Archive for August, 2006

The Swim Suit

August 29, 2006

Even if summer is almost over this year, it never ever ends in Florida.

I see this project as a challenge and as a beginning, because I am definitely going to sew more swim wear from now on. This is not really the first bra i have ever sewn, but it is the first one with lining and cups.

The Fabric

I have found nice lycra fabric at, just perfect for swim suits and summer beach dresses. I have bought the turquoise and the brown.

Nylon Lycra Swimwear Fabric Paisley Floral Turquoise
For lining I have used a smooth thin, comfortable white lycra. Why use lining? Wet the fabric that you choose for a swim suit, then stretch it and see if you can see through.

I have also used sew-in bra cups and fold elastic.

The pattern

La Mia Boutique, issued in July 2005 (Italian pattern magazine).

Excellent pattern! Really well fitted bikinis, no adjustments had to be made.

Here it is!

As a next project I will make a nice strap dress, or a alter dress over the swim suit.

See you on Hollywood Beach, Florida!

Light Gold Silk

August 27, 2006

The idea

I wanted a nice elegant top to wear with jeans, since I am living in Florida, were Proper Dress Required means sparkly flip flops, shorts and T-shirts. To wear the jeans with a nice top is considered elegant here. I will wear blouse this at work, or when going out for a walk or a fancy dinner. I think this top can be mixed and matched together with jeans, a nice skirt or a suit, so it can be worn on any occasion. Simpler to put on then a dress, that can be too elegant and sometimes inappropriate, I chose to do the top and a matching skirt, out of the same fabric. Putting on a dark T-shirt with the skirt should work just fine. The blouse and the skirt together will be just as nice as a dress.

The Fabric

Browsing around at Fashion Fabrics Club online fabric store, I bumped into this Yellow silk charmeuse.

Set#R655 “Yellow Satin Charmeuse”
Solid Yellow
Stretch Silk Satin Charmeuse Fabric
Suitable for Blouses, Dresses, and Special Occasions
97% Silk
3% Lycra
45″ Wide
Hand Wash Cold or Dry Clean
Yellow is far from being my favorite color, but from the picture it looked a little darker and not the bright. It will look nice in contrast with blue or black. I have bought it together with a silk dupioni dark navy and a sheer silk print, which I cannot wait to sew. The navy dupioni is for a serious suit, and it will look good with any of the other fabrics underneath.

I cannot believe the huge selection of silk they have: from sheers and organza, to suit weight, even home decor, in all colors and prints, everything! I was amazed! Prices range from 6$ to …who know. For a natural soft fiber like this it is worth it! Of course, now I will spend the time hand washing it and then iron it, but it can also be taken to the dry cleaners.

The patterns

For the top I have both some time ago a nice pattern from Burda International 2006, model No 8132.

For this wrinkly blouse a simple skirt will do, just below the knee. I always wanted to make the one from Burda magazine 05/2004, but I was always afraid of those front seams. I guess I got a little courageous this time and decided to give it a try.

The Cutting

After preshrinking and ironing the silk, it was cut time. It was around 7PM on a Friday evening.
The blouse pattern already included the seam allowances, which really confused me, and I believe that the blouse is now a little larger than it was supposed to be. Since the fabric is stretchy, I decided not the put a zipper in the back of the blouse. I am also used to seeing all the details on the pattern pieces, like the numbered corners, that indicate the order of the seams. In this pattern they were missing from the small schema of the pattern pieces, and they were displayed only inside the big pattern sheet. I missed that quick reference to look at from time to time. I have complicated my life and abused the copyright. I have copied the pattern in my size, instead of cutting it of the provided sheet, in order to be able to have it for later in all sized. Anyway, enough criticizing, the final result is great and following the instructions given in detail, step by step, really helped.
The skirt
I definitely started easy. With my elastic natural silk, I eliminated the zipper on the skirt, and quickly put it together to see if it fits without zipping. And I was right! I have managed to sew almost all of the skirt with the serger, except for one seam. I used a trick my mom thought me: wet and iron each seam, the result will be perfect and it will be easy to iron it from now on.
I did the front and back seams, then the laterals, had a fitting and I was ready to sew on the lining.
Simply sew the round facings at the top of the skirt.
Use clear elastic for a very thin seam at the waist line, and a little support, so the skirt does not come of by itself.
Sew the elastic in place in one step with the serger, while sewing the facings to the skirt.
Next, sew on the face of the facings, a little seam, very close to the edge of the skirt. This will help make the fabric fold towards the back.

