The long and short of Adelaide

Some gals project such effortless versatility to the world and Adelaide babe, that's you.  I first fell for her early last summer when my sewing momentum was just beginning to pick up.   She had me at snap front, bra-strap coverage and discreetly body skimming silhouette.  If you haven’t heard me go on about this before, I’m talking about the Seamwork Magazine Adelaide Dress.  I loved my classic version so much it wasn't long before I dreamt up a hack with a waist seam, pleats and loose patch pockets.  In December I stumbled on some gorgeous ikat cotton and Adelaide came straight to mind.  My shopping partner insisted it should be a maxi and it was all settled.  **Brigada, Fer por me convencer xoxo**

Of course that wasn't the time for sundress making and I wondered if come summer I would chicken out on the maxi and settle on a length I'm more comfortable with.  Crazy, I know... Who in their right mind is not comfortable in a maxi?!   My thing is, I like my bum either solidly supported in a structured garment, or else completely lost in a fuller knee-length skirt.  I worry that draped under a long, looser-fitting skirt there may be some unsightly jiggling going on.  Or that in the words of my hero Clairee from Steel Magnolias it would look like "two pigs fightin' under a blanket".  I also don't have much height working for me, and didn't want to end up looking as wide as I am high.  Despite my fears and in the spirit of adventure I decided that I would take my own advice and do what I could to make the style work for me.  

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Drafting-wise, turning the pattern into a maxi was very straightforward.  I found the widest part of the pattern pieces (just above the hip) and measured the width.  I re-drew the hip curve to end in a straight line all the way to the hem keeping that same width measurement.  This ended up looking pretry much the same as grading from an 8 at the hip to a 2 soon thereafter.

 hip width extended to the hem to create a column

hip width extended to the hem to create a column

The pattern pieces from my original dress had been cut to use the length of the largest size, and from there I added an additional 11 inches to create the maxi.  It wasn’t until I had taped on the additional length that I realized there was some shaping at the hem, and so I just did my best to replicate that.  The shape of the skirt is basically a column and proportion-wise I think this is the way for curvy ladies to go.  Since the dress closes in the front it was super easy to leave the lower portion open for ease of movement.  No need for slits!  

 Full lengh of the pattern +11 inches added for maxi length.  I think I had 3 yards of fabric but ikats are so narrow it was barely long enough. 

Full lengh of the pattern +11 inches added for maxi length.  I think I had 3 yards of fabric but ikats are so narrow it was barely long enough. 

I made two other pattern changes on this version based on observations from my first two.  First, I had a bit of neckline gaping that I hoped to correct this time around.  Wearing the original dress I pinched out about half an inch excess from each side.  On the front pattern piece I slashed just inside of the neckline curve all the way to the horizontal line at the high hip.  Pivoting in, I removed that half inch.  Second, I had found the straps a tad long, and just snipped down from a size 6 to a 4.  Both of these adjustments helped the fit significantly.

 Slash and spread adjustment to neckline and about 1/8" trimmed off the straps.

Slash and spread adjustment to neckline and about 1/8" trimmed off the straps.

 I couldn't find any snaps in a color I liked so I opted for buttons instead.  These cheapies that come 8 to a card for $1 were the perfect color.

I couldn't find any snaps in a color I liked so I opted for buttons instead.  These cheapies that come 8 to a card for $1 were the perfect color.

 Buttons stop just above the knee to allow for free movement.

Buttons stop just above the knee to allow for free movement.

 Fish eye darts at the back waist are brilliant!  In this case they layed flat without cutting into them.  The finish is much nicer this way too.

Fish eye darts at the back waist are brilliant!  In this case they layed flat without cutting into them.  The finish is much nicer this way too.

 Self bias bound armholes are the only way to go.  I recently realized I've been skipping the understitching part of this process but it doesn't seem to be a problem here.

Self bias bound armholes are the only way to go.  I recently realized I've been skipping the understitching part of this process but it doesn't seem to be a problem here.

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 The pattern does instruct you to make belt loops but It's tricky to get them in the right place and I found them unnecessary.  I ended up leaving them off.  

