Summer Skirts

In the summer I live in running skirts, I run in them, but I also just wear them because they are so comfortable. I have so many, but I always want more choices, probably so I don’t have to do laundry more often. When I ran across this skirt on Pinterest, I knew the exact pattern I could use to get the same look.


I began with Jalie’s Loulouxe Skort pattern, and went to my fabric stash. I’ve actually been sewing a lot from my stash lately, and it’s felt amazing to use some of my Phee stash that I’ve staring at not knowing what to do with. I pulled out navy nylon/spandex tricot and coral powernet (this stuff is in the last chance section of the site, so grab it now if you’re at all interested in it).


I love the way that it turned out, it even goes perfectly with my newest tank, a GreenStyle Solo Tank in white circular knit. I love how the coral part is slightly translucent, but yet you can’t really see much. Oh, and I haven’t told you the best part yet, the shorts have pockets! I did make my pockets about 1/2″ wider than the pattern piece to account for my phone and any other things that I needed to put in my pockets.

There are a few changes I need to make next time for a better fit, so that I can actually run in this. The shorts are a loose, so I’ll go with a smaller size through the hips and thighs next time. I also love the bands instead of hemming, it made finishing a breeze.

One thing to note is that I trimmed 3/8″ off the bottom of the coral powernet piece, as I planned on hemming the navy tricot front of the skirt. I really like how the powernet just flows as I move.


I must also add, that this running skirt is mother and chicken approved. 🙂

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Swimwear Shenanigans And Escapades

Since I’ve decided that this is going to be the summer for swimwear sewing, I’m having fun combining and hacking my patterns to make some fun suits!  I like using all the fun colors of Tricot from Phee Fabrics, and always used their Powernet in my swimwear, bras and workout wear for extra support.  Phee fan pro tip: If you haven’t joined the Phee Fabrics Facebook Group yet, now is the perfect time to do so.  They are almost at 10,000 members, and are kicking off a celebration on June 26, 2019!

The 5 Out Of 4 Shenanigans Skort seemed like the perfect basis for a swim skirt.  Since the Escapade Top and Dress pattern has a drawstring front, I thought it would be fun to add drawstrings on the sides of the Shenanigans.  That way my booty could be covered while walking out to the beach, then I can shorten the skirt as much as I want while playing on the beach.

You can use the shorts included with the pattern, or your favorite briefs pattern for underneath.  If you use a different pattern for the briefs, make them first, without sewing the waistband.  Since my brief pattern has a lower rise, I traced the Sporty Spice length in my measured size for the skirt, and cut on the low rise line.  I didn’t want the sides to flare out too much, so I curved the side seam of the bottom of the skirt front in to the next smaller size.  When I lay the skirt front pattern on top of the brief pattern, you can see that the front waistline curve is the same, and that it’s a couple of inches wider than the brief.

Shen pattern FYou need that extra width to make your drawstring casing, and for your skirt to have a little bit of ease.  The skirt back should also match the curve of your briefs and have the same extra width.  Because I’m tall and have a booty, I added a little extra length to the center back of my skirt, tapering up to the side length.  It’s just enough to cover my bum when the skirt isn’t gathered up on the sides.  Sew the skirt front and back right sides together with a 1″ seam.  Make drawstrings by cutting four 1-1/2″ wide strips of  Phee Fabrics Tricot twice as long as the side seam of your skirt.  Fold each strip right sides together and using a stretch stitch sew with a 3/8″ seam allowance.  Use a safety pin or bodkin to turn the strips right side out.

Shen ties

Fold the skirt side seam allowances under 3/8″ and pin in place.  Stitch in place using a 1/2″ seam allowance to form the casings for your drawstrings.

Shen casingFold the bottom hem under 1/2″ and use a zig zig or other stretch stitch to hem.  On the right side of your skirt, make a small horizontal slit in each casing, about 3/8″ above the hem.  Thread a drawstring in each casing and tack the drawstring in place at the top.

Shen insert tiesAlign the center front, center back, and side seams of your brief and skirt and pin or clip in place.   Try it on to ensure everything feels comfortable and lines up nicely.  This is your opportunity to trim the rise a little bit if needed for better alignment.   Easing the skirt to fit the brief, baste them together.  Then sew on your waistband and elastic and you’ve got a new swim skirt!