Around 9PM (after 2 hours of cutting and sewing), I simply rolled a hem and I had the skirt ready!

The Blouse

Lay the inset piece with no interfacing on the interfaced inset piece, with the right sides of both pieces facing up.

Baste and stitch edges together.

Pin upper side front pieces to upper front pieces, right sides facing.Baste and stitch seams.Baste and stitch lower side fronts to upper side fronts, rights sides facing.
To gather the edges of the upper front pieces and lower side front pieces, first stitch two closely spaced lines of machine basting (longest stitch setting).Pull bobbin threads of machine basting to gather each edge to match corresponding edge of inset.Know gathering threads.Distribute gathering evenly.
First stitch inset to one half of bodice front, right sides facing.Then stitch inset to second half of bodice front.Stitch seams exactly to ends of seams / into corners.
Baste and stitch shoulder seams. Baste and stitch side seams. Lay front facing pieces on back facing pieces, right sides together. Stitch shoulder seams and lower edges of facing. Pin facing to neck edges, right sides together, matching shoulder seams. Turn under allowances on front and back edges of facings.Stitch facings to neck edges.Turn facings up. Topstitch facings close to seams, catching allowances.Turn facings inside, baste.
Hand sew back facing edges to front facing edges to insert attachment seams.
Rolled hem with embroidery used in the lower looper of the serger.
This is it!

More Silver

August 11, 2006

Even more fabric left from Oana’s project: the silver satin.

It has been used so far for a bias skirt and top, and another triangular top.

Two tops already, both made out of the same fabric. It’s a good thing the fabric has two faces. I think the fabric is just about enough for another top, with the shiny face showing this time. I have found a pattern for it, and it does not look that difficult to do, in Burda 05/2004 model 133.

Check it out:Top

Top Back

Different Shades of Silver

August 11, 2006

HTML Source EditorWord wrapMy friend Oana was looking for something simple to make and elegant. We picked out a double sided silver satin, from JoAnn Fabrics for a bias skirt.


Fabric and Embroidery

Browsing through my pattern magazines my eyes stopped at this pretty black and white bias skirt. The skirt had decoupage embroidery on the top black side, with the white showing through. That created a nice contrast and I really wish I could reproduce it on the silver satin. One side of the fabric is very smooth and shiny, while the other is a darker shade of gray. In my attempt to embroider the satin, after annoying mistakes on little pieces of fabric, I started reading a little about the right way to do this without an embroidery machine. Since i can only use a simple zig zag for this, here is a detailed description on how to tweak your stitch into a satin stitch, how to do appliqué embroidery:


The point is I need a hoop and a free motion foot, plus a lot of patience. Without the free motion foot, the pressure on the fabric is too big and you have to stop too often and pull too hard on the fabric to take turns. This cannot be done on bias fabric, as it stretches a lot much around the seams. I will certainly give embroidery another try later…and probably on a different texture of fabric, after I get a free motion foot. The price should be around 15-20$.


Instead of the embroidery, Oana and I chose a silver net ribbon that will be applied on the skirt. This of course will be much simpler to do…I always find it hard to decide how much fabric is needed for anything bias. I advised Oana to buy almost 2 yards of this satin (we had 40% off). That was exactly how much they had in the store. We bought all of it. The fabric turned out to be 58″ wide, and we got to cut out a bias top as well. I will use the ribbon for the top straps.

