5oo4 Escapade Experiment

I literally cannot seem to stop myself when it comes to hacking patterns.  I’ll buy a pattern because it’s a cute design, or has lots of options, and I may or may not make it as written.  Then I’ll start thinking, “Maybe it would be fun to add…” or, “What if I changed that into…”  There are some really talented .pdf pattern designers out there, and I am so impressed by them, because I don’t have the talent to design a pattern.  They’ve done the hard work of figuring out fit and design.  And I get to do the fun part of personalizing patterns to suit me, or fill a need in my wardrobe.

I bought the 5 Out Of 4 Patterns Escapade Top and Dress pattern months ago, and hadn’t gotten around to making it yet.  I love all the options: bikini top; tankini style top, and dress.  When I first bought the pattern, I think I planned to make the dress first.  I love dresses.  And since the Escapade has a built in bra, it’s an easy way to get dressed in the morning!  But I usually go to yoga class 4 days a week, so a workout top was a bigger need than a dress.  Which is what led to my experiment.

The Escapade is designed to have a drawstring style strap that can be tied halter style (handy if you are nursing or want to easily adjust the strap length), or tacked in place as straight or criss-crossed straps.  Since I enjoy Ashtanga and Power Flow yoga classes, there is a lot of movement involved, and I do NOT want any movement or shifting of my straps!  There is also a center front tie that gives separation, shaping, and lift to the bra front, but I didn’t want to feel the tie when we do upward bow or other floor work.  So that’s what led me to my hacks.

I made my Escapade using Supplex and Powernet from Phee Fabrics.   Phee Fabrics Supplex is hands down my favorite fabric for workout wear.  It’s moisture wicking and antimicrobial, so you don’t feel all sweaty or get stinky clothes from your workout.  High quality powernet, which Phee stocks, is essential for good support when you’re making bras, so I always use it in the front and back of my workout bras.

I cut out all my pattern pieces except for the drawstring strap, since I made that by cutting two 1.5″ x 30″ strips of Supplex and one strip out of powernet.  I sewed them with the Supplex right sides together and the powernet on top along the two long sides.  I used a safety pin to turn the strap right side out, then pressed it flat.

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I basted the powernet to the wrong side of the bra front and back lining pieces, then sewed the lining together at the side seams.  I also sewed the bra front and back together at the side seams.  I turned the bra right sides out, and slid the bra lining, also stocked at Phee Fabrics over it, right sides together.  I pinned them together along the top edge, then sewed along the top edge leaving an inch in the center back, and an inch at the bra front top points open.

Esc pinnedI used a strip of powernet 1.5″ x 4″ to make my center back strap loop.  I folded it in half lengthwise, and sewed it with a 3/8″ seam allowance.  I turned it right side out, made a loop, slid it inside the center back opening I had left in the bra, and stitched it in place.  Then I sewed 1/4″ clear elastic from Phee Fabrics in the seam allowance along the top of the bra using a zig zag stitch.  I stretched it slightly from the side seam up to the bra front points.  I also stretched it slightly along the center front from point to point.

Esc elasticStitch one end of your strap in place at one of the bra front points, turn the bra right sides out, string the strap through the loop and try it on.  Adjust the strap length to fit you comfortably, while still feeling supportive.  Then turn it inside out again to stitch the strap at the appropriate length, and trim off the excess.  I think I ended up cutting a couple of inches off of mine.

Esc strapsBecause I didn’t want the center front tie, I just made a gathering stitch down the center front of the bra top, and stitched my gathers in place with a zig zag, followed by a stretch stitch to ensure that my gathers stayed in place even with the frequent wearing and washing my workout tops get.

To add interest and a little ventilation to the back of my top,  I marked a spot 5.25″ down from the top of the center back bodice, and 2.5″ from the center back fold and cut this triangle off with my rotary cutter.

Esc cut triThen I cut a 6″ triangle out of my powernet.  You can use the triangle you cut out of the bodice, (adding 3/4″ on the two sides to give yourself a seam allowance) as a pattern.

