Tracy Bee Top from Seen and Sewn Patterns

Tracey Bee Top Pattern

Fashion Sewing | Tracy Bee Top Sewing Pattern

I had the chance to connect with Areille of Seen and Sewn Patterns over Instagram and was able to see her efforts into creating and launching her first pattern – Tracy Bee!  That is quite a feat so I was definitely impressed.  We got to talking and Areille so kindly gifted me her pattern that I will be reviewing here and hopefully inspiring some of you to try out for yourself!

Tracey Bee Top Pattern

Fashion Sewing | Top Pattern Review

Tracy Bee is a fun swing top pattern that lets you explore your creativity from the handmade revolutionist Areille of Seen and Sewn Patterns!  Tracy Bee is a printable PDF pattern that comes in two versions – an A-line shaped top and crop top length with three sleeve options including long, short and sleeveless.  This top is visually striking with two triangle inserts near the shoulder and v-shaped back neckline.  This pattern would be great to dress up for the office whether you go for the A-line or wear the crop with a layering tank underneath.  You can easily dress this up for a night on the town or feel spunky while casually strolling around town.  The design opportunities are endless with the two triangle inserts!

Click on the picture below to order your Tracy Bee pattern from Seen and Sewn Patterns:Seen and Sewn Logo

Materials:

The pattern booklet recommends lightweight woven fabrics, quilting cotton, voile and rayon

  • Matching all-purpose polyester sewing thread
  • Universal needle
  • Marking pencil
  • Single-fold bias tape for the sleeveless option

Purchased from:

LA Fashion District

I purchased my fabric from Downtown LA of course… 😉

The Process:

Tracey Bee Top Pattern

The fabric hunt took me a bit as I wasn’t finding the inspiration I needed until I came across this sage green polka dot gauzy goodness just flowing in the breeze outside of one the fabric shops downtown.  It was hard to resist and after a bit of bargaining I got it at a great price!  I decided to go for black for the triangle inserts because they would match the polka dots and I want this top to be versatile.  These colors lend itself to that so it’s a winner for me!

Tracey Bee Top Pattern

Tracy Bee is a beginner’s pattern so if you have experience with woven fabrics it is an uncomplicated sew. What you really need to pay attention to is making sure you cut out all the pieces correctly as there are several small pieces – including the inserts and the facings.

Tracey Bee Top Pattern

Tracy Bee has 11 steps.  I was able to complete this over a course of 5 days doing one step at a time.  It probably took me about 3 hours in total to complete from cutting out the PDF pattern to hemming the top.  It would probably take less time if you worked straight through and didn’t have a kitty trying to eat your thread and pins. Haha

First you sew up the darts.  I used to love sewing up darts in college!  It was something about getting the right mark every time.  I haven’t sewn a dart in a while so this was a nice treat.  I clipped all the notches as instructed but just to be sure I used my tailors chalk to outline where exactly the dart should lie so I could hit it as precisely as possibly.  I wasn’t as successful as I had hoped but let’s just blame that on the gauzy fabric shall we?

Tracey Bee Top Pattern

Next up- you attach your triangle inserts to the front main fabric which is less complicated then it seems.  Then you attach your center front yoke to the inserts and the front main fabric which can be a little tricky to keep everything lined up so go slow.  I feel like I overestimated the seam allowance on the center front portion of the yoke and main fabric so it ended up popping out a bit instead of lying flat against my clavicle.  To fix my mistake I pressed it down and sewed on an edgestitch so it wouldn’t pop out.  That seemed to work out just fine.

Tracey Bee Top Pattern

Your next few steps are to attach the back main fabric then sew on the facing and complete the facing with an edgestitch so it lies flat.  Then you’re in the home stretch!  From here all you need to do is attach your sleeves, sew up the side seams and hem your new top! But take note that Tracy Bee has an asymmetrical hem and therefore you will need to pay special attention along your side seams to make sure you sew a clean rounded edge.

Tracey Bee Top Pattern

Now Tracy Bee is ready for action! 🙂

Hiccups:

Tracey Bee Top Pattern

I mentioned a few in “the process”

  1. The gauziness of my choice of fabric made my darts not as stiff and precise as I would have liked 😉
  2. I overestimated the seam allowance while attaching the yoke to the main fabric – a simple edgestitch was the solution
  3. To make up for my darts I had to use a little more seam allowance on the sides for the top to match up correctly

Overall, it didn’t take away from the integrity of the pattern as it turned out true to form!

Tracey Bee Top Pattern

Recommendations:

Please use a stiffer cotton than I did!  🙂

Also, be sure to trace out your darts (especially the center line) on the wrong side of the fabric – this will help you immensely especially if you are new to darts.

