5oo4 Zen Pants Made As Shorts

And An Internal Patch Pocket Hack

Summer time means shorts, and nothing screams summer like bright, white shorts.  They look great with any color tank or tee, or thrown on over a swimsuit.  In my quest to use every pattern in my collection I decided to try the 5 Out Of 4 Patterns Zen Pants, using the shorts cut line.  The Zen Pants are a slim fit with optional front and back patch pockets and a side cargo pocket.  There is also an optional faux fly, and drawstring waistband.

I like my shorts to be a smooth line under my tanks and wanted a dressy casual look, so I wanted to streamline as much as possible.  Pockets are an absolute necessity, so I decided to turn the large patch pockets into smaller internal patch pockets, and to forego any other ornamentation.  It’s fun to customize patterns to suit my needs, and I’m never afraid to try a simple hack.  As I have noted before, I don’t show full pattern pieces to protect designers intellectual property.

The first step of altering the pocket was to decide how wide I wanted it.  I laid my phone on the pattern pocket piece and knew that I could slim it down to the width of the X-small pocket.  I laid my traced out pants front piece onto the master pattern pocket and used a pencil to draw lines from the hip up and from the top out to the outer top corner.  I also curved the pocket side to follow the curve of the hip on the pants front.  I am pointing to this area in the photo below.  (The dashed line is the original pattern shape of the outer top corner of the pocket.)

Z pocket alter

Laying the pants front on the master pattern pocket piece allowed me to trace the curve to make the pocket opening on the pants front.  That small piece in the upper corner of the photo below is the piece I cut off and discarded.  I also hacked the pocket facing, (which is used to reinforce the pocket opening.)  I like my pocket facings to be about an inch wide, so I traced the top curve of the pocket facing piece and just made it an inch wide.

Z pocket fac

Next I laid out all my pattern pieces and cut them out my fabric.  You could use a ponte or one of the other recommended fabrics, but I find that shorts made of ponte make me feel too hot and sweaty.  I love making my shorts out of Supplex.  It’s moisture wicking, so it really helps keep you cool.  And since it washes and wears so well, you don’t have to worry about using white Supplex to make shorts (or anything else for that matter!)  Because I love the consistently high quality, I buy all of my Supplex from Phee Fabrics.  It is a substantial 18oz., so I never have to worry about it being sheer.  And, it took less than a yard of fabric for my shorts.

Place the pocket facing on the pocket opening right sides together, stitch, then flip the facing to the inside of the pocket.  Give it a good press, then topstitch.  The photo below shows what the facing will look like on the inside (or wrong) side.

Z pocket

Place the pocket right side up, to the wrong side of the shorts front, lining up the top and sides.  Baste at the top and side seam, and pin the curved inner edge of the pocket to the front.

Z pocket baste

Use a zig zag, decorative stitch, or cover stitch to sew the pocket to the front.  I used one of the “overlock” stitches on my sewing machine.  Take your time sewing around the curve to make sure you are catching the pocket as you sew.  Press everything smooth.  From this point you’ll be able follow the pattern directions as written to finish your shorts or pants.
Zen back

I like the idea of the back yoke/waistband on the Zen Pants, because it curves down to meet the pockets at the side seams and gives your shorts or pants a flattering shaped look.  It does however take longer to sew than a simple rectangular or a contoured waistband that’s even along the bottom edge.  I also like that the pattern tutorial gives you photos, drawings, and tips for some common pants fitting issues.  I may try to scoop out the back crotch curve of my shorts a little to fit the shape of my bum.  This should correct the wrinkles I seem to get on all pants patterns, (so I know that it’s my body shape, versus an issue with patterns.)

I love being able to make cute, comfortable shorts that will help keep me cool during the heat of summer.  It’s nice to be able to customize them to suit me by choosing from all the pattern options and by a simple hack for the pockets.

 
Zen shorts

Now I need to search through my patterns to see what else I need to make!

 

*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 and pattern hacking. 😉

Pace Skirt

Tips For Pretty Pleats

Like many (most?) sewists, I like looking through patterns, and thinking about new clothing I can add to my wardrobe.  I have eyed the GreenStyle Pace Skirt several times, and even when I’ve made bulk pattern purchases to get the discount, I’ve hesitated on the Pace Skirt because of the pleats.  Pleats may seem intimidating, but you really can sew pretty pleats!  I want to share some tips for making pleats, so you won’t be afraid to try this fun pattern. *update: the Pace Skirt is on sale for $8.50 for the month of April!*

The Pace Skirt has a plain front and pleated back, with optional attached briefs, or shorts with pockets! 🙂  Secret hidden pockets to carry your keys and phone?  Not having to worry that a big gust of wind will come along, or that you’ll have to perform some kind of quick un-lady-like move while chasing a little one around?  Sign me up please!

