Monday, July 30, 2012

Kwik Sew 3239 Tankini Top & Triangle Bikini Top

Kwik Sew 3239 has been in my stash for a good while.  I've been wanting to make a bathing suit top for myself, something with a little extra coverage.   I own a black, underwire, cup-sized bathing suit top that I wear with a pair of black bottoms that are a comfortable 'hipster' cut with a modest, full bottom.  The bottoms are a crazy good fit, a surprise because I bought them at Target without trying them on.  

We were invited to visit with some friends at the beach for Saturday, and we have a week at the beach coming up very soon. It was the perfect occasion to make the tankini top, view A, to wear over my bikini top (underwire bikini top for support, tankini top for coverage).  I finished putting the elastic on about an hour before we left for the beach.  

Fabric used:  Swimsuit fabric in black from Hancock's, purchased last year (stash!)
Size:  Medium at shoulders, XL at bust down
Changes to pattern and instructions:  Cheater FBA by cutting the bust at XL, then adding 2" to the length, both front and back, at the lengthen/shorten line.  Also redrew the shape Added length to shelf bra as well.   Took up double seam allowances at shoulder seams.  Used a slightly narrower elastic than indicated, used clear elastic.  The pattern calls for 1/4"  SA's, but I doubled that below the bust to bring it in at the waist.  For the shelf bra, I used the swimsuit fabric rather than swimsuit lining.
Construction:  Mostly serger, used zig-zag on regular machine for the topstitching after turning in the serged on elastic, also sewed on part of the elastic to the shelf bra using a zig-zag stitch.
Result? I love it!  It is exactly what I needed.  
Sew again?  Yes!  Just need to find some pretty swim fabric...

DD, my constant  best critic, paid me the best compliment EVER.  She said, "Nice tankini top mom, but you are still too hot to wear a tankini.  You should just wear your bikini top."  Well knock me over with a feather!  Love that girl. ;-D

Next, my daughter wanted a triange style top with  neck ties, and after that compliment, well how could I not just whip it right up?   I made a trial garment for her tonight using the cups in an XL from this pattern.  She is petite but busty, DD/DDD cup size.  I had to reduce the vertical length of the cup due to her petiteness - there was just too much fabric.  Aslo, I doubled the cup fabric for both support and as a lining.  In the end, I decided to add an underbust band for support.  To do this, I gathered the bottom of the cups, pinned them RST with the band, and serged.  

This was a trial garment as I said, so there will be another, cleaner version.  This was whipped out in just a few minutes, so not the neatest sewing.  On the next version, I may add elastic to the sides of the cup.  I was out of clear elastic, having used it on the tank I made yesterday.  

There is a shot on my dressform and on me, over my tee.  There would be way too much of my girls showing to post on the webs without the tee underneath.  And I am not interested in a pic of DD in a bikini on the web, know what I mean?  Anyhow, it's a great fit on her - not so much on me.  As you can see, that underbust band is not lying flat as it should - I'm literally busting out.  (Pun intended.) ;-)

A few other thoughts from the studio...

On the cutting table is Jalie 2796, a sport skirt/compression pants combo, and Jalie 2563, a sport bra type top.  The skirt/compression shorts combo will be first.  I planned to make it in some wicking fabric I purchased from Rockywoods, but when the fabric arrived, it seems better for tops, so I will use leftover bathing suit fabric.  The fabric is advertised as being Under Armour brand.  I have designs on Jalie 2910 and Jalie 3131 to make my own UA workout tops.  I've been really loving working out, but had to take a break this week due to an injury.  It gives me more time to sew, though!  It is hard to find sleeveless tops that are fitted but fit the bust nicely, so hopefully I will be able to produce some wearable tops.  I feel that wearing good looking clothes to exercise make me more motivated to work out.  How do you feel about that? Do you like cute workout clothes?  The trainer we use convinced me early on to wear more fitted styles, and I am sold.  No oversized tees for me!

So much summer sewing to do, so many fabrics, so many patterns!  I am also in the mood for a sleeveless, ITY knit dress in black, with a fitted, empire waist and flowing skirt.  I can't quite settle on a pattern, so I may transmogrify a couple of patterns into one to get what is in my head.  

