A new tween swimsuit

I was thinking of doing a rashguard type swimsuit for my daughter, and the testing call came from The Wolf and The Tree for one.  Good timing!

This pattern was made at a 7W, 12L based on the chest and trunk measurements.

I lined the body of the top and the full bottoms.


She wasn’t quite sure about it the bottoms, though.  I don’t know if it is the lining I used, or perhaps I needed to size up the bottoms.  I think they are a little tight, so she may need a larger size in width for the bottoms.  I lined them, since exposed seams on the bottoms tend to be uncomfortable.

20160627_8424This swimsuit has a lot of options to it.  It has 160 different combinations.  Different bottoms, color-blocking for the top, sleeve options.  If you are looking for a more modest swimsuit, this is a good one to buy (it is $8 for the release sale).

I bought some custom swimsuit fabrics, but didn’t use them for this swimsuit, since it was a test version.  I am planning on making some more, but…time.  Softball and baseball have one more month, but it is mostly weekly practice and then the state tournaments on the weekends.  I *should* have some time during the week now to sew!  Yayyyyyy!

Outfit for a wedding

I had a wedding to go to today, and the reception was going to be outside.  It was supposed to be a humid, 90 degree day, so I knew I needed something cool.    It ended up storming on us, and I left the wedding reception a bit early with my son.  Not a fan of being outside in a windy thunderstorm.  I am bummed that I didn’t get a longer time to speak to my family, though. 🙁


The outfit I made was a tank top and skirt.  Both were self-drafted.  The tank is a jersey knit with a purchased applique to dress it up.

20160625_8358The skirt was a sort of a copy of Balmain skirt. I used a bottom-weight brushed cotton with lycra.  It was a designer brand, but I forgot who it was.  I have enough for a pair of capris, so I am going to make more with this very nice fabric.

20160625_8364I did a lot of top-stitching on the skirt.  The crossovers are faced, and I did a lot of decorative stitching on them.

20160625_8341I added cargo pockets on the side, and belt loops to be able to wear a belt.

20160625_8352There is a flounce and invisible zipper in the back.

20160625_8366I am not completely happy with the underside of the overlap, since it was a little loose.  It is attached at the waist, but not at the side.  I think it might need to go all the way over to the side.  I just stitched it down.  I didn’t really have the right kind of snaps to put them down the front.

20160625_8340Overall I am pretty happy with how it turned out!

Wardrobe staple – white top with a flounce

I was supposed to be working on a casual wardrobe, and this ended up not being so casual.  It is more of a dressy top to wear to work in the summer, but that is okay.  I needed this!

It fits a little tight, since it is a rayon with lycra, so not as much give as some of the other fabrics I have used.  It would be helpful if I laid off the wine and chocolate, as well.

I modified the WBM Sneha pattern for this top. I cut it shorter with a curved hem in the back, and added bands at the arms.

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I was running out of fabric, so I had to cut the front in two pieces.  I decided to add in this flounce, since it was open anyways.  The edges are finished with a rolled hem on my serger with regular thread.

flouncePart of the flounce goes up into the neckline.  It didn’t work out perfectly, since there is some bunching where it meets at the neckline.

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There is some pooling in the back with this pattern.  It needs to have some of the fabric taken out in the middle of the back, so next time I make it, I will show how to do that.  I made two tank dresses with this pattern and I noticed this happening (still need some decent pictures of them).  I forgot about it when I was cutting this top.

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This top is going to be a great wardrobe staple to wear to work this summer.


Here is the outfit that I posted over on Craftingcon.com for their wearable Steampunk challenge.  I thought I had already put it up over here, but guess not!

I ended up using some pieces that I had previously made this year, along with some new multi-purpose pieces.

The first piece in her outfit is a skirt I made in the fall.  Bustled skirts really do seem to fit the Steampunk theme.  I will write up a tutorial on how to make this type of skirt.   Adding it to the long, long list that I don’t have time for right now.


Next piece is the leather corset, which is also part of her Ciri cosplay.  Corsets show up quite a bit in the steampunk pictures I looked at online.   I made a tutorial on how to make this, as well, which is here on my blog.


Underneath, there is a plain raglan sleeved peasant blouse in cream knit (which you can’t see, but was needed!).  I had made it a few years ago to go with her gypsy outfit for the Renaissance Faire.  It matched and still fit, so there you go.  It was an Ottobre pattern.

Now onto a piece I made specifically for this challenge, which is the steampunk jacket.  I drafted this jacket, and the first version was a bit too tight on her.  I needed to add some room to the princess seams and the armsyce.