Esc triangles

Stitch the powernet insert in place on the center back, taking your time when you get to the point, lifting your presser foot, and swiveling to continue the seam up the other side of the triangle.  I’m not going to lie, my triangle shifted a bit while sewing, and I seam ripped and resewed the point more than once.  Oh, the joys of perfectionism while sewing!  Use lots of pins to hold things in place, take your time, and hopefully you won’t have to seam rip and resew like me.  Press the seam allowance toward the Supplex so that it won’t show through the powernet, and topstitch in place.

You can follow the pattern tutorial at this point to finish up your top.  I wore my top to Ashtanga yoga class yesterday, and appreciated the ventilated triangle in the middle of my back.  It was a great, rather sweaty workout and I felt cute and comfortable.

I paired the top with my GreenStyle Super G’s, which have powernet side pocket panels, so my new 5 out of 4 Escapade top gave me a cute matching workout outfit.

Esc frontEsc back full

Don’t be afraid to try a hack to make a great pattern suit your needs.  I will definitely use this pattern again.  I think I will try the dress version next.  Maybe in circular knit, or tricot… Which do you think?

When Finished Isn’t Perfect

When I bought my first sewing machine black Friday of 2017 I had never used a sewing machine before in my life. I had been looking at sewing machines for a couple months because I recognized that I was utilizing less that half of the Joann’s isles that I would frequent for my paper crafting and yarn hobbies. My (now) in laws came to town to visit and the boys left to play golf.  My MIL and I entertained ourselves for the morning. I mentioned that I was looking at a sewing machine in the ad and wouldn’t mind popping over to look at it. She jumped on it (a quilter herself) and has been enabling me ever since. I quickly learned about PDF patterns and the rest is history (shout out to A.C. for introducing me to the PDF pattern crowd which eventually led to me finding Phee).

Fast forward to now, a year and a half later, I have jumped in head first with having added a serger, cover stitch, and most recently an embroidery machine to the ranks. Sewing has become a love me for. I can create just about anything that my mind thinks up. Most of the time it turns out really well. But what happens when it doesn’t? I don’t know about you, but it drives me up the wall when I invest my time, thoughts, and money into a project to have it either not fit right, not be how I imagined, or the worst-maybe I took a short cut and didn’t follow the pattern or left a feature off that I realize I wanted afterwards.

Usually when this happens, I just throw the project in a pile and let it sit until I calm down. In this case, I made some his and her Elevation Hoodies out of Supplex that I love the look of. IMG_0374.JPG54519288_2230886447005958_1068931306009657344_n.jpgHowever, I made a huge mistake. I looked at the pattern and was going through the steps of the pocket and became incredibly intimidated. It was a welt kangaroo pocket and look way out of my skill set. So, even against all of the “Pockets in everything” that has been drilled into my head by having tiny pockets in jeans that don’t hold anything useful, I didn’t complain with my husband said he wasn’t entirely interested in a pocket in his. Then, when I made mine, I honestly didn’t think about it much and ignored my need of a pocket.

Within a day of finishing, we both noticed how much we missed the pockets. From sliding our cellphones across our stomaches and then just dropping them on the ground, to realizing I had no place to put my badge at work when I walk through the office. Soon after I noticed we both stopped wearing the new sweatshirts because they didn’t have pockets. So, I decided to take the plunge and rework these sweatshirts and add in the missed pockets. So I came up with my plan:

Step 1: Formulate a Plan

Add pockets to the hoodies (My husband’s didn’t make it into the blog because his was left at work, so knock this down to one hoodie for this reading). To do this, I will have to seam rip the band off and the side seams atleast about half way up my torso. Since I will have the band and front opened up, I am also going to take 2 inches off of the torso length as I have alot of extra fabric down around the band.IMG_0372.JPG

Step 2: Procrastinate

Seam ripping is not my favorite, so I stalked my cat around the house a bit and took some photos. I army crawled around, but gosh these photos are worth it (I am still getting used to my camera):

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Step Three: Seam Rip

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Seam ripping around the band was actually not as awful as I was expecting. I started the music and just let myself seam rip. I also experimented and found the best way and the seam ripping only took about 10 minutes to get the band off. From here I cut off the 2 inches to shorten the bodice.

