What I Wore ~ Radiant Orchid

Last week we had a house full of visitors and I didn't get any sewing done... so then I wrote up a list of all the things I want to sew and have fabric for. It's a full page!  So today I'm popping in real quick to show you how I wore a MeMade skirt yesterday. Do you follow Pretty Girls Sew? They do a fun sewalong every month. This skirt was the pattern for April. The theme was florals but I couldn't find a floral fabric that spoke to me. Instead I found this heavier chiffon in the color of the year so I used that. This skirt showed up in my MeMadeMay posts, but otherwise was never blogged. Oops. Anyway I wore my skirt yesterday and took a few pics to show how I styled it.

Blouse: Thrifted
Earrings: DIY
Belt & Ring: Forever 21... forever ago
Skirt: Me!






This week I'll be sewing pencil skirts (for a friend), bow tie & suspender sets (also for a friend), Hudson pants for another sewalong, and a blouse to go with them...it's going to be fun getting back into the swing of things.

Ruffled Maillot

Swimsuit: DIY
Earrings: DIY
Hat: Target

I have a few sewing goals this year and I'm checking them off one by one. Sewing a swimsuit - CHECK!!!

I can't tell you how excited I was when I finished this suit. I may have paraded around my home for a good 10 minutes in my suit because it felt good. I also put off sewing this suit for about 2 weeks after I cut out all the pieces because I was scared. Scared of sewing a swimsuit. Scared of putting in foam cups. Scared. I've noticed that fear has been holding me back lately. But I didn't need to fear. I've sewn a lot of knits and so this wasn't as hard as my head made it out to be. The foam cups were a cinch to put in also... so don't be afraid.

I was inspired by this suit and set out to recreate it. 

Eberjey Ruffled Halter Maillot - anthropologie.com

I used the free Boob Tube Swimsuit Pattern from Ralph Pink as the suit pattern. It is sized as a 10-12 pattern only so I was lucky that fit me. You could grade the pattern to fit you or work with a simple one piece swimsuit pattern and just cut off the top to make it strapless. I then drafted a flounce to attach to the top of the suit.  This pattern doesn't come with any instructions so this is how I put it together.

 



  
Materials:
1.5 yards Swimsuit Fabric
1 yard Swimsuit Lining Fabric 
Matching Thread
Ballpoint Needle

Swimsuit Elastic - I used 3/8" clear elastic that said on the back that it was for swimwear and safe with chlorine bleach

Draft your flounce piece in the beginning. It's basically two half circle skirt pieces. The small curve that attaches to the bodice will need to be the same length as the top of the bodice pieces and then you can make it as long as you want.  Mine is 8" long but if you want your ruffle more like the inspiration suit I would cut it to be about 5-6" long. You will not be hemming or seam finishing the flounce because swimsuit fabric doesn't fray... so make sure you make clean cuts.



1. Cut your front and back panels out of your swim fabric and swim lining. Cut out your flounce pieces after you've cut your main bodice pieces. Make sure you cut two flounce pieces.
2. Sew up the center back seam of the back panel, right sides together. Do this for both your main fabric and your lining fabric separately.
3. Sew the crotch seams together, right sides together/RST. Do this for both your main fabric and your lining fabric separately. 
4. Gather the sides of the front panel and match the gathers to the gather points of the back panel. Do this for both your main fabric and your lining fabric separately.
5. Add your foam cups to your lining fabric at this point. Here is a great tutorial for that. I just marked where mine looked like they should go and zigzag stitched them to the lining on the wrong side so they would be enclosed between the lining and main swimsuit fabric.
6. Sew up your side seams. Make sure your main fabric is RST and the lining fabric should be sandwiching the main fabric. Make sure the wrong sides of the main fabric and lining fabric are facing each other. The foam cups, back panel seams and crotch seams (of both main fabric and lining) should be enclosed between the two fabrics. Seam finish your side seams.
7. Stitch your flounce closed, RST. Make sure the finished opening is the same as the top of the swimsuit bodice. You may need to use a larger seam allowance.
8. Baste flounce to the top of the suit. The right side of the bodice and the wrong side of the flounce should be facing each other on this step.
9. Seam finish the top of the suit and leg openings.
10. Stitch elastic to the top of the suit and the leg openings, on the inside of the suit. I just lined up the elastic to the seam finished edges and zigzag stitched down the middle of the elastic. I cut a piece of elastic 3/4 the length of the leg openings/neckline and stretched it to fit. Here's a good video for that.
11. Turn elastic under and stitch down the elastic on both the top of the suit and leg openings. You can use a zigzag stitch or I used a straight stretch stitch.
12. If adding straps. Cut long strips of main fabric 1.5" wide, or wider if you want wider straps. Sew them into a tube, RST, then turn them right side out. securely sew the straps to the back of the suit and then try it on, mark placement of where you want the straps on the front (make sure you stretch the straps a bit so they hold up the suit) and then sew the straps securely to the front of the suit. Cut off any excess.

You're done. Take a pic and send it to me!  








Patriotic Separates


I'm a sucker for holidays and all the decorating that goes with them. So of course I like to sew festive, though impractical, outfits for my daughter. It's been a while since I sewed something patriotic for my girl, so the last item no longer fits. 

