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Monday, June 18, 2018

Striped Swallow Designs Into the Blue Swimsuit Pattern for Women and Girls



As I have been sewing swimwear over the past few months, my oldest daughter has been asking me to make a swimsuit for her. It is such a nice feeling when my kids still enjoy wearing the creations I make them and specifically make requests! When I showed her the pattern for the Into the Blue suit, she loved the design and quickly picked fabric out from my stash. I signed up to test the pattern for the women's and girls' suit and am excited to show you what I have made for us today. 


Pattern Details: The Into the Blue Swimsuit pattern by Striped Swallow Designs is a one-piece swimsuit. The pattern comes in girls sizes 2-14, women's sizes XS to XXXS, or as a bundle. I love the design of this suit! I feel it is very modest for us both and yet has the cutest details. The bottoms have a high waist and lots of coverage. The swimsuit is fully lined. The women's suit has optional cups for the bodice, but I did not use cups in my suit because I felt the support was plenty. 


Fit. The Into the Blue Swimsuit pattern has the greatest details for choosing size. I rarely wear one piece swimsuits because, despite being 5'2," they always feel too short on me. I love the modesty of them, though, especially when I am entertaining family and friends at our pool. Mandalynn Soileau, the designer behind Striped Swallow, gives the best fitting instructions so that all body types can rock this suit. In addition to the standard bust, waist, and hip measurements, the pattern gives trunk girth measurements for length and bust radius for cup size with specific illustrations on how to grade the pattern to fit well for each measurement. 


This little sweetheart is 9, and she just brings so much joy to me and everyone in our family. I thought it was so special to get to do a photoshoot with her!


To cinch the middle of the bodice, the pattern has two different styles of ties as well as a band. It is such a cute feature.


The Back: The swimsuit has the option for a full coverage back or a back cut out. I made both of our swimsuits with the back cut out. 


This past weekend my husband and I celebrated our 12 year anniversary by hosting a few of our closest family and friends at our house for a fajita bar and pool party. My daughter and I both wore our Into the Blue swimsuits the entire day and got so many compliments! I also love the look on people's faces when they ask where you bought your swimsuit. "You made this with a sewing machine!" Why yes I did. Thanks Mandalynn, for the awesome pattern! 


You can purchase the Women's Into the Blue Swimsuit pattern here and the Girls' Into the Blue Swimsuit pattern here. They also are sold as a bundle that can be purchased hereThe release sale for this pattern is now through Friday, June 22nd 11:59PM CST. Use the code "intotheblue" for $2 off on the single patterns or bundle.

Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read my blog. I hope I have inspired you and can't wait to see what you make out of this pattern. 

You may follow me on Instagram or receive updates by liking my page on Facebook. If you want to take a look into the things that inspire me, you can follow me on Pinterest.

Disclosures: I received both swimsuit patterns for free as part of the testing process to give the designer feedback about the instructions and fit of the pattern. Any and all opinions expressed are my own.

Photo Credit: my wonderful friend, Aimee Wilson.



Thursday, June 14, 2018

Sofilantjes Solis Dress and Tunic PDF Pattern Review


Today I am excited to share with you the new dresses that I have been working on! This is the Solis for Women from Sofilantjes. Do you have a dress that makes you feel like I do in this photo? I feel the joy my children do when they squeal with delight. I was also laughing because my neighbor caught me twirling outside in a dress. HA! The Solis is a dress that I have wanted for some time now! After releasing the girls version of this dress, Anne Jacobs, the designer behind Sofilantjes, received many requests to design this dress for women. I am so happy that she listened because I seriously am in love with this dress. I made three versions during testing and have 2 hacks for NURSING to show you today. 

The Empire Waist Discreet Nursing Dress



The Solis pattern works for women with full busts that measure from 31.5 to 49 inches. It has 2 bodice options - an empire bodice or a natural waist bodice. This first dress is the empire bodice with a gathered skirt. The natural waist bodice additionally allows for a circle skirt or a pleated skirt. All views have optional pockets. 


The back of this dress is just genius. It works great with a racerback bra and keeps me so cool. 


