I made a swimsuit! The pattern is Soma swimsuit by Papercut Patterns. I made size XXS, with the only alteration was shortening the bottom part about 1 cm. Instead of elastic strap, I just use the foldover elastic for all the binding and straps. The fabris was lined with skin-colored swimsuit lining.
It was an easy sewing and I love how little fabric are needed for this swimsuit. I still have enough leftover for another swimsuit, but I guess one is enough for this year.
I see that some people inserted swimsuit bra cups when making this swimsuit, but I didn’t do this. I don’t really have problems with nipples but then I saw everyone around me has cups under their swimsuit. Maybe next time I’ll put the cups. Or maybe I just have to stop looking around 😛
Actually I made the swimsuit to go to the beach this summer holiday, but then things happened and we had to cancel the plan. Bummer! So we went to a nearby swimming pool on the last day of summer holiday. It is far from the beach but the most important thing is that we were having fun together!
Here I am wearing the suit pretending to be in a real beach. There are several pools in one place, this one is a fake beach complete with waves. One of the funny thing about Japanese swimming pool is that there is a mandatory rest every one or two hours. The lifeguard will announce that it is time to get off the pool. People will usually start to walk around buying drink and food. During this rest, the visitors are not allowed on the water. After about 10-15 minutes, depending on the pool, there is an announcement that the pool is opened again and everyone run back to the water. Only in Japan!
I’ve often heard about Merchant & Mills patterns and sewing supplies, but have never found the patterns here in Japan. The closest that I can get was several T-shirts by Uniqlo when they collaborated with Merchant & Mills. So I was very happy when they contacted me to review their newest book, Merchant & Mills Workbook.
The book has six paterns for vest, dress, skirt, top, jacket, and trousers. Four of the patterns have style variations so you can get more from this book. Although the patterns are simple, they are aimed to develop new sewing skills. So it is perfect if you are beginner who wants to learn more.
Merchant & Mills also offered to send me some fabric to make something from one of the patterns. I decided to make The Strides pants with Aizu fabric, medium weight Japanese slubby cotton in charcoal. For the pocket lining and fly facing, I used Indonesian batik fabric.
Grading down the pattern
The patterns are in sizes 8-18, and unfortunately the smallest size is still too big for me. So I graded down the pattern one size to size 6.
The trousers are full length with style variations for shorts, but I decided to cut the hem about calf length. I also shortened the seat around 1 cm.
Instead of making the trousers the way I used to do, I followed the instructions quite closely. The instructions are quite clear with hand-drawn diagrams. I love the hand-drawn pictures!
Here is a few notes about the pattern:
– no grainline mark on the back piece.
– no grainline mark on waistband pattern but probably not necessary as it is a straight piece and there is fabric placement diagram.
– there is a pocket back piece in the pattern sheet, but it is referred as pocket facing in the instructions.
– instead of being mentioned, the seam allowances are marked by notches. I think the reason for this is because it may vary. However, I prefer the seam allowances are mentioned as well in addition of the notches. For these trousers, the seam allowances are 1.5 cm all around.
Other than those things that I mentioned, I’m quite happy witth how the trousers turned out! My favorite part is the fly facing with button inside that is similar to men’s trousers. I’ve never made this kind of fly facing before, so I’m happy that I learned some new things. And of course I should wear the tousers with my Uniqlo Merchant & Mills T-shirt!
Pattern is The Strides – Merchant & Mills Workbook, graded down to size 6.
Since Sidra entered junior high school, he became very busy with all the school activities. Even on weekends, he often has to go to school for sports practice. I suddenly found myself with lots of free time, so I started taking a couple of jobs recently.
One thing that I do is working with a designer in developing a product. The company makes bags for outdoor use like backpacks, photography bags, and such. I’m very excited with this job because I get to work with materials that I’ve never used before (do you know what a gatekeeper is? I didn’t know either!), and make something that I will probably never use. It’s like taking a peek into a completely different world.
Last week I just wrapped up a development stage and sent the bag to the designer. I had been working with the bag for a couple of weeks and needed some refreshing time, so I made a skirt for myself. You might think that it is somewhat strange that my idea of refreshing myself after a couple of days sewing a bag is to sew another thing. But these are completely different things to sew!
The fabric is polyster knit in medium weight that I found in Okadaya, Shinjuku. You wouldn’t miss the rolls of fabric when you saw it on the shelves. I was considering between yellow lime, shocking pink, or neon orange before deciding on this one.
The pattern is Hollyburn skirt by Sewaholic. I tested the pattern before and made myself a short skirt. This time I made view B which sits below knee. I made it in size 4 with no alterations, a size bigger than what I usually wear. I find that I’m not really comfortable with skirt that sits exactly on my waist because my body has an asymmetry.
