Tag Archives: summer

A McCall’s 8066 Summer Skirt in Black Double Gauze

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A McCall’s 8066 Summer Skirt in Black Double Gauze

Welcome back for another summer clothing post! During fall! Yep, I’m behind on posting, and if I don’t post everything, there’s a real chance I will forget what I made. Crazy, I know, but the struggle is real. 🙂

So here’s a quick project that could work in many seasons depending on the fabric you choose. McCall’s 8066 (aka “Posie”) is a simple skirt, with several variations, with and without tiers.

A McCall's 8066 Summer Skirt in Black Double Gauze
McCall’s 8066
A McCall's 8066 Summer Skirt in Black Double Gauze
McCall’s 8066

I made View B. Like the other views, it has a flat front and an elastic back. There are no pockets, but I added some in the side seams.

A McCall's 8066 Summer Skirt in Black Double Gauze

My skirt is made of black cotton double gauze from Joann Fabrics. They had this double gauze in several nice colors as well as a few stripes this summer, and I bought it in more than one shade. It washes up really nice and soft. I love it! Joann’s website calls it bubble gauze, although it’s different than bubble gauze I’ve bought elsewhere. This is a double layer of gauze, whereas the bubble gauze I bought before was a single layer. I don’t have enough experience with bubble gauze to tell you which is the norm.

A McCall's 8066 Summer Skirt in Black Double Gauze
McCall’s 8066, View B, front
A McCall's 8066 Summer Skirt in Black Double Gauze
McCall’s 8066, View B, back

This skirt should be a quick sew, but I got a little paranoid when my measurements for hip and waist put me in two different sizes. I measured an XL at the waist and an XXL at the hip. With the style of this pattern, I would have been fine making the XL, but instead, I cut an XXL for waist and hip because I was worried that the XL wouldn’t fit over my hips to take the skirt on and off. Well, as you can probably imagine, the skirt was too large on me. So, I spent some time taking it partially apart at the side seams and taking in the front and back waistband, always making sure the back waistband would stretch enough to go over my hips. I cut it down as much as I dared, but it still looks a bit bulky to me. Oh, well! I’m only willing to mess with a project so much before I want to move on.

A McCall's 8066 Summer Skirt in Black Double Gauze

I borrowed a pocket pattern piece from another pattern and added inseam pockets. Because of my alterations, they are back a bit far on my hips, but not too bad.

A McCall's 8066 Summer Skirt in Black Double Gauze

Since I made this toward the end of summer, I haven’t worn it a lot, so I’m reserving final judgement for next year when I have some distance from the project and more chances to wear it.

A McCall's 8066 Summer Skirt in Black Double Gauze

My first impressions, though, are that this is a good, simple pattern, with great possibilities. Don’t let my mistakes keep you from adding McCall’s 8066 to your pattern library (yes, that is how I think of my pattern stash–it’s a pattern library). Could you draft this yourself? Yes. It’s a lot of rectangles, but one thing I like about commercial patterns is that someone did the work for me. 🙂 This is a great pattern for a beginner or someone who has been sewing longer and wants a quick project. Wouldn’t view D would be amazing in a few layers of silk/cotton voile?

A McCall's 8066 Summer Skirt in Black Double Gauze

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. 🙂

Little Geranium Dress in Double Gauze

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Little Geranium Dress in Double Gauze

I have a cute baby dress sewing project to share with you today. One of my good friends had a baby girl a little while ago, and I wanted to make her something I hadn’t made before. I hunted around the internet a bit and found the free Little Geranium Dress pattern from Made By Rae.

Little Geranium Dress in Double Gauze

I also had just the right fabric–a 100% cotton kitty-cat polka dot double gauze from Cotton + Steel, left over from making this shirt back in 2016.

The Little Geranium Dress comes in one size–newborn (0-3 months).

Little Geranium Dress in Double Gauze
Little Geranium dress, front view

It’s a great way to give this pattern a try, which can be purchased in larger sizes with additional details from the designer. In the newborn size, the pattern creates a sleeveless dress which buttons up the back and has patch pockets, whose sole purpose is ultimate cuteness.

