Scrapbusting with the Concord T shirt

When you are fat, all those suggestions for using smaller bits of fabric don’t really work the same way. You need far more fabric than people in smaller sizes so when you are looking up “what to make with less than a yard of fabric?” on google, the suggestions are a bit disheartening and frustrating when they use existing patterns that in larger sizes actually require much more fabric than a yard. When I buy fabric, I don’t ever buy less than a yard and a half. That can make me leggings or a short sleeve top and many other things. But sometimes, a yard doesn’t even make underwear in larger sizes. I think that’s tough to remember when you are smaller sized and writing these lists. There aren’t lists for “How to scrapbust when you are fat.” Although, now I want to write that list.

There’s always others ways to scrapbust, however, by using existing patterns and making design changes based on the fabric needs.

I had three different grey-based fabrics in my stash all with less than a yard of fabric left. I had a waffle knit with geometric print on it (only 1/4 of a yard), a striped doubleknit (just under a yard), and the remnant of a grey knit sheet that I used for a costume (about half a yard).

I used the waffle knit on the cowl neckline and for large sleeve bands. The grey knit sheet became the sleeves (please ignore the fact that they look twisted here…It’s because the sleeve bands are twisted because I didn’t pay attention putting it on before the picture) and the striped doubleknit became the body of the shirt (no attempt to stripe match since the yardage was so low). I did all this using the Cashmerette Concord T-shirt as a base pattern.

Originally, the shirt wasn’t going to be a cowl neckline, but the doubleknit stretched out when I sewed the neckband on it. You can see how it is stretching in that back view and pulling the fabric down off my shoulders. I’m almost sure the doubleknit has some rayon in the fabric. I got it with a bunch of other knits from LA Finch Fabrics when I won a sewing challenge last year. But not a problem, since I love a good cowl neckline.

The doubleknit is super stretchy; I had to remove a slight bit of width in the back to make it fit in the fabric constraints but the extra stretch makes that okay. The hem is the curved hem view using the grey knit sheet for the hem facing.

How soft is that doubleknit, though? It’s so soft! I wish that technology would catch up so you could feel this fabric. Like I just want to pet it. I wish I had more than just that piece!

I’m hoping the waffleknit softens a bit more in the wash since it’s not as drapey as I like a cowl to be. It looks okay but could definitely look a bit better.

Next time you have some pieces that are less than a yard, think strategically about what patterns you can use and mix and match! You can take any pattern and draw new panels or cut/design lines.

This is the last of my winter projects. I sadly didn’t get around to finishing all the things I wanted to for the season. I still haven’t started a new winter coat! But my brain is definitely not on Winter plans anymore so it will have to wait for the future. Some of my plans, however, might make it in my early Spring sewing since this is transitional weather in Toronto. For most of April, we’ll be anywhere from zero to plus 20 celcius. I’ll still be grabbing for all those layers for the next while.

Bra Sewing, Swimsuit Sewing, Vacation Sewing

All the sewing in this post!

I still have a backlog of projects to share with you but I thought I would share some things that I recently sewed where I have used the pattern before or, in the case of bra sewing, am using an updated pattern.

Bra Sewing

I’m super pleased with my alterations on my bra pattern. This is definitely a better fit than the last bra I sewed. The last bra fit well but throughout the day my cup would spill over. This bra does that on the 3rd day of wear after washing.

After the last bra, I incorporated more volume in the lower center cup, split the bottom cup into three to better distribute the volume and give a nicer shape, shifted the straps in by 1/4 inch, and scooped out the underarm by about a half inch graded to a 1/4 inch at the top.

It’s really difficult to tell the difference between the two since the previous bra was in black, but the projection is shifted slightly more to the centre reducing the splaying from my pectus carinatam. Unfortunately, the above picture was also taken right before my period when I was swelling like crazy. I generally have a 2 -3 inch difference in my bust at that time. Hello hormones! It’s much better now and I can see how the volume in the cup is a much better fit.

Overall, the shape is great. I feel comfortable in the bra. There are tweaks, however, for next version.

  1. More volume in the lower cups
  2. Less length along the top edge of the upper cup
  3. Move in the strap another 1/4 inch since the strap is still flipping over
  4. Even out the horizontal line where the lower cup and upper cup meet (bring it down by about an inch and a half at the side grading to the height of the cup closest to the bridge)

I’m considering accounting for the differences in cup volume in my 2 breasts, but I think I will wait until after the next iteration to do it.

