Simplicity 8344 Bodysuit

I haven’t worn a bodysuit since the early 90s. Back then, I had one or two that I wore all the time. I love them. Then I started getting a stomach and was told to conceal it with baggy tops that weren’t tucked in. At 12, I was being given the worst fashion advice ever: you can’t show confidence if you are fat.

Fast forward to now and I am all about tucking in my tops and don’t care if they are curve-hugging. At 37, I show my confidence like crazy.

I wanted to try a bodysuit again. I’m all about revisiting and unlearning bad fashion advice that didn’t include wear whatever you want. I wear shorts now because of that.

I also really wanted to try the shoulderless or off the shoulder trend that I am late to the game for… So I knew I needed to make view E or F. I chose this lovely liverpool knit that LA Finch Fabrics sent me (edit: along with a bunch of other knit fabrics in a bundle) when I won the #letssewthistogether challenge for May, Summer Whites. I am not a huge fan of liverpool knit, but this is definitely one of the best quality liverpool knits I’ve come across. It feels a lot nicer than any of the others I have used and it sewed up better than the others. My main issue with liverpool knit is that the prints are printed on white backing which sometimes shows through when you are sewing or if the garment stretches too much in a particular area. This knit does do that but at a higher stretch than most other liverpools I have used. Liverpool knit is also mostly polyester and can be really hot to wear…hence being perfect for a shoulderless top so I can breathe!

LA Finch sent me just over a yard of the liverpool knit so it was pattern tetris to get this to fit with some smart changes to make use of the fabric. I just squeezed this into one yard by cutting only half of the sleeve in the liverpool knit and then lining it with some white poly knit I have as well as using the white knit for the leg bands.

The back is cut in two pieces and the the back centre seam provides some lovely shaping. I really like it. It might still need a bit of a swayback adjustment, but it’s pretty close and seems to have a bit of a swayback built into the pattern.

The pattern went together really well. The instructions were pretty clear. I did make a few changes. I added straps to conceal my bra straps so I can wear a regular bra with it. That’s always been my issue with the off the shoulder trends. I am not making a whole new bra pattern just for it! I also didn’t use snap tape but instead sewed on a strip of bias tape and then sewed snaps to that. The snaps I have are big heavy duty ones so they work well and don’t unsnap from stretching. The whole bodysuit can actually slip on from the bottom since the neckline is so wide. That helps bunches with my bad shoulders. I call this a win for my accessibility.

Fit is good. I made 28W with my 50 inch bust and graded to a 30W at the hips for my 54 inch hips. The liverpool knit doesn’t have a lot of lengthwise stretch so the bodysuit feels a bit snug lengthwise. Not really an issue with my short torso but something to keep in mind for others to have a knit with good 4-way stretch. I mean…the pattern says that, but when you get it in your head to use a specific fabric…well….. haha.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Simplicity 8344 Bodysuit
  • Pros: I love the final result! I think the size range is great. I am glad to not be choosing the biggest size for my bodysuit!
  • Cons: I don’t think I have any cons. It’s a nicely constructed pattern!
  • Make again?: YES! I love it. I’m still sort of deciding whether I want to change it to a top, though, since it’s not the easiest garment for bathroom emergencies even with the snaps. lol.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars
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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….

 

 

Striped Simplicity 8342 top

I made Simplicity 8342 tie top as a result of Tasha’s many versions of it. Of course, Tasha and I have very different body shapes. But I also saw Jasmin Lucero post her version of it on instagram as well and figured that I could make it work for me, too. Both inspirations make this a bit of a Sew Style Hero nod to both Tasha’s and Jasmin’s lovely styles. ❤

 

I knew I would need some adjustments to the length of the top since my bust is larger than average. Even with the pattern going up to a 28W or a 50 inch bust, I knew that it wouldn’t quite fit perfectly the first time.

I lengthened the bust cups by about 3 inches for this version. I made the mistake of also increasing the size of the ties. Basically, I was lazy and instead of doing pattern adjustments, I just made the adjustments as I was cutting it out. Silly me. Especially since I was low on spoons and in lots of pain.

I solemnly swear I will do my pattern adjustments properly next time. 😉

 

The bust fits….okayish. The underbust doesn’t hit quite at my underbust so I need to do a proper bust adjustment for the next time that doesn’t change the tie at all. Although, the tie being that big does cover my bra in the cutout so that is good. I am also thinking of adding some elastic on the underbust seam so it sits better. The straps are in the right location and the back comes up far enough for my bra to be covered. I need some more room in the hips/stomach for sure. It looks good tucked into my chore skirt but not ideal otherwise. The shirt length would be better a bit longer as well.

