I know a lot of you are feeling some strain this year due to COVID and what have you. I am, too. But I’m counting my blessings! My health has been pretty good this year, and we are fully settled into our NY home. Our garden is beautiful and producing vegetables and beautiful flowers.
This spring I started working, making and selling face masks to friends, and many folks online at https://www.tompkinsmaskmakers.org/ My album of styles and fabrics is located on this page: https://www.tompkinsmaskmakers.org/stephanieI make mostly fitted masks with nose wire and either loops or ties. I make masks in 5 different sizes from adults, to tiny toddlers.
I enjoy being able to supplement our family income. My daughter is getting older and more independent. It’s so nice to be able to pour myself into work again! I’d like to have work that is more social, like when I was teaching sewing classes. But in the COVID-19 world we’re in, this work keeps me helping people, and away from groups of people. It really saved me during the first couple months of quarantine. Some of you may know that New York State (especially NYC) was very hard hit early on in the United States and now is second only to Florida in numbers. We’ve been wearing masks in public for months now and the demand hasn’t let up much.
In addition to making face masks, I’ve taken some alterations work, which I enjoy. One customer needed some accessible closures in her child’s clothing. It was meaningful to provide that service to her.
I know I said I haven’t been sewing for myself a lot…but all of that NOT seeing friends, going to church, taking my daughter to preschool, seeing family (and all the other adjustments we’ve made this year to avoid infection) means that I’ve had more time at home. So even though my projects don’t get done as quickly as I’d like, I’ve made quite a few things this summer that I’d love to show you.
Making the Cavallos Legging by Greenstyle Patterns
One of my favorite projects this summer has been making the new Cavallo Leggings. That pocket looked real tricky, but it was not a big deal at all! I made my first pair in ABP from The Styled Magnolia:
You’ll notice my matching Staple Tank from Greenstyle Patterns. I used an athletic knit from The Fabric Fairy to complete my look!
I did notice a problem with the fit in the leggings. I am usually 2 sizes bigger at the waist than at the high hip area. I’m noticing that when I use the bigger size for my waist it’s too big! When I run in my ABP leggings my heavy cell phone and sunglasses make my pants ride down. I decided to size down (so that the waistband is only 1 size bigger than my high hip area) for my second pair of Cavallos in Olympus athletic knit:
I also removed a 1/2″ of length from the waistband elastic so my pants would stay up.
I should also mention I’m notorious for making pants that are too big for me at the waist. Having IBS, cramping and stomach pain some of the time means I have an aversion to tight things around my midsection.
These feel snugger, as the Olympus knit is firmer than ABP. I haven’t tested them on a run yet, but I think they will stay up better. (I would still rather lounge in the first pair because they are comfy, if that makes sense..)
One cool thing about this otherwise boring pair of black leggings is the micropoly mesh I used for the pocket panel. BTW – I had to adjust the contrast on the photo quite a bit so you can see the detail on the leggings. They are in fact BLACK in person, lol.
Hacking the Staple Tank:
Sometimes when I have a pattern on my ‘greatest hits’ list, I’d rather hack it than print out and fit a new pattern. I decided to turn my Staple Tank into a racerback with only a few changes:
- I redrew the back bodice armhole and raised the back neckline.
- I lowered the armscye slightly (I had raised it for my first red staple tank here and I merely moved the front armscye back to where my pattern master had it). I really didn’t need to, because bamboo has a lot of drape and vertical stretch, but am not bothered by how low the armscye sits on my body.
- I brought the front armscye in 3/8″ and the neckline in 3/8″ to meet the new edges of the back bodice.
- Yes, I did have to recalculate the armbands and neckbands. I am finding that my simple 90% of the circumference is too long. I need to shorten that measurement by about 1/2″ to make them perfect. The armbands on my second staple tank ^^ (lavender) gaped a bit but I shortened the neckband a tad and it was perfect. All this to say that unless your fabric barely has 50% horizontal stretch, feel free to shorten that 90% a tad.
