Don’t Say It {Jalie 3242 + Ohhh Lulu Romy Bra + Megan Nielsen Rowan Bodysuit}

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I hate the term ‘mummy and me’. It makes me shudder. There, I said it. I don’t hate the idea, just the cutesy term. Blergh. I prefer to call this ‘being economical with fabric’. I managed to get these two out of less than a yard, which was a surprise. I was sure it would have taken more.

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Yes, I made the same pair of swimmers as yesterday (this time sans zip and with the addition of foam cups). So I’m not going to talk about them again. You can check here if you missed yesterday’s post.

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Apparently he’s not embarrassed by me or handmade clothes. Yet.

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It’s still raining. Our feet are webbed and check out what it’s doing to my hair. At least everyone has water again and the garden is happy.

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Mashing It Up {Jalie 3242, Megan Nielsen Rowan and Ohhh Lulu Romy}.

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I’ve mentioned before how I’m happiest when submerged, like some kind of sunglasses-wearing dugong. As a family we spend a lot of time in the water. Kids have a habit of growing too, so I knew I needed to replace last year’s swimmers. Locally, there wasn’t a lot of lycra available that the boys would like, so I was browsing Spoonflower and pretty soon I had a cartful of their sport lycra. Ahem. Including those amazing Andrea Lauren moths for myself. You might have noticed I have a thing for moths. I have one tattooed on my arm and there’s a moth in my KMAD logo. It stems from a love of Silence of the Lambs, which I realise is creepy. I read the book when I was about 12 years old and have just loved that moth image ever since. I really like the old biology illustrations too, which is what the print reminded me of.

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The two little guys and the big guy got theirs made from Jalie 3242. Yes, it’s an underwear pattern, no I don’t care. They generally just wear them underneath boardies anyway, so it’s not like they are flashing them all over the beach. Though they could if they wanted to really. Look how cool those prints are! I must add, that when my husband tried his on, he pretended to announce his swim race for the olympics over a megaphone and ran around the house shaking his arms and legs about for a bit. Warming up for his pretend swim.

For theirs I replaced the underwear elastic band with a fabric band. Easy.

Bits for mine:
Sport Lycra from Spoonflower
Lining from The Remnant Warehouse
Chunky zip from East Coast Fabric
Elastic from Pitt Trading
Yellow rings and sliders harvested from an old pair of swimmers.

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I was keen to make a one piece for myself. My old favourite is getting a bit saggy and the Ohhh Lulu Cindy I made for myself a while back is too big now. I’m joining to local pool so will be doing a bit of lap swimming and figured a well fitting one piece is a good idea. I wanted to see if I could create a slightly different style using two of my faves – Megan Nielsen’s Rowan bodysuit and Ohhh Lulu’s Romy bra. Here’s a refresher on what they look like:

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I love how the bottom half of the bodysuit fits and Romy provides decent shaping and coverage without wire. I pulled out my pattern pieces, marked off where I wanted the bodysuit to end (by comparing it to my favourite black one piece) and lined up the Romy on top to see how they’d fit together. It was pretty much perfect. I took some width out of the Romy back piece and straightened it out, but that was it.

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I added the zip because I assumed I would need it to get the swimmers on and off (turns out I don’t, but nevermind). It was by far the most painful part of the whole process, but not as difficult as last time. I had to shorten it and add a tab to the end again, then I basted that sucker in by hand first and that definitely helped. Actually, I basted heaps with these (leg holes, bodice top edge, bra pieces, raw edges where the zip goes) – it really helps when you have to sew the binding etc on and you’re not struggling to keep multiple layers together.

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For the first time ever, I made my own straps using this tutorial and my own binding using this one. I prefer wider straps than RTW offers on most of their swimmers, so turning these wasn’t hard at all. Making my own straps and finishing with binding always seemed so scary in the past, I have no idea why. I’d always just finish necklines with elastic and legs with bands (or elastic). Probably because I started sewing lingerie before swimmers and that’s just what I knew. Anyway, the binding finish isn’t as neat as RTW and I know zig zag looks super ‘homemade’ but it’s not really obvious unless you’re too close.

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I’m really happy with the fit and I don’t think there’s anything I would change. I might try adding foam cups next time for a bit of extra lift, but it’s honestly fine without them. And adding the cups means I’d lose the enclosed seams of the bra lining because of the way the cup is split into two. I’d have to stitch them to the lining so they don’t move around and drive me nuts.

