New Look 6225: DIY easy cotton summer top

New Look 6225: easy cotton top

New Look 6225: easy cotton top

Hi Readers,

I promised last time I have 2 summer tops left to blog about: here’s the first. It hardly seems worth blogging about, being as it is so simple, but hey, it might be useful to someone.

New Look 6225 is a simple pull on top designed to be made in light weight wovens. It features raglan sleeves in three different lengths and can be made into a longer tunic length top with side slits (as I’ve made) or a shorter length. It’s one of those patterns where the fabric has to be the star. This fabric doesn’t have much star quality. I mean, it’s a pretty coral colour, but it’s just a plain lawn. I added the ruffled corsage thing to jazz things up and a box pleat to the centre front (which I wish I had made a bit bigger).

I made the ruffled corsage thing out of bias strips which I just had pleated and sewed directly on to the top. All very…organic. I left the edges raw (just sewed a line of stitching next to the edges to stop complete disintegration).

New Look 6225: easy cotton top - close up of corsage

New Look 6225: easy cotton top – close up of corsage

This top comes together so easily. I french seamed everything.

New Look 6225: easy cotton top

New Look 6225: easy cotton top

New Look 6225: easy cotton top

New Look 6225: easy cotton top

The raw edges at the neck are enclosed with bias binding. It’s the neatest binding I have ever sewn!

New Look 6225: easy cotton top - close up of binding

New Look 6225: easy cotton top – close up of binding

I know Beth just did a post on a woven top that she made and she said she wasn’t happy with the fit on the arms. I do wear woven tops like shirts and blouses. It’s the first time I have made a style like this. And I am actually very happy with the fit. It is very comfortable. I wore it for a day to an amusement park and it allowed me to go on all the rides and not feel restricted in the slightest. Maybe it would be different with the longer length sleeves?

Pattern Review:

Pattern Description:

Misses’ woven tee shirt has scoop neck, can be made with three-quarter, short or cap sleeves. Change it up with contrast sleeves & neck band or make it your favorite go-to top in lace.

Pattern Sizing:

8 – 20

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Yes.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

Yes.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

Very simple to sew. Good fit (for me at least). Good basic woven top/ tunic that allows lots of customisation. Nothing to dislike as such.

Fabric Used:

Cotton lawn.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

After doing a tissue fit I decided to move the bust darts down by 1.5 inches. After sewing it in fabric I think they need to be raised by around 0.5 inches if  I were to sew this again.

I increased the length of the side slits by approx. 2 inches. More comfortable for me.

Approx. 1 inch sway back adjustment.

I added a ruffled fabric corsage made out of pleated bias strips of fabric.

I added a box pleat to the centre front.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Possibly and yes.

Conclusion:

Good basic pattern to have in your stash. Once you’ve perfected the fit sew it in something luxurious!

New Look 6225: easy cotton top

New Look 6225: easy cotton top

Finally, it was Philip’s birthday last week so I made him a shirt. A third version of McCalls 6613. (If it ain’t broke….version 1, version2). The fabric was picked up in Paris last year. This cotton is probably not at all suitable for shirt making. It is too thin and I wasn’t able to get a perfect match on the checks. However, I used a double layer of interfacing at the collar and something was made. He wore it, seemed to like it, another point scored on the selfless sewing front. Comparing the collar to the previous versions this one is the best yet.

McCalls 6613

McCalls 6613

McCalls 6613

McCalls 6613

So that’s all for now. Back soon. Until then…

Vogue 1386: DIY Missoni Knit Dress: White Tree Fabrics Post

Vogue 1386 Missoni dress
Vogue 1386 Missoni dress

Vogue 1386 Missoni dress

Hello My Friends,

It may be hard to believe but I think, at least in my corner of the world, that summer is over. We have had very heavy rain and strong winds for the last few days and it already feels like autumn is here. I may be being pessimistic, but that’s why the boots and tights.

But forget all that. I am so ready to start with the autumn sewing (although I have two summer tops left to blog about in the next week or so), but today I have got what I think is the perfect transition weight dress.

First of all I have to announce that I am now part of the White Tree Fabrics Blogging Team. What an honour to be picked. They have some beautiful fabrics, including  this gorgeous Missoni knit lace fabric on their site. This fabric is virtually weightless when you wear it. It has the most beautiful sheen to it, and a subtle silver metallic thread running through it, which is very hard to photograph. But trust me when I say you will not regret buying this fabric. It is a very classy classic!