20160403_6168I took pattern pieces I had drafted for a fitted top, and then added width to them, along with a larger opening for the arms.  The arm pattern was slashed and spread at the top for the fun puffed sleeve.  I drafted a collar and then the front had some snaps with leather to finish it off.

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She was pretty excited to wear it, and it turned out very Steampunk looking.  Just a really fun outfit to wear!


Blaverry Nina and Ollie

Me: Do you like the outfit? I think it looks nice on you.
Girl: I look like a business person.
Me: You look classy.
Girl: What does classy mean.
Me: The opposite of trashy. You look stylish.
Girl: I always look stylish.


She does like how it looks on her, to be clear. The only issue she has, is that she prefers skorts, so she doesn’t have to act all ladylike and not show her underwear. So. I will make her a pair of white shorties to go underneath, and next one I make will have them built in.  I will do a tutorial on that, as well.  Pretty easy to turn any skirt into a skort, as long as you have a pair of leggings you know fits.


This is the Nina skirt and Ollie top by Blaverry.  These were given to me for free, as I am now on their promotion team.  You should know by now that I generally only make things that I want to make, so I was happy to join this team when asked.


Details: These patterns were very straight-forward and easy to assemble.  The patterns are layered, and they don’t have no cut pages.  Instructions are made with illustrations and not pictures.  The Ollie has two different collar options.  Both have a keyhole in the back.


Changes: I made them using a 6W and 14L.  The armhole did end up shorter than if I would have graded it all the way out to the 14L.  I think it is just about perfect here, so just look at your kid and figure out what would fit them best.  She is so slim everywhere that a longer armhole would have been too much showing for her.


Fabric: This fabric is two of mine.  I printed it in the Modern Jersey at Spoonflower.  The shirt is actually leftovers from making this shirt for me.  I made it so these colors match.  Depending on the lighting they can look grey or greenish.


The back was not intended to be pieced.  Spoonflower has a very generous white selvage edge that I didn’t notice when cutting.  I was using scraps of this fabric as it was, so I had to do some piecing to get rid of that white edge.  Looks just fine, though.


Yes, I took a lot of pictures with this one. 😉  She just looked so cute!

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WBM – Sewing in swim cups

I happily decided to test this new swimsuit by Wardrobe by Me, since I wanted a new suit to wear.  This is a good basic swimsuit, that most people should be able to make.  I did a few things different from the pattern, and Christina asked me to write up a guest blog post on them, which is (will be?) over on the WBM blog.

One thing that I definitely like to have in a swimsuit is bra cups.  I have nursed two kids and tend to be cold quite often.  I’d rather defray any additional attention, and put in some cups.

My favorite swim cups I have purchased were from Sew Sassy.  I also got my micro mesh from there, too (tummy control lining).  I didn’t like the cups I found at Joanne’s Fabric Store here, which were Dritz brand.  They didn’t form quite as well, and were more pointy.  These give a nice rounded appearance and form to your body.

Okay, so now that you have your swim cups, I am going to show you how to insert them in the cups of your swimsuit.

First things first, mark the gathering lines.  It is easier to do it now before putting in the cups.


Now, place your cups at least an inch up from the bottom edge and center them.  You may want to place them over your chest to make sure that is the right placement, too.  Now, flatten out the bra cups over the lining, and make sure the lining is not stretched out underneath.  Smooth everything out, while keeping it flattened, and then pin the edges.




Take them to your machine and zigzag stitch them onto the lining, pulling out the pins as you go.  The result may have a little bunching, but it will smooth out when worn.




Now place the fabric over the swim cups in the lining and serge, or zigzag the side edges together.  I also gathered the bottom edge while I was at it.



Attach the elastic to the inside edge of the cups.   When attaching, leave a tail out at the beginning to make it easier.  I don’t cut my elastic first, and just cut the edge when I am done.  Pull the elastic slightly (just the elastic) as you zigzag this onto your swimsuit.  Repeat for the other piece.



To ensure that your cups stay together when attaching to the body or band, just do a few stitches within the seam allowance.



I wanted my suit to have the seams enclosed, so here is how to do that, as well.  I tend to do this to all my lined garments.  I enclose as many seams as I can!

Side note: If you want to use micro mesh, or some other equivalent, don’t do your entire suit in this fabric.  Your crotch lining needs to be a lining fabric.  I find it more comfortable to just do the tummy, or front, panel in micro mesh and everywhere else in regular lining fabric.

