Tag Archives: knit fabric

Spring Outfit Progress Report + A Coco Top!

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Spring Outfit Progress Report + A Coco Top!

Hi there! I’m popping in here for a progress report on my spring outfit project and some show-and-tell.

Spring Outfit Challenge Update

At the beginning of spring, I challenged myself to make an outfit that coordinated, and where every part except the shoes were made by me. I’m working away on that over here, and it has been a great challenge. I usually work in batches, but not batches quite this large, and not usually coordinating. This has been really fun and has made me so excited to get creating! Here’s what is happening right now:

All patterns have been traced and cut out.

Spring Outfit Progress Report + A Coco Top!
All patterns traced!
Spring Outfit Progress Report + A Coco Top!
Piles of fabric ready to cut

The plan is still to make a top, pants, undergarments, socks, a windbreaker/pullover/sweatshirt thing, and a knitted hat (even though it’s a bit warm for that now).

Tilly and the Buttons Coco Top

The shirt is finished, and I love it. I modified a Coco Top using inspiration from this picture I found on Pinterest years ago.

Spring Outfit Progress Report + A Coco Top!
I’m not sure of the source of this picture.
Spring Outfit Progress Report + A Coco Top!
My Coco in progress, inspired by the picture above

The Oslo Hat–Mohair Edition from Petite Knit

The hat is in progress. It’s a bit warm to wear it now, but I plan to finish it since I know I’ll wear it next fall and winter. So far, it’s really pretty, really soft, and should be really warm, but…it’s a little boring to knit. Endless knitting of the same stitch in a fingering weight isn’t the most exciting. Oh, well.

Coco Top + A Spring Outfit Progress Report!

Out of Print McCall’s 5303

I’m currently working on the windbreaker using this pattern from 1991. I’m making it in woven Supplex and Taslan. It’s been really enjoyable. I like the colors I picked and the pattern is very interesting and good. It’s just the right amount of hand-holding and problem solving.

Coco Top + A Spring Outfit Progress Report!

Folkwear Patterns 229 Sailor Pants

The pants are cut out of an old sheet so that I can make a muslin before cutting into my denim. Every pattern company has their own block and not every company’s crotch curve fits well without modification. I haven’t tried Folkwear patterns before, so I want to test the pattern before committing. I hope to straighten the legs a bit and potentially lengthen the rise. I want them to fit a bit more like modern 13-button sailor pants, which I have a pair of for reference.

Sew It Forward Socks from Ellie & Mac, etc.

Other than that, socks and undergarments are all cut out and waiting to be sewn.

Spring Outfit Progress Report + A Coco Top!
Cutting out my socks; the funny-looking glove on the bottom is a Kevlar kitchen glove and protects my non-cutting hand from my rotary cutter–it’s one of my best sewing safety hacks ever

I’ll probably tackle those next and save the pants for last. I’m really hoping to have this done with enough time to sew another couple of things while it’s still spring, but I’m not holding my breath. Luckily the other patterns I have my eye on could easily transfer into summer sewing as well.

Coco Top Show-and-Tell

When I originally planned my spring outfit, I decided I would make a Tilly and the Buttons Coco Top in a coral and white lightweight sweater knit. Well, I did that, and then also made the one I mentioned above. Since I’m saving the modified one, I can share the coral and white one now.

Coco Top + A Spring Outfit Progress Report!

The Tilly and the Buttons Coco Top is a quick and easy sewing pattern designed for low stretch knits.

Coco Top + A Spring Outfit Progress Report!
Coco Top + A Spring Outfit Progress Report!

I made this as a top a long time ago in a very stretchy rayon knit and as a dress in ponte, but haven’t used the pattern since. I like to try lots of different patterns, which is exciting, but admittedly not very efficient since I don’t always make a pattern more than once. Anyway, it was nice to circle back around to this pattern. I cut a 7/8 for the bust and waist (I just traced between those two sizes) and an 8 for the hip.

Coco Top + A Spring Outfit Progress Report!

This coral and white sweater knit (60% polyester, 40% cotton, now sold out) is from Fashion Fabrics Club. It’s listed as a sweater knit, but is very lightweight–about the same as a t-shirt. The price was great, and it was easy to sew and is nice to wear. The sewing was pretty straightforward. I changed a few things, such as using my serger for construction and a zigzag stitch for my hems and neckline. The pattern suggests using a twin needle and although I have figured out how to do that on my machine, it tends to unravel over time. I must be doing something wrong, but I usually just skip it now and use a zigzag. I also used a fusible tape in my neckline to help stabilize it.

Coco Top + A Spring Outfit Progress Report!

I’m pretty happy with this shirt! My stripe matching is ok-ish, and that’s fine. The shirt is great for spring, and I like it tucked or untucked.

Coco Top + A Spring Outfit Progress Report!

It was also a good warmup for my second shirt, and a nice quick project to get the sewjo revved up. (Sewjo=sewing mojo) 😉 Every spring, I want all the striped tops, so this is definitely scratching that itch!

I hope to be back soon with another update and more finished projects!

Itch to Stitch Visby Top in Wool/Polyester Waffle Knit

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Itch to Stitch Visby Top in Wool/Polyester Waffle Knit

What seems like a story about a pattern, is actually a story about fabric. The wool/polyester waffle knit I chose to sew into a Visby Henley surprised me and caused the project to take an unexpected turn.

Itch to Stitch Visby Top in Wool/Polyester Waffle Knit

I love henley shirts for fall and winter. These long-sleeved knits with a short placket at the neck, epitomize rugged yet comfortable cool-weather style in my mind. Although I have hacked the Thread Theory men’s Strathcona Henley in the past to create such a top for myself, I was excited to try the Itch to Stitch Visby Henley & Top when it came out. Not only is it drafted for women, it has a raglan sleeve and a number of other options that could be fun to explore in the future.