The pattern does instruct you to make belt loops but It's tricky to get them in the right place and I found them unnecessary.  I ended up leaving them off.  

 Just enough ease in the skirt to be comfy, not so wide that it's frumpy.

Just enough ease in the skirt to be comfy, not so wide that it's frumpy.

 Kept it real by taking these photos on a 100 degree afternoon.

Kept it real by taking these photos on a 100 degree afternoon.

 I love how the cut of the straps and neckline cover my bra AND that chunk of flesh that chubs out between the arm and chest.  The neckline still doesn't lay completely flat but it is much better with my adjustments.

I love how the cut of the straps and neckline cover my bra AND that chunk of flesh that chubs out between the arm and chest.  The neckline still doesn't lay completely flat but it is much better with my adjustments.

Because it has been so incredibly hot and since you can never have too much of a good thing, as soon as I finished up my maxi I started thinking about a cropped top version.  Seems like everywhere I look I see inspiration for adorable button up tanks and again my darling Adelaide was the obvious choice for the hack.  The drafting was super simple.  I measured on myself where I wanted the hem to hit and marked that on a traced copy of the pattern with seam allowance.  Mine ended up being 12 3/4 inches down from the bottom of the armscye.  From there I added about 1 cm to the width at the hem and drew a line at the side seam to straighten out the waist curve.  The back length was adjusted to match.  At this point it was looking a lot like an A-line skirt at the bottom so I did the traditional shaping to smooth everything out and eliminate any pointyness at the sides.  Gotta give credit to this tutorial for skirtmaking I've been using for years.  The rest of the top was sewn up just as is instructed for the dress, minus the fisheye darts.

 Adjusted patern peices.

Adjusted patern peices.

 I had enough gold linen/rayon left from my first Adelaide hack to whip this up as my first #sewingleftovers project.  Shauni is so inspiring and I’m really motivated to make good use of all my leftovers.  This top can be made up in about 24 inches of 50” wide fabric.  Waste no more!

I had enough gold linen/rayon left from my first Adelaide hack to whip this up as my first #sewingleftovers project.  Shauni is so inspiring and I’m really motivated to make good use of all my leftovers.  This top can be made up in about 24 inches of 50” wide fabric.  Waste no more!

 Really loving this swing shape.

Really loving this swing shape.

 So glad I made those pattern changes before I cut this top.  The neckline sits so much better!

So glad I made those pattern changes before I cut this top.  The neckline sits so much better!

 Can't say enough how much I appreciate that underarm chub being tucked in.

Can't say enough how much I appreciate that underarm chub being tucked in.

 The length of the crop works perfectly for mid-rise jeans or trousers.  It's also long enough to be tied which looked better when I tried it with a skirt.

The length of the crop works perfectly for mid-rise jeans or trousers.  It's also long enough to be tied which looked better when I tried it with a skirt.

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 The structure of the linen really suits the shape. 

The structure of the linen really suits the shape. 

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A special thanks to you if you made it to the end of this doozy!  I’ve got one more double-make post in the works and then I hope to stay caught up for a while.

xo

Sewing magazines demystified: LMV Bernie

Don't you just love a good sewing mission?  A recent quest led me into the world of sewing magazines.  Because I had heard the lore of Burda Style - the horrors of tracing overlapped pattern pieces and adding seam allowance - I was duly apprehensive.  Images of multi-colored subway map snakes kept me at a distance.  At the same time, I found that in one issue of La Maison Victor I'd get exactly the pattern I was searching for, plus eight other patterns for about the price of one.  That included a men’s shirt just like Mr. Old Bones had been asking for.  I really didn’t know what I was getting into but I'm not one to shy away from a challenge or a bargain.  I decided to press on and hope for the best.

My experience sewing up the Bruna blouse went so well that i immediately made myself another one.  A couple more selfish sews later I decided to spread the LMV love and set out to find fabric for some selfless man-sewing.  

Pattern: Bernie shirt; La Maison Victor English edition issue 2, 2018

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 I really want to re-create this shot but we don't have a kid or graffiti that is art :/

I really want to re-create this shot but we don't have a kid or graffiti that is art :/

Fabric: Bolt- snowdrop 100% cotton from Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics.  I bought 2 yards (44 inches wide) and had just a bit left over.

