Tag Archives: indie patterns

The Magenta Ogden Cami from True Bias that took forever to sew!

Well, I wasn’t going to sew a new Ogden Cami this summer; I sewed already three versions (cami, maxi dress & dress) last summer. I even didn’t bring the pattern with me to our holiday house. Then I went home for four days to celebrate my mother’s 80th birthday and—never not sewing—started sewing the presents for a sweet little girl that was just born. In my search through my fabric collection for suitable fabric for the baby, I stumbled on this piece of magenta leftover. I don’t know what its origin is, or its composition because I must have had it for more than 25 years. When I held the fabric in my hands it said: “I’m perfect for an Ogden Cami!” And so another Ogden Cami jumped to the pole position of my sewing queue.  I grabbed the pattern and put it with the fabric in my luggage back to Italy. This was going to be a sew for maximum 3 hours, I thought. Man, was I wrong!

Ogden Cami True Bias

The magenta fabric

Like I said above: I don’t know the origin and the composition of this fabric. I found two pieces in my collection: one small part with cutouts from a small waistband and a bigger part of 65 cm on a width of 114cm. The fabric has a medium weight and some drape. Perfect for an Ogden Cami!

Ogden Cami

The sewing struggle
Struggle #1 Not enough fabric

When I decided to make the Ogden Cami I roughly put the pattern on the fabric and thought I could fit it. Alas, after trying several placements I had to admit that the piece wasn’t big enough.

Ogden Cami

But no worries! I had a good experience with the self-made striped lining for my Jill Coat so I could expand the fabric with some fabric straps. When I browsed my bags of fabric I saw the leftovers of my sheer Venus Kimono. The selvedge of this fabric has these strange stripes which I found perfect.Ogden Cami

My work order to expand fabric
  1. Cut out the back piece as economical as possible.
  2. Cut the remaining piece of fabric in two.
    Ogden Cami
  3. Assemble all the fabric pieces together to make one strap. Here I made a mistake to match the top of the first strap with the lowest point of the neckline. When I did a test placement of the pattern I noticed that because of that I had not enough fabric for the hem. I tried to unpick the strip but I used a small zigzag stitch to prevent fraying.  Needless to say that trying to unpick was hopeless.
    Ogden Cami
  4. Make a patchwork with small scraps so you have a perfect rectangle.
    Ogden Cami
  5. Stitch the strap to both sides of the line you cut. Cut out the front bodice. Tadaa!
    Ogden Cami
Struggle #2 The bias binding

As I squeezed the bodice out of the small amount of fabric I had, you can imagine there was absolutely nothing left for the lining. No worries! I’ll finish the neckline and armholes with self-made bias tape! That would be easy, because I had my bias tape maker with me. I succeeded in cutting out two squares of 14 cm of the magenta fabric and one square of 15 cm of the sheer fabric. Of course, I wanted the bias tape to match with the fabric of the bodice. bias binding

Although I’ve made continuous bias tape before, I struggled a lot with these small pieces and I just didn’t see how I had to make the loop. Also, due to their fluidity and devilish character both fabrics were very difficult to put marks on. So I made a sample in tissue paper and then the light went on.bias binding

Sewing the first line of the bias tape on the bodice went smoothly. For finishing the v-neck with bias binding I used the little dart technique that I learned sewing my Chari Dress.bias binding

The second part of the bias binding finish, the fold over, was hell! Because of the small squares of fabric I used there were a lot of tiny seams in the bias tape. And again, these fabrics—although starched— wouldn’t let themselves fold. So I basted the more tricky parts. This made it easier to sew the folded over bias tape.Ogden Cami

Then finally I could hem the bodice. I couldn’t believe that this Ogden Cami was finished. It was a 4-days journey!