I’ve hacked the 5oo4 Escapade into a workout top before, so I knew it would make a great bikini top.  I thought it would be cute to have a little cut-out in the back, although due to changes I made after basting the side seams and trying it on, the cut-out is smaller than I’d originally planned.  I used Tricot as the main and lining fabric, with a layer of powernet basted to my main tricot fabric so that it will end up sandwiched between the layers.  (Following the pattern tutorial and basting it to the lining fabric will save you from having to snip through two layers when making your opening for the drawstring!)

Because adding an underbust band to accomplish the cut-out added length to the top, I ended up shortening and altering my front and back pattern pieces to show a little more skin.  I wanted the back bodice to end up 3″ high, so my pattern piece ended up 3-3/4″ high, with a 3/8″ seam allowance at the top and bottom.  (I did not have my strap drawstring go through the bodice back.  If you want yours to go all the way through, add 3/8″ to the height, since the top will be folded under 3/4″ to form the casing per the pattern tutorial.)  Simply fold up the bottom corner of your pattern piece along the center back fold line to get the triangular cut-out.

Esc cutout back

I cut the front bodice on the C/D cutline, because according to the measurement chart, that’s where I should cut.  I definitely need the extra length in the center front, but not so much at the sides.  So I ended up tapering my bodice height starting 3-1/2″ away from the center front angling up to the necessary side height of 4-1/8″ to match up to my bodice back.

Esc front angle

To make the straps, you basically you cut your fabric four times the width of your elastic, (in this case 1-1/2″ wide).  Fold the straps in half right sides together.  Place the 3/8″ elastic flush with the cut edges, then zig-zag the elastic, right at the inner edge of the elastic.  Then turn your straps right side out.  Take your time when stitching on the elastic, and the straps will end up nice and flat.

Esc strap elasticSew the bodice front per the pattern tutorial until you reach the point where you are supposed to sew the front to the back at the side seams.  This is when I tacked my straps at the side seams, rather than having one long strap run through the entire top of the bodice.  Note: in the photo below, I had not yet made the tapered cut at the bottom sides of my top.

Esc bodice front

Lay the bodice backs right sides together, and stitch along the top using a 3/8″ seam allowance.  Stitch along the triangle cut-out.  Sew elastic to these seam allowances, keeping the elastic taut, but not pulling on it.  This will give these seams stability, and help keep the top of your suit in place.  It might seem intimidating to sew elastic, but it’s not as scary as you may think.  In fact, 5 Out Of 4 Patterns has several blog post videos showing how to add elastic in their Sewing School series.  In the photo below, you can see where I added the elastic.  Note: The bottom of the back hadn’t been trimmed to it’s shorter height yet.

Esc back elasticYou’ll need to poke one side of the back through the narrow space at center back to turn the back right sides out.  Then it’s time to sew your side seams.  I hate bulky side seams, and with the straps, and elastic, and layers of tricot and powernet the seam could get bulky!  So I do it a little differently than you may have seen.  Since the front strap casing is folded down at the top front, my normal method of sewing the main front to main back, and lining front to lining back, lining up the top seam isn’t going to work.

So I folded the back bodice over the front bodice, aligning the seam with the top edge of the front bodice, making sure that the main fabric (tricot) front matched up with the main fabric back, and the two lining fabrics were together.  Stitch down 3/4″ until reaching the casing stitch line.  Then pin the main fabric (tricot) front to the main fabric back and the lining front to the lining back and stitch each of the pinned seams together.

Esc side topEsc side pin

Then clip the seam allowances so that you can press them open.  I also clip the top corner at an angle to help reduce the bulk.  Repeat these steps on the other side seam.

Esc side clip

Cut a band the same width as your bikini top, adding in a seam allowance.  If you use 3/4″ elastic, the band should be 2-1/4″ high (twice the width of the elastic plus the seam allowance).  Sew the short ends of your band together, and aligning the seam with one of the side seams, place the band over the bodice right sides together.  Pin the band to the bodice bottom, then stitch.