Size: Large, the suggested size based in his chest measurement 

Fit: The fit across the back and shoulders was spot on with no changes.  The fit around the middle turned out to be too roomy for my ‘client’s’ taste so I pinched out the excess fabric at the side seams under the arms down to the waist and graded back out at the hem.  The end result looks great, although I suspect a more appropriate alteration for menswear would be to take the volume out of the center back (?)  Comment on that if you know!

 I traced the adjustment to the side seams on to my pattern pieces as best as I could.  I’ll try to figure out how to true that intersection with the armscye later...

I traced the adjustment to the side seams on to my pattern pieces as best as I could.  I’ll try to figure out how to true that intersection with the armscye later...

Changes: I made up the shirt as per the instructions, except for the yoke which I attached with the burrito method.  I forget to add hem allowance to the front placket so I had to shorten the overall length by about 2 centimeters.  This actually looks great, especially if worn untucked.   The instructions don’t call for any clean seam finishing so I split the difference and serged & faux flat-felled them.  I think I’ll go the extra mile next time now that the fit is sorted.

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Verdict: I am very impressed with this pattern and I feel like with the 2 shirts I’ve made I’ve gotten more than my money’s worth.  Bernie is definitely cut with a young, stylish guy in mind, but not fitted to the extreme.  We especially love the very narrow collar stand, and the shape and size of the collar is perfect for a modern casual look.  Tracing the pattern from the magazine was totally foreign to me and the first time I was a little confused.  If I’m honest that was mostly due to me not reading all of the instructions before getting started.  It really isn’t that complicated and there’s usually only 2 patterns to a sheet.  There’s even a breakdown of how much seam allowance to add to each pattern piece.  If you're scared of tracing off patterns from a magazine I'd say this is a good place to start.  Relax and take it slow and you will get through it. 

 2 Patterns to a page - not too much overlapping.  

2 Patterns to a page - not too much overlapping.  

 Size chart and helpful measuring guide! I would not have guessed that’s where you measure a man’s waist.

Size chart and helpful measuring guide! I would not have guessed that’s where you measure a man’s waist.

 Four pages of illustrated instructions 

Four pages of illustrated instructions 

 Pattern outlines are color coded. Here the Bernie shirt is outlined in pink and the color coded diagram shows the location and orientation of each pattern piece. Bernie is continued on page 2

Pattern outlines are color coded. Here the Bernie shirt is outlined in pink and the color coded diagram shows the location and orientation of each pattern piece. Bernie is continued on page 2

Notes on sewing for men:  Men may try and lead us to believe they are indifferent and not at all particular about their clothing.  In my experience nothing is further from the truth.  They are actually very particular - just not about the things you’d expect.  If you decide to sew for a man, ask a lot of questions and insist on answers- even if they try to blow you off.  Do not by any means forgo frequent fittings, and by all means: baste before you flat-fell.  Fit, feel of the fabric, button placement and pocket size/placement were all major considerations for my Mr.

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Serged and faux flat-felled seams.

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I managed to get the fabric way off grain when cutting the back shirt panel on the fold.  Please, look away.

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Petite collar and stand measure just under 5cm and 2cm respectively,

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The man went for understated matte white buttons.

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Double row of stitching on the back yoke is a nice detail.

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 Tiny and interestingly shaped collar stand.

Tiny and interestingly shaped collar stand.

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Hippie vibes and acceptance: Hey June Phoenix

Standing out can be great when it's your choice to do so.  But what do you do when you'd rather blend in?  I have some experience in not fitting in and generally feel comfortable in my own (figurative) skin.  Funny enough, one difference I haven't always embraced is my complexion.  See, I'm from sunny Orange County, California and was born into a beachy kind of family.  My dad is a sun-worshiping surfer.  My mom, an olive-toned former islander hippie.  I remember my blonde + bronzed older sisters perpetually glistening with tanning oil.  It was our tradition to spend vacations on the sand, and I felt that was part of my identity.  I loved this image and thought covering up or sitting under an umbrella were very uncool.  My conforming mind somehow thought I could train my skin to love the sun, and I was in complete denial about how I should care for it.  Many years, sun beds and painful burns later I began to come to terms with the fact that I will never be tan.  And that it was actually okay to be pale.  Figuring out a way to be in the sun without getting burned has been a little tricky and to this day I haven't gotten used to how much planning it takes.  Yet again, sewing has come to the rescue for me and at long last I have the cover-up of dreams.

