Giddy Up, Jingle Bell… {Butterick 6453}

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There isn’t anything ground breaking in this post. No new skills or anything like that. In fact, I’m really only posting it for two reasons – for recording keeping (I often look back over past posts when I can’t remember when I made something or what changes I made) and for vaguely smug reasons.

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This time last year we were madly preparing to head over to Samoa. Christmas was not even a blip on my radar. By the time we got back, Christmas was here and I was in a mad rush to get everything done before December 25th.

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But not this year, this year I am org-to-the-anised. Oh yes. What a smug bitch. This year, this amazing Jocelyn Proust fabric jumped out at me at Spotlight sometime in September and I bought enough to sink a small vessel. Shirts for the boys (the little and the big) plus a dress for me. Did I have very cheesy Christmas photos in mind? Perhaps. I’ve always wanted cool ugly Christmas sweater photos, but you know, it’s the opposite of sweater weather here in December. Unless you mean literally sweating, which is accurate.

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Anyway, I digress. Here is good old B6453 in a cheery Aussie Christmas print from Jocelyn Proust. I don’t have much to say about this pattern, I’ve made it before and I like it a lot. I’m weird about no sleeves sometimes, but the pattern is too sweet to resist. It goes together really nicely and I very much like the way the facing is done. Two things though – it has a shit tonne of ease, so if you don’t want it to fit like a sack you should size down AND the skirt should be much fuller than this but my fabric was only standard quilting width (112cm). I could have added panels for extra fullness but I only bought 2 metres because I’m stingy like that.

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Anyway, it came up tip top and I love it. I also made the shirts for the little guys about 6 weeks or so ago, but they haven’t worn them so there’s no photos just yet.

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And so anyway, while I was washing my Christmas fabric and feeling organised and smug, something pinged in my lizard brain. Oh yes, I had ordered Christmas fabric from Spoonflower last year but had left it too late and it arrived in January. Right. Where was that cute pink Santa fabric?

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AND, in a weird twist of meant-to-be-ness, my friend Jen from Fussy Gus released these women’s tees and I needed one, of course. Because they’re amazing. And it just so happened that the pinks involved were a match made in outfit heaven. So hey, it’s a two Christmas outfits kind of year.

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For the skirt, I literally cut the curved waistband pieces (my standard curved waistband that I use for pretty much everything, just extended at the front for buttons and reduced at the back because there’s no zipper – does that make sense? Tell me if it doesn’t), and then used the rest of the fabric for the skirt. So it ended up midi length and gathered the full width of the fabric. And I love it. Suitably comfortable for Christmas festivities, whatever they might be.

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So one shirt to go for the husband and maybe I will finally get my cheesy Christmas photos this year. Fingers crossed. Husbo will be suitably horrified but generally humors me regardless.

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We Are Helping, We’re Helping Hands {MBJM Hot Coffee Top in Spoonflower Fleece}

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Recently, the lovely Allie from Spoonflower got in contact to ask if I’d like to take part in another blog hop featuring Australian makers – they kindly provided the fabric of my choice but my words and opinions are my own (as always). They’ve also provided 10% off their fabrics with the code katie10 (valid for a month).

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Since winter is on its way, I chose this awesome print by Amy Blackwell on Spoonflower’s fleece and used the MBJM Hot Coffee pattern. Even though I’ve blogged makes from this pattern before, this version was my very first jumper from it.

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Let me tell you a bit about winter where I live. It’s mild. Google tells me the average winter temperature is 22 degrees celsius (that’s 71.6 F). It’s a nice winter, some people even swim all year round because the water is still quite warm (Google also tells me the average is 21.4C/70.5F, so pretty much on par with the air temperature). So the southern states do smirk when we complain about the cold. Let me tell you something else though, our houses are built to keep the heat out. We have homes equipped for summer, but not really for winter. For that reason, it can be a balmy 22C outside and a chilly 15C inside the house. I have been known to go outside and lay on the lawn in the sun, trying to warm up like some kind of pale, blonde reptile.

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There is a point and I’m getting to it. On the days when I’m stuck inside, either at the sewing machine or computer or maybe even just on a Netflix binge, I like to wear an oversized, cosy hoodie to keep me warm. In the past, I’ve pinched my husband’s hoodies, but sometimes he needs them, so it’s nice to have my own.

