Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Sew What Do I Wear - Vacation Edition

I am very excited to be a part of the blog tour series "Sew What Do I Wear - Vacation Edition" hosted by Made for Mermaids and Patterns for Pirates.

Speaking of vacation, Jason and I leave this Sunday for Cancun, Mexico to celebrate our ten year anniversary. That's in just four days! I should be getting ready instead of blogging! I'm trying not to freak out. I always get stressed right before vacations, anyone else? I hope it's not just me.

Thanks to the push to sew vacation outfits for this blog tour, I have at least two outfits ready to go for our trip.

Sew what will I wear in Mexico?

I went with two off the shoulder looks. I used both the Mama Cassie and the Mama Daphne by Made for Mermaids and I will go over each pattern to help you decide which pattern you would prefer if an off the shoulder dress or shirt is what you want! I keep seeing these styles everywhere and I'm finally joining the cool showing off your shoulders club.

I haven't made anything off the shoulder until now because I was worried about the bra issue. Every time I would see a cute outfit in this style, I would admire it but think I could never wear it. But I recently had a revelation. You know how sometimes bra straps fall off your shoulders and you don't always put them back on your shoulders? At least that happens to me. Strapless bras will not stay on, but when I wear a regular bra and the strap falls down, it's no big deal. I don't know what the difference is, but I realized I could just wear a regular bra with this style of shirt and just let the bra strap lay off the shoulder, hidden by the shirt.


At least this works for me. I wonder why it took so long for me to figure this out. I could have been wearing off the shoulder shirts a long time ago!

For my first outfit I made the Mama Cassie* in black rayon spandex from Simply by Ti and the Mama Lucy Shorts* in Liverpool from Pretty Posh Prints. (*affiliate links)

There were so many options to choose from in the Mama Cassie! Check out all the tester pics in the listing page* because my one shirt doesn't do the pattern justice. (*affiliate link.)

This Cassie is designed for knits. There is a cold shoulder or off the shoulder option. Right off the bat, that gives you two different looks! A peplum shirt, mini dress or knee length dress are also included. And of course, there are different sleeve lengths.

In addition to the options included in the pattern, there is a blog post on hacks to create even more looks put together by Made for Mermaids. I used the pattern piece and instructions included in the post to add the flounce.

The only change I made was to straighten the sides of the shirt instead of making a peplum. I actually simply used the shape of the Mama Daphne (which I will talk about soon) but you could easily use any t-shirt pattern you want for the side seam shape if you didn't want a peplum. I do like peplums, I just wanted this shirt as simple as possible.

I didn't make any other changes and it came together so easily! I did sew in clear elastic in the seam around my shoulders. Since the shirt is rayon spandex, I didn't want it to stretch out over time, so the elastic helps give it some stability.

To give you a full idea of what the shirt looks like, here what it looks like under the flounce. This is the short sleeved option.

The shorts I paired the shirt with are the Mama Lucy Shorts, also by Made for Mermaids. They are a very simple pair of shorts, with two different inseams and two different hem shapes. I love having a basic pattern like this I can go to over and over again.

Although they are drafted for woven fabrics, you can easily use knit fabrics for the shorts as well. I went with Liverpool fabric (which had quite a bit of stretch) and I could have easily sized down and I might do that next time. But for now I will wear this pair a lot.


For my second outfit, I used the Mama Daphne* with a rayon challis from Joann Fabrics. (*affiliate link)

Just like the Mama Cassie, there are lots of options, but just different. The Daphne is drafted for woven fabrics unlike the Cassie. You can, however, use a flowy knit fabric with the Daphne, but you couldn't use a woven for the Cassie.

The Daphne has a ruffle flounce, flutter sleeve or regular peasant style sleeve in different length options, all with the option of straps as well. If you choose the ruffle flounce or flutter sleeve, there are no sleeves unlike the Cassie. The Daphne uses elastic along the neckline, and in a waist casing if you make a dress. By contrast, there is no elastic in the Cassie.

 Finally, the Daphne has different lengths as well from shirt length to mini, to knee length, to maxi and to puddle maxi.

I went with the regular short sleeves, elastic in the sleeve hem (you could also leave this out), no straps, maxi length option.

Since I used rayon for both outfits (rayon spandex and rayon challis), I'm hoping that it will help me keep cool on the hot summer days on our vacation. I'm looking forward to finding out! Sun on my shoulders in Mexico, here I come!

Be sure to check out the rest of the bloggers on the tour. I hope it inspires some sewing for you for either vacation or every day life! I wish I had more time to sew before we leave in a few days. :)

You can follow the Made for Mermaid blog to find all of the blog posts.

Friday, June 9, 2017

It's getting hot in here

It's finally summer! My favorite time of the year!

It hasn't been too hot yet in our part of the woods, but I know the scorching days of summer are right around the corner. I don't mind the heat at all, and I love nothing more than spending time outside at the pool when it's hot enough. In fact, I only enjoy swimming if the temperature is in the high 90s or 100s. Otherwise, it's too cold for the water. So bring on the high temps, I'm ready! I even made my own swimsuit. 

Today I am sharing the suit I made as part of the "It's Getting Hot in Here" blog tour hosted by Sewing by Ti.


You know the 2002 "Hot in Herre" song by Nelly? It's getting hot in here... So take off all your clothes... Yep, that's the theme of the blog tour this month.

I promise I'm not taking off all my clothes, just stripping down to my swim suit and nothing more.

