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. 😉

GreenStyle Warrior Pants

Made As Shorts, With Other Tips & Tricks

I’ve liked the look of the GreenStyle Warrior Pants ever since the pattern released.  But I don’t often wear pants, so I didn’t buy the pattern right away.  The idea of making them into shorts/culottes opened up some possibilities.  As did the available length of yardage in my stash! 🙂  Originally I considered making them in capri length, but there was no way the pattern would fit onto my available fabric.  So I folded up my pattern 6″ above the capri cut line, and decided to make them into shorts!

The pattern recommends lightweight stretch knit, so I knew that Phee Fabrics Rayon Spandex would give me the beautiful drape that is the hallmark of these pants.  The pattern has an integrated pocket design that is vital to the construction of the pants.  Since I love having pockets on everything, I was curious about the unique pocket technique.  It can seem a little confusing, but if you follow the pattern tutorial, you’ll be fine.

When pinning the pocket overlap, the tutorial suggests draping the pants over your ironing board to help keep everything flat and smooth.  My quilting ruler is a generous 8-1/2″ x 24″, so it was easier for me to slide my ruler inside the pants and not worry about accidentally pinning my pants to my ironing board cover!

I also employed a trick I first used while making the Sunday Cardigan, previously blogged here, and here.  Since I don’t have a serger, rather than “neatening the side edges” by serging or zig zagging, I cut out 3/8″ wide strips of lightweight interfacing using my rotary cutter and clear ruler.  Pressing these strips along the edges made it super easy to turn the edges under and topstitch later in the construction process.

Warrior inter

Since fuller or flowy pants and skirts look best with a fitted top, I wanted to avoid any possibility of a “muffin top” that you sometimes see when using elastic in a waistband.  Using a layer of techsheen (a more powerful version of powernet) worked perfectly!  Simply baste powernet or techsheen to the wrong side of the inner waistband, and treat it as one layer while following pattern instructions.  It will end up sandwiched between your inner and out waistband, and give your tummy a nice smoothing effect.

Warrior tech

I’m happy with my Warrior Pants (turned shorts or culottes, or whatever you want to call them!) and think that they work well with the Staple Tank.

Warrior sideWarrior back

Of course I had to twirl around in them because that’s what you do when wearing comfortable flowy bottoms!  I love that you can make the slit as high or low as you want.  I haven’t tried tying the bottom in a knot, but I think that might be a cute variation.

Warrior slit

These will be easy to throw on over a swimsuit when going to the beach, and are super comfortable for lounging or running errands.  They are a bit dressier than regular shorts, so they’d be appropriate when you want to be comfortable but need something a little bit more “put together” looking.  They are a fun addition to your wardrobe, and can easily transition into autumn and early winter, depending upon the length, and the fabric you choose.  The new Phee Fabrics Ribbed Knit, French Terry, and even Supplex would be fun fabrics to try.

 

*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 playing with patterns. 😉

Titania Tunic Workout Top Hack

From Dressy Tunic To Workout Ready

Whenever I make a cute top, I can’t help but think about how I could make it into a cute workout top!  The Stitch Upon A Time Titania Top & Tunic was the perfect base for a workout top hack.  Since dresses are a year round staple for me, it’s also going to end up as a dress once I add 8 or 9 inches to the tunic length.  The tunic itself turned out quite cute.  I like the flowy body, especially in this silky soft circular knit.  It has the perfect drape for this pattern.  Can you imagine the twirl in a dress length?

Titania frontTitania side.jpg

Can you see my elastic error in these photos?  Instead of following the elastic length cut chart for the armscye, I thought the elastic should be more taught.  Making it 2 inches shorter than recommended gave me puckering and a bit of rolling at the armpits.  I should know by now to trust Jennifer of Stitch Upon A Time’s design and testing and use the recommended length!  The neckband was easy to sew, and despite being a higher neckline than I normally wear, the rounded shape doesn’t cut into my neck or shoulders.  Using the built in shelf bra means not having to worry about wearing a strapless bra, or trying to find a bra with straps that don’t show.  The stylish tunic would look great with skinny jeans or fitted pants like the Goldilegs Jeans, and of course with a slim skirt or shorts.

