Tag Archives: Papercut Patterns

Cropped Coppelia Cardi for Summer

Standard
Cropped Coppelia Cardi for Summer

It’s almost officially summer (the Summer Solstice is June 21st in the Northern Hemisphere this year), and it’s FINALLY starting to get warm here!  I am so ready to think about summer sewing!

Cropped Coppelia Cardi for Summer

I completely got sucked into that change-of-season-restlessness/spring fever feeling going around, which is bad for your wallet, sewing, and general contentedness and I wanted to SEW ALL THE THINGS!  The fact that this feeling coincided with the end of my Make 9 was rough, because it left me very unfocused and mentally breathless.  Luckily, however, I found this project which actually fills a gap in my wardrobe for a cropped light layer that works with dresses and other garments with a natural waistline.  It was also a great project after the surprising complexity of the shirt from my last post because I’ve made this before, so it fits and I know it goes quickly.  Unfortunately, my having made it before didn’t stop me from making a small blunder, as you’ll see.

Cropped Coppelia Cardi for Summer

Today’s project is the cropped Coppelia Cardi by Papercut Patterns.

Cropped Coppelia Cardi for Summer

l

Cropped Coppelia Cardi for Summer

This is a wrap top with raglan sleeves.  It has a neckband, cuffs, and long ties that also function as a waistband.  It’s close-fitting, but comfortable in a fabric with the right amount of stretch.

Cropped Coppelia Cardi for Summer

Before sewing this, I relied on a few ready-to-wear options that I had when I needed this kind of garment, but they weren’t ideal (one is a wintry knit and the other is very casual).  So this year, when a midweight, four-way stretch rayon/Lycra knit went on sale at Cali Fabrics, I jumped on board and got some in order to make this a reality.

Cropped Coppelia Cardi for Summer

This is the second time I’ve made this cropped, wrap cardi (The first, as well as the long faux wrap version can be found here.).  This time around I did most things the same way.  I do a few recommendations, however.  I sewed around the hole that the tie goes through with a closely spaced zigzag, like you would with a buttonhole.  A straight stitch looks much better, but I wanted it to stretch.  Test your stitch on some scrap fabric first, though, because I had some distortion of the fabric the first time I tested it.  I also recommend trimming the bottom edges of your neckband after beginning to attach the waistband/tie so that you trim it at the correct angle (yes, I’ve now trimmed it wrong twice).  Finally, when the directions tell you to stretch your neckband as you stitch it, you really need to do that, maybe even slightly more than you think.  I didn’t and you can see that my neckband stands away from my body a bit in a way it shouldn’t.  I was afraid to stretch too much, so instead I went to the other extreme and stretched too little.  Hopefully I’ve learned my lesson.

Cropped Coppelia Cardi for Summer

Neckband issues aside, I’m really happy to have this in my closet.  It will be a good, yet inexpensive way to see if this is a style that I will feel good in with some of my natural-waisted garments.

Cropped Coppelia Cardi for Summer

Other sewn outfit details:

Skirt:  Megan Nielsen Brumby Skirt; blogged here

Camisole:  Shortened slip from McCall’s 6696; unblogged

Cropped Coppelia Cardi for Summer

Recommendations

  • Have you seen the jeans Jenny of the SoleCrafts blog made?  Jeans are impressive enough on their own, but she made her own pattern!  People who make their own patterns continually amaze me.  I love reading Jenny’s blog because, even though we have different styles, she is completely fearless in her projects and figures out things I would use a pattern for or didn’t even know you could make at home (like shoes!).  Amazing.
  • Speaking of making shoes, Carolyn of Handmade by Carolyn makes ALL her clothes, shoes included!  You can watch a video of her talking about the shoes she has made here.
  • I definitely prefer paper sewing patterns over PDF patterns, and one more thing that has always been a strike against PDFs for me is that you either have to print a bunch of pages at home, or pay close to the price of the pattern to have the large sheets printed at a copy shop.  Jenny of Cashmerette talks on her blog about how to print those large pages cheaply, and she goes over resources to do this for numerous countries.  What a great idea.  Even with my love for paper patterns, I certainly have several PDFs.  The more money we save on printing, the more we have for fabric!  😉

 

Coppelia Cardi by Papercut Patterns

Standard
Coppelia Cardi by Papercut Patterns

Hi, sewing friends.  This week I have two versions of the same pattern to share with you.  A little while ago I made the Coppelia Cardi by Papercut Patterns, first the long faux wrap view, and then the cropped wrap view.

