Facing my Sewing Fear of Zippers

I never thought I’d be saying this but there are some things in the sewing world that scare me – like full stress and panic, clenched teeth, sweaty palms. So what do I do? I avoided them like the plague. And the one that really sets me into a tailspin – ZIPPERS!! Who knew something so innocent as a zipper could cause such angst!

In the past, I would seen a cute jacket or sweatshirt and there it would be, staring at me with it’s shiny teeth – the dreaded zipper! So I would do what any logical person would (absolutely not logical!) and first buy the pattern, print, tape and grade my size, buy oodles of @pheefabrics to make said project and finally stash it away for a future date when I would miraculously no longer fear the zipper.

The time finally has come – too many patterns sit sadly waiting to be sewn. I have wanted to make a jacket with @pheefabrics Supplex for the longest time. With fall creeping into the Northeast, I wanted to make one more than ever.  So first I headed to the Phee Fabrics Facebook group for moral support and then to this blog post on installing zippers on knits. 


I was armed and figured if I was going to try and learn a new skill, I might as well go all in and found a pattern that had not one, not two but THREE ZIPPERS! The Evergreen Jacket from Hey June Patterns has a plethora of cool add-ons, but I was most interested in having a two tone affect with the bias zip and collar. I love the look of black, red and gold accents  – so cherry and black Phee supplex were the answer. 

I have never sewn a jacket, or any top for that matter, in @pheefabrics Supplex and now I feel like I have really been missing out! Phee Supplex is not only a game changer for leggings but also the exact weight and look I wanted in a jacket. It has a sporty feel and great weight for a seasonal transition piece. And since it’s not bulky, I can wear it throughout the colder months under my huge “I live in a cold place and on’t care if I look fashionable so I don’t freeze” winter coat 🙂

So off I went with my pattern and fabric, zippers and seam ripper (that got used far more than I care to admit) but I was determined. 

Happy mid project progress selfie

Here’s what I found from my experience with sewing this jacket and zippers:

  1. DO NOT RUSH! If you have an appointment or are tired or stressed that day, it’s not the time to start on this project. I think jackets in general require some care and attention – after all these are more involved in construction than many of the other patterns I have sewn.
  2. In the same vein as above, take it SUUUUPPPERRR SLOOOWWW when actually working with the zippers. The entire project can be made on a regular sewing machine using a basic straight stitch (if you are using Supplex which does not fray). Do you see that little slider for speed on the needle, move it all the way to the far left (or the slowest speed possible on your machine.) This may seem a bit excessive, but even with it all the way down, the zippers will only take a few minutes to stitch in. This helps to prevent breaking needles (none were injured in the making of this jacket) and straight stitching.
  3. IMG_20191010_115727Use a zipper foot (if one is available)  – here is a close up of mine on my machine. If you do not own one, it may be possible to complete this jacket since the seam allowance is ⅜” but I would highly recommend trying to find one that will fit your machine. It really makes life easier.
  4. There is no such thing as too many pins. This really helps keep things straight and prevents the fabric from stretching and bunching when you are sewing.
  5. Make sure to read through the entire pattern first (this goes for any time you sew) – you can see here where I sewed the zipper into the wrong seam and had to rip EVERYTHING OUT! No fun!

I hope this helps you feel less intimidated by zippers and encourages you to try out something a bit more challenging – the result, in my opinion, is totally worth it!


*** Please note – This blog contains affiliate links to products that I love and trust, and know you will as well. By using these links you are helping to support me, with no additional cost to you, while I continue to inspire your sewing adventures***

Ya Basic! And I love ya!

I have been sewing for myself for the last three years and can say that I hardly ever buy anything RTW. A new pattern comes out and I have to make one (or 5) but I often overlook the “basics” – those pieces you turn to week after week either as part of or the entire outfit. A wardrobe full of date night dresses and workout gear is not the most functional when you spend M-F with a toddler 🙂

Recently I was getting ready for a day at the splash pad and realized that I didn’t have a white t-shirt! How could that be possible?!? Then I was looking for a black tank – nope, no dice! I vowed to stop living in my workout clothes, but alas, I had forgotten to make anything else. That’s it! The time to sew those basics had come and you know I would only make them with the best fabric I could get my hands on 🙂

I wanted to make sure that these pieces would fit great and last for a long time and I knew just what to use – my ride or die – Phee Fabrics rayon spandex! Sure, there are lots of pretty colors of rayon spandex on the site –  Turquise, Orchid and Olive, but did you know the basics are there too??? Light and dark Gray, Cream, Bisque and and of course, BLACK AND WHITE!