Ogden Cami

Conclusion

Am I happy with my Magenta Ogden Cami? You may think I am not but I am! Since I finished it I wore it non-stop and I love wearing it. Just like my other Ogdens, this is a perfect wear for these hot days. Will I sew more Ogden Camis? I guess the answer is no but you’ll never know when I find another piece of fabric that talks me into it!

 

The Statement Dress: the Zéphyr dress from Deer&Doe in Black Red Buffalo Plaid

On an afternoon a few months ago my daughter and I were browsing the internet in search of a dress pattern that she would love. We came across the Zéphyr dress from Deer&Doe and my daughter immediately liked the design of it. Because of a fitted bodice, a v-neck, a loose-fitting skirt and a sexy vibe, it ticked all of her boxes. When I saw the pattern was designed for knits I said to my daughter: “If we make it out of the Black Red Buffalo Plaid we have then it is a statement dress!” As we both are never shy about making a statement we went for it and we are both super excited about it!

Zéphyr Dress

The Zéphyr Dress pattern

The Zéphyr Dress pattern from Deer&Doe, version B, consists of 7 pieces. Based on the finished garment measurements in the instructions, I cut out the biggest size. I found it a pity though that in the English instructions the measurements are only in inches as I’m using the metric system. After conversion, I noticed I had to expand the waist with 16 cm. First,  I divided this width evenly on the waist hem of every piece of the bodice and graded to the bust or arm. Second, I broadened the skirt pattern by 4 cm in the middle of the pattern.
Further, I lengthened the bodice with 1 cm and the skirt with 5 cm. That was the maximum the length of my fabric allowed. All of the adjustments were perfect!

Zéphyr Dress
Perfect body length, perfect skirt length and perfect fit of the waist! And look at that pattern matching at the centre of the bodice and the skirt!
The Black Red Buffalo Plaid fabric

The Black Red Buffalo Plaid fabric is a cotton spandex knit from Girl Charlee. My daughter chose it a few months ago because she wanted some garment of plaid. It’s a nice fabric to work with. It has some body, good recovery, and the needed 40% elasticity.
Though two things made the cutting of the pattern a little tricky, being a knit fabric and the lines of the plaid. I solved this by cutting open, with a single layer of fabric. It’s the same technique I used for my striped Nanöo Top.

Zephyr Dress
Cutting open in a single layer of fabric.

Zephyr Dress
I’m using the already cut pattern piece of the skirt to cut out the second. The slightly visible black lines on the back of the fabric help to make the pattern match.

One of the perks of this black red plaid is that you can create chevrons! The fabric asks for a single layer cutting so you can place your pattern pieces meticulous to make these chevrons.

The sewing process

The Zephyr Dress comes together easily. Deer&Doe wrote clear instructions with crisp designs.  Though I didn’t follow them for 100%.
As my daughter was going to fit the bodice several times I first staystitched the neckline to prevent stretching. I didn’t make a muslin but I basted, with a large stitch on the sewing machine, the bodice with an extra 1 cm seam allowance on al the seams. I once read this and remembered it as a tip for sewing for curvy women. Probably it was a tip from Jenny from Cashmerette.
After the first fit, it was clear that the extra seam allowance was not necessary. So I finished the bodice on my overlocker using a 2 cm seam allowance and rainbow thread!

 

Zephyr Dress
The neckline is staystitched and I reinforced the v-neck with some lightweight interface.

Because a single bodice is easier to handle than a complete dress I first sewed the armholes and the neckline. For the armhole and neck binding, I used some of the extra red fabric that was on the selvedge side. It was my first v-neckline in a knit fabric and therefore the instructions of Deer&Doe were not extensive enough. So I searched on the web and found a good tutorial from Grainline Studio and it worked out fine!
The last thing to do was matching the skirt with the bodice and tadaa! The statement dress was ready!

Conclusion

Do I still have to say that we are over the moon with this Zéphyr Dress? I think the pictures speak for themselves. Will I sew more Zéphyr Dresses? I probably will. I’m so glad I could adjust this pattern for a perfect fit that I absolutely want to sew it again.

