Summer is for Fun!

Summer is in full swing here in Far Northern California with all sorts of craziness between hail storms, mountain snow, earthquakes and sizzling temps of over 100 degrees! Add to the daily fun of school being out – what working parent doesn’t love trying to figure out ways to keep the monsters occupied and active when it’s hotter than the surface of the sun?

My original plan was to get pictures of this Mairin from Sew a Little Seam while out on the boat this past weekend but with so much snow runoff from the late, heavy Spring snowfalls that water was COLD!!! No one was going in and I know better than to bring out the suits and expect the kids to stay out of the water.

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I made sure to grab this inflatable pool from Costco while they had them in stock because around here, once the pools are gone, they aren’t restocked so if you miss out, you are S.O.L. and in for a long, hot season. It made for a great time in the backyard while the husband cooked a tri-tip and I snapped some pictures to show off the solid tricot and Insane in the Membrane Nylon spandex from Phee Fabrics.

It took me a bit to decide which colors to use. The Tricot, which is perfect for swimwear and so amazing to work with, comes in a bunch of awesome colors and with half-yard cut options available it is easy to have a nice on-hand selection of beautiful coordinates for whatever may come up! The Nylon-Spandex “Insane in the Membrane” is a fun, wild, black-and-white print that can really be paired with anything but for this suit, I chose the Cerise and Neon Coral to add lots of brightness to match my little’s ones sparkling personality.

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This is the second Mairin I’ve made for little missy and I had forgotten how “fun” the teeny, tiny pieces of elastic were to sew in for the arm and leg openings. It did require a few deep breaths and taking a break from my machines but those are really the only parts I found of the suit that was a touch stressful for me. Even the gathered ruffles are easy with the Tricot.

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Despite the elastic giving me a hard time, I feel fortunate to be able to provide my daughter with a perfectly fitting suit as I find that RTW suits have a tendency to sag in the booty/crotch area and are not comfortable for her to be able to play like she wants! The quality of the fabric really compliments its beauty with the way it holds up to abrasion and chlorine making the time and effort invested into a hand-crafted suit worthwhile.

I hope you have a wonderful Summer filled with lots of laughs and memories made. Kiddos just grow way too fast! Thank you for reading! ❤

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Pattern: Sew a Little Seam – Children’s Mairin Swimsuit PDF Pattern

Fabrics: Tricot in Cerise from Phee Fabrics, Tricot in Neon Coral from Phee Fabrics, Nylon Spandex in “Insane in the Membrane”Swim Lining in Bisque

This post includes affiliate links that might generate some income that would be wisely spent on … more fabric.

Stitch Upon A Time Water Faery Twist & Swim Top

Summer has arrived, so it’s about time for me to get started on sewing up some swimwear!  When the Stitch Upon A Time Water Faery swim patterns were released, I eyed them closely, but put off buying a pattern because I couldn’t decide which one to buy.  The Retro One Piece has a dress option, which I love the look of!  But I never wear one piece swimsuits.  I finally settled on the Twist & Swim Top because I knew I would wear the sexy yet modest top and could play around with the pattern.

The swim top has the option of a plain or twisted front.  Since I was making the fun twisted front, I decided to follow the pattern exactly for my first version to see how it fit.  I made my measured size, using the green extended cut line for the bodice, since I have the noted 4.5″+ difference between bust and under bust, and followed the tutorial.  As I’ve come to expect from Stitch Upon A Time Patterns, the tutorial is well written, with lots of photos to help you visualize each step.  The elastic measurements are perfect, exactly the right length for support and comfort.

I had some swim fabric from JoAnn’s in my stash that was left over from a project I made last year.  There wasn’t quite enough fabric to make the straps the recommended width, so I made them as wide as possible, but had to omit the gathering on the straps.  As experience has taught me when making bras or tops that need support, I used powernet in the front and back bodice pieces, as well as the straps.  The resulting top is cute, and works great for walks on the beach, but had one small problem.

Knowing that my shoulder to bust apex measurement is longer than average, I should have taken that into account and lengthened the straps.  Since the straps are too short for my body, the top cuts into my armpits a bit.  Because the top is held firmly in place under the bust in front, the back is pulled forward and up, which keeps the back from laying properly.  Fortunately, it’s a simple fix.

