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! ❤

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! ❤

The GreenStyle Simpatico Leggings

A not so basic “basic”

One of my most worn clothing styles is leggings, which is no surprise. 😉 Between yoga classes and needing “pants” 🙂 for cool days, leggings are a go-to item. When GreenStyle Creations opened up testing, I quickly jumped at the opportunity.

The Simpatico Leggings are literally a basic style with no outside seams or pockets. But don’t let the simplicity fool you. They are perfectly shaped to fit actual bodies. That may sound funny, but we’ve all bought ready-to-wear leggings that are nothing but tapered straight legs that wrinkle behind the knees, feel too tight on your calves, and have waistbands that don’t end up where you want them to.

Excellent drafting skills went into the design of the Simpatico Leggings. The legs are shaped, they fit smoothly over your calves, they don’t wrinkle or sag at the knees, and the waistband is contoured (rather than a simple rectangle) so it fits and doesn’t gap at the back of the waist. And it has petite, standard, and tall options! For anyone that has ever struggled or been nervous about lengthening or shortening leggings, this is super helpful! A beginning sewist can feel confident about sewing beautifully fitting leggings, and a more experienced sewist can quickly whip up a pair when needed.

No knee wrinkles, and shaping that fits my calves!

You can also choose between a mid-rise or high-rise waistband, and capri or full length leggings. The high-rise waistband is perfect for comfortable smoothing under tops and tunics. I used powernet in the front half of my waistbands (for extra smoothing power!) and clear elastic along the top waistband seam. Whether I’m just walking around or doing yoga, the waistband stays perfectly in place.

My husband seems to enjoy being my photographer and making me laugh while showing off every aspect of my leggings! 😉

Whether you’re looking for simple leggings or capris to wear to yoga class, or a basic to throw on with a tunic and cardigan for running errands, the Simpatico Leggings are a solid choice.

The simple design is perfect for showing off a pretty print!

The details:

The marble print fabric is a nylon spandex athletic blend from JoAnn Fabric. It’s not as thick as supplex, but feels like a lightweight supplex. While I wouldn’t “go commando” at yoga class in this fabric, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality. The mint green top is the GreenStyle Studio to Street blogged here. I love that even in the deep V back version, I can wear a regular bra with it!

The navy Supplex is from Phee Fabrics. The top is the Waimea Rashguard blogged here.

The links to GreenStyle and the Simpatico Leggings 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! ❤

Stitch Upon A Time Legend Leggings

When you go to yoga class four days a week, you need a lot of workout wear! I am super picky about workout wear because if it’s not comfortable, breathable, and able to stretch with me, it’s not getting worn.

Making leggings that work as hard as you do can be a challenge. Some patterns are meant to look cute as lounge or daily wear, but don’t really work for exercise. And obviously fabric choice plays a part in this. But the new Legend Leggings from Stitch Upon A Time meet my workout challenge, even after a sweaty Ashtanga Yoga class!

The waistband didn’t roll or give me a “muffin top”. I even wore a Titania Tunic tied up on the side, exposing my belly, which is definitely not the norm for the 50+ year old crowd! That’s how confident I feel in my new leggings!

I played around while doing photos and actually managed to get a few seconds of air time (while flashing my belly, gasp!) on a public beach. Hahahahahaha! Obviously I was never a gymnast or cheerleader, but I have built some decent upper body strength after doing yoga for nearly 18 years. 😉

The inseam free Legends can be shorts, capri, or full length. They can be solid or have stripes that curve to accent the booty.

You can keep it simple and let your fabric be the focal point, or go crazy and cover-stitch to accent all the seams. The waistband can be low or high, but being a rebel (which is so unlike me) I went halfway between for a mid-height.

I love leggings that give me flexibility in fit and style. I had no problems with them riding up or down, no matter how many forward folds, stretches, or holds.

