His & Hers Camp Shirts

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Mr. AFS and myself had this grand idea of going camping this summer. This is not to say that we’ve never been camping, but going and leaving the shop is/was a big deal. I thought it would be all the more grand if I made camp shirts for the occasion. And only give myself a week to do this. Keep in mind we had muslins, fitting, alterations and plaid matching to do here, to say nothing of sewing the shirt and all that that entails. But If there was ever a call for flannel, its camping. If there was ever a call for plaid, camping is just the ticket. The awesome thing in all of this is that the mister here abhores plaid. Can you believe this? Can you believe that this man is married to a woman with a slight fetish for plaid and he hates it? I told Mr. AFS that it was possible that I could get some houndstooth flannel instead and he nearly had a heart attack. Would not stand for “houndstooth.” Heavens no! Now it was plaid or go home. So we went with plaid. Sheesh!

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Well after all that emotional turmoil, I picked out some plaid cotton flannel, a sewing pattern for me and for him and went about sewing these things up. His is Simplicity 1544 and this pattern is a winner. Not too many troubles really. I made a muslin and found that the armpit was little high for Mr. AFS and he needed a bit more room in the upper back. Shortened the sleeve by a few inches too and then we hit gold. For myself, I used McCall’s 6649. This pattern actually came with a Craftsy class that I am working my way through and loving! I thought that in the process of fitting this pattern and getting all the kinks out, I would go ahead and make it up a few times. This is the first make and I still have a few kinks to go. Interestingly enough, I don’t usually get all the kinks out until about the 3rd time. That’s really just the way it goes. I mean, I don’t know if that is the way for everyone, but I tinker until I’m perfectly happy and then I make a permanent copy and blah blah blah. Someday I’ll bore you with that process. For now, you should know about this Craftsy class though. The idea is that you take this pattern, fit it and then reverse engineer it so that it is put back in sloper form! From there you create all these different tops/blouses. So much fun! Definitely recommend. To anyone.

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OK, so enough of that. I had the same beefs with my pattern as my mister did with his. I increased the upper back width, though I’m going to do a little more as I don’t think I did enough and then goodness gracious, I had to take like 3 inches off the sleeve length. I feel I may have overdone this part a bit, but when my arm is at rest the sleeve hangs precisely where it’s supposed to. There are more kinks to work out here, but I’ll save those for next round’s roundup.

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Being on a timetable for these shirts and as any good procrastinator would, I put these off until the last minute. The night before we left on the camping trip I was still doing buttonholes and attaching buttons. So these felt a bit rushed. Barring that, I’m surprised they turned out as well as they did. The plaids are matched pretty well and I feel I did a pretty good job with navigating the bias pieces too. Overall these were pretty successful. Mr. AFS wore his and loved it! He’s never worn or owned a plaid shirt in his life, so this is serious people. Mine turned out pretty good too. I did manage to cut a hole in mine. Don’t ask me how that worked or even how I did it because I have no idea. But I patched/mended it and now my shirt has character if nothing else. Sigh….

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The idea was to get pictures of us actually camping in the shirts. But wouldn’t you know, it rained. And it rained. And it rained. We cut the trip short because of all this rain. I know. All the work of making these shirts and we weren’t able to get j.crew perfect pics of the event. Such is my luck! Ha!

At least there’s flannel for the next camping trip, or possibly some romantic getaway in the near possible future. I almost went matching plaid shirts. We might still have to do that. With some line dancing and cowboy boots for fall. Plaid flannel = true love!

  • sew Amy sew - Oooh, these are so great! I want a plaid flannel shirt now. I especially love the yellows in his version. Nicely done.ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - Holes are okay in camp wear! Both shirts look great, and must be so cozy! I ran into JoAnn for some thread the other day, and saw a whole shelf full of soft plaid flannels. If cutting there weren’t such an ordeal I’d have a copycat shirt in the works!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Yes, this is where I got the flannel. Unfortunately, we don’t carry a lot of flannels (or any really….) at my shop, so I had to go to Joann for this. These were surprisingly, very nice and lofty. They make for a toasty warm flannel shirt, that’s for sure.ReplyCancel

  • Peter - Those look fantastic! I especially love the plaid you used for the Mister’s shirt — such a great color combo.ReplyCancel

  • lisa g. - well i hope the mister has come to appreciate how awesome plaid is, because i’m having a hard time wrapping my head around someone not liking plaid! what?! but seriously, these shirts turned out great. bummer that your vacation was washed out though!ReplyCancel

  • Jet Set Sewing - Wow, so gorgeous 70s preppy. And I mean that as a compliment! Great job on construction. You two should be in a J. Crew catalog.ReplyCancel

  • Graca - You two are adorable in your camp shirts photo shoot! I like the contrast fabric matched up with the plaids.ReplyCancel

  • Tiffany - Awesome sauce! You both look so cool!ReplyCancel

  • Lori - Fabulous camping wear and I cannot believe the Mr. does not like plaid. Sorry it rained on your trip but I am sure you two were the best dressed campers there.ReplyCancel

  • Ginger - These both look amazing! You two look so cute together. :) ReplyCancel