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Pattern:  Hey June Handmade Phoenix Blouse

Fabric: Island Breeze Gauze in Olive from Fabric.com  This is not a very high quality fabric, but I tend to view my handmades as precious and I think I'll wear this more freely since it didn't cost a fortune to make.

Size: 6 based on bust measurements

Fit: I need your help on this!  I have very little experience wearing loose/blousy clothes.  My first instinct was to take in the bodice and under the arms, but I decided to leave it be.  What do you think?  Is it hanging properly, or should I have sized down?

Changes:  As soon as I saw this pattern, I could see it as a dress.  For this hack, I extended the full-length version by about 4 inches, widening the hem about 1 inch on the sides of each pattern piece (for a total of 4 inches around).  The tier/frill on the bottom is two long rectangles stitched together at both short ends.  Rough measurements: 8 inches wide x hem circumference + 50% for gathering.  The rest of the dress was sewn up exactly as instructed for the blouse.

Verdict:  There's a reason why Adriana has a reputation for great patterns with detailed instructions and my first experience was great.  She puts out a quality product at an incredibly reasonable price.  The trickiest part for me was sewing the front yoke with split neckline and only one of my corners is sharp and smooth.  This is mostly because I am very lazy when it comes to transferring pattern markings.  Next time I will use tailors tacks to achieve nice sharp corners.  I'm not tripping too hard on that though, because I am so happy with the end result.  I'm really starting to embrace this laid back hippie vibe and look forward to wearing my Phoenix on many sunburn-free summer days to come.

 The back yoke detail is my favorite.

The back yoke detail is my favorite.

 Perfect for a casual stroll in some seaside town...or down your neighbor's alley

Perfect for a casual stroll in some seaside town...or down your neighbor's alley

 The subtle bell sleeve is a statement but still practical.

The subtle bell sleeve is a statement but still practical.

 I remembered to use two rows of gathering stiches for my tiered skirt!

I remembered to use two rows of gathering stiches for my tiered skirt!

 Channeling my inner folk-rock songstress.

Channeling my inner folk-rock songstress.

 Oh, hi!

Oh, hi!

 I prefer my ties done up, and it gives me a little extra coverage on the chest.

I prefer my ties done up, and it gives me a little extra coverage on the chest.

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It's cute open too.

Crowdsourced V9251: an Anthro-inspired wrap hack

This project has been a long time coming so I'm excited that it's the first proper pattern review I'm sharing here.  It started when I picked up a few yards of floral (gasp!) rayon last December at Michael Levine with a summery dress in mind.  I'm so fickle when it comes to prints that I usually fall in and out of love with them before I even reach the checkout.  But this one seemed different and it fit in the budget, so it came home with me.  Fast forward to the end of March just before it was announced that the #sewtogetherforthesummer theme would be wrap dresses.  I came across this one in an Anthropologie ad and I immediately thought of that floral rayon I had. 

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Spurred along by my ever-resourceful Instagram pals, I suddenly had several pattern options that could help bring this inspo photo to life.  I went with Vogue 9251 after seeing it's versatility in versions from Jessie and Bryanna.  There were quite a few changes it needed in order to match my inspiration and seeing their hacks was really reassuring.

Pattern: Very Easy Vogue V9251.  I've only ever made a couple of Big 4 patterns, but I'm guessing this one was categorized 'very easy' because there are very few pattern pieces.  In my opinion that's a bit deceiving.  Especially since it's recommended to be made up in rayon, the instructions are sparse- almost cryptic and some of the methods a little tricky.  There's also no reminder or indication of when to finish seam allowances.  I think the indie pattern-maker favorite skill level "adventurous beginner" is much more accurate.  That said, I found the pattern to be very well drafted and final product matched the illustrations beautifully. 