I was ready to create two staples for my wardrobe – pieces I will wear year round on their own or layered up with some of my other Phee makes. First up, the black rayon spandex tank – I used the fitted tank option from George and Ginger’s Romy Set. I love the v-neck and coverage (no special bras necessary) and now that Phee has that super fluffy french terry, I know what I will be using to finally make the Bolero from the Romy Set to go with the tank!

For the white rayon spandex t-shirt I used the Sweet Tee from Patterns for Pirates. A few small mods – I used the banded option but hemmed the bottom and tacked the bands on the short sleeves up for a little detail.

The rayon spandex is so perfect fro these pieces – it has excellent recovery and will fit the same after hours of wear. They do not fade! I HATE a faded black shirt. And no pilling! No one wants to go through the trouble of making the perfect top only to have top toss it after a few washes because it looks old and ratty.

So these two tops got me thinking – was anything else missing from my wardrobe? The LBD (little black dress)!! From a girl who only wore black growing up it’s hard to believe I have hardly none in my closet now. But I did have a black dress. And I loved the style of it -sleeveless midi with a hi-lo straight hem and a small side slit for a little extra leg. But this one fit like junk! (and sadly has since I bought it years ago but I couldn’t seem to part with it despite).

So I thought about patterns I had and realized I could recreate this with a few mods to the P4P Essential Tank Dress and Phee black rayon spandex– I used my RTW dress as a base pattern and marked off on the pattern pieces where to cut. I tried on the dress after the basic construction and lowered the side slit a bit.

To say this dress is complete love would be the understatement of the year! I am obsessed and can’t wait to wear it out to dinner this weekend in Manhattan.

As we approach the new season, take some time to figure out what  #notsobasicbasics your wardrobe needs to swing into fall.

Happy Autumn!


PS- If you love Phee Fabrics as much as I do, please use the  affiliate links in this blog to shop. I will receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you!) I can’t wait to keep sharing my adventures in sewing all of these incredible fabrics and look forward to hearing about yours!

You’re my “Phee-piration”

I know I am not the only one who spends their Sunday nights staring at Pinterest, pinning away. It is the modern answer to a vision board (something I never would have had the patience to do, lol!) And Pinterest has slowly become one of my very guilty pleasures.

My boards are mostly, you guessed it, sewing related 🙂 I love clothing and used to tear out magazine pages, and then immediately misplace them, for inspiration. Now I just have a bunch of boards dedicated to different designers, seasons, styles and of course, FABRIC I love! So you know I have a board dedicated to @pheefabrics which I have aptly named, “PheeSpirations.”

Pinterest Pic
Not my photo – Pinterest Image

And then this came up, I swear in the same color as the Khaki Steel Tricot although I can no longer find it anywhere, and I knew I needed to recreate it.

To be completely honest, it has been a long time since I have actually wanted a real one piece swimsuit, RTW or me-made. I have a longer torso and for a while I was intimated by adjusting a pattern to fit. The good news about sewing swim is that it generally does not use much fabric, compared to say a dress or even a shirt. So my theory was that even if I needed to make 2 or 3 I would not blow through my entire stash.

And of course, first times the charm! (mostly 😉 ) I used the recently released Minute Maillot  from Patterns 4 Pirates as the base, and didn’t have to do much to get the look in my Pinspiration. I adjusted first for my height by adding 1 1/2″ in length and then lowered the back by about 2 inches, following the curve on the pattern piece. The elastic for the neckline needed to be adjusted for the change in height. I used the pattern as written for the high rise leg and low front neckline.


Then just to add the fun cage back, the “piece de resistance”! I cut long piece of the same tricot, 1 1/4″ wide (although I would make them 1 1/2″ the new time). right sides together and serged down the long sides, used my handy tube turner and cut to the size I wanted.

I just pinned the straps in place where it looked closest to the Pinspiration and attached them while topstitching the elastic to the back neckline.


Voila! I absolutely love the color of this fabric and it is heavy enough to not need a lining. I did add the shelf bra as mentioned in the pattern (this is fully outlined in the pattern already) and used only @pheefabrics powernet and elastic. There are steps for adding bra cups, but I tend to feel covered and supported with just Phee powernet.

I hope this helps inspire some fun Pinspirations, err, Pheespirations 😉 Make sure to follow @pheefabrics on Pinterest here for more great ideas!

Happy Pinning!

– Liz –

Bottoms Up!!

No one likes to play favorites. Actually, some of us do. I don’t know about you but with a closet and dresser full of clothing (er, BURSTING with clothing) I still find myself going to those “faves.” You know what I mean: The only pair of jeans you look for in the stack, the “go-to” tank and that perfect dress!