I’d like one more underwired bra in my rotation and then I want to make changes to my bralette pattern. I’m going to get myself a couple of pattern drafting books for lingerie soon and see if I can apply some of those techniques for a better fit.

Swimsuit Sewing

I recently made another Cashmerette Ipswich Swimsuit and I love it.

The mermaid scales are both from Water Tower Textiles. I chose to make a full side panel with firm powernet for a scandalous see-through look. I love it.

I did not make a bra for this. I lined it with powernet instead. The fit is not bad. Definitely some drooping in the water, but not too bad. The straps with bra strap elastic really do wonders for that. This is a size 24 G/H on top. Bottoms are 24 graded to a size 26.

Why make a swimsuit when winter is about to hit Canada?

Vacation Sewing

My husband took me to Varadero, Cuba for my 38th birthday!!

It was such a perfect birthday!!

We drank…

We ate…

We went to Havana…

I could definitely spend all my birthdays in warm weather and on the beach from now on!

Of course, I couldn’t leave without some marathon vacation sewing…

Cashmerette Rivermont top

Nothing like a mirror selfie with fox pj pants!

Simplicity 8344 Bodysuit

I love it so much. I may take the straps off, though, since I find the elastic can cover my bra straps comfortably.

I also shortened some Misty Jeans into shorts to give them new life, but neglected to take a picture.

For my birthday, I made it a goal to raise $200 for the Ehlers-Danlos Society and I exceeded my goal by $127 for a total of $327!! I am so grateful for the generous support of my friends and family. It made for the best birthday gift. ❤

In my reflection on the past year, I am grateful that I am managing my chronic illness better. It’s through my own hard work and that of my respirologist that I have come so far. With my chronic cough under better management, I am able to do more and get a better grasp on my health rather than struggling with the day to day of just breathing. I know without the meds, my health is tenuous so I have to be super careful to not miss a dosage or else my breathing becomes difficult as well. The fact that there are meds that do help me is huge and I am incredibly grateful for that.

Of course, saying I am managing my chronic illness is not a cure or that I am no longer chronically ill. I know my limitations better now and I know when to rest versus when to push it. I am gradually incorporating more exercise into my life, but I will not do it at the destruction of my body. I have a better understanding of what is good versus what is bad. I am disabled. I cannot do a lot of things normally and often have obstacles that prevent access for me. It’s been quite a year for me of setbacks and realizations and lots of wins. 38 feels good. I have hope and that is an amazing thing to have.

Pageboy Outfit Plus a Cashmerette Harrison

Recently, I made two pieces for two different costumes. I will eventually share those costumes with you, but I decided to share the two pieces together.

 

It looks a bit like an outfit worn by a member of the Newsies cast. I just need suspenders and a pageboy hat.

Now if only I could jump that high and do the splits without dislocating my hip! hahah!

I made the vest using the Cashmerette Concord t-shirt pattern with the v-neck. I used a hacci knit in a dark grey/brown colour and put bands on the armholes and the bottom hem. It was a quick garment to make up and it took me about 30 minutes once I factored out serger issues.

The capri sweatpants are made using the Blank Slate Patterns Forsythe trousers and using a jersey sheet from the thrift store. I put elastic in bands on the hems of both legs.

I know I made this capri sweatpants for a costume piece, but they are super duper comfortable and I throw them on so often that I need to make another pair so I don’t wear out this pair since I need it as a costume piece going forward. The only thing I would change (and you can’t tell in these pictures) is to switch out the slash pockets for side seam pockets since jersey fabric tends to droop a bit more and the pockets don’t look that good.

I also got an old UFO finished. I haven’t actually made the Cashmerette Harrison pattern in the final  version. I tested it, though.

What you can’t see is how incredibly uncomfortable I am in this top. That’s not really a pattern issue, but a few different issues. 1) The fabric I used is actually a poly cotton. I bought it thinking it was cotton and being told it was cotton to wash it and go….uh this is poly cotton. Disappointing. Too bad you can’t do burn tests in stores to prove store keepers wrong. Anyway, it’s been a while since I bought it and it was only 5 bucks for like 4 yards so I am not going to complain. But I hate it. I originally made this with the longer sleeves and then needed to chop off the sleeves to see if that would help. It did a bit…. but not really. 2) OMG my sewing is wonky on this…. I didn’t have consistent seam allowances for it at all. 3) I just don’t have symmetrical shoulders at all (thanks EDS!). The button band just does this super weird thing in the centre because one breast is higher than the other and it’s throwing those double princess seams in weird directions. It’s not really an issue when it’s only one princess seam per side or when it’s a darted bodice, but on this style… it just doesn’t work for me. 4) I am bigger than when I cut it out so it doesn’t fit well at all…. booooo.