Hacking the shelf bra pieces into a workout top is easier than you think.  Cut two bra fronts out of Supplex.  Rather than cutting the back out on the fold of the fabric, I folded my pattern piece under 5/8″ from the center back, and cut out two left back and two right back pieces.  You’ll also cut a bra front and a right and left back out of powernet or techsheen for support.  For design purposes, I wanted the bra back to have a 2″ strip of powernet down the center, with a little opening between the bra top and the tank body.  I used my favorite tank pattern to make the bodice.  If you don’t have a tank pattern, trace any well fitting tank in your closet.  Don’t forget to add seam allowances!

The trickiest part of this workout top is the V-cutout on the center front.  Lay your clear ruler on an angle, starting 1″ from center front at the top, and down 5-1/2″.  Do the same thing to the second bra front piece, then trim the 3/8″ seam allowance off the second triangle cutout opening.  The trimmed version will become your front lining piece.

Titania cut triTitania triangle cutout

Lay the triangle you cut out of the bra front on your powernet.  Add 3/4″ width to each of the long sides of the triangle as seam allowances.  This gives you the front triangle insert.  Cut a rectangular piece of powernet 2-3/4″ wide, by 2″ shorter than the length of your bra back at center back.  This gives you the back insert.

Baste your powernet/techsheen bra front and backs to the wrong side of your bra lining front and back pieces.  You will treat them as one layer from this point on.  Right sides facing, sew one long side of your triangle insert to the cutout section of your bra front, using a 3/8″ seam allowance.  Snip the center front of the bra down to, but not through the stitching line.  And here’s where I’m going to make it easy to get a perfect V.  With your bra top right side up on a flat surface, fold the seam allowance of the unstitched side of the opening under 3/8″.  Apply Washaway Wonder Tape to the seam allowance.  Making sure that your powernet insert triangle is laying smooth and flat, peel off the backing paper and press the folded under edge of your opening onto the powernet.  You can baste that side into place, or just trust the Wonder Tape to do it’s job.  (Although I am a big believer in basting, I trusted the Wonder Tape and it held fine until I was ready to topstitch all my layers.)

Right sides together, and lined up at the top edge, sew the rectangular powernet insert to one side of the bra back.  Line the insert up with the top of other side of the bra back and stitch, using 3/8″ seam allowances.

Titania back net

Sew the front and back bra pieces together at the side seams.  Sew the lining front and back bra pieces together at the side seams.  Note: the pattern calls for 1/2″ seam allowances, so be sure to use this seam allowance on the side seams, even though I use 3/8″ seam allowances on the rest of this hack.  Fold the center back edges of the bra lining under 3/8″ and baste.

Titania wrap back

With the bra right side out, and the lining wrong side out, place the bra lining over the bra.  Line up the neck and arm openings, and pin in place.  With right sides together,  stitch along the armscyes and add the elastic in the seam allowances as per the pattern tutorial.  Stitch the front and back necklines leaving openings at the shoulders to add straps.  Cut two pieces of bra strapping 6″ long.  Slide a strap down inside each shoulder opening at the back, and with the end of the strap flush with the opening, stitch the straps in place.  You may want to go over the stitch line twice to ensure that the straps are secure.  Turn the bra right side out.  Ensuring that the triangle insert and cutout opening are properly aligned, top stitch around the triangle.

Titania tri topstitch

Lining up the edges of the back and back lining so that they are even with the rectangle insert, top stitch along the edges.

Titania rect top

Now you can try on the bra, and adjust the length of the straps to fit.  You may end up cutting a couple of inches off, but you need long enough peices to work with!  Slide the ends of the straps down into the openings at the front shoulders, turn the top wrong sides out, and stitch the straps in place at the front shoulders.