Use pins to mark the center front and back, along with the quarter points.  Overlapping the ends of your elastic 1″, zig zag  together, then mark the quarter points with pins.  With the band still folded up on the bodice, pin the elastic to the seam allowance, aligning the quarter point pins.  The edge of the elastic should line up with the seamline, and hang down below the bikini top.  Then wrap the band down around the elastic and overlapping up to the inside and pin in place.  Stitch around the bodice bottom using a zig zag set at 2.5 stitch length and 3.0 stitch width.  At the triangle cut-out opening, stitch across the band at the top and trim away the excess fabric.

You can either tie the straps at the neck halter style, or have someone help you pin them in a comfortable spot and tack the straps in place, cutting off the excess strap length.  Now you have a cute new swimsuit!  I love being able to adjust the drawstrings to make the skirt as short or long, and the top as high or low as I want.

ShenEsc frontShenEsc down front

Because it’s boring and awkward to try and look sexy, I decided to have fun doing cartwheels instead.  🙂

ShenEsc cart frontShenEsc cart back

Being able to laugh at yourself and act silly keeps you young, right? 😉  There is no need to be afraid of sewing swimwear.  Have fun with it and mash and hack away!  It’s just another pattern and some colorful fabric, customized to fit YOU!  Does sewing your own swimwear give you super powers?  Maybe not.  But it does give you the confidence to see if you can still do cartwheels!  So sew away and then hit the pool, lake, or beach.

Whatever “Twill” Be…

Yes I know, corny right?? 🎵Que’ sera, sera🎶 lol. That’s kinda how I felt this month. I’ve been out of the loop a bit, and I kinda lost my sew-jo. So when we were asked to create something with new fabrics I thought,” oh no 😥 not woven!” But the colors are so pretty I have to try. Let me tell you, this stuff is nothing like any stretch twill I’ve seen before. It has almost a silky quality to it. Definitely not the stiff stuff like khaki pants I had in my mind lol! But now I’m even more worried… This is beautiful and I’m going to ruin it, the pattern I have is to simple, this is not going to work!

I chose the Half Moon Atelier Roma skirt as my base….

Mostly because it was cute and super simple. I haven’t made anything but bowties with wovens in forever. And because it would be simple to alter. Most woven patterns dont fit my curvy hind end so I knew I would need to tweak a few things. So the pattern goes to a 49 in hip😖. Yea not happening I needed to add 10 inches to that. I also wanted an elastic waist because let’s face it, I’m just not ready to tackle fitting a 59 in hip and a 43in waist!

I added my adjustments and whipped up my skirt. (Seriously, like 30 minutes mostly doing the elastic lol) and ugh I didn’t like it, or so I thought….. what do you think?

Sometimes simple is not so bad after all. 🎵Whatever “twill” be, will be!🎵 TTFN!

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When February’s theme was announced (using a variety of fabric bases), I took it as a challenge, and my ideas just kept rolling. I ended up with 3 solid ideas, but backed up to 2 as I was becoming frustrated with one and I began to realize that in the end I wouldn’t ever wear it other than for the pictures that needed to be taken. Instead, I dove head first into my other ideas, the first I’m sharing with you today, and the other I will share later in the month.


One thing that came to mind was fishnet tights using the black wide mesh with The Wolf and Tree’s Gazelle Ladies’ Footed Tights pattern. The pattern comes with pieces for both fabrics that have only a 2-way stretch and also fabrics with a 4-way stretch, as well as petite, regular and tall lengths. Due to the amount of vertical stretch in the fabric, I found that after sewing one leg, I needed to move the crotch down 2 inches. If I would have realized this to begin with, I would have used the petite length. Since there is also greater than 30% horizontal stretch I used my size down in the hips so that I wouldn’t have to worry about them moving.


The pattern calls for 1.75 yards for the footed tights. I measured the length of my pattern piece, as I knew I could get both legs in my size with the fabric folded selvedge to selvedge, and found that 1.5 yards would be plenty, with extra, for the low rise option. I used the yoga waistband, but made it 3 times the height, making this out of the black circular knit.