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Fabric: Paradis Woodland Art Gallery Rayon from Michael Levine (out of stock there, but still online in other shops)  This fabric is sooo dreamy and buttery, assuming you dream of butter *or like me a really good plant based alternative*.  This is a bold, saturated print but to me the design and color pallete are sophisticated and refined.

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Size: I made the size 12 based on the finished bust measurements.  I could have graded down slightly at the waist but figured I'd just cinch it in with the ties.  A quick look at the cut of the skirt indicated it was generous enough to graze my hips freely so a straight 12 it was!

Fit: I'm very happy with the fit and fortunately the adjustments I made worked out great.  The waist does not tighten as snugly as I hoped, but I'm okay with it.  I really love the way the bodice hangs delicately with the perfect amount of ease.  The curve of the wrap skirt is something I was concerned about for modesty, but actually it has great coverage.  I can't say as much for the top but that might just be me (not a fan of cleavage).  Fortunately a safety pin is enough to keep the girl's out of sight.  I'll put a snap on soon to avoid snagging the fabric.

Changes: So many!  Starting from the top I raised the back neckline 1/2" which I think is more flattering on me.  The plan was to omit the sleeves so to keep it from being too restrictive I deepend the armscyes by 3/4", then finished them with bias binding.  There are options for two skirt lengths but since I wanted mine knee length I was on my own in adjusting it.  I know you're technically supposed to us the lenghten/shorten lines for this kind of change, but the placement of these made no sense to me.  Had I done as instructed I would have ended up with a waaay more voluminous skirt than I wanted (half circle skirt status).  I went rogue here, managing to preserve the curve of the of the front hem without adding on anything to the width.  I think I ended up shortening the midi version by about 11 inches.  I did not make a muslin, but I did carefully consider the impact of each change and made them to the pattern pieces before I cut into my fabric.  Holding the pieces up to myself and my dress form helped me feel confident I was on the right path.

The Frill:  As the main feature in replicating the look of the Anthropologie dress, this beast gets it's own section.  Truth: I own nothing with frills and invariably replace gathers with pleats in all skirts so the extent of my experience up to this point was gathering sleeves for insertion. I'm sure there are better ways to have done this, but this method got the job done.  I sewed together 4 inch wide strips of fabric totaling the required length plus roughly 50% extra for gathering.  I folded the one *very long* strip in half, stitching each end closed and sewed gathering stitches.  Gathering 195 inches of fabric was a way bigger undertaking than I imagined, especially since I thought I could do it with only one row of gathering stitches- a total ruffle rookie mistake.  If you attempt this, please save yourself some grief and use two or even three rows to keep everything in place.  Once the gathered frill was pinned on I attached it beginning at the outer waist tie, all around the hem and back up to the inner waist tie.  All three layers of the seam allowance were serged together and pressed toward the skirt.

 inside the frill

inside the frill

 

Construction: The construction was pretty straightforward, but the wording in the instructions and minimal illustrations left me overthinking what was to be done.  In the end I did what made the most sense to me, which may or may not be correct.  I think the look of self bias binding is so much more refined than pre-made, so I made it in the continuous loop method with this tutorial from Itch to Stitch.  For reference I used a 12" square and cut 1 inch strips and I had enough to bind the armscyes and all around the wrap and back neckline of the bodice with about 12 inches left over.  Making bias tape with such delicate fabric is a real pain and mine is far from perfect.  The same is true of my application of it.  I regret not making my strips 1.25" instead of 1" because I think those extra millimeters added to the folds would have made the binding sturdier.  Added to the fact that I'm super rusty at bias binding in general, I'm not certain it'll hold up in the washing machine so I'll probably stick to hand washing.  One thing that did help in making the bias tape was *heavily* spray starching the fabric square before cutting and again when putting it through the bias maker.  On that note, my top tip for working with shifty rayon in general is to handle it minimally.  The cut fabric loses it's shape very easily, so never stretch or pull on it in the slightest and to never let your cut fabric hang off the edge of your work surface or even from your hand until you've got it all stitched together.  

 self bias tape

self bias tape

 guts!  

guts!  

 the inner wrap

the inner wrap

 the outer wrap

the outer wrap

 front wrap

front wrap

Verdict: It's floaty and romantic and swishy and breezy.  Definitely not a look I'm known for, but I'm really pleased with it.  It had been ages since I made anything other than a simple skirt with rayon, and I had forgotten how hard it is to wrangle.  And with so many changes and fiddly finishings it took me ages to complete but it was all worth it in the end.  Stay tuned, I will be making a short sleeved version of this pattern soon sans frill very soon!