Vogue 1386 Missoni dress

Vogue 1386 Missoni dress

Let’s talk about the pattern. The pattern used is Vogue 1386, by Sandra Betzina. This dress couldn’t be simpler to sew. It has two pieces. That’s it. There are no zips or buttons, no sleeves to insert, and no darts to sew. It has a cowl neck to the front and a simple facing for the back neckline (which is stayed with seam tape; I also chose to stay tape the front cowl). There is a pattern piece included to sew a little bag which contains a weight to help the cowl neck drape properly:

Vogue 1386 Missoni dress: close up of weight bag attached to front cowl

Vogue 1386 Missoni dress: close up of weight bag attached to front cowl

The fabric behaved beautifully on my machine and overlocker alike. I sewed all the seams on my machine  first and then finished edges on my overlocker:

Vogue 1386 Missoni dress: 3 thread wide overlock finish on seams

Vogue 1386 Missoni dress: 3 thread wide overlock finish on seams

I finished hems on my overlocker then turned and stitched in place:

Vogue 1386 Missoni dress: 3 thread wide overlock finish on hems then turned and stitched.

Vogue 1386 Missoni dress: 3 thread wide overlock finish on hems then turned and stitched.

I cut the pattern pieces in a single layer in an attempt to pattern match. I think I could have done a bit better but I won’t lose sleep over it :-) I am not a Missoni expert (this is my first time sewing with it), so if there are any experts out there feel free to chime in, but this particular fabric had the stripes running parallel to the selvedge. So I cut the entire dress on the cross grain. Is all Missoni fabric made this way I wonder? Anyway, because I am only 5’3″ and shortened the pattern so much (see below), I was able to cut the pieces on the cross grain, but if you are taller you may struggle….

Vogue 1386 Missoni dress

Vogue 1386 Missoni dress

Vogue 1386 Missoni dress

Vogue 1386 Missoni dress

The pattern comes with pattern pieces to sew a self lined pull on slip, which I made using power mesh, again, from White Tree Fabrics. This slip is just brilliant, and although the bodice is slightly too long (I lengthened it; see below), it’s not going to stop me wearing this lots I suspect. It’s again so comfortable and lightweight and you really need the black underneath this fabric to bring out the richness of the colours.

Vogue 1386 Missoni dress: power mesh slip

Vogue 1386 Missoni dress: power mesh slip

Check out my pattern review below for full details of what alterations I made.

Vogue 1386 Missoni dress

Vogue 1386 Missoni dress

Pattern Review:

Pattern Description:

Tunic or dress (semi-fitted through bust) has weighted tab forming front neckline drape, and narrow hem. Close-fitting, self-lined slip has raised waist and unfinished hemline. All are pullover.

I made the dress from view B and the slip from view D.

Pattern Sizing:

Bust 32 – 55 inches and hips 34.5 – 57 inches.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Yes, but I shortened my version dramatically (I lost almost 10 inches off the bottom of the pattern!) and added a ribbon belt to the dress.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

Yes.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

The dress pattern has two pieces. That’s it. There are no zips or buttons, no sleeves to insert, and no darts to sew.I am very happy with the finished dress. I would advise checking the length before cutting out to save precious fabric. The slip pattern is also a brilliant basic pattern to have in your stash. It is fully self lined and very comfortable. It would also make a cute nightdress pattern.
Fabric Used:

A gorgeous Missoni knit lace fabric with a subtle silver thread running through it for the dress, and power mesh for the slip, both from White Tree Fabrics. The dress fabric was cut on the cross grain.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

I stay taped the front cowl to avoid it stretching out over time (there is a small weight sewn to the front to aid drape; pattern piece included to stitch weight bag).

I shortened the dress and slip pattern pieces by 7 inches. Yes, this pattern is drafted for a giant! :-) I ended up removing a further 3 inches from the dress hem before hemming.

I did a 1 inch sway back adjustment to the dress and slip.

I added 1.5 inches to the front of the slip but also added this to the back. Too much. Not unwearably so, but next time I would reduce this.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Maybe and yes.

Conclusion:

I love my Missoni knit dress. I can see this being a wardrobe staple for me this autumn and moving forward in to winter it is the perfect layering piece too.