Lastly, I am thoroughly annoyed with the state of my studio.  I have been wanting to redo/reorganize the studio, so I plan to work on that after I get some of the sport tops done.  One of my biggest issues is that I want to see my stash without having to dig through containers.  Also, I want to redo the worktable/cutting area - my current one is nice, but too high.  I've got some planning to do!  

So, have you sewn with Jalie?  Has your experience been a good one?  Jalie reviews seem to be good, Shannon from Mushywear  made a great version of 2796 and 2563 as an outfit.  The title of her post is Motivation - appropriate since Shannon provided the motivation for my upcoming sew.  

Well friends, it's after midnight, and morning comes early, so toodles!  Happy sewing!


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

An Alteration I Don't Mind

Remember this skirt?

This is Burda 7208 that I recently made.  The waistband I used was bare wide elastic with a small ruffle edge for sewing it to the fabric.  I hadn't worn the skirt because the site of attachment left a ridge that bothered me.  Plus, the skirt itself was just too big - I had made a large size, gathered up at the waist, and the result felt like too much fabric.  

I took off the waistband, and removed 12" of width!  Then I serged 1" elastic to the wrong side of the waistband, stretching the elastic to fit the skirt.  Next, I folded that to the inside, and straight stitched it down at the side seams (in the ditch) to tack it down, and placed a few other tacks at strategic spots.  Not sure if this method has a name (anyone know?), but I will use this method again.  It is so comfortable, and it lies flat and smooth under my top.  Big improvement.

The thing that made me not mind this alteration is the fact that my family and I have been working out together regularly and 'eating healthy'.  This has personally resulted in 14 pounds of weight loss, a decrease of one whole size+ in RTW clothes, and being able to see my muscles.  I'm pleased with the progress, however, the girls haven't shrunk a bit. Yet.  

The top I made from this same pattern - Burda 7208 - is now too big, says the daughter.  It got a 'no' vote as we were getting ready to go to dinner and a movie Saturday night. I wore the outfit as above, except with flats. 

How do you feel about alterations?  Normally I loathe them, but making clothes smaller sure. feels. good!  

Do you:
a) alter your clothes when needed
b) pay to have them altered (guilty:-/)
c) give items away rather than alter them
d) let your unaltered clothes languish in the back of the closet

I'm guilty of b, c, and d, but I'm now facing a lot of clothes that need altering, so.... maybe I'll just make new clothes!  

Enjoy your week,


Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Blogger Blues: Comment Issues and McCalls 6559

Just a quickie post this morning about some comment issues that have been (thankfully) brought to my attention.  It appears that the comment section is intermittently not working.  In fact, sometimes I cannot access or respond to the comments.  

I've been using an App called Blog Docs on my iPad to write posts, and I am still learning the ins and outs of the App.  Lucky for me, Myra from Simple Inspirations offered to meet for lunch and help me schlep my way through this App, and fix my issues.

Just by chance, we are working on the same pattern.  Myra's is done, so look for her post on that today.  Below is a snapshot of my pattern alterations on the front piece.

I'm hoping we can fix the comment issue today.  Myra already helped me a bunch with the app; she is a computer genius and a fabulous seamstress too!

That's all for today, more later when I finish the dress.  Hopefully, the comments section will be open for business today! Please give it a try if the spirit moves you.  

Thanks, Myra!  You're the best.

More M6559 to come later,


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Necessary Sewing

***Edited*** to rearrange/resize pictures, and to say that the Blogger App for the iPhone is seriously next to useless.

Home dec sewing is not everyone's favorite thing to sew. I usually enjoy it, but have so many projects in the wings right now when I'd rather be sewing clothes. It had to be done, like taking vitamins, y'know what I mean?

In short, I needed to cover Zelda's ugly but oh so necessary crate. I had two twin sized duvet covers for the guest bedroom beds, that is until a nephew had an accident, and it (the cover, not the nephew) faded terribly in the wash.