I will be putting this in the donation bin, but I wanted to share it. It’s a good pattern but just doesn’t work for me and that is okay!

I am definitely thinking about making a pageboy hat….

 

 

Cashmerette Ipswich Swimsuit

This post was originally on the CSC for the Curvy Year of Sewing Bodysuits and Swimsuits theme.

Today I am reviewing the Cashmerette Ipswich Swimsuit. I did also test the swimsuit before release but my opinions are my own. There were some changes made between the version we tested and the final version so for obvious reasons this review it based on the final version.

The pattern has two views: view A is a one piece swimsuit and view B is a two-piece swimsuit. The size range is size 12-28 with cup sizes C/D, E/F, and G/H; bust 40 inches to 58 inches. I chose to make view B for this review. I prefer two-piece swimsuits as they make bathroom trips a lot easier in the middle of swimming and they are easier for me to put on and take off with my disabilities. The pattern also has an internal wired bra that is optional. I chose to make it with the internal bra since I have experience making bras.

My measurements are 51.5 bust, 44 underbust, 46 waist, and 55 hip. I chose to make a size 22 G/H. I could have graded to a 24 at the hip but I chose not to do that and it worked out just fine except in one area which I will get to a bit later.

  

The fabric I used is nylon spandex lightening print and black poly spandex with black swimsuit lining and black bra foam as well as powernet for the bra band and black duoplex fabric for the bra bridge (duoplex is a stable polyester fabric used in bramaking). There are a lot of notions for this suit: swimsuit elastic, stable elastic for the straps, swimsuit clickers for the back closures, underwires, and underwire channeling. Phew. You can make the swimsuit without the internal bra and that definitely cuts down on the amount of materials, but you might not get the support you need. If you do choose to do that, I recommend using powernet to line the front as well to give a bit more support. Powernet should still be used in the back as well as directed.

In terms of construction, swimsuits are definitely not for beginners. Cashmerette lists the pattern as intermediate and it definitely is for that level. The pattern instructions are great and very detailed. There is also an online course for it, but I haven’t tried it out. There were some construction methods that I didn’t prefer. For the most part, however, those were personal preferences based on what is easier for me.

In terms of fit, there are a few issues. First off, this pair is my second pair for the bottoms. The first pair I made were a lot lower rise due to my belly and bum. I raised the pattern by 7 inches. However, I took about 3 inches away after construction. In total, there are 4 inches added to both front and back using the lengthen/shorten lines. They fit a lot better for me this way. You may need to make adjustments for a larger belly or bum.

 

The leg holes are finished by attaching elastic and then flipping it to the inside and topstitching over it using a stretch stitch. For my next pair, I will used bands with elastic enclosed in them. It’s my preferred method and tends to feel a bit more secure.

The top fits okay. I am going to narrow the neckband a bit since my shoulders and upperbust are narrow. This will help stop that wavy/loose bit at the centre of the neckband.

The bra does not fit me well. For people who are familiar with bramaking and have a bra pattern that fits well, continue to use that for your swimsuit, any swimsuit. I haven’t made a bra in over 2 years so I didn’t have that option and I wanted to see how the pattern bra fit me. There definitely needs to be more room in the cups for me. I am spilling over and the wires are lower than the should be instead of following my breast root. The shape of the cup works okay, but I definitely need more projection. Everyone’s needs are going to be different here so if you don’t have a TNT bra pattern, start by trying it out and then tweaking from there. I will need to do quite a bit of tweaking to get this one to fit well but it’s definitely going to happen.

Word of caution, though, for anyone pursuing the internal bra is to not expect a 100% great fit out the package. As with all bramaking, fitting is the hard part. Don’t use your super expensive material on that first one. Muslins for bras and swimsuits are a bit more expensive, but completely worth it.

I made one tweak for this version instead of following direction and used band elastic on the bottom of the top. For me, it helps keep the bottom in place a bit better and is firmer than the swimsuit elastic.