I love leggings that are comfortable and versatile, that you can wear to lounge about or workout. Here is how I personalized them to suit me:

I am tall, so I added 1″ to the capri length. As mentioned, I cut halfway between the low and high rise for my perfect waistband height. To give the front waistband more tummy smoothing power (I like cookies, okay?) I added powernet to half of the waistband. (Cutting the powernet to fit the entire folded over waistband would give even more holding power.) The powernet was basted to the front waistband, then the front and back waistbands were sewn together as per the tutorial. I recommend cover-stitching the side seams or stitching in the ditch with a sewing machine to keep the side seams aligned if you add powernet. I also gave myself a little more booty room by cutting along the Medium inner back crotch curve line, while cutting everything else on my measured size Large cut line.

It was a great way to give a little more room for “the junk in the trunk”, especially since I like using highly compressive fabric for leggings. Keep in mind that if you have a similar booty/body shape, that you will need to stretch the back waistband a little bit, while easing in the body of the leggings. If you’ve ever had pants that fit nicely over your booty, but gapped at the back waist, this solves that problem.

The details: I used three different colors of Supplex from Phee Fabrics for this fun striped look. The reverse triple cover-stitching was done using a variegated thread in the looper. I just love the fun look you get from variegated thread, especially when working with solid color fabrics. And yes, I will definitely make another pair (or three!) of Legend Leggings. I think it would be a fun look to use powernet as the outer stripe. Kind of sexy and kind of fun, what can I say?!

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

The Sinclair Alana Princess Seam Dress

Don’t you just love princess seam dresses? The curves fit your curves, you get the opportunity to color-block and really personalize your fit, and best of all, it’s truly a universally flattering style!

I was excited when Sinclair Patterns posted the tester call for this pattern and quickly applied to test. I enjoy testing patterns for a few reasons: it gives me a deadline and focus for my sewing (especially helpful if you’re in a sewing slump); it’s an opportunity to learn or try different techniques or finishes; you get to provide input on how a pattern fits on different bodies and body shapes; and of course you get to play with a new pattern!

The Alana Princess Seam Dress has gently flared skirt which accentuates (or gives the illusion of) an hourglass figure, and, it has pockets!

It’s not often that a knit dress includes pockets, because of course knits stretch. Pockets can become distorted or cause unflattering lumps and bumps when “hidden” in a side seam. But the Alana pockets are integrated into the design, and the tutorial provides instructions for stabilizing the pocket opening so they don’t get all droopy and ugly.

Obviously, fabric choice is going to affect the look and fit of any pattern. A higher Lycra or spandex content is going to give a firmer fit and more “hold”. A softer knit is going to give more drape. This dress was made with coordinating Art Gallery Fabrics cotton Lycra prints.

Because the AGF cotton Lycra has excellent 4-way stretch, I laid the front and back center panel pattern pieces cross grain to give me vertical stripes. And I was super careful when laying out the side front and side back pieces so that the stripes would align down the side seams.

What was I thinking when I decided to use a striped fabric on a time-sensitive garment? \_O_/ Hahahahahaha! If you want perfectly matched stripes, you have to take the time to do lots and lots of pinning to keep everything aligned when you sew!

Sinclair Patterns are somewhat unique in the .pdf pattern world, as they include short, average, and tall pattern options. Most of my height is in my legs, but I am also longer than average from shoulder to bust point. So I use the tall pattern from the shoulder through the armscye, and the regular pattern for the balance of the dress. Have you ever noticed a ready to wear (or sewn by you) top or dress cutting up into your armpits and creating wrinkles? Well, you probably need a deeper armscye.

Do you notice wrinkles on the side of the bust radiating out to the side seams? And sometimes a big wrinkle above the bust going out to the side seam? That tells you that there isn’t enough room for your bust in that top or dress. Simply using a larger size isn’t the solution, as then the top will be too large in the shoulder and neckline area. What you are likely to need is an adjustment in the bust area. There are plenty of full bust adjustment tutorials and videos online, and they generally do a good job of solving the problem. It’s a little different on a princess seam pattern, and there are princess seam FBA tutorials online too.