Sewing with Fabric Fairy Bamboo, and wearing it, is one of life’s great pleasures. I threw this tank on after it being in my drawer and the wrinkles are not bad! (Most of the wrinkles you see are from my swayback, anyway. This is the Pompei Bamboo Lycra, which is sold out, but here are some other colors.
Perfect loungey shirt and great for working out in!
Last month I sewed my second Mairin swimsuit, this time in the swim base from The Styled Magnolia. It is supportive and soft and I love it!
**To see my first Mairin and details on the sew-along I hosted here on my blog, visit this page.
I did line this suit with swim lining, which everyone knows doesn’t have that much vertical stretch. Everyone knows…but I forget this all the time. This is the first time I attempted the one piece. I thought it would be fine. It was not. My first attempt was waaaay too short in the torso! It was unwearable. It’s still sitting in a sad corner of my room. (Don’t worry, I hadn’t put elastic in it yet.)
I added 1.5″ of length back into my second attempt and it’s wearable, but gosh dang-it I feel a wee bit exposed, and the lack of length is squishing what little oomph I have in my chest. I didn’t intend for that neckline to be quite so plungy.
The lack of length is a bit uncomfortable, so I’m thinking of chopping this one piece into a two piece. I could use the top of this one to make a tankini top, and I already have the other swimsuit I could chop into a bottom. Maybe that would fit much better. What do you think?
Havana Dress by Greenstyle Patterns – and a Small Bust Adjustment
I don’t usually sew with rayon challis. Every time I do, I wonder why I don’t sew with it more. It’s so light and comfortable to wear. I’m enjoying more fluid tops and dresses with rayon and the fabric is great for the summer heat. This is a rayon challis print I purchased at Raspberry Creek Fabrics two years ago. Or was it three? I can’t remember…
Anyway, glad to have it out of my stash and made into the perfect beach cover up using the Havana Dress Pattern by Greenstyle Creations. I was in between sizes for this (but closer to the smaller size) and chose to size up because I needed to make sure this was easy to throw on over a swimsuit.
In addition to sizing up, I also did a small bust adjustment. When you do a full bust adjustment, you size down for your bust and use the FBA to add fullness right where you need it (at the bust). When you do an SBA, you size up and then remove fullness right at the bust. So in both cases, the back bodice piece remains unchanged.
The SBA is an adjustment I have always needed, but with knits I got away with not doing. I’m noticing other fit issues (small armscye, small back piece) that are uncomfortable. I’ve decided I just need to bite the bullet with all my patterns and do the SBA properly, knits and wovens.
I love the fit on this dress! I hemmed it a bit too long but I don’t really care. Also, I didn’t buy enough fabric for the pattern repeat so I was able to piece together two pieces of fabric for the back piece and sew them together “seamlessly”, lol. You seriously can’t tell where I matched up the prints!
How great is this huge dahlia I grew?! This is my first summer growing a cut flower garden and I’ve really enjoyed it. I’d love to hear your suggestions on other flowers to grow.
Lastly, I’m going to include a couple projects in this post that I finished a bit before summer.
Valley Knit Skater Dress by Sinclair Patterns:
I pattern tested this Valley Knit Skater Dress by Sinclair Patterns in April.
The waist is only a tad bit short but everything else fit great! I haven’t been to church since I made it so it really hasn’t gotten any use. Boo hooo!!!!
Here is a little preview of a button up shirt I finished during quarantine but haven’t had a chance to wear because it’s been too hot! Makes me think I need to wear red more.
You’ll see this project when I put it on the Minerva.com blog.
That’s it for my roundup of summer projects thus far! I’m sure I’ll have a few more projects finished in the next month or so. I’ll also be doing a roundup of projects I sewed for my daughter this season.
If you’re into winning things, check out my instagram feed to enter to win a really cool seam ripper!