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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The Great Finishing {Tilly and the Buttons Rosa Dress}

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This weekend was spent finishing off a pile of UFOs I had languishing in a basket, mocking me for too long. Most of it was really boring and involved unpicking and sewing on buttons, but this Rosa was pick of the litter.

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I wasn’t sure why I had ignored it for so long. I cut it out just after making my last one and I adore the fabric, so it’s not that I was feeling particularly uninspired. Then when I was getting towards the end, it hit me. Buttons. Twelve of them. It always feels like a huge task, but when I get into the swing of it, it’s fine. And yeah, my machine has a one step buttonhole function. If I had to do those suckers manually it would be a different story. There’s also a lot of top stitching, which I have done in grey thread because my top stitching isn’t something that I want to draw attention to.

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I would also like to point out that I’ve made everything I’m wearing except my shoes and tights. And I hear you say ‘Yeah? So you made a dress? That’s nothing new, Katie.’ That’s true, but think about what you can’t see. Yep, bra and knickers are made by me also. And since I’m bragging, would you take a look at the projection and shape of that right boob? God I love this bra. It’s Kwik Sew 3594. I have four of them now. A lot of women prefer a rounded shape to the well, boob shape. But I personally do like a boob-shaped boob. Yeah, we went there. I just wanted to highlight it because a lot of people seem to think handmade bras are unsupported-wrestling-puppies-in-a-sack kind of situations, but I assure you they aren’t.

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Onward. You want to know where everything is from:

Pattern: Tilly and the Buttons Rosa Dress

Fabric: Robert Kaufman Chambray

Buttons: thrifted. Got a bag of about 200 wooden buttons for $2. Do recommend.

Shoes: Vintage Dr Martens scored on ebay. Not sewn obviously, but lots of people ask me about them.

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Ignore the orange ear. Apparently he’s been wandering through the garden, helping the bees pollinate. Still tilted to the left, as you can see. Bloody dog and his bloody ears.

I haven’t shared much about the construction of this Rosa as I covered it in my last one. I didn’t make any changes except the placement of the sleeve tabs – I just rolled them to where I wanted and put them in the right spot. Easy. Now excuse me as I swan off to the yacht club in my nautical dress.

Kidding. I’m going to reheat leftover Thai and do some work.

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A Million Bucks {Ohhh Lulu Cindy + Ava}.

That’s how this set makes me feel. A million bucks. My favourite set I’ve made so far, even though the velvet was a bit of a nightmare, not only to sew with, but also to photograph (as you will see). But worth it.

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Both patterns are by Ohhh Lulu, the knickers only purchased yesterday after my search for a lower leg. Ohhh Lulu nailed it, obviously. Links to everything I used here:

Cindy Bra – Ohhh Lulu

Ava Knickers – Ohhh Lulu

Main fabric – purchased an an Op Shop and hoarded by me for about two years.

Powernet – Remnant Warehouse (just as an aside, the pretty gold bits started flaking off after I washed this net. Very bloody sad).

Elastic, bra clips, casing, wires, boning etc – Booby Traps

Straps and tiny satin buttons were rescued from an old bra, may she RIP.

So the Ava pattern is simple and brilliant. A great place to start if you’re new to sewing lingerie. Three pieces, that’s it. Front and back go together with gusset cleverly tucked in behind the back (sounds confusing, but it works), side seams get sewn up and then I just used picot elastic for the waistband and legs because I find it much easier than fold over elastic. EASY.

web-1767The velvet looks like two different fabrics. What a trickster. Gusset is black jersey.

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Picot gets sewn on the right side of the fabric, soft side up, picots facing towards knickers with a regular smallish zig zag, then flipped and attached again with a bigger three step zig zag. You can do it, I swear.

web-1779Hello pretty Avas. Finished in about 20 minutes, for real. Also, lingerie is a bugger to photograph flat. Much better on a body, but even I’m not going that far. Sorry.

Now to Cindy. I’m going to tell you a secret:

Bras aren’t that hard to make.

Don’t tell your non-sewing friends, they will seriously be so impressed to know you can sew a bra. Like mouth gaping floored. This Craftsy class taught me to sew bras. It’s amazing. You need it. Do it. I get absolute nothing from telling you that, by the way. It just changed my life and I’m not even kidding.

Alright, that said I put the Cindy bra together mostly by the instructions provided, but occasionally I veered off course and did it the way I learned in the Craftsy class. Because it makes sense. I think this is my sixth handmade bra, so I feel pretty comfortable with the process now. Cindy calls for more fold over elastic, but again I used picot elastic. This is the first time I’ve used the picot on the neckline and underarms of this particular pattern and I was concerned about it ending up a bit too low in the front, but it turned out absolutely fine and will be the way I finish it from now on. I love the three piece cup of this bra and the long line band helps smooth everything out too. What’s not to love about that, really. Since making bras with longer bands, I actually can’t stand wearing my RTW bras with the narrow back strap now. Something about it feels really uncomfortable.

web-1766I decided to line this baby with powermesh because the stretch velvet needs the extra support. It felt like overkill, but I’m so glad I did it because it definitely wouldn’t have been wearable without it – the velvet just has too much give and I need the support. You’ll notice I didn’t line the top cup piece because I sort of forgot and then was too lazy to go back and cut more pieces. It’s fine as is really, but would have been better with the extra support. Next time.

web-1770This bra has boning in it, which supports the band and stops it from rolling up when you’re wearing it. One of the comments I always get when I say I’ve sewn bras is ‘But with wire?!’ like it’s a really complex thing. But it’s honestly not. The boning and wire aren’t difficult at all. Even if you’re sewing a wireless bra, most will need the underwire casing in them anyway, as it covers the raw edges where the cups meet the band. Putting the actual wire and boning in is only another step.

web-1771Boning. Just boring plastic stuff. Sounds way more hardcore than it is.

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Done. Look at the guts of this bra, isn’t it pretty? When I first started sewing, I would never worry about the insides of what I was making because pffffft, no one will ever see it. But now I’ve realised how good it makes me feel when the insides are as pretty as the outside.web-1780web-1781web-1782web-1783web-1785Fun fact: I had my first bra pattern stashed away for over a year because I was so intimidated by that thing I felt too scared to attempt it. Now I feel ridiculous. If you can sew a dress, you can sew a bra. I don’t even touch my over locker when I sew a bra. So if you want to, go for it. You got this, legends. A million bucks.

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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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