But for me, I really only need extra width specifically at the bust area, basically, some bust projection room. To personalize the pattern, I literally drew a C-shaped extension on the front side panels at the bust level. At its widest point, the C extension is about 3/4″ wide. I don’t need extra width at the top of or under the bust, so this type of adjustment is perfect for my body and bustline.

It adds space for the bust, but no extra fullness above or bagginess below the bust. It’s amazing how one small change can make a pattern fit so well.

So, was there anything that I disliked about the pattern or tutorial? I am not a big fan of the neckline facing. I get the point of it, and really like the idea of a clean finish. If I were using a more structured or thicker fabric, it would be a great finish. But if your fabric is a little more stretchy, or lighter, or at all sheer, I don’t like that I can see it through my main fabric. It’s also more time consuming than a simple bound neckline would have been.

In the future, I’m likely to just do a binding at the neckline. It’s quick and easy, and hey, any excuse to cover-stitch is good for me! 🙂

If you’re looking for a fun princess dress pattern, give the Alana Dress a spin! You can color-block, go solid, or use coordinating prints. There are high or scoop neck options, it can be sleeveless or have short, 3/4 or long sleeves, and the dress can be short or knee length, and the pockets are optional. This is a pattern I will use again and I love the comfortable fit. If you don’t use stripes, it’s a pretty quick sew! 🙂

The details: I used the scoop neckline, shorter length, and of course, pockets! The fabric is Art Gallery Fabrics cotton Lycra, purchased from my local sewing shop. AGF is available from online shops and may be carried at local independent sewing shops.

Ready For Some Cute New Shorts?

Stitch Upon A Time Midsummer Pants, Capris, and Shorts

When the tester call for the Stitch Upon A Time Midsummer Pants, Capris, and Shorts came out, I was quick to respond as soon as I saw the line drawings.  Being a Florida girl, I wear shorts eleven months out of the year, and I needed these shorts in my life!

It’s surprising how much the shorts appealed to me, considering that pretty much all my shorts are a variation of slim fit jogger style.  I’m a Grandma.  I don’t wear shortie shorts. But the wrap-around running shorts look is just so fun!  So I expanded my horizons and tried a whole brand new look, and I love it!

midsummer cat front

The curved edges give a sporty look that accentuates your legs.  And they can be wrapped to the front or the back.

midsummer cat back

My favorite pair were made with an Art Gallery Fabrics cotton lycra knit.  The softness of the AGF fabric gives it a nice drape, better than what you would get for an average cotton lycra.

midsummer cat hip

I also made a pair using nylon spandex tricot.  The quick drying fabric would make them perfect for throwing on over a swimsuit.  And they’re great for those beach walks when you might wander into the water because it’s so hot!

midsummer teal front

Fabric choice makes a difference in the fit.  Because nylon spandex has a lot of recovery, the waistband will try to migrate to the narrowest part of your body.  My natural waist is much higher than my belly button, so I think I’ll hack a higher waistband the next time I use this fabric.

midsummer teal back

I like that the shorts give decent booty coverage, while still looking sexy.  The shorts are a quick sew, even including cover-stitching the curved hem.  Seriously!  Center front seam, center back seam, crotch seam, hem, baste, and add the waistband.

midsummer teal full

Which brings me to my sewing tips for the Midsummer Shorts.  I like to up the differential to 1.3 while using a 4 thread overlock on the edge of the hem.  This helps keep knits from stretching out, and makes getting a smooth curved hem a little easier by slightly easing the curve.  Then when you fold it up, you don’t end up with a bumpy hem and it’s easy to top or cover-stitch.  I also recommend top-stitching the wrap over section  for about 4 inches down, starting at the waistband.  This helps keep the wrap flat and in place whether you run or kick or stretch.

