Well, here is one more thing I won’t have to buy at the store. Win! Virginia wears a belt almost every day. At least every day that she works. And she HATES them! They are bulky and the buckles sometimes rub on her belly when she is bending over and doing physical work. But, without them, she is constantly pulling her pants up. PLUS, she is starting to wear a lot of dresses and the best accessory to change up how they look, and dress them up, is to add a belt.
The new Rebecca Page Classic Belt is intended to sit at the waist. BUT, it does tell you to measure where you want to wear it to maximize functionality. So that’s convenient. There are two width options in this pattern and both are wonderful! The Standard width just fits in her belt loops, so it is perfect for every day use, and adds a dramatic flair to dresses!
The Narrow width is a fantastic way to add some sass, pizzazz, flair, whatever you like to call it, by adding a pop of color or pattern without being too dramatic (unless you used sequin fabric, or something, that would be dramatic and amazing).
Since I didn’t tack down the belt loops, I was also able to put the black loop at center back (or you can take them off entirely) where it looks like part of the dress and adds a little something extra to the look! Love the versatility.
I chose to make Virginia the size in between her waist and high hip measurement (where she wears her pants) so it would be as versatile as possible. I might add some extra grommets as well (but I need to order more) to make sure if she fluctuates in size at all, or I want to borrow one, they will still work!
All six of these belts were made with scraps I had on hand. Thankfully, the pattern recommends using the height of fabric, rather than width, so those long skinny bits I have leftover from projects were perfect!! I only ended up piecing the black belt because I had a small cut of that left. I used a classic binding technique on that to reduce bulk. Overlapped the square ends at a 90 degree angle, and sewed the diagonal. It really created a seamless look and was quick and easy!
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!
It has been a crazy month or two. I’m working hella too much. I’ve gotten to see an old friend and have a fun visit. I’ve been planning a trip back home for my 10 year college reunion (how has it been 10 years?!). I’ve been quiet on here and not sewing or posting as much as I’d like. My family and friends have been super supportive while I’m overbooked. Reminding me to take breaks and making sure the downtime I do take is delightful!
So when my sister told me she wanted to start working out again and needed some new workout pants, I knew she wouldn’t be asking if she didn’t really need them. I am all about the support and all three of us are now having fun with sharing and comparing our steps and workouts. Counting calories and jumping right into exactly the encouragement we all appreciate in making healthy choices.
I know she heard the begrudging agreement in my voice (probably because she called while I was working and my brain was focused on upcoming tasks and timelines) and I sincerely hope she knows I am so excited to give the support she needs, especially from afar.
The conversation was very entertaining to me. I asked how many pairs she was looking for. She said 5, but 2 extras would be ideal so she could do laundry and still workout every day. (I have to say, she has really stuck to that schedule and worked out 30 of the first 33 days of this new undertaking! I am impressed!!). I asked if she needed workout tops too. She honestly told me no, though she always prefers me made to store bought and would love some.
Of course I said yes, hopefully not with a sigh. And chatted with Virginia about when we could fabric shop and if she wanted to help pick out fabrics for Vicki. We made a plan and went to the fabric store. While we were there, of course we grabbed some gorgeous swim knits for ourselves (I already used some in a pattern test), and actually picked up some fabric for Christmas presents and other projects we already knew were coming up.
My favorite part about shopping for Vicki is that she is super open to ANYTHING. She isn’t a huge fan of orange, but otherwise, almost everything is on the table. Solids are ok. Prints are a huge win. Colorful, fun, variety. Those are the key points. So we are sending her photos and trying to get her opinion on what she wants. All of them. She likes every fabric we show her and is completely useless at making decisions.
We decided we would choose for her. She didn’t get to see any of the fabrics chosen ahead of time. She has no idea that we made sure to buy some overlap in what we wanted. We did this because we like sister matching, especially if it isn’t the same piece. But, also, it means buying a little less fabric, since we can share a little yardage. So, she got fabric for 8 workout bottoms instead of 5-7!!!
She asked for a nice mix of leggings and more yoga pant style. Thankfully, I have made both the Patterns for Pirates Peg Legs and the Rebecca Page Pippa pants for her before. So I already have patterns made up and graded to her size. She prefers “shorts”, which I’d call knee length, which also helped us reach those 8 pairs.
Now the fabric is bought and washed and just sitting there mocking me. Not being sewn up or cut out. Looking all pretty and touchable. So I quit work a little early on a Sunday and cut out ALL EIGHT PAIRS in just a couple hours. I paired and clipped the seams that needed sewing as soon as I finished cutting, because batch sewing is my jam.
Then, they sat. And sat. And sat. Dang. What am I doing that I can’t just sew these damn pants?! I made Virginia help me choose which ones could be sewn with which serger thread colors. (I’m cool with coordination, but not outright looking bad together.) I stacked them in these piles and just waited until I had a free hour.
BOOM!! Eight pairs all sewed together and ready for hemming! I bet you can guess what happened next. Yeah. They sat. They moved in a pile from my cutting table, to my ironing board, to a chair. They were a cat bed for a bit after a tough vet visit. This was going to take a few more thread colors than I used on the serger and I just didn’t have the motivation for that many thread changes. Even though I knew four of them would be hemmed with the color that was ACTIVELY ON MY MACHINE! How lazy am I?!
It wasn’t until I was prepping to do another project that was a tight deadline (2 days!!), and needed to change the color that I stopped and hemmed those four pair. I wasn’t going to change colors and have to change back!! It took maybe 20 minutes. Seriously. Why was I just putting this off?!
Now, I have finished all 8 pairs. I’m packed and flying home. This blog will go live as soon as she sees them and I can’t wait to see her thoughts on all these beautiful fabrics!! I also can’t wait to see how she puts them to work and we all continue to encourage and support each other through workouts and smart, healthy choices.