Little Geranium Dress in Double Gauze
Little Geranium dress, back view
Little Geranium Dress in Double Gauze

This dress can easily be worn in summer as is or in cooler weather over a long-sleeved onesie with a sweater.

It only takes a little bit of fabric and sews up quickly. The bodice is lined, which makes everything look nicely finished.

Little Geranium Dress in Double Gauze
Little Geranium Dress in Double Gauze

I used some vintage buttons from my stash for the back, which seemed just right for this dress. I even put my knots on the outside so that they wouldn’t irritate sensitive baby skin.

Little Geranium Dress in Double Gauze

I tried to sign the inside, but I think I need some finer point fabric markers.

Little Geranium Dress in Double Gauze

I got a few recommendations from my mom, but if you have a favorite fine-point fabric marker for signing quilts or garments, please share in the comments!

Making this dress was a fun, quick project as well as a great scrap buster.

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

 

Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

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Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

Summer sewing is in full (albeit slow) swing, and these pants are one of the most recent projects I finished.  I really like the look of sailor pants.  I actually have a pair of wool 13-button sailor pants that I love from an Army Navy store, but sadly they don’t fit right now.  I have noticed that I’m drawn to that style, though, so I decided to make some of my own.  First, I tried the Persephone Shorts by Anna Allen.  The pattern and instructions are excellent, but I really, really didn’t like the look of the shorts on me, even though I think they look great on other people.  Rather than fiddling with the fit to try to get something I might like, I moved on to Simplicity 8391.  The Persephone Pants are actually based on sailor pants from the 1920’s-1940’s, whereas Simplicity 8391 is more of a cute take on the idea of sailor pants.  I have to say, though, that I really, really like these.

Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

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Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

First I made the shorts version (View D) to get an idea of the fit.  I made them up quickly without worrying much about interior perfection or getting things just right.  These were my wearable muslin.

Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

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Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

Cute, right?

My measurements put me in between two sizes, so I traced that out and sewed them up in some leftover Tinted Denim by Cloud9 Fabrics that I got long ago at Pintuck & Purl.

Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

I am finding that in most, if not all, Big 4 pants, I need to do a full seat adjustment and possibly even lengthen the back crotch point.  I didn’t do any of that for the shorts, and while they came out cute, they aren’t super comfortable on me, and I have already given them away.

Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

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Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

Aside from giving me wedgies, sitting was really uncomfortable and I wanted a lot more ease, so I decided to try again and just sort of guess at the amount of adjustment to make and hope for the best.

For version two, I made the pants (View C) from Delaware Grass Green 10 oz. cotton canvas from Big Duck Canvas that I had originally bought to make into Persephone Pants.  This was my first time ordering from Big Duck Canvas.  The price was good and so was the quality of the fabric.  Interestingly, when I washed these, they faded a fair amount.  They also softened a lot as I’m sure they had some sizing on them while on the bolt.  They remind me of one of my favorite pairs of pants from years ago, so I loved how the fabric came out of the wash, but keep the fading in mind if you give this fabric a try at some point.  I have also noticed this sort of fading when I bought duck canvas from Joann’s, so maybe it’s just something that happens with this fabric?

Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

As far as adjustments, I really wanted some comfy pants, so I decided to go big or go home with the fitting.  I retraced the pattern half a size larger, and then did a 1.5″ full seat adjustment, as well as adding 1.5″ of length to the back crotch point.  I used The Perfect Fit from the Singer Sewing Reference Library series to figure out how to do this.  I’m always a little confused about which adjustments to do and how in the world to know what I need in each case.  It helps that I sew a lot of Big 4 patterns and can use a lot of similar adjustments on those, but what about when I sew a pattern from another company?  Isn’t there some way to measure the flat pattern and know if I will need to adjust things?  I still need to finish reading Pants Fitting:  The Crotch and Pants Fitting:  The Crotch Part 2 from the Winmichele blog and do the exercises she mentions because I think that will answer those questions for me.  I understand how to measure the back of a shirt pattern to see if I need a broad back adjustment, but I still don’t fully have pants figured out, even after making a number of different types.

Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

Back to these pants.  When hemming, I took 2″ off the length of the pants.  I think if I had left the size the same as the shorts, the pants would have fit closer and been higher on my waist, and then maybe that 2″ would have been too much, but with the adjustments I made, they sit just below my navel and taking 2″ off looked better to me than just hemming them at the normal hem allowance (for reference, I’m 5′ 8.5″ tall and I don’t usually make length adjustments).  I had to stretch the fabric as I hemmed so that everything was nice and flat.

Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

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Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

I got to use a few vintage buttons on both the pants and the shorts.

Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

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Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

I used whatever invisible zippers I had around.  The zipper on these is on the left side.

Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

One other thing I changed was on the inside of the waistband.  I covered the inside edge of the waistband with bias tape, which made catching the waistband SO MUCH EASIER when stitching in the ditch from the outside.  I do have to be careful when zipping and unzipping because the bias-covered edge likes to get in the way a little bit, but it’s not too bad.

Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

The adjustments I made to this pattern made the finished product feel WONDERFUL.

Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

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Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

I’m really thinking hard to analyze how I want to feel in my clothes during each season, and so far what I have come up with for summer is loose and breezy, which means no tight clothes (except things like bathing suits), lots of breathable cotton and linen wovens, and plenty of elastic waists.  Even without an elastic waist, I love these pants for summer.  They’re nice and loose, and I would definitely consider trying to lengthen them to full length and make them in linen or some other great fabric.  I think I have worn them almost every day this week (don’t worry–they’re going in the wash after today).

Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

I know that’s the picture you were all waiting for.  😉 Have a great weekend.

I Finally Tried It: City Gym Shorts from Purl Soho

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I Finally Tried It:  City Gym Shorts from Purl Soho

Hi, everyone!  It’s been a little while, but I finally have some finished projects to share that are slowly getting photographed.  I usually work in batches and I love it when I get to the sewing part of a batch because it feels like I’m quickly turning out projects.  What it really means is that I spent a lot of time planning, tracing, and cutting a bunch of things, but it still feels great to finish several projects in a row.  One of the projects in this latest batch is a popular free pattern that has been around for almost six years, but that I hadn’t tried.  This year it was finally time to jump on board since I really need some shorts…and elastic-waist shorts sound amazing.  The pattern is the City Gym Shorts for All Ages from Purl Soho.

City Gym Shorts made from vintage sheets

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City Gym Shorts made from vintage sheets

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City Gym Shorts made from vintage sheets

This pattern comes in a range of kids’ and adult sizes.  It was published before PDF patterns were as popular as they are now, so it and the directions look a little different from what you might commonly see today, but I think they are still good.  I used the largest women’s size.  Although I’ve purchased a small amount of fabric in the last several months, I’m mostly trying to use what I have on hand as much as possible, so I pulled out some vintage sheets and some bias tape I had as well as whatever thread was closest in color to my fabric, and got started.  I had to buy some elastic, but that was it.

City Gym Shorts made from vintage sheets

The directions were pretty straightforward, although the seam allowance is only 1/4″, so keep that in mind or your shorts won’t fit as expected.  The nice thing about this smaller-than-usual seam allowance is that you won’t have to trim your seams.  I didn’t bother too much with making my sewing look pretty for this version, except where I sewed on the bias tape.  The goal was to finish these quickly so I could try them out.

City Gym Shorts made from vintage sheets

The one thing I changed was the waistband.  I plan to follow the directions if I make this pattern again, but for this pair, I wanted to use the folded over edge at the top of the sheet as my casing.  That did make the casing a bit wider than what is called for, so I anchored my elastic by sewing through the waistband at the sides, front, and back so it wouldn’t flip around in the wash or while I’m wearing the shorts.