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I was excited to get my cool handsy printed fleece and sew it up into a big snuggly hoodie. When the fleece arrived, I was a bit surprised. I’m not sure what I was expecting – maybe something like what we get here called polar fleece – but it was definitely different to that. It was quite dense, almost like a felt and it really had very minimal stretch. I figured I’d wash it, tumble dry it and then reassess. Turns out the washing and drying process fluffed it up quite a bit and it came out softer than it had gone in. It was still very different to what we call ‘fleece’ here, but it didn’t feel bad – just different.

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My measurements put me in an XL for this pattern, but I erred on the side of caution and made a 3XL to account for the minimal stretch (the pattern asks for 50% stretch) and because I wanted it to be quite big. I don’t usually like ribbing on the bottom of my jumpers, so I left that off and lengthened the pattern slightly to compensate. The kanga pouch sits on the bottom of the jumper between the main fabric and the ribbing, so I had to change my construction process slightly too, but it worked out fine.

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I wasn’t keen on the ribbing I had for the cuffs, so went a bit fancy and used stretch velvet instead. It’s not as stretchy as ribbing, so I did cut them a bit longer. I also needed to take about 2 inches off the sleeve length. The inside of the hood can be self lined or you can use a contrast. I used the wrong side of a grey printed fleece scrap I’ve hadย  in my stash for ages.

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Most of it was constructed on my overlocker and I used my new bestie, lightning bolt stitch for the hems and pocket. It is quite a quick sew (I think about an hour from cutting to finishing) and the fleece was really nice to use too – it didn’t slip or slide or stretch out of shape like polar fleece can.

Awesome prints in sweater knits are really hard to find (especially here), so it’s great to have the custom print option in fleece. I know this one will get a lot of wear, so I’m already planning another. Bring on winter.

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This Is Australia {Next State Print Active vs Spoonflower Sport Lycra}

You know what’s cool? Being able to print your own designs onto the fabric of your choice. Now, I’m not clever enough to be able to design my own fabric, but I know what I like. Sometimes you’ll find the right fabric in a print that blows your mind, sometimes you won’t. Especially when it comes to fabric that is suitable for swimwear. It needs to be a magical combination of either polyester or nylon and spandex (or lycra, which is just the brand name for spandex).

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I mean, where else could you find Iced Vovo fabric but Spoonflower?

The more I sew swimwear, the more I crave those unique prints that tickle my fancy.

Like these moths from Andrea Lauren on Spoonflower:

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And these little babies from Ellie Whittaker on Next State Print:

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That’s right, Australians. Next State Print (based in Melbourne and possibly the most helpful company around) now offer their own version of activewear and swimwear fabric. So of course I had to order a metre and test it out as I really wanted to see how it compared to the Spoonflower Sport Lycra. Because: (a) I’m nerdy like that and (b) I really like to support Australian businesses when I can. Also, I reallllly like the Spoonflower lycra, so could another product compare? Let’s see.

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Here are the stats (I told you I was a nerd):

Content:

SF: Polyester (88%) and lycra (12%)

NS: Polyester (80%) and spandex (20%)

Width:

SF: 142cm

NS: 140cm

Price:

SF: $32USD/yard (approx $41AUD per 91cm, if we’re getting picky)

NS: $37/metre

Stretch:

Now, if you’ve seen my last post, you’ll know this is a tricky number to nail down.

SF: Claim 75% in one direction and 50% in the other. I honestly find this hard to believe. It’s much firmer than that.

NS: No stretch listed but it’s stretchier than the Spoonflower version.

Sorry it’s not a more exact science than that.

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General feel? They both feel good. Both are a decent thickness and nice quality. If you haven’t used digitally printed fabric before, know that they have their limitations and are different to their screen printed cousins – it’s the nature of the beast. But what I have found is the colour and quality is much more vibrant on synthetic fibres (like spandex) than natural fibres (like cotton).

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The Next State Print Active is definitely lighter and stretchier than the Spoonflower Sport Lycra. But it’s also silkier and softer. It does work out a bit cheaper but of course, they don’t have as much variety in their prints as Spoonflower. My Spoonflower swimmers have been washed and worn many times now and are holding up well, I will update what happens with the Next State version as I’ve only just made them and worn them in the pool today.