  • Holly - Love them!! Such an awesome looking couple too. Are those elephants on yours?ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Yes! Elephants! Actually its a vintage rayon scrap that I still have a little bit left of. I use it from time to time for little pieces like what you see on the shirts here. Oh my goodness – elephants! I love this fabric so much!ReplyCancel

  • crab&bee - Looking good! And wow, two plaid shirts in a week? I’m such a sucker for coordinated outfits… I say go for matching next time now that the mister is a plaid convert!ReplyCancel

  • Chloe - You and your shirts look great! That last photo really captures some well deserved shirt making pride. Glad to hear you took a little break, sorry it rained, though!ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer O. - Your shirts look great! I think button-down shirts are particularly satisfying to sew for some reason. I love plaid now but I did have a plaid recovery period after wearing a kilt as part of my Catholic school uniform.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Oh I think that’s a perfect reason for plaid recovery. Glad to hear you’re coming back to the school of plaid though! Yay!ReplyCancel

  • Tempest - These are so cool. I love that you’ve made them together and that photo of you two holding hands….so lovely. If you haven’t printed that out to frame you really should. Lovely…erm, sorry I’m being soppy…sewing, right, yes – LOVE the pockets on both shirts, that boxy pleat thing on them on the yellow and the flap and perfect top line on the blue. So glad all that work was appreciated despite being plaid :) (I love plaid, I wear plaid on plaid like people wear double denim)ReplyCancel

  • Juliette Lanvers - My mister hates plaid too, equally would never happen! Love the little facing details to bits! and my sympathy for the accidental hole, those happen to me all the time, alas!ReplyCancel

  • Helen // Grosgrain Green - Love these! Some day I will get round to making a similar shirt for my husband. Some day…ReplyCancel

  • David Coffin - Love ‘em! Especially with you letting out your inner patchworker on the stands and plackets and all, something I can’t resist either. Really blasts these shirts out of LLBean/Cabela’s country without revoking the hunting/fishing/camping license:)

    Funny how “camp” shirts don’t nec. have “camp” collars, isn’t it? I saw the post title and got all prepared for some convertible-collared shirts… Different camps, I guess. Nice!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Ah yes, you are right. I actually had completely forgotten about camp shirt collars. Those actually probably would have fared a bit better than the collar/collar band with this thick flannel.ReplyCancel

      • David Coffin - Quite a different look, though… Yours seem to have fared pretty well! More pieces=More fun with colors:)ReplyCancel

  • French Toast Tasha - That last pic is great. I love both of your expressions. You know you are making some cool shirts if David Coffin comments on your blog—seriously!ReplyCancel

  • Ryan - I had a hankering for a plaid flannel shirt last year and have a bear of a time finding any ready made for my long arms and torso. I Picked out two surprisingly nice cotton flannels from Joanns (a black watch and another with creams, red & black). I got the shirt 75% done and after a tussle with setting in the sleeves, buried it in my chair of sewing projects and completely forgot about it! I cleaned off the chair last month (realizing i should use chairs for sitting, not storing fabric and notions) and was bewildered by this mangy scrap of green/blue flannel. Now that it’s almost fall, I need to finish my flannel shirt finally. I’m disappointed in my plaid matching. I cut in a single layer but wasn’t super careful and it’s off a little under the arms.

    I love that Simplicity pattern. I want to try out some non-selfish sewing sometime. For myself, I hunted down a vintage McCalls to make a plaid 49er. I’ve owned the real thing in the past, but they don’t work well with long arms so custom is the way to go. I even went so far as buying some Pendleton wool plaid from their ebay store…Fall 2014 goal: Finish some plaid!ReplyCancel

  • Debbie Cook - I have just one word …

    A D O R A B L E

    (in a good way, of course!)ReplyCancel

  • Mainelydad - Does anything say “I love you!” like a shirt? This is just the sweetest. Love it!ReplyCancel

  • sue - These are called “flannos” in Australia and I make them almost on a production line basis for son and husband (and even me) to wear glamping (too old for camping). Mine aren’t quite as beautiful as yours though. Happy camping!!ReplyCancel

  • Lesley - Oh, Sunni, I bought that Craftsy class too. I keep meaning to ask the teacher something… Is she related to you? Does she come from somewhere close to you? I haven’t watched your zipper tutes for a while but when I’m not looking at the screen, I swear it’s you speaking! But then what do I know, I’m Aussie!!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - She’s not related to me (well that I know of ) but its very possible that she might be from Utah – we seem to have our own “accent” here!ReplyCancel

  • BeckyLeeSews - A+++ on plaid matching!!! I love the Y on his upper back to down the center of the shirt. And you’ve even got the plaid horizontally to match across the body and both sleeves. Wow. You NEVER find that in RTW! You did an amazing job and bravo on the placket and collar stand alternative fabric choices. So chic! I’m enrolled in like nearly 30 Craftsy classes (seriously) and I’ve skipped over that one because I’ve never, ever successfully made a shirt so I’m intimidated.