Gather your cups in between the markings.  Take your swimsuit lining and main body and sandwich the cups in between, right sides of the cups facing right side of the body.  I mark the center of the body with a pin and align the middle of the cups to make sure everything is centered.  Loosen the gathering on the cups until the edges meet up.  Make sure your gathering looks even on both cups and then pin or clip the layers together.


Sew with a zigzag stitch.  Clip any threads between the layers.




Now, attach one of the back sides (main and lining) in between the front lining and main fabric.  Zigzag or serge this seam.



This is where it gets a little more complicated.  Think of a burrito, where you have to roll things in the middle.  The front pieces end up in the middle here.  Place the back main piece right sides together with the front main and lining.  Pull the back lining around and attach over the front lining.  Pin or clip in place and serge.  If you want to check to see if it is all correct before sewing, pull it out while pinned to make sure everything is attached correctly and then put it back.  Saves on seam ripping.



Now you have it all nicely lined!



Continue on with the rest of the instructions for the swimsuit and get it finished up for a day at the beach. 🙂

Testing, testing…WBM swimsuit and kimono

When I volunteered to test this one, I was really leary of whether I would have time.  Turns out that feeling was correct!  The kids are just so busy right now that I didn’t have a lot of time (baseball practice, softball game, softball practice, baseball game, tournaments all weekend long…).

Then…swimsuit pictures.  Oy.

So here we have strategically done swimsuit pictures in a corner of my yard that shouldn’t allow prying eyes.  I had zero time to try to go to a beach and get photos by actual water and not just our goldfish pond.  I was going to wear some stripper heels with the suit and go all out, but then I realized I’d probably turn an ankle going back and forth to my camera checking the focus.

I did drink some wine, though.


This is the swimsuit with low cut legs in a 12 top graded to an 8 bottom.  She has instructions on how to lengthen the torso in the pattern.  For me, at 5′ 7″ this needs an extra inch or so.  I really have to pull it up to sit right.

I have plans to make a tankini, too.  I will get to it…eventually.

Rita Swimsuit by WBM


It connects in a halter top, but you can also do the straps going straight down and connect to the back.  The back line is straight across.


The kimono is out of a stretchy rayon material.


It drapes pretty well and is very comfortable.  I like how the belt is in a casing, and you can ruche it together in the back.  I added tricot interfacing to the casing and the pockets due to the stretchy nature of this fabric.


I used my stash of fabrics for these articles, and was glad I went with the white kimono robe.  It looks kind of spa-like.

I wrote up a guest post for the WBM blog with my construction changes (adding bra cups and enclosing seams).  I will post that here, too, tomorrow.

Summer casual wardrobe capsule

Now that summer has arrived, and I am sitting at baseball games and tournaments for hours on end, I have come to the realization that I don’t have much to wear.  I have a fairly decent work wardrobe (though I could use some new tops), but casual is not good at all.

I’d like to do some red and black, since that is the team colors for my son and daughter.  We live in MN, so wearing black in the summer isn’t going to kill us.  We are still in the 70’s and low 80’s in June, and we might occasionally see a 90 or 100 in July and August.  I used to ride horses and rodeo in jeans, boots, long sleeved shirts and felt hats in the summer, so I have a high tolerance for heat.

I have some of these fabrics left, so I will make something for me out of the cotton lycra:


Here is what I am thinking for my soduko capsule:


1 pair of black shorts

1 pair of white shorts

1 black skirt/maxi skirt

1 black pair of joggers (maybe have enough of the black/white stripe)

1 yoked front sleeveless top (I will get a tutorial done on this)

2 swing tank tops

1 draped front sleeveless top (copy of a RTW shirt I love)

I have a pattern for the shorts, but the rest I will draft or modify patterns.  I will let you know what I use as a base, if I do.

I have a couple of pairs of black sandals and plenty of jewelry for the “layers”.

Too much?

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I might buy a new pair of black sandals, but that would require time to go shopping.  Hahahahaha!

Now I have to get my sewing room cleaned up and turned into a guest room tonight, since my parents are coming to visit this weekend.  I will have no time to sew this weekend due to tournaments.  Time is not my friend lately!

Me Made May – the browns

Now that Me Made May is done and gone, I can start mixing up what I wear with my RTW articles.  During MMM I tried to wear a top and bottom that I had made. Turns out this is getting easier, as I have been making my clothes for several years now.  The wardrobe capsule that I made earlier in the spring has definitely helped in getting a matching wardrobe.

So here is a bit of a dissection on my wardrobe…or at least the brown/tan/cream section.

