Monday, September 18, 2017

Last bit of vacation sewing

I know it's September 17, and evidently Target thinks time is nigh to throw the ol' Christmas lights up on the shelves.  (It's not.)  Because, guys, summer isn't quite over.

Here in my part of the world, we've had a few lovely 80-degree days recently.  Today I realized that I hadn't blogged the Pony tank I am wearing with my newly shortened Alberta Street skirt, so I decided to get a few photos and put them up here for future reference.


The tank was one of those it's-almost-vacation-and-I-need-to-make-something-new impulse sews.  Like my previous Pony Tank (the blue and white one, as I ended up giving the other one to my mother-in-law in July), this one is a straight size 16 with the exception of the armscye depth, which I cut on the size 8 line.


I once read a review of a dramatic hi-lo top on a blog (I can't remember which), where the writer described the back part of the top as a "butt cape."  Wearing my first Pony makes me feel a bit like I have on a butt cape, so I decided to shorten the back a bit.  I think I actually shortened the whole thing, but the drapey rayon sprang up higher than I had expected, so I ended up leaving the edges raw. I like these proportions better than the ones on my other Pony.


I also recently shortened my denim Alberta Street skirt.  I love this skirt and wear it all the time, through all seasons.  This summer, however, the length suddenly seemed a little frumpy.  I was really surprised; I've always been a knee-length-or-longer kind of girl when it comes to skirts, usually feeling uncomfortable in a skirt any shorter.  But I think my style is changing a bit, influenced no doubt by the legions of sewing blogs I read.


I'm digging a shorter skirt these days, so I took off about 2.5 inches and I'm really pleased with the results.  I almost can't wait to try it with tights and boots.  Except, I can.  Summer, don't leave me yet!

Thanks for reading, and see you next time!

Monday, September 4, 2017

2017 Outer Banks Collection

This summer I ended up making four full swim suits (each consisting of a rash guard + bottoms), two unpaired pairs of swim trunks, and one unpaired rash guard - 11 pieces in all.  Fair warning - this is a long read, as I've decided to cram them all into one post.

I sewed rash guards for the girls as well as the boys this year, because I've had trouble with the neck ties stretching out on the Cosi swimsuits I've sewn in the past (1, 2 and 3, 4 and 5, 6). Also, rash guards = less sunscreen, which is a plus in my book.

Natasha was in the most dire need of suits, so I started with her.  We decided color block it, using these daffodil and melon shades from The Fabric Fairy. I made her rash guards (and all the others) using the Oliver+S Field Trip Raglan pattern.  The girls' swim bottoms were made using the high-waisted bikini bottom from the Cosi Swimsuit pattern with a somewhat shortened rise.


Her bottoms are a size 6 with 1/2" taken off each side seam.  I cut her leg elastic at 14.25" (should have made it shorter, it turns out), and her waist elastic at 20".  The top is a 3T that I narrowed by moving the front and back patter pieces 1/2" off the fold.  My girl is nearly 8 but very skinny and the straight 3T would have been too baggy for a rash guard.  I also added 2.5" extra length.  I cut the neckband for this and all other suits about 3.5" wide, to finish at 1.5" or so.  I also lengthened the neckband a little bit to make sure they'd go over the kids' heads, though it turns out I only really needed to lengthen the girls' neckbands because I had sized down their rash guards so much.

I also underlined the front and back panels with swimsuit lining.

I'm not super pleased with either of the solid fabrics I used for Natasha's suit - the daffodil yellow fabric, in addition to being very sheer, ran pink-colored streaks both on this suit (visible in the above photo near her right armpit), and on the rash guard I made for G using some of the yellow scraps.  And the melon fabric faded to a light peach during our two weeks at the beach.  You can see some of the fading in the color below, which was taken towards the end of our trip; the melon is actually even lighter in person now.


I have found that the swimsuit fabric I have purchased from The Fabric Fairy has been very hit-or-miss - as in, either it's fabulous quality, or incredibly pilly and prone to fading after just a few wears.  While the wins have been true wins, I need a bit more consistency in my life and I'm hunting around for another swimsuit fabric source.  Please leave any suggestions you have in the comments!


I made a second suit for Natasha as well, using fabric scraps from suits I'd sewn her the last two years.  I'm expecting the bee print to fade quite a bit based on the condition of the last suit I made her.  The stripe (which isn't yarn-dyed) is the only print I've purchased from The Fabric Fairy that has held up well.

For this one, I added an extra inch of length to the rash guard, and I removed the 1/2" from the side seams instead of the center of both front and back pieces, which I think works better.  I also lengthened the sleeves and I LOVE them in the longer length.  I thought she might resist wearing a "long-sleeved" swimsuit, but she didn't mind it at all, so I will be sewing these longer sleeves on future rash guards, as well.


Z also got a rash guard suit.  I didn't think she needed a new suit at the time, so I didn't include any fabric for her in my Fabric Fairy order.  But then one of her old Cosis bit the dust, and I ended up getting these fabrics from Joann's. I can't recommend them - the seat of the bottoms are already pilling, and the fabric is a bit shiny for my taste - but at least the fabric hasn't faded.



Z's rash guard is a straight 3T with 2.5" extra length.  Her Cosi bottoms are a straight size 6 with a shorter rise and with the same waist and leg elastic as Natasha's.


Niko's set is probably my favorite of the bunch.  The fabrics (from The Fabric Fairy) have held up spectacularly well, and I just love the way the suit looks on him.   This is the navy fabric, which is very thick and substantial and seems to be very high quality.  The floral has also held up nicely so far.


His rash guard is a size 18-24 month with extra length.  His trunks are size 2 of the Euro Swim Trunks pattern, with about 1/2" taken off each side seam.  I also lengthened the bottoms a couple of inches, as I'm digging a longer trunk for my boys these days.


I also made Niko two pairs of board shorts, though I only managed to get photos of one.  They were both made using the Oliver+S Sunny Day Shorts pattern (it's free!) in a straight size 2T.  I added a patch pocket to the back of the gingham pair.  The unpictured pair is just a bright yellow.



G didn't need much.  He is still rocking the gingham trunks I made him two years ago, which match Niko's gingham trunks, though they are now quite faded and likely won't be passed down.  Plus he has a bunch of thrifted and gifted trunks.  He did need a new rash guard, so I sewed up a quick one a couple days before we left for the beach, using scraps from Niko and Natasha's swim suits.  I used the size 3 with a ton of extra length for my tall four-year-old, and made elbow-length sleeves.


And that wraps up Beach Collection 2017!  
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