The pattern is drafted for a stretch woven skirt, with a stretch knit waistband and briefs/shorts.  Since it can be challenging to find a stretch woven fabric, GreenStyle has a note in the directions that you can use a stretch knit by sizing the skirt portion down a size.  I have learned to trust the extensive testing and excellent pattern drafting, follow my measurements, and make the recommended sizes.  I like to print and tape a master copy of my patterns and trace out my size on waxed paper.  That way I’ve always got my master pattern to go back to, even if my pattern pieces get torn or a bit crinkled up from use.

So here is my first tip: pay attention when you are tracing your pattern pieces.  Because I was using a stretch knit, I had to remember to trace a smaller size for the skirt front, back, and upper back pieces, while using my measured size for the waistband and shorts pieces.  This is also the time to lengthen or shorten the pattern pieces as needed.  I am tall, so I added 1-3/8″ to the skirt length.  I also used the high rise waistband pieces rather than the standard pieces.  Can I just add here that I love that both rises are included in the pattern?  I didn’t have to worry about adjusting the pattern to add to the rise, and those that prefer a shorter rise also have the appropriate pattern pieces.

Tip #2: Make sure that you are laying out your pattern perfectly on the grain.  Grainlines and direction of greatest stretch lines are included on patterns for a very important reason.  They help you line up the pattern with the fabric so that your garment will hang properly on the body.  This is super important on the skirt back piece, because you will want to reference the grainline when pressing your pleats.  If you cut it out on grain, it will make it so much easier to get perfect pleats.  If you cut it out crooked, you will get crooked pleats if you follow the grainline while pressing.

Tip #3: Mark the pleat lines on the skirt back.  The pattern piece is clearly marked with how to fold your pleats, so they go from the center outwards.  You could use tracing paper or a disappearing pen, but I found it easy enough to use pins and clips.  I placed pins along the top of the skirt at the pleat marks.  And where each pleat folded over, and the next pleat started, I also added a clip.  That was my reminder of where the pleat ended.  In the photo below, I’ve already pressed all the pleats on the right outward toward the right side of the skirt.  (I used the metal hem guides to help hold my pleats in place while I made the folds to pleat the other half of the skirt back.  You could also just use pins or clips to accomplish this.)  Since I had made sure that I cut my pattern piece on the grainline, it was easy to follow the grainline to press the entire length of the pleat down to the hemline.  And obviously, I need to clean my iron, because little white specks of build-up have flaked out of the steam ports! 🙂

pace pinned

Tip #4: When pattern directions suggest that you baste, take the time to baste!  The small amount of time that it takes to baste, will save you so much more time when you are sewing your pieces together.  Once all of your pleats are pressed, pin them in place so that you can baste them down before sewing on the upper back piece.  Check out those pretty, pressed pleats!

pace pleats

By following the pattern directions, you will end up with a fun, flirty, pleated skirt!  It can be casual everyday wear when paired with a simple tank top.  In this case, a rayon spandex GreenStyle Staple Tank.

pace sidepace back

You can use the built-in briefs option if you prefer it when playing tennis or golf.  If you’re like me and want pockets to hold your stuff while power-walking, I recommend the shorts.  I love the “secret” pockets!

pace pocket

I also love that you can change the vibe and wear the Pace Skirt for dressier occasions  by wearing a chiffon top, or adding a jacket or cardigan.  This RTW top had been languishing in my closet because I didn’t really have anything to wear it with.

pace black

I am very happy with my new skirt.  My husband complimented me on it, and said that he loves the pleats.  ❤  Even with the built-in shorts, I don’t feel overheated because I used Phee Fabrics circular knit which is moisture-wicking and super comfortable.  There’s no need to feel intimidated by pleats.  If you have any questions about sewing or pleats, feel free to comment and I will try to help you out.  Take your time, use my tips, follow the pattern directions, and add some cute new skirts to your closet!

 

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

 

The Staple Tank

Call It A Basic, Call It A Staple

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

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

layer whitelayer w cardi

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

layer skirtlayer cardi

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

 

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

My GreenStyle Fit Capsule Roundup

Sew All The Workout Wear!