    BTW…what is a “sloper”? I keep hearing/reading the term and I don’t know what it is.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Ah, a sloper is a basic pattern. Quite literally I think it means a pattern that “matches the natural slopes of the body.” It’s basically what a fitting shell looks like but without seam allowances. And it’s a basis from which other patterns are made in flat pattern drafting. Hopefully that gives you a starting point!ReplyCancel

  • liza jane - Oh my gosh, these are fantastic! I love the contrast on the sleeve placket and the collar stand. Y’all are looking awesome!ReplyCancel

  • Anna - I bought that craftsy class too! I haven’t watched the whole thing yet and I’m still waiting on my pattern but I’m really disappointed that she didn’t spend even a few minutes explaining how to fit your muslin and just references other craftsy classes. Especially when the description says that fitting is covered.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Oh really! I didn’t read that. To be honest Anna, fitting is such an overwhelming topic that the class would have been way too long to include such information. Also, I just looked at the class description on Craftsy and I didn’t seen anything about fitting mentioned for the class. I’m not trying to single you out, I’m just trying to say that the class is actually really good for what it is and that’s a pattern drafting class, not a fitting class.ReplyCancel

      • Anna - It’s in the description for lesson 1, it talks about testing the fit with a muslin. I agree that fitting is a huge topic, but it seems like a waste of a lesson to explain how to make a muslin without spending a few minutes on how to recognize a good fit. I’m not asking how to fix the fit but just things to look for I guess. It seems like a good class otherwise (so far, I’m only through the second lesson).ReplyCancel

  • Gail - A romance plaid in heaven!ReplyCancel

  • RebeccaR - Very cute and excellent attention to detail… Matching plaids… Balanced patterns… Fun fabric on inside of neck bands… Camp in the living room if it rains too much in the mountains. Enjoy!ReplyCancel

  • Monica - I love a good plaid shirt! Can’t beleive he’s never actually worn one before :O these look really great, and now I wanna make my own plaid/flannel top!ReplyCancel

  • Kate mcivor - Great shirts, great plaid matching and great photo shoot!ReplyCancel

  • Kaci - This is actually a comment in relation to your indie shop post (I couldn’t figure out how to post there) but I’m wondering if you’re considered leveraging your online shop to sell your fabric inventory. Whenever Colette or Sewaholic or Gertie package a pattern, notions and appropriate yardage, they sell like hotcakes. Maybe you could feature a finished item of yours with a sewalong and kit? Your online presence is probably reaching deeper than your local customers.ReplyCancel

  • 3 blogposts die je moet lezen • Dat maak ik zelf!Dat maak ik zelf! - […] His and hers camp shirts – A fashionable stitch […]ReplyCancel

  • seamsoddlouise - I love these, but they were nice and cozy with all that rain. I rather love a plaid flannel shirt. I had a RTW one that I literally wore until it fell to bits. Perhaps I should think about copying your idea!ReplyCancel

  • Judi Short - These are fabulous shirts!! I have made many plaid shirts, but it has been a long time ago, when it was the Beach Boys era and we lived at the beach, and my baby brother was too narrow in the shoulders for a cool shirt, so I bet I made him a dozen, 2 were wool. And never for myself, interesting… Now I should think about making them for my hubby. With the muslin first. The only things I have made for him so far were failures in terms of fit. Should have made a muslin….ReplyCancel

  • Katie - These are fantastic and I love the pics!
    KatieReplyCancel

  • Corrine - Very nice! You did a wonderful job matching the print at center front!ReplyCancel

  • Kelli - ok, you guys are just the cutest couple. love these. now go camping!
    ps, my family is in utah so i am out there about once a year. i gotta come to the shop and meet you next time im i town.ReplyCancel

Kill Me Now! I Have to Change out the Thread Color on My Serger!

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Ain’t that the truth? Serger threading is nothing less that absolutely, positively mind bending. You get bent out of shape just thinking about it! I know sewing people who’ve actually purchased two sergers so they don’t have to change out thread colors. They keep them threaded in black or white. Yeah. This is the bain of a sewist’s/sergerist’s/overlockist’s existence. I thought that once and for all, it was time for me to give a little insight into the easier tie off version of threading your already threaded serger. In my sometimes sewing teacher life, I teach a very basic class on getting to know your serger. We thread the hard way and then I show you this way once you’ve got a threaded serger. Every time I teach the class, I’ll have you know, everyone always says that they’ve tried the “knot off/tie off” way of rethreading their serger and it never works. Let me tell you something – it never worked for me either until I figured out how I could do it without ending up in a pool of my own tears by the end of it all. Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Babylock. Just so happens that’s the serger I’m tutorializing on today. Also, for those of you who have those fancy schmancy self-threading sergers, you can take your smug serger self and walk on cuz I may or may not be a little green with envy, this isn’t for you, obviously. So the following is Sunni’s method for re-threading a threaded serger:

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Start by clipping the threads off your serger cones. Keep your threads long enough to tie a knot in them easily. Key words here – “long” & “easily.” Ask me how I know how to do this the hard way and I’ll give you a dissertation. For some sergers/overlockers, its easier to clip the threads before they go into the thread guides (that contraption that goes up and down, you know). Do whichever is easier for your machine.