Are you ready to try a new look?  Even if you’re not a shorts wearer, I can foresee some soft comfy lounge pant or capris for bumming around town.

Get the look:  the Midsummer Pants, Capris and shorts pattern.

The emerald rayon spandex for the Aushui Tank was purchased from Phee Fabrics.  You can read more about the Aushui Tank (including a fun hack!) here.  The Art Gallery Le Tigre fabric was purchased from my local sewing store, but Stitch Upon A Time and Phee Fabrics both carry a selection of Art Gallery Fabrics cotton lycra knits.

The Titania Tunic was made with white circular knit and I used powernet in the shelf bra.   You can read more about the Titania Tunic, and my workout top hack here.  The teal shorts are nylon spandex tricot.

So, are you ready for some cute new shorts (or capris, or pants)?

 

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

Follow Me Wrap Dress

And How To Simplify Hemming The Flounce

I couldn’t resist purchasing the Pattern Emporium Follow Me Wrap Dress when it first released, even though I am not a flounce or ruffles kind of girl.  A girly girl, absolutely!  I love dresses and all sorts of womanly things.  But frills, flounces and ruffles?  Not my gig.  The pattern includes a plain wrap version, and four lengths from mini to below knee.  But the flounce version just spoke to me, and I knew a knee length sleeveless dress would be the most worn.

When I traced the pattern in my size, I originally added 2″ to the length of the skirt because a lot of my height is in my legs.  And I wanted it a flattering knee length that could also be worn to church.  Then I tried laying the pattern out.  No matter how hard I tried to Tetris the pattern pieces, I could not make them fit on a two yard cut of fabric.  After debating whether to skip the flounce, and deciding not to, I set the pattern aside for a while.

Most of the knit fabric in my stash is a one or two yard cut, depending upon the weight and intended use of the fabric.  I could have just ordered two and a half yards of fabric, but I prefer to place a larger fabric order to save on shipping costs.  Then the pandemic hit, and I kind of lost the desire to sew for myself.  I made masks for family members, and found sewing joy making clothes for my granddaughters.  It was fun to upcycle unworn clothing and to use some of the older fabric in my stash to make cute toddler and baby clothes.  Finally, it sounded fun to sew something pretty for myself.

So I pulled out the pattern and decided to just go for it as written.  I cut the added length off the traced skirt pieces, and kept the only other pattern alterations.  The seam on the back bodice bugged me, so I folded over the center back seam allowance and cut the piece on the fold instead.  To slightly widen the straps, the low round neckline was traced and cut one size smaller than the rest of the pattern.

Follow Me side

The ingenious design of the wrap means that even when taking a walk along the windy shoreline, I didn’t have to worry about accidental undie exposure.  The wrap crosses over far enough that even when the top panel is lifted by the wind, you still have full frontal coverage.

The dress feels fun and flirty, sexy and yet modest.  You can also increase the modesty factor by using the higher neckline, and adding the cap, short, flounce, or long sleeves.  The below knee length would change the look as well.

Follow Me laugh

The dress was sewn entirely on my serger, and the actual sewing time was much faster than the pinning time! 🙂  It takes more than a minute to pin all that flounce to the bottom of the skirt.  But it is such a fun touch that I definitely plan to use it on the next one.  I also figured out a way to make hemming the flounce simple and easy.

Although you may be tempted to skip hemming, especially when using a high quality knit that doesn’t curl, if I’ve taken the time to sew a nice garment, you can bet that I’m going to finish it off nicely!  Hemming curved skirts, or in this case a very curved flounce can be challenging.  When you pin the hem up, there’s all this extra fabric (due to the curve) and it can get “bunchy” and wrinkly.  But, if you serge along the bottom edge of the hem or flounce, and up the differential feed, it will very neatly, slightly “gather” the edge.  I upped the differential to 1.3 on my machine, which is one click up from N(eutral) on most of the curve.  On the more curved ends, I upped it to 1.5, which is two clicks up.

