Wednesday, July 25, 2018

So I Made A Swimsuit!

I know. I know.  I was supposed to work on finishing up my Eve Dress and my Outfit Along outfit, but oooooh!  Shiny things.  I am a magpie.

I've actually been hording my swimsuit fabric for approximately four or five summers now with the intention of making a suit. I've also been amassing swimsuit patterns like nobody's business.  I don't really know what's been holding me back.  I did make a swimsuit years ago without so much as batting an eye.  It was a Kwik Sew pattern.  I remember buying the pattern and fabric and then sewing it up.  No fear, no hesitation, just doing it.

I've come to the conclusion that my hesitation was based on a fear of sorts,  and that fear was founded on the basis of nothing.  I blame the internet.  While it has great resources that are very useful, it also contributes to hesitation and worry with the deluge of warnings, "Don't do this, don't do that, swimsuits are scary..." on and on.  Before the dawn of the internet, we saw a pattern we liked, we bought the fabric and we sewed it up.

Anyway, I digress.  Let me start again.  So I made a swimsuit.  Helping get me to the starting point on my suit was listening to the Love to Sew Podcast about sewing swimwear which served as a good pep talk and that the Curvy Sewing Collective's Challenge for the #curvyyearofsewing for July and August is, of course, swimwear and bodysuits and I do love a challenge.  I was frustrated with the RTW suits I owned already and I loathe swimsuit shopping with all my being. It was definitely time to make my own. My first choice was the Mama Roxy from Made for Mermaids and it's everything I could want in a swimsuit.  Good coverage and cute and modern but at the same time feels just a bit retro with the wide straps.

First off, let's talk about fit. This suit? It fits.  Better than any RTW suit I've owned in the span of forever.  It wasn't without some effort mind you.  I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I altered the swim bottoms to get a good fit.  Taking a bit in on the side seams, putting the elastic in.  Nope.  Take the elastic out.  Take a bit more in.  Put the elastic back in.  Put the elastic in the waist.  Nope.  Take the elastic out.  Shave a bit off the back that was coming up far higher than any high waisted short should ever come.  Put the elastic back in.  Crap.  Still not enough.  Take the elastic out. Take out more height.  Put the elastic back in.  Rinse and repeat. A lot of my time spent could have been avoided had I not been so concerned about not over fitting the first time around, but I chose to do it in baby steps, so my seam ripper and I ended up with a lot of time together.  They're still not perfect, but you know what?  They are darn well close. I can make some little adjustments on the next pair and they'll be even better for me.

The top on the other hand?  Easy Peasy, lemon squeezy.  I added two inches of length (It's meant for a 8" side waist length, hello long waisted me) and sewed it up. No fuss. No muss.  It fits like a dream.  Except the inner elastic for the shelf bra - should have checked where that one should go more carefully.  Next time I'll move it up 1 1/2" so it actually sits under the bustline where it should instead of hanging out where it is.  Not going to take the suit apart for that thanks anyways.

Next lets talk about the practical applications of this suit.  I spent a good hour in the pool with Baby Boy testing it out.  Playing, swimming laps, doing a bit of a work out (the boys are slave drivers!  Baby Boy was my "coach", Little Man sat on the deck, note pad in hand and was my "ref" keeping track of my form and performance in the pool).  The suit held up just fine through it's paces.  No shifting about.  No straps slipping off my shoulders.  No bottoms falling off when I jumped.  (Don't laugh. That happened with a RTW pair about two weeks ago. Jumped in the pool and the bottoms didn't come with me.  Thank the good Lord it was in the privacy of my own back yard!!!)

Lastly, let's talk about body positivity for just a moment.  It took a huge leap of faith to put pictures up online of myself in a swimsuit.  You may have seen them already - I posted on Instagram and a couple of sewing groups I'm in on Facebook.  I had some serious reservations about doing so, remembering that "Cake with Cashmerette" all came about after she posted something about swimwear on her Instagram account.  I know there is nastiness out there and I'm not sure I could be so open minded about something like that as Jenny is.  At times I've not got the thickest of skin when it comes to hurtful comments.  But then I thought about it some more and thought I'm damn proud of my swimsuit.  I feel like a million bucks wearing it, and darn it all, if you don't like it scroll past.  Maybe it helps someone else out there to feel good about themselves no matter what size they're wearing.  Maybe we don't need to just post bathing suit selfies if we're a size six.  The whole reason I was finally inspired to start making my suit was that all over my Facebook and Instagram feed photos of ladies looking fabulous in their hand made suits were popping up every where.  Slim ladies, curvy ladies, young ladies, older ladies.  What resonated most was they all looked great and they all looked happy and confident in their suits.  After posting I couldn't believe the comments and love my photos got. It was to the point of overwhelming!  Just shy of 1000 people took time to either click a button or comment, each one of them positive and supportive.  So a huge thank you to all those out there who helped boost my confidence and make me feel great!!