Coppelia Cardi by Papercut Patterns

l

Coppelia Cardi by Papercut Patterns

These weren’t hard to make, and were very quick projects, even though I chose to double sew each seam, first using a straight stitch and then going over the seam again with a three-step zig-zag.  This wasn’t indicated in the directions, but I made these right after making the Toaster Sweater, which does call for this technique, and I thought it was smart, so I used it in these sweaters as well.

For the long faux wrap, I chose a poly/cotton French terry from Jo-Ann Fabrics.

Coppelia Cardi by Papercut Patterns

Time will tell if it resists pilling and holds up well, but I loved the color and feel, so it seemed like a good fabric for a first try on this pattern.  Fun fact:  when I was little, this color, a.k.a. “sea green” was my favorite for a long time.  Pastels were big…what can I say?  😉

Coppelia Cardi from Papercut Patterns

I really like how this turned out.

Coppelia Cardi from Papercut Patterns

It’s comfortable and for a style I have rarely worn (wrap-front), I really like it.

Coppelia Cardi from Papercut Patterns

It’s especially nice to wear to the gym since the style is just a little nicer than my normal slouchy sweatshirts.  😉

Coppelia Cardi from Papercut Patterns

For my second version, the cropped view, I chose a rayon knit from Pintuck & Purl, which is also where I bought my pattern.

Coppelia Cardi by Papercut Patterns

I’d never worked with rayon knits before, I don’t think, and this one had the added interest of being gray on the wrong side and a dark plum color on the right side.  It has a great hand and drape.  I was worried that it would be hard to work with, but it wasn’t.

I’m not entirely sure it was the perfect match for this particular pattern, because while it feels lovely on, the neck band tends to relax and flop open rather than staying put.  (You can see that in the two pictures below.)  Maybe a knit with a little spandex/elastane would have been better?

Coppelia Cardi by Papercut Patterns

l

Coppelia Cardi by Papercut Patterns

Either way, this cropped version is great to wear with high-waisted bottoms or with a longer shirt underneath.  You can tie it in the back or wrap it around and knot it in the front.

Coppelia Cardi by Papercut Patterns

Tied in back (above and below).

Coppelia Cardi by Papercut Patterns

l

Coppelia Cardi by Papercut Patterns

Tied in front (above and below).

Coppelia Cardi by Papercut Patterns

I’m sort of curious to see how much wear these will get.  I really like them, I like the fabric, but like I said, they are a little different than what I normally wear in a sweater.  My hope in buying this pattern was that I could use it to replace an old, but much-loved sweater from Old Navy.  That one is a little big and not the best quality, so I wanted to be prepared for when it finally died.  The way this pattern wraps around the body is definitely nicer than my store-bought sweater.

As for some of the little details, I used a regular polyester Güttermann thread in my needle and a wooly/bulky nylon in my bobbin as well as a jersey needle and a walking foot.  All of these are choices I would recommend and use again myself.

I’m really glad I tried this.  Papercut Patterns has some great designs.  If you are on the fence about this one, I would encourage you to give it a try.  Also…this is one more pattern from my 2017 Make Nine challenge I can mark off the list!

Recommendations

  • Have you seen the new Sewing Translator app from Liesl + Co.?  It will translate sewing terms from one language to another.  I haven’t played around with it too much yet, but it looks pretty cool.  It’s free and works on iOS 8.0 or later.  Do you think it counts as learning another language if I just practice the sewing terms?  It’s a start, right?  😉
  • I always see the most amazing things on the @mashable feed on Instagram.  It showcases all kinds of new inventions from sleeping bag coats for the homeless to new wheelchairs to photorealistic latte art.
  • I’m kind of intrigued by Daughters of Style patterns.  They might be just a little too fashion forward for me, but I don’t know…  That Amy Shirt dress has me coming back and looking at it again and again.
  • Rather than posting a video, I’ll just tell you that we have lots of fun over here watching Mental Floss videos.  It’s a cool way to learn lots of interesting facts.  John Green is a great host.