Itch to Stitch Visby Top in Wool/Polyester Waffle Knit
Itch to Stitch Visby Top in Wool/Polyester Waffle Knit

After searching and considering different fabric options, I decided to try a wool/polyester waffle knit I found on e-bay. It was 80% New Zealand wool blended with 20% polyester at an affordable price, and the seller promised that although they didn’t cut straight, they cut long yards. And they weren’t kidding! When I got my fabric, I measured and found that they had given me an extra 2/3-3/4 of a yard!

The fabric felt like your typical, fairly thin waffle knit. It had just enough stretch for the pattern (barely!).

Itch to Stitch Visby Top in Wool/Polyester Waffle Knit

I like to wash my wool and, if it seems warranted, shrink it down as much as possible before sewing it up so that I can machine wash and dry the finished garment. Believe it or not, this usually works for me. I wasn’t sure what would happen with this fabric, so I cut a little test swatch and threw it in the washer. It showed some shrinkage, and it did change the hand slightly, but in a really nice way, making the fabric a bit fluffier and beefier.

After two test swatches, I threw in my yardage. I washed it a few times so it would shrink as much as it was going to. That’s when I started to feel some surprise. That extra yardage? It shrunk right out. What I mean is that the fabric shrunk down to the amount I had originally ordered, which was three yards. Maybe I had gone too far, but I LOVED the feel of the fulled (felted), shrunken fabric. It was so soft and nice!

Itch to Stitch Visby Top in Wool/Polyester Waffle Knit

Now it was too thick to make the henley, however, so I changed course and opted to try the basic top option. The pattern was easy and clear–no problems with the small exception of a slightly wavy neckline, which I figured would be fine after washing. I had sized up so the finished garment would be on the looser side.

Itch to Stitch Visby Top in Wool/Polyester Waffle Knit
The neckline has mostly settled and straightened since washing.

When I was finished, the fit was great. So was the feel! Rather than a shirt, this felt like a light, cozy sweater! I wore it once to test it out, and threw it in the wash, figuring I would just plan to wash it on cold and air dry it from here on out.

Itch to Stitch Visby Top in Wool/Polyester Waffle Knit

When I wore it next, it seemed…well…a little smaller. Was it still shrinking?! Even with a cold wash and no dryer? Yikes!

The next time I wore it, it fit perfectly–no longer oversized, but just right. However…if it shrinks any more, I’ll have to give it to one of my kids. I love my kids, but I want this shirt-sweater for me! Now the shirt has been relegated to the hand-wash pile (I don’t hand wash anything if I can help it, so it’s the only thing in the pile.).

Itch to Stitch Visby Top in Wool/Polyester Waffle Knit

The future of the shirt is unknown! I’ve just hand washed it, and it looks good, but now that it’s warming up, I’m going to put it away until cooler weather. Fingers crossed that it doesn’t shrink any further!

Takeaways? The Itch to Stitch Visby Henley & Top is a great pattern that I would happily make again. This fabric is wonderful, but if you try it, proceed with caution and don’t be as tough on it as I was. Happy sewing!

Itch to Stitch Visby Top in Wool/Polyester Waffle Knit

Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops

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Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops

Time to post my last few winter sewing projects! Today I want to talk about the Émilie (formerly Yoko) Square Roll-Neck Top from Jalie in a wool/Lycra jersey (plus a kid-sized top in cotton/Lycra!).

Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops

This is a free pattern for women and girls that comes with 28 sizes–pretty impressive! That is typical of Jalie’s patterns, making them a great value for money. I haven’t worn turtlenecks/roll-neck shirts in a few years, so I thought I would use this pattern to do a little scrap-busting and try the style out.

Like my last two sweaters (Engle and Wool & Honey), this pattern has a boxy/square body and fitted sleeves. Unlike those sweaters, however, this pattern has a drop-sleeve. I guess this is the year of that fun but odd silhouette for me! It’s not my favorite silhouette, but it’s interesting and comfortable. I used a green wool/Lycra jersey that I got from Fabric Mart Fabrics a number of years ago for my top and some navy and flower print cotton/Lycra jersey for a kid-sized top. I can’t remember where I got the navy, but the flower knit is an old Cotton + Steel fabric that I got from Pintuck & Purl some time ago.

Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops

For my top, my measurements put me in size Z for the bust and BB for the waist and hip. Because this is a boxy style, I opted to make a straight size Z. For the kid shirt, I made a straight size N. I used my serger for the main seams and my sewing machine for the hems.

Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops
Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops

The tops were pretty easy to sew. There weren’t any points where the instructions were unclear or where things got tricky, making this a nice, quick project.

Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops

Jalie’s instructions come in French and English and are not extensive, but are clear. This free and simple pattern would be a great way to get a feel for the company if you are interested in trying their patterns. While I haven’t tried many of their patterns, I know I can turn to them when I want a reasonable cost for a LOT of sizes and professional results, especially if I want to make activewear.

Let’s get back to the tops! The hems came out much better in the cotton/Lycra than in my thin wool/Lycra jersey where I ended up with some tunneling and scrunching.

Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops
Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops

Still, you only really see that up close, and it doesn’t affect the fit at all. The neck is a double layer of fabric, which both looks and feels good.

Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops

These tops turned out to be nice and comfy, and while I’m sort of over the whole extreme dropped sleeve look, I’m happy I made them and tried this pattern out.

Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops

I like how they look in the cotton better than in the wool, as this thin jersey, while comfortable, attracts lots of fuzzies, and is slightly on the pukey side of spring green. Still, it’s a great layering piece that will work in any sort of cool weather, and I do love having a few wool jersey tops in my wardrobe. I’ve made one other shirt in this fabric, which you can see here.

Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops
Look! It’s blue sky! (The photo shoots get silly more often than not.)

If I were to make this again, I would consider cotton/Lycra or a slightly heavier weight wool/Lycra . That’s not a “rule” of any sort, just my feelings after making this in these two different substrates.

Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops

Interestingly enough, Tessuti has a very similar free pattern, the Monroe Turtleneck, which you could also try if you are thinking of making a top like this, although it doesn’t have the extensive size range Jalie does. It would be fun to make both and compare them. If this is a style you are into, this is a great pattern. I like it, but don’t absolutely love it, although I do really like Jalie as a pattern company, and hope to make many more of their patterns in the future.

Spring Sewing Plans: My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

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Spring Sewing Plans:  My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

*I’m reposting this because the pictures were only showing as links when viewed on a phone. I’m sorry for any confusion! Hopefully you can see all my pictures now, no matter what type of device you are reading on.*

Hi, everyone! I have something a little different for you today. Normally, I do a photography post the last Friday of every month, but I never made the time to get out and take those photos in March. So instead, I want to share a little challenge I have set myself for the spring.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

Now, I love planning sewing projects–and knitting projects, actually, but especially sewing projects. I wanted to try something new for the spring–a personal challenge of some kind. I know there are a million sewing challenges floating around the internet, but I usually have so many ideas of my own that I find it hard to take time away from my never-ending list of fun possibilities to follow the guidelines of a challenge. So, I decided to create my own! I want to try to make myself a spring outfit that all goes together. My plan is to make as many of the pieces as I can. While this isn’t an especially novel idea in and of itself, it’s distinctly different from how I usually work, which makes it fun and refreshing for me.

Here’s a broad outline of what I want to make: a long-sleeved t-shirt, some pants, and a windbreaker for my main pieces. In addition, I plan to make undergarments (which won’t show up here, as I don’t feel comfortable blogging those, but which I will still make), socks, and a hat. I haven’t learned to make shoes, so I’ll exclude those.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

All right! That seems like a pretty good list. Now let’s break it down.

Where I live, spring starts off quite cool and takes awhile to warm up. Every year, I wish I had some Breton-striped long-sleeved shirts in bright colors for spring time, so that or something similar is what I want to make for my shirt. (Never heard of Breton stripes? Check out this article on the history of Breton Stripes.)I decided that I would pick my pattern based on what fabric I found. I could use the Union St. Tee from Hey June Handmade if my fabric was pretty stretchy or Vogue 8950 if I found two coordinating stretchy fabrics. If the fabric was low-stretch, I could make the Coco Top from Tilly and the Buttons.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

After lots of deliberation, I ordered this coral pink and white striped sweater knit from Fashion Fabrics Club. It’s low stretch, so I’ll make the Coco top with long sleeves and boat neckline.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

Since a Breton-striped shirt has nautical roots, I thought it would be fun to make the Sailor Pants, Pattern 229, from Folkwear, which I got for Christmas.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge
My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

I found some non-stretch, medium/heavy weight denim also at Fashion Fabrics Club. I’ll admit, I’m a little nervous about this, but I plan to compare the pattern to jeans patterns that fit me as well as some genuine sailor pants that I own. The pants I have are the same 13-button style, but are made in a wool gabardine (I think). They are truly high-rise and don’t have quite the bell-bottom shape of the Folkwear pattern. I plan to use them as a guide. I may even make a muslin. All the extra steps and double checking are, admittedly, the kinds of things that usually lead me to procrastinate, so fingers crossed on these.

For my windbreaker, I want to use the sweatshirt pattern in vintage McCall’s 5303.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

I have had this pattern for a long time. It’s one I got from my Mom’s pattern stash, although she gave me the medium instead of the large. After looking at the finished measurements, I decided to hunt down a large online, even though anything from the medium through the extra large would fit. I think the windbreaker/sweatshirt will be great to throw on when the wind whips up on the beach, and in a Supplex/Taslan, which is water resistant, it will even keep sprinkles off. It doesn’t hurt that Supplex/Taslan also blocks a good amount of UV rays. Woven Supplex is something I have wanted to try more of for awhile now. Previously I used a tiny bit for the neckline placket and pocket of my Patagonia-inspired sweatshirt, but that wasn’t enough to get a real feel for the fabric. I ordered a bunch from the Rainshed so I can make this and hopefully some hiking pants and board shorts later this year. My original plan was to make the main part in yellow with magenta facings on the hood.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

After looking at the various colors I ordered, however, I think I would rather make the main part in yellow with this “Candy” pink for the hood facings. I do need the Candy pink for another project as well, but I’m hoping that with some careful cutting, I’ll be able to make it work for both.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

For the socks, I found the free Sew It Forward Socks from Ellie & Mac, a sewing company that is new to me.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

Free patterns are such a great way to try out a new company, and a sock pattern I could sew was right up my alley. I’m not quite sure what fabric I want to use for these, but I’m hoping to use up some of my t-shirt scraps.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

Because it is often cool here during a lot of the spring, I thought a hat might be a good idea as well. I plan to make The Oslo Hat–Mohair Edition from Petite Knit. It will be nice to throw a little knitting into the mix.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

Maggie at Pintuck & Purl gave me some mystery yarn on a cone and after doing some tests, I’d guess it’s a wool fingering weight yarn. I plan to pair it with some silk mohair from The Farmer’s Daughter Fibers to make this hat. I picked out the color “Stagecoach Mary” from their Mighty Mo line over on the Wool & Co. website.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

If the season gets ahead of me and warms up before I finish with this, I still plan to make it, but I’ll consider substituting a bag pattern or just taking this off my spring outfit list without substituting something else for it.

And that’s it! I’m really excited about this! Even when I work in larger batches of several projects at once, I don’t usually try to coordinate my projects, so it’s fun to do something a little different. We’ll see how I get on as the season progresses. I have a few things to finish up, and then I plan to get started tracing all my patterns. As I get going, I’ll post some projects that I finished recently, and by the time I’m done showing you those, I bet I’ll have some of this challenge finished! If this sounds fun, feel free to join me and make your own spring outfit using whatever parameters sound good to you, then leave me a link in my comments so I can check out what you’re up to!

