Just Keep Swimming: Summer Swimwear Tour 2016



Welcome to my stop on the Summer Swimwear Tour! This tour showcases patterns from Jess of Gracious Threads, Ajaire from Call Ajaire, and Saskia of The Wolf and the Tree. Sponsoring the tour is Rachel from Imagine Gnats, who generously provided fabric for the bloggers on tour.

Just Keep Swimming rashguard pattern from The Wold and the Tree

I sewed the Just Keep Swimming rashguard and shorties pattern. The rashguard includes 3 sleeve lengths or sleeveless options, a solid or color blocked variation, and 3 bodice lengths. The bottoms include high waisted or regular briefs, and high waisted or regular shorts in 3 lengths. That’s over 160 combinations!

Just Keep Swimming rashguard pattern from The Wold and the Tree

I made 2 pairs of the short-length shorts to match Bella’s cropped rashguard. I love mix and match sets; I have at least 2 swimsuits in every load of laundry.

Just Keep Swimming rashguard pattern from The Wold and the Tree

These are great for cheer and gymnastics too. I plan to make solid black pairs for the girls to wear under their cheerleading uniforms next month. They have the perfect length and butt coverage for spanky pants.

Just Keep Swimming rashguard pattern by The Wold and the Tree

It’s worth a mention that the colorblocking option is perfect for older girls who may need fit adjustments up top. Princess seams practically do the job for you. This rashguard is sewn with no adjustments (and fits great) for reference. Rest assured it will be cake to add some more room later if needed.

Today is the last day to take advantage of the great deals offered by the Summer Swimwear Tour hostesses. Designs by Call Ajaire is offering 20% off all patterns in her Etsy shop using the code SWIMTOUR, Gracious Threads is offering 15% off the purchase of 3 or more patterns in her shop (no coupon needed), and The Wolf and the Tree is offering 15% off patterns using the code SWIMTOUR. So take a few minutes to patron these awesome designers!

Summer Swimwear Tour 2016

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Epic Bra Making Fail | Amanda Bra

I’m cringing- This is my second bra making attempt. It started out bad and just got worse. Grab a cup of coffee.

Epic Bra Making Fail- newbie bra making struggles

This is The Amanda Bra pattern, available at Bra-Makers Supply. It assumes some knowledge of bra making and I clearly have none; so I can’t review it yet.

Let me try to start from the beginning, and explain this epic bra making fail.

Bra Making: The Amanda Bra pattern

The Amanda Bra pattern includes the cradle and wings, and you use purchased foam moulded cups. It’s designed for the $10 a pair cups from Bra-Makers Supply. I reviewed some bra kits I purchased there, and while the quality is good, you’re paying a lot to have your bra making supplies sourced for you. I couldn’t bite the bullet for cups at that price.

I ordered some cups from Licorice & Cream for $1.53 a pair. It took a while for them to get here from Austrailia, but they are awesome and they fit and THEY WERE $1.53.

That’s a lot of back tracking, but it gets me to the first sign of trouble whilst making this bra: My cups weren’t designed for this pattern.

*Hindsight is 20/20, and now I realize that it wouldn’t be difficult to redraft the cradle and bands to match the cup. I cut the cup in the armpit area and smoothed it down to the apex instead. This created a super plunge bra lacking support in the upper cup.

Bra Making: Amanda Bra from Pinup Girls

The next issue was covering the cup. You use a very stretchy material and sort of shape it to the cup and mark it to form the cup cover. The trick is to do it in a manner that doesn’t cause the cup to buckle or collapse.

Well, mine was buckling. Instead of starting over, I decided to hand sew a few lines of stitching to secure the fabric to the cup, and give it more structure. It actually worked, and the stitches are nearly invisible. I didn’t go through both sides of foam with my needle,but just caught the surface.

*My store bought bras in this style have gathering along the bottom edge. Perhaps I need to do that in order to make the fabric accommodate the larger cup size?

Here’s the same image, zoomed in and lightened so you can see my hand stitches:

Bra Making Lessons I Learned Sewing The Amanda Bra from Pinup Girls

Above, you can also start to another bra making problem. I realized somewhere along the way that my machine can’t handle sewing the foam pads. That’s hand stitching on the stretch crochet lace, too. The lace sort of flops over like it’s sad. Normally this bra wouldn’t have lace on the top of the cup, but I wanted it on the bands and didn’t know how to end it without looking weird. Lots of newbie issues.

*I tried different needles, stitches, pressor feet, and thread- I really think my sewing machine just can’t foam pad. I’m not giving up, but I now own a vintage Singer 206K25. Once I get it running, it will eat bras for breakfast!

Bra Making: The Amanda Bra from Pinup Girls

I realized almost as soon as I began sewing this bra that a regular strap wasn’t going to do it. A cage strap like this (affiliate link) would would give enough support to the upper cup to fix the upper side gape. Since I didn’t have any more of the fucshia strapping, and was too lazy to dye more, I just kept going.