I’ll start off with my newest makes from earlier this week.  Before I spent three days helping my Mom and before I ended up with the flu. 😦  I knew I had to get my sewing fix in before I left for my Mom’s, so I made a couple things I really wanted and needed.

My love for Super G’s is strong, so I made a pair in navy Supplex with navy powernet pocket panels.  As soon as these new colors were listed on the Phee Fabrics website, I had to place an order!  Navy is a great basic, so I will wear these a lot.  Since I always find myself reaching for a Studio To Street Top when I get chilly, I decided to make another one in Phee’s pretty periwinkle rayon spandex.  I did the V-neck, V-back, curved hem version, except I cut it straight across in the front, and did a 4-1/2″ split hem on the bottom sides.  This kept it a little bit longer in the front, and gave me a cleaner, (though similar look) to the split band version I made previously.

STS peri navy Super GSince it’s not a capsule without at least three pieces, here’s my flat lay photo that includes my Brassie Jogger shorts.  If I have enough Supplex left in any other colors, I plan to make more Brassie shorts because they are seriously the most comfortable shorts ever!  It’s a bummer that I couldn’t capture the true colors with my indoor photo.
navy peri fit cap

My Lille Tank and Norah Nightgown mash-up was the anchor for my teal and charcoal Supplex capsule.  I used powernet in the front and back bodice, as well as for the pocket panels on my Super G’s.  And look, it’s another pair of Brassie shorts!

Lille Nteal charcoal fit cap

Plum Supplex and neon green tricot made such a striking combo for my Power Sports Bra and Super G’s.  I rounded out my capsule with a plum Supplex Lille.  Because it’s a solid, I’ll be able to mix and match it with items in my other capsules.

 

Lille outtakeGS bra sideplum neon fit cap

Hacking the Power Sports Bra into a workout top was my first Fit Capsule item.  And it looks great with my gray Supplex Super G’s.  Of course I need to include one of my comfortable rayon spandex Studio To Street Tops to round out this final capsule.

top jumpgray white fit cap

All in all, I have really enjoyed sewing for the Fit Capsule Challenge.  It pushed me to expand my workout wardrobe and to finish up some pieces that I know will get tons of wear.  Here’s hoping that I can get over this flu and get back to yoga on Monday!

 

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

 

Cardigan And Again And Again

Because A Cardigan Goes With Everything!

I have grown to love cardigans.  It’s not that I haven’t always liked them, it’s more that I didn’t know how to rock one.  In the corporate world, I was more of a suit or dress and jacket kind of girl.  If only I had owned this pattern then.  Because a duster length cardigan over a dress is a great look!

I’ve made the GreenStyle Sunday Cardigan before, and I’ve even written about it in a previous post.  I just keep on making them because I love the look.  The pattern has several options: knee length; duster length; sleeveless; cuffs, lace-up sleeve cuffs; two sizes of pockets; and a hood.  You can get so many different looks with this pattern.  But I have to admit that I keep making the duster length because I just love the simple drama of it.

I live in a state without a real winter, am “of a mature age” and easily overheat, so I have no need for a hood.  But the hooded version made in a soft hacci would look so cute on my daughter, who lives where it still snows.

I remember reading a discussion on the GreenStyle Facebook group page about whether you can rock a long cardigan with shorts.  The answer is yes, you absolutely can!  I think the key is using a lightweight fabric to keep it flowy and seasonally appropriate.  I used a fun purple waffle mesh from Phee Fabrics for my latest cardigan.  I purchased the fabric late last year knowing that I wanted to make this cardigan with it.  (The purple is no longer available, but there is some magenta left in the last chance section!)

mesh cardi rightmesh cardi leg

A sweater knit version would look great with jeans or pants.  You could rock it with boots or flats.  I wear my navy rayon spandex Sunday Cardigan with dresses, or thrown over my workout wear if it’s chilly on my way to yoga class.

Sienna Sunday churchSienna Sunday down

Other than workout wear, dresses are a big part of my wardrobe, and I like the duster length because it looks great with any length dress.  Longer dresses, short dresses, even a high-low hemline.  I can rock them all with this cardigan!  This foil-print fabric was a JoAnn clearance rack find last Spring.  It may be a little dramatic and over-the-top, but sparkly is in, right?

foil cardifoil cardi1

I can’t control the wind, but at least I can look cute in my cardigans!  Even when I use the same version of the pattern, I end up with a new look every time because I’ve used different fabrics.