Vogue 1386 Missoni dress

Vogue 1386 Missoni dress

If you are interested in ordering this fabric (or any other) from White Tree Fabrics then you can get 20% off all purchases AND free delivery any time you feel like simply by quoting SEWMANJU.

Until soon, have a great week and enjoy what’s left of summer…..

Vogue 1386 Missoni dress

Vogue 1386 Missoni dress

FREE McCalls Pattern: Patchwork Teddy Bear

Free McCalls Patchwork Teddy Bear Pattern
Free McCalls Patchwork Teddy Bear Pattern

Free McCalls Patchwork Teddy Bear Pattern

Dear Readers,

I am having to do a lot of selfless sewing at the moment and I don’t like it!

Of course, how can I say no to make something special for an innocent new born baby, hmmm?

Free McCalls Patchwork Teddy Bear Pattern

Free McCalls Patchwork Teddy Bear Pattern

This pattern is FREE (yep, totally free), and I think the end result is pretty cute. Although, this is a fiddly project, made harder by the 1/4″ seam allowance. Be warned, there is also some amount of hand sewing involved (like the arms and the head to the body)!

That said, you could make this for either a girl or boy, personalised any way you wanted too, and it takes very little fabric.

I like it’s fat little bottom :-)

Free McCalls Patchwork Teddy Bear Pattern

Free McCalls Patchwork Teddy Bear Pattern

I embroidered (by machine), the name of the recipient on the bear’s foot: Raven (a girl, just in case anyone is wondering).

Free McCalls Patchwork Teddy Bear Pattern

Free McCalls Patchwork Teddy Bear Pattern

I embroidered (by hand), the face, because I was worried that if the baby did decide to play with it (it’s not really meant to be a toy!), she might pull off the suggested sewn on buttons or glued on nose.

This is a good pattern to have in your stash to make speedy baby gifts. My top tip would be don’t overstuff the legs, and make the seam allowances on the sides and the bottom of the body (where the legs join) larger: getting those legs in is very hard otherwise (but do able if you don’t mind swearing alot).

Back soon (hopefully) with the last of my summer sewing. Until then, have a great week.

Free McCalls Patchwork Teddy Bear Pattern

Free McCalls Patchwork Teddy Bear Pattern

 

Simplicity 2571: DIY Anna from Frozen Cape

Simplicity 2571: Anna from Frozen cape
Simplicity 2571: Anna from Frozen cape

Simplicity 2571: Anna from Frozen cape

Hello Readers,

The love for Frozen still rumbles on in this household.

Here’s the inspiration:

Anna from Frozen

Anna from Frozen

Here’s my version:

Simplicity 2571: Anna from Frozen cape

Simplicity 2571: Anna from Frozen cape

I used view D from Simplicity 2571. If I had thought about it I would have rounded the corners off. The fabric is the same fabric I used to make my New Look 6097 wrap dress. I simply cut 2 back pieces; one lengthened to around 70 cm, and one shortened to around 30 cm, and treated them as one, sewing them to a shortened front piece. I didn’t interface the collar.

Simplicity 2571: Anna from Frozen cape

Simplicity 2571: Anna from Frozen cape

Close up of the pom pom trim:

Simplicity 2571: Anna from Frozen cape

Simplicity 2571: Anna from Frozen cape

It’s all very rough and ready. I didn’t even finish any edges or hem it…but it’s a ponte knit…so what…and the important thing is that Kezia loves it.

About this pattern: I (or rather Kezia) have had my money’s worth out of it. Pre-blogging days I used view A to make her a wedding dress. This photo was taken in 2011…how fast they grow!

Simplicity 2571: wedding dress (2011)

Simplicity 2571: wedding dress (2011)

And this is her in 2012 wearing the red riding hood cape from view B. Off to take lunch to granny’s house through the woods!

Simplicity 2571: red riding hood cape (2012)

Simplicity 2571: red riding hood cape (2012)

One pattern. Many looks. So many happy childhood memories. These are the things which make sewing worthwhile.

Have a great Sunday and week ahead!

Simplicity 2571: Anna from Frozen cape

Simplicity 2571: Anna from Frozen cape

The Reasons That I Started to Sew and Sew for Myself Now

Next month (August), my local lifestyle magazine, Carlisle Living, is running a small feature article on me. The focus of the article is not just on my sewing and my blog (although that is a prominent part of the article), but on my life, career and education. I was asked to pick eight items that have a special meaning to me and explain what that meaning was. It was not that easy to find eight items, let me tell you!

