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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? πŸ˜€
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

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House of Curves – Personal Stories – GIVEAWAY

I hope you’ve been reading from the other House of Curves bloggers this week!  It is always interesting to see how others got started and move about in this crazy sewing world we are a part of!!  (Plus, there’s a giveaway!!  Read to the bottom!!!)

How did I get started, you ask?  Ok, you didn’t ask, but I’m going to tell you anyway!  πŸ˜€  Way back in the way back, my grandma taught me to sew.  I vaguely recall her explaining how paper patterns work.  What all the markings mean.  How to measure for sizing and fit.  All the good stuff that formed a solid base for me jumping all in to the sewing world!  She helped me make this simple dress and I loved it!  We jumped back in a few times throughout the years.  Plus there’s always home ec in school.  But I didn’t really jump into sewing as a hobby until college!

I decided I HAD to make a quilt while sharing a 12 square foot room with a great friend.  Mom helped me with starter supplies and stuff for my birthday and I sewed by hand.  It was exhilarating!  Being able to take a design from paper to fabric was exciting and oh, so satisfying!!  The downside…I decided it had to be HUGE!  Bigger than king size.  Why?  No clue.  But, I went all in.  Ended up commandeering a common room for an evening, pushing all the couches to the edges of the room, just to pin the layers together!!  Thousands of french knots later (it seemed like the prettiest quilting option at the time), and I was hooked.  Though I might never do a french knot again.  Then there were all the lap quilts and pillows for friends and family.

I’m sure everyone in my family has a shitty project from my early days and I so appreciate the support and excitement for the crap I just had to make.  <3  (I also appreciate that they constantly ask for more, even when I’m ridiculously slow to deliver.  Sorry guys!!)

Once I made it to the real world and discovered there was this thing called free time (a rarity/non-existent in college), I started to become more and more interested in moving beyond quilts.  I started making up my own patterns, picking up $1 patterns during sales, and discovered Craftsy.  (Amazing classes to learn all kinds of art related things.  Even cooking!)  I ended up testing purse/wallet patterns for a company I don’t remember (and I feel terrible for forgetting.  She was a lovely designer and I so enjoyed working with her) and just LOVED it!!  It was so fun to learn new techniques and have input on instructions.  Plus I got to sew for some of my favorite people in the process.  This is where I learned about PDF sewing patterns and the many, many Facebook pages to support them.

What is this magic?  Patterns that aren’t drafted for the exact same body shape?  Patterns without so much extra ease that fit is just ridiculous?  (I completely know that paper patterns have changed significantly and there are so many options now!  Please don’t judge me for previous opinions of older patterns.  Or do, but keep it to your damn self. πŸ˜‰ )

An entire group of like-minded people to share and be inspired by?  Oh yes!  Found my happy place.  That’s for sure!  I learned that lots of companies used testers.  Since it was something I so enjoyed in the past, I figured if I upped my game and started taking better pics to show off my stuff, maybe I could do that for fun.  And it happened!!  Turns out when you’re at the edges of size ranges, it is hard to find testers.  So, I started with Patterns for Pirates when they needed a fill in.  It was delightful!  Such a fun group of women to work with.  Then they asked me again.  Hell yes!!  Finally got added to the regular testing group and I was in heaven!!

From there, I spiraled.  I started testing for any and every designer who needed/wanted me.  If they asked, no way did I say no.  If I saw a tester call, I applied.  Even if I didn’t like the designer’s style.  Mistakes were made.  Beautiful garments were also made.  It was so fun!

Now, I’m a regular tester for quite a few groups.  Some who asked me, some I applied for.  I always try to test patterns that let me learn something new.  (I’ve ranted about this before…).  Since there are so many sewists who want to test, I try not to test for things just to be testing.  If I’m not in love with the design, why not let someone else enjoy that experience?  If I’m testing for a designer, I love working with them and their team!  The “payment” of the pattern for free at the end isn’t much of a payment (if you want to test just for free patterns, it is cheaper to just buy them!).  So, the experience is what I’m in for.  Great people, fun groups, new techniques.  These are the things that keep me in the testing world.  Plus, I’m a procrastinator.  I need deadlines to accomplish things.  Otherwise, I’m down for sitting on the couch, reading a book or twiddling my thumbs.  Now I keep an excel spreadsheet to keep track of the tests and promos.  All the deadlines.  And I love every minute of it.

Testing has also lead to some amazing people.  Not just designers, but other testers and people asking questions on my promotion posts.  I love when you connect with a stranger and they become someone you can chat with.  Reach out to for questions.  Complain about your shitty day with.  Be there for them, whatever they need.  I’ve been lucky to make friends with people all over the world and I can’t imagine my week without them!!

Overall, my world has improved significantly since finding the PDF sewing community and jumping into testing.  I hope your journey has been just as fun and continues to provide satisfaction and much needed relaxation.  Now, tell me how you made it here!  How did you start sewing?  And don’t forget to check out the other bloggers on this great blog tour!  (And enter to win some great prizes below!!)

stephanie xx

Check out the stories from all the House of Curves bloggers!

Monday, Oct 1: Seams Like Style
Tuesday, Oct 2: Twinkle Toes & Co
Wednesday, Oct 3: Sequoia Lynn Sews
Thursday, Oct 4: cut.sew.make
Friday, Oct 5: Sarcastic Sewist

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