Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Refashion: Old Loose Swimsuit to New Strappy Swimsuit

I was cleaning my wardrobe and found this Pre-Kids swimsuit from more than 10 years ago. I thought that I had donated it to a charity shop already. I tried on the swimsuit but the low back of the swimsuit made the straps fall off my shoulders all too easily.

I liked the colour of the suit and I thought I could salvage it somehow by refashioning it. I have some black swimsuit fabric scraps. I thought that I could add some straps to the low back to make the suit more secure. Lucky for me, there is currently a trend of 'strappy swimwear':

I cut and sewed 2 long straps from the black swimsuit fabric scraps. I tried on the suit and positioned the straps to the places that worked for my body. I sewed the straps down onto the black trim of the swimsuit. Within 30 minutes, I had a swimsuit that didn't fall off my shoulders!

Another quick and easy and useful Refashion!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Another Swimsuit muslin - Kwik Sew 2797

I guess I'm in a mood to make swimsuits! I made yet another one this weekend based on Kwik Sew 2797 View B. I had long wanted to have a zip front, colour blocked swimsuit like this:

I thought that the zip-front makes it practical to put the suit on and off. And I thought that Colour blocking will help to artificially give my 'blocky' upper body more curves. But of course this designer suit cost almost US$400! I figured that I could probably make something similar with my remnant fabrics and a stash pattern.

Kwik Sew 2898 is meant to be a leotard but I made quite a number of design changes to make it into a zip-front swimsuit. I used remnant black and white swimsuit fabric that has 20% lycra content.  I cut a size S based on my experience with previous Kwik Sew swimsuit patterns (they run at least 1 size larger). I drafted separate front side panels and back side panels. I shortened the crotch by 2cm (something that I always have to do with swim bottoms or underpants). Last but not least, I chalked out the area on the fabric for the white zipper that I thrifted at my local thrift store.

I topstitched the colourblocking seams to reinforce them. Everything went okay except when it comes to the front zipper. I hadn't found a lot of info regarding how to install a front zipper to a very stretchy swimwear fabric. Some said that I needed to use a stablizer while others said not. I examined a RTW swimsuit with a front zipper and found no stablizer. I reinforced the area where the zipper was to be installed with stitching and then basted down the zipper before sewing 3 rows of narrow zig-zag stitching to attach the zipper. I used black thread so that the messy stitching would not show easily. But I would definitely not point out to others how messy those stitches were. I used swimsuit elastics for the neckline, armholes and legholes at 1:1 ratio. The stitches inside were also really messy. It is a muslin after all!

I used a regular swimwear lining for the entire back and in the front chest area. For the tummy area I used a nude swimwear fashion fabric that has 20% lycra to gently hold back my mommy tummy.

I do like the look of the colourblocking and the front zip. However, there is excess fabric at the back due to my sway back. You can see that weird fold on my back in the photo. So I will have to eliminate about 2cm from the centre back length at the waist, minimizing to nothing on the sides. The neckline is also a bit low for my liking so I'll have to redraft a higher neckline. Also, the white part of the swimsuit is actually quite transparent. If I make this again I will probably use a coloured fabric for the sides.

I'll try to swim with this next week and see if the zipper will hold up! I hope the zipper stitching doesn't come apart while I'm in the pool!

My review for this pattern is at

Saturday, July 18, 2015

A Summer Maxi gored skirt - Simplicity 5914

I made a maxi skirt for this summer! It's not the most practical for running after 2 young kids but I do like the look of it. I had this light turquoise blue linen cotton blend fabric in my stash for almost 10 years. I knew that a straight or pencil shape wouldn't fit my shape that well so I used a stash gored skirt pattern - Simplicity 5914. I have used this pattern before a few times but only the short skirt version (see here).

I used size 12 which is my usual for the skirts/pants for the big 5 pattern companies. I bounded the waist edge with a which bias tape. I didn't line it because the fabric has a good weight and not translucent.