Anyway, it may surprise you to know that quite a number of my friends/ acquaintances don’t actually know that I make my own clothes, or write a sewing blog. It will probably come as quite a surprise to lots of them….and now I am not even sure what I was doing agreeing to be featured! I would describe myself as a confident woman, but I don’t advertise the fact I make my own clothes to all and sundry. I figured that the timing of the article would be good as I am hoping to teach local sewing classes after the summer.

Lots of people don’t understand why I chose to make (most) of my own clothes. Initially, it was a creative outlet for me at a time when  I needed it. I was a new mum, back at part time work, and also studying a fairly intensive distance learning program for a diploma in medical toxicology. The sewing was a way for me to be creative and expressive.

After that it became something to fill the quiet (winter) nights. My husband works evenings and my daughter would be asleep by 7:30pm. Obviously I couldn’t leave the house, so I would go and sit in my sewing room near her bedroom and sew for a couple of hours in the evening with the TV on in the background for company.

But now it has become much more than that. I find sewing my own clothes very….empowering. I don’t have to fit in with the industry standards in terms of size. And that applies to all women whether you are petite or plus size….we don’t all just fit into the standard measurement models that the Ready to Wear Industry uses. I also enjoy the fact that my clothes are individual and perhaps have a special story or meaning behind them.

Another thing that people don’t understand is why I don’t sew clothes for other people or for money. Well, being perfectly honest with you, I just don’t enjoy it, and I don’t want to spend the spare time I have doing that. All us sewists understand the time it takes to make an item….something that non-sewists don’t perhaps appreciate. I enjoy making clothes for myself….any other sewing time is pretty much exclusively reserved for my husband and daughter.

And of course, now I have my blog, and through that I have “met” some amazing, supportive, talented people both virtually and in real life. That’s YOU, readers :-)

So, I bet you are wondering what the eight items I picked were? In short:

  1. A handmade quilt I made for Kezia when she was 2 years old
  2. My PhD thesis
  3. An oil painting of Pultney Bridge in Bath, the place where I had my first full time, permanent job after getting my PhD and which holds happy memories
  4. A book commemorating 75 years of OXO (yes, that’s right, the gravy granule cube), published about 25 years ago. Whilst I was at school I entered a competition to design a tin commemorating 75 years of the OXO brand, and I won a highly commended prize…part of which included this book
  5. A saree that I wore for my betrothal ceremony the night before I got married to Philip in India (10 years ago at the end of this year)
  6. A carved wooden box that was one of the last gifts my father gave me the year he died (in 1994)
  7. A photobook I made for one of our favourite ever family holidays to Kefalonia in Greece…beautiful, beautiful place
  8. The white eyelet dress that I made using fabric from Paris. I picked this one because everytime I wear this dress I am reminded of our trip to Paris and how magical it was for my daughter meeting Cinderella and seeing the princesses dance.

So, what were the reasons that you started sewing? And does everyone know that you sew or write a sewing blog? Or is it just me keeping secrets and being a dark horse (I admit I always have been one to keep my cards close to my chest)?

Until next time….

 

 

 

OOP McCalls 6291: DIY Cuffed Printed Patterned Summer Trousers

McCalls 6291 Viscose Pattermed Cuffed Trousers
McCalls 6291 Viscose Pattermed Cuffed Trousers

McCalls 6291 Viscose Patterned Cuffed Trousers worn with Wallis Top

Hello Friends,

Here in the UK we are currently enjoying a fantastic hot summer. It makes me want to sew quick and easy items which are cool and breezy to wear.

I have had this pattern, (OOP) McCalls 6291, in my stash for a while. I decided to make them up in some patterned viscose (rayon) fabric. I saw lots of women in Barcelona wearing trousers just like this. They are so cool and comfortable to wear when the temperatures soar.

McCalls 6291 Viscose Pattermed Cuffed Trousers

McCalls 6291 Viscose Pattermed Cuffed Trousers

McCalls 6291 Viscose Pattermed Cuffed Trousers

McCalls 6291 Viscose Pattermed Cuffed Trousers

The pattern itself features double elastic casings at the waist and ankles, and front pleats, which I know can be unflattering on many women (myself included), but I think I got away with it because of the viscose fabric I used. I used my overlocker to finish all the inside seams.