Sew your tank front and back bodice pieces together.  Then slide the bra down inside the tank with right sides together, and matching center points on the front and back, stitch.  Using the measurement in the cut chart, wrap a piece of elastic around your underbust to check for fit.  I used 1-1/4″ wide sport elastic, rather than the recommended width.  Use whatever width of elastic that works for you, or that you happen to have on hand.  The elastic should fit snugly, but not uncomfortably.  Overlap the ends and stitch together.  Mark quarter points on your elastic, and at the seam allowance, and pin together at those 4 points.  Stretching the elastic to fit, zig zag it in place.  Turn the hem of your workout top under 3/4″ and use a zig zag, twin needle or coverstitch machine to finish.

Smile, and go for a walk or run, or hit the gym or yoga studio in your fun new workout top!

Titania workout back

I bought all of my fabric, the Circular Knit, Supplex, Powernet, and Techsheen from Phee Fabrics, along with the clear elastic and bra strapping.  The consistently high quality makes and keeps me a repeat shopper!

 

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

 

 

The V&A Mary Quant Style Minidress

I’ve never had the opportunity to visit the Victoria & Albert Museum, as I’ve never been to England.  A visit to any museum of art and design sounds fabulous!  I spent hours and hours wandering through the Chicago Art Institute about 10 years ago and would gladly visit again.  Being able to stand mere feet from priceless Monet’s and other treasures is fascinating.

A post on one of the Facebook sewing groups I belong to noted that as part of a Mary Quant exhibit at the V&A, there was a free Mary Quant Style Minidress pattern and tutorial available, designed by Alice & Co Patterns.  A-line dresses are a generally flattering look, so I thought I would give it a try.  The pattern includes plenty of options, so you can personalize it to suit you.  A keyhole neckline or zip front; a rounded or pointed collar, or necktie; curved or angled pockets; and sleeveless, or fluted or gathered sleeves.

It’s warm pretty much year round where I live, so I went with sleeveless, and adapted the front to be a slight V, rather than zip.  The angled pockets are a unique look, and more than large enough to hold my phone.  Taking care to line up the stripes on the pocket pieces with the stripes on the dress paid off.  The pockets are nearly invisible!

VAMQ pocket

My measurements fell between two sizes, so I printed the larger size, knowing that I could take it in as needed.  I definitely should have gone with the smaller size.  Even using extra large seam allowances wasn’t enough to make it fit.  Putting the dress on inside out and pinning and sewing the excess fabric gave me a much better fit.  And tracing the change onto the pattern gave me a reference for next time.  Since I have long arms, lowering the pocket placement 2″ worked out best for ease of use.

VAMQ pattern

I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t need to lower the bust dart.  I was unsurprised that I had to make the same shoulder adjustments as I did when using The Tunic Bible pattern.  Namely, narrowing the shoulders in the front and changing the angle from the top of the shoulders slightly in the back.  Using a smaller size would have helped, but I still think I would have needed to adjust.

The pattern includes an all-in-one neck and armhole facing when making the sleeveless version.  It gives a clean finish, and you get to practice your burrito roll.  Since the fabric I used frayed terribly, I was glad that I had taken such large seam allowances.  It meant that I could trim off the frayed edges, and wrap them in bias tape.  This gave me a clean finish, and kept the fabric from fraying further.  A wider bias tape probably would have been easier, but I just used what I had on hand.

VAMQ frayedVAMQ biasVAMQ bias wrap

The fabric is an unknown blend, probably some combination of polyester and cotton, that my Mom gave me when she was clearing out her house.  It was quite old, since the tag that had been stapled to the selvage was from a store that hasn’t been around in 30 years! 🙂  The fabric is rather stiff, and had probably been purchased to make curtains, rather than a dress.  Whatever!  It was on hand and it worked.  And I think it suits the style of the dress just fine!

VAMQ back

It’s a fun dress pattern, and will give you a chance to use up some of the woven fabric in your stash.  Happy sewing!

GreenStyle North Shore Swimsuit

And A Strappy Bikini Hack

I was super excited to see that the North Shore Swimsuit is one of the GreenStyle patterns of the month (which means it’s on sale through July 2019).  I’ve been wanting to try the pattern ever since I decided that this is the summer of swimwear sewing.  It is a classic pattern with options for a monokini, or two piece with a deep V or full coverage front, and a halter or U back, in pullover, tie-back, or S-hook closure.  The bottoms can be scoop, low, mid, or high rise.  Whew!  And you can mix and match the options for an entire wardrobe of swimwear.  If you are completely new to sewing swimwear,  there is a great video tutorial series for the GreenStyle North Shore on YouTube, linked here.

