Form meets Function with Seabright Swimmer

We are on our annual vacation at Northern Pine Lodge this year and the cabins, lodge, lake, loons, and woods are reassuringly the same.  But this year, I MADE MY SWIMSUIT!  I was absolutely thrilled when I saw the Seabright Swimmer by Friday Pattern Company.  I have been swimming in makeshift swimsuits consisting of ready to wear long sleeve rash-guards and athletic bottoms for water sports with sun protection.  But the Seabright offered long-sleeves in a true swimsuit.  My ideal swimsuit- and it is so glamourous.  This is a swim suit where form- (cuteness) meets function- sun protection and suitable for all water activities.


I appreciated the sweet positivity statements included in the downloaded pattern pieces.  The instructions were very clear with tips for first time swim wear construction- I used a serger for the side seams and for attaching the top to the bottoms.  But I mainly used my regular machine following the stitch recommendations in the instructions.  I used a three step stitch for all the elastic edges.


Fit-wise, the suit was pretty true to the stated measurements in the size guide- but I had a bit of trouble with the bottom fit and ended up having to trim the front crotch and leg openings (significantly) tapering to the side.


The beautiful green swim fabric is from Blackbird fabrics.  It is super stable and a great sturdy weight.   I lined the front and bottoms with a nude tricot.  I considered power-mesh- suggested by many for swim suit lining- but the tricot was soft and handy and on sale at JoAnn Fabrics.


The pattern suggests hand-sewing foam bra cups to the lining which I did.  I also overlapped the front sections for modesty.  But maybe it would be better to simply include a short center seam, because I had to fiddle quite a bit to get the gathering to look right.

So, I couldn’t resist this shot in lovely wildflower crown (hand-woven by daughter!) and Inspired by the pattern styling.



By the Book- Solina dress

This project was by the book.  Literally.  The Solina dress pattern is from the book Breaking the Pattern by sisters Saara and Laura Huhta who are also the founders of the Finnish indie pattern company Named.


I was immediately drawn to this striking book when I saw the elegant, streamlined and modern patterns and beautiful styling.  The deal was sealed once I calculated it was actually cost effective to purchase this book- because there were several patterns I knew I would make.  The book offers 10 patterns, but there are 20 variations included.  For example, the Solina style can be made as a dress or a jumpsuit or top.  The book also provides tips and suggestions for numerous options for customization- so you can easily create a one of a kind garment. A dream for those of us who routinely fiddle with patterns.


The templates for all the patterns are included as pattern sheets in the book.  PLUS- if you purchase the book, you receive a code to download PDF patterns to your home printer if you prefer to do that.  Originally, I thought I would download the patterns, because I download and assemble patterns frequently these days (albeit grudgingly- because while it may be old school of me- I prefer printed pattern pieces) But in the end, I decided to go the pattern tracing route. 

Surprisingly- this pattern tracing option is starting to grow on me. I think of myself as a somewhat intuitive sewist, and I find there is something in the act of tracing the pattern that transcribes it into your brain, and it kind of gives you a head start on construction because you really feel the pattern by drawing it out. It’s similar to studies that demonstrate people learn better when they write the words out longhand on paper. Anyway- the short story is- I am growing fond of tracing the pattern on Swedish tracing paper with my colored pencils


Saara and Laura explain that Solina means “babble of water.” This influenced my fabric choice which is a lovely rayon crepe from The Fabric Store.  The print is a lot like the moody river with its grey and blue palette.  The Solina dress is quick and easy.  I made it even quicker by shortening the sleeves and eliminating the sleeve ties.  The other change I made was to sew the front skirt seam closed.


I goofed on measuring the length and would prefer a longer dress- will have to pay attention next time.  I am pretty ok with the swishy aspect of the dress, but if I make this again, I would use a slightly heavier fabric that has a bit more body. 


Wearing the pants: True Bias Lander

Wearing the fabulous Lander pants- finally!  You might be thinking I am rather late to make the infamous, celebrated, honored, and lauded Lander pant by True Bias- and you would be correct.


The thing is, I am a bit biased to making dresses. I absolutely love making and wearing dresses.  And, truth be told, I don’t know if I ever had a pair of pants ready made or otherwise that were truly comfortable, flattering and well-fitting.  But that was before I made the Lander pants.

And here’s a bit of a dress-making back-story.  I grew up in a small town and I wore a uniform –a simple plain blue pinafore- to primary school every day.  Besides a few play outfits, I didn’t have many other clothes.  I dreamed of owning and wearing a closet full of dresses. Because there weren’t many ready-made dress choices in my little town and funding was an issue, I figured the best way to accomplish my dream was to learn to make dresses for myself.  So, I begged my Mom to teach me to sew.  She put me off until -left to my own devices at my grandma’s with a swath of fabric, scissors, and access to her ancient sewing machine one lazy Sunday- I made myself a dress.  When my Mom came to pick me up and I was decked out and proud in my completely self-drafted cobbled together hand-made dress- she finally agreed to teach me to sew.  And my dressmaking odyssey began.

