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Work It: Edition 3.2

So, I’m late with this post. I finished sewing and photographing a few days ago, because procrastination, but I have been struggling to write. In general actually. I don’t know if it is all the chaos in the world, or just a lull in my desire to write, but ugh. In particular, I am struggling to write this because I didn’t like this pattern. I don’t like the fit. I very much disliked the instructions. I’m sad because I’ve been wanting to make a swimsuit out of this fabric for a year!

Let’s just dive in. I’ll highlight some positives. This pattern is the First Crush Swimsuit from Rad Patterns. It has tons of options. You can make so many different styles for all your preferences. I had originally planned to make a suit for each of my sisters as well, because we could each pick exactly the options we wanted. After sewing up mine, I’m going to assess fit on my gorgeous sister (thankfully, I am right in between the two of them for size) and if they’re happy, I’ll move forward. If not, we’ll pick other patterns.

I really can’t comment on why this construction is so complicated. I got about halfway through construction, thought I had fucked something up and just did my own thing. After I finished, I realized I hadn’t messed up at all, the instructions just weren’t clear. At all. This 100% could just be me. Maybe I was just in a bad place for sewing and it makes perfect sense to everyone else. If this pattern interests you, please don’t let one opinion completely discourage you. Ask in the group, or look for someone else who has sewn it. But it was just a hot mess for me.

The end result fits, but not at all how I want it to. The back armscye is too wide and cuts into my arm when I’m moving. The bottom of the bust is not fitted enough to be secure to my preferences (I’d use a wider elastic there if I were to make it again). And the top of the bottoms annoys me. The inside is constantly flipping out. I much prefer either a wider elastic, so the topstitching can be further from the edge, or, even better, to sew the lining and outer right sides together, with elastic in the seam. This helps keep the lining inside better, and gives a cleaner finish to the top edge.

Overall, there are a LOT of things I would need to change to make this pattern again. If I LOVED the fit, I’d definitely tackle it. Construction changes are no big deal for me. But with how it fits me, eh. Unless someone I sew for specifically requests it, this one won’t be a repeat for me. If someone does choose it, they’ll definitely be getting a muslin first.

I’m really glad I powered through and got something out of this. Really hoping it fits well for someone else who might like to wear this one.

I hope you’re staying inside, not going batty, and finding some time to take care of yourself, as well as your loved ones. Sending love from Georgia!

Stephanie xx

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TCCF Mermaid Glitz

Ok, this post is definitely about this amazing fabric and the equally delightful patterns I used it on. But, if I don’t start off with sharing that this is scary as hell, I’m just not being honest with you. I JUST made my first bikini like a month ago. I loved wearing it on the beach. It was comfortable and cute. But it took having an amazing, reassuring, supportive tribe around me to reach that point. Now, I’ve made a second bikini, that I feel equally amazing and comfortable in, but I’m sharing it on the fucking internet. Way more real than in front of some strangers on a beach with a couple of friends. Please know that it took all my courage, and maybe an adult beverage, to hit publish on this post. I hope others who aren’t always comfortable in their skin, whatever your size, shape, or self image, can take a moment to say, if she can do it, I can certainly wear whatever I want too (whether you post on the internet or not)! Because that shared strength of amazing humans who support each other, that simple, unwavering support, is everything. We can lift each other up and be the strength we all need a little help finding from time to time. Now on to the fun stuff.

HOW FUN IS THIS SWIM FABRIC?!?!?!?! This is the very appropriately named Mermaid Glitz from Threaded Candy Custom Fabrics and I freaking love it!! As soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted a bikini out of it. Wearing it makes me feel like a mermaid, or fairy, or some other magical creature of delight. The swim base was a joy to work with! It is a lovely, thick swim that was easy to sew up and the color is so true to computer screen! (Always a fear when ordering online.) It washed up beautifully, losing none of its vibrancy or shimmery look. And I think I saved enough scraps to at least use as accent on another bikini! Interchangeable pieces are my jam.

A fabric this fabulous requires equally gorgeous patterns!! I started with a list of options. I knew I wanted a high waisted bottom. Something simple, and not a fabric hog (since I only had 1 yard). The 5 Out of 4 Patterns Alice Swim Bottoms came to mind immediately and they are PERFECT!!! You might have noticed I sew up a lot of the 5oo4 pattern collection. They are one of the companies that just fit me. I never need weird adjustments, just grade and add height, then boom. Finished and comfy! This was such a fast sew and the instructions so simple, I can’t recommend them enough! There are definitely some fun features to choose from in this pattern, a cute front tie, a peplum, a flounce, and maternity of course, that I’ll definitely be utilizing in future swim bottoms (not the maternity, but the others!). But the plain option was exactly what I needed to let this gorgeous fabric shine!