For my first version I went with a mid-rise bottom, and a deep-V full cup front with the S-hook U-back.  It turned out great, and is a classic two piece that looks like RTW.  Using Tricot as the main fabric was a no-brainer, as it is a classic swimwear fabric that can withstand lots of use.  As always when sewing a swim top, all of the top pieces were cut out of the Tricot, high quality powernet for support, and swim lining.  For the bottoms, I used powernet in the front only.  It adds a little bit of tummy control, without giving a “muffin top”.

NS purp frontNS purp side

Basting the powernet to your swim fabric makes sewing so much easier.  I don’t know about you, but there’s no way I can keep multiple layers lined up without basting and a bunch of pins!  The pattern has an elastic chart that makes adding the elastic easy, especially if you are new to swimwear sewing and not yet comfortable with just sewing it on by feel.  Definitely follow the directions about sewing the elastic around the legs.  The extra stretch in the back keeps the bottoms sitting properly on your bum, rather than riding up uncomfortably!

NS purp back

Since the first version turned out so well, I decided to have some fun with the pattern, and turn it into a strappy bikini.  I folded down both sides of the deep-V full cup front, shaping it into a curvy triangle.  I used the halter S-hook back, and cut both pattern pieces out in my nylon spandex fabric, swim lining, and powernet.

NS pieces

Baste the powernet to the main fabric, and sew the front and back together at the side seam.  Sew the lining front and back together at the side seam.  Lay the lining on the main fabric wrong sides together and baste.  Knowing that “triangle style tops” don’t normally have a whole lot of support, you need to add support by stretching the elastic tighter to help the top hug your body.

To figure your elastic lengths, measure along the front edge from the top of your triangle down to the center front.  Subtract 3/4″, (because you don’t want elastic in the 3/8″ seam allowances) then multiply by .75.  Exercise your swim elastic before measuring to that length.  Rather than cutting the elastic, just use a pencil to mark your line.  This makes it easier to hold on to the elastic and stretch it while you are sewing.  Use a zig-zag stitch to sew your elastic to the center front, starting 3/8″ from the top, and stretching the elastic so that the marked point ends 3/8″ from the bottom of the center front.  Then repeat the process to measure from the top of your triangle, down under the armscye to the end of the back piece.  Again subtracting the 3/4″ for the seam allowances and multiplying by .75.  Mark the elastic, start sewing 3/8″ from the edge, stretching the elastic to fit and zig-zag, stopping 3/8″ from the other end.

Then fold the edges under enclosing the elastic, clipping it in place.  Topstitch with your zig zag set at 2.5 length and 3.0 width.  The elastic will want to curl up a bit until it is topstitched down.

NS elastic

Then add the underbust band and elastic, and sew on the S-hook as per the pattern tutorial.  Because my bust is apparently more close set than average, I overlap my front pieces 1-1/2″ before attaching to the band.  You may or may not want to overlap depending upon the shape of your bustline.

Now it’s time to make some strappy straps!  Cut two strips of fabric 1-1/2″ wide by 16″ long.  Fold them in half, right sides together and clip in place.  Lay your 3/8″ clear elastic (you can use cotton swim elastic, but the clear elastic makes flatter straps and is listed as chlorine safe) along the cut edge, and carefully zig zag so that your zig goes just off the edge of the elastic and into the center of the fabric, and the zag is completely on the elastic.  Once the strap is completely sewn with the elastic, use a safety pin to turn it right side out.
NS straps

Baste or pin the straps in place, and try on for fit.  On the back, my straps are stitched in place 1-1/2″ from the S-hook.  You may need to cut some length off the straps in order to pull the front up to where it is comfortable.  But better to have extra strap length to cut off, than to have too short of straps!