There’s Winning, and There’s…Learning

Standard

My husband has a friend whose son is in a chess club.  In the club, they tell the students that “there’s winning, and there’s learning”.  Losing somehow got left off the list.  When we heard that, we laughed, chalking it up to some sort of self-esteem gimmick intended to keep kids from ever feeling bad about themselves.  But then, as sometimes happens, I started to think about the concept.  So now I get to laugh at myself for being so cocky because, in certain areas of life, that principle holds true.  In fact, in sewing as in chess, the only real losing happens if you fail and learn nothing from it.

So, today, I have a few sewing failures learning experiences to share with you.  These are garments I completed awhile ago, but in wearing them I discovered that they weren’t really right somehow.

#1:  The cross-back shirt (McCall’s 6751)

 

 

McCall's M6751 by Pattern and Branch

McCall's M6751 by Pattern and BranchThis summer and last made me see that I really wasn’t wearing this shirt.  I like the concept of it, and I love the fabric and the binding I (finally) managed to get attached, but when I wear this, I’m always worried that it will blow open in the back.  I also can’t wear standard undergarments with it without worrying about my straps showing (something I’m not a fan of, despite current trends).  The shirt never lays right (which I think is due more to my fiddling with the seam allowances and binding than with the drafting of the pattern).  So, I declare this a fail learning experience.

What I learned:  It’s better to spend my time making a bunch of shirts I can wear with standard undergarments rather than making ones that will cause me to worry if anything I don’t want to show is showing.  Maybe five normal shirts equal one that calls for strapless support.  I also began learning to use my binding attachment on my Featherweight, something I had never tried before.

 

#2:  The overly long infinity scarf

Infinity Scarf by Pattern and BranchI thought I was so smart when I made this.  Rather than following the pattern lengths given in the tutorial, I used as much fabric as I had because I loved it so much and didn’t want any to go to waste.  And then I never wore it.  Because it was too long/big (actually, this picture brings the word “goiter” to mind).  Now the former scarf is on my sewing table, recut into a woven tank top.  Hopefully that will work out better.

What I learned:  Sometimes it pays to follow the directions, even if it means a little bit of “waste”.  Because, really, couldn’t I have used the leftovers for something else and then had a useable scarf?  Also, even though I could have reworked the scarf to a shorter length, sometimes you are just done with a project and need to move on.  And that’s ok.

 

#3:  The Soma Swimsuit Hack

Well, some of you knew this was coming!  My latest attempt at a swimsuit gets an A for looks, but is a fail for wearability.

Soma Swimsuit Hack by Pattern and Branch

I wore this suit once while in Michigan and, in addition to the issues I detail in the (very detailed) post about this suit, one of the underwires started to come out.  That was when I decided: I’M DONE!  Then I promptly bought a too-big tankini top from a thrift store and started fiddling with that, trying to get it to fit.  Sometimes, it can be hard to know when you need to walk away.

What I learned:  Know when to walk away!  I’ve put myself on bathing suit probation for a few months.  I’m still determined to get “mad bathing suit sewing skillz”, but I need to take a break before diving in again.  Also, there may be something to be learned in the realm of not trying to make a pattern do something it wasn’t intended to do…but you can’t always know until you try.

Maybe that’s the larger lesson to be learned from each of these projects:  TRY.  If there’s no “losing”, if you can learn from it, it’s probably worth it to try.  Of course I’m not talking about “trying” stuff with massively expensive fabrics on someone’s wedding dress or something.  The stakes were never even close to that high with any of these projects.  But I’m glad I did them, even if they aren’t going to become part of my wardrobe, because now I’m a better seamstress/sewist than I was before.