TT p frontTT p back

I just added an inch to the strap length before cutting out my next version.  This time I used Tricot from Phee Fabrics.  I think the hardest part was narrowing down which colors to use, since it’s available in so many pretty colors!  Because I liked the way the narrower straps turned out, I decided to cut them at 3.5″ wide again.  I also decided to play around with the bottom band construction, to use one piece of 1.25″ wide elastic in the band, rather than elastic at the top and bottom seams of the band.

I made the top as directed until I got to the band.  I sewed the bands right sides together, along the bottom edge.  I marked the band at the midpoint, then marked the quarter point by folding one end over and 1/2″ past the center pin, to account for the 1/2″ seam allowance.  I also placed pins on either side of my center front pin to mark the V placement.  I stitched between the two outer pins, using a 3/8″ seam allowance.  (Note: I used a 3/8″ seam allowance on the top and bottom seams of my band so that I could use  1.25″ sport elastic.  You can also stick to the 1/2″ seam allowance and use 1″ wide elastic.)

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Then I carefully cut down to, but not through the stitching at both ends of this V stitching, and turned the band right sides out.  Because I would need an opening to thread my elastic through the band after I attached it to the bodice, I had to carefully plan out stitching the short ends together.  Placing the short ends right sides together, I stitched from one side for 1/2″.  Then I stitched from the other side to just past the bottom seam.  This left me enough opening to thread my elastic through, but ensured that the side seam was completely sewn on the outer side.

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I turned the band right side out and basted the long edges together.  When sewing the band and bodice together, make sure that the opening for the elastic ends up on the inside of your top!

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Then I matched up the center front, center back, and the quarter points of the band and bodice, right sides together.  Keep in mind that the quarter points may not exactly line up with the side seams, especially when you use the extended bodice cut lines.  Stitch the band and bodice together and insert the elastic.  Use the recommended underbust elastic length, and overlap and stitch the ends of the elastic together.  You can stitch the opening on the inside of the band closed if you want, but since tricot doesn’t fray, I didn’t bother.

Yay!  I had a perfectly fitting swim top!  Now for some bottoms.  I’ve owned the Scrundlewear 2.0 pattern for months, but had never made a pair.  Since everybody seems to love Scrundies, I figured they would make great swim bottoms.  I cut on the foldover waistband line, tapering in at the top following the side seam cutline to give me a high waisted look.  The front height was great, but the back was too high.  I tapered from 1-5/8″ down at center back over to the height of the front side seam.

The legs felt too low, so while wearing the bottom, I carefully pinned where I wanted the leg line to end.  I added in the 3/8″ seam allowance I was going to use for turning my swim elastic under, marked my pattern, and cut off the excess fabric.  The photo below shows how much fabric I cut off compared to my new higher leg cut line.

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I also cut a front and back out of swim lining.  And as you can see, the swim lining from Phee Fabrics is nothing like the stuff I’ve bought from JoAnn’s.  It’s soft and lays smoothly.  The edges don’t curl up, and it’s super easy to sew with!  I also cut a front piece out of powernet.  Hello tummy control!  Not only is powernet great for bras and swim tops, it works fabulously to smooth out the tummy and hold everything in place.  Baste the powernet to the fabric front, and sew the front and back together at the side and bottom seams.  Sew the swim lining front and back together as well.  Place the swim lining layer inside the fabric layer wrong sides together, and baste at the leg and waist openings. Using a zig zag stitch, sew the elastic on the inside of the leg openings with the elastic lined up with the edge of the fabric.  Turn the fabric under and top stitch using a zig zag with the stitch length set to 2.5, and the stitch width set to 3.0.  This will give you a professional, even finish.

I used a strip of 2″ wide fabric to make my waistband.  I sewed the two short ends right sides together, then layered the swim bottoms and waistband, right sides together, with 3/4″ knit elastic on top.  I stitched through all three layers, using a 1/4″ seam allowance.  This was easier than anticipated, since all three layers were the same length.  I didn’t have to worry about stretching or pulling.  I flipped the waistband open, and carefully folded the waistband fabric around to the inside and pinned it in place.  Using the same zig zag settings, I topstitched the fabric in place just below the waistband.

scrundiesMy Scrundie swim bottoms were a success, and I have a cute new swimsuit!  I love that it’s modest enough, while still being sexy.  My husband definitely approves of my creation!

