Sunday, August 28, 2016

Last Dog Days of Summer

 I don't have kids in school anymore...well I have one who is working on her second university degree but she lives away from home and organizes herself for her return to the school year, so it doesn't really count for me.  Anyways. I guess because of the many many years I've put in as a parent, I still see the start of the new school year as a time to buckle down and get back to work.  And of course, pull out the tweeds, corduroys and woolen fabrics.  But, it's still super hot out, and we have one more week before school starts.  I came across a delicious aqua blue cotton/lycra jersey in my stash that I had bought from many years ago and decided it just needed to be a summer knit dress for myself.

I settled on McCalls 7186, View A.


I cut it with my usual swayback alteration of about a 1/2" overlap (for a total of 1" decrease) and sewed it it up exactly as the pattern directions. WARNING - Note that you have to cut out one of the fronts with the pattern piece wrong side up - which the directions indicate, but this is unusual. Because you're only cutting one piece on a single layer, why they didn't just print it the other way is beyond me.  Normally I don't read the pattern directions, but in this case something told me it would be a good idea to. I am glad I did!  

I love this dress.  In fact, I'm wearing it as I type.  I took it in a tiny bit at the waist gathers just to secure the overlap a bit more to resolve some minor gaping at the bust (I'm a 34DD, but short waisted).  The gathers are flattering, and it is super comfortable.  I have had no gaping issues today, and don't have to wear a camisole or tank underneath either.

I will certainly be making this again in the long sleeve version for fall in a heavier knit.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Better Late than Never!

So...its the end of summer.  The nights are cooler and the days have that late summer feel to them.  I noticed while driving across the province for work yesterday that the late summer colours have appeared - the golden rod is in spectacular bloom, as are the purple wild asters and wild chicory - I even spotted a few maple trees that have started to turn into their glorious fall reds, oranges and yellows.

And I've decided I needed a bathing suit.  Why, you ask?  I'm camping this weekend for the first time in a few years, and we have intentions of renting a canoe at the campsite.  Wearing any of the bathing suits I already have just wouldn't work out best for me, ifyaknowwhatimean...Hello wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen!

So...what's a girl to do?  Turn to her pattern and fabric stash, of course!  For fabrics, I dug through my bin (when did I amass all these fabrics?! and from where?!) and settled on these swimwear fabrics:

For the patterns, I chose Loes Hinse's Tank Dress pattern, the Cami view - I know this pattern fits me very well and would be the perfect base for an "active wear" swimsuit.  For the bottoms, I chose another TNT bathing suit pattern, New Look 6469.

New Look Misses Swimsuit or Top and Shorts, Capri Pants, Poncho Top and Tote Bag 6469
Photo credit:

Here's the final result:

Since I made both before, I didn't have to do much in the way of alterations.  I did add a shelf bra with formed cups to the cami, using instructions from the Singer Sewing Reference Library Sewing Activewear book.  I used swimwear elastic on the armholes and neckline, serged to the right sides of the openings, then turned to the wrong side and stitched down with zig-zag stitches.  I didn't measure the elastic, just stretched it slightly smaller than the opening while serging in place.  The hem is just a regular turn and stitch hem, about 3/4" deep.  I added lining to the shorts, simply by cutting out the swimwear lining fabric using the pattern pieces for the front and back of the pattern.  I sewed those together and inserted it wrong sides together into the main shorts.  I inserted a piece of 3/4" swimwear elastic that was cut slightly shorter than my waist measurement with the ends sewn together into the waistband for added security.  I then serged the contrasting waistband to the shorts and lining as one unit.  The bottom hems are finished with swimwear elastic, using the serge, turn and stitch technique like the cami.

I am very happy with the result.  I already have cut out a few more mix 'n match pieces including some Jalie 2563 sports tops and McCalls 5400 bottoms.  I'll share these pieces as soon as they're done, but for the time being, I'll be busy sorting out the camping gear!