 

Summer=Swimsuits: Soma Bathing Suit Hack

Standard

I’m back today with my long-awaited/long-procrastinated-on Soma swimsuit hack.  During the winter, I tried all the Soma swimsuit variations (here, here, and here).  Then, I set out to make my ultimate version!  Here were my goals:

  1. Turn Bikini Variation 2 into a tankini, inspired by this suit.
  2. Add support in the form of underwires, with help from Gertie’s blog.
  3. Add polylaminate foam for coverage and modesty, as seen on sallieoh’s blog.

Let’s check out the suit:

Summer=Swimsuits:  Soma Bathing Suit HackThe top.

Summer=Swimsuits:  Soma Bathing Suit HackHigh rise bottoms.

Summer=Swimsuits:  Soma Bathing Suit HackLow rise bottoms.

Let’s talk about the bottoms, because there isn’t much to say there.  I followed the directions and made the low rise bottoms in a medium and the high rise bottoms in a small.  I used black fabric for the outside with a black lining.  I used white elastic because I wanted to order a large quantity, and I figured that would be most versatile.  I like them, but I think the next time I make bottoms, I’ll go for something with more coverage rather than this style, which is slightly cheeky.  I think the pattern for these is good–that’s just my personal preference.

Now for the top.  Here’s a small fraction of my planning:

Summer=Swimsuits:  Soma Bathing Suit Hack This is when math class (at least arithmetic) meets the real world!  I figured and refigured until I thought I had it right, and then I made pattern pieces for the front and the back trusting in the spandex to stretch right over any mistakes I might have made.

Summer=Swimsuits:  Soma Bathing Suit HackFrom left to right:  back, front middle, front sides.

So, this next part is going to get long.  Feel free to skip to the end if you aren’t interested in the sewing details, but because it’s helpful to me when others post what they did, I’m going to give you my step-by-step process (because I’m also hoping someone out there can troubleshoot my mistakes!).  This will make most sense if you have a copy of the directions in hand while reading this.  Here we go!

This was my process for the top:

  1. Starting with the bikini top part, stitch together outer fabric only as in Step 1 of the directions.
  2. Stitch together lining only as for outer fabric in Step 1.  In retrospect, I should have followed the lining instructions.
  3. Trim seam allowances back and clip curves on outer and lining pieces.
  4. Encase underwires in channeling or 1/4″ double fold bias tape (I used this since I hadn’t ordered channeling.).  Don’t stitch ends closed, at least on one side.  Leave extra bias tape at ends.
  5. Pin to inside of lining, matching bottoms to underbust seam and shorter sides to triangle seam.
  6. Hold underwires slightly open (as per Gertie) and mark with chalk or whatever.
  7. Remove underwires and sew on both sides of channeling/tape with a straight stitch.
  8. Reinsert underwires and sew ends closed.
  9. Pin polylaminate foam in place with lots of pins!
  10. Use long zigzag stitch (for me this was a zigzag with a width of 4 and a length of 2.5) to sew around the outer perimeter of the front.
  11. Use square zigzag (this had a width of 4 or 5 and a length of 1.5) to sew over seam between lower cup and underbust piece, being careful not to sew the underwires.  Sew from central triangle toward outside seam.
  12. Use square zigzag to sew on either side of center bust seam from middle triangle to outer edge.  I tried and tried to do this, but my machine kept skipping stitches and I never managed to get it right.  I had to rip the stitches out in the end.
  13. Follow steps 7 and 8 for Bikini Variation 2 in the instructions with a square zigzag (I used a width of 5).
  14. Stitch together the bottom of the back piece so it can be used as one piece.
  15. Assemble front outer fabric and then lining fabric for tankini/stomach section.  I forgot that I wanted to sew each outer piece to each lining piece and then assemble the front so it wouldn’t balloon in the water, but I don’t think it mattered in the end.  I ended up with pieced outer fabric and pieced lining fabric for the front that was not attached together.  If I wasn’t going to sew them together, though, I could have just cut two of the back pattern piece in lining fabric and saved myself some time and made the inside of the suit look a little nicer.  Oh, well.
  16. Sew front sections together wrong sides together around the edges.
  17. Layer fabric for tankini section in this order:  outer back fabric right side facing up, constructed front right side facing down, back lining piece wrong side facing up.  Pin together at sides and sew with long zigzag stitch.
  18. Flip fabric around so everything is right way out.  All side and front piecing seams should be enclosed.
  19. Use a long zigzag to sew across the front excess length (there was about 1 inch extra length on the front) in preparation for trimming it even.
  20. Use long zigzag to sew top and bottom of stomach/back covering together so it seams like one tube/piece of fabric.
  21. Omit elastic sewn around the bottom of the bikini top in the directions.
  22. Attach stomach/back piece to bikini top piece with right sides together.
  23. Hem bottom with a half inch hem and square zigzag.
  24. Use directions on Papercut’s website to make straps (1 1/2 inch wide cross-cut strips of fabric and 3/8 inch elastic), but use square zigzag for all (width of 4, length of 1.5) rather than the long zigzag.  Also, double sew (sew twice) when sewing right sides of fabric together.
  25. Step 9 in the directions with lots of stitches!!!
  26. Step 10 in the directions with lots of stitches!!!
  27. Test in the shower or at the beach.

