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

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

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

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

So lets break it down. What is Tricot?

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

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

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

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

 

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

IMG_20190515_180226

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

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

Happy sewing!

Liz

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

 

Feeling Sassy? How to Modify a Jalie Rash Guard for Some Spunk

Hey there! Support Phee Fabrics and its amazing contributors by using the affiliate links in our articles to shop. We receive a small commission (at zero extra cost to you!) so we can continue to create helpful and free tutorials.

What do you do when you can’t decide on a color to use?

USE THEM ALL!

That’s the only correct answer in this scenario, especially in regards to Phee’s new bouquet of nylon/spandex tricot.

From left to right, I have neon coral, cerise, and light pink. Phee’s nylon/spandex tricot collection is the perfect choice for your summer workout and swim attire. These fabrics are moisture wicking, lightweight and breathable.

I was able to play a lot of beach volleyball last year and my Phee-kinis were my go-to for such a rigorous sport. Y’all…I produce an embarrassing amount of sweat by just looking at the sun on a 50 degree day. Moisture wicking and quick drying are a must!

So that’s why I felt confident in making a raglan rash guard using my tricot trio. Usually, I wouldn’t even consider going out in the sun wearing sleeves and a high neckline. But, the fabric provides the functionality that I need. And rash guards are cute, so I couldn’t resist.

Since summer time is fast approaching, I decided to sass up my Jalie Valerie rash guard by opening up the back and capping the sleeves. If this is something you’d like to try out (especially since I’m sure you have bought all of the tricot by now), keep reading to see how I did it!

This is an alteration to Jalie’s Valerie rash guard pattern. I started with a size P.

Altering the Sleeves

Step 1 identify the shoulder line on the pattern. It’s a little off-center toward the garment’s front.

Step 2 connect your front and back notches with a straight line. Measure down 1″ from your notch line and draw a second line.

Step 3 draw a curved line starting at the lower line below the front notch. The curve should peak at the intersection between your vertical shoulder line and the horizontal notch line. It will end on the lower line below the back notch.

Step 4 draw in your seam or elastic allowance. I used a 3/8″ elastic allowance just in case I decided to insert elastic around the arm hole. But, I ended up simply applying an elasticized binding.

Altering the Back

Step 1 determine how short you want your crop to be. I decided to go even shorter than Jalie’s cropped version. Draw in your new crop line.

Step 2 Draw a line from the center back seam to the back sleeve notch. This line should be perpendicular to the center back seam. Then, mark a spot along the center back seam 1 3/4″ above that line.

Step 3 identify the midpoint along the side seam between the arm opening and the crop line. From that midpoint, use a French curve or hip curve to draw the open back line. Then, from that side seam midpoint, draw in your tie back tapering to 2″ on the center back seam.

Step 4 disregard the tie back pattern piece for a moment. Draw in the seam or elastic allowance on the new curve of your upper back piece.

Steps 5 and 6 extend the tie back pattern piece by at least 10″. Then, draw in your seam or elastic allowances along the upper and lower edges of the piece.

Put it all together and what do you get?

I used 3/8″ rubber elastic for the neon coral binding. I also bagged out the upper back piece and the tie piece, using 3/8″ rubber elastic along the seams. As with most of my swim and beach apparel, I created a built in shelf bra since I’m not too fond of inserts floating around.

Finale

I still struggle with making clean neckbands, but I guess that just means I need to make more Phee rash guards. I can’t wait to make matching swim bottoms and take this baby to the beach!

List of Materials

Let me know if this is an alteration that you’ll try out! At the very least, get the fabric because just staring at it arranged together will make you happy. Talk to you soon!

xo

Monica

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!

Making the Jalie Crop Top Sports Bra Reversible

by Kim Dickerson

Lately I have been obsessed with the Calvin Klein elastic branding on their briefs, their performance wear, well anything! I think it is because of all the 90’s trends going around. I have actually not been a fan of logo since Jessica Simpson and her colorful LV’s haha! So why not make my own?

With Melissa’s permission [Boss Lady at Phee Fabrics], I decided to start with a version inspired by Calvin’s print lettering, with Phee’s name. I have a lot of projects in mind to use a waistband like this on and settled on an athletic outfit for myself.

I wanted a very basic sports bra with a racer back. Something a little more masculine than the strappier version I am also dying to try. When I was searching the Jalie Pattern site I came across their Crop Tops and Gym Shorts Pattern. It was exactly what I had been looking for except the waistband was too skinny. [Yay! I love any excuse to hack and make a pattern my own.]