 

Overall, I really like the design and plan on making it again. I’d love to make the tankini using the free expansion pack. I also want to play with cutouts using powermesh or tweak the neckline into different looks.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Cashmerette Ipswich Swimsuit
  • Pros: I loved the pattern. I think there are definitely fit issues (as there would be with any swimsuit pattern) but overall there are more wins in terms of support for the bust and fun use of pattern mixing with the panels. The instructions are great as usual with Cashmerette. I definitely need to get a better fit in the bra and tweak a bit more here and there, but I’m not far off from a great fit.
  • Cons: I do think that the neckline could be a bit more flattering. The boobs do look a bit like a single block. I plan on tweaking that a bit.
  • Make again?: Absolutely! I am working on my bra pattern and then I will get more foam so I can use it for the internal bra.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md4.5/5 stars

 

Cashmerette Cedar Dolman: Pattern Hacks

Today I am sharing two garments I made back in March… One of the items was waiting on a repair before I could take pictures. I’ll talk about that a bit later.

Both garments are made using the Cashemerette Cedar Dolman as the starting pattern. I really love this pattern for its versatility. It’s a great pattern to “hack.”

First up is a dress version. For this version, I actually used the Cedar Dolman I made as a pattern tester. I added a neckband and sleeve bands. Knowing that I was going for a loose fit, I didn’t want to cut the length of the Dolman too much. In the tester version, I made the tie version so I cut the tester off just above the tie. It’s probably about 4 inches off the bottom. For the skirt, I just added two panels that were the width of the back and the front.

I added pockets to the side seams and sewed the tops of them into the skirt waist. The skirt waist is sewn to the bodice and then about an inch and a quarter below that, you sew again. Then you press that extra up and sew a line of stitching to secure it and then feed the elastic in through that. It’s the same method used for the Colette Myrtle waistband in this tutorial.

This is the kind of dress that you just throw on after work or on the weekend. It’s comfortable and easy to make as well! I made it using a bamboo jersey in mauve that I got from a friend. I really really love this fabric. It wears well and is durable.

Up next is the garment I had to repair.

This Cedar Dolman hack is exactly like my striped one, but this time with ruffles on the sleeves! I simply cut two strips of fabric, folded them in half lengthwise and then gathered them and sewed them into the seams while I sewed up the side seams. I made sure to have the ruffles fall down towards the sleeve hem.

I wore this once and then washed it and a few holes appeared in the fabric. Luckily, they aren’t super noticeable after I sewed them up; they are on the front but closer to my armpit. It’s a rayon spandex from Water Tower Textiles. After two washes (pre-wash and then washed once after it was constructed), the holes appeared. I’m really disappointed. The cut was from the end of the roll and I am hoping it was just a fluke since they were transparent about a flaw on a different part of the pieces. I’m probably not going to contact them since they told me there were flaws on the end piece and I got extra fabric as a result of that. I thought I had cut around them all, but didn’t catch these small holes that then became bigger in a wash. It’s sad but not the end of the world.

The top will be an at home top because of the holes. It’s super comfortable and I love those ruffles. They do weigh the sleeves down, though, and make the ruffles under the elbow instead of above. I think I would just use one layer of fabric next time and serge or baby hem the edge to reduce the weight and the bulk since it was also difficult to serge over all those layers. I have some lightweight hunter green jersey that might become another one of these soon because I really love it.

I plan on trying the top out in a woven next possibly with some colour blocking fun.

Cashmerette Darturner Dress and Dartmouth top

A while ago, my fellow CSC editor, Jessica, shared her Dartmouth/half circle skirt dresses on her blog. I had also seen a few other people share versions of this with the Dartmouth top and the Turner skirt. I knew I needed to try it.

So I did:

 

 

 

I added pockets to this dress. The Turner dress does have a pocket through a free expansion, but I decided to make my own pattern piece since I wanted the pocket to be held in place by the waist. I should have basted the pockets in place, because the serger knocked them off ever so slightly. My pocket fabric is a dark hunter green lightweight jersey. The bit of pocket showing is even on both sides with about a 1/4 inch of the pocket peaking out so it looks intentional and quite frankly you can’t tell at all since the fabric is a dark hunter green and black and the hunter green blends nicely.