Tracey Bee Top Pattern

Tracey Bee Top PatternHappy Sewing!

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Dune Top Pattern Hack by Valentine & Stitch

Fashion Sewing | Dune Top Sewing Pattern

***Valentine & Stitch patterns are sadly no longer available in the marketplace***

I think at this point you may have a suspicion that I love patterns from Valentine and Stitch… or maybe I wasn’t obvious enough!  I didn’t venture too much into knits until I started sewing up their patterns.  It’s really been great and has given me a lot of confidence in sewing stretchy fabric.  My most recent make was the Dune maxi which you can read about here.  My next course of action was the Dune top which was my intention from the beginning.  I even bought fabric for it way ahead of time!  I was planning on sewing it one weekend and realized that I didn’t have it printed out which lead me to stumble upon my Deer and Doe Plantain pattern which you can read about here.  I’m currently putting together what I think would be a versatile casual work wardrobe for the office.  I have two shirts down – Deer and Doe Plantain and I just completed two more of the Dune top.

Tank Top Sewing Pattern

Fashion Sewing | Top Pattern Review

Now, I did this one a little differently.  I created one Dune based on the pattern (you will notice that this fabric matches one of my Plantain shirts) and one I hacked!  Why would I hack a perfectly good pattern you might ask?  Well it really had nothing to do with the pattern but more so with my fabric options.  I wanted to sew up my second Dune in a lightweight gray jersey but I was short a few inches on my fabric.  Then I took out some extra black jersey knit fabric which I had plenty of but once I saw it laid out I thought to myself I need a little oomph! So I looked through the rest of my stash and realized I had some matching fabric in pink, purple and blue.  What could I do?!  Color blocking naturally 😉

The pink and black color block Dune was born!

The Low Down:Tank Top Sewing Pattern

Dune is a summery top or maxi dress from the lovely Helen and Rich of Valentine and Stitch.  Dune is a printable PDF pattern with the option of sewing the top or the dress with a round neck or a scoop neck. This garment is meant to be flowy and flattering as it drapes away from your body but still hugs you in all the right places.  You can sew your top or dress in a stretch jersey or light cotton jersey.  This is a very versatile pattern that can be enjoyed while hanging out at the beach our dressed up for a party or even dressed professionally for a day in the office.

VS logo

Materials:

Stretch jersey such as viscose or rayon jersey, bamboo jersey, and silk jersey OR light cotton jersey with a good drape or for a more stable fabric use a heavier weight cotton jersey, crepe jersey or a scuba

(*If you are using a fabric with less stretch, you may wish to lengthen the neck and arm bands slightly.)

  • Ballpoint needle
  • Twin needle (optional)
  • Coverstitch machine (optional)
  • All-purpose polyester sewing thread

Purchased from:

LA fash District

I purchased my fabric from the Los Angeles Fabric District.  I purchased my thread from Joann.com – Gutterman 10 and 307.

The Process:

Here is what I did-

Tank Top Sewing Pattern

I used my dress form and my first Dune to get an idea of how high I wanted the apex of what I will call the bottom portion of the top.  On the small sized pattern, I decided to measure down 7″ from the center back and 6 1/2″ from the back side seam then I connected the points.  For the center front I measured down 6 inches and 6 3/4″ from the front side seam then I connected those two points as well.

I cut the pattern on the new line and attached the pieces to tracing paper where I added a 3/8” seam allowance like the pattern calls for.  I trued the sides and cut the new pieces out.

I pinned the top pieces to the pink fabric and the bottom pieces to the black fabric.  I was sure to start my color block below the sleeves so that I wouldn’t have to deal with a multi-colored armband although I’m sure I could have gotten away with one color.

Next, I cut all my pieces out and sewed the two front pieces together and the two back pieces together being very careful at the apex not to have a weird ripple.  I then sewed everything as the directions explained.

Tank Top Sewing Pattern

Tank Top Sewing Pattern

Tank Top Sewing Pattern

This probably isn’t something I would usually do but I really like how it turned out.  I am especially happy with how the color block seam lays and how the apex hits right at the bridge of my bust.

Hiccups:

My only complaint is that I think my fabric stretched a little too much around the neckline but I think pressing it was a good remedy.  This fabric is quite stretchy so some unwanted stretch is inevitable.

Tank Top Sewing Pattern

My other hiccup wasn’t on this hack but on my first Dune top and that was because the fabric wasn’t as stretchy so the side seams pointed out a bit more than I was used to. This also became a problem when sewing on the neck and arm bands.  The directions state to cut your bands longer if you have less stretch in your fabric which I forgot about. Ultimately it turned out fine because once I wore it the fabric softened up a bit and the sides and bands became more flattering.