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Since I seem to think that every bra or swim top can be made into a workout top, read the 5oo4 Escapade Experiment, Hack At It, and the GreenStyle Power Sports Bra Workout Top Hack as proof of my workout top obsession! 🙂  I decided to make the Water Faery Twist Top into a workout top too.  I made the Twist & Swim Top out of Tricot, per directions (with the narrower and longer straps out of Supplex) through to basting the completed bodice layers together along the bottom.  Then I got to work on the tank portion.  Supplex is my absolute favorite fabric for workout wear, so that’s what I used for the tank.  The pattern includes a tankini option, but since I was making a workout top rather than a swim top, I didn’t want the negative ease that the swim top has (to keep the tank from floating up while in the water).

If you have a well fitting tank pattern, you can use that, or you can just trace the tankini piece wider, with a gentle slope down to the bottom, rather than with the inwardly shaped waist curve of the original.  I thought it would be fun to color block a stripe down the center back, and add some pockets to the front for practicality and a pop of color.  I cut a strip of tricot 4.5″ wide by the length of the center back tank piece.  Then I folded my tank pattern piece in 1.5″ at the center back.  That way, when I cut out the two back halves (not on the fold), I would be missing 3″ from the center back.  Sewing the strip to each of the back pieces right sides together, with a 3/8″ seam allowance meant that the color-blocked back ended up the same size as my tank pattern piece.
TT wo back stripeI cut out two 4-3/4″ x 7-1/2″ rectangles for my front pockets.  I wanted them to be hidden seam pockets like the one I did on the GreenStyle Jillian Tank.  I laid the pocket pieces on the tank front and marked the 3/8″ seam line at the top and bottom of the pocket with a pin.  I flipped the pocket toward the center, and with right sides together, pinned the pocket to the tank, then stitched 3/8″ in from the pocket edge.

TT wo pocket pinI flipped the pockets back to the outside edges after stitching and basted them in place.

TT wo pockets.jpgAt this point, I should have been able to sew the tank front and back together, and sewn the bodice to the tank.  But I had made a couple of rookie errors. 😦  The first was that I had made the tank too wide at the top.  This was easily remedied by angling the tank in at the top so that it was the same width as the bodice (and the original tankini pattern piece.)  The second error was not considering the fact that I am tall, and should have added an inch to the length of the tank.  The problem was remedied easily enough by adding a band.  I cut out the band pieces, and sewed them onto the bodice per the pattern tutorial, except using a 3/8″ seam allowance, and spacing my bodice front center V only 1/2″ apart.  I don’t want to show too much skin at yoga class!

Because the 1.25″ wide sport elastic had worked so well on my swim top, I decided to use it for my workout top as well.  With the bands still folded up on the bodice, I used pins to mark the quarter points on the top, and a pencil to mark the quarter points on the elastic, and stretching to fit, stitched the elastic to the seam allowance.  I had the elastic lined up with the stitching line, and hanging down below the bodice.  Then I folded the inner band down, and stitched the elastic to the band.

TT wo elasticI brought the outer band down and basted it in place before attaching the tank portion.  I sewed on the tank, hemmed the bottom, and I’ve got a cute new workout top!

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Everything stayed perfectly in place during a sweaty Vinyassa Flow class that included inversions.  Everyone in the lobby when I walked into the yoga studio commented on my top.  None of them could believe that I made it, including the instructor, who knows how to sew.  I went for a walk later in the evening, and the pockets worked great to hold my phone and house key.  It looks like I’ve got a great new swimwear and workout top pattern to add into my rotation!

*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.  Because I value honesty and integrity, I only recommend products that I love and personally use for my makes.  Thank you for reading and sharing my blogpost, and love of sewing, patterns, pattern hacking, and high quality fabrics! 🙂

 

Wiggle and Essential Tank Hack

Down here in Sunny Florida our month long Winter just ended and it was brutal, I am talking 50’s haha! Now that it is warm I have swim on the brain! So when I found out Wide Mesh was the promo this month I was so excited because I finally had the excuse to make myself a new coverup with the amazing, wide mesh I had been hoarding since September!