Bonus!

It is totally a coincidence that the three patterns from Deer&Doe I sewed so far are all red!

Zephyr Dress
Zéphyr Dress                                     Sureau Dress                                     Givre Matternity Dress

Two versions of the Seamwork Mesa Dress

It started with the fabric. Last January, on a family pizza night, I showed my fabric buys. When E. – my daughter-in-law – held the milk fabric in front of her it suited her perfectly. So I simply had to sew something out of this fabric for her. But what? It had to be a pattern for knit fabric and besides suitable for a pregnant woman. Yes, E. is expecting our first grandchild and we are thrilled about it!  After a thorough pattern search, the Seamwork Mesa Dress became the winner. And I enjoyed sewing E.’s dress so much that I immediately made one for myself too! Hence the story of two Mesa Dresses.

Seamwork mesa dress
Beautiful pregnant E. wearing her Mesa Dress!
Seamwork mesa dress
Future grandmother with her Mesa Dress!
The Mesa Dress pattern

Like all Seamwork patterns, the Mesa Dress has a simple pattern design. It only consists of 4 pattern pieces and, yeah!, it is available in A0 (copy shop) format.
Based on E’s new measurements I traced size M for neck and sleeves and graded to size L for the bodice of the dress. With the baby bump in mind, I lengthened the bodice with 7 cm. These alterations made a perfect fit.

Based on my measurements and based on the given finished measurements I cut out the XL pattern for me. But while cutting the fabric it started to dawn on me that knits always have some negative ease. So I started to worry that my dress was going to be too fitted. Alas, after basting the side seams my worry was confirmed. The fit was exactly right but too showing 🤦🏻‍♀️.
I didn’t have enough seam allowance to broaden the dress so the only solution was to sew in some side panels. Starting from nothing under the armpit and grading to the hem. All in all, I’m satisfied with the ease and the fit now. I deliberately didn’t bother with pattern matching to give it a small effect.

The fabric

The milk fabric, as I call it, is a french terry from See You at Six. This is dream fabric to work with. I used it before for a baby sweater and a sweater for my godson (not photographed yet). So I had a royal leftover of this fabric. Typical for #sewingleftovers is that you mostly have not enough length for the project you want to sew. So you have to be creative! I put a yoke in the back. Again I deliberately didn’t bother with pattern matching to give it a small effect.

Seamwork Mesa Dress
The back yoke and the slightly too wide neckline.

 

The fabric I used for the second Mesa Dress is a Cotton Jersey Poly Blend from Girl Charlee UK, that I bought in November 2016! So, using this fabric definitely counts for #makeyourstash.  It has some retro vibe and I love how it came out but in hindsight, it’s maybe a little too light. The Mesa Dress needs a heavier knit.

The sewing process

Sewing a Mesa Dress is easy. Also,  because you put in the sleeves first and after that, you close the side seams. I sewed both dresses on my overlocker for the seams and the neck binding. For the hems, I used the 3-step zigzag stitch.
The only minor thing about this pattern is the slightly too wide neckline. I already made the neck binding shorter but it still was a little too loose for both dresses.

Conclusion

Sewing the Seamwork Mesa Dress was fun! It made me happy all the time. Most of all I am very pleased with the dress for my daughter-in-law. Especially that she is able to wear it as a maternity dress.
Will I sew more Mesa Dresses? I think so. I’m already thinking of new version for my daughter-in-law. Wait and see!

18 days of Me-Made-May ’18

We are more than halfway through Me-Made-May ’18 and I wanted to let you know how the first 18 days of the challenge went.

As you can see in this little fragment— where I listen to my husband giving some posing instructions— the challenge is going smoothly. Even though I already wear my me-made clothes all the time throughout the year, I’m enjoying it a lot. Mostly, because I hadn’t worn some of the clothes I wore the last 18 days for a long time. Wearing them again made me happy, and probably (hopefully) these garments will come more in the rotation now.