Tank Top Sewing Pattern

Recommendations: 

Tank Top Sewing Pattern

One thing that I did was I trimmed the excess seam allowance from the neckband and the armband before I attached them to the bodice.  That way they would lie flatter and not get stuck under my presser foot which is a problem I tend to have.

Also if you do plan on doing the hack be sure measure where the seam line will hit your body best so it is most flattering.  Please use a ruler for precision!!

Otherwise have fun sewing up Dune!  You won’t be disappointed! 🙂

Tank Top Sewing Pattern

Happy Sewing!

Plantain Shirt Pattern from Deer and Doe – Free Pattern

I’m currently on a kick to sew up practical pieces for my work wardrobe.  There is so much to sew and so little time so I kicked off my first work wear pattern with the Deer and Doe Plantain Shirt Pattern with a ¾ sleeve and no elbow patches.

Plantain Shirt Pattern from Deer and Doe

I recently was able to enjoy a three-day weekend at home and while I was planning on sewing up a different pattern I realized I didn’t print it out.  Luckily while I was looking through my pattern stash I found the Deer and Doe printout that I almost forgot about.  I continued on to my fabric stash and found I had some extra fabric from making my Valentine and Stitch Angelina dress.  Time to make a new shirt!

The Low Down:

Plantain Shirt

I haven’t even mentioned that this pattern is FREE!  You can download the PDF pattern by clicking on the photo above that will take you to the Deer and Doe pattern shop.

Deer and Doe

It comes in short, three quarter and long sleeve options.  The latter two having an optional elbow patch.  It is fitted at the shoulder and around the bust then flares at the waist.  It’s very flattering!

Materials:

  • Recommended fabrics: Lightweight jersey knit (cotton, rayon, linen, wool) with 40-50% stretch
  • Optional: 10” clear elastic and twin needle

Purchased from:

LA fash District

I used leftover fabric from my V&S Angelina project that I bought in Downtown Los Angeles.

The Process:

Plantain Shirt Pattern from Deer and Doe

The Plantain T-Shirt is a quick sew.  If you have a couple hours to spare, you’ll be able to get this done and wear it right away.

The directions are straightforward.  I’m not used to European measurements so I measured myself and went with a size 38.  It fits perfectly.

I cut my fabric out using pinking shears although it isn’t necessary with a jersey knit since it won’t fray. Since I was using spare fabric I didn’t have enough matching thread so I went with a softer pink.  It is more visible especially if you mess up but not noticeable unless you are looking for it.

Plantain Shirt Pattern from Deer and Doe

Also, this pattern calls for a 5/8” seam allowance which is pretty substantial.  You end up trimming the allowance down per the directions.

There are a total of 4 steps.  Shoulders/neckband, sleeves, side seam, hem.  Finished.

 

Plantain Shirt Pattern from Deer and Doe

 

 

I’m hoping to wear this tucked in and un-tucked with work trousers or a mid-calf skirt and a fitted knit blazer with loafers.

Hiccups:

I had to undo some stitching around the neckband that got a little wonky but no other issues otherwise.

Recommendations:

Definitely measure yourself beforehand as this is a form fitting blouse.  You want to be comfortable around the underarms and bust when wearing it.

Plantain Shirt Pattern from Deer and Doe

Take it slow when pinning the neckband, sewing it on and finishing it.  I cut a small clip on the center front neckband to make attaching it to the neck easier.

Look!  I even made a second one just a few days later!

Plantain Shirt Pattern from Deer and Doe

Happy Sewing!

Kwik Sew 3167 Misses Lingerie

Kwik Sew 3167 Misses Lingerie

The Kwik Sew 3167 pattern has been sitting on my sewing table for quite some time now.  I was originally planning on sewing these with my girlfriends but we were only able to get through one and we haven’t been able to reschedule another session.  Luckily, due to a recent long weekend and lots of sewjo I finally completed my lingerie set.

Kwik Sew 3167 Review:

The Kwik Sew 3167 Misses Lingerie Lace Bra Camisole and Panties pattern comes with two camisole versions and four panty versions.  The camisole can be sewn in all lace or with stretch edging lace.  There is an option for boy-cut panties that can be sewn in all lace or with a stretch edging lace. They can also be sewn in two thong styles with either a lace back or string back.
Kwik set 3167

I sewed up version B for the camisole and version C for the panties all in lace.

One major modification I made was to use narrower stretch lace at 6″ for the panties as I could not find many colors I liked in the 8″ width the pattern called for but ultimately it worked out very well.  I just had to adjust the pattern slightly as you can see HERE:


Materials:

  • Recommended fabrics: Lightweight fabric with Spandex Lycra, cotton Lycra, sheer Lycra, stretch lace.
  • All-purpose polyester thread
  • Bobby pin
  • Optional:  If you trace your pattern you will need tracing paper (I use medical pattern paper), markers, and a ruler.