I have a finish rule…I hate UFO’s. But I can’t get past the ugly and skipped stitches. That last strap never did get finished. I took pictures to show you and then salvaged my hardware.

Newbie bra sewing mistake: the hooks are sewn on backwards

These hooks are sewn in backwards. I didn’t realize until bra #3 that the ends of most hook and eye sets open up like bias tape. You can sew one side at a time for neater stitches. I was sewing like crap by the time I got to that strap- if I was going to force a finish I needed to do it right or stop way sooner.

Bra Making: Amanda Bra pattern from Pinup Girls

All of that lace is hand stitched…I would need another row of hand stitching to secure it.

Bra Making: Hand Dyed Underwire Casing and Straps

Here’s the underwire casing, hand dyed to match the straps and elastic. It’s also sewn in by hand- too many skipped stitches whenever I sewed it to the foam.

Side note- I knocked my timing out twice trying to make a rag rug last year. I love my machine but was raised on an old Singer, and my first machine was a big Blue Singer industrial. Newer machines (and plastic machines in general) hurt my heart.

Sewing A T-Shirt Bra

I mentioned bra #3- I’ve already made another one. I crawled back to the Watson like a coward. (Love that pattern.) I plan to attempt a soft cup bra pattern and tweak the fit until I get my new old baby running.

To sew for myself I’m just going to have to slow down. I now have a bra fail under my belt and an unfinished romper lying crumpled in the corner- in a sewing room doesn’t have unfinished projects.

A lot more effort and time goes into sewing garments for yourself. Maybe that’s why I’ve never had a lot of UFOs…I’ve mostly stuck to easier, less time consuming projects. I like to clean between each project because I can’t work in a messy space.

I’m starting to see how one would need to take a break from a more complicated garment and work on several things at once. My attention span is equivalent to a 3 year old so I’m scared to let multiple projects sit at once. I’m pretty sure they will multiply at an uncontrollable rate.

Anyhow, I’m ready for some sewing “growth” so I have to change some sewing habits. I may write about WIPs and new techniques rather than showing a finished project each week. There will be more bra making:)

I’m curious about your sewing habits- do you work on several things at once, or have a strict finish policy?

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Watson Bra For First Time Bra Makers

Watson Bra

I highly reccomend the Watson Bra for first time bra makers. You can familiarize yourself with the basic construction of a bra, without dealing with the scary stuff, like underwires, boning, and cup adjusting.

The Watson Bra might be the perfect pattern for bra making newbies.

Here’s my first bra make ever, the Watson Bra from ClothHabit. I have lots of photos because I’m so proud, I want to show you every stitch.

The Watson Bra in double layered Lycra

If you haven’t been introduced to my dressform, meet Nips. She’s graciously agreed to be padded out for this photoshoot, so I can show you my Watson bra. You’re looking at a 34 F, which is a far cry from her B cup. She told me she feels ridiculous, but I assured her it’s all for the sake of bra making.

Longline Watson Bra in double Lycra

I made the longline version of this bra. It turned out so much better than I expected. I mean, the fabric turned into an actual bra…which is still blowing my mind.

Watson Bra pattern from Cloth Habit

Fabric: Lycra from FunkiFabrics (I used a double layer for support) Straps & Hardware: Hijacked from an unloved bra Elastics: A kit from Bra-Makers Supply (See my product review here)

I used a double layer of Lycra for everything; the cradle, cups, and band. As a result my bra feels like a sports bra but there’s lots of lift and separation. I’m very happy with the boob support and like the natural breast shape of the Watson Bra pattern.

Sewing the Watson Bra pattern

While the Lycra works well for the cups and band, I will use the reccomeded powernet next time. I have a slight boob muffin on top, and the frame/cup seam rides up. My next Watson will be the 34 G/H. The bigger cups and more stabilized  band should give me a perfect fit.

Longline Watson Bra in Lycra

I didn’t read the instructions thoroughly, I was like Brazilla and just wanted to make one already. I didn’t even change my needle and you can tell by the stitches. I lightened it below so you can see my zig zags by the closure. I can do better than that.

Watson Bra

I learned a lot making this bra. I’ll pay attention to seam allowances and stitch settings from now on, and just slow down in general.

Sewing My First Bra | The Watson Bra Pattern

Once I understand what fabric properties work for each part of the bra, I’ll save some money sourcing my own material. The kits are pricy, and I ruined one by cutting pattern pieces onto the wrong fabric last month. I bought everything I needed for a bra, and never sewed a stitch!

Watson Bra Inside View

Bra making feels like a big investment at first. I’ll try to be patient once  I start making more complicated bras. All the fittings and muslins will burn through supplies. I’m dreading that part; but the finish line is pretty bras that fit and don’t cost $70.