Since I made a sexy top, I decided to make the bottoms a little sexier by cutting them about halfway between mid-rise and scoop bottom.  To finish the top of the bottoms, I zig-zagged elastic along the top edge at a 1:1 ratio to keep the top snug, but not tight.  Top stitch just like you do the elastic around the legs or swim top.  The scoop shaping is flattering and comfortable, even on a 50+ year old Grandma! 🙂  At least my husband certainly thinks so! 😉

NS frontNS back.jpg

While I probably wouldn’t run in this bikini, let’s be honest- I don’t run!  (Hence the jiggly bits that would make me feel uncomfortable while running.)  Hahaha!  But I definitely feel comfortable and supported while walking the beach and playing in the waves.

All of my fabric came from Phee Fabrics, the Tricot, powernet, and swim lining, as did the matte palm nylon spandex print.  Sadly, this particular print is no longer available, which is why I’ve been hoarding it, and was so excited to play with this pattern.  There are however, so many pretty colors of Tricot and a couple of stripe prints to choose from.

Never be afraid to try hacking a pattern!  Even if it doesn’t turn out exactly like you envisioned, you always learn something from the experience.  I’m contemplating double straps next, maybe criss-crossing a set.  It’s another opportunity to add a pop of color and create a new look.  It’s just sew much fun to play with patterns! 😉

 

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

 

The Aushui Tank Transformation

Transforming The Stitch Upon A Time Aushui Tank Into A Dress

I bought the Stitch Upon A Time Aushui Tank pattern because who doesn’t need a unique tank top in their lives?  The square cut neckline was a new look for me, and I love tanks with straps that completely cover your bra.  The pattern is a pretty quick sew, and the facings really help the tank keep it’s unique shape.  It also has options for a button placket and a tie front, which will totally change the look!

Rayon spandex from Phee Fabrics made for a soft, comfortable tank, with excellent drape.  I added two inches to the length because I am tall and like longer tanks.  But I certainly could have stuck to the pattern length and been just fine.

Aushui tankAushui back

Once I made the tank I started thinking that it would be fun to make the Aushui into a dress.  Not only are dresses a summer time staple, they also make it easy to get ready in the morning.  Wanting to keep the lines of the dress clean, a gathered seam at the waistline was out.  A simple fit and flare design fit the bill, so I pulled out the Stitch Upon A Time Calista pattern.  The skirt portion of the Calista flares out nicely, without being too full.

The hardest part of this pattern mash was determining where the skirt should start!  Fit and flare dresses look best when they are fitted through the bust area and flare out at or just above the natural waist.  A novice sewist may be surprised to learn that your natural waist isn’t necessarily at your belly button.  Tie a string, strip of fabric, or piece of elastic around your waist, and bend side to side several times.  The elastic will settle at your natural waist which may be above your belly button.

Lay the Calista skirt pattern on top of the Aushui Tank front, with the center folds aligned.   Slide the top of the skirt up to the bustline marking.  With the patterns taped together, cut out the front of your dress.  Align the Calista skirt the same way on the tank back, and cut out the dress back.  There will be a little area where the tank and skirt pieces intersect at a sharp angle.  Gently curve this area (where the purple arrow is pointing in the second photo) when you cut out your dress.

Aushui Cal tapeAushui Cal cut

Then follow the pattern tutorial for construction of view A.  The only difference will be the length of your side seams.  Take your time and use plenty of pins when folding up the hem.  That way you’ll get a nice even hem when you finish your dress.  Pro tip: sewing a line of stitches down the center of the back facing before construction will make it easy to tell the front from the back when you’re hanging up laundry or getting dressed.   If you have a vinyl cutting machine, a cute little HTV design would make a good “tag”

I used Phee Fabrics Tricot for my dress and absolutely love the drape and swing of my Aushui Calista pattern mash!  It’s a fun, flirty length, without being too short.  It only took two yards of fabric, and I have large enough scraps that I can probably make another swimsuit. 😉  You can read about my Water Faery and Scrundlewear bikini here.

Aushui CalistaAushui Cal full

I need more of these dresses in my life!  I’m so glad I played around with the patterns, and that my dress turned out even cuter than I imagined!  There’s no reason to be afraid of trying something new, and hacking and mashing your patterns.  You might just end up with a new favorite dress, or other cute clothing in your wardrobe!