Purchased from:

LA fash District

I purchased my materials from the Downtown Los Angeles Fabric District

The Process:

I started with the panties because they are extremely simple.  You just sew one seam and secure the cotton lining.  It literally takes less than 10 minutes.  Talk about a satisfying sew!

I moved onto the bra cups which is also one seam down the middle- you just need to be sure you don’t mix up the inner cup and the outer cup.  They look very similar.  After you secure the two together at the midpoint you sew two baste stitches along the bottom edge of the bra cups.  You then pull the loose threads on each side so the cups tighten or scrunch up evenly and fit between the notches on the camisole band. You simply sew the cups on making sure to align the centerfront and notches then you sew the back seam and remove the baste stitches.

Your next step is to make the straps and sew them on.  This part was difficult the first time around to be quite honest.  After sewing up the straps they were still inside out and we struggled to turn them right side out without ripping the fabric.  Luckily the manual shows you how to turn it right side out using a bobby pin and a small cut in the fabric.  See the handy photo directions.  This was a life saver and made it so easy the second time around!  After you just make sure to measure the straps to fit your frame and attached them at the notch points.


There you have it!  A very simple camisole set that you can complete in an afternoon. 🙂

Hiccups:

  • My straps ended being slightly longer so I had to re-adjust them which wasn’t too bad
  • I also sewed one side of the lace on the wrong side.  I didn’t notice it until sometime after I finished sewing it.  It’s very subtle luckily.

Recommendations:

  • Use the bobby pin method!  It saves so much time
  • Trace out your pattern to make more for others

Happy Sewing!

Simplicity – New Look Pattern 6378 Misses’ Easy Kimono with Sleeve Hack

I wasn’t sure what I was going to sew for sleeve fest but with a little patience it all came together.  I had plans to sew a long kimono to wear with my Valentine and Stitch Dune Maxi.  I went shopping in the Downtown LA fabric district and picked up this beautiful yellow floral print fabric.  I was initially going for a black printed fabric that I thought I could wear more often but then I saw this print and fell in love.  Anyway my friend and I decided to walk out of the fabric district that day and stumbled upon a cute little shop.  They had these beautiful dresses and tops with the fluttery flowy bell sleeves.  She bought a dress and I bought a top.  The more I thought about what I wanted to do with my kimono I realized that the sleeve of her dress would be a perfect match.  So I went ahead and traced the sleeve when I got home and created my pattern.  I ordered my kimono pattern from Simplicity and with a little work this kimono was born.

The Low Down:

The New Look Pattern 6378 Misses’ Easy Kimonos with Length Variations from Simplicity Patterns comes in a paper pattern and has 4 variations.  Long with sleeves, long and sleeveless, mid-length with sleeves, short with sleeves. I had been eyeing this pattern for a while but couldn’t fit it into my sewing schedule.  This is a very stylish pattern that can be sewn in a variety of fabrics perfect for summertime.

Kimono pic

Materials:

This pattern has several fabric options including:

  • Batiks, challis, charmeuse, chiffon, cotton lawn, lightweight cotton types, crepe de chine, double georgette, lightweight linen types, silky types, voile
  • All-purpose polyester thread
  • For pattern B – Two packages of ½” wide single fold bias tape

Purchased from:

LA fash District

I purchased my fabric from the Los Angeles Fabric District.

The Process:

My process was a bit thrown off with this pattern.  I had ordered it on August 14.  The order confirmation stated that I would receive shipping confirmation once shipped.  A week passed and I received nothing so I checked my account and it said my order was still being processed.  I was very disappointed so I ordered an alternative from Simplicity.  This time it was a PDF pattern.  I printed the pattern and was ready to put it together.  The very next day I received my original Simplicity pattern.  I was a little annoyed that I now have two patterns but relieved because the PDF of the other pattern was not user-friendly.

I started on this project on a Friday night.  I traced pattern B in XS, cut it out then cut out the fabric.

Processed with VSCO with a5 preset

The next day I stole a few minutes away and sewed up the back seam and staystitched the back neck.  Realizing I had a few more minutes later on in the day before we were going to head out for the evening I quickly sewed on the sleeves and the side seams.  The directions call for a double stitch on the armhole then to trim the excess seam allowance as you can see in the photo below.

Then I got home a little after 10 p.m. with no intention of sewing but the machine was calling and I answered… I added my flutter sleeves and it was EVERYTHING!  My face was the heart eyes emoji!

