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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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

Lotus by Valentine & Stitch – Free Pattern!

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

Who doesn’t love a free pattern??  I got to know the lovely Helen of Valentine & Stitch during the #sewapril17 challenge and I’m so happy that I did!  Not only is Helen super friendly and kind but she and her husband are talented pattern designers so of course I was delighted when she announced that they would be releasing their first free pattern!

Lotus was recently released at the beginning of May.  It is a versatile blouse in two versions.  Version A being an off-the-shoulder tunic with a dipped hem while Version B has a narrower neckline and falls at the hip.  It is an easy and satisfying sew that can be made an afternoon.

I sewed mine up  in a lightweight jersey knit that I purchased at my local fabric store Fabric Planet.  I picked a neutral gray because I want to be able to wear this with a variety of outfits.  It has the right amount of stretch and drape for this pattern on top of the fact that it is really nice to the touch.

I decided to sew up Version B in XXS size and it fit like a glove around my bodice but I found that at this size for my body type the length did not hit me at the hip. That was totally fine though because it works perfectly with mid to high-waisted jeans which are very stylish right now.  I went for this size because if I don’t go for the smallest size I end up with a garment that is too big.  However, there will be plenty more Lotus’ in my future and the fun part is that I can play with the length to my liking.  I think for my next one I will go for the XXS but cut the length at an XS or S instead.  Either way I can’t get over how cute Lotus is! 🙂

Don’t miss out of this fun and easy pattern!  Check out Lotus from Valentine & Stitch and give Helen some love on Instagram @valentine.and.stich

Happy Sewing!