Spring Top #2

 Well, I wasn't planning on entering another top in Rae's Spring Top competition, but this top needed to be made. 
 I drafted the pattern from a H&M top that I have.  I ruched the sleeves by sewing a thin elastic to the seam allowance.  Very easy and really cute!
 The fabric is from The Fabric Fairy and is a really nice cotton/lycra with the perfect amount of stretch for a top. 

 Online, it looked more yellow.  It's a bit more orange in real life, but still really great.
Wishing you a fun and Springy weekend (it's snowing where I am).


Simple Pleats

 My first, and maybe only Spring Top Sewalong Entry

I had a lot of fun making this shirt.  If you looked at my Sewalong Inspiration Pinboard, you might have guessed I was thinking about pleats.

 They ended up being easier to do than I thought.  This fabric is so slinky and stretchy, it definitely called for my walking foot this time.  Worked like a charm. 
Despite the possessed look on my face, I am absolutely in love with this top.  Very comfy, flattering and wearable. 

Check out all the other great entries here


Swimsuit Tutorial Part 2 - Making Your Own Pattern

The first thing you need to make your own pattern is a swimsuit that fits.  I used this one because it fit my daughter perfectly. 
I like to cut patterns on the fold, so the first step is to fold the suit in half.  Pinning helps keep everything flat and even.  I also pinned the bum inside so I could trace better.
To draw the pattern, I start with a straight line.  This will be placed on the fabric fold.  I find craft paper to be really great for cutting patterns.  This roll I bought at the Dollar Store.
Trace around the suit exactly as it is.  We'll add the appropriate seam allowances in the next step.
Since we'll be adding 3/8inch elastic to the leg opening, I added a 3/8inch seam allowance.  The easiest way to do this is to simply lay the elastic along your traced line and trace again. 
I added a 1/4inch seam allowance on the side and 3/8inch along the top and armhole.
Most bathing suits have the crotch seam offset to the back, so we have to add that on to our front piece.
Lay the bathing suit on the pattern as shown and trace.  Add the seam allowances....
and you've got a pattern!
Do the same for the back.
Keep in mind that crotch seam again.
Cut out the pattern pieces you've created and double check that the side seams are the same length.  You might have to make some minor adjustments.
Check the crotch seam as well.
There you have it.  Pretty straight-forward. 


Girl's Swimsuit Tutorial

Update:  You can take this pattern from a one-piece to a two-piece.  Instructions HERE.

At first I was really intimidated by the thought of trying to make a swimsuit, but with some trial and error and some help from the Creative Chicks I did it....and you can too!
A few tips before you get started:
  • Take your time!  I'm not usually someone who pins a lot, but it definitely pays off for this one
  • I found using a walking foot helpful
  • I used a serger for some of my seams, but it's really not necessary since swimsuit fabrics don't unravel
  • Do check out the Creative Chicks tips.  They have some more details on the elastic finishing etc.

OK, let's dive right in :)

Here's what you'll need: 
  • around 1/2 yard (or less) of swimwear fabric (nylon/spandex or polyester/spandex)
  • 3/8 inch swimwear elastic *see this post for more info on supplies 
First, download and print the pattern here. To assemble the pattern, match the dotted lines and tape together.  Then cut out the pieces.  You should have a front and back.

UPDATE:  I've put together a tutorial for making your own pattern here.  

All seam allowances are 1/2 inch unless otherwise noted.

 Cut a front and back piece laying the pattern on the fold.  In this tutorial, I lined just the front, so I also cut a front piece from the lining fabric as well (not pictured). 

Lay the back piece on top of the front piece, with right sides together.

If you are adding a lining, lay the lining piece on top of the back piece and pin at the crotch.

Sew across the crotch with 1/2 inch seam allowance.

Flip the lining piece over the seam to the front, and you've added the lining and enclosed the seam.

Sew the front and the back together at the sides with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Make sure to catch the lining as well, it can be slippery!

Cut 2 pieces (one for each leg opening) of elastic, 13.5 inches each.  Sew the ends of the elastic together to make a loop.

Along the front side of the leg opening, pin the elastic without stretching the elastic or the fabric.  There will be extra fabric along the bum side.  You will stretch this as you sew.  Pin the center of the remaining elastic to the center of the bum side of the leg opening.  

Sew along the edge of the elastic.  Your elastic should be flush with the edge of the fabric, mine is over a little too far.  Start on the front and stretch the elastic to fit when you get to the bum side.

 Here's what it should look like after sewing.

Fold the elastic to the inside and top-stitch.  I used a double needle.  
Do the same for the other leg opening.

For the ruffle, cut a strip of fabric that is 2 inches by 10 inches.  Gather along the top edge.  Pin to the top of the suit and then trim along the armholes.

The next step is to add elastic to the top and then enclose it.  Cut a strip of fabric 2 inches wide.
1. With right sides together, sew the strip to the top with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.
2. Using a wide zig-zag stitch, and without stretching the fabric or elastic, sew the elastic on top of the strip you just sewed.
3. Fold the fabric over to the wrong side and pin.
4. Top-stitch.

To finish the rest of the top of the suit and create straps, cut a piece of fabric 2 inches by about 42 inches.  You want to have about 12 inches on each side that will become the straps.
So, leaving a 12 inch tail on each side, sew the strip with right sides together to the top edge of the suit, just as you did before.

Then sew the elastic on top, just as before.  You can see I accidentally stretched mine a little.  Don't worry if this happens to you, it will all flatten out later.

Just like before, turn the fabric to the inside and pin.


I like to have the straps cross, that way they don't fall down.  If you don't want them to cross, you'll have to cut them shorter.  

Pin straps about 4 inches from each side seam.
Sew in place.

All done and ready for the pool!

Pat yourself on the back, you did it!  Not so bad, right?
 A perfect fit.
Pretty ruffles.
A bum that fits!  Who could ask for more.

Definitely let me know what you think!  I put a lot of work into this, and even still, I'm sure it's not perfect.  So any and all feedback is great!

Oh, and if you're wondering about the pattern, I'll show some basic directions for tracing an existing bathing suit in a separate post.  This one was getting a bit long!