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Oh and if you’re wondering about this swimsuit, it’s a hacked version of Megan Nielsen’s Rowan pattern, which I’ve also made here and here. It’s a good one and I love it.

 

How To Sew Swimmers {Lots of video tutorials}

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I did it you guys. I made a stack (seven, to be exact) little video tutorials on how to sew swimmers. I’m pretty tired. Please excuse the way I bumbled through it. Hot damn, I learned a lot of new stuff. I do hope this helps if you’ve been looking for a few hints on sewing your own swimwear.

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A Month of Sundays {Ohhh Lulu Romy Bra}

I had to google that title. I thought it was an Australian saying and that it might not translate. Turns out it isn’t, but it was one of my mum’s favourite to yell at us when we were kids. ‘Hurry up, you’re taking a month of Sundays!’. Good times.

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Anyway, we haven’t quite had a month of Sundays, we’ve had two weeks of them. Or what feels like them. And it hasn’t dragged, it’s flown. So so fast. My husband went back to work today, so some form of reality is setting back in, but between Christmas day and yesterday, we did very little. We went to the beach, we slothed into the pool and back again. I don’t love sitting around in wet swimmers but I also didn’t feel like getting properly dressed on those days, so bralettes it was. And which ones did I keep wearing? My Romy bras. I only have two that fit me now and one fits me better than the other. I would get annoyed when they were in the wash, so knew I should make more.

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This is the same pattern, three times (the red/print knickers are slightly different to the other two pairs, but they’re all self drafted so I’m just concentrating on the bras in this post). I’ve rated them in a Goldilocks-like fashion.

This set? Too stretchy.

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Fabric: Tactel Strata (? I know. Says suitable for activewear, but I have thoughts on that) from The Remnant Warehouse.

Printed swim spandex from Pitt Trading (now sold out as far as I can tell).

Strapping, picot and fold over elastic all from Booby Traps.

This set, while I am a pretty big fan of the look, is the least supportive of the three. Totally fine for days at home or under big jumpers in winter, but the red fabric is super stretchy so it’s giving me a gentle pat rather than a tight hug. Such is life when buying fabric online. Generally I’m pretty lucky and I do get some great stuff from The Remnant Warehouse.

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I bought the red fabric with leggings in mind, but it’s so light and stretchy that it’s almost transparent, so that’s a no go. Unless you were to line them or something. But that seems like extra sweat that I don’t really need. You could line and use for swimmers, although I’m pretty sure it’s not rated for swim wear. Underwear is fine, bras need a bit of extra help (for me at least). The entire bra is lined with the red fabric, including the back band – but in hindsight, I should have used some powermesh in the back band too. Even as I was cutting it out these thoughts crossed my mind, but I figured I’d give it a go anyway. You don’t know if you don’t try, right? It’s not a fail by any means and would be fine for someone smaller than me (or with self supporting breasts). SUPER comfortable though.

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Next set? Not stretchy enough. The lace is lovely and stretches quite well across the grain but not as much the other way. Meaning the height is reduced when I’ve got it on. It’s Alice McCall though, so that’s a bit fancy and the quality is lovely.

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Lace and grey lining (swim lining): The Remnant Warehouse

Picot: Booby Traps

Strapping: Leftover from a kit from Measure Twice Cut Once

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More supportive than the first set but I just need the smidge more height that’s I’d get from more stretch vertically. Again, still wearble and I will wear them. Funny how you can get such completely different results even from using different stretch fabrics for the same pattern. Always learning, you guys.

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Iced Vovo set? Just right, baby!

Perfect stretch, perfect coverage. The only problem is I’m really shit with whites and washing. I’m so sorry you’ll end up grey, my beauties.

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Vovo fabric: Spoonflower Sports Lycra scraps (which you might remember from my rashie)

White spotty mesh: Pitt Trading

White powermesh lining: The Remnant Warehouse

Fold over elastic, strapping and picot: Booby Traps

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You might have noticed a bit of my past enemy, fold over elastic, appearing on these bras and you’d be correct. We’ve sorted out our differences and are actually quite friendly now. Who knew that a bit of practice would help? Ha. Some of the white FOE I even sewed on in one pass. OMG. It was quite easy to handle and I’m not sure if that’s because it’s plush on both sides, but I like it.