Funny story though: Last week we stayed in a hotel with a pool. I put my swim suit on under my clothes and took the kids to the hotel pool. As I started taking off my layers of clothes to get to my swim suit, I accidentally started taking off my swim suit too! Oops! I recovered quickly and no one was around but my kids, but that could have been very embarrassing. I hope the hotel pool doesn't have cameras.

I guess I was just fully committed to this theme. Bonus points for me.

Let's talk about the swimsuit, shall we?

  • Main fabric is medium weight swim fabric, color wine, from LDG Show Room
  • Power mesh from LDG Show Room for the interlining (used in the front of the swim bottoms only)
  • Nude swim lining from Joanns
  • Swim cups from Sew Sassy
  • Swim elastic from Sew Sassy
  • Stretch needles (The swim fabric had skipped stitches with the ballpoint and was getting small holes with the universal. The stretch needles worked perfectly.)
I'm not going to lie, this turned into a bigger project than I thought it would be. This was my first time to ever sew a swimsuit. I ended up making adjustments to fit me better and it took some trial and error to figure out the best settings to sew the swim fabric.

Surprisingly, I preferred my sewing machine to my serger for the swim fabric. The tension just wasn't cooperating on my serger, but maybe I will figure it out for next time. And I really needed the stretch needles. It was smooth sailing when I figured that out. If you don't own a serger, don't let that stop you from trying to sew a swimsuit! This one ended up being constructed only by my sewing machine.  

The process of sewing a swimsuit also required some soul searching while analyzing my body and all its flaws to get the right fit. That wasn't exactly a fun process, but it was worth it.

In the end, I preferred making my own to the agony that is swimsuit shopping. It took me weeks trying on suits last year before finding one I didn't hate. Sewing my own suit this year took a couple days to get a swimsuit I love. I'm so happy I stuck it out and finished it!

Next time I make a swimsuit, it will be much faster. I can see how people can sew these up quickly! I know for sure there will be a next time. The swim patterns I used have a lot of options and I want to try another style next. For my first suit, I decided to make the basic options. The only "non basic" option I chose was to have the criss cross straps in the back instead of the straight straps.

I kept the suit as simple as possible, but I did make some fitting adjustments and will transfer them to the next suit that I make. As I have not been able to find a swimsuit that fits me well since having kids, I'm not surprised I would have to make adjustments to a swim pattern as well.

I will be able to refer to this list next time I make this swimsuit, unless of course my body changes again by then.

Adjustments made (you can skip over this part if you aren't interested in fitting and sewing mumbo jumbo):
  • My first go at the swim top was too a little too restricting for my liking. I had originally used power mesh as an interlining, but it seemed to flatten me a little too much. I can see why others would want the support there, but I preferred it without it. The power mesh is optional and the instructions are great if it's something you want in a swimsuit.
  • The pattern makes it easy to customize if you need a full or small bust adjustment. There are different cut lines that correspond to the difference between your overbust vs. full bust. I also found, however, that I can't trust the overbust vs. bust measurement when I'm making a swimsuit., or at least this style of swimsuit. I barely have any difference in between these two measurements, less than 1" (my upper back seems to be proportionally wide) but I do have a much larger difference (3.5") in between my full bust and underbust. While I used the suggested cut line for my first top (1" corresponding to the difference between overbust and full bust) I didn't have nearly enough length in the fabric to go over my chest. I ended up using the 3" cut line for my second and final top and it fit perfectly. The way the pattern is drafted makes it very easy to customize this fit issue. Just keep this in mind if you are built like me.  
  • I added two inches to the length of the straps. No surprises here. Straps are never long enough on me in this style of clothing, this was nice to be able to customize.
  • On the swim bottoms, I removed 1" on the front rise and 2" on the back rise. My fabric had a lot of vertical stretch and this might not have been needed for a different fabric. For the bottoms, I used power mesh in the front in between the swim fabric and lining and I'm very happy I did. The instructions are great explaining how to do this. Let's just say that my stomach and love handles is my least favorite body part, but I'm very comfortable wearing these swim bottoms.
Those are all the changes that I made and as you can see, none of them were difficult. The pattern instructions were very helpful and it was just the right amount of hand holding to help me get over my fear of making my own swimsuit. I would highly suggest both of these patterns, but I would recommend making a quick muslin first. I think muslins are always important, but maybe more so in something like a swimsuit.

Can I just say that I am so glad I don't have to shop for a swimsuit this year? My suit from last year doesn't fit well, and now I don't have to worry about trying on ill fitting suits over and over until I find one I can tolerate. Now I have one I love wearing!

Now all I need is for the temps to heat up and I'm all set!

Are you interested in seeing how other bloggers are interpreting the theme? There is sure to be a lot of inspiration for the rising temperatures. Check them out below (links will not be live until the scheduled date.)
June 1st- Sewing By Ti
June 2nd- Sewing By Ti

June 5- Stitching and Making
June 6- Doodle Number 5
June 7- That's Sew Lily
June 8- EYMM
June 9- Ma Moose

June 12- Tales from a Southern Mom
June 13- Robynne and the Bobbin
June 14- Hazelnut Handmade
June 15- Anne Mari Sews
June 16- On Wednesdays We Sew

June 19- Tenille's Thread
June 20- It's Liesel
June 21- Lillie Pawillie
June 22- Needles to Say
June 23- Sewing By Ti
June 24- Fox Flower Lane

June 26- Indulging Mum
June 27- Creative Counselor
June 28- Sprouting Jube Jube
June 29- Anne Mari Sews
June 30- Sewing By Ti