On to the top, two of the three patterns I was looking at were actually hacks to one of my favorite swim suits. (Don’t you just love when designers include hacks to their patterns after release? It really let’s me see the potential of a pattern, without risking a bombed project and sad, wasted fabric.) I polled my loved ones and they were split down the middle between the two hacks to turn the Patterns for Pirates Take the Plunge swimsuit into a bikini. I didn’t have a fav between them, so I picked the one that looked like less fabric (again, just one yard!), and I’m SO HAPPY! I made my ties extra long, so I could tie it in front. I LOVE being able to tie it around me, so I can choose how tight I want/need it. (Also, I just hate needing to wait for help to get someone else to tie it, then being fussy about getting just the right amount of tightness.) That’s the only change I made to the suggested hack from this blog post.

I feel AMAZING in this bikini. Definitely ready to dive into the water and just enjoy some sunshine. So, even though this is scary as hell, I’m sharing everywhere. Check out the entire collection of fabrics, and be sure to let me know if you love this combo as much as I do!

Stephanie xx

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5oo4 Escapade

So, I tested this pattern way back in the way back and I just adored it. Super cute and a surprisingly quick, considering it looks complicated. I just love the two tanks I made. I’ve worn them dozens of times and I’m a little disappointed in myself for not going back to make more (isn’t that always the way).

A few weeks ago, Virginia and I were powering through some new swimwear before we went on vacation and I suggested the 5 Out of 4 Escapade as a swim tank for her. It comes with full bust adjustment options, provides really great support, even without adding all the extra foam cups and whatnot, and has the thinner straps she has been asking for. Perfect!! She freaking loved it!! Plus, we got to use this kick ass “cereal” fabric I found at Fine Fabrics.

Now that she loves it, what a perfect pattern to pair with this gorgeous fabric!! We picked it up from So Sew English, and it has been in her stash forever. This print is just exactly right for this dress!! I hadn’t made the dress and now I’m a little jelly! Doesn’t she look stunning in this?

The halter ties, the ruched front, the subtle flare. *sigh* Perfect for fall, as it is still too hot to exist outside here, and as it cools down, will be wonderful under a jean jacket!

Is it my turn for another Escapade yet? 😀
Stephanie xx

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Work It: Edition 6

Here we go again!! It is full on summer here in Atlanta and it isn’t just heating up, it is hot. This makes me long for a warm beach, a cool breeze, and gentle waves to play in! How does this pertain to another edition of Work It: 12 Months, 1 Pattern, No Repeats, you ask? I can’t go playing in the ocean without some great swim pieces, can I?!

That’s right, I took the 5 Out Of 4 Diane Joggers pattern that I’ve been using and hacked them into swim shorts!! This was actually a really fast sew and turned out so cute and versatile!! Here are the pattern details…

I chose shorts length, but shortened to have a 2.5 inch inseam. I wanted short, but not too short. Don’t forget seam/hem allowance when measuring a new inseam!! I chose the yoga waistband, so I could wear it unfolded, and pulled all the way up. This gives me some coverage when I’m actually swimming, if my tank flies up. (This is the one thing I really hate about tankinis. Great for the sand, annoying in the water.)

The real fun comes in with the hack! I cut two sets of front legs and two sets of back legs, and two sets of back yokes. I sewed them up as if they were two separate shorts. Instead of using swim lining, I cut them both out of this AMAZING solid navy swim fabric from Sly Fox Fabrics. (I’ll talk more about that in a minute.) I usually use swim lining for suits, but with shorts, I just wanted that extra thick layer. Plus, the rest of the hack means it is great for the inside to match the outside!

After I sewed the shorts together along the bottom hem of each leg, I added elastic to the hem as well, to make sure they didn’t stretch out and show off more than I wanted to. Ok, if I’m being completely honest, I sewed the elastic at the same time as sewing that seam. I’m super lazy and hate sewing twice, if I can finish it once. Then I flipped them wrong sides together and stitched the side seams together (stitch in the ditch style!). I just used a long straight stitch and haven’t had a problem, but you could use a stretch stitch if you like. Then I sewed another line of stitching 1/2 inch on either side of the side seam. This created the casing for these fun ruching ties!

