Free Underwear Pattern Tutorial | At First Blush Patterns
The Be Bashful Bikini was just released a little over a week ago and it had a great response! As you may already know, Be Bashful is a free underwear pattern available if you subscribe to this blog. For those of you who may be dabbling into lingerie for the first time using this free underwear pattern I wanted to create a step-by-step photo tutorial to help you sew up Be Bashful. If you prefer to watch me make Be Bashful click HERE.
Here we go! 🙂
Step 1: Sandwich the Bikini Back between the two lining pieces at the crotch. Make sure the right side of main fabric lining is facing the right side of the Bikini Back and the right side of the interior lining fabric is facing the wrong side of the Bikini Back.Use a zigzag stitch or overlock to sew the three pieces together.
Step 2: Match the right side of the Bikini Front with the right side of the main lining piece at the crotch seam.Twist the interior lining piece so the right side lines up with the wrong side of the Bikini Front at the crotch seam.Pin in place then sew. Your underwear will have a clean seam on the front and the back once you untwist.
Step 3: Pin the right sides of the front and back side seams together then stitch.
Step 4:Measure the waistband opening and the leg openings then subtract 2” from each.Cut your elastic based on these measurements.You will have three pieces of elastic.
Step 5: Overlap the raw edges of the waistband elastic by about 1/2” then stitch.Repeat this on the elastic for each leg opening.
Step 6: Divide the waistband four ways and mark each with a pin.Line up the seam of the waistband with either side seam of the bikini; keep right sides together and the scallop edges of the elastic towards the body of the garment.Stretch the elastic so that the pins match at both side seams and center front and center back.Pin then use a zigzag stitch while making sure to stretch the elastic to match the length of the fabric as you sew.Repeat for both leg openings.
Step 7:Flip the elastic to the wrong side of the fabric so the scallop edge now points away from the body of the garment. Next, zigzag stitch around the perimeter of the waistband and both leg openings on the right side.
Step 8:Finish and trim off any excess threads.
Don’t forget to share your bashful panties on social media!Tag @atfirstblushpatterns and use #bebashfulbikini #atfirstblushpatterns
For pattern support email email@example.com
To download your free underwear pattern subscribe to this blog today!
You can also watch my YouTube video tutorial HERE.
Do you like sewing pants? I’m not the biggest fan. It’s not even the pants, it’s the hemming – ugh I hate hemming pants. I can never get it polished enough like a real tailor would. Since I’m picky when it comes to sewing details this is one thing that stops me from sewing pants. But guess what?! I sewed up some pants! Haha
I’ve been on the hunt for a good pair of pants that I can wear to work all the time. My requirements include but are not limited to – stylish, comfortable and a comfortable waistband as to not irritate my stomach incisions. I would love more functional pockets so I don’t have to think about where to put my phone when I’m walking around. I also would love to find a great pair of pants that can fit into or over my Chelsea Boots – this is an ongoing life struggle. 😉
I tried the Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers but the fit wasn’t quite right although I do love the look of them when they are not on me or when they are on me and I am not moving. Lol. They have no pockets though, which I thought I would be okay with but let’s be honest… I need pockets. I avoid carrying a purse if I can and I’m a fast walker so pockets are key for keeping me on the go.
In comes the Eleonore Pattern by Jalie Patterns – a pair of easy to wear pull-on jeans for everyday or in my case the office. My dear friend, Helen of Valentine & Stitch happen to write a blog post about these pants at the same time I was on the lookout for a comfortable, functional and stylish pair of work pants. Serendipitous? I think so! Plus don’t they look great styled with my Valentine and Stitch Dune top?
Here’s the rundown of my Eleonore sewing adventure:
I will not lie I was a bit overwhelmed by all the sizes available. It was a little hard to see where my size was but little did I know I could print this pattern by size. When printing, I was in a bit of a rush so paying attention to those details went out the window! Once I cut out Size “S” I followed their instructions on how to make your Eleonore pants into skinny jeans.
I was very concerned about this as I thought this opened up the opportunity to ruin a pair of pants. Even so, I decided to take them in about ½ inch on each side. I wasn’t sure if that was enough but I rather too much room than having to squeeze my calves through a tiny hole.