So- back to these Landers. These pants might rival some of my favorite dresses and convert me to a lover of pants.  They are comfortable and the pattern is so flattering.  And they are pretty close to a perfect fit.   I did not make a muslin and I would only add a few fitting tweaks to the next pair.  These are probably my best fitting pants right now.


The pattern is well drafted and the instructions are clear and straightforward.  This pattern is definitely deserving of the praise and legions of followers.

Amazingly- I discovered the Lander sizing is very close to my measurements.  Extra bonus- this pattern is drafted for a 5’5” individual- just an inch taller than me.  And although a muslin is recommended- I felt so encouraged and emboldened by these similarities- I simply cut a size 6 and went for it.

I used the Lander fly zipper expansion- I like the clean look and don’t want to fiddle with buttons on the fly.  The zipper pattern and instructions were clear and easy to follow. I also eliminated the pockets- because I may be one of the few people out there who is ok without garment pockets and I am always looking to reduce midsection bulk- both front and back.

The Jetsetter Twill I purchased from Lakes Makerie turns out to be the pant fabric of my dreams.  This is such an awesome color and a perfect weight and smooth twill face.  The fabric has stretch-love that in pants- with great recovery- no bagging out.


The shirt is a mash-up: self-drafted somewhat including bits and pieces of various patterns.  It is not super successful so it doesn’t deserve a discussion except to note that the fabric is the best, lightest weight, silky cotton lawn- purchased from Mood Fabrics.. 


Feminine, flattering and French- Majestic Aime Comme Marie

Here I am dabbling in French style in the flattering and feminine Majestic from French pattern maker: Aime Comme Marie.  I am always on the lookout for a pretty and versatile top pattern, and I was inspired by the lovely Bee Made’s fabulous creations sewn from predominantly indie French pattern makers.  The only hindrance to ordering French patterns- and cultivating French style- when you live in the middle of the United States is the international shipping cost- ouch.


The Aime Comme Marie website indicates the printed pattern includes English instructions- but when the pattern arrived, I discovered that the English directions were very brief and a wee bit rough.  Thankfully, the line drawings included with the French instructions need no translation. I also found the top to be well drafted and it was straightforward to put together.


One other caution- I was a little disappointed that there was no mention that the pattern did not include seam allowances. The instructions didn’t discuss this- and even though it was somewhat evident from the pattern pieces- I did an internet check to confirm.  I know it isn’t a huge deal, and I get the flexibility - but adding seam allowances makes me a bit grouchy.


These are minor grumbles compared to the pay off for this pattern.  I am more than pleased with this flattering and stylish top.  Note the cute little scallop cut out at the hem. There are similar scallop cut out details at each sleeve hem. The fit of this pattern is fabulous for me.  I cut an extra small and graded to a small at the hip. 

The fabric is a delightful mid-weight Japanese cotton from Lakes Makerie- which perfect for this structured top. This fabric washes beautifully and -even though it’s cotton- it is wrinkle resistant. An excellent match for this stylish pattern.



Burnside Bibs: The third pair are mine

I never thought I would find myself sporting the fabulous Sew House Seven Burnside Bibs.  That is not because I didn’t think they were adorable with a clever, distinctive style.  In fact- I am such a fan, that I made two pairs to give as gifts.

I completed the first pair for a Christmas gift.  I was not tempted to succumb to the “one for her one for me” practice- even though I admired the pattern, clear directions and the end result.  They were very cute, went together easily, and looked so comfy.

This Spring, sewing bibs and jumpsuits was all the rage.  Seeing all the bibs and jumpsuits and overalls got me reminiscing about my overall love in college.  I owned a pair of forest green fine wale corduroy overalls and a pair of painter cloth overalls- I wore them constantly.  So what was holding me back?

Then, in April, I made another pair of the Burnside Bibs to give for a birthday present.  While sewing this pair, I started to fall in love. It was like the second date sealed the deal.  After completing the second pair of Burnside Bibs, I was smitten.  I decided I needed a pair of my own.

So- here is my THIRD make of Burnside Bibs- this time for me!  I made all three with the exact same material- a linen rayon blend that I believe is perfect- from Lakes Makerie.


I kept with the same winning linen rayon blend fabric because the drape is awesome.  This fabric has also proved to be wrinkle resistant and turning those straps was very doable.  A stiffer fabric would be a bit of a challenge.


I made the slimmer version with the invisible zip.  Did not need extra fabric in the back- there is plenty of room. 


Can we talk about ease?  With the clever straps, you can adjust the rise and waist fit.  Sold! Next pair, I make blindfolded!