Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Swimwear: Part Mermaid on my Mom's Side

You may remember that I sewed a hacked Bombshell when I was pregnant. At the time I predicted that the top would probably fit post-pregnancy but that I would need to sew new bottoms. Turns out I was right.

Original version with prego belly included

At the time, I must have had the forethought to buy enough of the fabric to make more pieces after pregnancy because I found two yards of the stuff when I was rummaging in my stash this summer hoping for a scrap of swimsuit fabric. Clever past me. 

As this project was completely unplanned, I somehow forgot I was going to make a Bombshell bottom and pulled out Vogue 9192 instead.

I ended up sewing the bikini bottom (View D) and the cover up skirt (View F). There is not much to tell except that I learned that rubber swimsuit elastic is firmer and less stretchy than other elastics and - more important - you should avoid any un-sewing of the stuff.


I didn't make any changes to either the bottom or skirt except that I added a little bit of length (2") to the skirt. It probably wasn't necessary. They both fit very well out of the envelope. The only change I'd make in the future is perhaps taking the waist in a bit and using slightly wider elastic.

The skirt is a win I think; I love the style. This is a piece that I have been wearing as a cover up and for splashy days. Really, you could take a dip in it, but I think I would reserve it for wading rather than swimming.  I'm very happy with it paired with my bombshell hacked top.

I like that the length is adjustable. The construction was really simple - you press the seam allowances open and sew them down to create a casing for the pull ties.

The bottoms - sorry for the lack of picture of me wearing them, but I just didn't feel up to taking pictures of my bum and thighs - is a very modest cut. It's exactly what I would pick out for my mom, who is a modest lady. For myself, I would choose something with a lower rise and perhaps cut a little higher on the sides. That said, I'm happy for the full bum coverage. One thing that I will add is that when I sewed swimwear in the past I just self-lined anything that needed lining.  This time I used swimsuit lining fabric and the difference is worth it. It's thinner, lighter and very soft and comfy against the skin. The sandwich method of sewing the bottoms made for a really cleanly finished inside.

There's not really anything else to say because both pieces were easy to sew, are well drafted and fit the bill. Sometimes there is just no need to over-complicate things.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Swimwear: For My Little Fish

In the Craft Lounge, I'm already transitioning to autumn by putting away the light fabrics and plotting out my projects for the cooler weather ahead. However, I'm still trying to catch up on posting all of the summer clothing that I sewed. And I've had a very productive summer.  Instead of taking a big vacation, I decided this summer to make every weekend a long weekend by taking Mondays off.

So today it's more swimwear. This time for Taco.

At his cousin's pool party

At the snack bar at our community pool (with ice cream)

Two of my favorite makes for Taco that have been getting non-stop use are these little, one piece rash guard swimmies. The pattern is an altered version of KwikSew 3730, which I sewed last summer (here) in seersucker.

The pattern is designed for woven fabrics. Sewing it in a knit and getting the more trim fit of a rash guard required slimming the whole thing down - side seams, armscyes and sleeves.

Wow, washed out color in this shot.

And in swimsuit fabric

To give the pattern a more rash guard/wet suit-like look, I altered the center front from a button closure to an exposed zipper and altered the collar to a rounded mandarin-style.

The proto-type - the blue version - was sewn with a poly knit remnant that I had in my stash.  You probably don't remember waaaaaaay back when I sewed a top in this fabric for myself (here). It's  not 100% perfect as swimwear, but Taco likes it. The zipper is a closed-end, plastic tooth number I picked up at Panda Zippers, a store I often overlook.  Closed end plastic zippers are somewhat challenging to come by, even in the NY Garment District.

Anyway, I futzed around with the pattern a bit more based on the changes I had to make as I sewed the proto-type version. This second version is in actual swimwear fabric. It's a bit of an eye popping fabric.

It's a bit of a bummer that photography is not allowed at our community pool. Taco has taken to the water with such delight. You'll have to make do with snack bar photos.

We are planning on starting swim lessons in the fall. Taco really discovered his inner little fish. So, our need for swimwear will outlast the summer.