If you want to make a similar flutter sleeve measure the sleeve opening for the garment you are working with.  Draw a circle using the measurement as the diameter then split that circle in half.  You should have a half moon now.  Draw a line away from the edges of the half circle on the top, bottom then draw a line away from the center to the length of your preference on each side.  Connect each point to create a larger half circle/moon. Erase the original diameter line.  You should be left with a thick backwards “C”.  Add seam allowance to each side.  The small half circle part of the pattern should be cut on the fold.  As you can see on my pattern the “cut on fold” lines are not in line with each.  I traced this sleeve from another garment so I improvised while cutting instead of making a new pattern.  I may just have to write a pattern hack tutorial post but for now hopefully this helps.

That had to be my stopping point for the night. All that was left was hemming the sleeves and adding the single-fold bias tape which I completed over the next few days.

To the say the least I love this kimono!  I want to wear it with everything.  I think I’ll do just that!  There are just a couple more weeks of summer left but I’m certain I’ll be able to transition this kimono into fall as temperatures won’t be dropping drastically for awhile here in Los Angeles.  Yay!

Hiccups:

First hiccup – ordering a second pattern I didn’t need. 🙁

Second very minor hiccup – the armhole opening of my flutter sleeve was slightly larger than the armhole of the pattern.  I didn’t spend too much time measuring this out so I just sewed the excess back into the sleeve seam so it just adds more flutter.

Third hiccup – I followed the directions on how to pin the single-fold bias binding but once I sewed it on I came up short and had to cut an extra 3 inch piece to be able to attach the beginning and end pieces.  The main fabric ended up stretching a bit while I was sewing causing my binding to come up short.  I’m not too thrilled with the bias binding as I think it looks stiff compared to the rest of the garment.  You can see a bit of how it curls in the photos.

Recommendations:

Be very careful when cutting.  This pattern calls for mostly slippery fabrics so you just want to make sure that you don’t inadvertently move the fabric while cutting or stretch it out.

Happy sewing!

Dune Maxi Dress Sewing Pattern by Valentine & Stitch

Fashion Sewing | Dune Maxi Dress Sewing Pattern

***Valentine & Stitch patterns are sadly no longer available in the marketplace***

I have always steered clear of maxi dresses not because I don’t love them but because they are always too long.  Well that all changed when Helen and Rich made Dune into a maxi dress!  I think it was meant to be! 🙂

I’m short but still relatively average at 5’3”.  I love the number 3 so I’m ok with this. Lol 😉

I had planned to sew up this dress as soon as Helen posted a picture of her wearing it in a black and white floral pattern. At the time, I was planning a trip to the fabric district that very weekend so I asked Helen how much fabric I would need in preparation.  Helen is so kind and helpful that she messaged me back right away and I was able to get all my supplies even before the pattern release. 🙂 Thank you Helen!  Anyway, I mentioned to her my hesitation with long dresses (being that I’m short haha) and little did I know that Rich was already preparing a tutorial for lengthen or shortening Dune.  It couldn’t be any more perfect! 🙂 Thank you Rich!

Maxi Dress Pattern

Fashion Sewing | Maxi Dress Pattern Review

Dune is a summery top or maxi dress from the lovely Helen and Rich of Valentine and Stitch.  Dune is a printable PDF pattern with the option of sewing the top or the dress with a round neck or a scoop neck. This garment is meant to be flowy and flattering as it drapes away from your body but still hugs you in all the right places.  You can sew your top or dress in a stretch jersey or light cotton jersey.  This is a very versatile pattern that can be enjoyed while hanging out at the beach our dressed up for a party or even dressed professionally for a day in the office.

V and S

Materials:

Stretch jersey such as viscose or rayon jersey, bamboo jersey, and silk jersey OR light cotton jersey with a good drape or for a more stable fabric use a heavier weight cotton jersey, crepe jersey or a scuba

(*If you are using a fabric with less stretch, you may wish to lengthen the neck and arm bands slightly.)

  • Ballpoint needle
  • Twin needle (optional)
  • Coverstitch machine (optional)
  • All-purpose polyester sewing thread

Purchased from:

LA fash District

I purchased my fabric from the Los Angeles Fabric District.  I purchased my thread from Joann.com – Gutterman 030.

The Process:

Maxi Dress Pattern

I had laid out the steps for sewing up Dune prior to my start.

Day 1 was cut out the PDF pattern and fabric.

Day 2 was complete step 1 and step 2.

Day 3 was step 3 and step 4.

Day 4 was complete the dress.

It didn’t really turn out that way.  First it took me awhile to cut everything out because I went out of town a couple times so Day 1 took longer than expected.  However, day 2 through 4 took me 2 hours in total.  I started sewing Dune one day after work and an hour went by and I was already halfway done.  I had dinner then I thought to myself I really want to keep sewing.  So off I went and in another hour I was all done!  That easy and just such a beautiful pattern.  I don’t usually get excited enough to finish a pattern in one day but with Valentine and Stitch patterns I do!  Plus, I feel like I understand how their patterns work so I rarely have a hiccup.  Dune was smooth sailing for me which was an awesome feeling!

