Results tagged “Summer” from Fabric.com Blog
Memorial Day seems to be the official start of summer, AKA Swimsuit season. If you are anything like me, finding a swimsuit to fit your body is somewhere on the list of un-favorite things to do behind cleaning the bathroom and changing poopy diapers. One of the reasons I detest swimsuit shopping so much is that my body is not standard and is even less so since having a baby. My bust and chest ratio is not available off the rack. And if a 2 piece is not sold by the piece than that ain't happening either. I often wonder why tops are not sold in bra sizes because just because a lady is a medium across the chest does not make her a medium in cup size. And don't get me started on bottoms!
Alas, we are the lucky ones because we can sew so we can custom fit and design a swimsuit to not just fit perfectly but also to highlight what we like, disguise what we don't and add any details that are hot right now. So with all this in mind, I set out to make a great suit for me and I started with Kwik Sew's Swimsuit and Wrap Pattern (KP-3330) because #1: I really liked the skirt option and #2: I thought the top would be easy to modify to fit me well. To begin I tried on all my swimsuits from past and present to see what design elements I like and which I did not. I found that the halter style gave me the support I was looking for but I liked thicker straps that those in the pattern. This was easily fixed by widening the top of the cups. Right where the top of the cup reaches 2 in. across I extended it up to make 2 in. wide and 15 in long straps. I installed the elastic as stated in the pattern but continued the hem all the way up the strap. I also made the under bust strap into a tie as well for a better fit and extended the tie 5 more inches on each side but kept the elastic the same sizes as stated in the pattern. For the bottoms I left off the waist band because I found the elastic to give a slight muffin top effect. I may modify it later with more elastic or a smaller waist band but I am still waffling. I am also considering taking the waist band and putting it on the skirt so that the skirt is removable.
Now for the venting: there are few things more slippery than elastic on swimsuit fabric. It takes some practice to anticipate how it moves and where to position it on the sewing machine. I recommend using long, skinny, SHARP pins too. The long ones enabled me to keep them in the fabric until the last possible moment and then pull them out so my fabric would stay together. Because and try on your top as you make it. The darts can be tricky, if you don't curve them a bit you will end up with points, which is not a good look. You want a cup shape not a cone. Also, you will need a walking foot, a seam ripper, patience and a good drink (coffee or wine, depending on the time of day). The drink is for when you are just about to hurl your project out the window, take a drink and a deep breath and get back to work. It is worth it in the end to avoid dressing room lights and look good at the pool.
I have made the skirt and added the waist band to my bottoms. I recommend both but without the waist elastic. I originally had the elastic in my waist band as instructed in the pattern but it definitely gave a muffin top appearance and I feared I would have to suck in the whole time at the pool. So I ripped the waist band off and took out the elastic and it looks so much better and works just fine. This suit has been pool tested with a 2 yr old and it stays in place and looks great. I love the skirt: it is just long enough to add coverage without looking old fashioned.
To answer Anns question- There is no elastic at the top of the bottoms without the skirt as pictured above, only a fold over and then zig zag stitch. I don't think you need the elastic but if it sits too low or you want added insurance, add the waist band. It looks great and stays in place without elastic. You could definitely make the band wider to create more of a hipster look or more tummy coverage but I think you will see from the skirt picture that it does come up quite a bit so try it as is first with your muslin and then adjust as needed.
Summer is almost here and I, especially, am eagerly awaiting the opening of the pool, first day on the lake or our first beach trip. I love to lounge by the water and read a good book. However, I always forget to bring a pillow. Who would remember something like that when you already have your tote stuffed full of towels, cover-ups and swimsuits. Well, I decided to knit up a Beach Pillow to serve as storage for a towel or cover-up so it won't be forgetten (and fits easily in your bag). Use the Beach Pillow by the pool, lake or ocean when it's time for some reading or a well earned nap.
The perfect beach or pool companion, this knitted mesh pillow cover is made to be stuffed with your beach towel, cover-up or discarded swimsuits. One side is mesh lace to allow for moisture wicking and breathability so you can store your wet towels or swim suits after a long day frolicking in the water or for a cool place to rest your head as you watch the kids splash about.I use mine to keep cool so I stuff my Beach pillow with my wet towel and settle in with my summer read while hubby takes his turn with the little ones in the pool. The Beach Pillow is also a good place to toss your wet swimsuits when the day is done. The cotton yarn will absorb the moisture without distributing it throughout your tote. The cotton plus mesh will also deter mildew. The Beach Pillow Cover is also a great way to carry your towels to and from. It will keep them neat, dry and easy for the kids to carry around. Beware of pillow fights on the walk to the beach!