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  • Janet - I love the title of this post. :) thank you for the tip!ReplyCancel

  • patsijean - I do this all the time and it works very well, although I often do the needles last. One thing to remember, do not cut all of the threads at once to avoid getting the threads tangled.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - A great tip! Getting threads tangled is such an unhappy moment.ReplyCancel

  • Evie - Oh. My. God. Thank you, Sunni!!ReplyCancel

  • Sewing Princess - Thanks for these tips! Believe it or not I am one of those who actually prefers re-threading. Every time I tried tried otherwise I was never successful or just found it more fiddly. Might need to give it another try ;o)ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Totally understand. As with most things in sewing, sometimes it really is just about finding what works for you and sticking with it. I find that with a lot of things.ReplyCancel

  • Doris - Sunni girl . . . I couldn’t have said it any better myself! You are just so perfectly correct and funny at your instructions in this tutorial! I had a good laugh, “needed that!” reading your threading the serger thing. It is such a great description, I felt the agony myself while reading it! ha ha Too funny and so on the mark! Love you and keep these coming!ReplyCancel

  • Corinne - As one who has experienced every debacle related to serger threading I humbly admit I am one of those who bought a second serger, one is threaded off white one black. I know, I know, pathetic. But there you have it. The new one, a top of the line, super duper perfect stitch and can’t be beat serger is the biggest PIA in the world. Thus I kept the trusty older unit and quite frankly use it much more than the new one. Both have given me fits with the knot re-thread method but I will try again…one of these days. Thanks Sunni!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Oh so not pathetic. Actually, I have seriously considered doing the same thing and did! Ha ha! But, my old serger is now the “shop” serger and so I can’t keep it at home anymore. Sigh.ReplyCancel

  • Katie M - This is exactly why I dream of one day owning one of those Babylock’s with the jet-air threading. Changing threads on a serger really sucks. I use a similar method to yours. I just do one thread at a time, instead of cutting all four at once.ReplyCancel

  • Kristin - Ahh, thanks! After having a meltdown on twitter the last time I had to rethread my serger, someone asked why I didn’t try the tie-off method. To be honest, I didn’t realize I needed to do more than just tie it on haha! Thanks for a great, informative guide. Maybe next time rethreading my serger will be less painful. ;-) ReplyCancel

  • Luus - So maybe I’m the weird one here, or my serger is just wonderful? But I don’t have trouble threading it, al the little ‘go under here and through there bits’ are coloured such that you know which way to go and there’s a clear picture inside the flap bit. My manual also shows the tie off method but instructs me to lower all the tension discs to 0 before I pull the thread through. I forgot that once, and that made it a hell of a lot worse, so I was suprised you didn’t mention that. It does seem like your solution works for everyone who thinks the innards of their serger are like a maze from hell, so thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - I’ve read about lowering the tension discs to 0 and have done it that way too. I’ll admit, I’m very lay when it comes to writing down my thread tensions (oh my goodness I can’t even believe that I just admitted that) so I just do it without messing with the tension. I know on some sergers though it just doesn’t work unless you lower the thread tensions. I’ll update this tutorial with that info shortly.ReplyCancel

  • Nancy n - One thing I always have to remind myself–IT KNOWS WHEN YOURE IN A HURRY. So try to do the re thread some time when it doesn’t matter how long it takes. Hmmm. Yeah. Right.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - So true. It really does know when you’re in a hurry. Unless all your stars are aligned, none of this works. Ha ha!ReplyCancel

  • Monica - Duh! I’m pretty sure I had seen this somewhere before, but completely forgot about it.. Thank you for reminding me!ReplyCancel

  • eline - Ha! Just what I needed! The Sewing Gods are merciful today :-) ReplyCancel

  • BeckyLeeSews - Great photos in this tute Sunni. I admire your industriousness, (is that a word?) but I go the lazy route. Like you, I tie off the looper threads first. But then, I drop the tension discs to zero so they are fully open. Then I put in a piece of scrap fabric and slowly serge until the looper threads have pulled through. Once I have two colors of threads in my serge chain, I switch out the needle threads. Works like a charm!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Oh going to have to try just serging to get the loopers through. Ha ha! Goodness, I think that would make it even easier!ReplyCancel

  • Susan - I do this for my looper threads, and it’s great. My Bernina overlocker has a little thingy that rethreads the needles, and it actually works! I don’t hestitate to change colours, so I now have a lot of cones lying around, need a rack really.ReplyCancel

  • Alessa - I always do it that way too, and I can even pull the knots through the lower needles (which are a lot harder to thread anyway) because thankfully, those eyes are big enough! I had problems with the knots giving out a few times in the beginning, until I remembered the way you do a surgical knot: first do a half a knot with thread A over thread B, then do the second (half) knot looping thread B over thread A, and repeat step 1 for a third half knot. (And I think it’s very funny that I could use some stuff from my medical studies for sewing…)ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Awesome tip! Thanks Alessa! Yes, I’ve had my knots give out more times than I care to admit. It’s true tragedy.ReplyCancel

  • phyllis - to sew.princess and others. turn your tension disks to zero. the needle thread is done w/a sailor knot as described by Alessa. than your needle thread will come thru w/a little nudge. dont forget to put tensions back to where they were. the rest of the directions are fine.ReplyCancel

  • Camme - I was taught to tie the needle threads in a square knot when doing the tie off method of rethreading. I think it makes a smaller knot that goes through the needles easier. The looper threads you can just do a loop knot. 9 out of 10 times the will go through the needles on my serger (Juki MO 654-DE).ReplyCancel

  • Jill - Thank you, thank you, thank you for your wonderful tutorials, pictures and explanations! They are really helpful when you are fighting a fitting problem, and especially when are learning how to navigate a serger. Even your subscribers have great ideas. Love your sense of humor AND your red hair.ReplyCancel