Maxi Dress Pattern

I sewed my dress in a size small.  I thought that it would be too long for me but when I measured everything out the size small was just the right length.  I probably could make it even longer to be honest for a dressier look with wedge heels.

Maxi Dress Pattern

I sewed up the shoulder seams with no problem.  I opted for the hidden neckband and armbands.  This is a very nice detail and it strengthens the neck and arm openings so I highly recommend sewing it this way.  There is an option for an exposed neckband which I might have to try next. In between sewing up the neckband and armbands you sew up the side seam.  You also must press your garment several times to make sure everything is set in place before you sew.

Maxi Dress Pattern

Finally, you sew up your hem.  This is a rather long hem so it takes a while to prep it for hemming.  I eyeball my hems so it doesn’t take me too long.  That works for me but I do not recommend you do that unless you have a bit more practice.

Viola! The Dune maxi is complete with a month of summer to spare but being that I live in Los Angeles this dress will serve me well through the fall! 🙂

Hiccups:

No hiccups! Can you believe it?!

Recommendations:

Since you are working with knit fabric be careful not to stretch or let your excess fabric fall while cutting or sewing.  This will distort your final garment and you will likely not be happy with the result.

Maxi Dress Pattern

When you are sewing the final step of your hidden neckband and armbands go slow and stay close to the edge of the fabric for a uniform look.

Maxi Dress Pattern

Happy Sewing!

Aires Leggings by Colette Patterns

I finally finished Aires!  Let me tell you, July was not a very productive sewing month.  Sometimes life happens and the things you love get pushed to the side. Finally, I got some time and completed my project.  I now have a full workout outfit for the first time ever!

The Low Down:

Aires pic

The Aires PDF pattern from Colette is a pair of capri fitted athletic tights with a hidden pocket.  You can order the pattern by itself from Colette Patterns or subscribe to their monthly online publication Seamwork and use one of your two monthly credits to download the pattern. This pattern should take 3 hours if you make no mistakes unlike me. 🙂

Seamwork

Materials:

  • All-purpose polyester sewing thread
  • Ballpoint needle
  • Ballpoint twin needle (optional)
  • 2 yards of ¼” knit elastic
  • Any mid to heavy weight athletic fabric with 4-way stretch (at least 25%) such as nylon, spandex, and rayon blends such as ponte knit and milliskin
  • Stretch mesh fabric for contrast panel (optional)

Purchased from:

LA fash District

I purchased my materials from the Los Angeles fabric district.  I’m using the same fabric that I used for the Ultimate Sports Bra from So Sew Easy.

The Process:

I think this is my first official pair of me made pants

Aires is a bit of a different pattern.  Most patterns you cut on the fold but since this is a knit most of the pattern pieces are cut as one whole piece.  With this in mind it is necessary to not only have enough fabric to distribute the full pattern pieces correctly but also you need to really pay attention to whether the pattern piece needs to be placed face up or down.

I decided to trace the pattern pieces so I could lay them out all at the same time.  This was especially important because I was using a printed fabric and needed to make sure all the pieces were in the right direction.

Despite my self-imposed setbacks this was a fairly straight-forward project. I used a standard sewing machine and it worked out great.  I sewed my Aires in a size XS.

Thanks to cutting out the full pieces all the notches and circles matched up nicely.  I was a little nervous about the hidden back pocket but it was actually really quite logical and so much easier than I realized.

I used a medium zigzag stitch to sew the pieces together and for topstitching. I really liked how the topstitching turned out.  You can use a cover stitch or a twin needle but zigzag worked just as well for me.

Hiccups:

There were more than I anticipated of my own doing of course.

Realizing that I needed duplicate pieces I ended up tracing the original patterns but I forgot to look at the cutting layout!  Well I actually did look at it but I made a mistake and cut two pieces in the same direction because I didn’t double check my work.

I found this out when I tried to sew my legs together only to find I had two left legs.  I actually realized earlier I had made a mistake but I was just like “close enough!” haha I paid for that later.

My machine also decided to pull its same old tricks and I ended up using the seam ripper quite a bit.

Recommendations:

The directions and photos were really clear and concise.  I do believe this would take anyone 3 hours as long as they pay close attention to the directions and cutting layout.

Don’t forget to use the stretch guide when selecting your fabric!  You can find it on page 3 of your PDF instruction manual.

When cutting out your fabric I would suggest using a rotary cutter if you have one.

Happy Sewing!