I cut up the duvet cover, made a front flap, and hemmed it all. Right now I have it pinned on the sides, because it was getting past my bedtime. I like the open areas on each side and the back for air flow. I am contemplating adding a flap that we can open or close as needed.

I employed a form of Selah Tape that has a flexible metal strip sandwiched between the tape. It is in the hem of the part of the cover that goes around the corners in the front of the crate. I wanted these areas to behave and not flap all over. Selah is a great product, and did the trick.

I'm happy with how it turned out. I considered piping around the edges of the top as well as the corners, but this was quicker and easier. The duvet cover was initially purchased for $10. If it gets stained or ruined, no big deal. I have plenty other home dec stash fabric, and next time I may spring for piping.

Zelda seems to like her new decor. In related, but non-sewing news, Zelda's adoption was official today! We were fostering her through the Humane Societies' Chances Program. She has made things interesting around here, and has fast become part of our family.

In another type of Zelda news, some of you may (hell, maybe no one will) recognize the name Zelda from a series of video games. Zelda is a princess, and Link is a main character in the games. Despite the fact that my daughter grew up playing these games with my husband, I don't know much more. Well, I do know that Link is a good character, and that he plays an ocarina in one of the games, and I know there is a mask called Majora's Mask. I know that last one because my daughter made a Majora's Mask that is gorgeous. She used strips of muslin in a fabric mâché kind of process. Anyhow, I digress. The point of this is that we went to Orlando yesterday to see the Orlando Symphony Orchestra's production of the music of The Legend of Zelda, as the games are referred to. The music was beautiful, and it was a fun but exhausting night.

So, in case it was keeping you up nights wondering, our little Zelda's name is from The Legend of Zelda, the video games.

I guess you could say that this weekend was all about Zelda. Or Zeldas.

I'll be glad to put in the final stitches and check this project off my 'to-do' list.

How do you feel about home dec sewing? Does it give you hives? Is it a necessary evil? Would you rather pay someone to do it for you? Or do you derive some sort of Zen pleasure from sewing all those straight seams?

One more thing, I have been having trouble with the comment section on my blog. I've been told that there is a problem with the comments section, and readers have been unable to comment. I've had trouble accessing them at times also. I'm trying different avenues trying to fix it, but Blogger is sometimes fickle. I welcome any suggestions or comments, and if you can't leave one below, my email is Satinbirddesigns at gmail (dot) com.

Be well, {Happy Monday},


ps...Pics may be out of order, as I'm trying out the Blogger app. They may also be too large, if that's the case I'll go back and fix them in the morning. {Fixed!}

Umm, no idea why/how this picture landed in this post.  Blogging past my bedtime, most likely.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Mini Haul ~or~ Why I Shop Online, and My Sewing 'To Do' List

Scroll down to the next picture if you want to skip the fabric store rant.

Hancock's Fabric is very close to where I live, but honestly I avoid it like the plague most of the time.  Sometimes they have really good pattern sales, so I bite the bullet and pay a visit.  The staff has a reputation around the area - any regular visitor knows that there is a certain factor lacking - let's just call it 'customer service', ok?

I bought fabric.  Three pieces.  Incredibly exciting range of color choices, I know.  Try to contain yourselves.  I took my 3 bolts to the cutting counter, surprised to see a new face.  I said it was nice to see a new face.  She said she was the new manager.  (Brief flash of high hopes.)  Then she walked away to check out a customer at the register, and sent an apathetic, move-any-slower-he'd-be-going-in-reverse, young man to cut my fabric.  OMG.  Can we just have some self-serve stations like at the Home Depot?