I have been dying to make the Wiggle Dress from Patterns for Pirates into a coverup. I did not necessarily want it so form fitting and thought it would mesh nicely with the Essential tank.

I am so happy with the results that I think I am going to make one from Rayon Spandex to wear everyday. Especially after all the new color options that Phee just listed. I only purchase my Rayon Spandex from Phee Fabrics because it is so high quality and it does not pill. Yes, that is what I said, it does not pill! It is seriously the best!

Not only was I extremely happy with the pattern but I loved the wide mesh so much I had to make another coverup and decided on a pair of Brassie Joggers. I was not disappointed with these either!

Materials: All from Phee Fabrics

Wiggle/ Essential Tank Hack

I already had both the Wiggle and Essential Tank patterns cut in my size, so after laying the pattern pieces on top of one another, I began by tracing the wiggle dress on the top portion and graded at the skirt to blend into the essential tank. I wanted the dress to be less form fitting through the waist and hips and more fitted on the top portion.

The front piece was much easier and straight forward because both fronts are cut on the fold. The back however was more difficult due to the fact that the back of the Wiggle is 2 mirror cut pieces and the Essential Tank is again cut on a fold. I wanted both my new pieces to be cut on a fold.

For this I concentrated on lining up 3 points: the grainlines, the centerback and the armpit. Once these 3 points were matched up I traced the cut on fold line and graded the skirts to blend together gradually becoming more fitted the higher up the waist.

After I had my two pattern pieces, it was sewn according to the original Wiggle pattern directions, except I used binding instead of elastic. I also used binding to finish off the sleeves to give it a more finished look. The skirt was left raw. As Monica explains in her blog the other day the binding can seem intimidating but the trick is to take your time and pin!

*If I was using this hack with any other fabric besides the wide mesh I would not have used binding and used the elastic and hemmed my sleeves and skirt.

Review of Heiress Bikini

This was my first time sewing the Heiress Bikini from SwimStyle and it is honestly one of the best swim patterns I have used. The techniques used leave you with the most professionally finished pieces and the fit just feels amazing! It is not a beginner pattern but has great instructions that easily guide you along.

I wanted to make this with the adjustable straps and used the new metal ring and slider set Phee is carrying. I was beyond blown away with the quality of this hardware and it was honestly the part people pointed out when they were shocked I made my own swimsuit. I highly recommend it!

I also used Powernet as the liner in my top because who can’t use a little extra support? If you don’t have this stuff on hand I also highly recommend it because you never know when it will come in handy!

Review of the Brassie Jogger as a Coverup

I am in a long term love affair with the Brassie Joggers from Greenstyle, because who isn’t! I decided to use the wide mesh and make a coverup version. This was one of those projects that turned out way better than I had originally envisioned. I receive compliments on them every time I wear them and even sold a pair the last time I wore them!

Thanks for taking a peek at my projects!

Well, because boobs sag as we get older

I’m not a very well endowed person, I’d say I was average (36D on a good day) but as I get older my boobs aren’t as perky as they use to be, it sucks but it’s life.

Well I have the solution, it’s techsheen from Phee Fabrics. It’s life changing, or boob changing! I used the North Shore from Greenstyle Creations to create my vintage inspired suit. I also use tan swim lining and Raspberry Circular Knit from Phee as well, just cause her fabric is the greatest!

(The tan techsheen used for my suit is currently sold out, there is black and white or you could use two layers of tan powernet for the same support)

A little about my suit, I did the high waisted bottoms with the pullover top with tie front and less coverage for the cleavage. I didn’t include cups cause I didn’t need them with the techsheen.

I used swim lining in the back of the top and techsheen in the front (the clip shows the part with the techsheen)

For the bottoms I used techsheen in the front to help with belly coverage and make things smoother. I used swim lining for the back of the bottoms (the clip shows the techsheen)

The tan techsheen is thicker than other techsheen but they are all just as supportive!! It’s seriously life changing and helps keep our girls where they are meant to be not where gravity wants them to be!