They are the MVP’s of my wardrobe and I realized that this is true for my swimsuits. I love a simple black bikini , and in fact I have owned one that I always go back to since 2007!!! This might be because it was the same time I lost some weight as an adult and changed my lifestyle to keep it off (even now 🙂 )


But everything has a season and this swimsuit has run it’s course. It was time to move on but this time I wanted to sew my own! I basically sew all of my clothing  (aside from socks – I own a pattern though of course, lol!) and I know that #memade will always fit better than RTW at this point. But there are SOOOOO many swimsuit patterns and I feel like every time a new one releases I want to buy it (most of the time I do 😉 )

Well the idea of making a ton of different sets was overwhelming, so I decided to start with the bottoms. I actually have a few different styles of RTW tops I like for now that will go with a plain black bottom. I wanted to try out a variety of styles and cuts to see which I liked best and here is what I found.


Sew a Little Seam – Mairin Swimsuit – Low Waist, Mid Cut Leg – https://www.sewalittleseam.com/product/womens-mairin-swimsuit-pdf-pattern/


Patterns for Pirates – Minute Maillot  – high cut leg (hacked for bottoms only) – https://www.patternsforpirates.com/product/minute-maillot/


Swim Style – Celeste Bikini Bottoms (high cut mid cheeky) – http://swimstyle.com.au/product/celeste-bikini-pattern-women-xs-to-3xl


Ellie and Mack – Oasis Swim Bottoms  – High Waist – https://www.ellieandmac.com/collections/adult-swimwear/products/womens-oasis-swimsuit-mix-match-pattern


5 oo 4 – Ultimate Bikini Bottoms – Low-rise, High-Cut leg – https://5outof4.com/product/ultimate-bikini-bottoms/


I used @pheefabrics Black ciruclar knit and swim lining for all of the bottoms except for the Ultimate Bikini Bottoms. For those I used the last scraps of my Navy Tricot that were left after last months sew here. The circular knit has great stretch and recovery as well as coverage. I honestly do not think you would need to line them, but I did in order to be consistent with the pattern instructions.


All 5 patterns were written well, sew up in very little time, use minimal fabric and notions and fit true to size based on the charts and my measurements. Most had various rise and leg options as well as coordinating tops, if I decide to be brave and start on those soon! You really could make a drawer full of bikinis with just these patterns and a couple of yards of fabric, lining and a elastic – all available at here (affiliate).

So did I find a fave? Well, I think I figured out some styles I prefer. I have never owned a high leg cut suit but really love the way the P4P Minute Maillot bottoms cut on the legs. The waist needs a bit of tweaking, but I am not good at hacking patterns so this is something I can definitely work on. I also like the more cheeky cut of the Celeste but would not want to wear them if I was chasing a toddle at the pool or beach. However, these would be my “go-to” vacation bottoms. The 5oo4 Ultimate Bikini Bottoms and Sew a Little Seam Mairin were closest to my O.G. ready to wear and I can see why – they feel and fit like a classic bikini underwear does for me. Not too low, not too high  – just enough coverage to make me feel like I can run around or lounge and catch some sun.

Lastly, I know some swim fabric can be tricky to work with – it’s thin and slippery. Not the case with the circular knit from @pheefabrics! It is a great introductory fabric if you have never sewn swim, and while I have a serger and coverstitch machine, I sewed these patterns almost exclusively on my regular machine!

I hope that this helps show the variety of patterns and options out there and that you too can find your new “ride-or-die” bikini bottoms!


Tricot – It’s not tricky, tricky, tricky, tricky

A year ago I had never heard of Tricot – in fact I had not heard of most of the fabrics that @pheefabrics carries and what they are used for. Today, I would say I am a bit of a fabric snob. Sewing a garment takes time, and my time is worth money and I am not willing to use a poor quality fabric. Even the best of patterns are only as good as the fabric you use, IMO.

There has been a bunch of talk about Supplex, powernet and Rayon Spandex (my ride or die for everyday, everything for the whole family) from @pheefabrics but there is a new(ish) kid on the block and their name is Tricot!

So lets break it down. What is Tricot?

  • a nylon/spandex blend
  • moisture wicking
  • antimicrobial
  • 4 way stretch with a decent weight of 9.5oz -11.5oz
  • Iron on vinyl can be added to them
  • Fabrics are from the USA

Tricot reminds me of the feeling and look of swimsuits (check back next month to see what I made), but I wanted to show how versatile it can really be for everyday clothing I will wear all summer – day and night! Since @pheefabrics has so many beautiful colors to chose from, you are sure to find something for your next project.