McCalls 6291 Viscose Pattermed Cuffed Trousers

McCalls 6291 Viscose Pattermed Cuffed Trousers

Pattern Review:

Pattern Description:

Pull-on shorts A or pants B, C have front pleats, side pockets, separate waistband with double elastic casings, elastic leg casings, patch pockets and flaps with buttonhole closure; shorts A are upper thigh length; pants B are above ankle length, self-carriers with buttonhole closure, casing with elastic cording and purchased stopper, back patch pockets; pants C are ankle length with double elastic leg casings and back patch pockets.

I made view C (although I actually cut view B and added 3 inches).

Pattern Sizing:

XS – XXL

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Yes.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

Yes.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

These are so easy to sew up. They are designed to be loose fitting, and as they have elastic at the waist, there was no need for any fitting (for me). Nothing to dislike really. You either like this style, or you don’t. They are incredibly comfortable and perfect in this drapey viscose for the hot weather we are currently enjoying.

Fabric Used:

A patterned viscose fabric.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

Nothing aside from adding 3 inches of length.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Maybe and yes.

Conclusion:

You either love these or hate these I guess. I love them.

I know loose fitting trousers like this may not be everyone’s cup of tea. What do you think? Would you wear trousers like this? I wore them out for drinks with a girl friend last night and have worn them again today with flat sandals…I felt very comfortable and cool wearing them.

Until soon….

McCalls 6291 Viscose Pattermed Cuffed Trousers

McCalls 6291 Viscose Pattermed Cuffed Trousers

McCalls 6844: DIY Crochet Effect Knit Cardigan

McCalls 6844: Crochet effect knit cardigan
McCalls 6844: Crochet effect knit cardigan

McCalls 6844: Crochet effect knit cardigan worn with McCalls 6694 dress

Hi Friends,

A quick post for a super quick make: McCalls 6844…an extremely popular pattern from McCalls last year, and yes, a definite winner. So many potential fabrics and looks from this pattern.

I made a very lightweight, casual summer version using this crochet effect fabric supplied by Click Fabrics. This fabric might be a little scary to sew with initially. It is very soft and feels a little bit like you are trying to sew cotton wool. But it behaved brilliantly on both my machine and serger. I wore this outfit today to the cinema and it was perfect to keep the air conditioned chill at bay. It would also be the perfect weight cardigan to take travelling or on a plane, and this fabric is so lovely and soft it would be fabulous made into something special for a little person.

McCalls 6844: Crochet effect knit cardigan

McCalls 6844: Crochet effect knit cardigan

There’s not a great deal to say about this cardigan that hasn’t already been said. For my version I:

  • Did not interface the collar. I wanted to keep the feel soft and drapey.
  • Cut a single layer for all pieces to match the stripes.
  • Did a 1 inch sway back adjustment.
  • Shortened the sleeves by 4.5 inches.
  • Cut view A but levelled the hem off.
McCalls 6844: Crochet effect knit cardigan

McCalls 6844: Crochet effect knit cardigan

Oh, yes, I have to mention the bag (because I LOVE it). It is this one from LK Bennett. The gold option (the one I have) is sold out, but there are some other gorgeous colours left. It is the perfect summer bag (for me), but what I love about it is that I can zip the sides up and completely change the shape when I get bored with it.

 

So that’s it for today. Back soon with my first pair of trousers!! Until then, happy sewing.

 

McCalls 6844: Crochet effect knit cardigan

McCalls 6844: Crochet effect knit cardigan

Ohhh Lulu Ginger Bodysuit: DIY Leopard Print Contrast Panel Swimsuit

Ohhh Lulu Ginger Swimsuit
Ohhh Lulu Ginger Swimsuit and Simplicity 1896 Kimono

Ohhh Lulu Ginger Swimsuit and Simplicity 1896 Kimono – ugh – morning hair

Hello Dear Readers,

We are back from our short city break to Barcelona and enjoyed the Spanish sights, shopping, sun and food. I had a couple of opportunities to wear my new swimsuit and overall I was very happy with its performance. Here are the details.

Ohhh Lulu Ginger Swimsuit

Ohhh Lulu Ginger Swimsuit

The pattern that I elected to use was the Ginger Body Suit and Separates pattern by Sarah of Ohhh Lulu. I actually bought this pattern more than a year ago, and I have just checked and it doesn’t seem to be available at the moment in her Etsy shop. But if you love pretty, feminine handmade lingerie then check out her shop…sooo pretty!

