Tag Archives: sewing

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…..

Eye-catchers #15

An eye-catcher is a person or a thing that attracts the attention

The online sewing community is very visual. So, every day I see heaps of sewing related images on social media and blogs. Some of them catch my eye because they make me think or they give me inspiration. Here, I want to share these eye-catchers with you.

eye-catchers sewing

Follow below what caught my eye recently:

The pillowcase dress from Aida

pillowcase dress

When recently Europe was suffering from a heat wave Marilla Walker whipped up a pillowcase maxi dress. Basically, it consists of two rectangles and a shoulder strap. Aida got inspired immediately.  I just adore her version. Maybe I am going to ‘whip one up’ too.

The Edith dress from Nancy

Edith Dress Maria Denmark

Also made for hot weather is this Edith dress by Nancy from ‘Sewing in Surf City‘. It is a mid 50’s-style inspired shirtdress from Maria Denmark Patterns. You can also sew it as a shirt.  I love Nancy’s stylish version. It would also have been a good entry for the Sew Together for Summer Challenge —whose deadline I didn’t meet.

Melisha Simone’s shirtdress

Carolina Herrera

Speaking of the Summer of the Shirtdress: look at this astonishing one Melisha sewed. I am totally in awe! She let her be inspired by a Carolina Herrera dress she saw at Neiman Marcus. By hacking two patterns—M7351 and v1534—she made her own version of it. That’s also something I would like to do: hacking existing patterns to create a new one.

The cold shoulder top from Zoona Nova

African Waxprint Cold Shoulder top

Two beautiful tops in African waxprint, designed and sewed by Tamara from Zoona Nova. She lives in Malawi, so she has easy access to all these beautiful fabrics. I also like the sleeve detail. This could be an idea for the #sleevefest2017 that was launched last week.

Vera Venus’ 1930s dress

Vera Venus Dress

When I saw this dress sewed by Vera Venus my mouth dropped to the ground. For me, this is the ultimate vintage-style dress. It is hard to believe it was only sewed this week and not 80 years ago. I envy Jeanne’s (the woman behind Vera Venus) skills.

Did anything catch your eye this week?

 

Eye-catchers #14

An eye-catcher is a person or a thing that attracts the attention

The online sewing community is very visual. So, every day I see heaps of sewing related images on social media and blogs. Some of them catch my eye because they make me think or they give me inspiration. Here, I want to share these eye-catchers with you.

Follow below what caught my eye recently:

sewing related images

Michelle’s couture dress

couture dress

While the whole of Europe is suffering from a heat wave our friends in the Southern hemisphere are facing winter. Look at this fabulous winter couture dress Michelle sewed. I love everything about it: the gorgeous bouclé, the piping, the central panel on the bias. She sewed it using techniques from Susan Khalje.

Tiffany’s Ogden Cami dress

Ogden Cami Dress

More appropriate for high temperatures is this elegant Ogden Cami dress from Tiffany.  She lengthened the blouse pattern from True Bias and put vents on the side. That is a good idea. At the moment I am wearing my only maxi dress and I feel the comfort it gives for this warm weather. I have the Ogden Cami pattern already, so more maxi dresses will come.

The back straps on Wiebke’s dress

dress with back straps

Wiebke from naezimmerblog, drafted this dress herself. The placing of the straps is just so perfect and stunning. Very inspiring.

Two sewing tips

stabilizing seams

Two ways of using recycled material to stabilize shoulder seams. On the left is the tip from Meg: use strips from your woven selvedge. On the right is Suzy’s tip: use those annoying ribbons you find in RTW clothes. As I am hooked on recycling now I am sure going to use these tips.

Laura’s winter coat

upcycle winter coatThis coat immediately caught my eye. Laura from the Final Stitch did a fantastic job here. Not only did she use an old woolen blanket—speaking of upcycling!—she also used an old Burdastyle lingerie pattern for it. Hats off!

Did anything catch your eye lately?

 

Eye-catchers #13

An eye-catcher is a person or a thing that attracts the attention

The online sewing community is very visual. So, every day I see heaps of sewing related images on social media and blogs. Some of them catch my eye because they make me think or they give me inspiration. Here, I want to share these eye-catchers with you.

online sewing community

Follow below what caught my eye recently.

