How to Hide the Join of Wide Elastic Straps on a Swimsuit

How to Hide the Join of Wide Elastic Straps on a Swimsuit

One of the easiest ways to make a swimsuit more supportive for larger busts is to sew wider straps. It’s also a cute way to make your suit sportier, regardless of your need for support. Check out our tutorial here for a couple different ways to sew wider straps. In this example I used a wide plush-back waistband elastic for my straps which is lots of fun, but the join between elastic and swimsuit isn’t as pretty as with a narrower strap so I wanted a creative way to cover the join. The Laminaria Swimsuit normally uses a small facing to neatly join the narrow strap to the top of the front, but that same technique doesn’t work well with the wide elastic. It looks okay, but I wanted to figure out a simple way to make the join look even better than okay. Cut a little rectangle of fabric …


All About Fold-Over-Elastic (FOE) and How to Sew It

In developing our Tropo Camisole pattern it feels like we’ve sewn enough fold-over elastic (FOE) to reach to the moon and back! We’ve assembled here everything we’ve learned about FOE along the way to help you get started with sewing your own FOE! What is FOE? FOE stands for Fold-Over-Elastic. It is a lightweight elastic that has a crease down the middle of it. It often has one shiny side (usually considered the right side) and one matte side (usually considered the wrong side) and can be found in a variety of colors and a variety of patterns. The crease allows you to fold the elastic perfectly in half. FOE can be found in a variety of qualities and you may find some are soft while some are scratchy (particularly metallic colors). Some FOEs have better recovery than others (recovery is how well it springs back after you stretch it). …


How to Sew the Easiest Skirt

Even the most advanced sewists occasionally crave super simple projects. Sometimes you want to wake up, have a cup of tea, and sew a new skirt to wear before you need to eat breakfast. That’s not just me, right? Beginning and advanced sewists alike, this is a super-easy skirt worth remembering because it is just that – super easy! To make this skirt you need fabric and elastic. You can use just about any kind of woven fabric. For this skirt, I used a basic lightweight woven cotton because I wanted a breezy summer skirt but you can definitely use a heavier fabric to wear in other seasons. The width of your fabric will be the length of your skirt, so go ahead and cut your skirt to the right length at this point (but don’t cut the length of the fabric as we will determine how much we need …


I Am My Own Von Trapp Family

Several sources of good ideas and grand intentions went into making this monstrosity of an outfit. First, I wanted to try sewing another Summer Concert Tee but thought it would be an interesting experiment to use a woven fabric. Second, I seem to be on an orange kick recently and this thrifted duvet cover in my stash that kept catching my eye. Third, Seattle summers are way warmer than San Francisco summers so I actually needed a couple more light-weight cotton pieces to get me through comfortably. Fourth, I’ve been working on high-stress (i.e. wedding) sewing all summer and I wanted a couple easy projects in contrast. Add all these influences together and what do you get? I am a one-person Von Trapp family. When I initially put on the outfit, I thought that I was drowning in fabric and it was hideous. Oversized top and full skirt in the …


Baseball is a Summer Staple Dress

When we first arrived in our summer home, of course I got my sewing machine set up right away. But, despite (or perhaps because) of the giant list of things I have to sew this summer, all I wanted to do was whip up something silly and easy. Certainly influenced by the very summery weather (that I’m not actually used to after 7 years of San Francisco summers), I wanted a sundress. And, despite the fact that I kept out many nice cottons that would have done very well, I got it in my head that I absolutely had to turn this ridiculous 1980’s baseball print that I had found at a thrift store forever ago into a dress. Since I didn’t have much of this print, the dress was going to have to be something without a lot of volume. I ended up choosing the Staple Dress by April …


Bombshell Bikini

I am a total bombshell in this swimsuit. The first time I sewed the Bombshell Bikini by Closet Case Files I made a few design decisions that left me feeling like an almost. But this time? Total Bombshell. So, what did I learn that made this one a rockin’ success? Better color choice, for sure. Instead of a pale pink the color of my skin, I picked an iridescent purple that I bought at Britex Fabrics that actually compliments my skin tone. I left off the halter top that (although I like halters sometimes) made me feel like a line-backer, emphasizing my strong shoulders in the wrong way. And, I made the bikini bottom version of the Bombshell Swimsuit pattern and drafted my own bikini top. I love the full coverage of the bottom and the slip of skin showing at my waist, an asset that I like to highlight. For …


