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Sunday, 18 January 2015

Swimming into 2015 with a Tiki Tankini (Mary & M6623)

My tiki beach huts on my bikini bits
Swimmers, bathers, togs... An essential part of an Australian summer, but how mine have changed in the past 10 years! I've always been more of the 'can I body surf in them' view rather than the 'urgh, tan lines, be gone' view, however the blissful weeks spent bush camping in no more than a bikini, sunscreen & hat have morphed into hats, rash vests & shade, and 'will it fall down/off if a toddler tugs too hard'.
This time last year I used Cake's Cabarita top pattern to sew a beach top in a spongy swimming knit and it's had almost constant beach use since ;)

Casual swimming times at the local indoor pool require less spf (sun protection factor) friendly attire though, so I thought I'd best add some more traditional bathers to my wardrobe.
I adore last season's Seafolly collections, tankinis, malliots, oh my! and the current Gorman range is so much fun & seems so comfy - chip anyone?
I was very excited to spot some Seafolly fabrics at Rathdowne Remnants! They're lighter weight than my other stashed swimming fabric (orange stripes from The Fabric Store) and the designs are perfectly me ;) The tiki is 'South Pacific' & the navy ropes are 'Coastline in Indigo'

I realised as I browsed the pattern books in Clegs that swimwear isn't a staple of the Big 4's offerings and that it's not easy to find; is it sportswear (Simplicity)? accessories? lingerie (Burda)? intimates +/- sleepwear (really Butterick)? activewear (McCalls)? costume? womenswear/misses (then swimwear, thank you KwikSew). I still failed to find any Vogue or New Look...
To the indies; I have the ClosetCaseFiles Bombshell. My Bombshell remains incomplete, I don't think the ruching is for me, and the solid navy I chose isn't quite me either, so I'm not really motivated to finish it ;)
In the lingerie section, I can see the vintage potential of OhhLouLou's Bambi bra & MeasureTwiceCutOnce's Mary knickers.
To the pattern stash I went... Classics, all.

So I made a bikini, from my lingerie patterns.
The Mary bottoms are awesome, they're proper boy leg hipsters, stay put & are comfy. They've had almost constant wear since their first surf outing in December.
with my messy tilted pelvis/booty hack; it works though as the waist sits straight when on.
I did have to add a 7cm CB height adjustment as a 'booty' fix and that works for me, I cut the size 14 & used 6mm seam allowances on my overlocker, reinforced with a narrow zigzag just inside the overlocked stitches.
I sacrificed the Bambi bra strap for the Mary hack, so the top doesn't exist anymore as it needed tweaking anyway ;)
I ventured into the treasure cave that is Trimmings 'n' Remnants for swimming bra cups, lining & elastic. There are crates of bra cups and my only hint to the next adventurer is to remember that holding each likely suspect up to check the fit while wearing a bra, is perhaps, not so helpful...
I brought 3 pairs home, all different shapes, and the ones that worked best when braless, were my 3rd choice...
Cup stitched to lining, then sandwiched between lining & outer
So, with my Mary knickers extended 10cm to sit on my waist, a feature that is invisible when worn as a set, yet looks cute as a retro bikini and has added tummy coverage for boogie boards, I chose a tankini pattern. Meet McCall's 6623, a Carefree TM pattern, released in 1979.
I chose view A, adding the bra cups & widening the straps to a finished width of 2cm. My straps were 48cm long.
I sewed a size 14 (36" bust), narrowed the pattern at CB (by 6cm!) after a muslin of lining, & took the underarm seams in 2cm on each side after basting the side seams. I think swimwear fabric is a lot more stretchable now ;)
Pattern placement was a hoot!! Ignore the pointy Mary waist, it wasn't required.
Construction was straightforward with both patterns' instructions. My only hiccup came at the 11th hour when, being over confident, I was finishing my seams on the overlocker and sliced off the bottom corner of the left bodice triangle, sigh... Required re-doing of the twin needle topstitching as well as a tuck to reattach bodice to front - sigh..
I initially toyed with fully lining the suit, however I followed both patterns' instructions & only the bra cups & crotch are lined.
For my next pair of vintage high waist bottoms, I'll use a top waistband in the style of the tankini straps. I may still add one to these, however they sit smoother under the tankini without it. I've got enough fabric to make the Bambi top for a 'proper' vintage styled bikini, however I'm more tempted to make an updated 'rash vest' for the rest of this summer ;)
Just focus on the glorious beach at low tide
yes, it was very windy, blissful otherwise.
With my swimsuit fabric being 150cm wide, I can make a pair of high waisted bikinis, or a tankini with hipster bottoms from 60cm (depending on the pattern matching desired). This full tankini set took 1.1m. Less fabric is necessary for hipster Mary's with the Bambi bra.
Layout: ignore the dodgy perspective & focus ;)