Favorite wear was probably this modified Ravenna with a RTW scarf with skulls and flowers on it (shoes are Franco Sarto).  I promise that I will do a hack blog post on this top turned dress.  Now that I have worn it, there is a modification that needs to be made with it.  The neckline is too high, so when you sit down it can choke you out a bit. That needs to get lowered.  This dress was also a hot mess with the fabric, since it was so shifty.  I needed to wear something over the top to camouflage the non-matching bust darts.  It was really horrid to work with, though it has a nice hand.

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Another cream and black, which is a combination I like to wear.  These are my palazzo, or lose fitting pants, basically.  The top is one that I made a year or so ago, and it started out as a dress.  The dress was a hot mess, so I just hacked it off the bottom and hemmed.  Sometimes you have to do that to salvage a me made that didn’t work the first time.

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Now here are some browns.  The first photo is of a skirt that I made a few years ago, and the brown knit and pleather top from my capsule.  I also have plans to make a tutorial on drafting and making this top.  I need to make some more, but I need to modify the pattern a bit.  It has a little gaping in the front, so a little too much material on the top middle.  Easy enough to take out.

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Hey, here is the top again!  A nice neutral gets a lot of wear.  The skirt is also from the capsule. (Sweater: LOFT, Boots: American Eagle, Jewelry: vendor at Wizard World)

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Another brown outfit.  The top is a bias cut top from my wardrobe capsule and a bottom weight with lycra skirt I made a few years ago (errr…2008) (shoes: Bandolino, necklace: Stella and Dot).  It was one of the first skirts I made when I started sewing for myself again.

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This one has a lace top I made in 2012, the cardigan from my capsule (again, I want to make a blog post on how to draft and make one) and the palazzo pants in a heavy brown poly knit.

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A little more colorful, but still in the brown/tan category.  This is a shirt I made as a part of my capsule and hacked from the Sneha by Wardrobe by Me.  The skirt is my basic maxi skirt pattern in a knit made in 2012.  I found this knit to be a bit too thin and didn’t have a nice recovery.  The fabric is pretty, but it will be going in a giveaway pile.  I shouldn’t be wearing see-through skirts at my age. 😉 (Cardigan: CAbi, jewelry: Silpada, flats: Life Stride)

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And one last brown that I have a decent photo of (I resorted to using my DSLR, since my phone camera sucks).  This is a basic pull on skirt out of bottom weight with lycra and my wrap top draft that I made this winter. (boots and sweater from Zulily).

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I am hoping to get some time to sew some summer clothes for me and my girl.  We both are in great need.  I decided to participate in a swimsuit pattern test, and I think it is time for me to step back from anything with a timeline.  I just don’t have enough hours to string together right now to guarantee anything.  These kids are keeping us busy this summer with travel baseball and softball.  It seems I have to go to every one of their games or they get a little testy with me.  Tweens! 😉

Palazzo pants

I started writing this post in July.  Yep, last July.  Just a little behind. 😉

I worked on drafting these pants, and went through three different versions.  Some were drafting fails, though still wearable.

Stuff happens. *shrug*

These pants were a drafting work-in-process.


The first brown pair…the side seams were off kilter.  Totally my fault for not lining up the pattern pieces to make sure they were hitting at the right spot.  I still made it work, but yeah…they are wonky.

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This pattern has a doubled up waistband and then the rest is unlined.  I use this method for my skirt pattern.  It is a similar concept to a yoga waist without the bulk.  It helps to hold in the tum tum.  Of course, these are a little loose, so not a whole lot of holding in.  I wanted a looser fit, relaxed pant, so not a lot of negative ease in this pattern.

They are slip on, made out of knits or a woven with lycra.  The first brown knit pair is a really heavy, almost ponte knit.  I don’t think it was a ponte, though.

This second pair has the side seams drafted correctly.  Yay!  It all went together super great until I put on the waistband on the wrong side.  I only had enough fabric for the outside of the waistband, so of course the lining ended up on the outside.  I love seam ripping serged seams…*said no one EVER*.

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The third pair was the real winner.  The fabric is a heavy bottom-weight with some lycra.  It has a great drape, and is still stretchy enough to pull up and over my hips.  The length was perfect, which happens when you try them on with the shoes you want to wear before hemming them.  They look a little long in the grass, but on a flat surface they were just right.

After wearing them since last July, the fabric does tend to droop a bit at the waist.  I need to figure out just how tight to make the waistband, and possibly adding some elastic to keep it up.  I think elastic might be the ticket.  I need to make a few more pairs of these, since my office is pretty much just me these days.  I need some work appropriate comfy pants, and these fit the bill.


I wrote up a post on the tube top here.