I chose a black ponte roma fabric from Stylish Fabrics. Except for struggling to tell what the wrong side and right side are the sewing of these pants was pretty uneventful. I read the instructions through before I even began and re-read them several times during the process. At first glance, it seems like there will be a ton of steps but really it’s just that they have the instructions in English on the left side of the page and in French on the right side. What a relief! Furthermore, I love how they match each step with a figure number making it extremely clear. No room for ambiguity which is perfect in sewing!
I also love the story behind Eleonore – it’s about a very picky daughter of 4 ½ years who needed the perfect pant to fit her needs which really ended up being the needs of all of us! 🙂 You should give it a glance if you’re thinking about sewing up this pattern.
So what’s the verdict – did they hit my criteria? Yes! Surprisingly I made a pair of pants that I love! Stylish, comfortable, they don’t bother my stomach incisions, they have sizable back pockets that fit my phone and they fit over my Chelsea boots. Woohoo! I wish you could see the details a bit better but this black color is so rich that it’s too hard to tell. They turned out well nonetheless. 🙂
The verdict on the hem:
Last but not least, the hem looks great. They don’t give away that they are handmade which means I will be wearing them again and again. I gotta say these are the pants of my life! 🙂
Happy sewing! 🙂
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Happy New Year!! Wishing everyone all the BEST in 2018! 🙂
Have you ever used the hashtag – seamworkmag on Instagram? Well, if you do you could potentially be chosen as a Seamwork favorite for the month and win a prize!
Surprisingly, I was chosen as one of the three finalists for the month of November for my Aires Leggings. I posted about my leggings for #bpsewvember and although I didn’t win the big prize, I won my choice of 2 yards for jersey knit fabric from their new fabric shop.
They had three colors available Dusty White, Pale Blue, and Terracotta. I never sew anything up in white so I thought to myself this is a great time to step out of my comfort zone and go for the Dusty White fabric shown in the Seamwork image below:
What did I sew up with my Seamwork prize? A Seamwork pattern of course! I looked through the Seamwork pattern selection and at their suggestions on the fabric’s description page and decided to go with their knit tent dress aka Piedra.
Seemed to me to be a nice classic dress that I could add to my work wardrobe. Although wearing a white dress to work isn’t always ideal it is a nice change of pace from my normal dark colors.
The Low Down
Piedra is knit tent style dress that was designed with the changing seasons in mind. It is a perfect mild winter dress especially for warmer climates where our winters are not terribly cold but there is still a chill in the air. It pairs perfectly on its own or with tights. I paired my Piedra dress with a long necklace and my wearable toile of the Seamwork Jill Coatigan.
I started sewing up my Piedra dress about a week before Christmas. I was really hoping to wear it for the holidays but it didn’t work out that way. I decided to use a zigzag stitch on my sewing machine but found that the feed dogs were stretching out the fabric. At first I thought maybe a good press could take care of it but I was completely wrong.
So… no Christmas dress for me! Oh well… the other issue was that although I cut Piedra out in an XS it was much too big and I needed to refine the size. But what was going to be the point of cutting this fabric to fit me properly if I didn’t have a machine to sew it up with properly??
There is always room for a Christmas miracle right? Well, Christmas morning I received a Brother Lock 1034D from my very sweet husband. Problem solved! 🙂
In order to fix the stretched seams which at the time was the back seam, the sleeve caps and one side seam I just cut the seams away. I evened out the side that I never sewed by cutting to match the other side then I sewed this dress using my new overlock machine! I adjusted the feed dogs as I felt this fabric was a bit on the stretchy side and by the end of Christmas I had my new dress!
(Side Note: I wish I had some “process” photos but unfortunately I haven’t been able to sew with natural light with the time change unless I do all my sewing on the weekends so no “process” photos for this post!)
Besides stretching my seams, I messed up on the neckband a bit. The directions tell you to sew the neckband seam to match with the right shoulder seam. I didn’t like how this laid on my shoulder so I ended up cutting the neckband out with a rotary cutter and moving the neckband seam to match with the center back seam. I think it looks a lot cleaner this way but that is just my preference.
Another thing that didn’t work out so well is the back of the sleeve cap pops out a bit too far. I needed to narrow this area on the pattern before I cut into the fabric as it is just too big for my frame. Luckily, it isn’t noticeably in the front and if I pair this with a cute cardigan or jacket it covers it up just fine.