Here’s a look at the back and inside of the suit.

Summer=Swimsuits:  Soma Bathing Suit Hack

Summer=Swimsuits:  Soma Bathing Suit Hack

Summer=Swimsuits:  Soma Bathing Suit Hack

Summer=Swimsuits:  Soma Bathing Suit Hack

I tested the suit and the high rise bottoms out on Wednesday for a good couple of hours at a local pond and here are the successes and failures of the suit in its current state.

Successes:

  1. The general silhouette is great and very flattering.
  2. This works well as a tankini and my version offers good coverage in the stomach area, which I like.
  3. The style lines and color blocking are cool.  I’m happy with how that turned out.
  4. The top gives some support and separation in the chest area.
  5. I finished this crazy suit!

Failures (or at least “Elements I am Not Satisfied With”):

  1. The underwires do not lay flat against my chest.  Since I don’t have any experience making bras at this point, this is something I can’t troubleshoot.
  2. The polylaminate foam I put into the upper and lower cup areas does not offer full coverage.  I cut off the seam allowances and had to stretch the fabric to put them in, so that they seemed like they would offer full coverage, but when I put the suit on, the foam in the bottom cup sinks down and leaves the exact area where I wanted padding unpadded!  I tried to use a zigzag above and below the central seam joining the cups, but my machine, which sews well through all kinds of materials, skipped like crazy and just couldn’t handle sewing right on that foam.  I used a walking foot, wooly nylon in my bobbin and nice Gutermann thread up top, tried both a stretch and a jersey needle (new ones), and messed with the tension and feed-dog pressure.  What the heck?!!

If you look at this picture, you can probably see the holes from one of my topstitching attempts on the lower cup on the right side:

Summer=Swimsuits:  Soma Bathing Suit Hack

Here’s an inside shot, too, for those who might be curious for a close-up:

Summer=Swimsuits:  Soma Bathing Suit Hack

After trying numerous solutions to the foam problem, I knew that I just needed to finish this thing and move on with my life.  I’ve been mulling it over, working on it, and procrastinating on it for so many months now.

My conclusion is that it’s still a wearable suit.  It does offer some support, even if the support isn’t right.  After my trip to the pond, though, I realized that I could live with the underwire situation being imperfect, but I really want to fix that foam.  The foam from the upper cup is partially stabilized by being caught in the fold-over on the top edge but the bottom is not anchored down, just held between the outer and inner fabric.

Readers, what would YOU do about stabilizing the rest of the foam?  Can I use a straight stitch?  I had assumed it needed to be a stretch stitch, but maybe I’m wrong.  Can you troubleshoot this suit for me?  What would you have done differently with the underwires?  Is this pattern one that can even be made into the kind of suit I tried to make it into?