The Gertie dress made by ThatBlackChic
B6453
Those who read my blog know already that I have a weak spot for clothes made in African wax print. So this lovely version of B6453—designed by Gertie—sewed by Michelle for her daughter Mori, immediately got my attention.So far I only sewed two garments for me in African wax but I have some more fabric in my collection waiting. I bought the pattern already!
The skirt from _handmadekate_
African wax skirt
When you have a lot of African was print you have a lot of scraps. Tryntsje used them to make a pleated skirt. She stitched the pleats inside to keep them a little hidden. Such an inspiring idea.
The dress in Alexander Henry fabric
B6094
Not only clothes in African Wax get my attention but in fact any extraordinary design catches my eye. Look at this amazing Alexander Henry fabric. Sarah from the Wanderstitch used it to sew this stunning summer dress, designed by Gertie as well: the B6094.
The vintage 1930’s McCall’s dress
I don’t have any white garment but this elegant dress of Julie, @csewchicasewww gave me some ideas.
The little black dress from Amalie
Little Black Dress
Neither do I have a (little) black dress. Again was I intrigued by this graceful one made by Amalie. She designed the pattern herself.
Did anything catch your eye this week?

A little cheating for Project SewMyStyle: a pocket skirt

When I saw that the May entry for Project SewMyStyle was a gathered pocket skirt I decided not to buy the pattern from Callie Faye Collection but draft it myself. Why? Because since last September I am following pattern drafting lessons and the scope this year is skirts. I learned to draft a  pattern block for a straight skirt and use this pattern block as a base for all kind of skirt designs. Furthermore, my fabulous teacher stimulates me to draft a skirt pattern myself whenever I see a model that I like.  So I dared myself to do it!

Pocket Skirt

The pocket skirt pattern

Drafting a pattern for a gathered skirt turns out to be rather easy. First I measured the hem of the gathered skirt of a dress that I liked. In this case, my Sureau dress.  To gain the same width I  added 5 cm at the center front and the center back of my pattern blocks. I calculated the proportions of the pockets on the picture. Although they are big enough they tend to look smaller than the ones on the original design. Probably because I lengthened the skirt until the hem was on my knees. So I ended with three pattern pieces: the front, the back and a pocket.

pocket skirt

 

The sewing process

I used a soft printed cotton chambray from Dress Fabrics. I bought it last September. This fabric worked like a dream.
Because I didn’t buy the pattern I didn’t have instructions for sewing the skirt. So I studied the pictures on the website, relied on my know-how of skirt sewing and made my own instructions!

 

1. Pockets

Put on the pockets first as they are also slightly gathered. To accentuate the pockets I used the wrong side of the fabric as the right side.

Iron the seam allowances of the pockets and stitch the three seams at 1 cm.

Pin the pockets on the skirt and stitch 2mm from the sides.

Pocket Skirt
The pockets are gathered together with the skirt.

 

2. Gathers

Make the gathers by stitching two lines in the seam allowance. I use a different thread colour for the front and back to make it easy to pull at the thread.

Mark the center front with a pin and divide the gathers proportional between the two sides.

Stitch with a short stitch length between the two lines to fix the gathers.

 

3. Waistband

For the waistband I used preformatted interfacing for waistbands. I cut out the length of my waist and here I made an error. The original pattern asks for an elastic in the back waist. So you have to provide the same extra width for the back waist. This I forgot. So I also gathered the back. In hindsight, this made the further construction even easier.

Before sewing on the waistband close the left side seams of the skirt.

Pocket Skirt
View from a strange angle: the back gathers.

4. Blind zipper

Put in a blind zipper. After sewing in one side of the zipper, I close it. Then I make little notches on both sides of the tape at the waistband. This helps to pin the second side of the zipper at the right place.

Pocket Skirt
A perfectly matched waistband

4. Finish

Sew the side seam under the zipper. Finish the waistband and hem the skirt.