This year instead of a dress I wanted to make her separates. I used fabric and notions from the stash for this outfit. 



For the top I used the Izzy Top Pattern. It was such a happy accident to stumble upon this pattern. I knew I wanted to make a top with this silhouette. When I was looking through my Pinterest boards I saw a pin that led me to the perfect pattern. And it's free! I liked that this pattern has a fully lined and curved yoke. The instructions are simple and a great starting point for learning to sew lined bodices. I changed up the button tab and used a cute star button, because it was keeping with the theme. Also I used leftover Kona cotton in white for the yoke and a thrifted knit shirt (new with tags even) for the skirt portion of the top. The colors were a perfect match and I didn't have to hem! I really like how it turned out with the mixed materials, the top yoke is structured and the skirt portion drapes beautifully. 



For the shorts I used the Jocole Essential Pants in the short length. I had *just* enough fabric to make the shorts. I really like this pattern because it sews up quick and easy. I really wish I had added inseam pockets to these shorts. I don't know why I don't just automatically add pockets to all skirts, dresses and shorts. I'll learn someday though. In the spirit of full disclosure I will say that I tested this pattern years ago and received this pattern for free. I choose to keep using it though. 




Skirting the Issue

I've been in a bit of a sewing funk. I have hardly sewn anything since I finished my bow blouse a week and a half ago. I know that might not sound like a long time to some, but I usually sew Monday through Friday. Not because I have to but because I love sewing that much. I'm about to get out of my funk... I can feel my mojo coming back. It's a good thing too because it's time for Skirting the Issue. 

"...a month long series where we sew skirts for girls in Foster Care and donate them just in time for Back to School."

http://www.simplesimonandco.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/button-draft_edited-1ac.png

If you're not following Simple Simon & Co already this is a great time to start. Last year I sewed up two skirts to donate. Since then my husband, who is a camera man, has been working with our local foster care to film all of their classes to make them more accessible for current/future foster parents. It's opened up a new dialog in our home and made us more aware of the needs of foster children. So I'm especially excited to help this year.


The Starboard Skirt--an easy pleated skirt tutorial

I'll be using this tutorial for most of the skirts I make this year because it looks simple and I have lots of fabric in my stash that fit the bill perfectly.  See past posts by SS&Co here to get some ideas of what you can make. I'm sure they'll have lots of posts this month with project ideas and tutorials.

I just wanted to post about this now so if you're interested in using your skills to help those in need you can sew along with me this month. I'll post pics of my makes in a few weeks. Will you be participating with me?

~ Risa ~ 

Bow Front Blouse

Blouse: me
Pants: me blogged here
Shoes: Target

I saw a bow front blouse in a store and I loved it. The reason I didn't buy it was because I have a soap box... well a few of them. Anyway I'm picky about where I get my clothing because I care about who made them under what conditions. So usually now I make my own clothing under my own conditions, plus that's more fun for me anyway. The problem is I couldn't find a pattern or tutorial to make a bow front blouse like the one I saw. There are a few patterns coming out that have the same idea as what I did but they weren't out when I started or aren't exactly what I wanted. So I set out to figure it out. 

I'll be working on a tutorial to post next week on how to recreate the bow front. In the mean time enjoy the pics.



I chose to use a covered button for the closure. I'm not sure why my closure is sagging... Any helpful advice?







I leave you with these cuties that make photographing my makes more difficult and sweeter.


~ Risa ~

What I Wore ~ Leather and Lace


Lately I feel like I've been wearing the same outfits on repeat. Does that ever happen to you? I know I've been very vocal about needing more blouses/tops, which I'm working on but I'm also trying to make what I have work for me and the current season. With the onslaught of lovely outfit posts from fashion and sewing bloggers, I find that I just want more of more. Maybe it's not as much about having more as it's about making what I have work in new and updated ways. Recently I came across this image on instagram, I thought it was a hot outfit that I could recreate with MeMade items from my closet.




I paired my faux leather pencil skirt with my favorite lace blouse to recreate the base of the look. This blouse is my most worn MeMade to date. I styled the look with leopard pumps, statement earrings and statement lips. Here's to finding inspiration in unexpected places, and using what you already have.





 

Dressed for a Wedding



A few weeks ago the husband and I headed out to Alaska for a few days. My husband's older brother married the sweetest girl that I can now call sister. It was a beautiful wedding, in a beautiful location. Of course I needed a new dress.

This was my inspiration dress.



And here's how I did it.

I drafted a bodice by laying the bodice/top patterns of McCalls 6744 and Simplicity 2599 on top of each other and tracing out new pieces.Then I drafted an A-line skirt and made sure the top of the skirt was as wide as the bottom of the bodice. I encased the waist elastic in the seam and used french seams throughout. Also to make binding the neckline and hemming easier I used lots of steam a seam. I might ruche up the shoulders some more later but for now I like the sleeve.

I used a chiffon that I found at JoAnn's in the red tag section and I ended up using close to 4 yards of fabric.

For a slip I made a knit dress in ivory using this Easy Cap Sleeve Tee and extended the length to be knee length. I chose to make a slip so the dress would still have a light and airy feel and be a bit diaphanous. 

My pics are a bit bright and washed out so the colors on the dress don't look as rich as they are. In real life they're bold, bright and rich.