 

Ultimate Sports Bra from So Sew Easy

Ultimate Sports Bra from So Sew Easy

Being that I’m very into my workout routine I was ready to dive into sewing up whatever sports bra I could find!  I stumbled across two patterns and both were for free.  I decided to go with the Ultimate Sports Bra from So Sew Easy because it seemed to have a good amount of support and I really liked the style lines.

Ultimate Sports Bra

The Low Down:

The So Sew Easy Ultimate Sports Bra is a free pattern with a comprehensive video tutorial.  You can download the pattern here.  This is ONLY the pattern.  This link will direct you to Craftsy.com where you will need to sign up for an account if you do not already have one to access this pattern.  Directions are not included so you have to either go read the directions here or watch the tutorial here.  I highly recommend watching the tutorial and keeping that in the background as you sew. I also recommend watching the tutorial before you head to the fabric store which was something I really wish I had done.

Ultimate Sports Bra

Materials:

  • 1/2 yard of Spandex/nylon 4-way stretch or lycra milliskin nylon Spandex
  • 2 yards of foldover elastic to match the main fabric. Either 5/8” or 3/4” width.
  • Thread to match
  • #10 ball point needle
  • Optional: Bra cups

Purchased from:

I purchased all of my supplies from the Los Angeles Fabric District.  If any of you have been there you know you can get some great fabric for an outstanding deal.  The So Sew Easy blog provides links in the materials section of their tutorial for you to easily purchase these items on Amazon.com.  Otherwise, your local fabric store or favorite online shop.

The Process:

I usually prep my pattern, fabric and instructions in steps.  It takes me a few days to get everything together as I don’t have big blocks of time to spend on them each day.

Untitled 1

Day 1:  Cut out paper pattern and fabric

Tip from Mayra of So Sew Easy:  When pattern pieces are drafted on a fold and you are using slippery fabric always trace that pattern piece and draw the matching side so your new pattern piece is one unfolded pattern piece.  This will prevent slippage issues and inadvertently cutting incorrectly.  She also suggests using a rotary cutter. 

To be completely honest, I didn’t do this.  Not because I didn’t want to but because I cut the pattern and fabric out before I watched the video/read the tutorial.  My pieces turned out just fine though.

Day 2: Watch video on my bus ride home.

Day 3:

This happened to be a Saturday and my husband was out kayak fishing so guess what I got to do?!  Work on this pattern until my sewing machine and I got into an altercation… haha

Ultimate Sports Bra  Ultimate Sports Bra

I carefully watched each step of the tutorial in sequence with my sewing.  I sewed the back pieces together with ease once my machine cooperated (more on that to come).  Next was the front and the sides.  Then you apply the facing which was my favorite step because the facing is applied to the front interior and you sew the sides to the bra but not on a seam. The outcome is the zigzag stitch appears on the right side of the sports bra giving it a RTW princess seam look.

You can see that here:

Ultimate Sports Bra

You will also see that the facing is left unsewn where it lies on the straps.  This is left open so you can add bra cups if you so choose.

Ultimate Sports Bra

Sew the shoulder seams together then measure the sleeve opening and the neckline opening with your measuring tape.  Subtract 1” then measure your foldover elastic and cut.  Be sure to double check this as for some reason I messed my measuring up and I’m not sure how.  You will need to fold each in half lengthwise and sew the ends together at 1/4” to create a circle.  Measure as directed and sew them on the openings while stretching the elastic being sure that they enclose the fabric and reach around the whole perimeter of the opening.

Day 4:

Finally, you will create a band for the bottom of the sports bra where you will be directed to measure around the opening of the bra and subtract 1”-2”.  You will then draw this on a piece of large paper and create your own band pattern.  Attach to the bottom of the bra and you are complete! 🙂

Hiccups:

My machine!  Sometimes it really seems like it is plotting against me… Here is my frustration: I spent so much time and thread trying to get the tension just right.  I am using a regular sewing machine by the way so I use a zigzag stitch for my knit projects.  My machine doesn’t seem to care for a narrow zigzag stitch unless it really really feels like it.  For the most part it will sew in a wavy line then skip a few stitches then just maybe do what it’s supposed to.

Unhappy stitches below:

Ultimate Sports Bra

My machine seems to favor a wider zigzag but doesn’t like it if I switch between zigzag and straight stitch.  It gets confused… Let’s just say my seam ripper should just be medically attached as a 6th finger.

I cleaned up the mess and this is how it turned out.  Not bad when my machine is happy!