Follow Me flounce

As you can see on this inside view of the flounce, I used a four-thread overlock stitch.  The darker gray thread is my overlock, and the light gray thread is the looper thread of the coverstitched hem.  On the bottom left where the flounce has a slighter curve the 1.3 differential made slight gathers.  At the center bottom where the curve is sharper, upping the differential to 1.5 kind of gathered it a bit more, while still keeping the fabric smooth and unwrinkled.  All I had to do at that point was take it over to my ironing board and press the hem up into place.  I used a few clips to keep it in place while the fabric cooled, but it was super easy to coverstitch (or topstitch with a single or twin needle if you don’t have a coverstitch machine) at that point.

Once you start playing with a coverstitch, you tend to coverstitch everything.  The binding at the neckline and armscye was coverstitched, the hem was coverstitched, and the seam where the flounce was attached to the skirt got coverstitched.  I did not coverstitch the waist seam, because who wants to draw attention to that area? 😉

Technically, this is my “muslin” or “toile”, as I went straight to my nice nylon/spandex tricot from Phee Fabrics, rather than making a test garment.  But I know that Pattern Emporium patterns are a good fit with only minor tweaking for my body shape.  And sewing with high quality fabric is so much easier than wasting time with flimsy fabric.

I really like my dress, but as with every garment I make, I’d like to perfect it.  I’m thinking of raising the waist seam on the next one by approximately 1″ to hit closer to my natural waist.  I’m also considering going down a size in the bodice, but doing a full bust adjustment to address the wrinkling across the bust and pulling up into the armpit area.  Should I add an inch of length to the skirt to make up for the inch I plan to take out of the bodice?  Do you think I’m on the right track with a smaller size and FBA?

Follow Me back

Because I need more of these easy breezy summer dresses!  Hmmmm, maybe some soft rayon spandex for the next one?

I hope you have found your sewing joy.  But if you’re struggling, take the time to breathe deeply, then dive back in to a project that sounds fun to you. ❤

Spot On With Spoxxy

I’ve been guilty of buying a pattern, but not printing and sewing it right away on more than one occasion.  Silly, I know!  The racerback look is popular, cute, and probably why I hesitated on sewing one up.  I’m not a fan of my bra straps showing, strapless bras aren’t really comfortable, and I don’t own a well fitting racerback bra.  That sounds so silly, especially when you consider how many Brazi’s I’ve made.  But here’s the thing- all the Brazi’s I make for myself have been hacked to have straight straps because I don’t like straps near my neck.  My daughter likes the cross back Brazi, and tracing the pattern in her new postpartum and nursing size is on my agenda for today.  Anyhow, the Spoxxy sat unprinted in my computer for a few months.

Then I saw someone post a Spoxxy made as a nightgown on the Stitch Upon A Time Facebook page, and quickly decided to make myself one!  Who doesn’t need some new nightgowns after a few months of social distancing at home?  Not that I lived in nightgowns, hahahahahahaha!  😉  Who am I kidding?  I put on shorts and a tank top to go for walks and thoroughly enjoyed being comfortable in a nightie the rest of the day.

Since this was “just going to be a nightie”, I used some lightweight rayon spandex that I found at an estate sale.  And of course I end up loving the look and want to just keep it as a dress!

Spoxxy front

Look at that grin on my face- I couldn’t stop smiling because it’s just such a cute, comfortable pattern.  The racerback fits well, and the bands don’t bunch up where the upper back meets the gathered body.  Which is a problem I have seen on similar styled patterns by other designers.  I thinks it’s the angle of the cut?

Spoxxy back

The smooth curve of the racerback, the gathering at the back, and the over all shaping of the dress is quite flattering.  The pattern calls for a band at the hip for the top version, and elastic at the waist for the dress version.  I contemplated adding the waist elastic, but since the shaping hits perfectly at the natural waist and flares out to skim the hips, I didn’t see the need.