 

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 very roomy pockets

very roomy pockets

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My first swimsuit pattern was a vintage one + the choices we make

Confession: I am deeply affected by aesthetics.  I struggle with this concept, because I don't like to think of myself as a superficial person.  But I am emotionally and physically moved by beautiful things.  You know when something is so good it hurts?  So while I aim to be a person of greater substance, I'm aware of how visual appeal influences my choices.  In terms of sewing, I've observed this when it comes to pattern selection.  I find myself scrolling past designs that don't appeal to my personal style without giving them a second thought.  Later I'll see a stunning project using the very pattern I disregarded and am floored by how much vision the maker had.  It's a huge source of inspiration, but at the same time leaves me feeling a bit narrow-minded.  A true creative can look past styling or fabric choices that are different from their own and I really admire that.  So I'd like to say that today I'm sharing with you the progress I've made in this area, but I’m afraid not.  With the intent of self-reflection, today I’m taking you with me down a different path.

I've been subscribing to the "no fear" philosophy in sewing for a while now, so it was only a matter of time before I tackled my most recent challenge: swimwear!  Plans started to take shape during a routine trip to Joann's when I found what looked to me like swimsuit fabric.  It was stretchy and shiny in a really sleek dolphin grey, had a Nicole Miller label and was priced for clearance.  I was sold.  (An uninformed choice, based solely on appearance. I didn’t even check the exact content or percentage of stretch.  Bet you can guess how that went.). I picked up lining & elastic and started searching for a pattern.  My inspiration was the one-pieces in this year’s J. Crew collection but I hadn't seen too many pattern options.  I had just about settled on Laminaria by Tuesday Stitches (Seamstress Erin) when I decided to check out vintage patterns on Etsy.  I was completely swept away by the styling of the late 70’s & early 80's.  Some of my earliest memories are of my mom in a super shiny one-piece, glammed up in full hair and makeup (rouge + perm, natch) for a day at the pool.  So when I came across the gorgeous ladies illustrated on the envelope of Stretch & Sew's V-swimsuit from 1979, I wanted to be one of them.  Laminaria is similar in so many ways, it probably would have been the smarter choice.  It's hard to beat the detail of indie pattern instructions, plus it has a sew-along.  But I had fallen so in love with the image of those ladies so I clicked through to purchase.  Here's the rundown:

Pattern: Stretch & Sew V-swimsuit; version A

Fabric: Nicole Miller nylon/spandex from JoAnn, exact content & percentage of stretch unknown; nude power mesh also from JoAnn

Size: Graded between 34 at the bust to 38 at the hip (my measurements put me just under 36 and 40, so I went with the smaller size)

Changes: I followed the version A construction method for the most part.  Instead of soft halter ties I wrapped my ties in elastic and attached them to the back, straight down on either side.  I also chose to fully line the suit with power mesh and added a shelf bra because I’m not fancy-free like they were back then, if you know what I mean (wink, wink).

Verdict: This was my first attempt, so I consider the fact that it actually came together and fits as major wins.  It isn’t the most beautiful thing to look at when it’s just laying there, but once it’s on you really don’t notice the imperfections.  My biggest regret is the fabric.  My impulsive choice based on color was not the wisest.  The wrong side of the fabric is a lighter grey, so it shows through at the stress points-  most notably at the side seams. The questionable percentage of stretch must factor in here as well, or maybe I should have sized up.  For my next attempt I will 100% choose a fabric marketed for swimwear.  I can’t say with certainty if the power mesh as lining was a smart choice.  But I don’t think it was a bad one.  Regarding the pattern itself, I know it’s unlikely that you’ll try the same one.  Even so, I think it's a good one and the instructions were very clear and helpful.  I’d say vintage swimwear patterns are a viable option.