Pocket Skirt
Conclusion

I am happy with my pocket skirt. I wore it a lot already. Drafting the pattern myself gave me a lot of satisfaction. It means that I learned something in the pattern drafting lessons. Although I did not buy the pattern suggested by the Project SewMyStyle I sewed the skirt. More, I enjoyed the whole process. That is what SewMyStyle is all about, isn’t it?

Pocket Skirt

 

Eye-catchers #12

An eye-catcher is a person or a thing that attracts the attention

The online sewing community is very visual. So, every day I see heaps of sewing related images on social media and blogs. Some of them catch my eye because they make me think or they give me inspiration. Here, I want to share these eye-catchers with you.

eyecatcher

Follow below what caught my eye recently. Some of them are garments which other sewists wore during the Me-Made-May’17 challenge.

The Sophie Swimsuit from Andrea

Sophie Swimsuit

I was immediately taken by this stunning version of the Sophie Swimsuit made by Andrea from Fair Fit Studio. I simply love this golden colour. Summer is near and I need some swimming suits. This pattern could be the one.

Not a Primary Color’s Mitchell Dress

Mitchell Dress

I am always glad when sewists I follow alert me to pattern designers I didn’t know before. So did Siena when she showed this gorgeous Mitchell Dress from Paddleboat Studio on Instagram. She did some modifications on the pattern but most of all the way she used the different blocks of the fabric is breathtaking.

Yumi’s linnen blouse

Solid Blouse

One of my reflections of Me-Made-May’17 is that I need more solids and more tops. This kind of linen blouse would be perfect.  I think it is from a Japanese pattern book (?) because the comments on @jpn.winterberry’s IG were all in Japanese. In particular, I love the design of the collar.

Sewvanilla’s shorts

Border Shorts

Lately, I am into border fabric. Look at the dress I sewed for my daughter. More, I printed my own border fabric but I can’t show it yet because it is for my #restylingexchange2017 challenge. So, when I saw this shorts by Sewvanilla I was intrigued by the placement of the border. Very inspiring.

The maxi dress sewed by Mokosha_II

So far I only made one maxi dress. Then I saw this smashing maxi from @Mokosha_II and I immediately wanted to sew another one. Originally it was a Burda pattern but she changed almost everything about it. Also, isn’t that a gorgeous fabric she used. On top of that, this is a great picture too! I l love everything about it.

Did anything catch your eye this week?

The Vogue DKNY V1235 Dress

A year ago my daughter announced that her best friend was going to marry and she was going to be the master of ceremony.  This occasion asked for a new and special dress, of course. As I love to sew for my loved-ones I was happy to sew one for her. Even though I knew a year in advance, the dress was ready half an hour before she had to leave for the ceremony. More, I had to sew in my sewing attic, on the hottest day of May so far. But I finished the DKNY V1235 and I love it!

Vogue DKNY V1235

The Vogue DKNY V1235 Dress pattern

I found this pattern in the bargain box of my local fabric shop around New Year. I knew immediately that this would be the perfect pattern for my daughter’s master of ceremony’s dress. It ticked all the boxes: a fitted bodice, a v-neck, a loose-fitting skirt, a sexy vibe and suitable for knits.
This is my second Vogue DKNY pattern. Last year I sewed the V1349 and I had some fitting issues. So this time I carefully compared all the measurements. It is very handy that on the Vogue patterns the finished garment measures are indicated on the pattern pieces on the bust, waist and hip points. Based on these and the body measures of my daughter I decided to cut out a straight 24.

Vogue DKNY V1235

The fabric

This lovely fabric is ‘Black Floral Vines on Dusty Jade Border Cotton Jersey Blend Knit’” from Girl Charlee UK. My daughter picked it herself last November. Unfortunately, this fabric is sold out now. I wished I had bought more then because I wanted to use it for my Moneta dress but my daughter wouldn’t let me. At the end, she was right to keep it for this dress.
For the first time I worked with a border pattern and I had this asymmetrical placement in my head before cutting the fabric. I am happy with how it worked out. More importantly, my daughter adores it as well.

