Thursday, May 17, 2018

Vintage-Inspired Swimsuit

Disclaimer: I've gotten REALLY good at sucking in my gut for photos. Please remember that pictures on the internet are not reality!!

Somehow I've gone almost a year without blogging last summer's swimsuit! Remember this beauty?

I had both the pattern and the fabric for quite a long time before I finally took the plunge, just before Baby M's first birthday last July. We took her to a pool, so of course I needed a new suit (don't worry, she got a new one too, except it was store bought #momoftheyear). I wore it that one time, and then we didn't swim any more that summer! But this past weekend, it hit 90 degrees and we pulled out the sprinkler and our bag of swimwear.

Obviously, the suit didn't end up as planned. I cut and sewed the lining and tried it on my body to make sure the torso length would work, but I neglected to notice looked. There was a lot of swearing and hair-pulling before I ended up cutting the bodice and making a two-piece. I also recut the bottom to be more boy-shorts than bikini. Just a personal preference post-kids.

This AMAZING swim fabric is from The Fabric Fairy. If you aren't buying swim fabric from her, you are doing something wrong. She always has the best and most unique prints. I'm super excited that our new house will have a hot tub, because it means I have an excuse for more swimsuits!

This suit was a real make-it-work moment, but I think it turned out alright in the end. I still get to see that vibrant print, and it would have broken my heart to toss it in the trash after waiting so long to use it.

As for this summer, I do have a neon green Soma on my plate. What about you, are you planning any swimwear?

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Foam Jasmine Bras

Oh my gosh, it’s been almost a month since my last post! Things have been crazy around here, we somewhat unexpectedly decided to put our house on the market, and move to a new place! We’re staying in the same city but moving to a larger lot with acreage, woods, and a creek. Bonus: one bedroom will be set aside for a sewing room! We’re thrilled, but it was sudden and there was a lot of work to be done to sell our current home. The majority of my sewing room was packed up and taken to storage. I did hang on to a few things and all my machines, so that I don’t lose my mind without sewing! So let’s see what I’ve been up to in the last month.

BRAS! While I was frantically packing, I realized that it would be a perfect time to make all those Jasmine Bras I’d planned a while back. Small pieces of fabric, elastic, and notions that I already had on hand. I can make them entirely on a regular machine, the pattern was small, and it was actually a need in my wardrobe. Perfect!

I made these two Jasmine Bras last year, in size small. I realized recently that they were fitting a little loose in the cups. I’m no longer nursing, and yeah, I’m not a D cup anymore. I decided to try the XS and the fit was much better. I’ve also been wanting to try sewing foam bras, both for lift and coverage. I have plenty of fancy lace bras, but reality has shown me that I’m WAY more likely to reach for a knit T-shirt bra.

In the last couple months I have made FOUR Jasmine Bras that meet the above requirements. They’re just so fun! I can easily churn one out in a single day. Planning is everything here though. I made myself a chart of all the designs I wanted, the notions I needed in which color, and how much. I placed an order with Sew Sassy Fabrics and got everything at once. Having the notions on hand and the pattern copied to cardboard means the sewing happens quickly.

First up is a black modal jersey bra with pre-formed cups sewn to the wrong side of the lining. I think these cups are from Wawak. This one is super soft and stretchy but the cups were difficult to sew evenly. I attached them to the lining before assembling the rest of the bra. The upper edges are finished with 1/4"  FOE from The Fabric Fairy, the bottom band is 3/4" plush-backed elastic and the straps are 1/2" pre-made from Sew Sassy Fabrics. Closure also from SSF.

Next, I used the precious scraps of my favorite jersey print, these electric colored feathers on grey, from Girl Charlee. The lining is a hot pink bamboo knit from I've had both of these large scraps of fabric for probably four or five years! The upper edge is finished with 3/8" turquoise picot elastic from a flash deal website. The bottom band is the same elastic mentioned above and the straps are 1/2" strapping (no rings/sliders) from Sew Sassy Fabrics. Closure also from SSF. This is my first bra with cut and sew foam (from SSF). I ordered a 1/2 yard which ended up being maybe 50" wide? I didn't measure and it doesn't say on the website. I used Sarah's great tutorial here for assembly.

