The Elusive Sun Shines! To the Beach, Posthaste!!

Kitty HugsLately, around these parts, the sun has been an elusive and mysterious stranger.  When it does decide to briefly grace us with its presence, people race out into the streets and stare directly into it!!  So, on this beautiful sunny week-end, Kitty and I were finally able to hit the beach, with me sporting my very first me-made beach cover-up and swimsuit, Jungle Boogie style!Jungle Boogie SwimsuitThe lovely and effervescent Leila from Three Dresses Project and the always fabulous Katie from Kaddidlehopper hosted Swimalong 2013.  It was great to learn about styles, sewing techniques, proper notions and history of swimsuits.  And, it gave me the green light to go ahead and sew my very first swimsuit.  You can check out the swimsuit linky party here.  The party goes all summer!Jungle Boogie Swimsuit by the LakeThen, as perfectly timed as anything could be, the very charming Kristin from Sew Classic teamed up with the engagingly crafty Ashley from Craft Sanctuary to host Show Off Your Skivvies.  It is a terrific sewalong that has interviews with designers, links to free patterns, and the goal is to sew and be brave and wear your lingerie, swimsuits and undergarments.  And, it gave me the courage to actually wear my swimsuit for the blog.  A big thanks to both of you!Running on the BeachI sewed high waisted bathing suit bottoms made from instructions and a pattern downloaded from here.  I added the gathered side panels to add some design interest and shape.  I drafted my own pattern for the swimsuit top.

Two Piece SwimsuitThe front of the swimsuit top is a rectangle measuring 1/2 the width of your bust/chest measurement minus approximately 1″ to 2″ (2 cm to 4cm) long and about 5″ wide, depending on how much coverage you want.  The back of the top is another rectangle measuring 1/2 your chest measurement minus 1 to 2″ (2 to 4cm) and about 3″ wide.  The back will be narrower than the front, so that you gather the front rectangle into the back when you sew it together at the sides.Kitty Swims

Swim Kitty Swim!!

Swim Kitty Swim!!

I then cut a lining the same size as the front rectangle and sewed in bra cups for structure.  The lining, with the attached bra padding / cups, is sewn to the front rectangle with right sides together, then turned inside out.  After sewing the top front piece to the back piece, I made a very thin strap and tied it around to cinch the middle and add shape.

Zebra and Giraffe

What do you use to line a giraffe print swimsuit? Zebra print!

I also sewed a coordinating beach cover-up called the Peachy Beachy Poolside Cover-up, a free pattern download from that I obtained hereBeach Cover-upI used a very thin burn-out jersey and the fabric edges rolled like bocce balls down a steep hill!  It was very difficult to flatten them out to sew the seams.

Beach Cover-up Neck Facing

Neck facing with 2″ drop at CF. Do you see how the fabric edges Roll Over? Bad fabric. STAY!!

One issue I had with the pattern and instructions was with the neck facing.  They wanted you to sew it around the neck, and then down the centre front about 2″ in a straight line and turn it to the inside.  I did this first, and it caused a rather unsightly bump in this area that I believe would have been there even with a good pressing and top-stitching.Beach CoverupSo, I re-drafted the neck facing to be the same width all the way around and stitched it without sewing down that length at the centre front.  When I turned it to the other side, obviously less of the beach cover-up top turned under with the facing, so the bottom front opening is actually lower than it should be and sits just above my waist instead of just below my bust.  This still looked good, just a different style.

Kitty in Sunglasses

Finally, the sun! So…bright…

I would like to know if anybody has a technique of how to work the neck facing the way they want it sewn without causing a large bump in the centre front?  Do share if you have any ideas.  Thanks!

I leave you with fabulousness.  Guaranteed. Enjoy: 

Stretchy Fleecy Hoody? Oh Goody.

My first attempt at sewing with knits!  This one is made from a stretch knit microfleece.  Blue Fleece Hoodie3I’m afraid I was completely unable to shake the joy of animal prints ingrained in me by Jungle January, so I lined the hood with blue leopard print fabric.  Seemed the obvious choice.  I may have an animal print addiction; therapy might be necessary.

I am currently taking the Sewing With Knits class through Craftsy and this is the first project.  The pattern is from the class, except for the lining in the hood.  I added the lining, by constructing another hood out of the leopard print fabric, a thin knit jersey, and sewing it to the hood.Hood lining

hoodBecause I don’t have a serger / overlocker, I used the stretch stitch on my regular sewing machine (two stitches forward, one stitch back), it takes a long time and uses a lot of thread, but I think it looks better than a narrow zig-zag.  I also used an overlock stitch on the exposed seams on the hood and lining and a twin needle for the sleeve and bottom hems.  Fleece Hoodie showing hood lining

Lions and Leopards and Camels, Oh My!! Trench Coat Jungle

My first attempt at sewing a jacket / coat!  Camel and Animal Print Trench Style CoatI finished my trench style coat for Jungle January in animal print!  It is based on the Christine Hayne’s pattern and the fabric talked about in this post.  Now, you all thought I was going to put the leopard/lion print on the outside and the camel on the inside, right??  Admit it.  Camel Trench Coat in Animal PrintAnd, BAM!  Leopard/Lion print on the inside!

Animal Print on Inside of Trench CoatI altered the sleeves from the pattern quite a bit and made them longer, adding a cuff with button and also added a tie belt with belt loops.

Of course, NEVER to be outdone, Kitty also got his jungle on and styled a coordinating leopard print collar.  Kitty's Leopard Print CollarBias binding was attached to the raw front edges of the coat and around the collar.  To learn more about how to attach bias binding, click here.

Pattern Layout

Pattern Layout

Bias Binding Attached to Front and Around Collar

Bias Binding Attached to Front and Around Collar