  • Joen - Yes the tie off method is the only way to go! Learned that little tip for some of the ladies in my ASG neighborhood group. I try to stick with white thread for summer and black for fall and winter this seems to work for any seam finish uses I need. If its for a project I do solely on the serger then I exact match the thread color.ReplyCancel

  • Charlotte Tilley - Thank you so much. I have successfully changed thread for the first time ever!ReplyCancel

  • Vicki - I cut and tie off and then feed them through while serving. When the knot gets to just above the needle, I cut the knot out and just rethread the needle and then continue. I will definitely be checking out your way to see which I preferReplyCancel

    • Vicki - That was went to say serging not serving, silly auto correctReplyCancel

Mint Julep

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

  • Janet - The suit is beautiful. I love the green on a ginger!ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie - You look fabulous in this suit! :D ReplyCancel

  • lisa g. - this is so cute! love the polka dot fabric, and the fit is amazing! i like how you modified it for a crossover strap, that would be way more comfortable. i’m with you on hating suits that tie behind the neck!ReplyCancel

  • Nakisha - It’s SO pretty!

    Hope all is good in the sewing-shop-owner world!ReplyCancel

  • Maris Olsen - Really stinkin’ cute!ReplyCancel

  • liza jane - You are a total babe! :) Love you in that emerald green.ReplyCancel

  • Carla - Oh wow that suit is so adorable, the color compliments you very well! =DReplyCancel

  • Measure Twice Cut Once - Oh it’s so pretty! You look marvelous in it and I hope it’s not another 2 years before it gets an outing?

    Also *high five* on those straps! they look amazing and so much nicer than having them dig into you all day.ReplyCancel

  • Honora - I made this last summer for my cousin. She had the same issue with the torso as well. I’ll have to retry!ReplyCancel

  • Kat Skinner - The swim suit looks absolutely amazing on you.
    I find it so hard to find a swim suit that fits me. I especially love what you did with the back straps.ReplyCancel

  • Jenny - Yeah, I know there are heaps more bathers/ swim suit patterns around these days, but this one is still an oldie but a goodie, I reckon. I love your ‘latest’ (!) version- the fabric is super cute and I much prefer your cross back to the original ties. Very nice, indeed :) ReplyCancel

  • BeckyLeeSews - I love the name, “Mint Julip”. Perfect! I too am long waisted and abhor the pulling of a neck strap. In fact, I’ve skipped over this pattern just because of that. I like a bandeau-type top though because of the coverage, and being a full C cup I also prefer a halter style so I might just have to re-think this pattern. The bust gathers are symmetrical, lots of coverage on the chibbers, and your customizations have really worked out. The suit looks amazing on you. Great job!ReplyCancel

  • Debbie Williams - if you offered a class on making that suit, lots of women would come to your shop, buy the fabric, and sign up it. Then we would all look lovely, and you would have money to go on vacation and enjoy your mint julep again :) Classes are where it’s at if you own a fabric shop. Teach and inspire!ReplyCancel

  • Gail - A new swimsuit is on my must sew list for summer. I love your pattern and version of a very very flattering suit. Someone above said you are a ‘total babe’ – while I would normally steer away from potentially creepy comments…I totally agree!ReplyCancel

  • sallie - I love this on you Sunni!! The green polka dots are SO flattering and the adjustments you made to the fit are dead on! Just gorgeous! Enjoy your summer!ReplyCancel

  • Michelle - Oh, this is fantastic! I love the way you crossed the straps at the back. And, the fit looks completely perfect!ReplyCancel

  • Ginger - This is ADORABLE. I’ve definitely never had a RTW swimsuit that fit and flattered like this. And thanks for the idea to use elastic in the straps- such a great idea!ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - It’s wonderful! And I really love that you look happy :) ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - I’m so glad you posted about this suit, because I totally love it! I have this pattern tucked away for when I finally get the nerve to a) make a swimsuit and b) wear one LOL. Yours is adorable, and you have some great ideas on adjustments, especially the straps and adding bust cups – FYI, us bustier gals need bra cups in swimwear too, or else it just looks obscene hahaReplyCancel

  • Maddie - Now you have me green with envy! Great job, Sunni!ReplyCancel

  • Linda P - I’m envious that you made a beautiful swimsuit. I think i would be afraid of not getting the right fabric/lining and it’s not so much fabric I’d be scared of wasting but my time!
    Maybe one day I’ll be brave enough! Love those spotsReplyCancel

  • Melissa Bowdren - You’re a hottie!!! And so, so talented!!!ReplyCancel

  • Alessa - It’S an amazing swimsuit, I love it!ReplyCancel

  • Monica - Such a cute swim suit! You look great!ReplyCancel

Carpet Jacket: Fusibly Tailored

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.

Carpet-Jacket-progress-4

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.

Carpet-Jacket-progress-2

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.

Carpet-Jacket-progress-1

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.

Carpet-Jacket-progress-3

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!

