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

 

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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:

DIBY Club Gabriela Onesie

Originally published on the CSC.

Do you have a sewing bucket list? I’m slowly making my way through mine. Basically, it’s a list of things that I want to sew at some point in my life. When I first started sewing years ago, things like sewing my own bra, swimsuit, pants, coat were on the list. I’ve made it through a lot of that list, but I still have a lot on my bucket list. Sewing a onesie may seem like a strange thing to put on a sewing bucket list, but it was for sure on mine. For anyone who knows me, they know I love some really strange things fashion wise. I really wanted to make a onesie. They look comfortable, fun to wear, and great for lounging around the house. Plus, a good pattern might be useful for some cosplay opportunities and you know I love cosplay!

Do it Yourself Better Club reached out to the CSC a few months ago asking if we’d review some of their patterns in exchange for a free pattern. A few of us leaped at the opportunity. When I saw the Gabriela Onesie, I asked to review it. The pattern goes up to a size 36, which translates to 63″ full bust, 59.75″ waist, and 67″ full hip. It’s a pretty generous size range. A few years ago it was tough to find a onesie that even went up to a 45″ hip let alone a 67″ hip. It’s great to see a company have such a great size range. Of course, there can always be more done in that area, but I was pleased to not be at the top of the size range and to see that some of their testers looked like me! Visibility is meaningful.

I chose a size 22 graded to a size 26 at the hip. I also shortened the top at the waist and hip lines by a total of 4 inches. The total height of the pattern is 5’5″. I am 5’3″ but I have a shorter torso so I measured myself in a few spots and decided to reduce the torso by 4 inches. I made no other changes to the pattern.

The fit is actually pretty good in the front. I can even put my arms over my head without creating a camel toe which is a huge success I think for a onesie. The back does require a slight full butt adjustment, but no change in the overall length of the torso since there is no issue at the sides just that slight wedgie it’s giving me. Haha. Since I chose the capri length, I am not sure whether I will need to shorten the full length version; although given that the capri length is just above my ankles, I likely do need to adjust the full length version. DIBY Club does give the inseam length of 30.5 inches and since my inseam is 26 inches, I would be able to guess that I need an adjustment for the inseam as well. Just goes to prove that although I am only 2 inches shorter than the height the pattern drafts for, our bodies are complex and often require additional measurements to get the right fit.

I’m thoroughly impressed with the information DIBY Club gives its customers as well as the extensive instructions they provide. On one level, as an intermediate sewist, I find the sheer number of pages to print a bit ridiculous, but on another level, depending on your skills, the instructions are very useful, especially in terms of fitting the pattern to your body. I think for most beginners that skill is so difficult to learn and DIBY Club helps you with that. I followed their instructions for blending between sizes and shortening the torso length as well. It was very useful.

Construction-wise there is nothing to complain about. Every notch matched up well and I didn’t have any trouble following their instructions for the zipper or for any part of the onesie. It went together fast.

Now let’s talk logistics with a onesie, because I haven’t worn one as an adult so I had no clue what to expect….except for all the hilarious cartoons on going to the bathroom in a jumpsuit…

I haven’t worn overalls or a jumpsuit either since my early 20s. This onesie gives me an idea of what that would be like since those types of patterns keep on trending. I chose to make the functional bum flap thinking it would be easy to use. I have velcro on it to close it. Let’s just say…reaching around to open up the velcro and close it again is NOT easy. Add on to that, my chronic illness makes my shoulders dislocate easily so I abandoned using that pretty darn quickly. The alternative is using the zipper in front and effectively becoming naked every time I am wearing the onesie. The nice thing is that I am just at home and we don’t have little kids opening the bathroom door anymore to ask for things (although, my stepkids never really did that thankfully!). Phew. Logistically, onesies are a little bit awkward… That being said, they are so comfortable. It’s wonderful to not have waistbands.

Future versions won’t include the functional bum flap since I couldn’t even use it.

Let’s talk fabric. This onesie called for French Terry, jersey, 4-way sweatshirt fleece or sweater knit. Knits with at least 50% stretch horizontally and 20% vertically. I got some really awesome Disney princess cotton lycra from Funky Monkey Fabrics and used some solid pink bamboo knit that I got locally for the contrasts on the cuffs, pockets, and bum flap. Cotton lycra tends to be pretty expensive here in Canada especially if you are going for licensed prints. These are definitely the most expensive pjs I’ve ever made. The awesome thing is that they are probably going to become my most worn pjs ever and hopefully will last a bit. I have some of the jersey left and plan on making some pj shorts with it and a tank top in the pink bamboo knit for a matching top.

All in all, I am confident that I will be making this pattern again for pjs. I’m not sure about going forward to adapt it for cosplay purposes due to the awkward bathroom situations…. But I’ll never say never! I mean I think most people who cosplay in onesies wear an undershirt and some kind of shorts under…

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: DIBY Gabriela Onesie
  • Pros: Great size range. Incredibly easy to follow instructions. Comfortable to the max!
  • Cons: Butt flap not so functional for me but that is my weird bendy/fall apartness. So many pages to print. Maybe save some trees and use a digital copy of the instructions…
  • Make again?: I already have some wicked unicorn cotton lycra that my mom bought me for another version. ❤ ❤
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

ChronicallySewn on Instagram

Hi Everyone,

I’m pleased to announce a new project I am starting. It’s a place for chronically ill sewists to ask questions, share inspiration, and also feel safe to talk about sewing issues that arise with chronic illnesses. This includes both physical and mental chronic illnesses.

