Monday, August 15, 2011

Burda 4-2009-122 - Swimsuit Cover-up

When I bought the navy fabric for my swimsuit, I also picked up a blue and white polka-dot print gauzy fabric with a cover-up in mind. Sheer, gauzy type fabrics aren't my favorite to sew, but this one seemed fairly stable and I wasn't planning on a complicated garment.

I decided to use a top from a Burda magazine (I don't subscribe, but have picked up a couple when I've had the chance) that would be simple and easy. To make it actually cover up what I wanted it to, I added several inches in length.

Swimsuit cover-up

The pattern is featured on the front cover and it looks like it is being worn as a swimsuit cover up or over some other top.

Burda 4/2009

But, the picture of the same top inside the magazine looks different. There doesn't appear to be any swimsuit or other top involved. The caption/description for the photo cracked me up. "...Our styling tip: to complete your dream outfit, tie a large scarf around your hips and add an exotic belt." Riiiiight. A top with a neckline plunging down to my xiphoid process and a scarf worn as a skirt makes not only a perfectly acceptable outfit, but my dream outfit.

Burda 4/2009

Ah, well. The pattern's good. I'll pass on the styling tip.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Ottobre 2/2011 #19 - Navy Tankini

Last summer I made my first attempt at sewing swimwear for myself. Overall, that suit was a success but having worn it several times now, there are some things I'd like to change about it. Instead of tweaking that same pattern, I made a new suit using a tankini pattern from Ottobre Woman 2/2011.

Tankini pattern from Ottobre

It's actually really similar to the suit I made last year: halter-style tankini with midriff ruching. So why make another suit so much like the first one? There are a couple of things I don't like about last year's suit: the top just barely meets the bottom which means I'm often tugging it down and the knot part of the halter hurts my neck after a couple of hours of wear. But, I do really like the style, so I wanted to change the parts I didn't like and keep the parts I do.

Tankini pattern from Ottobre

I don't really know what to say about how I constructed this suit. Ottobre's instructions are quite good, but I didn't follow them much. The main reason is because I put a bra inside the top. The overlapping front pieces made that a bit of a challenge and I don't think I could really explain to you how I did it if I had to. I can tell you that it involved a whole lot of trying on, pinning, hand-stitching, and then more trying on. I'm convinced it's all together securely, but my techniques would have to be described as dodgy at best.

Swimsuit top (front view)

The bra is sandwiched between the lining and outer fabric and is attached to the lining at the sides and the point where the strap starts. And then the rest of the bra was trimmed away beyond those points so it doesn't go around the back or over the shoulders. Yes, a perfectly good bra gave its life up for this suit, but I think the sacrifice was worth it.

Swimsuit top (back view)

Since the halter-style proves uncomfortable for me, I decided to cross the straps in back and attach them. While I really like the halter look, I think I'll enjoy wearing this more.

Swimsuit (inside back)

The fabric is pretty thick and spongy and ribbed. Most of those are good things for this suit, but it meant that the straps would not stay flat. I didn't want topstitching on the front but I didn't want sloppy straps, either. I compromised by zigzagging the straps in the back, but not the front. A little strange, but it does what I wanted it to. The front part of the straps do stay flat when I'm wearing it.

Swimsuit strap

I was happy with the bottom of my last suit, so I just used that same pattern (Kwik Sew 3238), adding 1/2" in height to the top.

Tankini top and bottom

I don't think I'm going to have any problem with the top and bottom not overlapping with this suit. The pattern for the top is really long. I trimmed a little more than 3" off it and I'm 5'9". You can see in the picture from the magazine that the top ends below the top of the leg openings.

I think I'm going to find this to be a comfortable swimsuit. I highly recommend this pattern. This is the first Ottobre woman pattern I've used. Other than shortening the top length, I didn't make any other changes.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Reversible Obi

 So, about the obi mentioned here...

One side of the belt is solid navy with gingham ties and the other side is gingham with solid ties. So, it's reversible, but you get the same combination of fabrics either way.

Obi Belt

Obi Belt

I don't have any obis and haven't worn one before, so when it came time to make the pattern, I did some guessing about size and dimensions. Finished, it is 4" high at center front, curving down to 2.5" at the side seam. The back piece tapers from 2.5" down to 1". The ties are 29" long and 1" wide.

I left an opening in one side seam for the tie to go through when wrapping it back to the front.

Obi Belt

I like that this enables me to pull it snug and it stays in the right place with minimal adjusting while wearing. I find my tolerance for fussing with clothing while I'm wearing it keeps decreasing. Is that an age thing? Maybe a smartness thing. We'll go with that.

Generally, I like the contrast ties for this belt, but I think it does look a little strange from the back, where the gingham tie starts No picture of the side view, but the opposite gingham tie shows up at the side seam. I think it's pretty obvious what is going on, but it might be a little abrupt for the eye. One continuous color or fabric might be more flattering.

Simplicity 2406

I fused straight-grain interfacing to the gingham to keep it from getting stretched out. I also added a second layer of the twill fabric inside to make the whole thing sturdy. I'm happy with how it turned out. It likely won't see all that much wear, but that's okay with me. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Simplicity 2406 - Chambray dress

After some ambivalence about the last dress I made, I'm happy to be able to say that I made another (somewhat unique) one and am really happy with this one.

Simplicity 2406

This is Simplicity 2406 made up in some of the chambray that I bought in NYC. I love the fabric, so I'm especially pleased that I really like the final result. There are always so many possibilities before the fabric is cut into. Once it's cut, that's it. Getting to rejoice over the pattern choice is so much nicer than grieving over it.

This is a pretty simple dress. Construction was very straightforward. It's pretty much a sack and requires a belt or sash for any sort of shaping. I liked the "cold shoulder" views on the pattern, but didn't care for the way the short sleeves stick out below the opening - just a personal preference. So, I added some length and a cuff.

Simplicity 2406

The shoulder openings are finished with facings. I cut those from navy and white gingham. The shoulder, front and back facings all meet up for a clean and entirely machine-sewn finish.

Simplicity 2406

The pattern includes a slit that opens all the way to the waist in the back. That wasn't really going to work for me, so I shortened it dramatically. I finished the top with a gingham-covered button and thread chain loop, but it isn't necessary at all. I can get it on and off without undoing it.

Simplicity 2406

With the back slit partly closed up, there are no problems with wearing a regular bra with this dress. However, the amount of dress that is actually on my shoulders isn't a lot, so I added lingerie guards. Lingerie guards are to your bra strap as belt loops are to your belt.

To make these, I stitched the socket half of the snap down on the neck side of the opening. Then I made a thread chain and attached the ball half of the snap to it. Smaller snaps would have been a better choice, but they weren't worth a special trip to the store. These were on-hand and do the job well enough.

Simplicity 2406

The pattern does include a sash, but you should note that the sash is listed separately in the yardage requirements. The sash is nice, but I wanted something other than chambray at the waist, so I made the obi belt. (I'll write about that in the next post.) I liked it, but thought it might not be the only way to go.

Simplicity 2406
navy obi and sandals?

Simplicity 2406
tan belt and flats?

Simplicity 2406
big buckle belt and cowboy boots?

Hmmm...fun to have options. It would be fun to do something in red, too, but I have very little red in my closet.