My hope in posting all these details is that someone, somewhere will be able to take my experiment to the next level and perfect it.  I’m also hoping some of you will know what I did wrong and tell me.  Even though I will probably not make this suit again, I want to know how I could have made it better.  When I set out to make this, I scoured the internet to find out if anyone had put in underwires, and couldn’t find that they had.  I’m hoping someone will find my post, and take this pattern/idea one step further.  You can do it!  (But if you do, leave me a link in the comments so I can go and check it out.)

For anyone who’s curious, I got my fabric from Girl Charlee and my elastic and polylaminate foam used for swim cups from Sew Sassy.  The underwires came from an old bra.

 

Soma Swimsuit Test: Bikini Top Variation Two

Standard

I am so excited to share Variation Two of the Soma Swimsuit with you today!  This is my last test garment for this pattern, and I think it’s definitely the coolest and most flattering, at least on me.  The fact that its structure is naturally somewhat supportive probably helps.

Enough talk, though.  Here it is:

Soma Swimsuit Test:  Bikini Top Variation Two

Soma Swimsuit Test:  Bikini Top Variation Two

Soma Swimsuit Test:  Bikini Top Variation Two

 

I really love how this came out.  It kind of makes me wish I had more of this fabric so I could use it to try making a tankini, but I’ve used it all up, and Girl Charlee, the site I ordered my fabric from, doesn’t have any more.  I will say, though, that while I love the combination of these two fabrics, the coral one, which is a midweight, is much easier to sew with than the lightweight chevron print.  Lesson learned.  I think my final products with the midweight fabric were much better and more professional looking than what I managed to make out of the lightweight, too.

So, details on the top:

I followed the directions, but used Lauren’s idea to prevent any, um, textural show-through in the front.  She used about four layers of lining and one layer of the outer fabric in the cups.  This was a bit tricky, but I persevered, and it came through alright in the end.  My machine was able to handle all the fabric layers, which was a huge relief.  I think the only other thing I did differently, was that I sewed a double line of stitches on the top and bottom elastic.  I hadn’t sewn down far enough and the elastic was flipping up a little bit at the chevron fabric.  Hopefully this will help.  Here’ s the suit before the final edging elastic went in:

Soma Swimsuit Test:  Bikini Top Variation Two

Soma Swimsuit Test:  Bikini Top Variation Two

So, here are my questions now:  If I were to make this into a tankini (kind of like this), could I add a little more support like an underwire or a shelf bra?  Would that even be a good idea?  I definitely don’t know what I’m doing in that area (it doesn’t help that I forgot to put the shelf bra into last year’s suit, either).  How much chance is there that I can force it to work?  I think I would make it one size bigger next time, so I want to make sure it still has good support.  I want everything held in place!

I’ve contemplated taking a break from this pattern and making one or two of the Jalie swimsuits, in the hopes that those patterns might show me my answer.  The Soma suit has a great stylistic edge, but Jalie has years of experience on its side.  I also think I might need to change gears completely for a short time.  My head is starting to swim with all these bathing suit questions (no pun intended), and I can hardly walk into a clothing store without snapping a picture of inspiring bathing suits.  I really, really, really want an awesome suit that I love by summer (and I want to be awesome at sewing bathing suits), but I may be on the edge of bathing suit burnout, so perhaps I’ll sew up a few t-shirts or a skirt as a break, and then get back to it.  Does anyone have any tips on adding support to women’s suits or do you have a favorite bathing suit pattern?

I will admit, learning how to sew these things is very empowering.  I think I might be getting a little arrogant (my pride is outflanking my skills).  I look at the price of bathing suits, and I think, “Yeah, right!!!  I can make that!  And it will cost less, be cooler, and be unique!”  Yeah, maybe I need to step back a few paces…

Still, check out my work as a whole:

Soma Swimsuit Test Suits

It feels good to have done all that, even with the imperfections.  And giving myself the opportunity to practice makes me feel like I can get the obligatory mistakes out of the way on the path to ultimate bathing suit domination.  Someday, even Anthropologie shoppers will wish they had my suits!  Wahahahaha!!!!

And on that note, I think I’m going to sign off and look for something different to sew.