For the fabric I decided on Nylon Spandex. I love this fabric so much that I was inspired to make it reversible especially after I pre-read the instructions and realized how easy it would be to do with knit binding. Another bonus that comes with making this sports bra in Nylon Spandex is that it can double as swim. That is four tops in one, giving me two sports bras and two swim tops!

The specific fabrics I used are the 12.3 oz Insane in the Membrane Nylon Spandex , some scrap 9.3 oz Jade Nylon Spandex Tricot, White Circular Knit and Powernet for the optional lining layer. I personally love Phee Nylon Spandex. It truly does stand apart with its amazing hand, moisture wicking and antimicrobial properties. I have personally bought from many other vendors and this is always my go-to!

In addition to fashion fabrics I decided to add in the optional lining layer. For this the obvious choice was Powernet. I mean it is a sports bra and the purpose is support right? None of my sports bra’s ever goes without Powernet! I also chose Nude because the background of my print is White.

If you have not ever worked with Powernet I strongly suggest you purchase some to have on hand. It works for so many different things. Did you read Debora’s blog last week about her Greenstyle Sports Bra hack? Best Powernet trick ever!

Making the Crop Top Sports Bra Reversible

Once I cut out all my pieces I simply cut a second front and back in a different fashion fabric. Once the Powernet was basted on and the shoulder and side seams were sewn, I attached the two sports bras wrong sides together.  Then  basted the neck, arm and waist. Making this one solid piece by basting will make it much easier to work with.

The sports bra also called for fold over elastic to finish the neckline, arm and waistband. I personally always like to make my own out of coordinating fabrics and add elastic inside if needed. I did not add any elastic in this garment.

I chose the White Circular Knit as a coordinate because it matched both fashion fabrics and gave each side a totally different look. I cut the binding 1 6/8 inches wide by the length indicated on the “Elastics Length” Chart. This measurement gave me a finished 5/8 inch binding with 1/4 inch seam allowances. I then attached it with the same method you would attach fold over elastic or knit binding.

When top-stitching my binding I sewed as close as I could to the edge while still catching both sides of the fabrics. This can be very intimidating to execute beautifully on the underside but as long as you take the extra time to measure and pin it will all work out in the end.

Creating a wider waistband for the Crop Top Sports Bra

This was actually a very simple hack. I found the waistband on the shorts to be the exact width I was hoping for, so I cut two. Then I adjusted the length of the second waistband to the same length indicated on the “Elastics Length” chart.

Creating HTV Calvin inspired logo/ lettering

After I finished creating my waistbands I surged the small ends right sides together and then pressed the wrong sides together in preparation for attaching. I often do not press when making a waistband but because we are going to be adding wording this is very important for ensuring exact placement.

At this point I used a clear ruler and found that a 1 inch tall letter would have the scale and proportion I was looking for on my waistband. Then I decided on a font I felt resembled the overall feel of Calvin’s font. Both my waistbands would fit the wording 3x so I needed 6 in total. After that my Cricut took care of the rest!

I usually use normal HTV on my knits but the last time I purchased Black the new Stretch HTV was on sale so I had it on hand. It has a different look on the back. Instead of being flat, or all one even color it has a swirl pattern, but not anything you will see on your cut outs. It is on the underside.

Overall I really love the stuff and can see a difference in the way it stretches with my knits. But at the same time I would still use the regular too if it was what I had on hand because it also works really well on knits too. Just in case you have been wondering about the difference like I have 😁

I placed the first cut out perfectly centered on the front and then placed the other on the right and left so it was evenly spaced.TThe sports bra waistband is then attached with the same seam allowance and top-stitching as the binding.

Overall I am extremely happy with the way this worked out and love my version way more than any Calvin Klein original!

Tricot.. what’s that?!

Tricot pronounced tree-co is actually a blend of nylon spandex and the tricot refers to the knitting process. Tricot is made on a warp knitting machine that uses fine yarns to create wales (vertical columns of stitches) on the surface and crosswise ribs on the back. There is a horizontal texture on one side and a vertical texture on the other. Although this is invisible to the naked eye for us fabric inspectors you can see it haha.

tricot 2.jpgTricot is run resistant which means that is resistant to pulling and pilling. It also is stretch and shrink resistant so it has AWESOME recovery.

It is moisture wicking and anti microbial so it is perfect for bathing suits, sports bras, undies, all the things. haha I use it for leggings or hoodies for the girls and they totally love it and color blocking on leggings is perfect since it comes in so many colors.

Tricot is smooth, lightweight, breathable, soft, flexible but also so durable!Tricot 5.jpgTricot 4.jpgTricot 3.jpgtricot 1

New fabrics can be confusing but I hope this helps!

-Whitney