18 days of Me-Made-May

Here’s what I’ve worn so far (blog post linked where the me-mades have been blogged).

18 days Me-Made-May '18

1. Odette dress – Blue Gingerdoll.
2. Seamwork Brooklyn skirt; new combo with very old RTW blouse and cardigan.
3. Seamwork Wren Dress.
4. New! Seamwork Eliza skirt.
5. True bias Hudson Pants; new combo with very old RTW tunic.
6. Colette Moneta dress.

18 days Me-Made-May '18

7. Daphe Day Dress from Sew This Pattern.
8. Colette Crepe Wrap dress.
9. DKNY Vogue 1349.
10. Telmadress from Vintage en Retronaaipatronen.
11. Megan Nielsen Briar Tee and A-line skirt; new combo!
12. Laneway Dress from Jennifer Lauren Handmade

18 days Me-Made-May '18

13. Festive plissé skirt in Lotte Martens fabric.
14. Veloculottes from Sew This Pattern paired with The Juniper Cardigan from Jennifer Lauren Handmade; a new combo!
15. The Rosa Shirt Dress from Tilly and the Buttons.
1
6. Julia Sweater from Compagnie M. combined with a self-drafted skirt; a new combo!
17. Papercut SJTee with an A-line skirt; new combo!
18. Deer and Doe Sureau Dress.

The Me-Made-May challenge

Did I reach my challenge? So far, yes!

  •  I wore at least one me-made garment every day.
  • I wore every garment only once; so I had no repeats!
  • I wore 7 garments I didn’t wear last May 2017. So I am on track here as I pledged to wear at least 10 garments I didn’t wear last year. Only one skirt came fresh from the machine.
  • All my combinations of two garments were different than the previous years.

When I look back at which garments I wore it strikes me that 10 out of 18 are dresses. And I always thought I was skirt kind of girl.

Was it difficult to select my clothes? No, it wasn’t. Partly because it is only the first half of the challenge and there are still a lot of options. Also, partly because we were blessed with some very sunny weather last week. So I could wear some of my summer clothes.

Overall I am very pleased with how MMMay18 is going and I am really looking forward to the next weeks. Are you too?

The Juniper Cardigan from Jennifer Lauren Handmade

Juniper Cardigan

In July 2017 Jennifer Lauren called out for pattern reviewers. She is the driving force behind Jennifer Lauren Handmade, a New Zealand Indie Pattern company. One of her goals is to show people with a variety of body types wearing her designs. Hence her call for reviewers. I volunteered and I have already had the pleasure of reviewing the Laneway Dress.
Today I’m thrilled to present you a review of another Jennifer Lauren pattern: the Juniper Cardigan.

The Juniper Cardigan pattern

The Juniper Cardigan comes in two views: a cropped one and a long-line. Just like the Laneway Dress, the pdf-pattern has a print shop version. This is always a bonus for me. A minor thing for the A0 print: there is no possibility to select only one of the versions to print. I only want to sew the cropped version but now I have also a print of the long version.
Based on my measurements I graded the pattern from a 20 for the bust to a 22 for the waist, considering the small amount of negative ease that is necessary for a good fit. Jennifer explains this very well in her instructions. Being a tall girl, I lengthened the bodice with 3,5 cm and thus also the neckband and the interfacing for the neckband. On all these pattern pieces there is a shorthen/lengthen line so that makes it easy!
I appreciated that there was a separate pattern piece for the interfacing so that you didn’t have to trace it from the neckband.

 The Fabric
Juniper Cardigan
Plaid matching like a boss!

I received the pattern from Jennifer Lauren at the beginning of January and a few days later Girl Charlee UK had a sale. When I saw this ‘Brown Black Plaid Jersey‘ and the ‘Dusty Marsala Knit‘ I knew this would be the perfect pair for the Juniper Cardigan. The design of this cardigan just asked for a combination of two fabrics. I was even more convinced when the fabric arrived.
Jenifer recommends using knit fabric with a minimum of 30% stretch and a minimum weight of 180gsm. Both of my fabrics met these requirements so I could get started right away!