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I was rather impressed with the Supplex at this point. Normally when I seam rip, the material comes up frayed and I get worried about redoing my seam without removing more material. After seam ripping the edge of the fabric still looks like a fresh cut and it was ready for another try.

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Next up was to seam rip up the sides:img_0398.jpg

Step Four: Prepare the Add-On Pattern Pieces and Continue the Original Pattern as Instructed

I was a bit on the struggle bus for this step and ended up having to recut both pieces once. For marking the fabric I used a chalk pen as the only interfacing I had was black.

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From here I followed the directions, but made sure to have the back side out of the way for all parts-expecially the part about cutting open the center of the pocket.

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Now, here is the really important part. When you clip the 90 degree angles from the center to the corner, ensure you get as close to the corner as possible. Almost to where you think the seam is being cut (but don’t cut the seam).

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If the corners of your pocket opening look like above after being flipped out, go back to clipping the corner and clip even closer to the corner.

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This pocket is so professional looking and a serious upgrade from the lack of pocket I had originally settled for. Definitely give extra time when trying this one for the first time, but its so worth it in the end and I fully expect that when I put pockets on the ‘his’ version it will be a much smoother process.

Thanks for

5oo4 Zen Pants Made As Shorts

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

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

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

Z pocket alter

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

Z pocket fac

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

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

Z pocket

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

Z pocket baste

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

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

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

Now I need to search through my patterns to see what else I need to make!  (And perhaps order more Supplex because my stash is alarmingly low!)  I need shorts in all the Supplex colors!

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

 

 

A Love for Vintage

I have a huge love for vintage style dresses, but the price tag and smell on true vintage clothing is not a love of mine. Instead I gather inspiration from actual vintage clothing styles or high quality pin-up style clothing. I have to say my favorite decades are the 40s and 50s. I especially love the big dresses and skirts.

When I saw wide stretch mesh, I knew it would be perfect to recreate a dress that I fell in love with many years ago, if I paired it with Phee’s supplex. I had a hard time trying to decide between the plum and navy since I usually gravitate toward navy dresses, but I opted for the plum supplex because I knew it would go great with my mustard heels and blend perfectly with the black wide stretch mesh.

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My next task was to find a pattern that would work for my dress. There were a few that I had in mind, then I realized that I already had the Manhattan Peplum & Dress pattern by New Horizon Designs. I realized that the cap sleeve version would then be perfect!

Disclaimer: Please note that my images are not in the order that I’m telling you to do this. From my own trial and error, I have written this to make things easier for you. I followed the same process for this post as I do when I write projects/hacks for sewing magazines, although I have not taken time to illustrate pictures. If you have questions, please comment and ask.

 Supplies

  • ½ yard wide stretch mesh
  • 2-2 ½ yards supplex (dependent on size)
    • I made a size 8/10/10, forgetting to account for a strapless bra, and should have sized up through the bust, but that’s an entirely different issue. I had enough fabric (it was the required amount for my size), and was also able to also lengthen my skirt by 2”.
  • ½ yard circular knit or knit lining (bodice lining)
  • ¼” clear elastic – This is not something that I measured, I wouldn’t start unless you have 2 yards minimum. Phee’s ¼” clear elastic is perfect in every way. I’m glad I don’t have to cut down 3/8” clear elastic anymore.
  • New Horizon Designs Manhattan Peplum & Dress or similar pattern.
  • Pattern/tracing paper, tape
  • Thread, scissors

Hack the Manhattan Bodice

Start by tracing out the bodice front and back pattern piece in your size, using the cap sleeve and the both of the underarm lines.

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Around the lower part of the armscye on the front and back, add the seam allowance from the pattern in, so that you can begin to draw your style lines in. Since we began with the upper underarm line, even though this one isn’t the one that is intended for the cap sleeve, it gives a great starting point for the style lines.

On the bodice back, draw straight across, perpendicular from the center back fold to the point in the armscye.