Any questions just ask!

Alisha

A two piece Alexandria

Making any garment is an especially personal thing but the most personal and challenging for me is a bikini top or sports bra. 15 years ago I got breast implants to correct some issues that I had. Fast forward 11 years and I got pregnant which caused me to go from a 34C/D to a larger than a 38E. My boobs are the farthest thing from perfect, there’s scars, stretch marks, sagging, different sizes and on top of all that they’re massive, which makes me self conscious. As a single mom with one income, there is no time or money to fix the issues. Enter the obsession with all things lined with power net or techsheen.

When I saw the Alexandria I instantly got excited but not as a one piece. All I kept thinking was, bikini time and as self conscious about my post-baby body as I am I also realize that I am the sole role model for my son. The person who will teach him how to be a gentleman, respect and appreciate women. He doesn’t care about all the imperfections that I see because in his mind I’m a pretty awesome mom and this awesome mom needs a bikini!

So let’s start hacking

I cut two mirrored piece of the faux wrap in power netlining and the new red and white stripe and basted the flounce. 

Then I realized that these pieces come to my belly button and my ginormous milk pillows do not allow for a simple “fold under with some elastic”. I would need an actual band and then what do I do about the back? So I started cutting, I cut to the patterns ‘shelf bra’ line omitting the elastic because my boobs would eat the elastic (have I said that I love powernet?!).

Cutting it down was perfect. That line was exactly where the flounce ended. I did add the elastic with my super awesome elasticator foot then I followed the same enclosure method as I showed in February in this blog.

I used tie strings that I cut 1.5″ x 20″. With 1.5″ non roll elastic for the back. I made the casing by measuring my back in the places it would sit. My almost 4 year old wouldn’t help with this part so I took the back of something I already had and measured it. Don’t forgot to measure it in a few spots since the elastic bands (two of them) will sit in different spots on your back. I cut the casing 4.5″ wide and 15″ long for the bottom band and 14.75″ for the top band spacing them about 1″ apart. 

Before topstitching and finalizing this I tried it on. Now, I would say the typical “ignore the mess” but let’s get real. My life is messy! It’s filled with monster trucks, hot wheels, nerf bullets being shot at me, hair in a bun, sewing in my underwear while doing laundry, drinking a Diet Coke, trying to keep my sanity all while trying to drown out ‘Ryan’s toy review’ playing in the background

After I had the proper fit, I basted the front enclosure, I crossed over everything minus 2″. Now be forewarned, there were ten, that’s right 10 layers! to baste through. I basted with my serger, lower the tension, go slow and have some extra needles on hand just in case. The other option is to tack down the crossover and cut out all the extra fabric, which I’ll be doing on my next version. After basting I folded under and topstitched everything.

With an excited 4 year old , we jumped in the pool and put this top to the test. It’s sitting very high in my pits, I noticed this with majority of the other pictures that I looked at too, and I decided to revert back to my topstitching technique that I normally use.

Next step is to improve this version to fit me even better so stay tuned. If you’re interested in seeing this within a video just please post in the Facebook group and ask for it.

Melissa

PHEE SWIM WEEK AND MY BOMBSHELL

Posted by Alisha Bennett

Ever feel like you born in the wrong era? I can’t be the only one. Anyways, I love the fashion, the cars, the hair style all of the 1950s! Women were sexy but sophisticated, they had class and carried themselves with grace. They had curves and weren’t afraid to show them.

When I looked up the Bombshell from Closet Case Patterns I just knew it was meant for me!! Phee Fabrics carried this gorgeous Raspberry Circular knit the color in person is simply gorgeous. As a women with curves and some jiggle in places I chose to not only line my suit with Nude swim liner but I also added a layer of Tan techsheen to the the back, the under front panel and the chest area, techsheen is a great support and helps keeps our girl parts in place and looking pretty (I mean just look at that booty) What more could you want?!

So I figure since I wasn’t thought of to enjoy the 1950s that I’ll just make all the bombshell swim suits in all the colors of circular knit and just pretend!

Join us for all the fun of swim week!

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