The sewing process

My previous experience with a Jennifer Lauren Handmade pattern was very satisfying so my hopes were high for a smooth sailing.  And it was! Sewing the Juniper Cardigan is a joyful ride. The accompanying instructions are detailed and illustrated with clear designs. More, if you can’t find your way with these instructions there is an extensive sew along on the website. Some lesser known techniques like sewing in the saddle sleeves and attaching the neckband are explained here with a step-by-step photo guide.

Juniper Cardigan
To attach the neckband I used a lot of pins and basted it first on the machine with a stitch length of 5. Then, after removing the pins I sewed the neckband on with the overlock for a nice finish.
Overal the Juniper Cardigan comes together easily and I am pleased with the fit and the look.

Juniper Cardigan
I love the saddle sleeves.
Conclusion

The Juniper Cardigan is my first ever sewed cardigan and I am totally in love with it. The design with the saddle sleeves gives it a unique vibe. The combination of two fabrics only intensifies this vibe. If you are looking for this style sew a Juniper Cardigan!
Thank you, Jennifer Lauren, for letting me review this pleasant pattern.

Juniper Cardigan
Totally in love with my Juniper Cardigan.

What I sewed in 2017-Top 5: the hits

There are two reasons why I love a new year. One, you can start a lot of things with a clean slate, and two, you can look back and reflect on the past year.
Like last year I collected all my sewing data in an infographic and here below you see the result.

what I sewed 2017 sewing top 5 the hits

What do these numbers say?

In one sentence: I sew for women, using a pdf pattern from an Indie Pattern Designer. No drastic changes here in comparison with last year.

40 sewing projects

These 40 sewing projects are all finished ones. (I may have a few UFOs also). That’s one less than in 2016. Like last year I am a little disappointed with this number because I have this irrational idea in my head that I want to sew something new once a week. I knew I didn’t succeed at this because last September and October I totally lost my sewing-mojo.

 

Top 5 of 2017

I am joining Gillian from ‘Craftingarainbow’ for the #SewingTop5 of 2017. It’s already the 5th time she launches this annual blog series. Like she says: “It’s a chance to review what worked or didn’t, celebrate the highlights, reflect and get some goals for the next year.”  All the things I like about starting a new year.  So, here I start with my Top 5 Hits.

Top 5 Hits

My hits are sewing projects that gave me the most joy. This joy can be derived from various sources: from the pleasure of wearing it, the challenge of the sewing, the first time of tackling that particular technique, or the gratitude you receive from the person you sewed for…

Here are in random order my 5 Hits of 2017.

The Vogue DKNY V1235 Dress1. The Vogue DKNY  V1235 Dress
I sewed this dress for my daughter to attend the wedding of her best friend. I worked very hard on this dress: I made two muslins for it and executed my first FBA—that still sounds like a medical procedure ;). It was also the first time I sewed with border fabric. I love how the placing of the border I had in my head came out. My daughter received a lot of compliments on the dress and she loves wearing it. This makes me sew happy!

 

Toaster sweater 2 Sew House 72. The Toaster Sweater#2 from Sew House Seven
Thanks to the SewMyStyle project I sewed this Toaster Sweater and I am so glad I did. It was a quick sew with instant gratification. I wore it a lot and I would never have thought that I could pair it with a variety of clothes, old and new ones, like the A-line skirt and the plissé skirt.

 

Chari Dress Schnittchen Patterns3. The Chari Dress from Schnittchen Patterns
I was a pattern tester for Schnittchen Patterns new collection and though I am not a ruffle kind of girl, I’m glad I picked this pattern. It turned out that ruffles could be stylish for me.
This dress also proved to be the ultimate summer dress when we had temperatures around 40°C last August. So, no surprise here that I wore it A LOT!