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And as if this post wasn’t long enough, here’s some other bits I’ve been sewing. Swimmers for my mum (no single pattern, more info about that here). No photos of her in them yet either, because the ding dong went and soberly broke her ankle on New Years Eve.

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Plus, I figured out a great way to use up the little spandex scraps I’ve been hoarding – swimmers for my little niece! Hooray! And she loves them, because she is a tiny legend.

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In other news, 2018 might be the year I start video tutorials. Maybe. Stay tuned to see if I can figure out the scary world of video.

 

 

 

Slip, Slop, Slap…. Iced Vovo. {Megan Nielsen Rowan x Spoonflower}

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Recently, the legends at Spoonflower got in contact and asked if I’d like to take part in a little blog hop they’re organising to show how makers around the world are celebrating the holiday season. They suggested that perhaps I’d like to make an Australian themed swimsuit or similar from their sport lycra (which is the tits and I’ve used many times). WOULD I? Of course! This time of year is alllllll about the water based activities for us. While half the world is freezing their butts off and singing about letting it snow, we are sweating and eating mangoes in the pool.

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Now, if you are Australian you’ll totally get the references in the title. If you’re not, let me explain the Australian summer to you (at least in my neck of the woods, we’re a big country, it varies a lot), our sun will burn you in minutes. The whole ‘slip, slop, slap’ thing was a campaign launched by the Cancer Council in 1981 (the year I was born!) and refers to slipping on a shirt, slopping on some sunscreen and slapping on a hat. Apparently it’s one of the most successful health campaigns in Australian history. There you go. No wonder the jingle has been stuck in my head for 36 years.

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And iced vovos are a pretty iconic biscuit made by Arnott’s (which is no longer an Australian company, but lets ignore that). I have very fond childhood memories of iced vovos with tea.

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I was browsing through Australian designer’s stores on Spoonflower, looking for a print that would fit the brief, when I stumbled across Natalie’s amazing iced vovo design. YAS. This was it. I knew what it had to be – a rashie that I could easily create from Megan Nielsen’s (another Aussie, can you see how loyal I’m being here?) Rowan pattern.

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So while Rowan isn’t technically a rashie pattern, I have made swimmers from it quite successfully before. This time was even more simple – I used the t shirt version of the pattern, added a seam allowance to the front pieces for the zip and cut it in two pieces instead of cutting it on the fold. Easy.

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I sewed most of it up in about 15 minutes on my overlocker, finishing the centre front edges, hem and sleeves – which isn’t even necessary because the lycra won’t fray, it just looks nice.

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While you can sew the band on folded, I decided not to. I wanted to encase the scratchy edges of the top of the zip in the neck band – even though when I checked my RTW rashie I found out it wasn’t done this way.

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Just a warning, attaching the zip might make you cry a little bit. To make it less painful, you can add some fusible tape to the edge of the fabric, but if you find that’s not enough (like I did), heavier interfacing is better. Basting helps too but I found that it’s not enough on its own to stop the fabric stretching.

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After that I just pinned the rest of the neck band in place and zig zagged it above the neckline seam. I finished the hem and and sleeve hems with a zig zag too, you need lots of stretch for this baby.

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I managed to piece together my scraps to get a matching pair of bikini bottoms. I didn’t have enough fabric for my usual high waisted pair (pattern cloned from my favourite pair of RTW knickers), so they are lower than usual and I didn’t have enough for the top band either. Still, they aren’t bad and I do like making the most of my fabric scraps. Ooh and the bottoms are lined for obvious reasons. The rashie isn’t because I’ll always wear a bikini top under it for support. Or it will go over something else in a fantastic clash of prints.

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Spying on my neighbours.

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Submerged.

Yes there’s a dolphin in our pool, his name is Dave. He was there when we bought the house although we didn’t know it at the time because the whole thing was pond green.

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If you ever need a reminder that you are not a graceful mermaid, just get some photos of yourself underwater. YOU’RE WELCOME.

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If you made it this far through my incessant chatter, I have a reward for you – use the code katie17 to get 10% off your Spoonflower purchases until the 31st of December. Happy Dance!