I never wear my trousers/skirts with the top tucked in. So this is how I was wearing it this morning:

It's wonderfully flowy and drapey but I can only wear it when I'm out with hubby to chase after the 2 kids. I can dress it up or down with different tops and accessories. I have always liked this shape of skirts on me so I will definitely sew with this pattern again. Highly recommended!

My review of this pattern is here.

Another Swimsuit - Kwik Sew 3503

I got this floral swimsuit fabric in my stash for a while. I bought it before I made my first ever swimsuit (see here). The large floral pattern is a bit loud for me. However, it was in the cheapy bin and I thought it would be a great fabric for swimsuit muslins. I also had Kwik Sew 3505 in my stash. I bought it when I also bought Kwik Sew 2906, which I made 2 swimsuits with (see here and here).

I got restless and decided to make another swimsuit for myself. This material stretches more than the solid colour lycra fabric that I have. I first made size Medium but then after trying it on, I had to ripped the seams apart and resize it to XS! Even then I think I should have made it even smaller than XS because once the suit is in the water, it will stretch out even more.

I added straps to suit because I wanted the suit to be secure. I'm actually using this for swimming - not just posing out of water! LOL! I decided to be 'crafty' and crossed the ties at the back and then tie it in the front just under the bust. I don't know if this is going to make the suit more secure. I'll have to swim in it to see how it works. If it is too cumbersome then I'll just sew the straps down at the back of the suit.

This is how the suit looks on me:

I'm not in love with it. I think the loud floral make me look bigger. But I'm glad that I have made a  muslin from this pattern. I think one can make many design adjustments to this suit to suit their needs (e.g. adding straps, colour-blocking, etc). I'm certainly going to make this again in a not-so-loud fabric.

My Pattern Review can be found here.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

MAGAM July Romper done!

I followed the Threads Magazine instructions to draft the romper based on my tried and true shorts pattern - Butterick 5044. It came together really quickly. However, due to my short stature and short waist, the upper body length was too long. I also realized that I don't look good in garments that have a droopy elastic waist - it makes me look wider and more shapeless. So I cut off a good 4.5 inches off the top length and use a belt to gather the waist. I'm not sure if I like this strapless romper on me:

The front 'seemed' to be okay except that I think I gathered the top elastic too much (the chest bulging under the elastic). The back just made my broad back look even wider! This muslin is okay to wear in the house but I don't think I'll wear it outside.

Perhaps with a more drapey fabric (e.g. ponte knit) and a darker colour, this romper would be less offensive to my eyes. I'm not sure if I want to waste my fabric stash on this romper though. What do you think? Should I give it another go with a darker, drapier fabric?

Saturday, July 11, 2015

MAGAM July Plan - A Romper!

The July Theme for Make A Garment A Month is Sewing Books. Since I don't own any sewing books with patterns in it, I decided I would just draft the Strapless Jumpsuit pattern based on the Sept 2015 Threads Magazine. I have never owned or worn a jumpsuit or romper before so this should be interesting!

I found more remnants of the thrifted green striped cotton bedsheet (see shorts made from these sheets). I have just enough to make a romper, not a jumpsuit.

Let's see how this strapless romper muslin will look on my weirdly shaped body!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Bedsheet Remnant to Shorts - Butterick 5044 again

I have been wearing shorts frequently this summer so I thought I would make another pair. I thrifted quite a few used bedsheets from my local  Thrift Store last year when I was making my wedding dress. I found the remnants of this white/green stripes bedsheet in my stash. It had just enough yardage for the tried and true Butterick 5044 shorts pattern. The bedsheet is 100% medium weight cotton which would make a good material for shorts.

The shorts came together in about an hour - from cutting to finishing the waistband. I used the sheets finished top edge as the bottom hem of the shorts. I added a back pocket to the right back side. And this is how it looks:

And this is how it looks on me:

I'm pretty happy with these shorts considering it only took me an hour to make them, using stash remnants and a stash pattern. Yipee!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

More scrap busting - Girl Hat New Look 6579

My daughter has outgrown her summer hat. She asked me to make her a new one. She actually went through my fabric scraps box and chose these remnants for her hat. The pink metallic denim was used for her birthday dress (see here). It was the first time I had sewn in front of her. Usually I would have waited until she had gone to bed before I start sewing. However, she seemed to be interested in my sewing so I decided to show her the whole process.