Seamwork’s sizes run a little big so if you are on the petite side I would recommend making a toile or doubling checking your measurements against their chart.
If your fabric is on the stretchy side use an overlock machine if you have one. I absolutely LOVE the Brother machine my husband bought me for Christmas! I wish it was in my life sooner! Lol!
Sew the neckband seam to match the center back seam.
Hey All! I had the opportunity to share a post on how to sew underwear by copying a pair of RTW undies and using leftover fabric in your stash for Sewalicious.co.uk. I’m sharing the post here on my blog but don’t hesitate to head over to their site and check it out! 🙂
How to Sew Underwear Using Your Fabric Stash
I’m very excited to share my first guest post for the Sewalicious blog!We are going to do things a little differently and blog about a really fun idea to downsize holiday fabric waste.
As sewist you all know what it’s like to have several pieces of fabric leftover that just aren’t big enough to do anything with.Well this won’t work for every piece of fabric but it might for those stretchy knit fabrics.
Today I’m going to give you a step by step guide on how to sew underwear using your RTW knickers as a copy all while tackling your fabric stash. (You can use one of the many underwear patterns available online as well – many are free!).
Find yourself some stretchy knit fabric and if you have some picot elastic even better!Mine is from Tailor Made Shop.
Dig through your drawers for your favorite pair of undies (of course not just favorite – make sure you still like how they fit!)Try to use fabric that has similar stretch to these for a good fit.
Take out your tracing paper and a pencil.I use a roll of medical paper and sometimes kraft paper but any paper will suffice.Place your knickers down with pattern weights of your liking and trace your underwear.Make sure to trace the front, back and lining.Be sure to trace the front and back piece by separating them at the seam.My seam is in the back so that will be where I draw a horizontal line to match both sides of the back pattern piece. My front pattern and lining pattern are one piece but I will draw a line on the pattern piece to indicate where the lining begins so I can also use the lining area as my guide to cut out a lining piece of fabric.
Once completed remove your undies from the tracing paper and smooth out your traced lines with a marker or pen then add seam allowance. 1/4”-3/8” should suffice on all sides – remember you’re adding elastic to the waistband and leg openings so your seam allowance depends on the width of your elastic.I’m using 3/8” wide picot elastic.
Cut out your new pattern and lay out your fabric.Place your pattern pieces on the fabric following the direction of most stretch (I’m cutting on the bias) then cut.
Measure the length of the waistband and leg openings to determine how much elastic you need for both then cut. You will have three strips of elastic.
Time to sew! Using an overcast stitch sew the raw edge of the narrow side of the lining.Take the front piece, the back piece and the lining and sandwich the front piece between the two with the wrong side of the front piece facing the wrong side of the lining piece.Sew the three pieces together using a zigzag stitch then overcast stitch the edge.Press the seam toward the back piece then using a zigzag stitch, sew the seam allowance to the back piece.
Flip the front piece and lining piece so that the wrong sides are facing each other then baste the lining edge to the front edges.Using a zigzag stitch, with the right sides of the front and back pieces facing each other sew the side seams.
Sew your elastic to the leg openings and waistband.For picot elastic, line up the straight edge of the elastic with the right side edge of the leg opening.Make sure the smooth side of the elastic is facing the fabric and the soft side is facing you.Sew using a zigzag stitch.Flip the elastic inside so just the picot edge is showing and sew in place using a zigzag stitch.Repeat for the other leg opening and the waistband.
Flip your knickers right side out, press and enjoy!
Viola!Now you have a pair of holiday knickers! ☺
If you like this idea head over to my Pinterest page and “Pin It” to your favorite “Sewing” Board!
I have been slowly putting together a work wardrobe but I had yet to add pants to my collection.I saw several cute versions of the Sew Over It Ultimate Trouser on Instagram so I thought I would give it a try.
The Low Down
The Ultimate Trouser is meant to be simple pattern for advanced beginners.There are only four pattern pieces and an invisible zipper.It is a slim-fitting trouser that hits the ankle although you can make it shorter or longer depending on your taste.
Your choice of woven cotton, corduroy, wool crepe, or denim
9” invisible zipper
The Ultimate Trouser is meant to be sewn up pretty quickly.I was intending on sewing this up over the week before I had major surgery but life had other plans.Instead I sewed this up over several weeks as I wasn’t physically capable of sewing for a good portion of November.