City Gym Shorts made from vintage sheets

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City Gym Shorts made from vintage sheets

Once I finished the shorts and tried them on, my initial thoughts were that these were pretty good!  I liked the length and found them pretty comfortable.  I thought that if I made them again, they should have pockets (of course!) and possibly a bit of a full seat adjustment and back crotch length extension as well as possibly a bit more ease (maybe I would grade up one size).  After wearing them for awhile, though, I think all those things (except the pockets) are things that might improve this pattern slightly for me, but aren’t things I absolutely have to do to enjoy wearing these shorts.  I’m really happy with them.

City Gym Shorts made from vintage sheets

Speaking of pockets, if you have tried this pattern or want to try it, but also want somewhere to hold your keys or phone, I found this post on the Zaaberry Handmade blog that covers her variation of this pattern and includes how to add pockets (she links to a tutorial she created for adding pockets).  In her version, she eliminates the bias binding.  If you want slash pockets, but want to keep the bias binding, you could check out this post over on the All Wrapped Up blog.  What I haven’t found is anyone who added inseam pockets and kept the bias binding.  Those are the lines I was thinking along, although I also really like what each of the these women did, so I would be open to either pocket style (slash or inseam).

One tip I have is that if you are running short on matching bias tape, attach what you have to the front side seams first as most of the back side seams will be covered and you could easily hide mismatched bias tape there if you wanted to.

City Gym Shorts made from vintage sheets

I think the City Gym Shorts pattern would be a good one for a beginner.  It doesn’t have too many pieces or things like buttons or zippers, and you can make it out of quilting cotton or even old sheets, like I did.  You can purchase bias tape or learn to make your own, so it’s a good skill builder while still being completely doable.  And for the seasoned sewist, it’s a fun and quick project with lots of possibilities to customize the end product.

Summer Sewing: Matcha Top in Italian Voile

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Summer Sewing:  Matcha Top in Italian Voile

How about if we squeeze one more summer sewing post in?  Partly because I like to be thorough and partly because I’ll forget what I did with this pattern (and probably that I made it once it’s packed away) if I don’t.  Sad, but true!  🙂

Summer Sewing:  Matcha Top in Italian Voile

Today’s project is the sleeveless view of the Sew Liberated Matcha Top in a beautiful Italian cotton voile.  This fabric was a gift from Maggie at Pintuck & Purl, bought on a trip to Rome.  Fancy!  Therefore, it sat in my stash for awhile because I was saving it for just the right project.  I finally narrowed it down to the Matcha Top, which can be made sleeveless or with three-quarter-length sleeves.  I bought the paper pattern at Pintuck & Purl.

Summer Sewing:  Matcha Top in Italian Voile

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Summer Sewing:  Matcha Top in Italian Voile

Initially, I was a bit surprised at the sizes my measurements put me at.  I’m often one size at the bust and the next size up or thereabouts for the waist and hips.  This pattern had me at an 8 bust, 16 waist, and 22 hip, which seemed pretty different than usual.  Obviously every pattern company is unique, but this was very different.  Luckily, the pattern book gives you tips for choosing a size that will give you the intended fit, which is fairly loose everywhere but at the shoulders.  In the directions, you are told how to measure your shoulders to get a good fit and to base your size off of that.  Thanks to these directions, I made a size 10.

Summer Sewing:  Matcha Top in Italian Voile

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Summer Sewing:  Matcha Top in Italian Voile

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Summer Sewing:  Matcha Top in Italian Voile

There were only two fitting changes I made.  The first was to lower the armhole by two inches.  That meant that the armhole facings no longer matched, so I bound the armholes with bias tape, turning it inside so it wasn’t visible from the outside.

Summer Sewing:  Matcha Top in Italian Voile

The second fitting change was to take a small tuck at the top back of each shoulder since it was gaping there.  I probably need some sort of forward shoulder adjustment in the future.

I also added piping at the shoulders so the shoulder details didn’t disappear.  I love how that turned out!

Summer Sewing:  Matcha Top in Italian Voile

For seam finishes, I pressed my seams open, and then turned the seam allowances under and topstitched each down.  It makes me happy that this shirt looks almost as nice on the inside as it does on the outside; plus that seam finish will strengthen the seams.