 

restyle refashion4. The restyling of a men’s shirt
Wow! This project had several firsts for me! I never restyled/refashioned something before and I never hand-printed fabric. I succeeded in both new skills and I am very proud of the result. Extra exciting was that this project was for the First Restyling Exchange. So it was not for me but for Elisabete, who sent me her husband’s shirt and received a top for her. It was thrilling to wait whether the top would suit her and if she would like it. I got two yesses!

 

plissé skirt Lotte Martens5. My Plissé Skirt
I only sewed this skirt on Christmas Eve but it feels like my best sewing project of 2017. The fabric is exquisite and it took only half an hour to transform it into a skirt. More, I feel like a queen when I am wearing it. A fabulous project to finish my 2017 sew year.

Next up are  Misses & Highlights, and Reflections & Goals.

 

A sewing secret

We all have secrets, don’t we?  These secrets can also be sewing secrets. I am going to reveal you a small sewing secret about the dress I am wearing today: the Rushcutter from In the Folds.

Rushcutter In the Folds

 

The Rushcutter from In the Folds

Last summer I sewed two Rushcutter dresses from ‘In the Folds’ because I like this pattern a lot. The design is ingenious: the A-line shape, the raglan with the front insert, the side panels, and it has pockets!

The grey one with the colour streaks was the first one I sewed. Because I loved it so much I immediately sewed another one. The two contrasting pieces of this black & white fabric I had were ideal for this pattern. I love both versions and they are in my top 5 of last year’s sewing.

wear both dresses a lot, both at work and on holiday when the weather is hot. Below are some pictures that were taken in the Tuscan city San Gimignano last summer.

Rushcutter In the FoldsHere I am standing in front of a work of Ilya & Emilia Kabakov in Galeria Continua in San Gimignano.

At the Palazzo Comunale, San Gimignano.

The sewing secret

What is now my sewing secret about this dress? Well, I am a little ashamed but I never finished the back closure. I never sewed the buttonholes. I put in a pin and every time I wore it I closed it with the same pin. There is no specific reason why I didn’t do it. I started to wear it with the pin and I never came to finish it. Every time I put it on I think that I should finally sew these buttonholes, if only for my husband because he did hurt himself a few times when he hugged me.  And again I didn’t do it today.

Rushcutter It doesn’t show that the closure isn’t properly finished, does it?

Do you have sewing secrets? I would love to know what they are.

5 advantages of printing your pdf sewing pattern at a copy shop

When you buy pdf sewing patterns, most of the time you have two print options: print at home or print at a copy shop. So far I’ve always printed my patterns at home and assembled them with glue. While planning my Summer sewing I got the idea to try printing patterns at a copy shop. I’m so glad I tried. Now, after a month I can only express the advantages of printing your pdf sewing patterns at a copy shop. Read below which they are.

printing pdf patterns copy shop

#1 It saves time!

Looking at the patterns I wanted to sew this Summer, if I had printed them on A4-format, as usual, I would have had to print and assemble 143 pages! That would have cost me a lot of time. Printing the patterns at the copy shop took me half an hour. I searched the Internet and found a copy shop that could print the A0-format two streets from my home. Of course, living in a university city helps you with finding one nearby.
I put the pdf-files on a USB stick, went to the copy shop and half an hour later I was back with a carbon box with seven beautiful pattern sheets. The price was 3,40 € per sheet. I found that a fair price.
One tip though: read the print instructions beforehand. (I didn’t!) Little did I know that the Laminaria Swimsuit pattern consisted out of two pages. Accidentally the paper roll of the printer was finished after one page and I thought that it was OK.

printing pdf patterns copy shop

#2 It is easier to work with

I don’t know about you but my glued and assembled pattern pieces are not always that smooth; the lines don’t always correspond neatly.  The A0-format pattern sheet is flat. This makes it is easy to trace the pattern pieces, to grade between sizes and cut out the pieces  (if you want).

printing pdf patterns copy shop

#3 You can use the leftover parts for lengthening your pattern pieces.