Speaking of the fabric, it is a crepe knit that I got at a Buy 1 get 2 free sale through Fabricville.com. The fabric is actually printed on white crepe which makes for a weird white on the inside look, but no one will see it. It’s polyester knit and not breathable so it will be fine for winter but going into Summer probably not, but I prefer bright colours in the Summer.

To do this “hack,” I just cut the Dartmouth top at the waistline and popped it on the Turner skirt. Any discrepancies in size were fixed with stretch fabric and elastic at the waistline.

I made the whole dress in about 2 hours for a party the next day, because “I had nothing to wear” (*cough* an excuse to sew).

The very next week after that, I made another Dartmouth top in a white hacci knit. The knit ended up being a bit see-through so I also made a Concord tank top to wear underneath in a lightweight knit fabric.

 

 

 

With the extra stretch and low recovery of the hacci knit, there are some strange fit issues with this version, but I don’t mind. It’s a comfortable sweater top to wear. Please excuse the crap hem. I was having tension issues on my serger at the time so it was stretching stuff out, but I am too lazy to go back and fix it. For the most part, I wear this top with skirts so it doesn’t show.

I have a couple more projects cut out that I should sew first, but my brain is starting to turn to Summer sewing plans so I might have to lock myself to the sewing machine to get those done before the warmer weather hits.

Cashmerette Rivermont Pattern

I tested the Cashmerette Rivermont pattern and really fell in love with it.  The pattern includes a sheath dress and a peplum top with a high scoop neck. The neckline has shoulder to shoulder facings. And there are big pockets in the sheath dress. The pattern called for medium weight ponte knit or lightweight neoprene/scuba.

When Jenny sent me the pattern preview, I jumped on it. We actually tested back in July/August. I bought some lovely ponti de roma in a deep purple from Fabricland to make my first version.

 

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I sent off the results of testing and hadn’t hemmed the dress yet. I usually take off 3-4 inches from the hem of Cashmerette patterns unless I feel like leaving them long (the Webster dress I left longer). I’m considering going back  and hemming it about 4 inches shorter. Also, because the hem got all wavy in sewing and even after pressing it wouldn’t go flat.

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I realized as I was taking these pictures that most are with my hands in the pockets. They are such deep cozy pockets that I just kept putting my hands in there. Ha! I styled it with a belt from Addition-Elle. That belt is one of my favourite wardrobe accessories.

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I adore purple on me. Weirdly I don’t have a lot of it in my wardrobe. This piece was the start of getting it back into my wardrobe. 🙂

My second Rivermont dress was also using the tester pattern. I had a wedding to go to in Killarney at the end of September and really needed something nice to wear. I got some peach scuba in a Bunz trade at the end of August. Over 86 yards of awesome fabric for a $40 gift card to Staples! Bunz is crazy good. What I noticed was the light peach colour was a great match for my skin and then my brain just needed some lace overlay for it. I got some royal blue stretch lace from Fabricville (sadly not available anymore) and got started the week of the wedding. Yes, I was finishing the dress up the night before we left.

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You can see how the scuba with its lower stretch percentage and stiffness makes it fit a little bit differently. But it still looks awesome imho.

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After seeing all the pictures with my hands in my pockets, I basically was self conscious and kept them out for these pictures. LOL. I styled this dress with a thin gold belt from Winners.

The neckline was fixed for the final version. It doesn’t really bother me in either of these dresses. It’s much better in the ponti version since the fabric has better recovery. The scuba version definitely has a more pronounced neckline issue as well as an issue with gaping pockets. I used a lighter jersey to line the pockets due to a few reasons. I didn’t want to have too much bulk from sewing through three layers of fabric at the waist and I didn’t have enough fabric. The dress also had to be cut 4 inches shorter, but that turned out to be a great thing since I love the length.

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I really wanted to take these pictures and get the post ready for the launch of the pattern, because I love it so much. I had a rough September and October due to having gluten back in my diet in order to get tested for celiac disease and spent a lot of the time sick. I’m back on my gluten free diet now and automatically feel better. I mean I still have a chronic illness, but a chronic illness plus an extra amount of horrible migraines, allergy attacks, GI issues, and not being able to eat for fear of throwing up is the worst. I often have all of these issues, but not to that degree. And of course, it is fall here, so if it isn’t me being sick, it’s raining. I actually managed to take these after it had rained off and on all day.

There will be many more Rivermont iterations in the future. I plan on making a stretch velvet peplum next. 😀