Sarah mentions that cut and sew foam tends to limit the vertical stretch of the fabric. I found this to be true. Additionally, by using picot elastic instead of FOE, I lost vertical length because I turned under the fabric to topstitch. Cotton jersey is also less stretchy than modal/spandex knit. All this to say, I find the feather bra to be slightly smaller than the black one. The pattern is exactly the same, but you can see how slight changes to fabric, finishings, and cups can make a big difference.

After the feather bra, I got the hair brained idea to try a different sewing order to recover some of that vertical stretch. Sarah's tutorial sews all the pieces together through the vertical seams. I opted to assemble each layer alone, then try to attach the elastic along the edges without catching the foam. I thought, if the foam is only anchored at the side seams, perhaps the fabric itself can stretch vertically and the foam will be more "free floating".

Spoiler alert: Sarah's way is better. Trying to stretch the lining and outer away from the foam and sew elastic to them was pretty challenging, even after I trimmed the foam. It worked out fine, but I prefer the other way.

This "test" bra is the one I REALLY needed in my underwear drawer. I only have one nude bra and it doesn't fit quite right anymore. The outer and lining are nylon/spandex milliskin from Girl Charlee (previously used in swimsuits). The upper edges are finished with 3/8" nude picot elastic. The bottom band is 1/2" nude plush-backed elastic. The straps are 1/2" pre-made. Closure and all notions from SSF.

The fit on this bra was not that great. The fabric is super stretchy, and even though I shortened the band slightly before sewing it up, it wasn't enough. I ended up taking the closure off, removing maybe 3/4" and then sewing it back on. I'm also not crazy about the 1/2" band elastic vs. 3/4". The 3/4" on the other bras feels way more secure. This bra will get worn, but only in the situation where I need a nude bra.

LASTLY (for now!) I found a generous scrap of this bird jersey hiding in my bag of lingerie stuff, and couldn't resist just one more. Especially since it matches this pair of boxer wear!

I really hit my groove with this sixth iteration of the pattern. The lining is the same hot pink bamboo knit from above. The upper edge is finished with 1/4" black picot elastic from SSF. The rest of the notions are the same as the feather bra. The band is a touch shorter than the pattern and I also have the shortest piece of band elastic yet (about 25 1/2"). This bra feels PERFECT. I did go back to Sarah's method for assembly, except I trimmed the upper and lower edges of the foam to make elastic application easier. I managed to add a bit more vertical height to the cups by sewing the band elastic slightly off from the edge, instead of lining it up exactly. You can't see a difference because you then turn the band elastic back and topstitch.

PHEW! There's more than you ever wanted to know about non-wired foam bras. But I think that seeing how different fabrics and notions play together can be very helpful. Here they all are with the bottom bands aligned, you can see the sizing is slightly different on each.

The biggest take-away here is that it took me SIX times sewing this bra before I thought I ended up with a perfect product. So just keep plugging away at it and you'll find what works for you!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Drop Pocket Cardi and Make Nine Update

A little bit of deja vu? Only a few months ago I made my first Drop Pocket Cardigan, Jalie 3248. I liked it so much that it ended up on my #2018makenine list (more on that later).

Shirt is a Renfrew, super old, blogged here and OMG
I used to be so much skinnier!

I don't have too much to add from my previous review. I did assemble the back neckline the opposite way, which is a change I mentioned before (the facing is folded inside and topstitched, rather than outside). I also made the sleeves a little wider, so this can be worn over shirts with sleeves. To make them wider, I simply pivoted the pattern piece at the sleeve cap and then trued the straight edges. On my fabric. As I was cutting. As one does! It works, but now I think they're a touch too wide at the wrist. I did hem the sleeves this time around.

The fabric I chose is a black rayon spandex knit from Mood. Expect to see this again, I bought 4 yards! It does have more of a cotton hand than the liquid drape of rayon, which probably lends itself well to this particular pattern. A little structure isn't so bad. I'm also planning another Union St. Tee with it, only with a scoop neck instead of a V-neck like my previous merino one.

I've already worn this cardigan a lot, you can't beat its versatility. I love the pockets and this really filled a hole in my wardrobe, which is why it ended up in my Make Nine.