First, I showed my daughter the pattern - a thrifted New Look 6579, which I had used the dress pieces to make the birthday dress for her (see here). I cut the fabric and sewed the entire hat while she watched intently. The hat went together very quickly (I didn't do the lining). The fit was fine except that it is a very 'shallow' hat. If I make it again I will need to add more 'depth' to the crown pieces. I added an elastic strap so that it doesn't come of her head too easily.

My daughter is very pleased with the hat and wore it through dinner until it was her bedtime. I'm happy she liked it! I like the mix of candy colours for the hat. Another quick and satisfying scrap busting project.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

My first Maxi Dress - McCall's 6612

I will admit it: I am clumsy. I am a hazard to myself. So when the maxi dress fashion trend started a few years ago, I didn't partake it. I was afraid I was going to trip over the long hem while chasing after 2 young kids.

Since the June theme for MAGAM (Make A Garment A Month) challenge was 'stash busting', I had been going through my enormous fabric stash and found many interesting but forgotten fabrics. One of them is this nice stretchy polyester knit that has black and white small oval print on it. When I picked it out of the storage, it instantly said 'maxi dress' to me. I thought I would make a maxi dress for myself for this summer with the condition that I only wear it while hubby is out with me helping to 'catch' the 2 kids.

I rummaged through my pattern stash and found McCall's 6612. I like the slight A-line look of View D. It was obviously going to be a very easy and quick dress to make. I used size 14 on the top and narrow it to size 12 at the hips. I omitted the cowl neck because it would be too hot for the summer. I also made my usual short waist adjustment. I added a centre back seam to allow for my sway back adjustment but it wasn't necessary since the weight of the fabric was pulling the dress down so it didn't bunch up at the back. I also shortened the hem by 6cm because of my short stature. The neckline was finished with a clear elastic sewn to the seam allowance and then folded to the wrong side (I learned that from watching 'Sewing with Nancy'). The only thing that bothers me a bit is that the armhole gapes a little when my arms rest a certain way (you can see that gaping in the photo below at my right arm). I will need to figure out if that has anything to do with my barrel chest or my sloping shoulders.

I am quite pleased with the result. It's very comfortable to wear. The print of the fabric helps camouflage my mommy tummy a bit. Even hubby said I looked good in it. Usually he would either say 'it's okay' or 'no good'. I do have to watch my steps so that I don't step on it. I certainly don't think I can run after the kids in this dress. I think it's one of those dresses that I can go to the beach or dress it up for a dinner date. Since it's knit, it won't wrinkle and it's travel friendly. Another quick and easy summer dress!

My review for this pattern can be found on

Friday, June 26, 2015

A Linen Tank top for the summer - New Look 6752

I needed some summer tops that are not the usual long sleeves tunics. I searched through my fabric stash and found this black linen remnants from making my linen shorts and jackets (see the jacket and shorts here). I had just enough for a tank top. I decided that I would make a loose tank top with New Look 6752 in my stash. I had used this pattern to make 2 dresses before (here and here).

This is a super easy and quick to make pullover top. I made the this in hip length and added a curved hem in the front only. I wanted it to disguise my mommy tummy. I used a black satin binding to bind the neckline to make it more dressy. However, it doesn`t really show well in the photos:

I`m hoping I`ll wear it a lot this summer!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Refashion: More Denim Scraps creations!

I had lots of old men's jeans given to me by family members. I used lots of them for making jeans for my son. But then I was left with all these denim scraps.

As the school year was ending, I thought I would make some upcycled denim bags for the teachers as thank you gifts. It was quite fun to try to figure out how to put the pieces together! Here are the results:

I hope the teachers found them useful!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Refashion: So-so dress to Useful top

I have decided to refashion the so-so Pink Silk Noil dress to something more useful - a summery top! To make the top a bit more interesting, I cut a shirttail for the bottom hem.

Now I think this top will be quite useful for this summer! Another quick and easy refashion!