So Many Possibilities: The Women’s Mairin Swimsuit by Sew a Little Seam

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So Many Possibilities:  The Women’s Mairin Swimsuit by Sew a Little Seam

Fall is the perfect time to talk about sewing swimwear, right? Well, I suppose if you are in the Southern Hemisphere, this is for you. For all of us in the Northern Hemisphere, maybe it’s just planning ahead?

I didn’t sew much this summer because it felt like I was wasting the day if I didn’t get outside. My family and I did a lot of exploring, and even found ourselves a new favorite ocean swimming spot–which brought home to me just how much I needed a new bathing suit. My beloved tankini, made several years ago now, was really showing its age. I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted–either another tankini or a bikini + rash guard combination. Then I found the Women’s Mairin Swimsuit by Sew a Little Seam, and it had SO MANY POSSIBILITIES! Check out these line drawings!

Women's Mairin Swimsuit by Sew a Little Seam
Women's Mairin Swimsuit by Sew a Little Seam

This company is new to me. It looks like a lot of their patterns are for kids, but they have some adult patterns as well. Even though PDF patterns are not my preference, the huge number of options in the Women’s Mairin Swimsuit pattern convinced me. I had to give it a try.

I had a million ideas that I initially considered, many influenced by my swimwear Pinterest board. I filled up an online cart with swimwear fabric, and then my husband told me to add even more that I had been waffling on. I have never ordered so much swimwear at once in my life. The plan was to order a little bit of a few prints/colors, but the striped fabric I really wanted had a 5-yard minimum, and thanks to my husband, I got it. That one, in particular, will go with everything.

Women's Mairin Swimsuit by Sew a Little Seam
This pile of swimwear fabric represents a year or two of collecting. They came from (top to bottom): Fashion Fabrics Club, Spandex by Yard, Fabric Mart, Fabric Mart, and Spandex by Yard.
Women's Mairin Swimsuit by Sew a Little Seam
I also got this from Spandex by Yard. It exactly matches the fabric used in some of the inspiration pictures on my Pinterest board. Hopefully I will use it next year.

I also ordered swimwear elastic.

Pattern Choices and Materials:

  • Top: narrow strap tankini top with mid scoop neckline and halter mid back
  • Bottoms: mid cut leg low waist bikini bottoms AND mid cut leg high waist bikini bottoms
  • Outer fabric: Seafoam Nylon/Lycra Swimwear/Activewear Knit by Milly and Bright Pear Polyester/Lycra Swimwear/Activewear Knit by Milly, both from Fabric Mart and now sold out, and striped poly/spandex fabric from spandexbyyard.com; I really like the feel and weight of each of these fabrics
  • Lining fabric: polyester swimwear lining fabric from spandexbyyard.com; this has a more cotton-y feel than linings I have used in the past (which were more slippery), but so far, so good!
  • Elastic: 1/4″ natural swimwear elastic and 1/2″ White Polyester Latex Free Elastic which can stand up to saltwater and chlorine just like swimwear elastic; both were from Sew Sassy Fabrics
  • Swim cups: made of poly laminate foam from Sew Sassy Fabrics
  • Size: My measurements were a little bit scattered through several sizes, but size 20 was the most common, so I chose that
  • Stitch info: I used polyester thread for my top thread and woolly nylon in my bobbin; 75/11 stretch needle; average presser foot pressure (3 on my machine); my stitch choice was a 3-step zig zag with a height of 5 and stitch length of 0.5

Upon looking through the directions for this pattern, I have to say–I was impressed. This pattern is a TOME. It’s huge. There are so many options and possible variations, that it must have been a lot of work to put it all together. I felt like I had gotten a pretty good deal for the price. I had my doubts about the ability of elastic straps that were only 1/4″ wide to provide bust support, but I decided to give it a try and trust the pattern.

To begin, I converted all my half-width pattern pieces into full-size pattern pieces so that I could easily cut everything on a single layer of fabric.

The various sections of the pattern instructions are well labeled, allowing you to print out only what you need. I liked the photos that went with the instructions as well as the various charts to help you figure out measurements and strap length. I found that the listed strap lengths worked well for me. However, I was a little confused on the strap/tie measurements chart because there was no area labeled halter/open back like in the line drawings. I think that the “Wide Low Back” down through the “Open Back No Tie” sections are meant to correlate with that.

Women's Mairin Swimsuit by Sew a Little Seam

I liked that there were instructions for sewing cups into your lining, and I thought the lining looked nice overall once it was in.

Women's Mairin Swimsuit by Sew a Little Seam
Women's Mairin Swimsuit by Sew a Little Seam

One thing I would change, however, is this: the shelf bra will have exposed elastic. My elastic was not particularly soft, so I ended up making a casing for it.

Women's Mairin Swimsuit by Sew a Little Seam

Next time, I wouldn’t trim the bikini pattern piece by 1/2″ as instructed to create the shelf bra pattern piece. I would leave the extra length as in the bikini top pattern piece and fold my extra fabric over my elastic to cover it. The elastic shown in the picture in the instructions looks much softer than what I was using. (It looks like plush bra strapping, actually.) If you have softer elastic, it wouldn’t be such a big deal to have it exposed.

Straps were nice and easy to make. I loved having the striped fabric for my straps.

Women's Mairin Swimsuit by Sew a Little Seam

Once my top was finished, I tried it on, but found that, as I feared, 1/4″ elastic straps were not supportive enough for me. I quickly made myself a pair of 1/2″ straps and sewed them on as well, creating a fun strappy look on the shoulders and back.

Women's Mairin Swimsuit by Sew a Little Seam
Women's Mairin Swimsuit by Sew a Little Seam
I thought it best to add some extra reinforcement in the form of a satin stitch where I attached the straps in front.
Women's Mairin Swimsuit by Sew a Little Seam

Next I made the low rise, mid leg bikini bottoms.