Spoxxy laugh

After I sent my daughter a photo of my dress, she commented that she needs some comfortable dresses that she can nurse in.  So Mama dug through her stash and found bits of charcoal and gray rayon spandex that were just big enough to piece together a color-blocked version for her.  Due to fabric constraints, I had to add a seam to the bottom section center back, but it’s still quite wearable and fun.  I don’t have any modeled photos of her yet, since it takes a while for packages to get to another state.

Spoxxy gray Obviously, I need to make myself a few more Spoxxy dresses and/or nightgowns because the fit is just so spot on!   Using a more substantial weight of rayon spandex (rather than the flimsy estate sale stuff I started with) will make it even better with improved drape and recovery.

So, the next time you notice an unused pattern sitting in your computer, print it out, and sew it up!  Or give the Spoxxy a try, and see if you end up with a happy smile like me!

Spoxxy hand

 

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

 

 

Shorts Or Swim Trunks? How About Both!

Sewing For Men, Episode 3

My husband isn’t often interested in patterns, or in being my model for a pattern test. 🙂  He did however, really like the line drawings for the new GreenStyle Motion Athletic Shorts.  Since he basically lives in athletic shorts, he was more than happy to let me sew them for him!

The Motion Shorts are designed for stretch wovens, with an optional liner layer made in 4-way stretch fabric.  The front pockets are deep and large, so no matter how big your phone, there’s plenty of room for that, and all the other stuff guys tend to carry!  The curved back gives shaping and is quite flattering on the booty.  And the side and back panels give an opportunity for contrast fabric and pretty top-stitching.

Motion back

The liner layer can be made of mesh for a traditional swim trunk style, or Supplex or other compressive fabric for support for working out.  I chose to use nylon/spandex tricot so Dan can wear his shorts for workouts and swimming.  Moisture wicking, quick drying fabric is key when making swim or workout wear.  I use the same Phee Fabrics tricot for my swimwear and dresses, and he’s lucky I had this khaki steel color in my stash and used it for him, rather than the dress I had intended to make with it! 😉

Motion lining

After I made the first pair of shorts, he requested that I add a “hammock hack” to the liner layer, so that they would fit like ready-to-wear Saxx, and all the underwear I make for him.  No problem sweetie, I can do that! ❤  Powernet is the fabric of choice for the gusset hammock, just as it is added to bras and swimwear, because of its supportive nature.

The hammock is a partial moon shape, with the straight edges toward the center, and the curved edges sewn to the center panel of the liner layer.  After cutting out the mirror image hammock pieces, I do a tight rolled hem on the straighter side of both pieces.  If you don’t have a serger, you can also use cotton swimwear elastic tautly stretched and zig-zag stitched to the straighter edges.  Lay the hammock pieces on the lining center panel and pin along the curved edge.  Then baste along the sides and across the top with a zig zag stitch set at 2.5 or 3.0.  Then stitch the dart at the bottom of the center panel.  Snip the top of the dart up to, but not through the stitch line, and press the seam open.  Then baste it in place.  Notice how having a larger curve on the hammock piece, compared to the curve on the center panel gives the wearer space to tuck everything in?  (I’m trying hard here to be descriptive without being too descriptive if you know what I mean!)  This is a family friendly blog!

Motion gusset

At this point, the center panel can be sewn to the liner pieces as per the pattern tutorial, and the shorts can be completed.  Here’s a photo of the inside of the finished shorts.

Motion gusset complete

The pattern has options for 5″, 7″, and 9″ inseam lengths, which is great because they can be customized to fit your needs.  Dan prefers the 7″ inseam, because he doesn’t like longer shorts that get caught on his knees when he’s working out.  If I were making myself a pair, I’d choose the 5″ length.  And yes, I tried his shorts on.  I’d need a smaller size, but they were pretty cute on me too!  The pockets are so much bigger than any other shorts I’ve made, so who wouldn’t want that?