It was a pretty simple pattern and the directions were just adequate. Based on the measurements I sewed this up in a UK size 10 – this ended up being way too small for me to my surprise.I ended up having to undo the center and side seams and use the seam allowance to make the appropriate adjustment.This also threw off my invisible zipper installation which did not turn out so well.I also chose fabric based on the recommendation which means there was no stretch so even though they fit when I sit down my body is very constricted by the fabric.One source of disappointment was the pant hem.I need to work on my technique or something because they truly give away that they are handmade.They also do not taper below the calf to the ankle as nicely as all the images on their website which just makes it feel like a standard men’s trouser to me.
All in all they look nice on the hanger and they look okay on but they are not nice to wear.I made a few style adjustments in my photos so that they are wearable but I’m not really sure when I’ll be able to wear these as I can’t imagine wearing these for hours at work.
I’m not sure if I will give these another try but I think I would like to use fabric that has a little stretch instead.I definitely wish they would list an appropriate stretch fabric in their recommended fabrics. It also really bothers me that they do not taper correctly.
My invisible zipper isn’t invisible enough
Double or even triple check your measurements
Leave enough seam allowance in case you have to make adjustments
Try a fabric with some stretch for a more comfortable fit
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***Valentine & Stitch patterns are sadly no longer available in the marketplace***
Today on the sewing blog I will be sharing my review of the Edie Cardigan pattern by Valentine & Stitch. This past August I had the opportunity to participate in SleeveFest hosted by Helen of Valentine & Stitch and Diane of Dream Cut Sew.I entered a kimono pattern with a flutter sleeve hack.To my surprise I was chosen as one of the finalists for the grand prize!What an honor it was and although I didn’t win the grand prize all the finalist were prize winners of the Valentine & Stitch Edie Cardigan.This was my first time winning something via an Instagram competition so I was pretty excited and with fall just around the corner it was the perfect prize!
Fashion Sewing | Cardigan Pattern Review
Edie is an open-front cardigan with two length options from the pattern designing husband and wife duo Valentine and Stitch.The pattern is meant to be sewn with a variety of fabrics depending on the season or occasion.The two lengths lend itself to a variety of outfit options.This includes the “standard” length which hits around mid-thigh and is perfect for any occasion including the office or the maxi length which adds a bit of dramatic flair and can be belted and worn as a dress.
Sweater knits, stretch jersey such as cotton jersey, viscose or rayon jersey or bamboo jersey.For the “coatigan” version use a more stable fabric such as sweatshirting, scuba or ponte.
Stay Tape, clear elastic, twill tape, or grosgrain ribbon
Twin needle (optional)
Coverstitch machine (optional)
All-purpose polyester sewing thread
Fabric for both projects was purchased in Downtown Los Angeles.I typically purchase my knits from Angel Textiles.I purchased my thread from joann.com – Gutterman 506.
I decided that I would sew up both the standard length and the maxi length but I would start with the maxi length.I love a bit of drama whenever I can get it in my clothing and the maxi option has that “wow factor” which I absolutely love!
Edie comes as a printable PDF as will all Valentine and Stitch patterns.Read the instruction manual carefully so that you only print the pages you need.Helen and Rich are committed to reducing paper waste and have constructed their patterns in a way that minimizes the amount of pages needed to be printed.
If you are cutting out the maxi length pattern keep in mind that this is a large pattern and you will need an adequate amount of space to lay everything out.It will also take a bit longer since it is several more pages.From there you will need to look at the cutting layout to make sure you make the best use of your fabric.Since I was making the maxi length I cut my pieces out on a single layer rather than on the fold.One thing that made this easier was to trace the mirror image of my sleeve onto tracing paper and taping the mirrored side to the original pattern resulting in the whole sleeve as one pattern.
I made my Edie in a size small and cut it out with a center back seam.I ended up having some thread tension issues with my machine that delayed me so I ended up just using a different machine entirely.I think some of the issues could actually be attributed to the original needle I was using and the weight of the jersey knit.Once I got this figured out sewing up Edie was a breeze.I used stay tape at the neckline as directed then sewed the shoulder seams, hemmed the sleeves and attached them to the bodice.Next step was sewing the side seams and then the most complicated part of sewing the hem around the perimeter of the cardigan.I was hoping to do a rolled hem but the presser foot I have was not cooperating with me so I used a regular presser foot and a zigzag stitch.
