Free the Cheeks

Summer is my favorite time of year. It’s filled with cookouts, drinks, and the pool. But the worst part is finding a swimsuit. I haven’t gotten a new one since right after my daughter was born. It’s really cute but not super flattering on my body type. So for the last 2 years, I’ve been shoving my boobs into tops that are too small.

I knew I needed to make a swim suit out of the new khaki steel tricot that Phee Fabrics recently started stocking. It’s such a versatile color! You can match it with just about anything. I ended up going with the white circular knit for the binding. If you’re looking for great swim material, Phee has you covered! I made some sports bras, that I also wear in the pool, out of tricot and circular knit. I wear them constantly and they still look great.

I also used the cut and sew foam from Phee Fabrics. You can purchase that here

I’ve seen lots of cute swim patterns but they just aren’t flattering on me. Since I’m a whole 5’ tall, I need things that lengthen my torso. Not to mention how hard I’ve worked the last 2 years to get back to where I used to be. I’ve been working my butt off and it’s finally showing. I found Sew Swimmingly patterns and decided to give them a try. She has some really cute, very trendy patterns.

The Veronica pants are a free pattern. They are a cheeky cut and are reversible. I’ve made 3 pairs so far. They are super comfy but show lots of cheek. I don’t have a perfect fit but they are so comfy that I haven’t even bothered fixing it. Maybe the 4th pair😜. The directions are not easy to follow. There’s a video on her YouTube channel, but definitely have your seam ripper close by. It took me 3-4 tries, the first pair I made. I’ll try to explain it a little better below. Also, I may have developed an obsession with the tanga style after wearing these. Once you get that first leg done, you’re going to turn them right side out. Then at the hip seam, pull the liner piece down below it, like in the third picture down. Then you’re going to start clipping them right sides together, all the way around. Then sew or serge together with your elastic. Then the top seam. If you have a Turning tool, it will be easier. I do not. Turn them wrong side out. I like to fold those pieces down, right sides together at the top unfinished seam and secure with a clip or pin. Then you’re going to reach through the hole in your liner and pull that clip through. Keep the right side pieces together and clip it at the edges where the fold is. Then serge and add elastic. Hope that helps a little. Continue reading

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!


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.


My bikini making w/ foam cups- Jalie Gigi

Posted by Jenn Williams

My Bikini Making – The Jalie Gigi Bikini

Quick disclaimer – I am in no way affiliated with Jalie and I bought the pattern myself because I loved the look of it.

Overall my bikini came together really well but it wasn’t without struggles. I felt like the instructions/pictures were lacking desperately and I would call this an intermediate sew. However, with better instructions and pictures, it could definitely be completed by a confident beginner.So I’m going to try to help out with this post because it really is a great bikini with wonderful support for the twins!

The first thing I do when I begin a swim pattern is make sure I have a new rotary blade.You can use scissors and pins but swim fabric and lining is slippery, so a rotary cutter and mat is almost a must!

Look at the difference between an old blade versus a new blade!


IMG_1777While you are cutting out your pieces, be sure to mark or cut all the notches shown on the pattern pieces. This is really critical for swimwear as a lot of the pieces stretch to fit each other so having notches to line up is really helpful.

You also want to make sure you have swim elastic.Swim elastic is made to withstand chlorine and saltwater.If you opt to not use swim elastic, your finished suit may not hold up through multiple seasons!

This bikini in particular has a princess seam in the front. Which means the two front pieces are going to need to be eased into each other. Easing in pieces doesn’t mean stretching, but manipulating the pieces to match. Use lots of pins or clips!IMG_1779

For my bikini top, I wanted to add techsheen, which is a really supportive, stronger version of a powernet.You can use it in between your lining fabric and main fabric for extra boobie support. I felt like this pattern did not do a great job of explaining how to assemble all of the top layers so here is what I did.I am starting with three top, front pieces as pictured below. Main, techsheen, and lining.IMG_1789

First, I attached my foam cups to my techsheen. I used an old bikini that I don’t wear anymore and took the cups from it.But you can find them at Joann’s or online.Just make sure they are made for swimwear so they will hold up!I attached them to the wrong side of my techsheen and used lots of pins to hold them in place. You want to kind of mash the cup down to get it to lay flat so you can pin it evenly.