 

The fabric I used is a cotton lycra purchased locally. I have more of it left so I am thinking of completely remaking the top again with the adjustments.

I definitely don’t hate the top. I actually really like it, but it’s not a good fit just yet. I think I will feel better in it when I redo my bra pattern to be lower. Right now, the bridge of my bra pokes up above the tie.

Some more adjustments plus a better fitting bra pattern and I think this could be a winner for the summer.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Simplicity 8342 tie top
  • Pros: Okay size range. Love the vintage style.
  • Cons: The pattern would be greatly improved by including cup sizes, but that’s my only complaint. I guess I am spoiled for patterns with different cup sizes. 😉
  • Make again?: Absolutely! I also want to tackle those cute pants some day.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md4/5 stars

 

My Sew Style Hero: Shannon from Rare Device

I originally posted on the Sewcialists blog about this project, but I definitely wanted to also post here, because Hello my blog needs this post too! I also have a bunch more pictures to share.

I chose Shannon from Rare Device for my Sew Style Hero for many many reasons.

  1. I love her style. She has a knack for great colour and fabric choices. The things she wears always look great on her and embrace trends like crop tops, wide legged pants, etc.
  2. She plays with gender in her style. Something I used to do a lot, but haven’t done in recent years since I started sewing for myself. It is something I want to do again (I even have a button up shirt cut out!) with a focus on making things that are comfortable for me to wear given my physical disabilities.
  3. She started Sew Queer and that prompted me to start Chronically Sewn to help highlight sewists with physical and mental chronic illnesses.

Speaking of style, Shannon is known for her crop top and flowing skirt or pant sets, either matching or mismatching. She is actually just finishing up another set using a monstera leaf print that makes me super envious!

 

I looooove the look, but I had never tried a crop top before in my life. What better time to overcome a fear of releasing the mid-drift?

I went through my stash looking for a fabric that would be perfect for the set and had just enough of a lovely soft cotton tropical flower print. For the crop top, I chose the bodice from the Simplicity 8096 dress view A.

To the Simplicity bodice, I added a band at the bottom and elastic through the band. I also added a button band at centre front and cut the back on the fold eliminating the zipper back there. The entire top unbuttons from the front and is incredibly easy for me to get on and off with my physical constraints. It’s incredibly comfortable.

 

I made the skirt without a pattern. It’s just a simple pleated skirt with pockets and a button band. The look above on the far right of Shannon is the look that inspired mine. The skirt is cut a bit shorter due to fabric constraints. I am also much shorter than Shannon so it actually looks the same length on me!

A big floppy sun hat completes the inspiration look!

   

And I actually feel incredible in this look! Crop tops are some kind of wonderful.

   

I love the purple buttons I got locally for both the crop top and skirt. They look great with the floral print. The skirt could be a bit tighter. I may actually put some elastic across the back after I run it through the wash once to see whether the fabric shrinks a bit. To add the elastic, I will just open up two spots along the waistband at the back and then run some 1 inch elastic through and tack it down. That should do the trick.

  

Thank you, Shannon, for all that you do for the sewing community. You are an amazing Sew Style Hero!

 

Introducing the Muse Patterns Manuka top and dress

I had promised myself to take a hiatus from testing patterns for a little bit and then immediately broke my promise when Kat posted about Muse Patterns next pattern, the Manuka top and dress, which was designed by Johanna Morris. It just happened to be the exact thing that I wanted to add to my wardrobe.

The Manuka top and dress is a loose fit with a dropped shoulder that skims over the hips. The pattern comes in three lengths: crop top, hip length, and dress length. As with all Muse Pattern releases, the first week the full profit of the sales goes to a charity. This time it is Kids Can.

I absolutely love the models for this pattern. They both look fantastic.

I made the crop top version with short flutter sleeves. I chose a size 48 with D-cup and I think the fit is spot on.

The reason I wanted to make this top was to go with this skirt. I have a couple of red tops, but they are all long sleeved tops instead of something nice and light for summer. The top also has no closures on it so it just slips over my head and shoulders with ease. It’s really great!

The length hits just above my belly button in the front and a little bit lower in the back.

Since the skirt is high-waisted, the top still tucks in nicely.

I love the sleeves on this top. They are circles and the shape of the shorter sleeves are perfect for summer. I definitely feel cool whenever I wear this top.

I really love the look of the top tucked into the skirt with a bit of a blousey look in the back.

I can’t wait to try out the dress version. I love the way it looks on the plus sized model! ❤

In other news, I have a few posts on other blogs that I am proud of and really excited to share. Check them out:

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.