Manager Lady and Apathetic Man start having an across store convo about said Manager Lady going outside for a smoke. To which I said, on my way to the register, "Please don't leave, I need to check out."  She left.  On her way past me she said that Apathetic Man would check me out.  And this, my friends, is why I shop online.  I gotta hand it to Hancock's though, at least they are consistent.  

glutton for punishment
Fig. someone who is eager for a burden or some sort of difficulty; someone willing to accept a difficult task.  Andrea went to Hancock's today. She is a glutton for punishment. I enjoy managing difficult projects, but I am a glutton for punishment.
See also: gluttonpunishment
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

   Palate cleanser.  😌

Looking at my wardrobe, it is clear I really need summer tops (that fit).  Especially considering summer will be with us until somewhere around late October.  I'm really into wearing as little as possible most days while still being reasonably decent, because I get hot so easily.  Today I wore a jersey skirt and a tee.  The tee was thinner fabric than I like, but it's the only top I own that goes with the skirt I wore.
One of the reasons I went to the fabric store was to pick up a yard of their cotton interlock.  It's a heftier cotton, opaque, and makes a nice tee or tank top, with no show-thru.  It's the white fabric in the top photo.  I need a white tee for a couple of skirts I made this weekend but haven't taken pictures of yet to blog.  The two black fabrics from the top down are a bathing suit lining and a "Foxy ITY Knit" per the end panel.  I needed the lining, but the ITY knit I bought because it looked and felt quite nice, and I was surprised to find it there.  I've looked there for ITY knits in the past to no avail.
I have had this mental sewing list floating around my brain.  Sometimes to avoid the sewing ADD I need to write it down.  Here goes.
1) Last year sometime, I bought swim fabric.  We have been swimming for exercise, and have a week at the beach next month.  Despite my DD's objections, I plan to make a tankini style top. 
2) I've seen a bunch of cute tops that have been inspiring me.  Lori over at Girls in the Garden is always making something cute for herself or her girls,lace like B5497.  I like the built-in air conditioning back detail. I also have been wanting to make M6078, particularly views B and C, the center top and bottom versions. With all the working out we've been doing, I'm comfortable baring arms.  I'm also considering sewing up the Sewaholic Pendrell top in a knit.  I previously made it in lace and it fits well.
3) Dresses.  I love to wear dresses - Florida style.  Meaning ok with flip flops or comfy sandals.  Plus, there is that Maxi train coming through town.  There have been 32 reviews  on Pattern Review as of this writing, but I'm betting there are more to come.  They are all so cute.  I'm not completely sold on it for me, but I'm stewing on it. It's a quick and easy sew, and if I am not thrilled with the look, I can gift it or wear it as a nightie.
I also am liking the look of M6308 although it wasn't as popular on PR as 6559.  Still, it looks easy-breezy, and more forgiving of my stubborn belly pooch.
Also in today's haul is Vogue 8648 , a nice summer sheath with several options.  I particularly liked the versions that Sarah at Goodbye Valentino made; this one she called her Orange Blossom Special.
4) Shorts and pants aren't really on the sewing menu right now.  I think I've mentioned our family-wide weight loss efforts - even Crystal girl is on plan.  Pants/shorts - I'm just too lazy to alter when I lose weight, truth be told, and I've got enough to make it through the next few months.  
5). I've intended to buy a new sewing machine since before Christmas, but haven't decided which brand yet.  I have an old, low end Janome - no bells and whistles, and I've never been thrilled with the stitch quality. I use my Featherweight if I want pretty stitches. I have and love a beautiful Babylock 8 thread serger with coverstitch, but suffer through this annoying Janome. I need to go play with new ones and see what I can't live without.
6) Exercise tops.  I was gifted an XXL men's Nike top from the gym we attend.  I plan to cut it up and make a top for me.  Hubby has one, the fabric dries so fast.  
7) The pretty fabric above - the palate cleanser? Cute, eh? That was a late night purchase in which I did not realize it was tourist/travel themed.  It's cute, but I have a lot, and need a pattern which will use it up.  I'm thinking PJ's, robe, or beach dress/coverup. I thought I had found the perfect pattern, then realized it had to be cut on the bias, which will not work with this fabric.  I suppose I could cut it on the straight grain and put in a zipper.

That's all for now, folks.  Keep cool and be well,


Friday, July 6, 2012

Burda 7208 Finished Outfit

Happy Friday!  Have I told you all that I love Summer?  I absolutely love the more carefree schedule.  I managed to get some more sewing time in this week.