The instructions say that this pattern is only suitable for two-way stretch knits and this border fabric has only a one-way stretch—from border to border. So this was ok for the bodice but not for the skirt. Thus I made a muslin of the skirt in a woven fabric and it fitted perfect. I did not have to make any alterations.

Vogue DKNY V1235

The sewing process

The accompanying instructions for the DKNY V1235 pattern are clear and illustrated with drawings. Although everything seemed logical I did not follow all the steps.

  • I did not use elastic to gather the shoulder straps but just gathered them with two lines of stitching.
  • I sewed the shoulder straps between the back bodice and the facing instead of sewing them on the back.
  • A zipper was not needed! The bodice has enough stretch to put the dress on and off without one.
Vogue DKNY V1235
My first FBA

Because of the fitting issues I had with the previous Vogue pattern I first made a muslin in a comparable stretch fabric. As assumed, the front pieces did not cover the whole boobs. Which meant my first Full Bust Adjustment was in order.
A quick search on Google gave me a very good explanation and tutorial from the Curvy Sewing Collective. Only my pattern piece had no darts. Then I found the tutorial from Jennifer Lauren on how to do a full bust adjustment for fitted knit patterns. The combination of these two guides and my pattern drafting lessons gave me the confidence to draw my first FBA.
I sewed a second—now wearable—muslin and it came out perfect.

Vogue DKNY V1235

Is this a quick sew?

No, the DKNY V1235 is not a quick sew. The tucks and the gathers in the bodice front and the creases in the front skirt take their time.  I basted all the marks to sew them neatly. It also took time because I needed two muslins and an FBA to get the fit right.

Vogue DKNY V1235
Basted marks of the tucks.
Conclusion

Sewing this DKNY V1235 dress was challenging and fun. It gave me a satisfying feeling that I could bring it to a good end. More, that my daughter was happy and proud to wear the dress to the wedding of her best friend. Will I sew another? Yes! I still have to finish that second wearable muslin. It is a mustard yellow knit and my daughter is looking forward to it. The question is: will she have to wait another year for it?

Vogue DKNY V1235
In front of the d’Ursel Castle where the wedding took place.

Eye-catchers #11

An eye-catcher is a person or a thing that attracts the attention

The online sewing community is very visual. So, every day I see heaps of sewing related images on social media and blogs. Some of them catch my eye because they make me think or they give me inspiration. Here, I want to share these eye-catchers with you.

Follow below what caught my eye recently.

 

The African wax top of Natalie

African Wax top

I told you before: I love African wax and when I see something made of it that immediately gets my attention.  This happened again when I saw this stunning top sewed by Natalie. Apparently she wasn’t convinced herself, at first, but I really love it. The fabric is gorgeous and showing the selvage at the hems of the sleeves is fantastic. Such an inspiring idea.

The Falda Jacket

Falda Jacket Pattern Fantastique

The Falda Jacket from Pattern Fantastique is on my 2017MakeNine list. This is the original version made by the pattern designer. Look at these exceptional lines. I am crazy about this design. I planned to sew it this Winter—I even have the pattern and fabric—but I didn’t get to it. I am definitely going to do it this Fall, I promise.

The Tie Belt Dress from Mollie Moxie

Tie Belt Dress

This amazing dress made by Mollie Moxie instantly caught my eye. I like the fabric, the model and also the length. Mollie lengthened the dress because she had more fabric than the pattern required. That doesn’t happen a lot to me; most of the time I am a bit short of fabric for the pattern I am making. Nevertheless, I think it is a great idea for when I should have more fabric.

Ooobop’s dirndl skirt

The simplest things are often the prettiest one. When you have such awesome border fabric just design a dirndl skirt for it. When you wear it to cycle—like Ooobop did—cars will stop and heads will turn!

 

Brenda’s sewing tip

This is such a clever tip from Brenda:  to eliminate bulk in cross seams, make a V-snip. I did not know this trick but I will definitely apply it the next times when I have to sew cross seams.

Did anything catch your eye lately?

1000 followers on Instagram

My Instagram profile picture.
My Instagram profile picture. Sewing keeps me sane!