McCall’s 7094 and an evolving wardrobe

Back when I hacked my Cashmerette Springfield top into a pussybow, I kind of felt like my wardrobe was making some pretty substantial shifts in a new but not completely different direction. I’ve always leaned toward vintage-inspired looks and the way my wardrobe is going is not much different, but maybe a bit more “grown up.” I shudder at that, though, because I think if you are an adult everything you do and wear is adulting. If you choose to wear “twee” outfits, you are still an adult and, to me, there is nothing wrong with that, especially because I love wearing “twee” outfits. Right now, though, I have visions of gorgeous 1940s style blouses and blazers with either skirts or wide-legged, high waisted trousers or shirtdresses galore.

I want to use more lush fabrics like rayons and silks and linens and I want to use different techniques like pin tucks, lace insets, embroidery and I might make everything with ruffles or puffed sleeves…

I don’t think these changes will automatic, but you might notice it all over time. It’s going to fun no matter what because it means sewing and probably buying fabric. 😉

I’ve had McCall’s 7094 in my pattern stash for a really long time. Out of print but still available on the website. This was released at the end of 2014 (as per Michelle’s blog post) and I know I got it shortly after that, because that release contained a McCall’s 7084, which I used for my wedding dress and started early in 2015. It goes to show you how often I buy patterns and how often I use patterns….

This pattern just sort of got moved off my sewing list and back on a few times and never quite made it because of shiny things.

I  made M7094 in view D, but with shorter sleeves. I used XXL. According to the size chart, XXL is 24/26 or 46/48 inches at the bust. I am 51 inches at the bust, but the pattern runs large so it fit fine at the bust. However, I did make adjustments to the sleeves and widen them at the sleeve head for a puffed sleeve look.

 

The fit is just as expected. It’s a loose-fitting top that skims over my hips. I think there are some improvements for next time. The back is a bit tight on me and for someone with a narrow back that is a bit weird… The pattern called for cutting out one yoke, but that would have not been very pretty inside so I cut 2 yokes and used the burrito method. It’s possible that is causing the back to feel a bit tighter than the pattern intended. I will also lower the armsyce a bit since it is a little pinchy. This is also not often an issue that I have. I usually use smaller sizes and then do an FBA so I am confused why this issue is popping up just with this top. I haven’t read through all the pattern reviews to know if it common. Both are easy enough fixes, though. The other strange thing is that the sleeve hem is a bit off and doesn’t sit straight. I think the likely issue there is because of the armsyce so I will correct that first and then see if the sleeve hem corrects itself becuase it is not being pulled up by a too-tight armsyce.

Let’s talk about that collar. I fucking love that collar. It was incredibly difficult to put in, but thanks to the genius suggestion of using a glue stick for collars from a few people in Instagram stories (Makerheart, Closet Case Files, True Bias and a few others that I can’t remember sorry). I freaked out over this tip and started using it for everything. Talk about a game changer. Now the collar sits a bit higher than the model in the pattern picture, but I like where it is sitting so I don’t want to mess with that.


I am trying to remember to pull my hair out of the way for pictures of the back of garments but I forget so I often have two pictures of the back. Haha. Also, how long is my hair? Sheesh. I’ve taken some pictures lately and I think I understand why people keep commenting about the length. Oh and I have bangs now! I am in love with them. I’ve had bangs before but never with long hair like this and I really love the look.

The placket was incredibly difficult to sew in as well. It has pleats in it. The instructions were also just not making sense to me. I think I will use a different method next time since this method has raw edges on the inside. I prefer the method where you are hiding them all within the placket itself and then sewing an “x” in a box on the front side. I should have just gone with my instincts and used that method, but I was trying to follow directions. In the end, I just ended up moving the raw edges inside and topstitching over the bottom edge. It’s not the prettiest finish, but you can’t really tell.

I love the hem of the shirt. I have another garment to share soon with a similar hem so it seems like I am being drawn to these types of hems lately.

The fabric I used is a poly crepe in navy with orange squiggly lines. It’s not the best material to wear for say…Summer, but it works in my office. I really love the look of the top tucked into a skirt.

It’s definitely going to become a classic in my wardrobe.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: McCall’s 7094
  • Pros: Fits larger than the pattern sizes indicate. Loose-fitting top with lots of great details and that collar!
  • Cons: Fits larger than the pattern sizes indicate… So look at the finished garment measurements for a size with the amount of ease you like. Confusing placket instructions (or maybe that was me…).
  • Make again?: I already have fabric for another!
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md4/5 stars