 

*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. 😉

 

Swimwear Shenanigans and Escapades

Hacking The 5oo4 Shenanigans And Escapade Into Fun Swimwear

Since I’ve decided that this is going to be the summer for swimwear sewing, I’m having fun combining and hacking my patterns to make some fun suits!  I like using all the fun colors of Tricot from Phee Fabrics, and always use their Powernet in my swimwear, bras and workout wear for extra support.

The 5 Out Of 4 Shenanigans Skort seemed like the perfect basis for a swim skirt.  Since the Escapade Top and Dress pattern has a drawstring front, I thought it would be fun to add drawstrings on the sides of the Shenanigans.  That way my booty could be covered while walking out to the beach, then I can shorten the skirt as much as I want while playing on the beach.

You can use the shorts included with the pattern, or your favorite briefs pattern for underneath.  If you use a different pattern for the briefs, make them first, without sewing the waistband.  Since my brief pattern has a lower rise, I traced the Sporty Spice length in my measured size for the skirt, and cut on the low rise line.  I didn’t want the sides to flare out too much, so I curved the side seam of the bottom of the skirt front in to the next smaller size.  When I lay the skirt front pattern on top of the brief pattern, you can see that the front waistline curve is the same, and that it’s a couple of inches wider than the brief.

Shen pattern FYou need that extra width to make your drawstring casing, and for your skirt to have a little bit of ease.  The skirt back should also match the curve of your briefs and have the same extra width.  Because I’m tall and have a booty, I added a little extra length to the center back of my skirt, tapering up to the side length.  It’s just enough to cover my bum when the skirt isn’t gathered up on the sides.  Sew the skirt front and back right sides together with a 1″ seam.  Make drawstrings by cutting four 1-1/2″ wide strips of fabric twice as long as the side seam of your skirt.  Fold each strip right sides together and using a stretch stitch sew with a 3/8″ seam allowance.  Use a safety pin or bodkin to turn the strips right side out.

Shen ties

Fold the skirt side seam allowances under 3/8″ and pin in place.  Stitch in place using a 1/2″ seam allowance to form the casings for your drawstrings.

Shen casingFold the bottom hem under 1/2″ and use a zig zig or other stretch stitch to hem.  On the right side of your skirt, make a small horizontal slit in each casing, about 3/8″ above the hem.  Thread a drawstring in each casing and tack the drawstring in place at the top.

Shen insert tiesAlign the center front, center back, and side seams of your brief and skirt and pin or clip in place.   Try it on to ensure everything feels comfortable and lines up nicely.  This is your opportunity to trim the rise a little bit if needed for better alignment.   Easing the skirt to fit the brief, baste them together.  Then sew on your waistband and elastic and you’ve got a new swim skirt!

I’ve hacked the 5oo4 Escapade into a workout top before, so I knew it would make a great bikini top.  I thought it would be cute to have a little cut-out in the back, although due to changes I made after basting the side seams and trying it on, the cut-out is smaller than I’d originally planned.  I used Tricot as the main and lining fabric, with a layer of powernet basted to my main fabric so that it will end up sandwiched between the layers.  (Following the pattern tutorial and basting it to the lining fabric will save you from having to snip through two layers when making your opening for the drawstring!)

Because adding an underbust band to accomplish the cut-out added length to the top, I ended up shortening and altering my front and back pattern pieces to show a little more skin.  I wanted the back bodice to end up 3″ high, so my pattern piece ended up 3-3/4″ high, with a 3/8″ seam allowance at the top and bottom.  (I did not have my strap drawstring go through the bodice back.  If you want yours to go all the way through, add 3/8″ to the height, since the top will be folded under 3/4″ to form the casing per the pattern tutorial.)  Simply fold up the bottom corner of your pattern piece along the center back fold line to get the triangular cut-out.

Esc cutout back

I cut the front bodice on the C/D cutline, because according to the measurement chart, that’s where I should cut.  I definitely need the extra length in the center front, but not so much at the sides.  So I ended up tapering my bodice height starting 3-1/2″ away from the center front angling up to the necessary side height of 4-1/8″ to match up to my bodice back.