Gazelle has a ½” seam allowance, this is so that you can use French seams, which I do love, but they were not going to work for this mesh. I opted to use a narrow 3 thread serged seam on all of the mesh to mesh seams. After completing each seam, I then moved my blade out farther, so that I could sew an additional seam to reinforce and capture any edges that were missed without cutting the stitches that were already there. In the center of the crotch, where the 4 seams join, I went over that a few times to make sure it would hold. I then attached my waistband with a regular 4 thread serged seam.

I used to wear fishnets all the time, I was one of those punk girls in high school, I had black boots and plaid skirts. The worst was catching my tights on something and having them snag. Oh, and I wasn’t cheap with my fishnet tights, I think I paid $15 for DKNY ($22 from Macy’s site now) because they fit the best. I feel like these are going to hold up so much better than those did, and the price is basically the same.


Because I wasn’t going to take pics in just my tights, I decided to finish off a few other things I had on my list to make. The Liv Skirt (German pattern) was made with supplex, I ended up reducing the amount of fabric at the waist by 2” because it was too big, but now I know better for next time. This skirt was literally made in 10 minutes (cutting and sewing), as it’s that fast. I wanted a contour waistband, so I used the waistband from my GreenStyle Strides, and it fit perfectly!


I’ve been searching for the perfect raglan, so I have set out to try a handful of raglan patterns from different designers. This one is the Demi by Sinclair Patterns, with the scoop neck and straight hem made from light heathered gray rayon spandex (I am seriously obsessed with Phee’s rayon spandex if you can’t tell already). This pattern has a lot of different neck options that I want to try out including an off the shoulder option. The pattern has options for petite, regular, and tall.


The top looks great as is, although it looks like I need to make some changes on my next one. It appears as though I need a swayback adjustment, but this could possibly be corrected by reducing the size of the back through the waist. Fit says it’s to be semi-fitted, but I feel as though it’s a little larger than semi-fitted through my waist and hips with my measured size and grading. Upper arms are a little loose for my liking with about 2″ of ease, by this is something I’ve found with a lot of knit long sleeved tops.


As time goes on during the next month of making my raglans, I’ll learn more about the fitting of them and the differences, so I’m not going to share a complete pattern review on this until I’ve completed my journey of raglans.

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A Practical Halloween – Steampunk Style

I LOVE fall! The cooler days and crisp nights, the changing leaves, cozy sweaters and jeans – these are all things I love. Not only that, my two favorite holidays take place in the fall: Thanksgiving and Halloween!

I have always loved to dress up for Halloween ever since I was little. My birthday falls close to Halloween, so I remember having Halloween parties instead of a birthday party growing up. I also may or may not go a little overboard with the decorations.


Since my son was born, I’ve concentrated on his costume every year, and haven’t dressed up myself in a long time. This year, I accepted the challenge of coming up with a “practical” Halloween costume–something made up of separates that could then be used for every day. One of the first things that popped into my mind was that I had always thought the pleated back version of the Sundance Jacket from Greenstyle Creations had a sort of “Victorian” look to it, so I thought I could use that to make myself a Steampunk outfit.

Now that I had the idea, time to come up with the rest of it. I thought a black skirt would pair nicely with the jacket and would definitely be something I would wear again and again. Choosing the fabric for the skirt was a no-brainer: the gorgeous Rayon Spandex in Black from Phee Fabrics was the perfect choice. For the skirt pattern, I chose the Women’s Maya Skirt from Petite Stitchery & Co.

For the Sundance Jacket, I wasn’t sure which fabric to use. The pattern says that Supplex is a good option, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted the regular Supplex or the Brushed Supplex, so I ordered both. Once they arrived, it was still a hard choice, as both fabrics are amazing, but I felt the Brushed Supplex was a better choice for a jacket. (And now I have the regular supplex to use for some leggings!)

I made my Sundance with the pleated back and stand-up collar so it would work not only for my costume, but would also be the perfect jacket for cooler weather biking and hiking.

And I was right to choose the Brushed Supplex! This jacket is so soft and warm! It has great stretch, but was still a dream to work with. The only thing I would do differently next time, would be to use a thinner fabric for my pockets to reduce the bulk a bit, but overall, I’m super pleased with how it turned out.

My skirt in the gorgeous Black Rayon Spandex also turned out just how I imagined. Flowy and soft, this will be the perfect skirt that can be dressed up or down depending on top and accessories. Here I’ve paired it with an oversized tee made from white RS.