Being a Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross Addict ("Hello, my name is Tara and I am addicted to Weekend Sewing...") and having made the Smocked Dress for my little girl I was over the moon when I stumbled across this hidden gem on the web. The Heather Ross Mendocino Sundress is almost an urban legend with many whispers concerning its existence but few have seen it. There are breadcrumbs to broken links throughout the internet but I have found the direct link and thus made the dress. AND... IT... IS... AMAZING. First, this dress is super fast. You can make it in an afternoon. There are 4 pieces to cut (6 if you want straps) and with the elastic thread the smocking is a piece of cake.
Now for the mods (modifications for you newbies): first, I selected the uber beautiful and dreamy Valori Wells Jenaveve Linen Blend fabric in Pebbles Merlot. Let me mention that this is a cheerful reddish/coral print perfect for spring and summer. This linen (and even more specifically this print) is perfectly paired with this dress. I was more excited to be finished at each stage of construction. There are pockets, glorious pockets! But the pockets that come with the pattern are HUGE so I used the pockets from this dress but you can always just reduce the size of the Mendocino pockets but 10-20% on your copier or at your local copy place. I placed my pockets at 14 in. where the pattern recommends anywhere between 14-18 in. I guess my arms are a little short. I also smocked 8.5 in. where the pattern recommends 6-8 in. I am on the busty side so I wanted to make sure that I was 1) covered and 2) there was some smocking below the bust to nip in the waist a bit to lend a slimmer line. If the dress just goes from bust to billowy bottom then I tend to look bigger than I am. That is why I prefer to make my own smocked dresses and tunics. The store bought dresses/tops do not have enough smocking and it ends up looking frumpy. I also made my straps longer so I could add the cute bow that the little girl Smocked Dress has. I cut 4 strips of 2 by 15 in. The length is just right plus I can tuck them in should I want to go strapless. The hem is a double turned 1.5 in. but I want to make it much shorter so that it sits right at the knee which means I will need to cut off 3-4 in.
Heather Ross Mendocino Sundress Pattern
2 yds of Valori Wells Jenaveve Linen Blend
1 Spool of Elastic Thread
1 Spool of All Purpose Thread
Conclusion: I adore this dress. Heather mentions that this dress offers enough support for you to go braless and I did try it. In the future, I will opt for the bra just because I feel more comfortable with it than without. It does offer great support but I would only recommend it for those A & B cups. You can also just do 2 straps and wear it as a halter neck. Another version would be to cut it very short to wear as a tunic and then you can tuck in the straps to wear as a skirt as well. This is a great standard sundress with lots of possibility. Sexy and casual it can adapt to your days and events as needed. This is a MUST MAKE Dress!
One of my favorite reasons to sew is for kids. Now that I have one our birthday party invitations have increased exponentially. We trek off to a kid party every month. I try to make something different for each kid so I don't get bored and each one has something special just for them. Sewing for kids is enjoyable because the restraints of matching are exchanged in favor of favorite colors; attention to detail is traded for creative stitches and sneaking in glitter where ever possible is always encouraged. I love sewing for kids and challenge myself to push the boundaries of picking prints, adding details (like secret pockets for treasures) and including something extra just for that child.
Some great kid patterns and tutorials are:
- My Puppet show pattern, birthday crown and super hero appliqué
- Twirly Skirt Pattern
- Birthday Bunting
- Dragon Tail
- Stuffed Dinosaur
- Kid Tent: I made this last week for a 3 yr old and last month for 2yr old twins and have had reports back from the parents that the tents were big hits. The 3 yr old spent all night in his tent and I even had requests for more tents from other party goers (Fabric.com keeps me way too busy to go into the tent making business, though). The pattern calls for making these out of twin sheet but you can sub in our solid color quilting fabrics or extra wide backing (a twin flat sheet is 66 in. by 75 in. or 4 yds of 45 in. wide fabric cut in half and sew together). You can pick out 1 yd or 2 of a coordinating print for the flap decoration and flags. I added an embroidered initial on one flag and another had the initial with Heat n Bond.