I'll hopefully be back next week with a finished Outfit Along project to tell you about.  No promises - I've just finally assemble the pattern pieces for my Lander Shorts and I've still got quite a bit of knitting left to do on my Waters Tee - but I'm going to do my best to get it done!  Right now though, I'm going to go put on my awesome new swimsuit and jump in the pool!

Monday, July 09, 2018


It's been super hot here lately with day time temperatures in the +30 range - temps on Saturday were even hotter in the mid 40s with the humidex - so I've been trying to beat the heat by either being in the swimming pool with the boys or by hiding in the basement.  We don't have a/c in our house, and we've got fans in every room upstairs working double time, but the basement is always cool.  I should really spend the time down there sorting through toys and clutter and cleaning it up, but instead I seem to be ignoring the housework and gravitating towards my sewing room (which also is in dire need of a thorough sorting and cleaning).  Big surprise there.  LOL.

I saw this online one day on Pinterest and thought it pretty fitting. ;)
All that being said, hiding from the heat and not working anymore has given me a bit more sewing time lately.  So here I am with my third post in a row about a new Itch to Stitch pattern that I tested over the last couple of weeks. Today's top is the Plitvice Top*, a sweet little cowl neck tee that once again can be made either casual or dressy depending on the fabric you choose.

Let me just caution you here on fabric choice a bit!  You will want to follow the fabric suggestions fairly carefully when it comes to amount of stretch and drape.  I first chose to make one out of what was advertised as "Hacci" sweater knit.  Now I don't know about you, but I've never met a hacci that wasn't drapey and the one I bought was no exception... until I washed it.  I don't know what kind of fabric it really was but it managed to lose most of it's softness and most of its drape.  To make matters worse it smelled like some sort of ghastly petroleum product when wet.  I don't know why I still went ahead with sewing the top.  Suffice it to say, that particular disaster will not see the light of day any time soon.

I was feeling a bit discouraged at that point, but I forged on and rummaged through my stash trying to find something better to use.  What I finally chose was a drapey jersey blend that I had purchased from Blended Threads a couple of years ago and had sewed up into the most horrendous dress ever.  (You never saw that one either - the style, fit and every other aspect were ALL wrong so it's sat hiding on a shelf in my sewing room for the duration)  The skirt alone had enough fabric for my Plitvice pattern pieces, and the ditzy floral print looks so much better as a top, than a dress!  The gathers fall in soft, gentle waves and the cowl drapes gracefully just as one would hope with a top like this!  Win, win for me!  I got a nice new top and got rid of the dress of shame! I love when I can repurpose something so that it doesn't go to waste!

Like the previous two new releases (Nottingham and Crystal Cove) that I've tested for Itch to Stitch, Plitvice was quick to sew up.  The cowl neckline is finished off so nicely compared to a few other cowl neck patterns I've done in the past and it was really simple to get that nice finish on it!

I think I may try another, grading up at the bust but I've not decided yet - for this one I did a straight 18 down to the waist then from waist to hip graded down to the 16.  I also added 1 3/4" on the lengthen/shorten line as I seem to  have to do with all patterns no matter what brand.  I always tend to think that my height is in my legs, but it turns out maybe not because I've noticed a lot of patterns from other designers have an average 8" side waist length - I measured the other day and mine comes up at 10 1/4" - not wonder everything always turns out so short waisted on me.  Full disclosure - I haven't actually measured the ITS patterns to see what the standard side waist length is, nor have I ever asked Kennis... I should do that out of curiousity's sake! That's a pretty hefty difference and a good reminder that even if a pattern is drafted for someone that is 5'6" (which I am just shy of) we are all proportioned uniquely.  But really it's just another good example of why you should take up sewing your own clothes, I'd say!

I have to laugh at this photo - I wanted to show the back of the top and I forgot I don't have long hair anymore.  There's no need to lift a tonne of hair up and out of the way for the garment to be seen and yet I still automatically do it.  Same if I need to get help zipping the back of a dress.  LOL.  Someday I'll get used to this short hair business I guess!

I definitely recommend adding this one to your rotation of quick to sew summer patterns!  If you head on over to the Itch to Stitch site the pattern is on sale for the release week - and as always, Kennis offers a volume discount, so you can save even more if there's a couple a patterns you have your eye on!

Next up in craftiness and avoiding housework/heat, I think I may finish my SOI Eve dress and then really get cracking on my Untangling Knots 2018 OAL outfit.  I'm really missing my knitting mojo so am nowhere near where I'd like to be with my top and I've not got any further than printing out the pattern for my shorts.  But we'll see - I tend to make a crafty plan then get easily distracted.  Ooooh!  Look at the new shiny thing...