I know, I know. Hiatus is a fairly lax word for what I’ve been on lately. Sheesh. Rather than apologize and tell you all that its going to change, here’s a swimming suit that I made a couple of years ago and just got to wear this week. I know, pretty weird, but that’s my life. It’s really crazy how satisfying swimwear can be to sew. I highly recommend.
This is my second Burda Style Alison and I’m happy to say that I’m completely satisfied with this make. Oh I love it so much I could cry! It’s absolutely perfect! Ha ha! I’ve been waiting my entire life for this swimming suit and yet, it took me two years to wear it. Sigh…. Yes. Anyway, now that I’ve all made you seriously green with envy (that pun is sooooo totally intended too) let’s talk shop about this pattern.
My previous version of this pattern was still too short in the torso. When I did my previous version I added 1 1/2″ length to the crotch depth. For this version, I raised the bra shelf 1 whole inch and that friends is pretty wicked. In total there is 2 1/2 inches added to the front (I wanted to keep the back where it was, so I only raised the portion above where the back of the suit connects to the front at the side seams). I’ve never had to add that much length to a sewing pattern before. I mean, I thought I was long waisted but now that I really think about it, I’m more convinced that this pattern is very short in the torso and I’m even more convinced of this having gone through several of the photos on BurdaStyle of this suit. It’s even rather short in the torso on the original model.
For this version, I reincarnated the neck strap. I got rid of the back strap across the middle of the back and instead cut 2 of the neck straps, stitched them together and added a really really long strap to the neckline area. From there I tried on the suit, criss-crossed the strap in the back and attached the strap ends where the original horizontal back strap would have been. In my opinion, this is so much more comfortable than having that neck strap around my neck – I HATE that because it just digs into the back of my neck the whole day long. The strap also gives the perfect amount of support to that bustline now too. In addition to this change, I added regular old 1″ braided elastic to the entire strap. I found on my previous make of this pattern that the strap really lacked…..something and it really needed stability of some sort. Since you can’t really interface a knit that is supposed to stretch like this, the next best thing, I felt, was something that would support the stretch of the knit while at the same time stretching itself. Elastic. It works like magic in this suit and makes it so that the polka dots don’t look all warped in the strap section, plus I think it will really make the suit last for a quite a long time.
Last, but certainly not least, I went for more padding in the bust. When you’re a small busted lass its nice to add a little oomph whenever possible, dontcha think? I cut up an old push up bra that I’d been saving for just such an occasion and voila! now I haz something to write home about! It’s a marvelous feeling! He he!
I think that just about does it for this year’s outing of my swim suit. Since two years ago, there’s quite a wonderful sampling of swim suit patterns coming out the market. Totally recommended from me for a sweet ending to this year’s hot summer. Yay! Happy Summer People!
Thanks everyone for your lovely thoughts in my last post about this jacket and my need for a bit of a catharsis through the making of it. I’m plugging away and since several of you wanted behind the scenes, here I am giving you some. I opted to use my rub-off jacket pattern from this particular jacket. I just love that jacket pattern so much! So glad I finally made a pattern from this favorite jacket and forced myself to make it already (remember that green number?)! I haven’t really changed anything this time around but I’m planning on adding an extra detail that I haven’t tried before and that’s piping around the lapels, down the front and around the collar. I’m also planning on welt pockets with a flap this time around too.
Originally I had picked a different jacket pattern to sew, but I was woefully unimpressed with the muslin, so here I am back in “tried and true” territory and with this lovely lovely fabric, I feel really good about that. I opted for fusible tailoring (this means I’m using a fusible interfacing) and I’m feeling pretty good about this decision too. Granted I could have gone the hand route with this fabric and all, but I just wasn’t feeling like it.
You can see here that the jacket fronts have been interfaced (it’s this rather fantastic weft from my shop) and I’ve taped the roll lines and edges and gone ahead and done bound buttonholes. I opted to use the leftover scraps from these wool pants for the buttonhole lips and am planning on using it in a couple other places too. It’s a lightweight navy wool broadcloth and is working out perfectly with what I have in mind for this jacket.
Also to give you an idea, since the jacket back piece of this jacket is shaped with a center back seam, this is how I do a “back stay” if you will with fusible interfacing. The important part here is that across the back and in the armscye, these areas are reinforced with interfacing. And then I also do a fusible interfacing in the hem area.