Women's Mairin Swimsuit by Sew a Little Seam
Women's Mairin Swimsuit by Sew a Little Seam

They came together quickly, but when I tried everything on, I found that the front of the tankini was slightly shorter than the back on me and paired with the low rise bottoms, showed a bit of my stomach in a way I didn’t want it to.

Women's Mairin Swimsuit by Sew a Little Seam

I also found that the leg holes were somewhat loose in the back around the rear, although they provided excellent coverage and I liked the leg height I had chosen.

Women's Mairin Swimsuit by Sew a Little Seam
Women's Mairin Swimsuit by Sew a Little Seam

I liked the bottoms overall, but I wanted full stomach coverage from the suit as a whole, and I wanted to wear it to the beach the next day.

I’m not a good (or fast) panic sewer, but I was determined. The next morning, I quickly cut a set of high rise, mid leg bottoms. I asked my family not to talk to me for a little bit, and I set about to sew these up in an hour. I stretched the leg elastic tighter this time around. And I finished in time!!!

Women's Mairin Swimsuit by Sew a Little Seam
Women's Mairin Swimsuit by Sew a Little Seam
Women's Mairin Swimsuit by Sew a Little Seam
Women's Mairin Swimsuit by Sew a Little Seam

These bottoms were the perfect height with the top, although the leg holes were still a bit loose in back. But it didn’t matter in that moment! I threw on my new suit, and headed to the beach! And I felt awesome!

Women's Mairin Swimsuit by Sew a Little Seam

Final Thoughts

Pros: My takeaways from making this pattern are, in general, that it’s a cool pattern with a lot of possibilities. I’m excited to try more of the variations in the future. In fact, I think that if you paired this pattern with the Vero Beach Set from Hey June Handmade, you would have your perfect beachwear patterns for the summer.

Cons: Some things to change about this pattern are, first and foremost, the elastic. Quarter inch and 1/2″ elastic are just not substantial enough for great support. I would go up to 3/8″ and 3/4″ in the future. It would also be a good idea for me, personally, to lengthen the front of the tankini if I make it again and tighten the leg elastic further.

In an ideal world where I realize all of my sewing ideas, I would make a few mix and match tankinis and then make several bikini tops and rash guards that would coordinate with the bottoms I had already made. Then I would make several of the Vero Beach shorts from board short material as well as a top or two from the Vero Beach set, and I would be ready for any outdoor adventure where I might decide partway through that I needed to go for a swim. 🙂

Union St. Tee in Cotton + Steel Jersey Knit

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Union St. Tee in Cotton + Steel Jersey Knit

As summer goes by, I’m sewing less and going outside more, so after this post, things may slow down for a little bit.  You just can’t waste beautiful outside days when you live in a place with cold and snowy winters, you know?  Today’s project is just right for summer.  While I love breezy woven fabrics in the summer, I also wear a fair number of t-shirts.  My go-to winter t-shirt pattern is the free Plantain T-shirt from Deer and Doe, and while that one does have a short-sleeved view, what I really wanted for summer was a great relaxed v-neck with additional options.  The Union St. Tee from Hey June Handmade looked promising, and I absolutely love the Brunswick Pullover pattern that I tried from this company, so, having gotten the PDF as a Christmas present, I decided to try it out this summer.

Union St. Tee in Cotton + Steel Jersey Knit

The Union St. Tee pattern comes with four sleeve lengths and three necklines and can be made with or without a pocket.  It also includes a provision for full bust adjustments if that is a change you usually make.

Union St. Tee in Cotton + Steel Jersey Knit

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Union St. Tee in Cotton + Steel Jersey Knit

The recommended fabrics are things like “cotton/poly, triblend, rayon blends, bamboo, and modal.”  I have been trying to use what I have on-hand for the most part this spring/summer and I already had some cotton/spandex jersey from Cotton + Steel in my stash that I really wanted to try.  This is not a recommended fabric (it’s actually a fabric that the designer tells you not to use unless you are sizing down for a more fitted t-shirt), but I decided to go for it anyway.  This fabric is (I think) 95% cotton and 5% spandex and is soft and nicely substantial–maybe a midweight.  The design is called “Flotsam & Jetsam” from the Hello collection from Cotton + Steel in its first iteration (those designers have since founded Ruby Star Society with Moda Fabrics), and I got it from Pintuck & Purl during one of their sales.

Union St. Tee in Cotton + Steel Jersey Knit

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Union St. Tee in Cotton + Steel Jersey Knit

As for the sewing, the instructions and illustrations in the pattern were great.  They are very detailed, and include a link to a video tutorial for sewing a great v-neck.  While mine isn’t completely perfect, it’s really good considering my very limited experience in that area.  One question I have had when applying neckbands is whether to use a straight or a stretch (zigzag) stitch.  I used a straight stitch for this neckband and it turned out great.  I’m always afraid that a straight stitch won’t be stretchy enough and a zigzag stitch won’t look crisp enough, but I have had no problems with the straight stitch I used for this neckband.

Union St. Tee in Cotton + Steel Jersey Knit

When I first tried the finished shirt on, I could see why cotton/spandex isn’t recommended.  This is supposed to be a relaxed t-shirt and the slightly heavier weight and lower amount of drape does make it stand out from the body a bit.

Union St. Tee in Cotton + Steel Jersey Knit

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Union St. Tee in Cotton + Steel Jersey Knit

My first thought was that it looked like a maternity shirt.  My first impressions of my projects aren’t always positive, and I am learning that I need to wear them several times before really deciding how I feel.  I did that with this t-shirt, and now I love it.

Union St. Tee in Cotton + Steel Jersey Knit

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Union St. Tee in Cotton + Steel Jersey Knit

I’m so happy that I tried this pattern, and I’d love to make it again in one of the suggested fabrics.  I highly recommend it for the drafting and the very detailed instructions and illustrations.