Putting the skirt and jacket together with a few accessories, like the hat (Amazon) and wig (previous costume), I get my Steampunk outfit! I also used a bit of Ultra Wide Black Lace Trim that I tied around my neck. Once Halloween is over, I can use that to make some new “unmentionables”. 😉

With a bit of imagination, you too can have a “practical” Halloween!

Making your own bike skort (or shorts)

Our family likes to bike. Now I’m not saying we’re out there in our matching biking outfits on the road every day, but when it’s nice, we like to get out and ride the rail-trails and we also take our bikes on vacation looking for new trails. If we’re just going for a short ride, I don’t usually bother with padded shorts, but for longer rides, they are nice to have. We do a 20 mile ride for farmland preservation every summer, and for that ride, you definitely need some extra padding.

If you have ever bought a pair of padded bike shorts, you know that they don’t come cheap. My last RTW bike skort cost me about $80, so now that I’m more comfortable sewing my own clothes, I wondered if I could make my own. I googled “how to make your own bike shorts,” thinking maybe someone had a pattern or tutorial already out there. However, I was super happy to find that I could BUY a replacement chamois (shammy) that you just sew right into your shorts! How cool is that?

At Aero Tech Designs, they have a nice selection of chamois pads that range in price from $9.99 to $29.99 and that offer different options/sizing, including women and youth pads. You can view all they offer here. I decided to try the Women’s Ventilated Fit and Trim Cycling Pad – Sew In Chamois. This was in the middle price-wise ($14.99), and had pretty good reviews.


For my fabric, I wanted something lightweight and stretchy that still provided good coverage, so I used black nylon spandex tricot from Phee Fabrics. It has great weight and drape for the skirt part, and the shorts offer enough coverage under the skirt. It’s also moisture wicking and antimicrobial, so perfect for workout/athletic wear. Phee Fabrics offers this fabric in other amazing colors, but I went with plain black, as I have a lot of bright tops that I want to wear with my skort. I used the Shenanigans Skort pattern from 5 out of 4 Patterns.

The chamois comes with instructions for adding it to your shorts, but let’s walk through it together! If you are making your shorts, like I did, then I would recommend getting them assembled up until adding the waistband. You are going to need room to maneuver, and leaving the waistband off helps. You will need a ruler and a sewing machine that sews a zig zag stitch. You will also need straight pins. LOTS of straight pins.

First you will find the center front and back of the pad (mine was marked with notches), and then measure up 4″ from the center FRONT (the smaller part). Mark this spot on your chamois.


Place the chamois into your shorts and match the spot you marked with the center intersection of your shorts (mine was at the side points of the gusset). Pin in place in the center of the pad, and then pin the sides, pulling the shorts material taut as you do so.


Next, you want to pin the back of the chamois. Lay it inside the shorts, but then move it down about 1.5″ towards the front and pin the back center. The pad will be buckled up slightly. This will allow the pad to “bend” to match the crotch curve once sewn.


Once you have the back pinned, lay the front of the pad into the shorts, pull taut, and pin the center front. You should now have 5 points pinned.


You will now pin the rest of the pad to the shorts, pulling the fabric taut between each point. I used a lot of pins for this part! Once pinned, check to make sure that the pad is aligned (look at it from the outside…does it seem like there is an equal amount of pad on both sides of the seam/gusset?). If all looks good, you will start sewing the pad into the shorts using a zig zag stitch. You want about 12 stitches per inch. I left my length on the default (1.4 on my machine) and set the width to 6. I also used my walking foot for this. You will want to keep the fabric taut while stitching.


Once you have stitched the pad into place, check and see that everything looks good. My machine is finicky, and didn’t want to sew the foam, so I had some skipped stitches. I went around again to make sure it was secure.


And now you are done!


Blog9Mine may not look as good as a professional pair, but since this is my first time trying, I’m happy with them! Also, when you put them on, it all smooths out, and they are actually really comfortable. And the best part? I made these for less than $30, which includes the pad and all the fabric to make my skort. #winning

You should now feel ready to tackle your own pair, and maybe I’ll see you on the trails!


Phee0718_Bike4P.S. Don’t forget your helmet!!