There are few times during the summer season when the breeze is blowing, the sun is shining and the temperature is just right when I have thought to myself: "Gee, I sure do wish I was inside tucked behind my sewing machine.Not!" Sure, there are lots of projects I would love to spend all day hidden away in my sewing room (Blue Sky hat comes to mind) but during the rainy days or naptime. Most of summer is spent with doors open and sun on my face. But I can't just sit there not making stuff. That is what I do- I make. I want to make outside. Why can't I have both? Oh, right, I totally can. Here are some great summer projects to take outside with you: to the pool, beach, cook-out or just into the back yard.
Embroidery is huge: I know I love it. You can combine a bright array of colors on a neutral background but it doesn't look horrendous. Just colorful. Plus, there are many new designers out there embroidering outside the box, making new patterns that are hip and fun. How about a pirate for your living room? No? Perhaps a vintage camper will catch your fancy. Sublime Stitches features some creative and awesome embroidery patterns that are perfect for summer stitching. Hilary Lang (Wee Wonderfuls) is another young and amusing embroidery designer. Inspired by her children, Lang's patterns remind me of classic toys meets modern hues.
Hand sewing is also a favorite outdoor past time. The rhythm reminds me of knitting, the same relaxing movements. I prefer to take small projects that don't involve many pieces. I also look for whimsical projects that will keep my attention. You won't see me with a hand sewing a white, button down on my porch but you might find a softie or small kitchen project in my lap. Zakka Sewing is the perfect book to pick out some summer sewing projects. All of the projects are perfect for hand sewing and are small, fun ideas. Craft Magazine featured a pencil case shaped like a bunny. Softies Central gives a peek at some of the project including embroidered Mary Jane slippers. They make me want to squeal like a little girl. Perhaps I will.
Of course you cannot forget the old standby: Yo-yos. Though you can no longer think of them in the same way. Yo-yos are being applied in so many different ways that you should always have a dozen made up just in case inspiration hits. Embellish tank tops, pillows, hair clips, and jewelry. The applications are endless and amazing. Yo yos are so easy to make it is almost silly, couple that with these quick yo yo makers and it will seem against nature not to make tons of yo yos. Yo yo are easily hand sewn and are quick. Extra fun in bright patterns, you can mix and match all your favorites. A yo yo is basically a small circle of fabric with a long, running stitch around the perimeter, about ¼ in from the edge. You pull your thread to pull the yo yo together and secure your end. Voila, one yo yo ready for embellishing!
Summer projects are quick, easy and most of all relaxing. Coupled with your favorite drink (like Blackberry iced tea, Yumm!) and you will wish for an endless summer.
I am proud to debut my newest free knitting pattern download for Fabric.com: the Isabella Camisole. This warm weather knitted camisole inspires remembrance of a brave Spanish Queen who proudly led her soldiers into battle to protect her home from those who threatened its safety. Solid Moss stitch bands surround and encase delicate Chain Mail mesh to create a light linen and cotton blend cami for sultry summer weather. The Isabella Camisole pays homage to the undergarments the daring Queen of Castile would have donned beneath her armor.
I am as much in love with history as I am with knitting and my current obsession being Tudor England. When I first sketched this camisole idea I had no idea that it would bring these two subjects together. The camisole was simple; a lightweight knit in linen and cotton to be knit and worn in warm weather. I wanted it to be sexy but casual as well, all depending on the fibers it was knit with. However, once I began knitting my subconscious began working and all those books I had been reading in recent past stirred my imagination. I saw battle-worn chain mail in the gray linen with a slight sheen. The piece was so obviously feminine that my thoughts immediately paired it with Isabella, Queen of Spain and Castile. She was famous for leading her country men into battle against the Moors. I do not claim that she wore anything remotely like my Isabella Camisole but wouldn't it be wonderful to pretend.
The linen paired with the mesh gives the cami a delightful weightlessness while lending it softness and flexibility. The cotton blend has great stitch definition with the Moss stitch that contrasts with the linen mesh while complimenting it. The banding contains the mesh while giving it structure. The 2 fibers are smooth so they can be worn close to the skin for a sexy top over a silky camisole or bathing suit. Or this piece can be casually worn over a tank top (as modeled) or tee shirt. For the night out, Isabella can be knit up in a glossy viscose and linen or bamboo. In contrast, an all cotton version would be great for a picnic, beach or in town festival.
Download the Isabella Camisole: Here
A special Thank You to Sara Sloan for her wonderful and quick photo taking abilities.