On the bodice front, I wanted my mesh to be about 2 ½” down from the neckline (including the binding), as I didn’t want to worry about bending over and having my girls be seen by the world. So I measured 2 ½” down from the top along the center front fold, and made a 90 degree angle. I then created a curve that angled down toward the lower armscye, meeting with the seam allowance curve.

Cut the top and bottom pieces apart, make sure to mark the front and back top pieces. Add paper to where they were cut apart at, and add your seam allowance back in so that you can sew the top to the bottom.

Now is when you want to use the bottom underarm curve, I have marked this line in my pictures with a red line to point it out.

Cut Fabric

  • Wide Stretch Mesh:
    • Bodice Front Top – Cut 1 on Fold
    • Bodice Back Top – Cut 1 on Fold
  • Lining:
    • Bodice Front Bottom – Cut 1 on Fold
    • Bodice Back Bottom – Cut 1 on Fold
  • Supplex:
    • Bodice Front Bottom – Cut 1 on Fold
    • Bodice Back Bottom – Cut 1 on Fold
    • Skirt – Cut 2 on Fold
    • 2 ½” Neckband – Cut 1 on Fold
      • Use the neckband pattern piece provided, but cut at 2 ½” wide.
    • 2 ½” Armbands – Cut 2
      • This length will be determined by the length of your cap sleeves plus an additional inch to tuck into the bodice. You can cut these when you get to this point with extra fabric.

Sew Dress

Sew the top mesh front and back pieces together. In my post earlier this month, I mention how I did this on my fishnet tights.

The neck and arm bindings will be added to the bodice top before attaching the bottom bodice pieces (this is different than my images). It doesn’t matter which is first.

Add your arm bindings, making sure to mark ½” on both ends of the binding to keep these free so they are easier to tuck down into the underarm seam. When measuring for how long your binding needs to be, make sure your mesh is fully open and not skewed in any direction.

Attach 1 long strip of the binding to the arm sleeve right sides together. This is easiest with a serger, as it helps to hold everything in place, but a wide narrow stitch zig zag on your sewing machine would work as well.

Once your binding is attached, fold the other edge in, for me it was easiest to clip this edge before moving on. Fold this edge over one more time, bringing the side into the fold that is attached to the mesh to conceal all raw edges. Pin or clip in place. Topstitch with a stretch stitch through all layers near the mesh edge, I used the triple stretch stitch on my sewing machine.

For the neckline, sew the two short ends with right sides together in the same way that the armbands are sewn. Evenly space out your neckline band around the bodice top neckline.

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Attach the bottom bodice to the top. The process is the same for both the front and the back:

Sandwich the layers of the bodice (front or back), matching the seam that you created before cutting out the fabric:

  • Bodice (Front or Back) Bottom – Supplex – Right side up
  • Bodice (Front or Back) Top – Mesh – Right side down
  • Bodice (Front or Back) Bottom – Circular Knit or Lining – Right side down

Stitch together, using the seam allowance you created if it was different from that of the pattern. Do not stitch arm bindings down yet. Repeat to the other side.

Stitch side seams of bodice front to back, supplex to supplex and lining to lining. Baste the outer bottom to the lining bottom bodice at the side seam along the seam allowance. Turn right side out. Adjust the arm bindings so that they lay in the proper shape, and pin to the seam allowance by reaching under the exterior fabric to pin.

Once all the arm bindings are pinned, flip open the hidden seam attaching everything, and sew the under arms. Reinforce the corners with stitches from a machine if serged. Add clear elastic to all seams, holding taunt, possibly even pulling a little on the front seam line so that it hugs your curves (this is something I did not do, and need to fix it after looking at my pictures and my ill-fitting bra). I chose to leave my corners free of the clear elastic to reduce bulk. After this picture was taken, I then trimmed the corners to make the seams lay flatter.

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Turn bodice right side out, and press the seams with your iron on a nylon setting.

Slightly trim 1/8” to ¼” off the bodice lining to help pull it to the inside of the garment and not show through the mesh.

Complete the skirt per the pattern’s instructions.