  • Annette Tirette - That is going to be an amazing jacket, and I’m seriously pining for that fabric. Is there any way to get my greedy paws on it?ReplyCancel

  • Sabine - I’m intrigued… ‘taping the roll lines’ – why and how do you do this? I’ve never heard of this technique before, so I’d be grateful if you could shed some ligght on this! Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Jeanne Marie - Love this “nerd-tacular” post. I’m hoping to venture into tailoring this year and have been considering going full-on traditional. But I know fusible is an option as well, so I’m interested to see the process in action. Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Lacey - Love the jacket Sunni! BTW, just re-watched your zipper tutorial on Craftsy for a refresher. Readers, if you haven’t enrolled in her FREE zipper class, it is a great one! Very worth your time!ReplyCancel

  • pauline alice - Oh my! this is looking amazing! And that fabric is so pretty! I can’t wait to see the result…ReplyCancel

  • maddie - Wow! Sunni, so impressive, but not surprising!ReplyCancel

  • Ally - Design Rewind Fashions - Wonderful post and jacket! I’m also a big fan of your zipper class on Craftsy! I’ve watched it a number of times :) ReplyCancel

  • Ginger - Wow, this is going to be awesome! I haven’t done any serious jacket tailoring with fusibles, so this is really informative. I’d like to try this out- love the idea of a fusible back stay!ReplyCancel

  • Maris Olsen - I love nerd-tacular posts. Best kind! Your jacket looks great – can’t wait for the finished project!!ReplyCancel

  • Judi Short - This jacket will be fabulous! Nice to see the innards before you cover them over with lining. I can’t wait to investigate your weft!ReplyCancel

  • Gail - I am completely wild about your fabric. Can’t wait to see the finished garment.ReplyCancel

  • Fickle Sense - The jacket is going to look awesome. Really love the fabric choice. Looking forward to seeing the finished product!ReplyCancel

  • Saumitra Singh - I have been going through some of your write ups and would like to tell you that they are quite interesting!
    I myself is a person who likes to share the gained knowledge with all who seeks it.

    you may see my site at
    http://www.fashioncareer.in

    cheersReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth - As usual I always learn something from whatever you happen to be working on. Thanks so much for the inspiration!ReplyCancel

Carpet Jacket

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.

Carpet-Jacket-1

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.

Carpet-Jacket-2

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.

  • Diana - (Long-time reader, first-time commenter.)

    It’s actually fairly well established that activities like sewing, knitting, etc., help stave off depression.

    Even CNN thinks so! http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/25/health/brain-crafting-benefits/

    PS, I can’t wait to see how the jacket turns out – I love that print.ReplyCancel

  • Becky - All work and no play makes Sunni a sad girl! You know how to fix it, and you have already begun. That is going to be an absolutely fabulous jacket; I can’t wait to see it. I read the book referenced in Diana’s comment about flow when it first came out in the 1980′s. There is more to the saying, “go with the flow” than people realize. You are lucky that your flow activity is so productive and leaves you with a beautiful product.ReplyCancel

  • Anna - I so hear you on this. A few years ago, I found myself in the middle of a major bout of depression and one of the things that I did was make a list of projects to work my way through. I made a list of cake recipes I’d been wanting to try, young adult books I’d been wanting to read, knitting projects I wanted to try just because they seemed interesting. There was no pressure to finish and no deadlines. From the outside, it probably looked like I was procrastinating or avoiding more “important” things, but it turned out to be a really cathartic, really therapeutic way to remind myself of who I was and what I was capable of.ReplyCancel

  • Sandra - You go girl! Thanks for the honesy and yes, you are worth it. We all are, sometimes we just lose our way for a little while. Sewing for me allows me to be connected to that creative juice inside me. It does make one feel good to create something with our own hands. Can’t wait to see the jacket.ReplyCancel

  • Ramona - It is funny that I’m reading your post and just ran across this post (http://www.sewcanshe.com/blog/2014/6/16/creativity-and-depression-do-they-bother-you) this morning. It talks about creativity and depression. I don’t truly get depressed, but I do get very blue and foggy.

    I hope you work your way out of whatever yours is. This jacket promises to be awesome. Hopefully it will do the trick. I hope you will share the process with us.

    My best,
    RamonaReplyCancel

  • Doris - Sunni girl, all your followers love you to pieces. Cheer up and keep on helping us with our sewing addictions!!! We all depend on your so cute remarks and personality, and don’t forget …sewing smarts too!!!ReplyCancel

  • Catarina P - Hi! I got into sewing for realz when I was going through a depression. I get it, there is no intelectual or business-like occupation that gives the same feeling of accomplishment as manual labor. Bonus: sewing pretty things makes us feel pretty (or generous)!ReplyCancel

  • Tracy - Oh, Girl! I can so relate. (http://pursuingjoy.blogspot.com/2013/01/in-shop.html I just re-read that post. Makes me teary even now.) Even knowing that sewing is therapeutic for me, sometimes it’s hard to work up the gumption to just get started…
    Here’s hoping you are back to your sunny self soon, sweet Sunni!ReplyCancel

  • Helen - When I had a miscarriage last year, I took a fortnight off work and sewed every day. What I made wasn’t that great, in fact it was pretty unwearable (but I did save it eventually), but I found the process to be really carthartic. I find sewing absorbing, but not completely so, so it allowed me to come to terms with things and think things through without overthinking or making myself feel worse. It definitely helped the healng process.