Hopefully this gives you some ideas for tailoring a jacket. Personally, I am a fan of fusible interfacings, but you definitely have to have the right interfacing for the job here. These professional grade interfacings really are wonderful and I’ve been terribly happy with using them in the past. They also make the jacket process a little faster, and sometimes I go for that and sometimes I don’t. It does depend on the fabric choice too. All in all, this a nerd-tacular post, but I hope it gives you a little peek into the behind the scenes of me tailoring a jacket. I’ll give you a few more peeks in the ensuing days ahead. Enjoy!
I haven’t been sewing for a few weeks now. Well, I’ve tried to sew a couple of t-shirts and just found myself going, “meh….” and not being fulfilled in any way. So I thought to myself, “Now Miss Sunni, you’ve been feeling rather badly about yourself and life lately, so get out of this rut and make that thing that you know will help. A jacket.” Yes, even in my positive self affirmations I can be rather shallow. But it’s times like these when a girl needs a something she can turn to, that she does well, and gives her a spot of delight. Tailoring a jacket is a most welcome and much needed delight at present. So a jacket – just when its about to turn very warm out – it is.
With that, we recently acquired this rather thick cotton tapestry looking fabric in the shop. Has a southwestern inspired motif to it and the coloring was just perfect – for me. One of our regular customers came in just the other day and there we sat, just oogling it. And it was then that it hit me that the jacket I need to make for my shallow heart delight needed to be made from this rather amazing textile.
You know, its an interesting thing to be talking about making a something in a time of, well, need. I’m craving my old creative happy-go-lucky self and she’s been missing-in-action (serious action too) and just needs a bit of a boost that really can only come from within. It really could be anything if it wasn’t sewing too. Painting a picture, writing a piece of music (yes, Mr. AFS, that one’s for you), writing down a really good story, planting a garden, etc. I’ve just been needing something that will make me feel like I’ve got a bit of my old magic back. Ever felt that way before? The ability to create something, from very start to very finish, and then wear it, gives one the most unbelievable sense of worth. And worth is something that I need to focus on feeling, because for reals, I am worth it.
Have you turned to sewing – or some other creative vocation – when you are in distress? Tell me some of your feel goods about sewing, because right now, that’s what I totally need and want to hear. Wish me luck. This jacket is most definitely a true labor of love – for myself.
Well friends, thanks so much for your feedback, insight and encouragement in my last post. Meant so much, I’m at a loss for words really. But I will say that I’m going to help you get to know what goes on in my shop, how it works and everything that we offer more in the ensuing weeks. All of your suggestions gave me such boost! Much needed! Thank you! For today, I bring you:
Simplicity 1620. Just the blouse portion. The pants are a BurdaStyle pattern, back actually from my Pink Walrus outfit that I did for Project Sewn in February. That seems so long ago and interestingly enough, they don’t look as good as they did because I’ve lost some weight. Yikes! I mean normally I’m all for having a little trim and fit body, but mine has come as a result of stress and not because I’ve actually been workin it like a gangsta. I think though, we’re back on the road to filling these pants out the good and proper way – with lots of sugar and bread, aka, my comfort foods! Ha ha!
Anyway, back to the blouse. Its a really super simple, super easy blouse. Pretty much a rectangle with a few tricks like a yoke and some pleat action. I was gingerly fishing through my rather extensive UFO stack (I am committed to its desolation this year) and found this skirt (which is the fabric you see in the bottom portion of the blouse). You’ve seen it here and here and it’s a lovely silk charmeuse. It was one of those skirts that I loved because of the lush fabric and the lush print but never wore because of the fit and style. I tried ditching the original waistband treatment for an elastic waist instead, but well, I seriously, seriously, seriously can’t do the gathered skirt thing. I try and I try but it looks so desperately strange on my figure. So it was time to regroup and rethink what this skirt really needed to be.
And it needed to be a top. For a couple of reasons. Though it was beautiful as a skirt, it will last longer and get worn more often as a blouse – case in point as I’ve already worn it many more times than I ever wore it as a skirt. Secondly, I love the shine of silk charmeuse but it can look more evening that I want it to when worn a certain way and well, even though this blouse is solid silk, I think it can do casual very well. I mean, come on, jeans, kitten heels and a little jacket. Done! Sold! Thank you very much!
I did do a muslin of this top. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t, but I didn’t want to risk anything with this fabric since I didn’t have very much to begin with. The fit was spot on (I made a solid 14, my usual, even though my measurements put me in a 16 – oh Big 4, why?!?!?) and I did a little nip and tuck at the neckline because it was trying to flop about. From there the blouse came together fairly easily. I added a fish tail hem as I’ve found that for me, this style looks really nice. I’m still, still trying to master bias bound necklines. I hate these things. Probably because I insist on doing them in fabrics that are hard to deal with in this way. I mean, silk crepe de chine (the yoke portion of the blouse) is pretty fussy in a bias bound sort of way. Slay me! But I managed. It’s the best I’ve done so far and that’s sayin something. I found Jen’s tutorial helpful and I also found that smaller is better when dealing with bias bound necklines. Meaning that I found that doing a 1/4″ seam allowance (used 1″ wide bias binding) works better than dealing with larger widths. The smaller the better in this case.