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Reinventing Ready To Wear Again {Using Megan Nielsen’s Rowan As A Base}

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I know it seems like I’ve been sewing a lot of swimmers lately and that’s because I have. Ha. There is a real gap in the market for one piece swimsuits for women that aren’t keen on the whole backless, flimsy, high and cheeky cut or the full bottomed, ruched and paneled offerings. Like a huge gap. I’m 36 and struggle. My mum is 60 and struggles. Bikinis seem to offer a little more variety, but one pieces? Nup. Your choices decrease even further if you can’t deal with halternecks. I can’t and incidentally neither can my mum. Instant headaches for both of us. Plus there’s the whole ‘go into the shop and try on at least 10 pairs under ugly lights and try not to cry’. NO.

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So what’s a girl to do? Well, you know the answer to that. You sew your own. Minimal melt downs and swimmers that fit just how you want them to. For me, that means lower legs, thicker straps that run over the shoulder and nice bust support. But no ruching – no matter how ‘flattering’ everyone likes to tell me it is. Plus, this way you get to have nerdy Nintendo swimmers. And match your husband if you want to. Even though he might not be so keen.

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Fabric is Spoonflower’s sport lycra and it’s a ripper for swimmers, it’s a polyester lycra blend with 75% stretch across and 50% stretch up and down. It’s colourfast in saltwater and chlorine and therefore ideal for swimwear. I’ve lined mine with swim lining from The Remnant Warehouse.

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See this top? I bought it. GASP. I love this high neck style, the wide back band without a clasp and this is one of the first I’ve found with thicker straps that run over the back instead of around the neck. It’s a bit low for me around the armholes, which is a common problem for me with this styleย  (hello side boob) and I hate how those bra cups float free and move around. Incidentally, the one on the right looks like it’s turned sideways. Annoying. I bought it specifically to make a pattern from.

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So I clipped that sucker down flat with wonderclips and I cloned it – adding seam allowance and also raising those arm holes.

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I compared my new pattern pieces to the Megan Nielsen Rowan pieces and look at that, they matched up really well. The Rowan pieces are folded down because I’ve been too lazy to trace and cut new ones for my swimmers.

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I added swim cups for support again, these ones came out of an old pair of swimmers and really, they are too small for me. But they work well enough with the tension in the fabric when they’re on. I recently watched Beverly Johnson’s class on sewing swimsuits and used her starburst method for adding the cups, which basically entails zig zagging them onto the lining and then cutting into the lining over the cups which then makes the lining and fabric sit better over the bust. As long as those cups don’t move around, I’m happy.

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I decided that I’d attempt to finish the neck and armholes the same way as the RTW top – sew the lining and outer together right sides together so no raw edges show and then add elastic to that seam for support. At least, I assumed that was how I did it but I’ve made a mistake somewhere there because my lining wants to roll over at the edges a bit. I have to think about it a bit more for next time. It’s not such a big deal because it’s black and tends up blend in pretty well. It’s worth noting that RTW uses pretty specialised machines for their construction, so it’s not always something that’s easy to replicate on the home sewing machine.

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Other than that though, I’m pretty pleased. Once again I finished the legs with this method of binding and used this method for my straps. Learning both of these methods has been a game changer for me, I think it makes handmade swimmers look pretty damn professional.

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I’ve been swimming laps at my local pool almost every day recently, so a good solid one piece really is a wardrobe staple for me at the moment.

Over and Over and Over {sewing a gathered skirt}

webDSC_5950I sew gathered skirts all the time, pretty much always following the same basic steps. If you’re new to sewing, let me tell you a little secret – they are pretty damn easy to make. And you don’t even need a pattern. Not really.

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Gathered skirts are made up of a few parts:

  • The front skirt panel. I make mine the width of my fabric, cut on the fold.
  • Two back panels. As above, but cut down the fold (this is where we add a zip). The best part about gathering is that you can make it fit into your waistband without any maths. WIN.
  • Waistband. Mine is curved and in three pieces (one for the front, two for the back. Again, for the zip). It’s from a vintage pattern and I use it so often because I know it fits me well. You can do one big long strip if you prefer. I like curved waistbands because I have a big difference between my hip and waist. Flat waistbands tend to gape in weird places on me.
  • Pockets if you want them (you want them). You can hide them in the side seams or sew them on as patch pockets.

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Once you have the basic shape down, you can change things up a bit. Like adding buttons down the front and omitting the zip at the back.

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But howwwwwwwwwww? Well, there are a pile of excellent tutorials online, so I won’t make another.