I decided to use this pattern and not the Bombshell pattern because I thought this pattern would allow more bust support. That’s not to say I might not have a go at trying to make the Bombshell pattern more bust supportive, now that I have more of an idea what I am doing, but the lines of this pattern just seemed to suggest easier modification.

Ohhh Lulu Ginger Bodysuit and Separates

Ohhh Lulu Ginger Bodysuit and Separates

Let’s get down to the real business. I need a G-cup. Yep. And there are no swimsuit patterns drafted, that I know of, that cater for the larger cup sized woman. I am guessing we are in a minority, but it is frustrating, and the thing I dislike the most about finding attractive RTW suits. (BTW, Mary just wrote a great post on this very subject over on the Curvy Sewing Collective blogsite). So, the first thing I did was purchase a G-cup bikini top from eBay. I did this because I wanted to make sure the cups were going to be chlorine resistant. I mean, there would be no point in spending all that effort and time making a swimsuit for it all to disintegrate after the first few wears, right? I figured that purchasing a RTW bikini top in my size would hopefully give me something which would be fairly chlorine resistant.

Cups purchased (and unpicked from the RTW bikini – it was an underwired one…I have kept the wires for another project), I then set about modifying the cups on the Ginger bodysuit pattern. In the picture below you can see I used the actual foam cups to make the increases to the pattern. I found this method worked very well for me. The Ginger cups come in two sections: upper and lower. I pinned the upper section in place and found it matched the upper part of the foam cups quite well, so I decided to increase the lower part of the cups only.

Increasing cup size of Ginger Bodysuit

Increasing cup size of Ginger Bodysuit

In this next picture you can see I have added height to the lower cup section to fill in the gap.

Increasing cup size of Ginger Bodysuit

Increasing cup size of Ginger Bodysuit

Here you can see I have added height to the lower cup, but the length of the pattern cups are not quite sufficient to cover the sides of the foam cups.

Increasing cup size of Ginger Bodysuit

Increasing cup size of Ginger Bodysuit

I decided to slash and spread the lower cup as you can see in the picture below, adding a wedge in to the lower cup (sorry I would have used different coloured paper if I have thought about it). I did the same to the upper cup too,  although I did end up pinching out a little bit on the lower cup where I felt the paper was gaping away.

Increasing cup size of Ginger Bodysuit

Increasing cup size of Ginger Bodysuit

Here’s what I ended up with. You will notice I also decided to split the lower cups into 2 sections, using this tutorial from Amy at Cloth Habit.

Increasing cup size of Ginger Bodysuit

Increasing cup size of Ginger Bodysuit

So that is how I increased the cups on the swimsuit. You can read about the rest of the modifications that I did in my review below.

Some other points:

  • I pre-washed my fabric (I generally pre-wash everything…just paranoid about shrinkage and the ensuing frustration/ heartbreak).
  • I used my rotary cutter to cut the swimsuit fabric….not a general fan of using a rotary cutter on fabrics but this time it made things so much easier.
  • I made a muslin (using some cheaper swimsuit fabric). Totally worth it. I couldn’t have perfected the fit otherwise.
  • All my fabrics, including the power mesh that I used to line the front of the suit and the (chlorine resistant) elastic was purchased (online) from Fabricland. Yes, this site is messy and I don’t like their system of not having set postage charges, but they have a great selection of swimwear fabric.
  • I constructed most of the swimsuit on my serger, but zig-zagged the elastic on (to the wrong side of the leg holes, top of front and back), folded over so it was concealed and twin-needled it using my regular machine.
  • I also added a band of 3/4″ wide elastic beneath the cups for further bust support. In combination with the cups, it worked.
Ohhh Lulu Ginger Swimsuit - back

Ohhh Lulu Ginger Swimsuit – back

Ohhh Lulu Ginger Swimsuit - inside front lining

Ohhh Lulu Ginger Swimsuit – inside front lining

Ohhh Lulu Ginger Swimsuit - inside back lining

Ohhh Lulu Ginger Swimsuit – inside back lining

Pattern Review:

Pattern Description:

The Ginger Bodysuit is a bodysuit, which you can also turn into high waisted briefs and/ or a bralette. I elected to make it into a swimsuit. There is a basic (but adequate, probably more suited to slightly more experienced sewers) sewalong to turn the bodysuit into a swimsuit on the Ohhh Lulu website.