I already have the next
one two versions of this top cut and sewn – love this top that much! I’ve been wearing all three a lot. I’ll definitely post up the other two versions soon. Ha ha! Tops are scarce about these parts and we’re reaching critical levels of sartorially challenged mornings in front of my closet wondering why I don’t get my fanny in gear and make more tops. This pattern was just the ticket. Not hard at all, fits easily and simply and is only 4 main pieces to cut out. I’m considering a dress too. And I really like the jacket from this pattern as well. Simple silhouettes that are easy to style with other pieces, but also really easy to get creative with and easy to sew. Totally down with that.
Are you a fan of these types of tops? The woven t-shirt if you will? Bout time I hopped on this train. Choo! Choo!
This post has been quite some time in coming. It’s something that I’ve been thinking about a lot and something that has taken a toll on me since becoming a brick and mortar shop owner. But it has to be said and I have to tell you why.
I’m going to be 100% honest. My brick and mortar business, as of right now, is in some choppy waters. There are many reasons for that, but one of the biggest reasons is that we need more enthusiastic customers supporting small business. Now let’s not confuse this with my online shop which is doing marvelously. I’m proud to be able to offer supplies, notions and fabrics to customers worldwide. It’s one of the reasons I felt that opening up a brick and mortar would be the next step. Crazy thing is, these two types of businesses could not be more different! It’s been a huge wake-up call for me, on so many levels. I’ll be honest about that too – it’s almost broken me. Yup. There has been so much fallout – personally and professionally – from becoming a brick and mortar shop owner that I’ve been right on that edge of jumping ship with basically my entire life as I know it right now. Oh my goodness! It’s HARD!
It being hard for me though is not the reason you should support the small businesses in your area. Those problems are my own. However, unless we want the world of apparel sewing commerce to be eaten up by those big box chain stores the world over, we all need to become part of the solution. I can’t tell you how many times in a day I hear customers come into my shop and say, “Gosh, you have such lovely fabric. Why doesn’t anyone else carry these types of fabrics anymore?” I think that’s a great question. But I think the more important question to ask, in my humble opinion, is “Why do we keep those big box stores in business even though they don’t carry the kinds of fabrics, notions and supplies that we want?” Now, believe me. I know that so many of you live in an area where those big box stores are the only stores. And granted there are many things still that we as a small business are unable to offer that the big box stores can offer, just by virtue of being so big. Doesn’t mean I, personally as a shop owner, am not working to improve that. Just means that I can’t provide everything right now (like buttons….). I don’t have the full answer to all of this right now, but supporting the little guys first will give us a fighting chance at survival.
Over the fall, I was on a You’ve Got Mail kick. So apropos considering what I was about to face! If you’ve never seen the movie, it sheds light on the exact situation I find myself in today. The idea that small business – one that is driven by service, knowledgeable staff and quality product – is not what we as a society want. We want the cheap. We want the affordable. We want the discounts. We want everything! No matter the cost! I have to tell you what the cost is.
In this scenario, the cost is, my shop will close. That means that everyone who comes to us because they want actual bridal lace or actual lace in general, or they want actual silk (not polyester labeled as silky) or they want actual wool, or they want cotton that is actually as smooth and lovely as silk, or fine linens or high quality double knits and knits will be forced to go to those big box chain stores and make do. Sure there are a few diamond in the roughs that can be had there, but what is that compared to an entire shop that is a diamond in the rough? Not only that, our expert advice and help will not be available. Our classes – which are far more than just making a pair of ill fitting pajama pants – will not be available. Our service will not be available and instead you can stand, fuming, in line waiting for your fabric to be cut at one of those big box chain stores.
I’m going to say it again. Please, please support the little guys! Support us! Give us a chance first and I can promise that you won’t be disappointed. You may not find exactly what you need from us, but we’ll have such a great time scheming and giving you some expert guidance that you’ll come in again, just by virtue of knowing that we not only deliver the goods, we deliver them with a smile and a sewing tip!
Now weigh in! Give me your feedback. I’ve given you mine, from the viewpoint of a slightly strung out shop owner. I only ask that you please be respectful – but hey if you don’t agree with me here, tell me why!