I admit the takeaway here is a bit feeble.  I chose a pattern because the illustrations were pretty and it worked out alright. Will I do that again? Probably.  But I hope my future self will remember this reflection and not limit her options solely based on aesthetics.  It can be a really positive thing to question why we make the choices that we do.

There are a ton of photos of this project.  So  even though this isn’t a tutorial, I hope they help other first-timers visualize the process.

 mee-yow =^_^=

mee-yow =^_^=

 3 front layers held together with wonder clips: main fabric, lining and shelf bra.  I used elastic the length of the front width minus 2 inches to create tension.

3 front layers held together with wonder clips: main fabric, lining and shelf bra.  I used elastic the length of the front width minus 2 inches to create tension.

 All sides serged together for handling.  Thanks to  Allie at Indie Sew  for the tips!

All sides serged together for handling.  Thanks to Allie at Indie Sew for the tips!

 The front ready to go.

The front ready to go.

 One side of the back, curved to go around the bum.  3D pattern pieces kind of blow my mind.

One side of the back, curved to go around the bum.  3D pattern pieces kind of blow my mind.

 The back ready to go.

The back ready to go.

 Crotch seam.

Crotch seam.

 Crotch lining is attached only to one side- at the crotch seam.  The sides are caught in the leg elastic and the other end stays open.

Crotch lining is attached only to one side- at the crotch seam.  The sides are caught in the leg elastic and the other end stays open.

 I love wonder clips.

I love wonder clips.

 Side seams serged together.

Side seams serged together.

 Elastic stabilizes the V-neck, the same measurement as the fabric.

Elastic stabilizes the V-neck, the same measurement as the fabric.

 Elastic add to the scoop back, 2/3 the measurement of the fabric.  I didn't get a photo of the leg elastic insertion, but it was cut the length of the leg circumference opening minus 2 inches.  On the front of the leg opening, the elastic was inserted at a 1:1 ratio, meaning no gathering.  The back of the leg opening is where those 2 inches were gathered, to create a tight fit around the bum.

Elastic add to the scoop back, 2/3 the measurement of the fabric.  I didn't get a photo of the leg elastic insertion, but it was cut the length of the leg circumference opening minus 2 inches.  On the front of the leg opening, the elastic was inserted at a 1:1 ratio, meaning no gathering.  The back of the leg opening is where those 2 inches were gathered, to create a tight fit around the bum.

 This resulted in some pretty extreme gathering around the back scoop, only slightly less so when the elastic is turned in.  I found this strange, but it does smooth out completely when worn.

This resulted in some pretty extreme gathering around the back scoop, only slightly less so when the elastic is turned in.  I found this strange, but it does smooth out completely when worn.

 The V-neck finish reminded me a lot of the continuous sleeve placket construction on the  Grainline Archer

The V-neck finish reminded me a lot of the continuous sleeve placket construction on the Grainline Archer

 The V-neck before turned under.

The V-neck before turned under.

 The V-neck turned under.

The V-neck turned under.

 Straps attached & all elastic turned under and top-stitched with a zig-zag.  Shelf bras really pull at the sides under the arm.  To remedy this I stitched the end of the strap to the shelf bra elastic on each side.  it's not pretty, but it looks 10x better from the outside.  

Straps attached & all elastic turned under and top-stitched with a zig-zag.  Shelf bras really pull at the sides under the arm.  To remedy this I stitched the end of the strap to the shelf bra elastic on each side.  it's not pretty, but it looks 10x better from the outside.  

 Ta-dah!  

Ta-dah!  

 Hard to get a flat lay of the back, what with the shelf bra pulling and all the elastic gathering.  But then again, my body is anything but flat!

Hard to get a flat lay of the back, what with the shelf bra pulling and all the elastic gathering.  But then again, my body is anything but flat!