1. Simplicity coat
2. Papercut Patterns Soma Swimsuit
3. Ohhh Lulu Romy Bra
4. Thread Theory Camas Blouse
5. black jumpsuit
6. Wool and the Gang Julia Cardigan (knitting project)
7. Jalie 3248 Drop Pocket Cardigan DONE
8. Tie Front top
9. Hey June Lane Raglan Hoodie DONE

Well, I'm 1/4 of the way through the year and only 2 of my 9 items are complete, and I've finished only the back (almost) of the Julia Sweater. I do think that I'm going to swap out the black jumpsuit for some black overalls. I have supplies for the Romy Bra, I'm just waiting for the pattern to go on sale, same with the Soma Swimsuit. I have bought the patterns for the Simplicity coat, the Camas, and the tie front top, but haven't settled on fabric. So...progress? I guess? Baby steps!

How are your Make Nines going? It's such a fun hashtag to check out on Instagram!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Hey June Catch Up

The other day, it hit me that I had a big back log of Hey June creations that I'd never shared on the blog! I love looking at examples of other people's makes, so I figured I'd do a quick post with my newest items.

Lane Raglan Union St. Tee

From left to right, we have a Union St. tee, a Lane Raglan, and two more Unions. All are size small. The striped Union has a lowered neckline (I used the Plantain tee neckline and neckband) and the Lane has a higher sleeve height to create a smaller neckline (I'm sorry I don't have better instructions for this, I saw it in the Facebook group and didn't save my reference!).

The fabric is a lightweight rayon knit from Mood, and it is dreamy (as long as you can keep your coverstitch machine from eating it).

Both of these fabrics are merino knits from The Fabric Store Online. The sleeves were described as a grey marle, but when it arrived there is more of a taupe undertone that I wasn't crazy about. The small dose of it in the sleeves is just right. These are the elbow-length sleeves (not 3/4). The blue is called Denim.

This pink knit is also merino, also from The Fabric Store Online. It's called Vintage Cerise. It is SO dreamy and beautiful. I do wash my wool knits on delicate in my machine then lay flat to dry, hence the wrinkles.

Lastly, we have an army green rayon knit from Fabric Mart. It's a medium weight and a bit on the brownish side of army green. If you compare photos of this one to the pink merino tee, they were made with the exact same sized pattern, but this one looks way bigger. The drape is more dramatic with rayon knits, and I've heard a lot of people say they grow over time.

These four shirts have been in heavy rotation. I kind of want a closet full of Unions and Lanes, is that boring? Oh well, I guess I'm boring! But it feels great to have some TNTs that I can whip out whenever the mood strikes. However, seeing all these back-to-back I'm noticing some issues with the, er, back. Lots of pooling in the lower back. Time to look into correcting a swayback issue!

Are you on the Hey June t-shirt bandwagon with me?

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Union St. Tee Dress Hack

Add this project to the "why did it take me so long?" list. After three kids, I've realized that dresses with a waist seam are just not working for me any more. Empire waistlines make me look pregnant, and natural waist seams highlight my mama pooch and make me super self-conscious. I like a drop-waist but they are hard to find. That leaves me with loose-fitting dresses with no waist seam at all, like the Style Arc Eden I made a few weeks ago. But I wanted another option with less seaming (i.e. a faster cut/sew). Rather than reinvent the wheel, I decided to hack the Union St. Tee from Hey June.

I have made a LOT of these tees (many never made it to the blog) and I can't stop wearing them. They have the perfect loose fit without looking too sloppy. There's a V-neck or scoop neck. Three or four sleeve length options. It's perfect with drapey knits like rayon or merino. LOVE LOVE LOVE. To hack the pattern into a t-shirt dress, I cut the pattern horizontally at the waistline and moved it down and out. Sort of like the Lane Raglan tunic I made. I measured the distance I wanted from shoulder to hem and added that in; some was added at the waist and most at the hem. I made a quick muslin of the front and back and realized it was a bit too big. I ended up nipping in under the arm (and making the sleeve a little smaller) as well as shaping the center back. This means my back is not cut on the fold but that should actually help me, as I can preserve fabric when needed. It also helps with a bit of a sway back issue I'm sure I have but haven't investigated. I am using the non-updated file because I bought it right before the update was announced.

Any ideas on these wrinkles at the hips?

I used the scoop neck, which is actually my first time sewing this view. From the side this definitely looks like a nightgown...but hey, I slept in it and it IS a good nightgown. So there?