Summer Sewing:  Matcha Top in Italian Voile

One other bit of strengthening I did was to stitch horizontally under the bottom of the v-neck after doing the sewing that the directions dictated.

Before I knew it, I was finished with this top!

Summer Sewing:  Matcha Top in Italian Voile

After completing it, I realized that I forgot to pattern match the center front seam!  I couldn’t believe it, but I wasn’t going back.  Hopefully I learned my lesson for next time, right?  😉

Summer Sewing:  Matcha Top in Italian Voile

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Summer Sewing:  Matcha Top in Italian Voile

This was a really quick and satisfying sew, and in this soft and floaty voile, it makes an ideal summer top.  The directions were well-written, and the fact that there aren’t a ton of steps means you can take your time and do a really good job.  I’d love to try the sleeved version sometime!

Summer Sewing:  Matcha Top in Italian Voile

And now…I think it’s time to sew for fall!

 

My New Favorite Dress…Twice! Two Takes on Simplicity 8689

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My New Favorite Dress…Twice!  Two Takes on Simplicity 8689

Hi, everyone!  It’s been awhile!  It felt so good to take a nice, long break this summer.  I really needed it.  We wait all year for warm weather in New England, and I just wanted to soak it all up.  Summer is gorgeous here.

This summer I tried to think about what I really want in my warm-weather clothes.  It took me almost until the end of the season to really figure it out, but I did manage to sew a (very) few things that fit my wardrobe ideals.  In fact, I found a pattern I liked so much that I made it twice:  Simplicity 8689.

Simplicity 8689

Version 1

Simplicity 8689 Dress

Version 2

I have made a few somewhat successful dresses in the past, but I think I really found what I was looking for in this pattern:  all undergarments are covered, it is loose and doesn’t cling in hot weather, it’s long enough that I don’t have to worry about a gust of wind exposing me, and, of course, it has pockets.  I also love that this pattern has so many possibilities for variation (and decoration!).  That’s the case with any pattern, but this is one where I can really see those possibilities.

I had fallen in love with a combination of black eyelet and light purple/pink voile at Joann’s in the spring, and when it went on sale, I snapped it up.  Originally I had it earmarked for another pattern, but I’m so glad I went with this one.  I figured I could underline the eyelet in voile, which would provide modesty and create a cool effect.  If you aren’t familiar with it, underlining involves taking two layers of fabric and treating them as one, reducing wrinkling and providing many other benefits.  For my purposes, the reduced wrinkling and the modesty underlining provided me with were key.

Pattern Choices

I chose to make View B, the tunic length, with an added 8″ ruffle (before hemming) at the bottom.

Simplicity 8689 Dress

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Simplicity 8689 Dress

I cut a 16 at the bust and graded to a 20 for the waist and hips.  I like a fair amount of ease, but if you don’t, you may want to think twice about grading out.  I probably could have made this in a straight 16 and been fine.  If you look at the back of the dress, you can see that there is a lot of fabric being gathered in by the waist ties.

Simplicity 8689

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Simplicity 8689

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Simplicity 8689 Dress

Pattern Adjustments

*Borrowed the short flutter sleeve from vintage Butterick 3731.  I actually didn’t even notice that I was putting a raglan sleeve on a set-in sleeve pattern until writing this post…hm.  I’m glad it worked out!  That explains why my sleeves are so long!

Vintage Butterick 3731

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Vintage Butterick 3731

*Added 2.25″ of length to the bodice, changing it to 2″ on my second dress

*Major broad back adjustment (enough to preserve the ease that was supposed to exist in this pattern, which is 4.5″ above body measurements; you can see how I do a major broad back adjustment here)

*Low bust adjustment, moving the bust point on the princess seams down 7/8″ (and then taking 7/8″ off the bottom edge of the bodice)

Simplicity 8689 Dress

*Lowered the placement points for the back ties until they were 1″ above the bottom edge of the bodice

*On my second dress, I raised the pockets 2″ so they would end up where they were before I lowered the waistline

This sounds like a lot of adjustments, but I was committed to getting the result I wanted, and they were worth it.  For information on broad back adjustments and lowering bust points, I used The Perfect Fit from The Singer Sewing Reference Library.  These books are cheap and easy to pick up used.  I have a lot of them, and this is probably the one I turn to the most.