Introducing @ChronicallySewn. For now, it lives on Instagram, but as it grows, I will explore other platforms for it, such as a facebook group or a blog. I want it to grow a bit first and then we’ll go from there.

If you are on Instagram and are a chronically ill sewist, please join and start using the hashtag #chronicallysewn or tag @chronicallysewn and I will repost to the account.

I hope you find it useful. I occasionally post about sewing as it related to chronic illness and decided it was time to create a community. Together we can share tips and tricks like erogonomic sewing tools,   new ways of installing a collar or elastic that work with arthritis or tendon issues, self-care tips, and dealing with anxiety and sewing, for some examples. And so much more.

Join me on instagram and share your #chronicallysewn tips, tricks and projects.

 

LBD and a Designer Stitch Willow Kimono

I don’t wear a lot of black anymore but I used to wear black in my early teen years. I like sporting black tops and a million “Goth” necklaces. It didn’t last long before I thought that the black made me look super pale and I started having allergic reactions to the bad metals in the cheap necklaces. A rash on my chest plus a super pale face just looks like I am suffering from a terrible disease. Turns out it was a terrible disease!! (EDS joke!) …But not an infectious one. I eventually settled in to a more grunge style with men’s jeans or super baggy overalls and a large amount of vintage t-shirts with men’s button up shirts or a plaid flannel shirt over top.

Ever since, I haven’t really cared for black anything. I wear black pieces but never a full black outfit anymore. A little black dress is a piece women are often told they must have in their wardrobe. I’m not really one for being told what to do, but since I wanted to make more party dresses last year, I thought I would make one. And yes, this project was started last year.

I used the Cashmerette Upton bodice and the Tenterhook Patterns Snapdragon skirt with a curved wrap front. Sadly, Tenterhook Patterns is completely out of business, but there are other woven pencil skirt patterns you could use to recreate this look.

I put it together the first time with the zipper and was underwhelmed. It wasn’t as cinched in at the waist as I wanted it. So I unpicked the zipper and side seams and unpicked the waistband to the waist darts and then left it in a basket for…. several…. months….ahem a year…

And then, as with every time I plan a bunch of stuff, I started thinking… Oh I should maybe finish that thing first…. So I picked it up.

Instead of doing fisheye darts like I was originally going to do, I wanted to maintain the waistband without interruption. So I unpicked the bodice and skirt from the waistband and I put an additional dart in the bodice at the waist. Shortened the waistband by about 2 inches and put a dart in each side of the skirt at the waist and then tried it on and was much happier.

My plan with the dress originally was to make it accessible so that if I was having trouble with my shoulders, I could easily get in and out of the dress. I put ties in at the shoulders and an extra long zipper at the side. There is about 4 inches of side seam at the bottom of the dress on the right side only because I forgot that I didn’t get a separating zipper for it. Originally, I was going to use a separating zipper and then have slits on both sides. I still have slits on both sides but not a completely open side seam for the zipper. In retrospect, that makes it a bit easier for me, especially when getting into the dress.

I’ve tested it a few times and I can get the dress off without any effort. I can also slip it on over my head without any effort. It’s really remarkable!

I bought the fabric years ago. One of the first bits that I added to my stash. It’s a black cotton embroidered with leaves. It’s like an eyelet but without any holes. It’s actually really challenging to sew and my old machine had a lot of trouble sewing it. The embroidered sections are difficult to sew over and are really thick with thread. My new machine went over it without issue, of course. Yeay for the Singer 4452.

I added pockets when I redid the dress. I love having them in the dress. If I ever make another in this style, though, I will use a slash pocket that is anchored by the waistband. Because the pockets aren’t anchored, they fall open a bit. It’s not a huge issue, but doesn’t look as great as I want it to look. There is also a strange pucker on the left bust dart and a bit of gaping at the armsyce. I am guessing that is due to my left shoulder being more dropped that my right shoulder. I likely need to make sure that side is tied a bit tighter.

I’m really glad I made this dress. I think it will be great for at least one of the weddings I am attending this year.

And because I don’t really wear solid black anymore… It also happens to look fabulous with my outrageous Designer Stitch Willow Kimono.

Last year, I got a bunch of fabric from Minerva Crafts as an Monthly Stitch Indie Pattern month prize. I also got a voucher for Designer Stitch as well during that month and got the Willow Kimono. Among the fabric was this orange animal print satin. It’s definitely a bright and outrageous print, but I fell in love with it. I sent some fabric to family in the Dominican Republic for a fellow sewist who lost a lot in the hurricane last year. I almost sent this fabric but then pulled it out of the pile because I had the brilliant idea of making a shorter Willow Kimono with red fringe. Don’t worry, I pulled something else out of my stash that was fabulous to replace it for the gift. I had a meter of this satin and basically decided to cut the length to whatever I could fit on to the piece of fabric. It is cut about 4 inches under the curve of the sleeve.

It’s a really weird garment even for me who loves wacky fabrics! But I really really love it. It was quick to make. The thing that took the most time was trimming the fringe so it was all relatively even.

I think it looks great paired with my LBD. It also looks great with my white upton dress with tie sleeves underneath. Both dresses make it the focal point and don’t overwhelm the eye too much.

What is the most outrageous thing you have made?