Posts Tagged ‘style’

Sewing: Vintage Bikini

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I felt heartbroken when I tried on a much anticipated swimsuit order and there was a 1 inch gap between my little girls and the bralette cups that were marked at size “A”. It’s frustrating not being able to find something that fits. I’m happy with my body, but my body’s small “features” are hard to fit. Sometimes I think it would be easier to just augment my body so I can actually buy a swimsuit and feel feminine in it. Of course that’s ridiculous. Sewing is way cheaper than plastic surgery. And I should embrace my body the way it is. I love this NY times article all about the small-chested.

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One of the things I haven’t tackled with my sewing machine is the bathing suit. I haven’t been interested or confident enough to even think about it until I was on a complete sewing high in LA with some crazy talented ladies. Justine was actually the one to give me the boost I needed to take this on. We were in Michael Levine and I was asking her about swimwear and she showed me the “good stuff”. I couldn’t back down.

It’s fitting that I’m showcasing this swimsuit in her sewing the trends series, is it not?

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I’m in love with the vintage bikini, the one that shows only a couple of inches of stomach. I’m in love with the bralette trend as well. The bralette isn’t a kind of look that I would  wear on a day-to-day basis, but it’s perfect for swimwear. You can see all of my swim inspiration here.

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This bathing suit cost just over $10 for materials. About $400 in my time, though. I often get asked if I’ll ever open an etsy shop and sell my sewn creations. I always say no. I’m the sole breadwinner now, and I couldn’t charge enough for my sewn creations to make ends meet. I would love to work with a clothing company to create a limited line of clothing. And maybe someday I’ll be part of the design process, but never the manufacturing process.

If this swimsuit basically cost me $410 in materials and time, why did I do it then? Why not just commission a girl like Bev to make one for me? It boils down to happiness. I love a challenge. We all need challenges to feel happy. Besides this being great blog content, I pushed myself so much farther on this project than any other one I’ve done to date. Drafting up that top, and sewing muslin after muslin took a lot of discipline. And that discipline paid off big time.

The bottoms fit me like a glove. Everything is fully lined. Do you see how smooth those bottoms are? The lining makes such a big difference.

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I drafted everything from scratch. I had a ton (like 5 yards) of lining fabric, so I could mess up as much as I wanted on the muslins. It took 4 muslins to get the bottoms just perfect. 1 for the top. I totally winged the top based on a bra I was planning on using for support. When I fitted the muslin, it fit me perfectly so I opted for soft cup inserts instead.

I took the flat shapes I wanted for the bralette, and with the slash and spread method, I made them into pattern pieces that would form perfectly around my girls. It’s nothing short of a miracle that this fit on the first try. That NEVER happens.

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I did mess up on the waistband of the bottoms, but it wasn’t too bad. They were really high waisted, so instead of unpicking the waistband, I just cut off the old one and put on a new one. Surprisingly not much time or material was wasted here.

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I still can’t believe I made this swimsuit! It fits better than any swimsuit I’ve ever worn. We’ll see how it does at the pool today.

Outfit Details:

  • swimsuit: handmade
  • sunglasses: c/o BYUTV
  • shoes: Ruche (seychelles)

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I’ll see if I can come up with a tutorial on how to draft your own vintage bikini, but it’s kind of daunting to think of all of the steps I would have to explain.

I have found similar patterns available for download. Burdastyle has one and so does Oh Lulu.

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The bottoms were easy enough with basically two pieces and a band. I just drafted them up from a pair of swim bottoms that fit me well enough, then I tweaked and tweaked until they were perfect.

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I’m glad I used a print for the top. If you look closely you can tell where I wasn’t perfectly precise with the bralette, but it’s masked by the pattern. I thought I would need boning to keep the top in place, but so far it hasn’t been necessary. I can always add it on afterward.

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You can see here the lining. Seriously, if you’re going to sew your own swimming suit, I can’t stress a high-quality lining enough! It makes all the difference!

Here’s the schedule for the Sewing the Trends series. There are some remarkable sewers in the line up, I’m thrilled to be part of it. Be sure to check them all out.

Fabric provided by Michael Levine’s LowPriceFabric.com.

 

Tutorial: Galaxy Print

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I’ve noticed that if I can’t do something in my studio (if it makes a huge mess), I rarely muster up the motivation to start it. This was one of those rare occasions. I made this galaxy print from scratch. It was fun and painterly, I think I may actually do it again sometime.

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This fabric was originally a painful juvenile raspberry color. I could have made it work, but it wasn’t me. I had a few items piling up that weren’t quite the right color so I had a dyeing party in my wash room. I didn’t care what colors came out as long as they weren’t the same colors that went in. I threw this knit and a couple of others into the wash with a high concentrate of teal dye and let it do its thing. It was awesome to see how different each piece came out!

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The purple that came out of the dryer was just begging to become a galaxy print. I read a few things on spot dyeing, but just went for it. I ended up having to do it all over again, but I figured it out in the end. It wasn’t terribly time consuming once I figured it out. Full explanation after the jump.

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Sewing up the peplum didn’t take much time at all. I basically used the block I made from my high-low circle dress, but drafted up a new circle piece on the bottom.

I didn’t want the peplum to be too flouncy, so it’s not a full circle. Long explanation short, I used a slash and overlap method I learned from Carrie in a pattern making class I took at Sewing Summit last year. I can provide a full step-by-step tutorial if y’all are interested. Just pipe up in the comments.