Dresses are fine because they hang on the shoulders, so are pants because they follow the shape of the legs. But skirts that hang on my asymmetrical waist will cause asymmetrical hem, so I prefer a high-waisted or low-waisted skirt. Of course, I might exaggerate a bit in my mind. The asymmetry looks so obvious for me, while people often don’t notice. It’s funny how we see our own body.
As usual with Sewaholic patterns, everything goes smoothly. Tasia from Sewaholic always makes well-drafted patterns with good instructions. That is why I chose this pattern for my refreshment project. I didn’t want to think about taping PDF patterns and decode some unclear instructions.
When I said neon orange, it is really neon! The skirt reflects every bit of light that falls upon it, so it looks like it is shining. My husband was a bit hesitant to see such a bright color. Everyone made a double-take when they saw me walking down the street in this skirt. Actually it is not a color that I usually wear, but why not? Life is too short to never wear neon colors!
I always love to learn how something works. When I was a child, my favorite book was ‘How Things Work’. In the sewing world itself, there is still so many things that I don’t understand and want to learn. People often says, ‘Isn’t it difficult to make this or that?’ Of course everything is difficult when you don’t understand, but there is a satisfaction when your brain is slowly figuring out how something works.
In pursue of this satisfaction, a couple of years ago I learned to make a corset. It was a very satisfying experience and I really love the result although I rarely wear the corset anymore. At that time, there was not many resources for people who want to learn corset-making. Even now, I think there the resources are still scarce.
36 minutes of bonus features on making the back panel and altering the mock-up
51 pages of corset making manual
26 pages of pattern compendium, on drafting several corset patterns
Now 2 hours seem like a long time! But I have watched it all and it is really a step-by-step video of how to construct a corset. If you have all the materials and equipments, you can basically start sewing with the video playing and finish a corset during that time. Of course it is better to read the manual and watch the video first before actually making the corset.
I wish I found this course when I first made my corset! It has everything basic that you need to know on making corset. The PDF manuals has all the information on making the mock-ups, the types of materials and where to get them, the order of constructions, and how to finish and embellish the corset.
If you’re interested in this course, you can watch some preview video here:
The course is $49.99 but Scarlett has offered a 30% off if you use the code PURPLE30 when you buy The Express Corset Making Course. The code will be available until the 13th so you have plenty of time to think. She also has 100% money back guarantee if you find out that the course is not for you.
Summer is coming and it means shorts season! Sometime ago I bought BurdaStyle Retro Classics Pattern Collection which have 9 patterns from the 1950s-60s, one of them is pattern for these shorts. I’m not sure what’s so retro about them but I quite like the double pleats on the front.
As usual for Burdastyle patterns, I printed them at 92% at cut size 38. They are quite short though, so I lengthened the hem about 5 cm. The fabic is cotton twill with a bit of stretch on them. Sewing the shorts was quite straightforward. The only thing that I don’t really like is the straight waistband. The shorts sit a bit lower than the waist, straight waistband on a woman’s body will usually leave quite a gap on the center back. To fix this, I took a wedge about 2 cm on the center back.
The white tee was made with SJ tee by Papercut Patterns, currently my favorite tee pattern. This pattern actually has quite a wide neckline, I just made the neckband shorter and pulled them a bit while stitching.
These photos were taken with iPhone 6 and edited in Google photos. It has some basic light editing and filters, not too bad I think!
I had no idea about what kind of fabric that I should use, so I picked this black soft ponte knit at the store. The content is 73% polyester, 21% rayon, and 6% polyurethane. Sounds good I suppose. I read in several blogs that the waist is quite high on this pattern, so I shortened the hip about 1 cm. Other alteration is shortening the hem for my petite figure as usual. I cut the knee-length version in size XS.
When started making it, I got the idea of inserting a red band for details on the hip seam on the side. The band is just a strip of folded red lycra fabric inserted between the seams. I think I kinda like the effect! Sorry for the pictures of my butt.
You might recognize the fabric for the top from my previous post. This time I used another Burdastyle pattern, Chill dress that I cut as top. It is a very easy pattern with only two pattern pieces plus neck bindings. The sleeves are finished by folding the hem inside.
The armholes are quite big and I see that some people modified the pattern so the armholes are smaller. In my personal opinion, the big armholes are part of the charm. I just wear a sports bra underneath and I think they look fine. In fact I really like this pattern that I made another top in orange jersey. Next time I’ll make the dress version.
I really, really like the leggings! I feared that they might ripped apart but they have survived several visits to my yoga class. They hug the body quite well, and the seamlines add some interesting details. The knee-length are perfect for warmer weather!