Soma bikini

Papercut patterns has a cute swimsuit style – Soma – that has a few cool swimsuit variation including the bikini style I’ve just made using Pitt Trading fabric – Turkish delight print.

This variation doesn’t need too many notions. 
I’ve used two fashion fabrics, lining fabric, cups and fold over elastic.
Without the straps, it’s still a lovely tanning suit.
Sewing fold over elastic was a nice design idea to finish off this bikini.
I usually use swimsuit elastic to finish the edges of swimsuits.
After trying on the bottoms, I’ll be raising the height of the side leg.
I’ll also be lowering the front waistline because it’s too high for my height.

The other adjustment I’ll be making is to raise the base of the top’s hem. I’ll be taking 2.5cm off the front hem.

Other than those small adjustments, this pattern is good to go.

Terrigal swimsuit

Making a splash

Friends who know me call me a designer so I took the plunge and used a holiday photo to design a digital print fabric through Contrado UK.
Contrado have a good range of fabrics and this one is their swimwear/activewear fabric. In fact they now have 98 fabrics to choose from Contrado so I knew this project would be heaps of fun.
Even now, I can’t believe I designed my own digital print fabric with a pic I took on my iPhone this Summer. Can someone please pinch me? I sew clothes and now I can design my own printed fabrics.
I sew anything so it made sense to try a couple of fabrics and be a ‘designer’ with Contrado.

This Terrigal swimsuit is one of three projects I’ve designed. I took this photo during the Christmas break unaware that I could use it for a digital print fabric.

Designing your own fabric
Without having any formal design skills or skills using a design app, Contrado’s fabric design makes this easy to do. This is my first time designing fabric and I was impressed that I could do this on my iphone as well as on my laptop.

They’ve thought this through from a user’s perspective so you don’t need design skills. I have none and I was able to get this fabric printed for my new cozzies*.
The fabric
I’ve used the Slinky Matt Lycra 210gsm. This fabric lives up to its name with its sexy and slinky form-fitting drape (#blushing).
This custom made Lycra has a smooth and slippy face, with a slightly softer inside. The firm, medium weight of this 4-way stretch Matt Lycra makes it a supportive fabric with an almost completely opaque finish. Highly elastic, it has a slightly firmer resistance than a lighter weight Lycra.
 For this project I printed 3 panels of this landscape on swimwear fabric. The panel sizes are 0.5m lengths and 145cm wide. I had no real idea what pattern I would use so it made sense to get 2 lengths.
A full size cozzie is about 70cm long so when the fabric arrived, I had a few options to make the most of this print.
You can kind of see the join from this inside view.

The key idea was to place the start of the sky just above my chest. The rest of the cozzie body had the dark landscape for a more flattering look.

Print tetrus was fun and I got the best option by overlaying some of the waves at the base and some of the sky on the shoulders.

The overlay markings are on the pattern pieces.
Would you believe I’m still thinking through a two-piece cozzie style that highlights this print? I’ll take any pattern suggestions you have. Just leave a comment and I’ll consider it.
Making my cozzies
Making these cozzies was child’s play (Kwik Sew 2962). I added powermesh lining for the bust shelf.

As it was important to try some pattern matching, I redrew the pattern pieces and placed them on the fabric to make sure the horizon was across my chest and balanced.

This fabric design was finalised on a Thursday and I received it on the following Tuesday. I enjoyed watching the delivery tracking online as this fabric made its way from the UK to Australia.
It’s only now that I googled previous reviews of Contrado and found that last year Katie ( and some UK sewing bloggers including Rosie ( visited Contrado last year. Have a read about their visit to Contrado.
When I ordered my fabric, I did this sight unseen. Other sewing bloggers received fabric samples. I relied solely on the website’s descriptions and I am really pleased with the fabrics I’ve received. 

If you have a particular fabric/project in mind, I would order fabric samples.
What else do they have
Well…Contrado also has a decent range custom clothing you can print on and homewares are being added. I was tempted to print on the kimono but I decided theimpact of the photo on it because you would be lost.
The turnaround time for this is between 2 – 3 days.
So what are you waiting for?
Try Contrado for yourself.
*cozzies is Australian for swimsuit.

Couture WIP

Today is day 5 of the 6 day Couture Workshop with Susan Khalje.

 We have the opportunity to really see Susan’s awesome work.

Sharpies are so useful for marking toiles. 

This is the first pinning of the foundation garment. 

 This is the pattern I’ve used for the foundation garment.

 The detailing in Susan’s lace skirt is so detailed.

At least I didn’t have to think about print placement for the pockets. 

The lining is on the left and the out dress is on the right. 

 Here’s the foundation garment with finally pinning.

 I’ve used hook and eye tape for the back.

 My Prym pen is used to mark the boning so it’s the right length for each channel.

Now the foundation garment is ready to sew into the dress.

 We’ve used 2.5cm seams and they did get used. Lots of marking was needed.