Fabric. This first dress was made with a cotton lycra from Art Gallery called Powder Bloom. You can find it here. It is part of the Indie Folk Collection by Pat Bravo. For the bodice lining, back strap, and neck straps on the dress, I used pink cotton lycra from Made Whimsy.




Fit AdjustmentsI removed 1 inch of length from the skirt of the dress for my 5'2" height. I did an FBA on the bodice. I was slightly excited and terrified at the same time to do my first FBA. I normally am smaller chested, but thanks to nursing, I needed an FBA for the perfect fit. I loved Anne's instructions because the FBA that I did for all three dresses made me feel like a pro. It was very easy to do by just following her fit guide. 


Pattern Modifications: The Solis has pattern markings to show you where to gather the skirt in the center of the front and back. I think the front gathers are super cute when you are pregnant, but for my postpartum body shape, I prefer more even gathers. So, on this dress I ignored the markers on the pattern for gathering and just gathered it evenly. I also modified the bodice so that I can nurse in it. The empire bodice is very easy to modify for breastfeeding. The modification that I used is perfect for those who want to be more modest while nursing. 


Empire Bodice Nursing Hack


(1) Follow the pattern instructions for assembling the bodice and skirt. However, make note of your lining fabric. If the wrong side of the lining is not pretty, you will not want it to show when you lift up the front overlay to nurse. To get the pretty side out, when you attach the bodice to the lining, put RIGHT side of front/back to WRONG side of lining (normally you would do right sides together so that the right side of your lining faces your skin). 

(2) Once your bodice and skirt are assembled, attach the skirt to the lining of the bodice only. This will leave you with the ability to pull the front overlay of the bodice up and down. 

(3) Finish the bottom edge of the top overlay. Measure around the entire bottom of the overlay. Take this measurement and multiply it by 90%. This will be the length of your band. I cut the band's width at 2.5 inches. Sew the short ends of the band right sides together. Quarter the bottom of the overlay, and attach the band much like you would a neckband. Match raw edges and sew. 

(4) Try your dress on, preferably with the bra you plan to wear with it. Take a marker or chalk and mark where you would like to have slits or cut outs for your underlay. Remember that a little goes a long way with stretchy fabric so you can always go back and cut more out later if you did not cut enough, but you can't add fabric back if you cut too much. 

Alternative: If you do not like the look of bands, you can make your bodice main front and back pieces an inch longer and keep the lining pieces the original length, sew 3/8 inch elastic to the wrong side of the overlay with a zig zag stitch or serger, turn the elastic under, and hem.


The Natural Waist Bodice TWIRLY Nursing Dress


I absolutely love this dress! It has a full circle skirt, a fully lined bodice, and feels so good to wear. I used a circle skirt panel from Smoogie for the skirt and mustard cotton lycra from Made Whimsy for the bodice front and lining. I used a different nursing hack for this bodice that is for those who would prefer to pull down rather than lift up. It is not as modest, but I actually prefer this hack the most.   

Pull down nursing hack for any bodice option


(1) When assembling the bodice, you will need to lengthen your neck strap by 3.5 inches. I did 4 inches, and ended up not needing quite that much length. Once you have lengthened your neck strap, iron a fusible scrap of interfacing on each end of the neck strap like this. 


(2) Sew the neck strap long ends together as instructed in the pattern. However, you will not attach the neck strap to the bodice. Instead, fold the raw edge to the inside and sew down each end of the neck strap like this.


(3) Apply a scrap of interfacing at the top of the each shoulder on the bodice. Finish the shoulder ends of the bodice. Again, do not sew the neck strap onto the bodice here. 


(4) Turn your bodice right side out. Attach the neck strap to the back. Sew it down at the top so that it does not come out when nursing. This is what your bodice will look like, except you will have sewed it down horizontally across the top.


(5) Put the neck strap underneath the shoulder top and apply a snap or button. Try it on to make sure you like the snap or button placement before applying. Finish the rest of your dress per pattern instructions. 