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We’ve just had about 6 months of rain over 4 days, so I’m not really sure why I’ve been sewing swimmers, but I’m glad they are all done. Bring on the beach! Bring on the pool! Bring on our trip to Samoa!

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Knickers With A Twist: The Basics

Hello! Welcome to Knickers With A Twist – the first of five posts all about sewing knickers, what a treat. I’ll be playing along with Jess from Tea Dust Stitches and Brooke from Idle Sunshine.  Go visit them and I’m sure they’ll flash you their knickers.

Also there’s a fabric giveaway happening! Woo! Do you want a metre of Orinoco Designs jersey? I do! Which is kind of greedy because I already have some rad stuff destined to be knickers, which I will show you in good time.

Meanwhile – go go!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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This first post is all about the basics, in very boring grey bamboo. Yeah, look – she ain’t pretty. But we’ll get to the prettier ones, I promise. Also, bamboo rayon is my go to for the most comfortable knickers in the world. Like clouds on your butt, guaranteed. You’ll also notice that I am all about the high waist, still not really sure if that style is in or out, but I’m going to roll with it anyway because comfort.

Right, so – pattern. Now, don’t panic or run away because I’m going to say the D word.

Oh yes, DRAFTED. I drafted this pattern from my measurements. OMG. First time I’ve drafted anything and hey, it was actually pretty easy. I used this Beverly Johnson Crafsty Class. I know it’s more expensive than buying a pattern, but it is bloody invaluable for learning (and if you hang around long enough, you’ll see that Crafsty often have specials). Not only do you learn to draft a basic knickers (sorry friends, I just can’t get used to typing panties, let alone saying it) from your measurements, but you also learn how to construct them step by step and then make heaps of fun hacks.

Let’s have a look, shall we?

Stuff I used:

Bamboo rayon jersey from fabric.com

Picot elastic from Booby Traps.

You’ll need a ball point needle too.

Boring but bloody delightful bamboo all cut out. There’s 4 pieces in total, that’s not scary, right? Front, back and two gusset pieces – one is the outer and one is the lining.

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The absolute by far best part of this class is learning the burrito method for completely enclosing the gusset on both sides. It’s a super professional looking finish and I’d never done it before this. Beverly makes it easy.

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I’ve used my overlocker/serger. You don’t have to. Honestly. Most lingerie fabrics don’t fray. It’s no biggy.

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Oooh, look at that enclosed beauty! This is the inside, not that you can tell in this fabric. Take my word for it anyway, it looks the same on both sides.

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So because I’m being good and making these knicks straight from the class without changes, I learnt how to put the elastic in flat as instructed. Again, not hard. Usually I just do it in the round after side seams have been constructed, but this method has its bonuses.

Oh and I should mention I deviated a tiny bit and used picot elastic because I have heaps of it and it looks cuter than plain. It goes on in a very similar way – elastic on right side of fabric, picots facing in and fuzzy side up. Zig zag as close to the picot edge as possible. Then flip it towards the inside and make another pass with the zig zag, this time a bigger stitch (I used three step zig zag). Sew this row closer to the straight edge of the elastic and from the wrong (elastic) side of the fabric. Otherwise Beverly will find you and give you a smack. She talks about why you should sew from the wrong side and she’s right – it comes out perfectly. I used to sew it from the right side, but I’m a total convert now.

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See those two rows of zig zag?

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Tada! A very basic pair of knickers, made to measure for me and by me. I can never get them to sit flat for photos like other bloggers. Do they iron them? Secretly pin them down? Better at inserting elastic? Mostly likely the latter.

Fit problems? Well, none. I actually tried them on all basted together before adding the elastic. Best butt coverage in any of my knickers.webdsc_3119

HOWEVER. The elastic situation isn’t right for me. When I pulled them over my sizable hips, all I heard was the pops of stretched stitches. OH NO. All along the waist. Now, this is likely the result of two things:

1). I have quite a difference between my waist and hips (11-12 inches). So the waist has to stretch quite a bit.

2) The method Beverly uses for deciding the amount of elastic. It’s somewhat shorter pieces that what I’d usually use. The leg stitches didn’t break, but the elastic feels tighter on my legs than I’d like. Did I mention I have massive thighs too? I have massive thighs. I also don’t like super tight knickers.