My only hiccups were due to my machine – tension issues and presser foot issues.If you can get that figured out then Edie will be a very quick and fun sew!
Clear a large space to cut out your PDF pattern
Only print what you need
Edie comes with the sleeve pattern to be cut on the fold.I suggest tracing the mirror image to create one whole sleeve.It will be easier to cut out your fabric this way.
Remember you are sewing with knits so don’t stretch your fabric as you are sewing or it will distort the final garment
Cut off the extra seam allowance after you sew your seams if you find it necessary
Go slow sewing around the curves of the hem so that you have a really nice final drape
Finally, have FUN –Edie is a great pattern that you will want to make again and again!
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Isn’t funny how you can look at something and be totally mystified by and it then try it out and realize you absolutely love it! That is how I felt about bras. They always seemed insurmountable to me (no pun intended haha) until I tried making a few on the simpler side and really fell in love with the process. So much so that I bought books on how to construct my own bras which led me to the Bare Essentials bra pattern.
As a result, I started spending all my free minutes on reading said books, and blogs and tutorials or just admiring everyone’s handmade bras online. I’m passionate about sewing but for some reason bras excite me more than anything.
These got me started on a serious bra-making journey. For my first “serious” bra I used the Bare Essentials bra pattern. I measured myself just as instructed and low and behold I have been wearing the wrong bra size my whole life. Go figure…
No wonder the straps always hurt or the band popped up in the back or didn’t lay correctly against my chest. I’m sure you ladies know exactly what I am talking about. Going to the store and getting measured is awkward and a bit confusing. You have to rely on someone who may not have the proper training to even measure you correctly. Then buy what fits best even if it isn’t great. Let’s not forget to mention the exorbitant prices on a necessary piece of clothing that doesn’t even fit right! More reasons to make your own bras right?
To get the right fit you must be braless for at least one measurement (this is optional of course). Going braless is a bit awkward to do with a stranger so make sure you really understand how to do it properly yourself. Or you ask for the help of someone you are very comfortable with who will do a good job. Both Bare Essentials and the Beverly Johnson course go over in detail how to measure yourself. Bare Essentials even talks about how to measure yourself after having a baby which is really helpful for many women.
As for my measurements, I measured at a US 32 for the band and “C” for the cup. I typically wear a 34C which clearly means my band is too big. I used the Bare Essentials guide as I thought that would be more conducive to sewing up the Bare Essentials bra pattern.
On to my fabric… I had leftover fabrics from other projects but I really wanted to experiment a bit more. Off I went with my dear friend to do a little shopping downtown. I will say that things got a bit overwhelming as I couldn’t find the right sizes and matching colors of straps and elastics. I did pick up this beautiful floral mesh fabric and some deep blue picot elastic and light blue strap elastic. Not to mention, I found the underwire, underwire channeling and hook and eye pieces as well.
Luckily, I realized that I could match these with some leftover viscose fabric from my Araine Slip from Seamwork magazine. I also had some tulle that I could use as a stabilizer for the front band since the viscose has some stretch.
Here is how it went:
I made copies from the back of the book then cut out my Bare Essentials bra pattern and laid out my fabric/patterns as the pattern pieces directed. I used fabric sheers but honestly I needed to use a rotary cutter. After pressing my pieces and allowing them to cool I used a fabric glue stick to attach the stabilizer pieces. I then sewed the two cup pieces together, trimmed the seams (a small detail scissor would have been great for this) and added stay tape for added comfort and stability.
Next, I attached the picot elastic then started my work on the band which I call this “band practice” haha. Moving on, I edgestitched the center front, and front side band pieces. I didn’t need to edgestitch the back side bands so I sewed them on and reinforced the seam. Then I sewed the picot elastic to the bottom edge of the band.
Next, I attached the cup to the band but to my dismay the cup was much bigger than the actual band (as you can see in the photo the seam line hits the top of the band when it should be about an inch lower). I thought this was odd and double checked that I cut out the right pattern and I had. I decided I would just alter the pattern a bit so that band would be flush with the top of the cup and went ahead and sewed it on.