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Constructing this top took about an hour and a half. I feel like I’m getting much faster when I use patterns that fit me already. It definitely helps make sewing “cost” less.

Outfit details:

  • necklace: Forever 21
  • top: handmade, hand dyed
  • belt: thrifted
  • pants: Pac Sun
  • shoes: Target

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I’m so happy with how this peplum fits! I think they’re such a flattering silhouette for any body type. At some point Chris and I will add another baby to our family. It’s nice to know I’ll have a few pieces in my wardrobe that will work for the first and fourth trimesters.

Speaking of the awesome pooch-hiding superpowers of peplum tops, I’m over at Über Chic for Cheap sharing the things I’ve learned about dressing a postpartum bod. It’s got some funny illustrations so you’ll want to head over.

Get the instructions how to make your own galaxy print after the jump.

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Sewing: Cascade Wrap Skirt

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You know I’m obsessed with Megan Nielsen patterns. Maybe because she’s my favorite client, or maybe because she makes kick-trash patterns that are modern, simple and on-trend. Maybe both.

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I tested out her cascade skirt pattern months ago, and I’ve been so anxious to share it with you. Now that her collection is released, I want to show it off!! I made it out of a purple heather knit (this will be the pantone of the year next year, I’m convinced), and I LOVE the drape, texture and fit.

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I was a little hesitant to try a wrap skirt pattern, but I loved the technical drawing so much I couldn’t resist.

See, one of the first skirts I ever made was a wrap floral skirt, with the help of my mom. I liked it and hated it. Any time a gust of wind came, there my panties were to say hello. And I live in a fairly windy spot, on top of a mountain. I didn’t want to go to the trouble of making an awesome skirt that I could only wear on “special” (aka non-windy) occasions. But I did it anyway.

I’m glad I used a soft jersey here, the jersey tends to stick to itself to conceal not-cute mom undies.

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I totes feel like a salsa dancer or something in this skirt.

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I wore just about this exact outfit at Alt Summit earlier this year (minus the shoes and plus a blazer). I felt so fancy and comfortable at the same time.

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Outfit details:

High Low Circle Hem Tutorial

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Brewing in the back of my mind has been this pink and orange circle dress. I’ve had the fabric for months, it’s just been such a busy couple of months I was almost too scared to start on it.

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I certainly shouldn’t have been scared. This thing took 2 hours to make from start to finish. Clean studio to clean studio, I might add. I didn’t test anything out before I started sewing, and I ended up paying for it a little bit with the waistline, but overall everything worked like a dream.

I included a high-low circle hemline here because I had enough requests for a tutorial, I thought I would do it again so I could better explain it. It’s really easy. So easy that I’ve made a printable pattern. Not printable from home, (it takes forever to format to print on 8.5×11 paper) but you can easily take the file to your local copy shop and they can print it out on their gigantic plotter for something like 15¢-50¢ per square foot. Or you can draft your own using the instructions after the jump.

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The two colors are very similar in content and weight, the orange being a bit heavier. I wanted to have the pink on the bottom when I first conceptualized this dress, but I didn’t have enough fabric for it. You’ll need at least a yard and a half if you want it to come close to hitting at the knee. I’m a knee length gal, so more yardage was required.

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I drafted my own skirt and used the Renfrew tee as a base for the bodice. I took in the Renfrew tee about 3/8 inch at the fold line, none at the shoulders or arm pits then just about 3/8 inch at the waist line. I wanted the top to be form-fitted so I can wear the dress sans belt.

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I made the mistake of cutting the bodice too short, so I ended up adding a waistband for the needed length. It worked out just fine, and looks like it’s supposed to be there in a way. Next time my dress won’t have one. And I will be making another one of these. I sort of wish I had made this skirt last year or the year before in the height of the orange/pink craze, but I still love it regardless of what’s trending.

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The jersey is crazy comfortable, it feels like I’m wearing lounge clothes. I can’t wait to make another one. Next one will be out of a print, I think. Now I need to find the right print.

Outfit details:

  • earrings: Brazil
  • necklace: Annily Green
  • skirt: handmade
  • belt: hand-me-down from grandma
  • leather bracelets: handmade
  • bangle: c/o Apricot Lane
  • shoes: thrifted

Click to read more for the full how to make this skirt!

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Designed: I Make Beautiful Things

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My friend Annie told me that Michael’s is the place to go for hot pink tees, so I bought one as soon as I could. I thing it’s men’s sizing, but since it’s made out of a thinner, drapier knit, the oversized fit looks good.

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I wore it a few times plain before I set it aside in my studio for a little overhaul. As I was prepping for Alt Summit, the idea of this shirt came to mind, and it just seemed to fit perfectly. I had originally painted the saying: “I’m gonna make beautiful things” but I wanted to be a little more tongue-in-cheek rather than aspirational, so I vectorized it and took out “‘m gonna”. I certainly didn’t want to come across as conceited when wearing this tee, and I really hope I didn’t.

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I just wanted to show potential partners and sponsors that I have a sense of humor and that I really do try to make pretty things.

I vectorized this quote and cut it out using my Silhouette and some iron-on heat transfer.

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I wear this top all the time. Like every day, if it’s not dirty. I also made the leggings out of some thrifted knit I scored for $3. Now I have two pairs of floral pants! My dreams have come true!

Outfit details:

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