The Top

Remember the orange top I did in my previous project? I said I will reuse that pattern, and I kept my word. This time the top is simple, without the ruffle. StrapThe top straps are made of the silver ribbon, crossed in the back. I have started with the back seam. Then the lateral seams for the lining. Next attach the lining to the top, catching the ribbon straps in place in the front and back. There have been many fittings in the meanwhile to determine the length and placing of the straps.



The skirt

To sew the top part of the skirt, to the bottom part, I have adjusted the overlock machine to sew both the edges and the end seam at the same time, with 4 threads. It turned out great, without stretching the seam. Because the seam was on a bias cut, I was afraid that it will stretch, but not with the overlock. The differential feed was really useful for this.

After the seam was done between the lower and upper part of the skirt, on the front and back side, I ironed it, so the ribbon was easier to apply.

The ribbon was narrow enough to pass through the machine feet guide. Using the widest cover stitch (5.6mm), with 2 threads on top I sewed the ribbon in place, exactly over the bias seam. With one of the edges of the ribbon covering the seam, not centered. The ribbon was placed on the darker colored fabric, to create a higher contrast. It really looks good and Oana liked it too! It creates a nice pass from the darker fabric on top, to the silver bottom of the skirt.

The skirt was too loose at the waist line, and looked better with a higher waist. So I had to go in a little bit inside each pleat and a lot more on the lateral seams at the top, about 3 cm at least.


The Zipper

ZipperIt took me forever to attach the invisible zipper and do the lateral seams. Broke a needle as well. Although the fabric seemed to be a good idea for a bias project, I have strong doubts now… All seams seamed to look ok, without stretches when the fabric was inside out and unworn. As soon as Oana tried it on, it just would not seat as we wanted too…the seams were wavy and weird looking. I believe I had to sew over the same seams at least 10 times until I finally got it straight… Well almost right, the rest I took care of by ironing on the wet fabric.


LiningNext I attached the waist line, on the back side. I always sew a little seam that catches the seam allowance to the waist line, on the lining at the top of the skirt, very close to the front of the skirt. It will force the fabric to twist towards the back and sit nicely, without having the seam visible from the front of the fabric.

HemFor the hems on both the skirt and the top I used an embroidery thread in the lower looper, with a rolled hem.

HemOana tried the outfit on and it looks ok. The top goes way better with jeans, not with the skirt. Finally! It took a lot more time than I expected.

Triangle Top

After finishing the bias skirt and top, I was still left with a lot of fabric, and gray thread in my machines. It was about 8:30 PM when I spread the remaining fabric out and there was a large triangle, in a corner, perfect for something I have seen online. I rarely sew anything without a pattern, but I have experimented with this before, and it turned out ok. Oana also liked the idea of a simple top, and I though why not do it out of this fabric.

I got my inspiration navigating the web

Red Top

I have opened the link and there it was! The perfect idea for what I had! Silver satin triangle, silver ribbon!


In around 2 hours the top was ready. It turned out to look a lot better with the bias skirt. The ribbon on the skirt is parallel with the ribbons on the top. The ribbon is tied around the neck in a bow, and goes all the way around to the back. The ends of the triangle are tied in a knot at the waist line, on the left.

Enjoy and keep on sewing!

Neat Knit

August 10, 2006

100% Cotton knit! That’s neat!

Today, my order arrived from 😀

Rib Knit Black
Cotton Poorboy Knit Lavender
Cotton Rib Knit Lime Cream

I am very pleased with them. They are just as I imaged: thin, soft to the touch, perfect for what i have in mind for them. Love the colors and the texture.

The idea is to sew tops and blouses (maybe wrapped) to wear over the top. In Florida outside it is boiling hot, while at the office I am freezzing.

A combination of stripes for the ribbed lilac fabric would work nice for a V neck top, where the top part is vertical and the base is horizontal.

I have found a nice pattern Burda 05/2006 for a wrapped blouse.

Wrapped TopWrapped Top

or from Burda 08/2006:

Wrapped TopWrapped Top

I can’t wait to finish my other projects and start working on these!