Two and a half is a charming little age; our days are punctuated by squeals of delight, peels of laughter, and moments of surprise. Not that there aren't struggles, but there are far more happy moments and there is much to be grateful for when I think of life in Clio-and-Phinland these days. More time at home was a great call for this summer!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Swimwear: For Those Splashy Days

I had no plans to sew any swimwear this summer.

That's the funny thing about sewing plans, isn't it? They can change on a whim or for a need. In this case, both. Inspired by whim and need I ended up sewing five items of swimwear this summer.

Here's the first. It's a not-a-swimsuit.

You see, when you spend time at the community pool with a toddler, you don't actually get to do much actual swimming. Most days I don't get deeper into the water than my knees, which is as deep as the toddler pool gets. But I still get wet from Taco running over to me for a big wet hug or from playing with him in the fountains or at the water's edge or just sitting on the wet ledge with my feet in the pool watching him play. The same is true for days we play at home in the sprinkler. I always end up running thru the sprinkler at least once.

Parenting a little kid means that some days are just splashy. And I don't always have the will to slather us both from horn to tail in sunscreen nor do I always feel like prancing around in a swimsuit in the yard or at the pool when I'm not going to actually swim. What's a gal to do?

Chalk this up as another why sewing is awesome momentThis is a sundress sewn up in swimsuit fabric. So, it's quick drying, comfy and appropriate for poolside and sprinkler, but isn't a bathing suit. Really I could wear it anywhere - to the beach bar, on a boat or for water-sports like paddle boarding. Now I'm sort of wondering how I ever got along without something like this in my wardrobe.

Anyway, when I wear it to the pool, I do wear bikini bottoms underneath. Wet underwear feels gross. Ewwwwwwww

The fabric is from Spandex World and the pattern is OOP Simplicity 3503, which I sewed once before in 2009 (here).

I made a few changes and enhancements. As drafted, the skirt is gathered at the center front and back. I trimmed down the skirt so that it wouldn't have the gathers, thinking that less fabric to get wet would probably be a good thing.  Also, since I planned to wear it without a bra, I sewed bra cups in between the fabric and lining at the bust. If I had thought of it I would have sewn an elastic band into the seam at the underbust to create a built in shelf bra. Next time. This is enough for poolside.

Photo taking is still a challenge. I've been trying to just get Phin to snap a few pictures whenever we can fit it in when I am actually wearing whatever it is we're photographing, rather than trying for a photo shoot.

These were taken on our way out to the pool. After a minute or two, Taco got bored of waiting with his bucket of trains (which goes with him everywhere, btw.)

A Halloween pail repurposed as a train carrier

So we actually got a few unanticipated "action shots."

Leg hugs

And with that we were off to the pool for splashy fun!

Two more swimwear posts to follow! Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Romping Around!

It seems like the list is endless, but another thing that irks me about RTW clothing for tots is that retailers seem to have collectively decided that 2 years is the age/size when little ones stop wearing rompers. For a slim tot like Taco, whose shorts/pants are always sliding down, rompers are the ideal summer outfit.

Taco with my sister's beagle

I'm not going to rehash this pattern - Butterick B5625 - since I sewed and reviewed it last summer (here).  At the time I commented that it was so quick and easy that I would sew many more versions if summer was longer.  This year I got to execute that plan. The only change I've made besides adding a little length at the lengthen/shorten line is that I've eliminated the snaps at the crotch/inseam. Phin and I found it just as easy to undo the shoulder buttons for diaper changes. So, snaps became irrelevant.

An additional nice thing about this pattern is that it doesn't take very much fabric.  All three of these rompers were sewn from remnants that were hanging around in my stash and that I cut during my epic May cut-a-thon. Sewing for toddlers has some distinct benefits that way.

The red is linen left over from trousers I made for myself a few years ago. The seersucker was left over from a different romper I made for Taco last summer. And the off white pinstriped linen blend, well, that was from a large cut of fabric that you will see the rest of at some future point, since it has been sewn but not photographed.  I'm really delighted with the buttons I chose for it.

I haven't been able to snap any photos of the red and white, but they're getting a lot of wear. I really would put Taco in a romper every day all summer long if I had sewn even more of them.

Anyway, I shall leave you with this picture of Taco enjoying the blue frosting off a cupcake at his cousin's Minion themed birthday party. The blue seersucker actually hid the evidence of the frosting that ended up everywhere later on.