Ultimate Sports Bra

Recommendations:

  • Watch the tutorial before you get your supplies and before you start sewing this project.
  • Test your machine’s zigzag capacity on thread that you don’t mind wasting if using a regular sewing machine.
  • Double check your foldover elastic and band measurements before you cut.
  • If you’re anything like me you’ll need to keep that seam ripper handy. 😉

Ultimate Sports Bra

Angelina Dress by Valentine & Stitch

***Valentine & Stitch patterns are sadly no longer available in the marketplace***

Move over summer shirt dresses Angelina here! I was so excited when Helen of Valentine and Stitch told me that she and Rich were going to be releasing a new pattern.  I already loved their Lotus top so I knew I would love this one too and of course it did not disappoint!

If you aren’t familiar with Valentine and Stitch they are a husband and wife pattern designing duo with two sweet children and a lovely home filled with not only lots of love but lots of funky wallpaper too!  If you follow Helen on IG she’ll let you know how she feels about that pesky paper! 😉 It’s actually kind of funny so you should take a look! But enough about the wallpaper, I’ve only know Helen for a short time through Instagram but I feel like we’ve been friends for a long time.  She’s warm, welcoming, inspiring and a true designer.  It’s a pleasure to be able to sew up her patterns and to share them with you!

Angelina can be sewn up in 6 versions – that’s a lot of options! 🙂 Including a flutter sleeve top, sleeveless top, flutter sleeve dress, sleeveless dress, long flutter sleeve dress, long flutter sleeve blouse. When I saw the flutter sleeve dress option I was drooling over the sleeves! (Speaking of sleeves – make sure to join in on #sleevefest2017 running through August 31, 2017 co-hosted by Helen and Diane from @dream.cut.sew) Considering that reaction you would think I would’ve sewn that one up… but… then I thought about it and went for the sleeveless dress instead.  I did so because I want a fun summer casual dress that I can wear with sneakers and over a bathing suit for running around in this Los Angeles heat.  I think I made the right choice. 🙂

Anyway, I headed to the fabric district one Saturday morning with one of my bestest of friends and had a fantastic time not only buying fabric for Angelina but a ton of other projects too (but that’s another post!).  I bought this mauve colored and slightly textured jersey knit after perusing the striped knit section and thinking to myself “Do I really want to line these up?”.  That was a big NO, so solids won that trip!

Now that I had my fabric it was time to sew up Angelina!  Let me just say that Angelina is such a satisfying sew! I was planning on doing one step every day and I started out like that until I got to the third day and realized that I could probably get it done in 30 minutes.  So I did just that with a little help from the sweetest sewing buddy there is! (Take a look at Howard trying to eat my pins when he thought I wasn’t looking!)

Each step was easy to follow, from laying out the pattern, to cutting it out and sewing it up.  It’s literally about 5 steps from sewing up the shoulder seams, to sewing on the neckband, then sewing in the armhole hem, sewing up the side seams then hemming your dress!  Viola!  Summer dress ready and I couldn’t be happier! 🙂

One more thing!  Follow my blog with Bloglovin  I decided to join after some great feedback from Anna of Anna-Jo Sews. 🙂

Barcelona Fabric Stores – Ribes and Casals & Nunoya

While in Barcelona, I had the opportunity to visit two great fabric stores, Ribes and Casals and Nunoya.  Both stores are in walking distance from each other in the L’Eixample district.


Ribes and Casals is a sewist’s dream…  You walk into roll after roll of beautiful fabric from floor to ceiling.  I was drooling.  The place was super busy with so many people buying materials for projects that I can’t even begin to imagine.  There is basement level as well with all sorts of notions and findings.  This is a bustling store but the service was wonderful and I was able to find some great fabrics for summer sewing.

About Ribes and Casals:  Founded in 1933, by Joan Ribes Daura and Joan Casals Alabau.  Ribes and Casals has 5 stores across Spain including Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, Palma de Mallorca and Malaga. They carry a large collection of fabrics which they categorize as fashion, home apparel, carnival, dance costumes, flamenco, crafts, and children’s fabrics.

Address:

Carrer de Roger de Lluria, 7
08010 Barcelona, Spain

http://www.ribescasals.com/en.html

Nunoya, seriously what an awesome store!  I wanted everything in there!  Absolutely everything.  It was just so cool.  This store is much smaller than Ribes and Casals but the quality and beauty of the fabric is top notch.  They were also just very kind and helpful!

Nunoya is a Japanese, European, and American fabric store with high quality fabric in a variety of prints.  Now that may sound silly that I’m visiting a Japanese fabric store while visiting Spain but this store cannot be missed.  Check out the picture below and the fabrics I ended up taking home with me.

Fabrics: Echino Bee Geometric Silver Metallic and Nani Iro Fuccra Rakuen – St. Moritz (Double Guaze)

Address:

Carrer de Trafalgar, 14
08010 Barcelona, Spain

https://nunoya.com/