Motion pocket

They are flattering from every angle, and I am so excited that the beach has reopened so we can go for walks along the shore again.

Motion right side

And no photo session with a guy is complete without plenty of silly poses for your viewing pleasure! 😉

Motion guns Motion buff

Obviously I need to make him a few more pairs, because he is loving the look!

I used stretch twill from Phee Fabrics as the main fabric, with a scrap of (no longer available) reflective chevron as a fun accent.  It’s funny how making them out of all one fabric color gives them a dressy look, while using an accent fabric gives them a more sporty look.  And I know that I’ve found a winning pattern when he starts asking me to customize and hack it for him! 🙂

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

Keep It Simple & Add Some Flair

Keeping it simple sounds like a great idea right about now, during a time of uncertainty.  And I (mostly) have been!  My days are filled with sewing, cooking, cleaning, spending time with my husband, prayer and reflection, and texting and FaceTiming family.  Like most people, I also probably spend too much time reading about the virus, watching TV, and on social media. 😦  So it’s time to get back to writing about sewing and patterns and fabric and all the other things that make me happy! 🙂

There were some chilly days here in Florida last month, so I decided to make the Pattern Emporium Keep It Simple Babe Tee shirt.  Patterns with lots of options can be overwhelming and wonderfully useful!  The Keep It Simple Babe has high and low square necks, high and low round necks, boat and crew necks, turtlenecks, and a V-neck.  And everything from cap to long sleeves, so there are definitely options.

Since Florida is hot most of the year, tank tops make up a good portion of my wardrobe.  But there are chilly days, so a long sleeved tee is a practical make.  Super soft rayon spandex is my favorite fabric for tops and flowy dresses, and I had enough of this turquoise from Phee Fabrics in my stash to make the long sleeved tee.  The sleeves are slim enough to stay in place when pushed up to 3/4 length, but not feel too tight.

KISB Urban front

The V-neck is a good depth, not too high or too deep, and the neck-band came out perfectly.  The bodice skims over the body and doesn’t cling or show off the fact that I’ve probably eaten too many cookies while staying “safer at home”!  The Keep It Simple is a solid pattern choice.  Now for the Flair!

I had a small bit of Cozy French Terry left after sewing some fuzzy slipper socks for my sister, and managed to squeeze a pair of shorts on the fabric.  The Pattern Emporium Urban Flair Pants are one of my favorite pants patterns.  There are three leg width options and I chose the wide leg version to make a pair of basic black pants a couple months ago.  I love them!  They are super comfortable, the back darts smooth over the booty, and other than adding length I didn’t need to alter the pattern at all!  If you’ve ever sewn pants, that is saying something!

Urban Flair pants

So that’s why I decided to use the pattern to make a pair of shorts.  I marked the pattern to give me a 5-1/4″ inseam, and cut the legs straight across.  Since I was using scraps, I had to cut the pockets out of rayon spandex, and used Supplex and the rayon spandex for the waistband.  Supplex makes great waistbands, because it has excellent recovery.  So instead of folding the waistband pattern piece in half, I hacked it to have an inner waistband of Supplex, and an outer waistband of rayon spandex, so it would match the pockets.  I slightly contoured it, and added a seam allowance so that the finished waistband would be the same height as the pattern called for.

waistband

It’s a fun accent, and worked out great.  I will say that it’s imperative to use a substantial weight of rayon spandex.  Flimsy rayon spandex won’t hold the weight of your phone and will get stretched out of shape.  This is 13oz. rayon spandex, the same as I used for my tee.  My phone easily fits in the generously sized pockets, and the shorts are super comfortable.

KISB Urban pocket

More shorts are definitely on the agenda, along with more walks along the beach!

KISB Urban side

Both patterns were great additions to my collection, and I’m glad I bought and made (more of) them.  I hope that you are doing lots of sewing, and enjoying spending time communicating with the people you love.  So keep it simple, give yourself some grace, and don’t forget to add a bit of flair and fun to your life! ❤