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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Flamingos, Mermaids and Unicorns in Spandex {Ohhh Lulu Cindy Hack}.

Not literally those creatures dressed in spandex (let your mind go there for a minute), but printed on spandex. For adult humans like myself who enjoy a bit of frivolity on their swimmers. I used the Ohhh Lulu Cindy pattern, which is a great pattern that I have sewn up multiple times as lingerie. For my first foray into swimmers for myself, I decided to just start with the bottoms and tackle the tops later when I can decide on design. All my bra patterns will need a fair bit of hacking to work as swimmers, so I went the easy option first. Plus I have a few plain black tops that will work with printed bottoms and most of the time I wear a rashie anyway. Because that sun is dangerous, my friends.

I ordered a flamingo print from Boo! because it was on sale due to a slight print fault. I also grabbed plain black spandex from there. I didn’t know if my first pair would be wearable, so I didn’t want to spend a lot. Turns out they are totally wearable, but I did end up tweaking the pattern slightly for my second pair. I also ordered sports lycra from Spoonflower because the prints are just so awesome, but I wasn’t sure what the quality would be like so only ordered a small amount. The blue lining is from The Remnant Warehouse.

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The only downside to the Cindy pattern in my opinion, is the fold over elastic. Don’t get me wrong, it looks great when done well – very much like RTW underwear. But even though I’ve tried, we just don’t get along. Sorry FOE, it’s not you, it’s me. All me. Plus, it’s not really intended for swimwear because everything has to be chlorine resistant. So, that leaves making binding from your spandex (looks great, makes me want to cry) or bands to cover the raw edges at the leg openings and waist. You could also use swim elastic and fold it over (like I did here). I went the band option because I find them easy and they add a tiny bit more coverage, which I like.

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I started with the flamingo fabric and cut the pattern out exactly as is, simply omitting the jersey gusset and cutting the main front and back panels out of the lining too. You don’t want a traditional underwear gusset in your swimmers – that little guy will fill with sand and become very unattractive, not to mention uncomfortable. My first step was to attach the lining and main fabrics at the front and back of each (so the joins are then facing each other on the wrong sides of the fabric) and then baste the lining front to the main front and same with the back pieces – from then on treating them as once piece of fabric.

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Everything goes together very easily after that – front and back side panels get attached and then you attach both pieces together at the side seams. I used my over locker, but you could do the same on a normal machine with a zigzag stitch. I then stitched the seam allowance down on the side panels with a zigzag, I just like the finish and think it provides everything with a bit more strength. The last thing I want is a wardrobe malfunction at the beach.

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It’s a good idea to try on the swimmers before you put the bands on, just to check the fit. Then I just attached the bands in the usual way (mark into quarters, gently putting tension on the band as you go). And the eagle eyes will notice I attached the top band upside down. Oops!

All done. The fit is decent, but I felt like I needed more bum coverage. The pattern is designed to be high cut, so I really should have thought about that a bit more. My husband assures me that a bit of butt cheek is fine, but I feel more comfortable with everything contained.

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It was Saturday afternoon when I finished these and my neighbours were out in their yard, so I chickened out of taking proper photos outside. Here’s a mirror version instead. Fit is pretty good, but you can see what I mean about the coverage.

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Today I tweaked the back pattern piece a little and added a curve, as well as making the waistband a bit wider. Then I cut into that very special fabric. I used the same swim lining and plain black spandex for the side panels and bands.

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I love them, and the fit on the butt is better – but I think next time I might experiment with lowering the leg openings in a more pin up style. Maybe. Not sure. I’m just not used to the higher cut, so I feel a bit self conscious. It is all the rage for this season though. I also made the waistband a touch too wide, so I’ll narrow that a little next time too. All in all though, very wearable. And this time I felt brave enough to tackle photos outside.

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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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Sewaholic Pacific Leggings with pocket. And Harry Potter.

I’ve made these beauties before and I love them. They go together relatively easily and honestly, an over locker isn’t entirely necessary – but it definitely makes for a quick sew. I know you’re going to ask me, so the fabric can be found at Spoonflower, the design is by the amazing Hello Quirky. I ordered the Sports Lycra because I wanted the fabric for swimmers and it’s chlorine resistant. I’m using the absolute last of the scraps in the band of the leggings. You’ll notice (or hopefully not) that the top band at the back above the zip is in two pieces. It’s not supposed to be. I just really scraped together the last of the fabric. It seemed a crime to chuck out even the smallest scraps.

Every time I sew with knits, I get a shock at how fast I can get something made. The hardest part about these leggings is the gusset. Gross word, gross looking piece of fabric. This tutorial is excellent though. The best thing? The pocket, obviously. On Sundays, it is traditional for all of us to walk down on the local river and I need a place for my phone and coffee money. No one wants to have to carry that shiz around.

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Ewww, gusset. But what a gusset. I sewed this part with the normal machine first and then over locked the raw edges. Because that is a seam that could do with a bit of extra reinforcement, in my opinion. webDSC_1531

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My last pair were made from a spandex blend, but the fabric ended up being a bit weird and scratchy, so I don’t really wear them very often. This time, I’ve used what I am 90% sure is supplex. I bought it from that same rad garage sale where I got lots of more unusual sewing bits and pieces. They feel exactly like my favourite RTW pair, the fabric is soft, but still supportive and doesn’t go transparent when stretched. It’s great stuff and used mostly for sporty garments. Hot tip though, sewing with anything like this means it’s really hard to tell your right side from your wrong side. Mark those suckers so you don’t end up with two back pieces facing the same way. That would really ruin your day.

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The zippered pocket is actually really easy and goes together pretty simply. You use iron on tape stuff to stop the fabric from stretching out when attaching the zip. It also acts a bit like interfacing and provides some strength too, I guess.

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It’s all downhill from there, really. Attach your snazzy band to the band lining, attach some skinny elastic to the top of the band and then attach the band to the leggings. Hem those suckers with a zig zag and you’re done. I like to over lock the raw edges before I hem and then just fold them up once so there’s less bulk.

 

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A bit ‘got any blacker?’ but that’s just my style for leggings, I leave my prints for dresses and skirts. Secret Harry Potter band is enough for me.

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