To create the ties, I just cut 4 pieces of 2 inches wide by 24 inches long, then sewed each one together along one short edge and the long edge, right sides together. Flip them right sides out and boom! Four lovely ties that I can slide into those channels. I did just slice small holes at the end of the channels, as far to the back as possible, but still on top of the seam and elastic, so my ties can come out the bottom. Tie them in a knot and done!

These ruching ties give me the option to wear them as shorts, reducing chafing and giving a bit more coverage/comfort while walking out and about or playing on the beach. But, I can squish the shorts up those ties (or ruche them, if you will), and I have some kick ass booty shorts (pun intended). I can swim without them shifting and add a cute feature that, I think, shows off my assets quite nicely. I have a comparison here to show how they really wear at both lengths. They both have the fun knot feature. It is a bit more pronounced with more of the ties showing when ruched. And my booty is rocking however I wear them!

I did mention this top a bit above, but this is the 5oo4 Rosanna. I LOVE this as a dress, so when I knew I was going to hack some swim bottoms, I knew I wanted this as a swim top. The straps are wide without being too wide. There is a built in shelf bra, with instructions to add foam cups, and it is just dang cute. This was my first time adding foam cups. They are a little wide, and I’ll probably move them over when I have some spare time (HAH!), but I love them! They definitely offer a bit of extra support and coverage and were surprisingly easy to put in. (To be fair, I stole cup pieces from a bra pattern, so they are actually a good size for me, and not just nipple covers.)

I was extra thrilled I could cut those front panels from scraps after cutting out my shorts! Such a fun pop to add to this delightful plaid, and a great use of scraps, of course. So, let’s talk about this fabric. This is the shit. I have made quite a few swimsuits, and I have used everything from thin and oh, I hope my stuff doesn’t show through when this is wet, to holy thick and beautiful and easy to use, batman. Sly Fox brought it, hard, and tops out on the awesomeness chart for swim fabric!! Seriously. It is thick and lovely to work with. The colors are GORGEOUS!!! I can’t wait to see how it holds up in the sun and surf. (Amanda, I clearly need to come down to test this out.)

I can’t wait to try more of their swim fabric, since I am obsessed with sewing swimsuits. But beyond that, they have such lovely options. Beautiful prints and fun solids! Great for mix and match options (I definitely want to make some pieces that coordinate so I can mix it up with these two!) So be sure to check out and find a new favorite swimsuit on your sewing table before they sell out!!

As always, 5 Out Of 4 Patterns is giving away a $10 pattern credit that you can enter to win here and be sure to let me know what you think of this month’s sews!

Stephanie xx

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5oo4 Laura Swim

Hell yeah! Swim!! I love sewing swim!! It astounds me every damn time just how simple the techniques are. To be fair, it also astounds me to have a suit that actually fits! One that isn’t too short so it pulls down for more cleavage than I expected or ride up for the terrible beach wedgie. Nobody wants that. So when this beauty came up for testing, it was irresistible!!

This pink version on me was an early version, so a few things changed before Virginia’s polka dot one. (That’s why the backs are slightly different.) I love the coverage this one provides. The ladies aren’t on display, though if you want them to be, there is an option for a lower neckline! The back also has two options! I didn’t have any clasps on hand, so went for the tie option. Plus there is a cute little button option if you want to add it!

I truly expected to be uncomfortable with such an open back. I almost always pick swim patterns with higher, less strappy backs. I’m pretty squishy and don’t typically feel comfortable with that squishiness strapped down and…well…squishing places. But some combination of this one having all the straps hit all the right places and finding myself surrounded by amazing, supportive, body positive people, has given me the confidence to just rock this!!

So glad there weren’t many changes to this one in testing (Rachelle just rocks), so I could make my final for Virginia!! She picked the same options in this lovely dot fabric! We used the reverse for the band and tie to give it a bit of contrast and fun pop of pink!

This was a surprisingly quick swim sew, especially the second one. I already have another one (or three) planned and can’t wait for some pool time!! Plus, as a bonus, when we were being tourists, we knew there was some fountain time in our day, so I wore this like a bodysuit with a circle skirt and was ready to get wet!! I was comfortable all day (even with the confetti) and my suit dried so conveniently quick after splashing in the fountain and having fun!

Grab your copy here and don’t forget to share in the 5oo4 fan group on facebook!!

Stephanie xx