Here’s one from By Hand London.

And this one is for kids but the process is the same. I like to sew my zips in this way.

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I made no effort to pattern match this one, but hey – look at my cool metal zip.

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After you have the basics sorted, you can move onto sewing with really cool fabric, like this Alice McCall embroidered mesh. I lined the whole thing with black cotton lawn, which sounds intimidating, but really all I did was make another skirt. Then they both get gathered into the waistband. Not hard at all.

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This is my latest, she’s pretty right? The fabric makes it next level fancy. I know you probably want to know where everything is from, so I’ll start from the top.

Rad galah fabric by Mount Vic and Me via Spoonflower.

Tulip and bunny fabric by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller (possibly out of print).

The Twits fabric is furnishing fabric found on ebay.

Alice McCall mesh from The Remnant Warehouse.

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Now go on, make some skirts.

 

 

Not Sewing {Spoonflower Wallpaper}

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Booking in the concreter to update our floors sparked a bit of a cascade of intervention and I decided that we needed a feature wall of wallpaper in our loungeroom. Oh yes we did. I’d been eyeing off the Spoonflower wallpaper for a really long time and this was the perfect excuse to order. But what to chose? Oh GOD. Decision making is not something I usually agonise over, but this would be in the middle of our house. Will it make the room look smaller? Will it date really quickly? Will it be a nightmare to put up? Turns out I don’t care. Inspired by Pinterest, I was gravitating towards botanical prints, something leafy. I had planned on banana leaves, but didn’t find the perfect print. In the end, I decided on this monstera print by Charlotte Winter because I loved the watercolour vibe and also how vibrant it is (no muted tones in this house!).

Here’s a bit of my Pinterest Inspo:

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When the wallpaper arrived, I was bloody thrilled to be honest. The colour was really saturated and exactly as the website images showed. But alas, I had to tuck it away for a couple of months until our floor was done (the last thing I wanted was for it to get covered in concrete dust or damaged during the process).

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So yesterday was the day! Putting up wallpaper is definitely a two person job, so I made sure I enlisted the help of my husband to do the hard yards, while I stood back and checked that the whole shebang was straight. Hot tip: Most walls aren’t completely square. We lined it up with the side of the wall and it went above the ceiling at some points, but that’s cool because you just cut that off later. We used the smooth, water activated paper and here’s another hot tip: really wet that sucker down. It worked much better than ‘lightly dampened with with sponge’. Once the top was where we wanted it, we taped it in place with masking tape and rolled the rest down the wall, matching the pattern as closely as humanly possible (in some points it’s slightly off, but I really don’t think you can tell). Then using the wet sponge, we smoothed out all the air bubbles.

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I’m pretty damn pleased with how it turned out. My only niggling concern is that it gets so hot and humid here that the glue will give up on me (especially since the paper is removable). Anyway, time will tell. In other news, dress sewing for everyone else started again this week! Can’t wait to update the shop with all the new beauties, which will probably happen next weekend, all going well.

The Tale of Two Somas {Papercut Patterns Soma Swimsuit}

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Ohhhh Soma. I’ve loved you ever since I spied bikini version 2 on blogs all over the internet. All those pieces fitting so perfectly together. I could clash all the prints! I could run stripes in different directions! I could be all understated and cool in all black. The possibilities. Further investigation showed that Papercut Patterns are a NZ company and they ship their paper patterns for free. SOLD.

Version 2 was obviously going to be the first one I sewed up. I was keen on the other bikini version, but my old enemy fold over elastic was involved and it looked like it would be less supportive than V2. I also thought my back fat would ooze through the strapping on the back. YOU’RE WELCOME.

So V2 it was. Here’s what I bought from where:

Papercut Patterns Soma Swimsuit Pattern.

Scaled down version of previously purchased unicorn and mermaid Spoonflower Sports Lycra. It’s fabulous stuff.

Heavy duty power mesh from The Remnant Warehouse.

Strapping and elastic from Booby Traps (I think!).

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First snag, those bloody notches on the upper and lower cups. Mate. I almost didn’t even start because of them. I cut my fabric as per the layout above, SO WHY DID I HAVE TWO NOTCHES AT THE TOP OF THE LOWER CUP WHEN THE NEXT PIC SHOWS TWO AT THE BOTTOM? What the hell?! WHYYYYYYY. This isn’t my first rodeo. I’ve made bras, man. Lots of bras. This should be easy.