Attach the bodice and bodice lining as one piece to the skirt, following the remaining instructions in the pattern.

I am seriously in love with this dress, and the fact that it’s a full circle skirt so I can wear a petticoat with it. Now my next task is to start figuring out this bra thing so I can maybe make a strapless bra that actually fits me.

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

Feeling a Little Meh(sh)

What inspires you to workout? I wish I could say “I just love it” and don’t need any extra motivation, but alas, that would be one big lie. When it comes to fitness and activity, I know there is an ebb and flow for me….Sometimes my motivation and determination are at a peak and unwavering. Other times I have a laundry list of reasons why “I just can’t” because in reality I just don’t want to.

Like many people, January is a time to renew and I am ready to go – organization, workouts, food prep…It’s all easy, and I’m excited! Then February rolls around, and the honeymoon is over. At that point, all I want is ice cream and sweat pants, but I have one thing that always gets me back in the groove – NEW CLOTHES! This used to mean a trip to the store, but now it means a Facebook search in my favorite fabric and sewing groups for some inspiration.

I decided I wanted some “cool mesh” pants like all the women in my gym classes. Of course my favorite shop, Phee Fabrics had just what I wanted! The black powernet has great stretch and recovery for workout wear without being completely see through. So, off I went pattern hunting and decided to try another Greenstyle Creations pattern, the Inspire tights. They are a basic legging but also have some fun color blocking options. I used a contour waistband from the Patterns for Pirates peg legs to give me a higher waisted option.

The powernet was great for the inserts and there is some hidden powernet in the waistband – it’s like comfortable compression! This stuff HOLDS you in! No rolling waistband or slipping down. I didn’t even need to add elastic to the top, which is perfect for me. I really don’t like the feel of elastic on my waist regardless of fabric and pattern.

Quick tip for color-block sewing that saves me a bunch of time pinning – I get all of my pieces for each leg panel and pin them all at one time. Then I can stitched all at once and if I shave them all pinned together at the them same time it’s easier to see if I have them all in the correct direction (read: less seam ripping!)

I really want for my leggings to be supportive and stretch. The Plum Supplex is gorgeous in person while having incredible stretch and recovery. This material is perfect for squats and stretching (and tested for the entire day after a workout because sometimes I just get busy 😉)

So now I had “motivating pants”, but I needed a whole outfit. This time I wanted to copy a tank I bought years ago. It has a strap across the back that how’s off your back and a front and back scoop neck. I used the P4P essential tank, but instead of using the back piece, I did 2 fronts! I used 85% of the neck and arm openings to create the bands. Then I created a strap for the back and stitched it into the band. Super easy, and it holds the straps up.

The back piece has a little added flair and function. It’s made out of powernet too. Awesome for a hot day or extra sweaty workout.

My motivating outfit worked – I used it as my extra push to get up and workout at 5:45am when but was a balmy 11 degrees! I guess I will need to make another outfit to keep the momentum going…and you know it will be with Phee Fabrics.

Happy stitchin’ and sweatin’

Liz

Let’s talk about base layers…

Hi y’all! Alisha here for Phee Fabrics!

Today I’d like to talk about winter and how important base layers are especially when you live in upstate NY like myself. We have a lot of outdoor activities, some include snow shoeing, skiing, snowboarding, cross country skiing and ice skating just to make a few!

Well instead of being trapped inside for the winter I chose to add layers to be able to get outside, get some exercise and just enjoy the crisp air!

First layer is the most important, it should be breathable, non clingy and just comfortable. So for my first set of base layers I’ll be making I have chosen Phee’s Plum Supplex. I used Greenstyle Creations Super Gs for the bottoms and a modified Green Tee (free pattern when you join the Greenstyle Facebook group!) These two together have made the perfect base layer as this supplex is breathable, comfortable and easy to move in and I can enjoy some winter activities with family and friends!

The links to purchase the plum supplex and the Super Gs are listed below! Happy shopping and get out and enjoy the outdoors it’s good for the soul!

Super Gs

Plum Supplex

Happy sewing!

❤️ Alisha