If you’re still reading at this point you may be wondering where the photos of me actually wearing the swimsuit are.  Spoiler: there aren’t any.  Rest assured, my body image is fairly heathy and I’ll wear this swimsuit with pride.  It’s nothing more than a personal choice to limit how much of myself I share on the internet.  To see this one in action you’ll have to catch me on the sand or at the pool...if you can!  I’m usually hiding under an umbrella or in a caftan.  Stay protected, friends.  And if you make your own swimwear, tag it #nofearnewswimsuit so I can see!

xo

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Questioning limiting beliefs + a pair of wide legged trousers

If there’s one topic buzzing around social media the past few days it’s the verdict on Me Made May.  Did you stay true to your pledge or fall off the wagon?  What gaps did you identify in your wardrobe? How about the burnout from daily selfies?  For me, the challenge went quite smoothly, actually.  The unusually varied temps allowed for me to wear the gammit of my handmade wardrobe comfortably; 61 pieces of it it be exact!  Only problem was that a few days into it, I realized that I didn’t exactly feel stylish in the photos I was taking.  (p.s. you can read my quote about this in the June issue of Seamwork Magazine

I realized that for the fear of never making anything I don’t love to wear, I’ve been seriously limiting myself in the styles I choose to sew.  I tend to be stubborn and fiercely loyal to my ideas.  So with practicality standing guard, I shun most trends from the get-go and stick to a few basic (safe) styles I feel suit me best.  If I’m honest it has become just plain silly.  Recently on the Happier podcast with Gretchen Rubin, they discussed the idea of questioning the sometimes irrational beliefs that limit us, and it really rang true with me.  

That said, my sewing goal for the rest of the year is to step outside of my comfort zone and see how I can play around with new trends and adapt them to my current style.  I love a good hack, and since I didn’t even need to buy a new pattern to do it, I started off with a pair of wide legged Ultimate Trousers.  I loved the first pair so much, I decided to make a second and share them with you here. 

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Pattern: Ultimate Trousers by Sew Over It

Fabric: medium-heavyweight linen (blend?)  remnant from Michael Levine DTLA; 1 1/2 yards x56” wide

Size: I used my trusty altered pattern pieces that have seen my through 7 iterations of these trousers.  From what I recall, they are a 10 at the waist graded to a 12 at the hips. I also changed the crotch curve to a J shape at some point on the advice of Lauren’s post

For reference I am 5’5”; bust 35.5”; waist 28.5“; hip 39.5”

Changes:  For the wide leg hack I added 10 inches each to the width of the front and back leg hems and graded out to meet those lines starting just below the hip curve. I think I ended up chopping off 2 inches from the hem for a cropped look.  I also used the waist facings to make a narrow waistband and button tab.

Verdict: I love them! The combination of a lighter color + linen fabric does result in some inevitable afternoon bagginess in the bum, but because they’re quite fitted at the waist and hip I dont think it makes them unflattering.  Overall I feel super chic in these trousers and picture myself sailing around the Mediterranean in them.

Late to the party, and how I got here

Hello there and welcome!  Sure, I may be a decade late but I've never minded being slightly out of fashion.  In this space you can expect to find pretty pictures of my handmade wardrobe and helpful anecdotes about the process.

The short story:  In late 2013 I received a secondhand sewing machine and was eager to fulfill a lifelong dream of making my own clothes.  The only problem was that I had exactly zero training and some very grand plans.  I turned to the interwebs for guidance and was elated to come across tutorials from veterans like Tasia at Sewaholic and Lauren at Lladybird.  From them I learned so many things, like how to add inseam pockets or a lapped zipper.  They were young, relatable and funny with some serious sewing chops and such a willingness to share and teach.  I was inspired, and just...grateful.  Honestly, I'm certain I would never have achieved what I have so far without them and so many others.  

So why the blog?  Why now?  A couple of reasons, really.  First, I hope that I may in some small way help a new group of intrepid sewists along on their journey.  You, know pay it forward and keep that free exchange of information going.  And second, I think I could benefit from the mindful consideration it takes to catalog each project.  To take a break before rushing on to the next thing and reflect.  My plan is to blog each new make and share anything that you might find helpful and inspiring.

Sewing is empowering and with the right resources, you can absolutely make ANYTHING you want.  Subscribe! Comment! Question!  I'm so glad to have you around.

Until next time...

April

 wearing: Grainline Studio Archer in striped chambray from Joann Stores

wearing: Grainline Studio Archer in striped chambray from Joann Stores