So I think that’s why the elastic was a problem. Next time I’m going to use longer lengths and insert it in the round, as I usually do and see what happens.

Are you joining in with our knickers sewing adventure? Be sure to let me know below and tag your images on instagram #knickerswithatwist

Knickers With a Twist: The Intro

Well hi – I sort of left it a bit late for the intro, didn’t I? Never mind, at least this way you won’t have to wait very long for the first official Knickers With A Twist blog, which I’ll post later today.

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Knickers – I’ve made them for me, I’ve made them for the kids and I’ve even made them for the husband. They all call them jocks though. Regardless, I’ve made them and they’re wearable. Three of my favourite patterns are:

Jalie 3242 – Underwear for men, women and children.
(High waisted women’s underwear on me in the image above, with bands instead of elastic – along with the Soma Bikini Top, made as a bralette).

Ohhh Lulu’s Cindy (which has the bodysuit option and I’ve used to make swimmers as well as bras) and the good old vintage style Ava.

This time, I’ve decided to streeeeetch myself as much as the elastic on my knickers (ha) and draft my own pattern from Beverly Johnson’s Craftsy Class. I know. I’ll post more about that next time.

Here’s what’s going to happen, which I shamelessly plagiarised from Jess:

SundayThe  Basic 

This is about following the pattern as written, getting the fit right, and nailing the basic techniques.

Monday – The Special Occasion 

There’s something nice in making yourself a little treat for a special occasion, and knickers are perfect – fast, fabulous, and (usually ) restricted to a very appreciative audience, unless #wardrobemalfunction.

Tuesday – The Upcycle 

Recycled undies are about as popular as second hand toilet paper. Instead, we’ll be making a NEW pair out of repurposed fabric.

Wednesday – Reworked in Woven 

OK,  we’re upping the ante. Making undies out of a non-stretch fabric doesn’t sound easy or comfortable, but dead set, where there’s a will, I’ll make a flippin’ way!

Thursday – The Big Finale: the interpretation 

You’re not the boss of me! This challenge is all about taking a pattern and making it your own. We’ll hack to the max and show what’s possible with a bit of imagination.

Be back later for the first post – The Basic!

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Swimming Jocks {Jalie 3242}.

In our house, there are shirts and swimming shirts, shorts and swimming shorts and of course, jocks and swimming jocks. Because when your youngest has a severe speech delay, communicating is done in the easiest, simplest way and sometimes those words stick. Swimming jocks are here to stay. At least 9 months of the year, we are around some body of water or another – be it river, ocean or pool, so the differentiation between regular jocks and swimming jocks becomes important. No one wants to hang out in damp jersey.

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Jalie 3242 is a pretty kick arse pattern. It has a variety of styles for the whole family on the one pattern. Perfect. I’ve made the knickers for me, the briefs for the men of the house but by far the favourite are the boys’ trunks. They are such a quick sew, the only elastic is the waistband and there is no butt seam – that has to be comfy, right? Regardless, they are loved. I’m sure in a few years homemade jocks will be unacceptable, but for now they’re awesome.

Last summer, I decided the Jalie trunks would be alright as swimmers. And if they looked too much like underwear, the boys could just wear them under boardshorts (aka swimming shorts), so no biggy. I grabbed the only spandex I had at the time, which was sourced from a local Op Shop so I had no idea if it was even chlorine resistant. But I figured we are barely in chlorine anyway (our pool is salt) and it wasn’t a big deal if they fell apart. So I made these cool little red and white striped trunks for the boys and they wore them all summer and they held up really well. They are still tucked away in a drawer actually, although they’ve probably grown out of them by now. So I decided to make more for this summer, but this time I decided to do it all proper like and bought Sports Lycra from Spoonflower in the coolest ever Harry Potter print. I also bought legit swim elastic. Today I dragged out my old faithful Jalie pattern and had those suckers made within an hour. So satisfying.

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There’s only one piece for the body of the trunks and four little pouch pieces. It’s a bit of a different sew, and this tutorial is the bees knees because to be honest, the Jalie instructions are a little lacking. But once you’ve done that bit, it’s all really straight forward.

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The pattern uses an exposed elastic waistband, which obviously isn’t ideal for swimmers, so I just added a bit more height to the pattern to compensate for the folding of the waist with swim elastic. I finished the raw edges, marked the elastic and waist of the trunks at quarters and attached with a zig zag stitch. Then folded it over and zig zagged again.

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