I love this method. You do not need to cut holes out of your lining. You can use a cool button, a constrasting snap, or a snap that blends into your fabric and no one will know the cool feature of your dress. As you can see, this nursing mod shows more skin than the other, but this is my 5th baby to nurse, so maybe I have lost some of my modesty? Anyways, you can look away if this bothers you :)


The Tunic 




This version of the Solis is the empire bodice with tunic length skirt. This was my first make in testing. I wanted to make the pattern as written first to make sure everything worked for me and give good feedback to the designer before making any modifications. No modifications were needed (except my usual height adjustments of 1 inch out of the skirt) It is a complete winner, and I will also be enjoying this tunic in our hot weather.  This one was made with a navy cotton lycra with lime polka dots from Riley Blake, and the lime bodice lining and back straps came from Made Whimsy


You can grab a copy of the Solis for women in English here. It is on sale now through Sunday at 4:55 p.m. CST (23:55 CET). The pattern is also available in French and Dutch.

Thanks for reading my blog, and I hope I have inspired you. You may follow me on Instagram or receive updates by liking my page on Facebook If you want to take a look into the things that inspire me, you can follow me on Pinterest.

Disclosures: I received this pattern for free as part of the testing process to give the designer feedback about the instructions and fit of the pattern. This post also may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small compensation when you purchase via my link. There is no cost to you.  Any and all opinions expressed are my own.


More Back Views!! Isn't Solis so pretty!


POCKETS!!


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Itch to Stitch Crystal Cove Cami PDF Sewing Pattern Review

Over the past month, I joined the many garment sewists who take part in #memademay. I wore at least one handmade garment each day and only missed a few days documenting it on Instagram. I am SO GLAD that I was able to participate this year because it showed me the holes in my wardrobe and helped me to come up with a good plan of what I need to sew more of. It feels good to be more focused in my sewing time.


The first thing I added to my "to-sew" list is woven tops, specifically woven sleeveless tops since I am in Texas and summer is quickly approaching. I really love working with and wearing woven fabric. When I saw the testing call for Itch to Stitch's newest pattern, the Crystal Cove Cami, I quickly signed up and knew it was a perfect addition to my summer wardrobe. 


This cami is so airy and comfortable to wear. I will just go ahead and cut to the chase: You are going to need several of these in your closet too. 


The back of the Crystal Cove Cami is two pieces that overlap and feels so airy. This back style also makes it much easier to pull the top up for breastfeeding. In a more fitted woven top, it is rather difficult to pull the top up to nurse so I feel like I get the best of both worlds - a nicely fitting cami with a back that allows ease to pull up for nursing. 


Fabric. A lightweight woven works great for this cami pattern. I used a rayon gauze for this vertically striped red top. I had a remnant that was barely 3/4 of a yard that I could not pass up in the Dallas Fabric District. It was super soft, and I just could not put it down despite it being such a small amount of fabric. I had it in my fabric stash for some time and still had not found a good use for it because most top patterns, even tanks, need a yard. This cami does not take a lot of fabric since the straps are a separate small pattern piece so it was perfect for that remnant. I am so glad I had it!


When I took these photos, there was a perfect breeze blowing on the walking trail near my house that day. I loved the movement it gave to the shirt without me feeling like I was going to have a wardrobe malfunction. It was such a beautiful evening that I even saw a guy carrying around a glass of wine meandering around the trails and looking rather relaxed. My 9 year old daughter, who joined me to take the photos, excitedly chatted away with me. My 7 year old, on the other hand, immediately was bored and needed to go to the restroom so we had to be quick! Ha!


Details. The curved narrow hem. Perfectly placed darts. Understitched yolk. Delicious. I feel like a baker describing cake! Kennis, the designer behind Itch to Stitch, always has the easiest to follow instructions that give you such beautiful hand-sewn garments. 


Sizing and adjustments: This pattern works for bust sizes from 30 to 49 inches and cup sizes A to DD. I made a size 0 for my bust and waist and graded to a 2 for my hips. I made a D cup because I currently have a 4 inch difference in my over bust and full bust. The sizing was spot on for me!



If you have read my blog for very long, you know I cannot just stop at one on patterns that I love, so of course I have another top to show you. This next top was supposed to be my muslin to check fit, but it came out great without needing any adjustments. Complete win!