My husband commented that I was looking a little slimmer (thank you yoga class and power walks!) so I cut my pattern down a size and I love the slightly more fitted look even more!  I may have to change the title of this post and add another “and again” because I know I’ll be making more.  What fabric should I use for my next one?

 

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

GreenStyle Norah Nightgown

My Middle-Aged Version of Sexy 😉

Sometimes you come across a pattern that you don’t know you need until you stop and think about it.  It’s always fun to try a new workout wear, or cute top or dress pattern.  But when I thought about what was missing in my wardrobe, (really, what needs to be replaced in my wardrobe!) it was summer nightgowns.  I live in Florida, so summer nightgowns get worn probably 10 months of the year.  And some of my ready-to-wear nightgowns are starting to show that wear.  I scrolled through GreenStyle’s patterns, and noticed that the Norah Nightgown looks quite similar to two of my favorite RTW nightgowns.  Time to start sewing!

I used some purple rayon spandex from Boho Fabrics that’s been in my stash for my first version.  Since I didn’t have any lingerie elastic, stretch lace trim, or lingerie elastic to finish the bodice edges, I decided to “go rogue”, use powernet, and do a lined bodice.  I cut the bodice pieces out of the rayon spandex and out of powernet.  After sewing the bodice fronts to the bodice back, I laid the rayon spandex (main fabric) and powernet (lining fabric) bodices right sides together, stitched and turned them right side out.  I crossed the front over and pinned it and the straps in place and tried it on.   It was comfortable and would have worked just fine as a nightgown.  Since I was trying to manipulate the pattern into being more dress-like, I wanted it more fitted.  I took in the bodice side seams, and while I had it inside out, sewed some 1/4″ elastic along the seam allowances at the center front crossover edges and along the front underarm seams.  Making the bodice more fitted gave me the look I was going for!  I used elastic in the band, which also added support.  This nightgown will get worn all the time.

Norah bookNorah hair

Once I figured out my method, it was time to move on to some fancy fabric.  Valentine’s Day seems like the perfect time to try something sexier.  This makes me laugh, because “sexy” is not my style.  I like simple, clean lines, and am about 30 pounds and 30 years past dressing sexy! 🙂  Whatever!  Embrace where you are in life and go for it, right?

I saw the pretty, wide nude lace in one of Phee Fabrics Facebook posts and immediately wanted to use it.  I am not a lace person at all, so this tells you how pretty I thought the lace was!  Nude, natural colors seem to be the trend right now, so I was happy to note that Phee Fabrics also has nude circular knit.  I placed my order and impatiently waited for the USPS to deliver everything.

I prepped my pattern by tracing the bodice front and bodice back side seams one size smaller.  I also moved my bodice dart 1/4″ closer to the side seam so that it would better line up with the bust apex.  Because I was working with fancy lace yardage, it made sense to fold the bodice straps down 8″ and cut the back straps as separate pieces.  I cut the bodice pieces out of all three fabrics: the wide lace; powernet; and circular knit.  The lace was cut on the bias in order to have the lace edge along the center cross-over.  I cut the skirt out of the circular knit and powernet, trimming just the bottom hem with the lace.

Norah piecesIf the lace and circular knit were an exact color match, I would have just used one layer of fabric for my skirt.  If you’re going for sheer and sexy, you could just use the powernet.

Baste the powernet to the bodice lining pieces (in this case, the circular knit).  If you want to add removable bra cups or a prostheses, don’t baste the powernet at the bodice front side seam. N side bodice When you sew the side seams together, sew all layers at the top and bottom for about an inch, leaving the middle 2 to 3 inches of just the front bodice lining free so that you have an opening in the side seams.

Sew the back straps (strips of fabric 8.5″ x 1.5″) to the front straps.

Norah straps

Sew the bodice main fabric and lining layers right sides together, along the side of the straps down the front, and down the other side of the strap and across the back.  Don’t forget to leave openings in the back to insert your straps!  I found that I like my straps to start about 2″ from center back.

N back strap

Sew 1/4″ or 3/8″ wide elastic along the center fronts and along the front underarm area stretching slightly as you sew.  It’s going to gather your fabric a little bit, but that’s ok, it’s going to look fabulous when it’s on your body!