Confession – I am not a huge fan of shorts. Years of having them ride up my thighs turned me off but I am coming to terms with it and when I made my first pair of Heat Wave Hot Pants from George + Ginger Patterns. You can say it was it was love at first wear! I just had to have a pair of them in the new Navy Tricot and they are summer nautical perfection! I used the tall waistband and pockets – yesssssss! These shorts sew up really quick and have a polished fit from the darts on the front and the back.

So what to wear them with? How about my fave Greenstyle Green Tee? This one is blue and white matte stripe nylon/spandex that @pheefabrics carried last year. I knotted it up to show off the high waist on the shorts and I can see wearing this outfit to the park or brunch any day.


I love the look of yellow and navy so I paired it with the top I used for my costume I wrote about on the blog last year. The yellow is also tricot from Phee but the color is no longer in stock. A few accessories and I am feeling all the retro vibes in this outfit ✌


I still had some of the Navy Trciot left and I have been threatening to make the George + Ginger Road Trip Bodysuit since the pattern released but had not yet even cut my size let alone made one! I made a tiny change and cut a V-shape down the center to add a panel of Navy Powernet and my Pinspiration is brought to life.

Even with all of the bindings, the fabric was super easy to sew. It is a little slippery, yet it did not slip and slide on any of my machines. There really are not “tricks” to working with this high quality fabric! Just be prepared to fall in love with Tricot.

Happy sewing!


PS- If you love Phee Fabrics as much as I do, please use the  affiliate links in this blog to shop. I will receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you!) I can’t wait to keep sharing my adventures in sewing all of these incredible fabrics and look forward to hearing about yours!


UFO Sighting – Conquering “the bin”

As I am about to cut a new project I see it lurking in the corner… That bin, box, bag. We all have one and mine seems to grow exponentially at times. And the more projects that get relegated to the “UFO” bin, and the more I seem to start new projects.


UFOS a.k.a unfinished objects are such a source of stress for me. A year ago I vowed to clear them out and not become a repeat offender, but here I am again. There is a box full of Phee fabric cut and sitting in plastic bags. I decided to take a stab at conquering this box, one project at a time and try to figure out why it gets this way and how to prevent the cycle.

First up my favorite scrap busting project, UNDIES! Phee rayon spandex scraps are the base for more or less every pair of underwear my almost 4 year old son has ever worn. Some day he will know how lucky he was 🤣


These take less time than it takes to even write about this project, but somehow they ended up in the bin.

Since these went so fast and I always run out of speed, I decided to stick with underwear and work on the two pairs of Made 4 Mermaids Greta thongs I cut out when I was working on the Lana bras from my last blog. These have a no show option, FOE, elastic and bands. I was super excited for these because they have a mid and high rise option. I cut out a pair in some Cherry RS and circular knit scraps.


They were very quick to sew and I like that you can add elastic and lace straight and not in the round….however, these are the mid-rise and these babies are SUPER HIGH!! and pretty baggy for the no show so I added some elastic and it helped, but I decided to file the red pair in the circular file bin… womp womp!


On to the bigger projects – the Crimson Top from George and Ginger and a pair of P4P Peg legs with the side panel. I cut out the Crimson top during testing to make this Pinspiration… and in the UFO box it sat for months!!! I had wanted to wear this so many times but for some reason just never got back to it. I absolutely love this top – the white circular knit feels so good on and the wide mesh worked really well for the panels.


My Pinspiration

The same thing for the leggings – I made the shirt and bra to go with them back in March but the leggings, which I have made many time and hardly need the directions for and yet they just sat…waiting to meet the rest of their outfit. The funny thing is that I really needed these. I made a bunch of full length leggings but wanted to have something a little more airy and light for the spring. The wide mesh is perfect for that and of course you can never go wrong with leggings in Phee Supplex!


Here I am at the end of this project and reflecting on the process. I really wanted to figure out why I have this bin in the first place and while I know some of it is just my nature to overschedule and under estimate my time, there is something else I realized. I started sewing because as a stay at home Mom I needed something more. When I worked, there was a sense of satisfaction from completing my tasks and projects at work, but being at home those daily tasks can just become so mundane. Taking care of my son and my family is the hardest work I have ever done and gives me the most joy at times, but I am left feeling empty on some level. Sewing fills that gap – when I finish a project I love I have a sense of accomplishment that is like nothing else I do everyday.

Sadly, I did not finish all of the UFO’s in the bin (including the leggings above) – my Claire Coat from last fall is still sitting idly on my dress form half sewn and it taunts me. But that’s ok. They will get finished and I will not be adding endless projects in between but instead the ones that will fulfill me. It does not need to be about quantity, efficiency or checking off someone else’s list. This is something I do for myself and if I continue to focus on that I will have a wardrobe and craft that I love!


Note: This post contains affiliate links to products. I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.