Fabric: I used a rayon crepe on this one. I used a trim to hem this top as Kennis suggested in the instructions. I love how the contrast came out and how easy it was to do. I feel like the trim does not have the same drape as the fabric, though, so it did feel stiffer on the sides than my other top. I still LOVE the way it came out and will get a bunch of wear out of this one. 


One thing you may notice is that BOTH of my bottoms that I am wearing in my photos were not made by me! This is another big hole in my handmade wardrobe that I need to work on ASAP. I think I have always felt more intimidated with fitting pants, especially since my waistline and hips have changed so much in the past due to pregnancy. Now that I am back to my normal measurements again, I need to tackle more bottoms and replicate some of my favorite ready to wear bottoms. 




You can purchase the Itch to Stitch Crystal Cove Came here

Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read my blog. I hope I have inspired you and can't wait to see the versions you make out of this pattern. 

You may follow me on Instagram or receive updates by liking my page on Facebook. If you want to take a look into the things that inspire me, you can follow me on Pinterest.

Disclosures: I received the rayon crepe fabric as a gift from my sweet, sweet friend Aimee Wilson, who also was the photographer of the rayon crepe top! Also, I received the  cami pattern for free as part of the testing process to give the designer feedback about the instructions and fit of the pattern. Moreover, this post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small compensation when you purchase via my link. There is no cost to you.  Any and all opinions expressed are my own.

Photo Credit: my wonderful friend, Aimee Wilson.






Thursday, May 31, 2018

What to sew for Boys - the Sofilantjes Cessim Shirt


I am so excited to share with you the newest pattern being released by Sofilantjes! The Cessim Shirt pattern has the most fun color blocking possibilities and works great for boys and girls. I made view D, which allows for three different fabrics to be used in one shirt. There are no side seams to this shirt. Rather, the pattern wraps around the body and has a horizontal seam in the middle of the shirt that swoops around to the back. You can have a vertical seam down the front and back or only on the front or back. SO clever! There are also options for no horizontal seams if you do not want to colorblock the shirt. Also, the neckline has a round or V neck option. I chose a V-neck and love how it looks with the colorblocking. The pattern comes in sizes 12M to 14 years. I made a Size 4.


Fabric Choice: The Cessim shirt pattern calls for medium weight stretch knit fabric. The shirt has a comfortable fit so you can use cotton lycra or French terry for the body of the shirt. The neckband is designed for rib knit fabric. I used Made Whimsy Solid black for the side accent on this top. It is a medium weight solid. The black and white stripes are Riley Blake half inch knit stripes that can be found here. The Minions and Star Wars print came from Fabric Stache in 2017. You can stalk their Facebook group here to get their current preorders. I used black ribbing from Simplifi Fabric for the neckband. 



My little guy, Aaron, just turned 4 and has been asking for a new shirt made by me. He has so many shirts in his drawer, but he had his eye on a specific fabric he found in my sewing room!! The Cessim shirt pattern was just perfect for it, and I cannot tell you how much I loved his squeal when he saw the finished product. I made the mistake of showing it to him before I had hemmed it, and he was very sad when he had to give it back for me to hem and press it. 




Boys can be the silliest, and Aaron had so much fun showing me all his fun moves at his photo shoot. I just love how excited he was to get pictures in his new shirt. 






I made a shirt in pre-testing for Luke, my almost 6 year old. The fit of the shirt has changed since this photo, but it will give you a great idea of another colorblocking option. This is View C with the half sleeve. The half sleeve allows colorblocking on the sleeve.  This option uses just two fabrics on the body. It has the horizontal seam across the body and only one vertical seam in the front. There is no vertical seam on the sides or back. It was rather quick to put together! The sleeves were slimmed and the V-neck lowered for the full testing version. Luke still really loves his shirt!



You can grab a copy of the Cessim shirt pattern in English here. It is on sale now through Sunday at 4:55 p.m. CST (23:55 CET). The pattern is also available in French and Dutch.

Thanks for reading my blog, and I hope I have inspired you. You may follow me on Instagram or receive updates by liking my page on Facebook If you want to take a look into the things that inspire me, you can follow me on Pinterest.

Disclosures: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small compensation when you purchase via my link. There is no cost to you.  Any and all opinions expressed are my own.