I took to Instagram, feeling ridiculous. A lovely helpful poster told the the second notch on the upper cup was most like for the strap. Upon reading to the end of the instructions, I was able to confirm she was right. Of course! You idiot, Katie. I’m still none the wiser about the down notches on the lower cup in the instructions. Eh. Onward.

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After the notch drama, everything else was cool and went together as it should. I was a rebel and used pom pom elastic to finish the edges. It was not 1cm as directed and I highly doubt it’s chlorine resistant. But hey, my pool is salt, the ocean is salt and this bikini is here for a good time, not a long time. I’ll be interested to see how it holds up, actually. I was surprised to see Papercut recommend regular old bra strapping and FOE for this pattern. Apparently it holds up as well as its swim elastic cousins. Who knew? I was a bit concerned about it looking too bra-like, but hey, what a relief to not have to make my own straps from the swim lycra! Woo!

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Finished!

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Should have changed my overlocker thread. Didn’t.

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Oh hey look – matching the Ohhh Lulu Cindy bottoms I made a while back! Yay! I bought the scaled down version of the print for the top because I knew the other one would be way too big. I think it works. I mean, it’s all a bit ‘look at my mermaid tits!’ with the black pieces under the cups. But eh. I can live with it.

So, fit. After a search of some sewing blogs, I decided to size down in the top. My measurements sort of put me between the L and the XL anyway. So I made the L. Which would have been fine if I’d followed direction and used swim lining, but nooooo – I used the heaviest power mesh in all the land. Because I like how it holds everything in nice and tight and I’ve used it in other swimmers and bras with much success. I love this stuff. Except, it’s not got a lot of give. So now my top is a bit too firm. Like a bit of my best friend back fat (BFBF) spilling over the back. Ooops. Next time, if using the mesh of constriction – size up. Otherwise, the L should have been right. I think. I’ve cut another out of bamboo jersey, with stretch tricot lining, which I’ll wear as a bralette. Am interested to see how the fit is on that one.

So the shape on me is a bit… dunno. There’s side boob spreading out under my arms. It almost needs the sides of the upper cup taken in a bit. Or maybe I’m just really used to wearing wires. Will I make it again? Yes. But it needs a few tweaks. Great pattern for the most part though. But probably more suited to smaller frames.

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With all that done, I had the urge to bash out V1 in Lizzy House jersey I’ve been hoarding for ages. I wanted to see how different the fit was and figured it would be a good can’t-be-arsed-wearing-a-proper-bra-today bra. Hedged my bets, made the L again. Cut it out the wrong way, as you can see. I cut my pattern pieces out so the text on them is the right way up, running from left to right. This has never failed me before and to be honest, I’m not sure I’ve even stopped to consider if pieces are up the right way or not. FAIL. See? I still learn something every time I sew. Still, pattern makers – it would be much appreciated if you could print things so the text is running the way the pattern piece should go. Or maybe I just have to think about what I’m doing more. Anyway, I realised this version wouldn’t be perfect, so I can almost forgive myself for sideways dinosaurs. After all, fold over elastic. Need I say more? Maybe I’m improving though, because I said way less swears than usual when I was doing this one.

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Lined this guy with Telio bamboo jersey. It’s lovely, it’s delicious and I made some undies from it earlier this week. Like wearing clouds. Or so I’d imagine.

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Ooh, I made the bottoms from the pattern too. As undies, obviously. So no lining and I added a gusset from the bamboo. Very simple.

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Wanna talk about fit again? Ok. THEY ARE MASSIVE. Undies are a size too big, top is at least two sizes too big. I ended up taking a couple of inches off each of the pieces of strapping at the back and it’s just wearable (oh and no back fat ooze, who knew?!). Gahhhhhhh. Cannot win with fit today. Still love the pattern though and will make again. Comfy as heck. Toiles definitely needed for these though, for me at least.

These pics were a bit hard today. I wasn’t feeling particularly body positive after all the fitting stuff. Pulling them off the camera made me feel disheartened and massive. I’m sticking them here though because I will get over it. All bodies are good bodies. Ohhhmmmm.

And look at Ed and I, both in handmade swimmers. Yasss.

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