Soma Swimsuit Test: One-Piece and Low-Rise Bottoms

Standard

Monday was sewing day, and I’m pleased to say I made real progress.  I finished the one piece and the low-rise bottoms test versions of the Soma Swimsuit pattern by Papercut Patterns.

Soma Swimsuit one-piece by Papercut Patterns

one-piece front

Soma Swimsuit one-piece by Papercut Patterns

one-piece back

 

Soma Swimsuit low-rise bottoms by Papercut Patterns

low-rise bottoms front

Soma Swimsuit low-rise bottoms by Papercut Patterns

low-rise bottoms back

Don’t you think the snow is an appropriate backdrop?

Here are my notes and thoughts for you.  I sized the bottoms down from the medium that fit my measurements to a small and the top of the one-piece from a small to an extra small after testing out the high-rise bottoms and the bikini top variation 1, which is a similar style to the one-piece.  I think that for the low-rise bottoms, I should go back up to a medium, although I like the high-rise bottoms in a small.  I also used a different elastic technique on the low-rise bottoms and I think it makes them look like…well, have you ever seen a swim diaper?  Kind of like that.  The good news is that they’re not going anywhere, but they give me some serious muffin-top, if you know what I mean.

The one piece is easy to put together even if you are different sizes on the top and the bottom.  Because the back doesn’t close, you just need to make sure you mark the midpoint of your top and bottom pieces and line those up.  (The pattern tells you to line up the markings on the top with the side seams of the bottom, but if you just mark the mid-points of top and bottom pieces, everything still works out.)  I definitely heard some popping stitches as I pulled the one-piece on, but thankfully they were basting stitches.  Everything felt pretty secure, but if you are someone who likes support up top, this is not the suit for you.  Sadly, I do like some support or else Speedo-like compression, so I think I will not make the one-piece in my final fabric.  I also wonder how the fold-over elastic is going to hold up over time.  Still, the suit is wearable, professional, and a vast improvement over last year’s attempt.  Also, I really like the mid-weight fabric in the one-piece as opposed to the light-weight fabric I used for the bottoms.

Here are a few close-ups in case you want to see details:

Testing the Soma Swimsuit by Papercut Patterns

waist detail, one-piece

Testing the Soma Swimsuit by Papercut Patterns

front strap details, one-piece

 

Testing the Soma Swimsuit by Papercut Patterns

waist detail, low-rise bottoms

 

I still have bikini top variation 2 to go, and I have high hopes for more support and coverage from that pattern.  If all goes well, I hope to turn it into a tankini in its final version.  I’ll keep you posted!

If you are looking for more details on pattern, fabric, notions, etc., see my last post here.

 

The State of Things

Standard

I feel like I’ve been sucked into the sewing vortex.  Without the chance to easily go outside for walks or have as much time to myself due to all the snow days, all I’ve been doing is sewing, thinking about sewing, reading about sewing, trying to avoid thinking about spring and summer, and looking at fabric websites to fuel my sewing.  I like it best when the blog reflects a wider range of things than just that, but sewing is mostly what’s going on.  Give me a month and I’ll probably be back to watching surfing documentaries to make it through the end of winter, but for now, I have to keep my head in the game and think winter, winter, winter.  That’s why I’m sewing bathing suits.  😉

Here’s a peek at what’s going on over here:

 

The State of Things at Pattern and Branch

The Soma Swimsuit Pattern by Papercut Patterns

I’ve decided that I WILL conquer swimsuits (hope I don’t have to eat my words).  Maybe you recall last year’s attempt.  This year, I plan to try again.  I got the Soma Swimsuit pattern from The Papercut Collective for Christmas, and I want to try all three suit options (two two-pieces and a one-piece).  Sorry to have to tell you up front that I won’t be modeling them for you.  This isn’t about body image issues.  It’s about the fact that I don’t want pictures of myself in undergarments or bathing suits on the internet.  Everyone has their threshold.  I will, however, take pictures of the suits (not on me) if and when I finish them.