Pattern Sizing:

From bust 32″ to 42″ (C cup), and hips 33″ to 42″.

I ended up enlarging the cups to accommodate a G-cup.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Yes, I think so.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

I managed, so yes. I did have to re-read some of the steps a few times to understand.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

I like the opportunity for colour blocking and the lines of the pattern make it easy to adjust. Nothing to dislike as such, although I thought it was hard to get the V-point at the front of the swimsuit accurately sewn, and it was also very hard to get the cups sewn in neatly. This might improve with practice?!

Fabric Used:

Swimsuit lycra for outerlayer; swimsuit lining for back and cups, powermesh for front lining, chlorine resistant cups, and elastic for openings, straps and underbust support.

Note: I wish I had doubled up on the powermesh. I felt I didn’t have enough support on my tummy. Or I could just cut down on the chocolate :-)

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

Lengthy!!

  • Increased cups of swimsuit from C-cup to G-cup.
  • Increasing the cups meant I had to carry this increase down the front seams.
  • Following on from the above point meant I ended up removing a total of 6 inches from the back seams, tapering to nothing at the waist, effectively doing a sway back adjustment as well.
  • Removed a total of a further 4 inches at the side seams.
  • Pinched out 0.25″ at the front seams, at the mid thigh.
  • Converted the lower cups of the swimsuit into two pieces.
  • Added 3/4″ chlorine resistant elastic as underbust support and also in the strap tubes to give futher support. The pattern has you effectively flat lining (underlining) the entire swimsuit. If doing again I would sew the front lining separately, add my elastic and then sew to swimsuit, as I think it would be tidier.
  • I wish I had doubled up on the powermesh. I felt I didn’t have enough support on my tummy.
  • I concealed my crotch seam during construction.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

I might sew again. Yes, I would recommend.

Conclusion:

I am so proud of myself for making this pattern fit and sewing it up. It feels well made and secure and it’s another step forward in my sewing journey.

 

In case anyone is wondering, the chiffon kimono style cover up is adapted from Simplicity 1896. I used the top part from View A and lengthened it down, along with the band/ facing. I did rolled hems on my serger. I don’t love it, but it served a purpose.

Simplicity 1896 Kimono

Simplicity 1896 Kimono – Bet Lynch has nothing on me!

Congrats if you made it all the way to the end of this rather lengthy post! Have a great week and see you all soon…

Bra Making Workshop Review

My first completed underwired bra!
My first completed underwired bra!

My first completed underwired bra!

Hello Friends,

At the start of this week I attended a day long bra making workshop at the Birmingham School of Sewing, run by the owner, Sheila May Green. As promised, here’s a review – all opinions my very own honest ones!

The course was actually held in Sheila May’s home in a quiet residential area in the centre of Birmingham not far from the University (where, incidentally I studied for my undergraduate degree). Sheila May has a room specifically set aside for teaching, and there was plenty of space for us to work and all equipment and materials were provided.

Interior of Birmingham School of Sewing

Interior of Birmingham School of Sewing

Interior of Birmingham School of Sewing

Interior of Birmingham School of Sewing

In this day long course we made an underwired bra, which was most definitely not made to my size! This is a course in which you will learn how to make an underwired bra from start to finish, including cutting the materials out, but the bra is not fitted to your size. The pattern used (one that Sheila May has drafted herself) is not even for a particular band/ cup size. But don’t let that put you off. I was very happy with everything I learned on the day, which included how to sew the cups together, and insert them in to the cradle, how to apply elastic to the band and armholes of the bra, how to attach the hook and eyes and how to attach sliders correctly. In short, I now feel confident enough to go away and make my own underwired bra in my own size…it’s just a question of finding the time…!!

Assembling the bra

Assembling the bra

Close up of finished bra

Close up of finished bra

Close up of finished bra

Close up of finished bra

I discovered that making a bra is not that difficult: it requires fairly accurate, precision sewing but with practice anyone can do it. For me, the day long course was more (time) convenient. I normally get fitted for my bras so I have a good idea of what my size is. I hope to eventually purchase a pattern in my size and have a go on my own. Doing this course also gave my an understanding of what kind of materials I need to purchase to make my own bras.

Back of bra

Back of bra

Overall I highly recommend this to anyone who wants an introduction into underwired bra making.

I have just finished my swimsuit…and I kind of wish I had completed the course before I started to sew it up, but overall I am still pleased with the final result. Review to follow, but it will have to wait as we are off to Barcelona on Monday for a week.