IMG_1796You then want to topstitch with a zig zag or stretch stitch all the way around the cups.


IMG_1801The next thing I did was baste my lining to the techsheen, all the way around, wrong sides together. This piece will now be treated as one.


So here I have pictured my basted together lining and tech sheen (above) that will be treated as one piece (I will refer to it as lining from here on out) and my main fabric (below).


The next step is serging the arms and neckline and then attaching elastic to the arms and neck.I go through this in detail in this video.

You will serge the lining to the main fabric, right sides together and then attach the elastic. For the top, I used my sewing machine to attach the elastic because of the nature of the curves and v-neck.I find that I have the most control with my sewing machine instead of my serger.


IMG_1843After the elastic is attached, you understitch. This may be new to some of you so let me explain. Understitching tacks the seam allowance to the lining so that the lining doesn’t play peek-a-boo while you are wearing the suit. This is also explained in my video.

You separate the main fabric and pull it out of the way. You then topstitch with a stretch or zigzag on the lining side catching your elastic and seam allowance underneath. You don’t want any stitching on the main fabric. In the photo below, you can see the seam allowance through the lining and my main fabric is out of the way.


Once the elastic is attached to the arms and neck, you are ready to add your straps. I’m not going to go over construction of the straps because they are pretty easy.

The rest of the suit came together smoothly for me. The afore mentioned steps were where I struggled the most.

One nice thing about this suit is the straps are all plenty long enough to adjust per your preference. I tried it on several times with the straps basted in place so that I could see how I wanted it to fit.

For the finishing the back, in order to attach the swim clasp, you have to fold over the edges. Mine were folded over a lot. I also played with this several times before I really stitched it into place. So I was really able to achieve a perfect fit with where all the straps need to be.


Overall I’m really really happy with how my top came out.However, this pattern does not come in bust sizes so I had a hard time picking what size to make.I want to make another one and give myself some more room in the bust.I don’t want to size up because I like where the all the pieces sit, I just need more volume in the cups.

I am also not writing about the construction of the bottoms because I feel that they are pretty standard. Although I do discuss attaching elastic with a serger in this video. I chose to do the high rise waist band option and I really like the fit.

All of the fabric I used is from Phee Fabrics. I have never worked with such amazing swim fabric.It was easy to sew (for swim) and it feels so nice!

Welcome to Swim Week

Posted by Mary Kaye Cole

Welcome to Swim Week at Phee Fabrics! We’re so excited you’re here; we have lots of fun things in store for you! So grab your pool chair, a towel and a pina colada, dip those toes in the pool (or lake or ocean) and start dreaming about your next gorgeous swimsuit made with Phee Fabrics for you and/or your children!

Let’s get this celebration started with a one-day SALE on the Navy and White Matte Stripes  – no coupon needed. I’m using the stripes to make my granddaughters coordinating Mairin swimsuits by Sew A Little Seam. I’m also using the Coral Nylon Spandex Tricot  as an accent, but many of the Nylon Spandex Solids would be a perfect coordinate!

Check back each day during Swim Week to find out which item we have on sale that day!

So besides a good sale, what else is in store this week? We’ll have several guest bloggers here on the website and guest videographers in the Phee Fabrics Sew Along Facebook Group  sharing their swimsuit makes, fabric info, hacks, tips and tricks, etc. We’ll also have lots of seamstresses posting their gorgeous suits and accessories in the Phee Fabrics Facebook Group . You’ll see swimsuits from Jalie, Sew A Little Seam, 5 out of 4, Swim Style and many others. You’ll see our Leaf Matte Nylon Spandex, our Leopard Print Nylon Spandex, our Circular Knits and lots of other beautiful swim fabrics on an array of bathing beauties (and beaus)!

Want to get involved and win some fabric? At the conclusion of Swim Week, we’ll announce a Swimwear Contest.

So get that fabric ordered, join the Phee Fabrics Facebook Group and Phee Fabrics Sew Along Facebook Group if you haven’t already, check out all the swimwear we have to show you this week, then start planning the best swimsuit you’ll ever make!

Happy Sewing!

Mary Kaye