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Culottes - they're back.

I love culottes, in all of their 70's, late 80's and early 90's magnificence. I really didn't think I'd live to see fashion turn around to notice them again, however since the decades I remember were simply reinterpreting the 30's and 40's, it's really of no surprise that they're baaack!
Leading the culottes revival are the gorgeous Debbie at Lily Sage & Co and eternally stylish Kirsty B at Top Notch who have both inspired me with every version that they've made.
I can add Jillian of Sew Unravelled to that list now as well - I adore hers!
Definitely Culottes.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Ying Yang Phillippa Phillip: Mixing it up top

A little while ago I joined Helen Funkbunny on an adventure into town. We visited the history filled Phillips Shirtmakers - a working factory, still sewing shirts, hidden upstairs in the middle of Melbourne's CBD. It was fascinating!
I was completely overwhelmed by the bolts of dead stock shirting available - it was their first fabric sale in their 60 years of manufacture - and limited myself to filling a bag (well, ok, 2) with scraps for $5.
Among my treasures are some decent little lengths, some vintage Liberty scraps, and 5 left sleeve plackets...
One of my favourite scraps was a navy floral cotton, so light and soft. I didn't have enough to make a top, so I paired it with two rectangular shaped scraps in a more masculine striped shirting - and made a cute little summer tank top.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Getting my feet wet: Alabama Chanin

When I finished my little scarflett, I missed having something to carry around in my (not so little) handbag, that I could pick up and play with whenever my little people were playing in a park, or while my littlest napped on me (literally).
My wonderful local library had the first Alabama Chanin book for me to loan, and even more delightfully, ordered the third, so I borrowed it as well.
Alabama Chanin top details ;)

Saturday, 25 October 2014

What difference does a language, or fabric make... Cascade #13 or m

I have spent many months (I'll admit to well over a year...) admiring everything in Handmade by Carolyn's blog and apart from her Alabama Chanin creations, the posts I keep re-reading & being inspired by are those from Natsuno Hiraiwa's  Unique Clothes Anyway You Like It, released in English as Shape Shape.
Shape Shape is now out of print in English - sigh, I remain SO far behind the times some days... so after getting an inter-library loan & reluctantly returning it, I've bought the Japanese version.
This is Shape Shape's #13 Cascade Skirt, or UCAYLI's skirt 'm'. Carolyn made it in a gorgeously soft pink linen cotton  and my grey shirting is my closest version to this inspiration.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Hopping around

Hop Hop Hop - the delightful Myra from My-Zee-Moo has passed the blog hop onto me and before I forget, I'm going to nominate my two hopping recipients - Jenny of Rennous-oh-Glennus and Helen Funkbunny! Now, to settle in with a coffee & answer the Blog Hop questions ;)

(no lie, I have just stepped back with a long Macc - freshly roasted beans & the perfect amount of texturised milk = yum) 

((and yes, Mac is named after coffee - a short and long one with just a stain of white...))