So until we meet again, have a great week!

McCalls 6696: DIY Navy Linen Shirt Dress

McCalls 6696: DIY navy linen shirt dress
McCalls 6696: DIY navy linen shirt dress

McCalls 6696: DIY navy linen shirt dress

Hello Friends,

Good morning from a sunny corner of Cumbria. A few weeks back I attended the Minerva Meet Up. I am sure from other blogs you would have already read details of the day. It was a well organised and well attended event, and it was great to finally meet some other bloggers, readers and sewists in real life. The Minerva Crafts store itself is laden with amazing fabrics and of course I did end up buying some fabric, including this navy blue 100% washed linen (at least I think it is that one…that’s the only one I think it can be from the website).

The fabric is gorgeous. It has a wonderful weight to it, and was a pleasure to sew. It was a considerable purchase, which is why I wanted to go for a fairly classic design. This is a dress I hope I will wear for many summers to come.

McCalls 6696: DIY navy linen shirt dress

McCalls 6696: DIY navy linen shirt dress

The pattern is McCalls 6696 (you remember I made the slip from this pattern in my last post). I love the finished dress, although I don’t know if I need to do a very slight FBA next time around (even though this is one of those patterns that has multi-cup sizes, which generally work well for me). I love the pleated skirt and the waist band. I wish I had added the belt loops (I had even cut them out), but left them off last minute because I thought it would restrict what belts I could wear with this.

Here’s the back view: I removed 1.5 inches from the centre back pattern piece, which was then cut on the fold, thereby effectively eliminating 3 inches in total.

McCalls 6696: DIY navy linen shirt dress

McCalls 6696: DIY navy linen shirt dress

Unusually for me, I kept the pockets in :-)

In my last shirt dress review, I tried using Andrea’s method of attaching the collar…and had mixed feelings. Well, I tried it again, and have to say this method has definitely grown on me….the results are much more precise.

McCalls 6696: DIY navy linen shirt dress - collar close up

McCalls 6696: DIY navy linen shirt dress – collar close up

I just serged the insides for a clean finish (3 thread wide overlock).

McCalls 6696: DIY navy linen shirt dress - serged seam

McCalls 6696: DIY navy linen shirt dress – serged seam

Check out the full review below.

McCalls 6696: DIY navy linen shirt dress

McCalls 6696: DIY navy linen shirt dress

Pattern Review:

Pattern Description:

Dresses have collar, collar band, self-lined yoke back, close-fitting bodice, and band. A: carriers, purchased belt. A,B: pleated skirt, side pockets. A,C: purchased bias tape finishes armholes. D: sleeve bands. C,D: semi-fitted through hips, side front pockets, stitched hems. Bias, close-fitting slip has shoulder straps and very narrow hem. A/B, C, D cup sizes.

I made view B.

Pattern Sizing:

8 – 24

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Yes.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

Yes.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

I love the finished shape, with the pleated, full skirt and the waistband. Great for my figure. There is a fair amount of hand sewing involved in this dress….normally I would have topstitched everything, but with the linen it just didn’t look right, so hand sewing it was. I wish I had added the belt loops.

Fabric Used:

100% washed linen with a great weight to it.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

Minimal, although next time round I don’t know if I would do a very slight FBA or just cut the next cup size up. The only changes I made were to add an inch to the length (though probably not necessary), and do a 1 inch sway back adjustment. Oh, and I removed 1.5 inches from the centre back pattern piece, which was then cut on the fold, thereby effectively eliminating 3 inches in total. I had to get creative again with the cutting layout, just squeezing this dress out of 3 metres of 137cm/ 55 inch wide fabric. I ended up cutting my waistband in 2, so it has a join in the centre back. I used the burrito method to attach the yoke, but did do all the other hand stitching as required.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Yes, I would consider sewing this again….maybe the straight skirt view (view D).

Conclusion:

I have made the slip, now I have made the dress…and I am still not done with this pattern. Highly recommend, especially for curvy ladies.

I have 2 weeks to sew a swimming costume, a cover-up and attend a bra making course next week. Eek! Stay tuned to see if I can complete all my sewing before we head off to Barcelona in a couple of weeks. Until next time….

 

McCalls 6696: DIY navy linen shirt dress

McCalls 6696: DIY navy linen shirt dress

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