Union St. Tee in Cotton + Steel Jersey Knit

 

A Little More Layering: Axis Tank in Cotton/Spandex

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A Little More Layering:  Axis Tank in Cotton/Spandex

Hi, friends!  I have one more layering post today.  I think this garment is going to come in handy this summer.

The garment I’m talking about is the Axis Tank by Sophie Hines.  This simple tank is fast to make and is interesting in that it doesn’t require any elastic–just a stretchy fabric like this cotton/spandex jersey.  My version has a center front seam because I didn’t have much of this fabric left, but this view of the pattern as drafted is actually one piece for the body and then your neck and arm edgings.  You sew a seam in the back, finish the neck and arms and all your seams, and you are done!

A Little More Layering:  Axis Tank in Cotton/Spandex

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A Little More Layering:  Axis Tank in Cotton/Spandex

I have often wished for (but never bothered to make) a short tank top that would cover my undergarment straps, but wouldn’t make me overheat by covering my midsection, and I think this will do just that.  It is described as a tank top bralette, but it’s not exactly supportive, so I think it works better as just a tank.  It is short–it hits about one inch under my bust.  I’m not the midriff-baring type, so I would wear this with another shirt over top to get that fun, layered look without the overheating.  There are, of course, other views, with a scoop neck and some cool color-blocking that I have yet to try.

A Little More Layering:  Axis Tank in Cotton/Spandex

I’m not much of a pattern hacker, but I think this little tank could have a lot of possibilities.  You could add elastic at the bottom to make a supportive-ish bralette or swimsuit top, extend the length into a full-length tank top, tankini top, or dress, or anything else you can think of.  It’s also a great way to use up scraps, and it works as a quick palette-cleanser after a more involved project.  I plan to try this out this summer and see how/if it integrates into my wardrobe.

More Details

  • Fabric:  “Starry” in the color Seashell from the Hello collection by Cotton + Steel, 95% cotton/5% spandex fabric, purchased at Pintuck & Purl
  • All sewn on a regular sewing machine–no serger required

A Little More Layering:  Axis Tank in Cotton/Spandex

  • Extra detail:  I made a cute little tag for the back out of some of the selvedge!

A Little More Layering:  Axis Tank in Cotton/Spandex

And that’s it!

Vogue 8932 Jacket in Black Ponte

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Vogue 8932 Jacket in Black Ponte

Another week, another sewing project.  🙂  This is the last garment I planned to make during the winter and, luckily, it makes a great transitional garment.  It’s Vogue 8932.  I have had this pattern for so long and was looking for just the right fabric for it.  The copyright on the back says 2013, which is around the time I got serious about sewing.  What brought it to my attention in the first place was Bianca’s very cool version from around the same date.  I’m pretty sure that it was her jacket that made me seek this pattern out at Joann’s.

Vogue 8932 Jacket in Ponte

I wasn’t quite sure how I wanted to make my version, so this pattern sat in my growing pattern library over the years waiting for its turn.  Finally, I decided that a black ponte would be a great first fabric to give this a try.  The one I ordered was a rayon/nylon/spandex from Fabric Mart, and is very nice.  I rarely sew with black, although I do like it–I just prefer the brighter colors.  This time, though, I ordered enough black ponte for a few garments and got to work on this one, choosing to make View B.

Vogue 8932 Jacket in Ponte

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Vogue 8932 Jacket in Ponte

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Vogue 8932 Jacket in Ponte

This particular pattern says “Easy” on the back.  I don’t think that’s very accurate.  They may have given it that designation because there’s no real tailoring or a lining or any of that, and the fabrics they call for have stretch, which helps a lot with fitting.  However, matching up the various corners and seams is not exactly “easy”, so I would put this at a more intermediate level.

Vogue 8932 Jacket in Black Ponte

The style lines are very cool and the construction is interesting, although I found it hard to get the corners on the back right.  Mine have little holes that I just sort of sewed over and added Fray Check to.  I think they’ll be alright, but I wish it were better.

I had the (in my mind) brilliant idea of using Eloflex thread in my needle and woolly nylon in my bobbin because I wanted to use a straight stitch that still had some give.  Eloflex is a thread made by Coats & Clark that is slightly stretchy.  Woolly Nylon is a fluffy thread that also has some give and is often used for sewing bathing suits, etc.  I have been using woolly nylon in my bobbin a lot when sewing knits in general.  So, my grand plans were a pretty big failure.  I tried needle type after needle type and my thread just kept breaking.  It seemed the Eloflex and this ponte were a bad match.  Finally, I swapped out the Eloflex for Gütermann All-Purpose polyester thread, and it worked great with a Universal 80/12 needle.  I also found that fine silk pins worked better with this fabric than the pins I normally use, which are actually quilting pins.  So, with all that thread breakage, the sewing is a bit rough, but I wasn’t about to unpick black on black unless absolutely necessary.

Vogue 8932 Jacket in Ponte

Toward the end, I added these fun flower-shaped snaps, adjusting their position as necessary.

Vogue 8932 Jacket in Ponte

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Vogue 8932 Jacket in Ponte

Hopefully they will work as closures.  So far, so good, anyway.  I also discovered something quite interesting:  my waist is about 1″ higher than the marked waistline on this pattern, but the bottom of the jacket seems to hit in just the right spot.  So what does that mean?  Should I be raising the waist of my patterns while keeping the overall length the same?  So far I haven’t noticed the waist area being too much of a problem, but I’m going to pay attention to this with other patterns and give it some thought.

Vogue 8932 Jacket in Ponte

Outside front (this view has exposed seams).

Vogue 8932 Jacket in Ponte

Outside back

Vogue 8932 Jacket in Ponte

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Vogue 8932 Jacket in Ponte

The different bias tape colors on the inside were a result of working with what I had on hand.