    Happy to say (because this comment needs a cheery ending), that I gave birth to a healthy boy 7 weeks ago! Hope you start to eel better soon too.ReplyCancel

  • Mary - I’ve followed your blogs for a long time with great admiration for all you have done and your great get up and go. But, here comes a time when you can over extend yourself so indulge yourself with a rest and a little bit of me time. Getting down to creating something beautiful for yourself or to look at is good therapy, but don’t be too hard on yourself if doesn’t come out exactly as you plan. Just accept what emerges.

    In a few weeks time with all the sunshine around you, you will feel better. Wish there was something more that I could do for you!

    MaryReplyCancel

  • Sewingelle - Beautifully expressed. Anti depression pro joy is what sewing is for me too.ReplyCancel

  • Eileen - Sewing is one of the main things keeping me from getting completely bummed out right now. I haven’t been working for the past year (only about 6 months of that time was actually planned) and sewing gives me something to do with my time that makes me feel productive and good about myself. The only problem is that as my unemployment drags on I have to tighten my purse strings more so I’ve gotta make sure I keep to a tight budget for sewing. But I guess most of have to budget for our hobbies anyway.

    Glad your jacket is bringing you a spot of happy, it’s going to be beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Leigh - I get depressed/stressed when I HAVEN’T been sewing/creating. And sewing for others on a deadline does NOT count. I like the feel of the material, the ideas of what it could be, a smooth perfect seam, a nice handsewn hem. Working with the fabric is just nice. Oh, and no deadlines! At the moment I am knitting (to recover from a bout of deadline sewing), but there’s a cute dress waiting to be sewn up this weekend. I am hoping to make friends with the serger. We are merely acquaintances at the moment.ReplyCancel

  • Tanya - Long time lurker first time commenter. I have learned that when you’re in a funk the ONLY thing that actually matters is not engaging in activities that make things worse. I used to gain an illusion of control by eating two days a week: this made things worse! Reward yourself with good feelings for this victory over the human tendency to dig a deeper hole… We all do this In different ways, maybe lashing out at a friend, skipping a social commitment. You are not doing these things and that is worth recognising and celebrating.

    Your brain will chew over things in its own time, a commitment to do something nice for yourself is a great way to spend the meantime. And when it all gets too much, I find irrational comfort in the statement “I can just bear this” (say it out loud – Seriously!) and your new jacket will serve as a reminder to you the next time you feel like things are getting out of control. You can wear it and remind yourself what you’ve come through already, like a fab suit of armour.

    Love that the sewing community has a little mental health support service going here. That’s worth celebrating too :) ReplyCancel

  • daisy jones - Sounds familiar!

    I tend to lose the ability to create when “in distress”…I end up tidying?

    When i am back to normal the house is a mess But I don’t care because i am creating?sewing again….Jacket looks very interesting will be keeping an eye out for the reveal. keep smiling..
    bestest wishes daisy j xReplyCancel

  • Maddie - Oh yes, sewing has been my savior through and through. When I’ve had a good day, I come home and sew and when I have a bad day, i do the same thing, see. To show you its power, I started sewing when I discovered my mom’s old sewing machine 6 months after she passed away. I think it was her telling me what my destiny would be.

    Sending positive vibes your way.

    Have you checked out Kenneth King’s carpet coat? If not, you must! You can look it up in Threads Magazine.ReplyCancel

  • Molly - Yes yes yes! At a time when I feel I’ve lost myself, sewing makes me feel like there is something capable (and worthwhile) about me. And it gives me an activity to pour my heart into, to give all of my attention to (when I have the chance to do it), and becoming lost in something like this is exactly what I need to feel good.ReplyCancel

  • lisa g - absolutely! we’ve had some rough times over the years, and being able to focus on something other than life’s problems and make something beautiful is so rewarding. hang in there! can’t wait to see the jacket, the fabric looks amazing!ReplyCancel

  • Maris Olsen - Sewing is my salvation. I NEED to sew, and to create, and to ignore the humdrum of what passes for “life” much of the time. Seek solace in petting your fabrics, dreaming of new design lines, and watching your dreams become reality. Best, Sunni!ReplyCancel

  • Neroli - I’m really interested to see what this jacket looks like. I love your style and the way you express yourself through fabrics and the clothes you make. Your post raises some interesting ideas about creativity, which others have commented on. Hugh MacKay writes in his book “what Makes us Tick? ” that creativity is a powerful tool for self-expression and an outlet for truly getting to know oneself (I paraphrase). To deny oneself time for creative outlets is to deny oneself of access to one’s soul. I found this to be a very powerful concept, but I am sure I am not alone when I say I have often found clarity (and calmness) about other areas of my life when sitting in my sewing room. I thoroughly recommend this book…..and time sewing!ReplyCancel

  • Robyn - I can’t wait to see the finished jacket. I love, love, love the fabric. I have to create to ward off the blues. That’s a given for me. I work PT in a fabric store and I sew for customers/friends. I am exposed to beautiful fabrics, wonderful patterns and other creative people all the time. So when life gets in the way and I am unable to create for myself or my family I find myself feeling a bit lost. When I can’t create, sometimes it’s enough to just walk around my house or open closets and say “I made that and that and that.” It helps to remind me that I am creatively productive.ReplyCancel