I hemmed the skirt from Burda 7208 using the coverstitch on my Babylock, and finished up the top from the same pattern.  I've worn the skirt a couple times, and it is incredibly comfortable.

If you read member grays08's review of this top pattern on Pattern Review, it will actually save me from typing up a long involved pattern rant.  She did a good job of reviewing and listing the issues with this pattern.  There are several issues, but in Burda's defense, it is a cute top.

There are a couple things I'd like to comment on, though.  By the way, this was my first-ever Burda pattern.   I'm not sure if the mysteries found in the instructions are typical of Burda or not because of my lack of prior Burda usage.

The first thing that I am not crazy about with this top pattern is the way the inside seams are left unfinished.  I know my ocd will show here, and it is a knit, but I really like the innards to look as good as the outside.  I followed the instruction to see where they were going - I could have deviated and cleaned it up.  What I did do differently, though, was topstitch all the seams, and coverstitched my hem, making it smaller than called for.

The picture below shows both an example of the insides, and the manner in which Burda instructs you to make a closing at the neck with a loop inside on one side and a button on the other.  I did this, but am not thrilled with that closure, so I will be changing that.

Grays08 talks in her review about a 'band'.  Burda instructs you to put a band over the gathered shoulder seams on the inside, then to stitch it down.  There is no other mention of this band, nor is there a pattern piece.  I winged it and made a self fabric band.  I also deviated from their instructions in the application.  They say to baste, then sew.  I just used some wonder tape to stick it on, then sewed around it in a rectangle, folding under the ends.  The purpose, as far as I can tell, is really just to stabilize the gathered shoulder seams, which could be accomplished in a number of ways.

Gathered shoulder.  The 'band' is applied on the underside.

The two reviews on Pattern Reviewfor Burda 7208 both make a note of this having a forward shoulder.    I feel it is slightly forward, but not terribly so.  I may feel differently after a good day's wear.

Back View
I like the V in the back, so I am glad I made it according to instructions.  I considered leaving it off.  

My top does not look exactly like the Burda envelope picture, because I chose to leave the drape off.  I think the drape is a really nice idea, (scroll down for pictures) and appears to be slimming, however, my fabric was just too thick to be amenable to an additional close fitting layer in this heat.  I had intended this to be a wearable muslin of sorts, because of my inexperience with Burda's fit, and because of my pattern adjustments (sort of 'on the fly' if you will, not particularly sanctioned adjustments), so I used an inexpensive cotton knit from stash.

Speaking of adjustments, here is what I did.  
1)  Cut shoulders at a size 10.
2)  Redrew the armscye to accommodate my bountiful bosom.
3)  From the bottom of the armscye down, I cut a size 16.
4)  I lengthened the bodice pattern (a good bit), also to account for the bosom.
5)  I lengthened the drape also.

***Disclaimer:  The above adjustments, intended as a personal FBA, worked well for me, however, in no way are they to be considered 'official', 'correct', or 'the right way'.  

Bodice front pictured.  Similar changes made to bodice back.

Drape piece, applied to front and back.  

In the drape piece pictured above, I've labeled the top and sides.  The sides are gathered, and adjusted to fit at the side seams of the top.  The drape is designed to have negative ease, stretching across the abdomen to the other side seam.

This makes me feel like a 12 year old taking a picture in my bathroom for Facebook.
 The above picture, although dark, gives a sense of how form fitting the drape makes this top.  Here I only have the front drape basted on.

A crappy, lightened, cell phone pic to show the band pinned on.

The drape was too wide, with not enough fabric recovery,  so it felt more like a pouch.  Could be handy, though.  
In conclusion, I do like the style of this casual top.  I can see wearing a top with drapes applied in a lighter fabric, such as an ITY Knit, of which the skirt is made, so I would likely make it again.  I would make the top itself closer fitting from below the bust to the hem, because the shirt will bunch a bit under the drape.  I would also consider making the front a V neckline as well.  I believe I will get some wear out of both pieces from this pattern.  

I did mentioned that I'm trying to shake up my tendency for solids, so 50% print isn't bad pour moi!

Have a fabulous weekend,