Vogue 8932 Jacket in Ponte

The little patches at the corners on the inside of the jacket are bits of knit interfacing, something the pattern instructs you to use in those areas.

Vogue 8932 Jacket in Ponte

I like the fit of this jacket overall.  It’s fitted, but not tight.  I would love to tell you that I have worn it a ton and it’s a wardrobe staple, but it has still been a little bit cold here and I’ve sort of been living my best loungewear life lately.  I can probably count on one hand the number of times I have worn jeans in recent weeks, so we’ll have to see if this ends up being as good as I hope it will.

And now I’m ready for spring sewing!

I Finally Made It: A Newcastle Cardigan for Me

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I Finally Made It:  A Newcastle Cardigan for Me

Do you have some of those patterns that you love, but they hang out in your pattern collection for one reason or another?  I have several of these that linger because I’m waiting for just the right fabric.  The Newcastle Cardigan by Thread Theory Designs is one of those for me.  I bought it at Pintuck & Purl several years ago, because despite the fact that this is a men’s pattern, I could envision a comfy, slouchy women’s version for me.  I like the cozy cardigan look with the rolled collar, and I’m always a fan of a shoulder/back yoke where I can use a contrast fabric or add in some nice topstitching.  I just needed the right fabric and some modifications…

I Finally Made It:  A Newcastle Cardigan for Me

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I Finally Made It:  A Newcastle Cardigan for Me

I finally found the fabric I was looking for on the Mill Yardage website:  a Polartec Classic 200 Sweater Look Strie fabric that was warm, moderately thick, and had more body than drape.  I could use leftover fabric from my Burda 6471 joggers for the yoke and any other accent areas.

I Finally Made It:  A Newcastle Cardigan for Me

Other Materials and Stitching

After a lot of deliberation, I decided to skip most of the interfacing and only include sew-in interfacing in the button placket areas.  Although I found some ideas on how you could adhere iron-on interfacing to fleece, I didn’t want to risk it, and the fabric was thick enough that it didn’t need much support anyway.  I decided to use some anorak snaps a friend had given me rather than buttons.  For more give in my seams, I used stretchy Eloflex thread as my top thread, and woolly nylon in my bobbin.

Because I modified this pattern to be loose rather than slim-fitting and because of the thread I had chosen, I was able to use a straight stitch (rather than a zigzag, which would have more stretch).  I used a slightly longer length (3.0), a 90/14 stretch needle, a walking foot, my normal tension, and my lightest presser foot pressure.

Pattern Modifications

There were a lot of pattern modifications that I made to get this just how I wanted it!  My measurements put me at a medium chest size.  This pattern says it is slim-fitting, but since I wanted a looser fit, I traced a large.  However, after measuring and tissue fitting, I realized I needed more arm and hip width, so I decided to trace an extra large.  I was really worried about the width, due to the positive ease I was after and the fact that this 100% polyester fabric only has a little bit of mechanical stretch, so I used the side seams of Simplicity 4109 (which I used to make my railroad denim jacket) as a guide.

I Finally Made It:  A Newcastle Cardigan for Me

After this, I planned to add a little sleeve width.  In fact, after measuring my arm and the pattern and consulting The Perfect Fit, I decided I needed a full upper arm adjustment, and I added 1.5 inches to the arm pattern piece, giving me a wider circumference.

I had considered shortening the arms by as much as six inches (the pattern explains that they are drafted quite long), but after sewing the back to the front of the cardigan and holding up my shortened arm pattern piece, I didn’t like it, so I let it out to the original length.  Long and cozy sleeves seemed preferable to too-short sleeves in a garment that was supposed to be warm and snuggly.

I Finally Made It:  A Newcastle Cardigan for Me

I wanted elbow patches, too, so I added the ones from the Plaintain Tee, a free pattern from Deer & Doe.

I made version one of this pattern, and was originally going to use the larger collar from version two, but it almost completely covered the yoke, so I recut it and used the smaller collar that went with version one originally.

I Finally Made It:  A Newcastle Cardigan for Me

I wanted a bottom band on this cardigan, so I made one!  It’s a rectangle and, just before I finished installing it, I added a little gusset at the bottom of the side seams and some extra little rectangles to my bottom band for just a little more hip width.

I Finally Made It:  A Newcastle Cardigan for Me

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I Finally Made It:  A Newcastle Cardigan for Me

I added in extra topstitching anywhere I wanted to flatten the fabric or add detail or definition.  This was usually a good idea, but where it did not work, was the edge of the collar.  It exacerbated the collar’s tendency to flip up.  I took that topstitching out but kept what I did in other areas. (You can see the collar after I tried topstitching it below.  See how obvious the flip-up is?)

I Finally Made It:  A Newcastle Cardigan for Me

Like I mentioned before, I opted to install anorak snaps instead of making buttonholes and using buttons.  My friend had given me some that had been in her mom’s stash and I used every single one I had left.  Unfortunately, I didn’t hammer two of the top pieces in quite right and they don’t grip the bottom parts of the snap strongly.  It’s a not a big deal for one of them, but the other gapes, so I have to go on a little search to see if these are still available or if they are now considered vintage.

I Finally Made It:  A Newcastle Cardigan for Me

Most nerve-wracking of all, I decided near the end of making this to add self-welt or stand pockets using the instructions in my Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing.  Yes, this was a little bit crazy, because I really liked the cardigan without them.  I just knew I would like it much more with pockets.

I tested out my idea with scraps to see if it would be too bulky and if I liked using the green for my pocket, and it turned out pretty well.

I Finally Made It:  A Newcastle Cardigan for Me

So, I went for it!  I just took it step by step, deciding at the outset that they didn’t have to be perfect to be good.  And it worked!  They aren’t perfect, but they are good, and I was even able to tack the pockets to the facings, which helped to keep the facings from flipping out.