Watson Bra

Here’s a closeup of the inside. The Watson Bra isn’t designed for underwires, but foam pad would be easy enough if you wanted extra coverage. I’m thinking about lengthening the cradle and band into a camisole. Maybe if I went up a band size? In Lycra it would act as shape wear.

Watson Bikini in Lycra with fold over elastic

Watson Bikini

I made the Watson Bikini with fold over elastic. The fit is spot on. I like the cut, too. Here’s the matching set:


Watson Bra and Bikini

I know it’s been said to death, but I don’t know why it took me so long to sew a bra. I’m ready for the big leagues now; cup fitting! Bring it on.

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Rash Guard and Boy Shorts: Swim Patterns

Peekaboo Swim Patterns : Hang Ten Rash Guard & Monaco Swim Trunks Pattern

I’m been meaning to show you forever: Bella’s rash guard and boy shorts. Patterns used are the Monaco Swim Trunks and Hang Ten Rash Guard from Peekaboo Patterns. (Affiliate links.) I made this suit about October of last year. We were going to an event with indoor swimming, and I thought it would be easier to sew a new swimsuit than to unpack summer clothes from the barn.

Rash guard and boy shorts made with Peekaboo Patterns | SewsNBows

Caroline at Sew Can She showed off her swimsuits using the exact same patterns Saturday. As I was reading her post; I looked outside to see my little girl wearing hers. So I took some quick pics with my iPod, and here it is!

Sew a girls swimsuit with Peekaboo Patterns! Rash guard and Boyshorts | SewsNBows

I modified the shorts length to a boy shorts cut. They are fully lined, giving this swimsuit a nice weight. For the top I added just a bit of negative ease in the torso and sleeves to keep it more snug to the body. It’s being worn as an actual swim top rather than to cover a swim top; and I didn’t want it to float up. I recommend this mod for girls if there won’t be a swim top under. The front is also fully lined, and I added 1″ to the length.

Rash guard and boy shirts swim patterns| SewsNBows

I didn’t have enough fabric to cut my pieces on fold, so there is a center seam in the front and back. The print disguises it some so I’m not beating myself up.

Swim Patterns from Peekabo, Monaco Trunks (modified) with Hang Ten Rash Guard

When Bella went to church camp, our pastors wife said she really loved it and wanted one for her 12 year old daughter. It made me feel so good that she said that. If I ever have time I’m going to make her daughter one just because she made my day.

Rash guard and boy shorts sewing patterns

I love, love, love these patterns and will continue using them for the younger kids. With Bella sizing out of Peekaboo swim patterns, we’ll be moving onto Jalie patterns for her soon. I already have a couple in stash and can’t wait to try them. Id like to make myself a swimsuit too, but I want a steel cage to put everything where I want it and keep it there. I’m pretty sure I will be impossible to satisfy…but you never know.

Pattern: Monaco Swim Trunks & Hang Ten Rash Guard by PAB Patterns

Fabric: FunkiFabrics Action Painting Black and nude lining. This is better than any swim fabric I’ve ever touched. Perfect recovery even when I stretched it as hard as I could. Nice weight and zero fading in chlorine. Survives wicked abuse.

Modifications: Fully lined shorts and top is front lined. Swim trunks have been shortened to boy shorts. Negative ease and length added to top.

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Classic Panties Pattern By PAB

Peekaboo Classic Panties pattern

The Classic Panties pattern by PAB: pretty much the fastest girls underwear pattern ever! The pattern is one piece, cut on fold.

Classic Panties Pattern by PAB | Funki Fabrics lycra

I’ll point out that these panties are a size 5/6; and I’m showing them on a skinny, butt-less size 4 dress form. (Meet Rosie.) There’s some weird bunching in these pics…but I assure you the fit on actual children is amazing.

Classic Panties Pattern By PAB

This is a project that I wasn’t going to show; because Rosie doesn’t do these undies justice. These are more pictures I took pre-move. I’ve been in the new place for 7 days. My sewing room still isn’t operational, and I was looking for an excuse to come say hi:)

Classic Panties pattern from PAB | lycra from Funki Fabrics

I’m not sewing yet, but plan to steal my plastic fold up table from outside. I use it for birthday parties and such. It will do for now. Ugly sewing table is better than no table! Plus I’ve pinned lots of future projects on my Home Decor Sewing Pinterest board. I want to sew everything.

Classic Panties pattern by PAB

Bella started her new school yesterday. I had an anxiety attack all day until she came home with a big smile on her face. My little girl is so brave to go to a brand new school in the middle of the year.

We are surrounded by beauty, and I’m not regretting the decision to uproot and move one single bit. Money will be tight for a while, there’s not enough time in the day, there is some unfortunate shag carpet and questionable wallpaper…but we love our new home and her smile said it all!

Pattern: Classic Panties & Camisole from PAB *affiliate link
Details: Funki Fabrics: Triathalon Aqua lycra with picot elastic lace

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