  • Stephani - Hang in there, Sunni! Sewing–or anything creative–is definitely one of the most therapeutic activities. It can put one in a meditative state and stimulate the soul. I can’t meditate in the traditional yogic sense (I always end up thinking about Kung Fu Panda–why?), but sewing is a good substitute. I think it’s because sewing combines both sides of the brain, the creative and the technical, and even with a TNT pattern you end up having to solve little problems, which increase the sense of accomplishment. And it also helps us work through other things going on in our lives in an indirect way, giving us just enough mental and emotional space to be more objective about our problems, so we can come to terms with them. And with that GORGEOUS fabric, you’ll have a valuable new piece of pretty to feel good about once you’re done.
    Know that all your Interwebs buddies are cheering for you, Sunni. Clichés like “this too shall pass” become clichés for a reason. And you’ll be stronger for it.ReplyCancel

  • Fifty Dresses - So well expressed, Sunni! I totally agree – and the way I look at is, those of us who sew and can sew well, are in possession of a great gift which needs to be used. It is self-nurturing at its best! That jacket is going to be stunning!ReplyCancel

  • KristiEllKay - Sunni, thank you for being so real all the time. I often have funks that I end up in, and most of the time, any type of crafting/creating will help pull me through: I might stop sewing and knitting, but I’ll start baking, or tatting, or something like that.

    There are definitely times, though, (the really bad ones) where I’m so in a funk that I can’t/don’t create. Usually, what I do then is the prep work for a new project (cutting, threading bobbins, fusing interfacing, whatever). It’s usually the boring stuff I won’t want to do when I do get to feeling creative again, and it’s sort of an affirmation that I know I’ll get through this; things will get better, they must since I’m getting things ready for the next round. It’s sort of a positive catch-22 I put myself in, where I obviously have faith I’ll get through it, even if I don’t really feel like it, so then I end up feeling like I’ll get through it, ha!ReplyCancel

  • caro - I completely understand what you mean. The last year and half has been a surreal shit-storm for me and sewing a big, “impressive” project (a vintage, tailored coat) was a life-saver. Every time I start to get depressed and angry and frustrated I think about the coat and realize I am capable of good things and I’m not a hopeless fuck-up.
    Hang in there. You’ve got a ton of fans – literally people who admire and respect you and think you have great value – things will get better.ReplyCancel

  • Cheryl - Okay – new reader here. I’m thinking I need three yards of that same fabric for a little jacket, too. I have some blue & white big beads that I’ve been saving for years for a necklace, but I refused to make it up until I had just the right cloth to wear it with. I looked for it on your shop site, but didn’t see it. If you have three yards left, will you please email me at the addy shown and give me the particulars, i.e. fabric content (all cotton?), width, price, etc. Thanks – and please show us the finished product, too.ReplyCancel

  • Linda - I have found that putting on great music helps my mood lift dramatically. And singing to it as well. Especially good when doing my sewing. Every person gets ‘the blues’ some times – and music – cheery happy boppy stuff is just the best..think 1950′s rock n roll for seriously happy vibes.ReplyCancel

  • Measure Twice Cut Once - Just seeing that lovely fabric in my blog reader made me smile. I hope it works its magic on you and that things take a turn for the better.ReplyCancel

  • Janee - Enjoy the time sewing for yourself. When your time is so heavily invested in a business, even one related to such a great love as that we have for all things sewing, the passion gets buried under the “need to do NOWs”. My soul desperately needs a few days of creating for me rather than for others, and I surely feel the strain when I don’t indulge myself on a fairly regular basis. Don’t let yourself feel any guilt for that – take the time to treat yourself. And your wardrobe, as well as your life, will be the richer for it!

    Oh, and that’s fabulous fabric for your jacket, too!ReplyCancel

  • Ginger - I can totally relate to this! I’ve had a lot of ugly family drama going on around me this month, and it’s been really stressful, and I’ve found myself sewing more than ever. The only thing that’s problematic is when I have a fail in a situation like this, it’s really devastating! I nearly cried when I realized I had goofed up plaid matching the other night! I’ve also been spending a lot of time in my flower bed in the evenings lately- it’s really soothing to water, weed, and prune while thinking about my day.ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - Yes, I do creative things during depression/grief. Even if I have to force myself to work on projects while I’m making them, it helps lift my spirits a little when I can look back at the end of a day or week and see the things I’ve accomplished.ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - I (re)started knitting in the last year of my PhD (also sewed a lot). In fact I was so stressed that plonking myself down in front of Youtube and knitting obsessively was sometimes the only form of relaxation that was actually relaxing.ReplyCancel

  • Melanie Rees - Love the fabric! I’ve turned to my sewing after many years. I’ve just been made redundant and I didn’t see it coming. I have to say I felt so down about it but thankfully I have a great husband who is supportive and taking up my sewing again has started to make a difference to my confidence. Good luck with your project! XxReplyCancel

  • Audre - Interesting that this fabric keeps popping up. I purchased some from fabricmartfabrics.com with the idea of making a jacket with a “tribal” look. Then I saw it made up as a cute mini skirt in the May 2014 issue of Burda style. Picture at this link http://www.burdastyle.com/pattern_store/patterns/v-neck-crop-top-052014
    It is still aging in my stash. Looking forward to seeing your completed jacket.ReplyCancel