I Finally Made It:  A Newcastle Cardigan for Me

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I Finally Made It:  A Newcastle Cardigan for Me

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I Finally Made It:  A Newcastle Cardigan for Me

I even added a Thread Theory label, which came with the pattern, and one from Kylie and the Machine, that I purchased at Pintuck & Purl.

I Finally Made It:  A Newcastle Cardigan for Me

Final Thoughts

I love this cardigan.  While I can’t say this about every one of my projects, I really feel like I got the fit I wanted on this garment, and I love it in this fabric.  It’s so warm and nice.  If I did it over again in an equally thick fabric, I would consider skipping the facings.  Except for the benefit of tacking them to the pockets, they are kind of annoying.  It would be different in another fabric, I’m sure.  The length of time this took and the adjusting while sewing were frustrating for me, but I’m glad I persevered and finished before spring.  When I wore this to work, one of my coworkers said she thought the cardigan was from L.L. Bean, which was so nice of her!  I often look at their clothes for inspiration.  So, it was a struggle, but I’m happy, and I love the finished product.  And I’m also happy it’s done.  On to the next thing!

I Finally Made It:  A Newcastle Cardigan for Me

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I Finally Made It:  A Newcastle Cardigan for Me

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I Finally Made It:  A Newcastle Cardigan for Me

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I Finally Made It:  A Newcastle Cardigan for Me

New Look 6560 in Neon Pink Stretch Velvet

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New Look 6560 in Neon Pink Stretch Velvet

When I was looking for inspiration for a Christmas party outfit a few months ago, I ran across a neon pink velvet camisole on the J.Crew website.  The fabric was so beautiful!  I really wanted some fabric with that level of color.  It was amazing!  I ended up making a top in chartreuse silk for the party, but I couldn’t get that fabric out of my mind.  I finally found some neon pink stretch velvet on Amazon and put it on my personal wish list, not knowing quite what I would make from it.  I was torn between two patterns, so I put a note with the yardage I would need for each pattern, saying that I would love either amount.  One of my friends got me some for my birthday, and that decided it–the amount she got me was perfect for another version of New Look 6560, View A, the same pattern I used to make my silk party shirt.

New Look 6560 in Neon Pink Stretch Velvet

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New Look 6560 in Neon Pink Stretch Velvet

This pattern is meant for wovens, but I wanted to try it in this knit because I thought it would make a really fun shirt.  There were a few ups and downs, but in the end, I arrived at a top that I’m happy with.  And I was right about the fabric–it really is fun.

New Look 6560 in Neon Pink Stretch Velvet

The fabric I used is 90% polyester, 10% spandex, and was surprisingly easy to sew.  Thankfully, I remembered to cut it with the nap running down.  Sometimes I just completely forget to pay attention to things like nap or pattern matching!  I used a regular zigzag stitch with a width of 2.5 and a length of 1.0, my lightest presser foot pressure, normal tension, and a 75/11 stretch needle.  I skipped interfacing the facings.  I used all-purpose Dual Duty Coats & Clark 100% polyester thread in the needle and woolly/bulky nylon in my bobbin.  I’ve been using woolly nylon a lot in my bobbin on knits, something I do when sewing bathing suits, and it has worked out really well, giving my seams a little extra stretch.

New Look 6560 in Neon Pink Stretch Velvet

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New Look 6560 in Neon Pink Stretch Velvet

I put everything together, but didn’t bother to finish many seams because they won’t fray.  I love that about knits.  It saves so much time!  I sewed for most (ok, pretty much all) of the afternoon one Saturday and got the shirt done before bed time!  Then I tried it on…and it looked like crap.  Granted, I was trying it on over another shirt I was wearing, but it didn’t seem like a win.

I spent some time thinking about what I could do.  I had completely forgotten to stabilize the shoulders, so I went back and did that by sewing clear elastic to the seam allowances and then stitching the seam allowances down with some topstitching.  The facings kept flipping out, so I tacked those down (and then went back and tacked down the facings on my chartreuse version as well).  Now what?

The back, the belt, and the sleeves seemed good.  The front was the problem.  I thought about putting in a center front seam and making it a nice-looking v-neck.  I realized after posting that idea to Instagram that people thought I was going to leave the excess fabric in front, which was an idea I actually hadn’t considered, although it did look interesting.

New Look 6560 in Neon Pink Stretch Velvet

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New Look 6560 in Neon Pink Stretch Velvet

I also posted a picture of it as the original wrap, and it looked better than I remembered (first picture after the pattern pictures).  Maybe I shouldn’t have evaluated it while wearing it over top of another shirt like I did right after finishing it.  😉  So, I decided I would keep it as the original wrap after all, and I wore it to church, but kept feeling like I had to arrange and rearrange the front (luckily I was wearing a camisole under it).  What if I just sewed the wrap shut?  It’s stretchy enough that I can pull it on over my head, so I don’t need it to actually wrap.  It seemed worth a try, so I sewed the top layer shut and tacked the bottom layer down.

New Look 6560 in Neon Pink Stretch Velvet

I tied it shut inside, leaving everything intact in case I wanted to undo the stitching.  I wore the shirt to work this week, and it was so much easier and more pleasant to wear when I didn’t have to constantly rearrange the front!  I think this is the way to go.  It’s definitely not my best or most beautiful sewing–there are still some wonky parts, but I’m happy with it, and I have found that the sleeves are nicer in this knit than the silk, since they stay at my wrist bones, due to the heavier weight of the knit.  On the silk, they work their way up above my wrist bones throughout the day, which I don’t love.

New Look 6560 in Neon Pink Stretch Velvet

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New Look 6560 in Neon Pink Stretch Velvet

I wanted this shirt to be one that I reached for because it felt good to wear, not one that was just fun because the fabric was interesting.  Now that I don’t have to constantly fix it while I’m wearing it, I think that my goal has been achieved.  Hooray!