After making my first dress in black eyelet with black mini pom pom trim, and wearing it every Sunday for a month, I was completely smitten.  While in Michigan, I managed to hit the fabric sale at Field’s Fabrics in Holland, MI and found some cotton bubble gauze.  I bought four yards, thinking I could double layer it for opacity (more underlining!), and make something fun.  I settled on making another version of Simplicity 8689 with all the beautiful trims I could find.

Martha Moore’s versions of this pattern influenced me heavily.  You can see her black dress on PatternReview here and her brightly-colored embellished dress on PatternReview here.  It was through one of Martha’s reviews that I discovered and fell in love with fashion designer Dodo Bar Or’s resort collections (here’s a link to her Resort 2019 collection), and decided I needed something like that in my life.

While at Field’s, I found the floral ribbon, and added rickrack and big pom pom trim from Joann’s plus more baby pom poms from Amazon.  These colors make me SO HAPPY.  I love them.  Getting everything just right took some very careful sewing!

Simplicity 8689 Dress

I made the sleeve a single layer of gauze and hemmed the two layers on the bottom ruffle to different lengths for a fun effect.  Quarter inch iron-on adhesive was helpful in getting crisp hems in those areas.

Simplicity 8689 Dress

Truthfully, I wasn’t sure how the dress would come out in the gauze.  It’s a bit crinkly, and after consulting the experts at Pintuck & Purl, I didn’t try to iron it, but sewed it as it came out of the dryer, and this worked well.  It probably is a little larger/more relaxed after wearing than the black one, but it’s hard to tell (without actually measuring) if that’s reality or just my perception because of how the light and color interact in each garment.

Garment Details

*I used a plain black fabric for the facings and pockets in the black dress.  In the yellow dress, I used part of a fat quarter of Liberty of London Tana Lawn I got in a fabric trade.  The colors are great!  Quilting cotton was perfect for the pockets, and part of that same selvedge made a great tag for the dress.

Simplicity 8689 Dress

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Simplicity 8689 Dress

*If you look closely on the black eyelet dress, you can see that I managed to mostly pattern match the front center seam, and I alternated the direction of the embroidery on the front yoke, side panels, skirt, and bottom ruffle.

Simplicity 8689

*I used shiny nylon cord and tassels plus other odds and ends from the jewelry section of the craft store to add tassels to the black dress.  Originally the cords were sewn into the neckline, but they broke in the wash.  I tried to sew them on again by hand, but it looks messy and is starting to separate again.  If I make this pattern again, I will try to come up with a good way to make them detachable for the wash, maybe with hooks and eyes.

Simplicity 8689

The tassels themselves are removable, thanks to some jewelry clasps.

Simplicity 8689

Anyway…

I finally feel like, after a few years of searching, I have found a summer dress I love.  I feel confident, secure, and beautiful when I wear these.  I know they are a little different from the norm (especially the yellow dress), but sometimes fashion takes courage.

Simplicity 8689 Dress

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Simplicity 8689

Outside (and Inside) in June

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Outside (and Inside) in June

Here are a (very) few pictures from June.  It’s flying by!  And just like all the kids getting out of school for summer vacation, I’m ready for a break myself.  I plan to do just as much sewing and knitting as possible, but I’m going to be taking a break from the blog for July and possibly some or all of August.  I hope to see you back in this space in August or September!  Until then, enjoy the pictures and have a great season, whether it’s summer or winter where you are.

~Lisa

Outside (and Inside) in June

I just love the bright yellow flowers on these plants growing on the sand dunes.  They’re a little hard to see in this picture, but maybe you can make them out.

Outside (and Inside) in June

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Outside (and Inside) in June

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Outside (and Inside) in June

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Outside (and Inside) in June

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Outside (and Inside) in June

And a few from my local greenhouse…I love the colors in this succulent, especially its flowers (below).

Outside (and Inside) in June

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Outside (and Inside) in June