Plantain Maxi Dress with Braided Collars

I’ve never been one to gracefully back down from a challenge. I’m stubborn. Really stubborn. I come by it honestly from both sides of my family. My Great Grandma Roseada and my Grandma Jimee were probably two of the most stubborn women to ever grace this planet. (And oh my goodness my someday children are going to be stubborn nightmares as well because Adam’s Grandma Sheila gives them a stubborn run for their money!). When Deer & Doe released their free plantain tee, I thought “oh that’s nice” and made a tee-shirt with slightly unusual distressed binding and moved on with my sewing life. But somewhere in the back of my head the “Plantain Challenge” kept repeating. Challenge. The challenge issued was to create a unique version of the Plantain. And since I can’t back down from a challenge, this dress is what I came up with. It really is just …


Fall for Cotton Pants

For the Fall for Cotton Sewalong I’ve sewn all four pieces from my mom’s 1976 McCalls pattern. I’m sharing them piece by piece with modern styling (how I’ll actually wear them) before the big reveal of a full-on 1976 photoshoot. This is piece 4 of 4. There is no more way for me to turn into an old lady, other than maybe a few more wrinkles. I knit. I have cats. I’m forgetful. I call everyone sweetie. I like rocking chairs and I decorate with lace doilies. And now I wear elastic waist pants. And I love them. I had a really hard time getting myself to stay true to this pattern and use the elastic waistband. I thought there was no way that I would wear them if they had an elastic waist and it seemed like a total waste of fabric to make them as is. But, for …


Fall for Cotton Skirt

For the Fall for Cotton Sewalong I’ve sewn all four pieces from my mom’s 1976 McCalls pattern. I’m sharing them piece by piece with modern styling (how I’ll actually wear them) before the big reveal of a full-on 1976 photoshoot. This is piece 2 of 4. 1976 meet 1989 meet 1999 meet 2013. This skirt makes no sense, unless you think of timey-wimey as wibbly-wobbly, and then it’s all good. The pattern is from 1976 (McCalls 5088) the fabric is a 10th anniversary 1999 reprint of an 1989 design. And I made it up this year (2013, in case you’ve gotten confused by this point in time). Whew. Somehow, through all this muddling, I think it works. It works as a 1976 reproduction for the Fall for Cotton Sewalong. And it works with modern styling as a new regular in my wardrobe. I adore this fabric. I picked up a …


Almost a Bombshell in My Swimsuit

I’m finally done with my bombshell swimsuit. I simply adore the retro influenced style and started it just after Heather of Closet Case Files released the pattern, but my hip injury kept me away from the sewing machine for so long that I’ve just now finished it up. Although summer is waning elsewhere, nice weather is just about to start here in San Francisco. Just about the only time I’m ever found in a swimsuit is when sitting in a hot-tub, (I don’t like swimming and I’m too pale to tan), but this adorable suit might change that! I followed Heather’s excellent sew-along. This being the first swimsuit I’ve made, I pretty much followed her instructions to the letter. I did grade between sizes, going up one size for the bottom, since I’m a pear. I used the stretch zig-zag on my sewing machine for all of the stitching. I really …


How to Add Crochet Elastic to Keep Socks Up

I love to knit socks. One of my favorite socks that I have knit is a pair of knee socks. However, I found that I initially couldn’t wear them because they didn’t stay up on my leg. It was quite frustrating and likely due to two factors – 1) I used yarn that had a significant amount of bamboo in it which is a fiber that does not stretch. 2) The ribbing is P1 K1tbl (knit one through back loop) which is a pretty stitch but much less stretchy than a standard P1 K1 rib. I solved the problem by adding crocheted elastic to the inside of the cuff. I recently had someone on Ravelry ask me how I did it, so I thought I would share.


Roses on Black Shirtwaist Dress

I made this vintage-style shirtwaist dress form Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing. Like my bow-neck blouse from the same book (and made from the same stashed cotton-rayon blend fabric, incidentally), I thought I didn’t like it as I was finishing it up. However, I find myself having worn the dress several times already, so, fortunately, my initial opinion has been proven wrong!

Bringing Back the Romper!

I made a romper and I’m totally in love with it. I wore it into lab last week and got in a long conversation with a labmate about how ridiculous rompers are and how I want to single-handedly bring them back in fashion. Then I stopped by the bench of another friend of mine who immediately remarked “Awesome romper! I’ve been looking at one I really want from the Gap.” So, it turns out that rompers are fashionable right now. I didn’t know. I supposed I should have guessed, given the fact that I sewed the romper from a pattern that I recently bought. I rarely sew from patterns. But, I happened to pick up a few on 99 cent pattern sale. One of them was Simplicity 2222. (And apparently Suede is a well known designer. My mom pointed him out to me at Sew Expo but I didn’t put …