Okay, boring fit stuff aside...I love this dress. It's made with a rayon knit that I just got from Mood. The color is beautiful and exactly the right shade to highlight my eye color. It's a bit sheer but I tend to wear boy shorts or boxerwear under dresses anyway. It's seriously the most boring-looking garment of all time but I LOVE it. The best thing about boring clothing is that it's easy to mix with other things in my closet, which is particularly important this time of year. I'm constantly adding and removing layers with the nonsense that is Indiana spring.

I plan on wearing this dress on Easter with my new ponte blazer. Here's just a sample of the ways I can style it:

Don't mind the hem falling out here...
I have since fixed it

This is definitely a TNT after only one try! The neckline might get dropped on future versions but there's nothing wrong with it as is, just a personal preference. I hope I have enough of this beautiful fabric to squeeze out a tank top too.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

70's Inspired Tie Front Romper

Isn't it fun how all the sewing bloggers are pretending it's spring weather right now? (Indiana has snow on the ground.) If we all pretend hard enough, it will happen! Sooner rather than later, I hope, so I can start wearing this amazing romper ASAP.

Tencel Twill Romper Overalls

Lately I've found myself in a Pinterest rabbit hole at least once a day. It comes in cycles for me, usually with the changing seasons so I can see what's new and get excited about switching over my wardrobe. I was immediately drawn to this photo and this romper:

I searched like crazy to find the source/maker/original and could not. That makes me ragey, I hate not being able to give credit where it's due! But being a sewist, I became obsessed with creating my own, and remembered that I had a similar pattern in my stash.

This is vintage Simplicity 7329, and it was sent to me by a good sewing friend. The date on it is 1976 (my parents were in high school, should I ask my mom if she owned something similar?) and it only had one size (12, or bust size 34, I'm about a 33). I made a super quick muslin of the bodice (only a front and back!) and then drafted my own straps. The fit was spot on, like, I was in shock how perfect it was. I generally have a long torso but since I'm simply knotting straps, there's a bit of wiggle room in the length. I did also shorten the front at the top just to make it less...covering? IDK really.

Speaking of wiggle room, the pattern was drafted to include a CB zipper, which I omitted. If I hold my breath and struggle I can get this on without one. If I make another (with long wide leg pants, drool!) I will probably put a zipper in as instructed.

With fit figured out, next I moved on to fabric. I absolutely adored the color in my inspiration photo, as well as the drape. I thought perhaps it was linen, but after consulting with a friend (the same one who sent the pattern!) she suggested Tencel. I already had an order at Mood started, and she linked me to this one of their's. It. Is. Perfect!

The color is so unbelievably rich. Sometimes it looks blue, sometimes green, sometimes both. It's luminous without being too shiny. It's a WOOL/Tencel blend twill, which makes me geek out even more because I LOVE wool. It's super soft like most rayon (Tencel is a brand name of a type of rayon) but the wool makes it nice and strong. The drape is excellent. Did I say that it's perfect?

I also made my shirt, details here.

I pre-washed the fabric by hand and air dried until damp, then ironed out the wrinkles before cutting. The long strap and short strap were drafted by me, as well as the facings that finish the top edges (due to my shortening the bodice and reshaping the back a bit, I could not use the provided facings). I also drafted the pockets and made it just big enough for my phone. To hold down the facings I stitched in the ditch (side seams) and hand-sewed (center front and center back).

Construction was done on my sewing machine and seams were all finished with my serger. This fabric frayed like crazy and the hem was finished with seam tape.

To say that this is comfortable would be a ridiculous understatement. The color pairs well with many shirts already in my closet, although I do think it looks better with a scoop neck rather than a V-neck. It works with tank tops. It would also be fun over a swimsuit. With sandals it looked a little dressier but it paired just as well with tennis shoes. This will be a great piece for Me Made May!

And just because I can, here's a side by side of my Pinspiration and my final product.

I stand like this all the time

Although, my husband said I looked like Luigi so obviously now I will never wear it with a green shirt. My six year old told me she liked it, but that I "still look like a farmer." Farmer Luigi? Maybe so. I don't really care. I've spent most of my life wearing clothes for others (my parents, to attract a mate, to dress an in utero child) and it's high time I wear what I want with little regard to outside opinions. Is that what getting older is? No longer giving any you know whats? If so, I think I like it.