Esc front angle

To make my straps, I followed this blogpost from Emerald Erin.  Basically, you cut your fabric four times the width of your elastic, (in this case 1-1/2″ wide).  Fold the straps in half right sides together.  Place the 3/8″ elastic flush with the cut edges, then zig-zag the elastic, right at the inner edge of the elastic.  Then turn your straps right side out.  Take your time when stitching on the elastic, and the straps will end up nice and flat.

Esc strap elasticSew the bodice front per the pattern tutorial until you reach the point where you are supposed to sew the front to the back at the side seams.  This is when I tacked my straps at the side seams, rather than having one long strap run through the entire top of the bodice.  Note: in the photo below, I had not yet made the tapered cut at the bottom sides of my top.

Esc bodice front

Lay the bodice backs right sides together, and stitch along the top using a 3/8″ seam allowance.  Stitch along the triangle cut-out.  Sew elastic to these seam allowances, keeping the elastic taut, but not pulling on it.  This will give these seams stability, and help keep the top of your suit in place.  It might seem intimidating to sew elastic, but it’s not as scary as you may think.  In fact, 5 Out Of 4 Patterns has several blog post videos showing how to add elastic in their Sewing School series.  In the photo below, you can see where I added the elastic.  Note: The bottom of the back hadn’t been trimmed to it’s shorter height yet.

Esc back elasticYou’ll need to poke one side of the back through the narrow space at center back to turn the back right sides out.  Then it’s time to sew your side seams.  I hate bulky side seams, and with the straps, and elastic, and layers of fabric and powernet the seam could get bulky!  So I do it a little differently than you may have seen.  Since the front strap casing is folded down at the top front, my normal method of sewing the main front to main back, and lining front to lining back, lining up the top seam isn’t going to work.

So I folded the back bodice over the front bodice, aligning the seam with the top edge of the front bodice, making sure that the main fabric front matched up with the main fabric back, and the two lining fabrics were together.  Stitch down 3/4″ until reaching the casing stitch line.  Then pin the main fabric front to the main fabric back and the lining front to the lining back and stitch each of the pinned seams together.

Esc side topEsc side pin

Then clip the seam allowances so that you can press them open.  I also clip the top corner at an angle to help reduce the bulk.  Repeat these steps on the other side seam.

Esc side clip

Cut a band the same width as your bikini top, adding in a seam allowance.  If you use 3/4″ elastic, the band should be 2-1/4″ high (twice the width of the elastic plus the seam allowance).  Sew the short ends of your band together, and aligning the seam with one of the side seams, place the band over the bodice right sides together.  Pin the band to the bodice bottom, then stitch.

Use pins to mark the center front and back, along with the quarter points.  Overlapping the ends of your elastic 1″, zig zag  together, then mark the quarter points with pins.  With the band still folded up on the bodice, pin the elastic to the seam allowance, aligning the quarter point pins.  The edge of the elastic should line up with the seamline, and hang down below the bikini top.  Then wrap the band down around the elastic and overlapping up to the inside and pin in place.  Stitch around the bodice bottom using a zig zag set at 2.5 stitch length and 3.0 stitch width.  At the triangle cut-out opening, stitch across the band at the top and trim away the excess fabric.

You can either tie the straps at the neck halter style, or have someone help you pin them in a comfortable spot and tack the straps in place, cutting off the excess strap length.  Now you have a cute new swimsuit!  I love being able to adjust the drawstrings to make the skirt as short or long, and the top as high or low as I want.

ShenEsc frontShenEsc down front

Because it’s boring and awkward to try and look sexy, I decided to have fun doing cartwheels instead.  🙂

ShenEsc cart frontShenEsc cart back

Being able to laugh at yourself and act silly keeps you young, right? 😉  There is no need to be afraid of sewing swimwear.  Have fun with it and mash and hack away!  It’s just another pattern and some colorful fabric, customized to fit YOU!  Does sewing your own swimwear give you super powers?  Maybe not.  But it does give you the confidence to see if you can still do cartwheels!  So sew away and then hit the pool, lake, or beach.

 

*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. 😉