much better my Cami Tank looks? If you read my previous post, you’ll recall that I had accidentally cut my straps too short, and hadn’t used the shelf bra on this tank. Well, since the Cami Tank is so cute and comfortable, I took the time to seam rip off all of the binding, added the shelf bra, cut the proper length of strap binding and stitched it all back together. It gets worn so much more often now that I don’t have to wear a bra with it! 🙂 Totally worth the time and effort to make it right.

Whether early morning or a sunset stroll, walking the beach is my happy place.

The details: I used a nylon spandex athletic knit from JoAnn Fabric for my Venice Beach Shorts. I’m thinking of trying some of the stretch woven from GreenStyle for my next pair.

You’d have thought that it would be super hard to find serger thread to match the minty/sage color of the fabric. But MaxiLock aqua was a near perfect match. I ordered the thread and magic pins from Wawak.com.

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! ❤