I ordered some fabric from Girl Charlee  and elastic from The Fabric Fairy and, at the wise advice of my husband, decided to do some test garments with leftover materials while I waited for the new materials to arrive.  I’m glad I did because it’s giving me a chance to figure out my size and to freely make mistakes without ruining my “final” fabric.  I made a small top and medium bottoms, but while they fit, I think they will fit better if I go down a size, so that’s what I’m going to try next.  Their sizing is rather more generous than ready-to-wear sizes.

 

 

Testing the Soma Swimsuit

Test versions of the high-waist bottoms and Bikini Top version 1 (front)

Testing the Soma Swimsuit Pattern

High-waist bottoms and Bikini Top version 1 (back)

The salmon colored bottoms are mediums and the chevron bottoms are smalls.  Thankfully both have the same amount of coverage, but the smalls feel more secure.  I’m really not a bikini wearer, but there are times I just want to sit at the beach with a tank top on over my suit, and not have my stomach get all sweaty.  Plus, I’m wondering about making bikini top version 2 into a tankini.

The shower has become the testing ground.

Testing the Soma Swimsuit Pattern

While the top fits (you can adjust it a lot to get the perfect fit), I noticed that the bust darts were off-center, so I sized down for my tests of the one-piece and bikini top version 2.  I don’t wear an extra small in ANYTHING, so if you sew this, make sure you take your measurements with the knowledge that you may still have to size down.

Now I’m working on making a pair of low-rise bottoms, the one-piece, and bikini top version 2.

 

Testing the Soma Swimsuit

Testing the Soma Swimsuit

Testing the Soma Swimsuit

 

A word on supplies:  I ordered fabric and lining as well as swimsuit elastic and fold-over elastic.  I had leftover bra rings from a project I never made (I got them at Sew Sassy).  I had to buy a few bathing suit hooks at Joann Fabrics as well as some bulky/wooly nylon thread for my bobbin thread and 100% polyester thread (I chose Gutermann) for my top thread.  (I don’t have a serger, so these will be sewn on a conventional machine using a stretch needle and a walking foot.)  I did not order the bra strapping or swimsuit cups/foam for making cups.  I really wanted to, but the cost was starting to get prohibitive.  Here is the problem I ran into:  if I wanted the best prices, I had to order my supplies from about four different websites.  But then I would have to pay shipping at every one of those websites.  I searched the web for two days and finally found one site that had ever single supply I might want or need:  Fabric Depot.  The hardest part, though, is that their shipping costs are pretty high, so having limited funds, I decided it was time to follow Tim Gunn’s perennial advice and “make it work”.  I don’t want to spend all my hoarded Christmas money on a single sewing project.

In case you are thinking about making this suit yourself, here are some helpful blog posts around the web.

  • For lots of fun information on the suit, check out the tutorials posted on Papercut’s site.  They include making your own straps (I did this.), making bikini top version 1 reversible, sewing the high-waisted bottoms, making bikini top version 2, creating your own bindings, and finding supplies in various countries.
  • Inna (The Wall Inna) posted her one-piece version of the suit.  She made her own covered straps.
  • Lauren of Lladybird posted her awesome take on the bikini versions (see version 1 and version 2).  She also solves the problem of, um, modesty issues if you don’t have bra cups or swimsuit foam to insert into your suit in her take on version 2.  I’m going to give this a try myself on version 2.  My version 1 certainly would have been better with a little more…well, some cups.
  • Sallie (of sallieoh) rocks version 2 and introduces a strap variation.  She also tries out using swimsuit foam for coverage in her version.
  • Find the tankini take on bikini variation 2 that I mentioned above over at Unlikely Nest.  She also tries her own strap variation.
  • And on oh, she dabbles, C makes pretty cool versions of the one-piece and bikini variation 1 with high-waisted bottoms.
  • Finally, not Soma related, but very helpful anyway, I used this post for inserting elastic last year.  I used Papercuts instructions for the two bottoms I’ve already finished, but I’m going to try these techniques out on the low-rise bottoms.  That post is part of a larger series on the blog Kadiddlehopper that was really informative as I made my first forays into the world of sewing bathing suits last year.