Those who read my blog on a regular basis, know that I am a #sewingtall girl (1,81m). I have to lengthen every pattern I sew. After cutting out the pattern pieces of the Ogden Cami I had long strokes of leftover paper. Very useful and handy to use for lengthening the pattern pieces.

#4 It is a good work mat!

In our holiday house, I sew on a garden table, the kind of table that has space between the wooden slats. Not very convenient for pinning and cutting your fabric. The pattern sheet, which is sturdier paper than the usual pattern paper, functions very well as a cover

printing pdf patterns copy shop

#5 It gives joy!

It is such a good feeling when you kick off a new sewing project that you only have to unroll your pattern sheet. No gluing and assembling. No ironing your pattern when you use a store-bought pattern.  You can start immediately either with tracing or cutting your pattern.

printing pdf patterns copy shop

 

So, a big thank you to all these indie pattern designers who give the option to print your pattern at a copy shop. I will never go back to gluing my pdf patterns.

And you readers? Do you print your pdf pattern in a copy shop?

Laminaria Swimsuit

The Laminaria Swimsuit from SeamstressErin Designs

I love going to the seaside and I love swimming in the sea. Hence, I needed a swimsuit. I sewed my last one, the Burdaystyle Alison Swimsuit, three summers ago and I was a bit tired of it. So no wonder that, when SeamstressErin launched the Laminaria swimsuit, I was immediately drawn to this pattern. I even sewed two already: one for me and one for my daughter.

Laminaria Swimsuit SeamstressErin

The Laminaria Swimsuit pattern

For the Laminaria Swimsuit pattern, I went—for the first time—to the copy shop to print the pattern on A0 format. I didn’t read the accompanying information in advance, so I didn’t know that the pattern consisted of two pages. When the paper role of the printer was finished after one sheet I told the shop assistant that it was perfect. As we are now staying in our holiday home in Italy it isn’t possible for me to get the second page printed. This means that I could not sew view A of the swimsuit with the sinuous inset panel. Of course, that’s the view I love the most. So I chose view B with a soft v-neck and the crossed straps.

The pattern for the plain swimsuit consists out of 2 pieces: the front and the back. Plus two rectangles for the straps.
According to the body measurements table of the pattern, I have a different size for the bust, the waist and the hips. So I graded between these sizes and being a tall girl, I lengthened the pattern with 2 times 2,5 cm and the crotch seam with 1cm. That is what I like about sewing your own swimsuit: the possibility to lengthen the torso to give you a comfortable fit. As I am 1,81m tall, this was always a struggle for me with RTW swimming suits. (I did the same adjustments for my daughter’s swimsuit.)

The fitting of the swimsuit

After grading and lengthening the pattern I had some issues with the cup size. According to the instructions, I had to trace the pattern with the D-F cup—I have 5 inches difference between under bust and full bust measurements—but it turned out way too large. I found it a little confusing because I never had more than a C cup for my bra’s. Anyway, I was able to resize the pattern to the A-C cup and it came out perfect.
For my daughter—who has 6 inches difference between under bust and full bust measurements—the D-F cup pattern was spot on.
When I mentioned the fitting issues on IG, Erin reached out to me and reassured me that after sewing in the elastic the gapping would vanish and the top would clinch to the body. She was right.

The fabric

I had some leftover from the previous swimsuit I sewed and also from my Moneta Dress. But both pieces were too small to cut out the plain suit. Being already in our holiday house in Italy without access to fabric stores in the immediate vicinity this was a small problem. Luckily there was the monthly market in Castel Del Piano where I bought two cheap dresses—one with the chevron pattern and one plain black— with 5% spandex in the fabric. So sewing these swimsuits also became a refashion project. I even could use the small belts from the dress as straps.
For the inserts and the straps of my daughter’s swimsuit, I used leftovers from the chevron fabric.