N elasticThen turn your bodice right sides out and press.  Don’t forget to press all seams open as you sew.  This helps reduce bulk when sewing your layers together, as well as giving your garment a more finished look.  Cross the bodice fronts over as per the pattern markings and baste in place.  Pin or baste the straps in place and try on for fit.  You may want to shorten your straps or move them closer to the center.  Maybe you want to cross them in the back.  The best part of sewing is that you make garments that fit YOU.  Once you’ve decided on strap placement, stitch the straps in place.  Lining up the bottom edges of your bodice main and lining fabrics, baste the layers together.   This makes it easier when you sew on the band.

Norah bodiceN skirt

Sew on the band according to pattern directions.  Cut the band elastic to a snug yet comfortable length and insert into the band.  Sew the skirt according to pattern directions.  I changed this version up a little bit by gathering a wider section of the center for a softer look.  You could also gather the entire skirt, then attach the skirt to the band.

And that’s how I ended up with my middle-aged version of a sexy nightgown!  Made in a different fabric, I would totally wear this as a dress.

Norah sit

See what’s missing in your wardrobe and give it a sew!

 

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

 

 

 

GreenStyle Studio to Street Top

Change the fabric, change the look!

I am always excited when I am chosen to test a pattern.  I don’t apply to test that often, and I only apply when the pattern looks like a style that I would wear.  You’re generally expected to make two or more of the item, so there’s no point in applying if it’s not something you want in your closet!

I’ll be the first to admit that I am not a “trendy” person.  I tend to choose clothing that is classic, simple, and that I can wear for years.  My career wear leaned heavily toward suits, and dresses with a jacket.  Athletic wear now dominates my wardrobe.  I go to yoga class 4 (or more) days a week, so other than my weekend shorts, tops, and dresses, you’ll generally find me in workout wear.  Which brings me to the GreenStyle Studio to Street Top.

I’ve stopped by the grocery store on my way home from yoga class on more than one occasion.  While it generally doesn’t bother me to walk around in workout wear, stores in Florida, and grocery stores in particular are cold.  They seem to keep the A/C cranked down towards refrigerator level.  While I appreciate that they are trying to keep the food fresh, I don’t like freezing while shopping.  So the Studio to Street Top is perfect for popping on after class, looking “put together” and completing your errands in comfort.

My measurements put me in a size Large, so per testing guidelines I made a size Large, adding 1″ to the length to account for my height.  For my first test version I used some rayon spandex from JoAnn Fabric that I had in my stash.  I chose the V-neck split-band bottom with a crew neck back. (This pattern has so many great options!)

sts v1It could have been the super stretchy fabric, but the size of this trendy style felt a little too slouchy for me.  (Hey, I lived through the ’90’s already, the Flashdance look just isn’t my personality!)  So for my next two tops I sized down to a Medium.  That, and using high quality fabric, was just the change I needed to fall in love with this top.

Winter white rayon spandex from Phee Fabrics is the perfect fabric for the V-neck, split-band front, full length V back version.  It’s a trendy, yet classic top that fills a hole in my closet.  I can throw it on over my workout wear to run errands, and it’s long enough to cover my “assets” if I want to wear it with leggings.

sts necklace

The pattern has sleeve options to cover all seasons.  Long sleeves, 3/4 sleeves, short banded sleeves, or you can just hem the sleeve openings.  Since it’s usually warm in Florida, I decided to go with the banded sleeves for my third version.  I wanted a dressier top that I could wear to church or out to dinner.  Circular knit from Phee  Fabrics gave the V-neck, deep V back, full length top the perfect element of dressiness.   It’s super comfortable and breathable, with just the right amount of sexiness.

sts turq msts turq m deepv

The deep V back looks sexy (but can be worn with a regular bra!)  Or you can totally change the look by wearing a fun strappy bra (hello, Power Sports Bra!)  I will wear this with skirts, shorts, or thrown over my yoga wear all summer long.

I didn’t make a cropped version because it isn’t my tall girl style.  But a cropped sweater knit version would look adorable on my daughter or one of my nieces who live in colder climates!  With so many options (hmmm, I didn’t make a crew neck front yet..) and clear, easy to follow directions, the GreenStyle Studio to Street Top is a pattern worth owning.  Using different types and weights of fabrics will give you so many fun styles it will become a staple in your closet!

As an interesting side note, both the skirt and Super G Tights are made of Phee Fabrics Supplex.  Obviously it is my favorite fabric for workout bras, tops and multiple styles of bottoms!

 

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