This would have worked but once I tried it on the cup was much too big and the bra would not have been the least bit wearable. Maybe the underwire will fix this I thought! LOL so I decided to add it and guess what? It still didn’t work out SO… in comes the seam ripper, wasted thread and wasted time. (Howard looking at the wasted thread with dismay).
My next course of action was to cut out a cup in muslin fabric on the bias just to be sure that I cut out the pattern correctly. Fingers crossed because I highly doubt it is an error with the Bare Essentials bra pattern itself. As it turns out I did, I just screwed up the fabric. Upon further investigation there are two reasons why my cup was too big:
I didn’t use a rotary cutter AND
There were too many wrinkles in my fabric that ended up distorting the final size once re-pressed (is that a word in sewing? Haha).
Moving forward, I used the new muslin cup as a guide to trim off the excess fabric for my big ol’ cups. This worked out quite well and viola the cup actually fit the band the way it was supposed to! More importantly it actually fit me! Check my Bare Essentials bra cup:
Off I went to sew on the underwire, insert the underwire and add on the picot elastic. There was still one more problem though… The band was too long! Ugh… not again.
I thought I cut it out correctly. No, no I did not for the same reasons as above. Out comes a RTW bra for my guide, my rotary cutter, a lot more patience and some problem-solving skills. 😉
Once that was measured and cut I was able to attach the last piece of picot elastic to the back. This piece of elastic is intentionally longer so you can create a loop for the strap ring to attach to the band. I made the straps and attached them (be careful not to twist the strap before you sew the elastic loop to the band). Finally, I attached the hook and eye pieces. My first “serious” bra was now complete and boy did I learn SO MUCH! 🙂
But how did the Bare Essentials bra pattern fit…?
Well the bra actually fits quite nicely but I’m a bit picky and of course I can see all the mistakes as any typical sewist would in my position. My biggest complaint is I am not a fan of the horizontal seam line over the apex of the bust on the cup. It could be that I’m just not used to wearing this style but I don’t feel it suits me. Otherwise, I would like to use a stiffer fabric for the front band next time rather than a fabric with 20% stretch backed with a stabilizer. The stabilizer did its job but the stretch fabric ripples since it can’t stretch. I don’t like how that looks though it lays properly against the body.
Finally, now that I’ve sewn this I will know what to look out for and have a better handle on the precision needed for lingerie sewing. I’m not sure I will sew this exact Bare Essentials bra pattern again but I’d love to experiment with others in the book.
Please whatever you do use a rotary cutter (18mm or 28mm for detail cuts) and a cutting mat and press your fabric before you do!
Also, bra making takes time so be patient with yourself. You won’t regret it. 🙂
For your cup and front band DO NOT use a fabric with more than 20% stretch – this is imperative as the size will be distorted and you will not be happy with your bra
Use a stabilizer fabric if you have any stretch on your front band fabric (of course the stretch should still be no more than 20%)
Your back band should have no more than a 50% stretch – any more will distort your bra
If your machine has the option use a 3-step zigzag stitch – it allows for the best amount of stretch which is perfect for lingerie
Be careful not to twist your straps before sewing them on
Take it slow and have fun most of all! 🙂
Be sure to check me out on Pinterest – click on the pin below!
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!
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:
The pattern booklet recommends lightweight woven fabrics, quilting cotton, voile and rayon
Matching all-purpose polyester sewing thread
Single-fold bias tape for the sleeveless option
I purchased my fabric from Downtown LA of course… 😉
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!
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.
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?
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.
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.
Now Tracy Bee is ready for action! 🙂
I mentioned a few in “the process”
The gauziness of my choice of fabric made my darts not as stiff and precise as I would have liked 😉
I overestimated the seam allowance while attaching the yoke to the main fabric – a simple edgestitch was the solution
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!
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.
***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.
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:
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.
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.)
Twin needle (optional)
Coverstitch machine (optional)
All-purpose polyester sewing thread
I purchased my fabric from the Los Angeles Fabric District. I purchased my thread from Joann.com – Gutterman 10 and 307.
Here is what I did-
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.
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.
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.
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.
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! 🙂
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
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.
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.
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! 🙂
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:
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!
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. 😉