The sewing process

This is the first time I sewed a pattern from SeamstressErin Design and it was a joyful sewing. With the pattern come extensive and plain instructions, illustrated with clear drawings. On top of that, there are helpful tutorials on the site with step-to-step pictures. I basted the lining and the suit together all around. This was a great help for sewing in the elastic.

Is it a quick sew?

The sewing itself didn’t take that long although sewing in the elastic isn’t something you can do in a rush.  It was the tracing, the grading and the alterations of the pattern pieces that took me some time.
Sewing a swimsuit is not difficult and I would recommend it to anyone who has trouble finding a suitable RTW swimsuit.

Conclusion

I heart my Laminaria Swimsuit. The fit is so comfortable and it came through the sea test with flying colours. I swam, jumped and dove into the sea and not once did I have to readjust it. Now I am only waiting for Burt…..

The Chari Dress from Schnittchen Patterns

Last December 2016, Silke from Schnittchen Patterns asked for test-sewers for the Summer ’17 collection. I volunteered, as I am always in for a challenge.  When the different patterns were suggested I noticed that several of them had ruffles. Ruffles are very in-fashion this Summer. Normally it is not my thing but I decided to give it a chance and chose the Chari Dress to test. I am glad I did because the Chari Dress is a charming dress that I love to wear.

Chari Dress Schnittchen Patterns

The Chari Dress Pattern

I received the pattern on A0-format, by mail. I found this a very thoughtful gesture of Silke. The pattern for the sleeveless Chari dress consists out of four major pieces: the front, the back, the ruffle and the tunnel case for the elastic. You can also sew the dress with sleeves and as a shirt.
I cut out a straight 44 based on my measures. Being a tall girl (1,81 m) I put some 5 cm extra above the waistline. It came out perfectly. Furthermore, I took off 1 cm of the armhole at the shoulder point to avoid gaping.

Chari Dress Schnittchen Patterns

The fabric

I used a very soft rayon from my collection. (Yes, I speak of my fabric collection instead of my fabric stash!) I bought it more than a year ago on a big fabric fair ‘Stoffenspektakel‘ in my hometown. The fabric has a nice drape so it is very suitable for the ruffle and the elastic waist.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough fabric—which is often the case when I want to use a fabric I own already.  I cut the front piece in two at the waistline where the elastic tunnel is sewed. It is not noticeable because this seam disappears in the gathers.

Chari Dress Schnittchen Patterns

 

The sewing process

For the testers, the sewing instructions were rather brief. This is not the case for the released patterns. They have detailed instructions with designs.
Overall the sewing went smooth. There are only two less obvious sewing techniques needed to put together this dress.
1) Finishing the armhole with bias binding.
Although I used this technique before I relied on this very clear tutorial of ‘Sew Over It’.
Finishing the armhole with bias binding. Here you see the seam where the front is cut in two pieces.

2) Finishing the v-neck with bias binding.
This was the first time I used this technique. Therefore I relied on this extremely clear tutorial of Sonya Philip.

Sewing a v-neck bias binding with a little dart. I finished the ruffle with a small zig-zag. I like the frayed edge.

The finished v-neck binding.

Is this a quick sew?

Well, so and so. Sewing the Chari sleeveless dress is not that difficult! As mentioned above the finishing of the armhole and the v-neck are two moments you have to take your time for. But it is worth it.

Chari Dress Schnittchen Patterns

Conclusion

I  never thought that I would jump on the ruffle boat but I did. More, I adore it. I finished the Chari Dress mid-May and due to the extremely hot weather in our northern country, I wore it a lot so far. If you want a comfortable dress for hot days; sew a (sleeveless) Chari Dress from Scnhittchen Patterns.

Chari Dress Schnittchen Patterns