When I posted my first Instagram photo in August 2015 I could never have guessed that I would ever reach 1000 followers. I am even more in disbelief because about 950 of them are people I don’t know in real life! But I am thrilled to have met this wonderful online sewing community.

 

What!?? 1000 followers!

 

First post, August 2015

I joined Instagram with a photo of me in our Tuscan garden. I wanted to share pictures of my two loves—besides my family—sewing and Podere Santa Pia, our Tuscan holiday house. Back then I could never have predicted the joy it would bring. I met so many inspiring dressmakers, pattern designers, fabric stores… I even met the fabulous Anne Whalley in person.

Anne Whalley
Meeting Anne Whalley was an amazing experience.
All the sewing joy

Thanks to IG I had the opportunity to test several patterns: the Nita Wrap Skirt from ‘Sew DIY blog’, the Daphne Dress from Sew This Pattern and currently I am testing a dress pattern for Schnittchen (still a big secret).

Testing the Nita Wrap Skirt and the Daphne Day Dress

 

I was flattered and excited to be featured on the Girl Charlee UK blog. The Secret Valentine exchange brought me a beautiful bag from @sophomorestudio.

I really love the-photo-a-day challenges in which I participated like #sewphotohop, #bpsewvember, #MIYMarch, #makersforfashrev, #mmmay, and #dressmakers52.

I can’t forget the Moneta Party. A virtual party only attended by sewists of Instagram all dressed in their Moneta Dress.

The Moneta Party.
And the sewing joy continuous

At this moment two new and exciting challenges are running. First, there is the Sew Together For Summer. We all sew together a shirt dress before June 21.

Second, the Restyling Exchange which is very thrilling. You receive a garment from somebody to restyle and to refashion and you send one of yourself to another sewist. Although this will give a lot of sewing joy it is also a bit nerve wrecking: sewing for somebody you don’t know. But everything is perfectly organized by Pilar and Amy.

The men’s skirt I received from @elisabetefcarvalho.
The dress I sent to @listokap.

And last, but not least, it was Instagram that stimulated me to start this blog. I felt that I wanted to share more than was allowed in the comment section beneath the photos. But I get a lot of inspiration for my blog through Instagram like you can read and see in the Eye-catchers feature.

Thanks for all the love, here’s to many more years of Instagram sewing!

Eye-catchers #10

An eye-catcher is a person or a thing that attracts the attention

The online sewing community is very visual. So, every day I see heaps of sewing related images on social media and blogs. Some of them catch my eye because they make me think or they give me inspiration. Here, I want to share these eye-catchers with you.

eye-catcher

Follow below what caught my eye recently

 

The Seamwork Jane T-shirt by Becs

Seamwork JaneBecs made a real eye-catcher from a basic T-shirt by using this beautiful, bright floral jersey. Again evidence that the right fabric choice can bring a pattern to a higher level.

The African wax Tunic Dress of Eleonora

Burda Tunic DressI love African wax and when I see something made of it that immediately gets my attention. So I was intrigued when I saw the Tunic Dress Eleonora made. It is a pattern from Burda. The straight lines of this pattern make the design of the fabric sparkle.

The Winterdress from Bianca

Winterdress Patternreview

Bianca, from the blog Thanks! I made them, made this Winterdress from Patternreview in a double layer cotton jersey. She airbrushed and stenciled it. Then she handstitched around the shapes and cut out the middles. That’s the way to have unique fabric. Very impressive!

Suzy’s Jumpsuit

Jumpsuit Bridgetown Dress hack

The April entry of the project SewMyStyle was the Bridgetown Backless Dress from Sewhouse 7. Suzy took the challenge to a higher level and created a jumpsuit with the pattern. Therefore she used the bodice of the dress and combined it with trousers. This is an ingenious idea and the result is stunning.

The Mirri Dress from Ariane

Mirri Dress Wardrobe by me

I discovered a new pattern designer by looking at and reading about this beautiful dress Ariane made. It is the Mirri Wrap Dress from Wardrobe By Me. I like faux wrap dresses and this one has a nice shawl collar. Also, the left under-piece has no pleats and that gives the dress a smooth look.

Did anything catch your eye this week?