This is my pattern placing the dress back bodice. 

By the way, I’ve used at least two boxes of pins.

There are more photos on instagram… 

Back to the workshop for me.

Couture prepping

Would you choose to do a couture workshop?
I did because Susan Khalje announced she would be running workshops in Australia. Having Susan run these workshops here is an amazing opportunity.

I had real reservations about attending these workshops:

  • What did I really want to learn (more about fit and construction techniques)
  • Could I get the time off work to do any of these classes (yes but only just)
  • Is our dollar going to make this a huge expense (yes)
  • Did I really want to make a French style jacket (no)

Prepping for the 6 day couture workshop meant at least a full day’s worth of work prepping a test dress (toile/muslin).

I love going to parties so I chose Vogue 1174 as my main pattern and a Burda 7746 trouser pattern to tweak for a future Winter project. Yes more than 1 project but I’m just like that with sewing projects.

The toile instruction meant a lot of preparation work so by the time I had prepared Vogue 1174 I was determined to at least get the pants ready to tweak. 

We were asked to bring our favourite hand-sewing needles, good quality thread, good scissors, beeswax, tracing paper (old-fashioned wax paper), a tracing wheel, good pins, calico, our patterns and a tape measure. 

Tools of the trade
My generous Prym team sent me a few new sewing tools including tools we were asked to bring to class. 

The design of Prym’s sewingtools are ergonomic so I was keen to use these for my workshop prep.

Ergonomic designed tools should result in less fatigue, and that’s always a good thing. The red tracing tool pictured is the original tracing wheel I’ve been using. There’s no comparison.

The basic tracing wheel has never felt very stable or accurate and was fatiguing to use. 

The Prym tracing wheel is really accurate. It doesn’t wobble like the classic red wheel I’ve been using. It’s is molded to allow you to do lots of couture work. 

I’m getting used to wearing the Prym arm pin cushion. The pins types I have work well.

I work on the floor for tracing and cutting, sewing on the machine and on the sewing bench to check the instructions as I go.

The Prym Love magnet and pin set were great to use for prepping the toile. I prefer to use pins of one colour so I know what to look for when they drop on the floor or when I’m scanning a pinned project.

Making the test version
We were asked to partly make up our test version but I made all of the two garments up to be tweaked.
The strapless dress has 27 pieces.
The pants only has 4 pieces to cut and mark.

Our test pattern pieces have 2.5cm seams. 
Seam lines marked and stitched in contrasting thread.
Seams sewn with basting stitches.
All notches are marked on the calico.

I’m packing my sewing kit as we speak as Monday’s day 1 for the 6 day workshop.

Don’t forget use the discount code ‘maria’ and get 10% off all Prym purchases at Minerva Crafts

Butterick 6351 perfected

This rayon from Minerva Crafts worked the best for Butterick 6351 jumpsuit. 

After making the test dress and jumpsuit versions with firmer fabrics, this rayon draped the best as you can see below.

See what I mean? This rayon has great draping qualities and looks flattering even from this angle!

The floral print was fun to work with when I was cutting out the pattern pieces and placing the pattern in a flattering way. 

When I pre-washed the fabric, it held its colour even in the Summer sun. There’s a slight gold colour on this fabric that shows up really well in real life.

As you can see, this kit came with some really lovely lining and contrast buttons for the back bodice.

The real beauty of this pattern – no zipper is required.

The pants front has two pleats at the waist. This photo shows there’s no odd print placement on the front pants.

As you can see, the print placement at the back worked well too.

Adding interfacing around the neckline is really all the work you need to reinforce the neckline for a clean finish.

The final front bodice has the V-neckline folded to suit my needs. I’ve also folded down the front shoulder seam for my forward shoulders. The front bust dart is 2cm shorter than the bust dart provided.

On the bodice back, I’ve taken out 2cm from the armhole. I’ve also raised the shoulder seam by 2cm, as part of the forward shoulder adjustment.

Above and the pants adjustments. Shortened length taken out at the knee and I’ve shortened the front centre front curve.

Part of the sewing process required a bit of accuracy so I used my Prym knitting and sewing gauge to get the stitching line right. This knit and sew gauge is easy to set and it doesn’t move until you’re ready to adjust it again. It has both cm and inch measurements, that I love because I work with both measurement.

I consider this a more ‘formal’ jumpsuit because of the fabric, the fit and the hem length.

This jumpsuit was perfect to wear at a family lunch. We do love our food.

This month for Aussie and Kiwi sewing bods, I’m giving away two prizes:
– the full kit including the pattern and
– just the pattern Butterick 6351. 

Let me know what you’d like to win by heading over the my blog post on Minerva Crafts website by Thursday 9 February.

I was really thrilled when Andrea received her prize kit last month and I’m looking forward to seeing who the lucky giveaway winners are this month.

Don’t forget that you still get 10% off any Prym product purchase using ‘maria’ discount code.