Sunday, September 6, 2020



I made my 1st bikini last summer. I had to make several trials to learn, and I accepted a final red version that I've been wearing a lot, despite it being too tight at the neck... well, the top was tight in general. Having still some fabric left, and after ruining my red one in a friend's too chlorinated pool, I decided it was the prefect excuse to make a new one and continue learning. 

This gorgeous recycled nylon is from Calico, and I bought it in Funky fabrics

The 1st modification was to get rid of the lining. This gorgeous fabric is not sheer, and the lining does not stretch in the same way, so it prevents the top to fit properly. 

The 2nd was to change the elastic band. Watching YouTube tutorials about making bikinis, I realized there is some elastic made for swimming wear. It's called natural rubber, and we can find it online in black or white, and several widths. 

I also decided to baste the elastic band before zigzagging it with the machine to distribute the fabric excess evenly. 

This elastic bands are 10% shorter than the length they have to cover. So, first we must make even parts with pins in both pieces, pin it  in the wrong side and baste it pulling the elastic band but not the fabric. 

Once it is basted, it is very easy to stitch it with the machine using a wide zigzag. 

Finally, we turn the elastic towards the inside of the piece and zigzag it again, pulling the elastic band as we sew, but not the fabric. 

It is important that we use polyester thread to resist chlorine and sun. (sorry, planet)

The pattern for the bottom is Megan Nielsen's Acacia underpants free pattern, which is totally awesome once you have set your correct size and the correct amount of elastic band. 

For the top, I used the rub-off method to copy a beloved old bikini of mine. 

No fails this time, the process went smoothly and I made two gorgeous bikinis. They are perfect for me when I swim, they are nice and comfortable, not pulling anywhere and keeping my boobs and rear covered while I swim. I totally love them, and I plan to make more versions in other colours. 

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Liberty Minsihorts

I ended up with 35 cm left of gorgeous Liberty fabric after making my short/sleeved dress and I had this idea of making some shorts for home wear, which is the most useful and sensitive department to be making clothes for at present, if making clothes is a must, as it is for me...

I used an old rubbed-off pattern of mine, but gave some more ease at the sides and center seams, being these woven instead of jersey.

At the end, I stitched it even wider at the waist than it is here, at least 1.5cm more at each side (+6cm total).

I self enclosed all seams, which I always do with Liberty fabric, and enjoyed it so much as usual.

The result is an easy going modest piece of clothing I cannot take off, haha! I am wearing them now, and I wear them a lot around the house and also when I go on small errand, like shopping, or the public pool. 

I am fantasizing with long Liberty pants with a ribbed top piece... I am addicted to this fabric!

Sunday, August 2, 2020

White Cotton Swiss Dot Long Sleeved Beach Dress

I love long showy titles like this one, yes!
Even when the dress is simple and easy like this. 

The fabric is from Goldhawk road in London, I bought it 3 or 4 years ago and it has been patiently waiting for the perfect pattern till now. Being it white and sheer, it could only end up as a long sleeved beach dress, for those chilly nights having dinner in a terrace in Costa Brava, my favorite spot in summer, at least for a week. 
The pattern is from BurdaStyle magazine. It is cut on the bias. 

  Truing the pattern on the dress form.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Liberty Short-Sleeved Françoise Summer Dress

Well, I can't stop making summer dresses in Liberty fabric. It's SO awesome! This is my third, the 1st being a 3/4 sleeve and the 2nd sleeveless, so nobody can accuse me of repeating my projects, I needed a short-sleeved one!

Once you've sewn with or worn Liberty cotton Tara Lawn on your skin, you will never stop wanting more, believe me. It is soft and crisp at the same time and so sweet to work with... very light and cool when you wear it, but it is not sheer and it does not wrinkle like most cottons. Well, it is expensive but worth it, if you like their mostly flowery patterns. I bought this one in our last trip to London and it is candy for my eyes, my hands and my skin. The only pity about it is that I was in a hurry to finish it for my students' graduation day, I made it in two days of glorious sewing only. Too short!

The pattern is also a recurrent one, this is my third, but my previous ones were wool and viscose, both for winter and I wanted to try it with a light fabric and short sleeves. It proved as lovely as the thicker ones. The skirt side A seams are too pronounced, and they can point awkwardly at an angle sometimes, but it is still very becoming to my figure, feminine, elegant and also informal and cool. Now that I think of it, maybe the center back seam should also have more of an A shape, to be more equilibrated. I will try it next time, because I will probably make another Françoise some day.

The procedure was my usual one. I have the muslin pieces stored and I used them to mark the pattern into the fabric with tailor tucks. First I stitched the invisible zipper to the two back pieces and finished the central back seam. I then basted it and try it on to do the 1st fitting without attaching the sleeves. It seemed perfect. I proceeded to machine stitch darts and sides, self-enclosing the seams. I love to do this with Liberty fabric, it is so well-behaved!

I stitched the two seams in both sleeves and self-enclosed them too, attaching them to the dress bodice.
I had a 2nd fitting then, to decide the length of the sleeves. Everything looked perfect, so I went on to self-encase the raglan seams (these are tricky) and finishing the sleeves and the dress bottom hems, also self-encased.

The final step was to make the neck. I cut a shaped strip using the patterns all together, to avoid any seams in the facing. I applied to the dress, right sides together, pinning it and machine stitching it following the tailor tucks, and they were placed following the original pattern.

This was done between pressing and ironing again and again the pieces, the darts, and seams (first open, cut them, press the to one side) and the finished self-encased seams.

To complete the outfit, I made a gorgeous and very comfortable face mask, to go with the pandemic style. It is the most beautiful and nice to wear of all the ones I have... so I've been digging in my remnants bag for Liberty's 24x24 pieces. I will be sewing more face masks next.

With the remains of the fabric (I had 1.5 m in total), I made these wonderful mini shorts for the summer. 

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Cargo Pants

After making three projects that were only worn around the house for video calls, I decided to be more practical and make some pants for my love, who is a postman and has to go to work every day during the pandemic. 
Inspiration is Docker pants. He always wears those when working in warm weather. But they are expensive and get quickly broken (I mend and mend them...) because of intense use, specially of pockets. 
It seems extremely difficult to find khaki cotton twill of the right thickness. I found some in black in Portugal, but we need it to be in the light brown to khaki spectrum. Navy blue would also be fine, but it is also elusive. Well, finally last September I found some in London (oh, the miracle!). It is 98% cotton and 2% elastane, and I'd rather save the earth that unnecessary plastic, but it adds a comfort plus and it is very small, so I'll keep looking for a 100% cotton twill, but this one will have to do meanwhile.
Regarding the pattern, this is my own, made several times in thick corduroy for winter. My love is very tall and thin, so no commercial pattern would fit him (I tried those for years and were always a failure). So I made the pattern using Aldrich's book of metric patterns for men, and they fit him like a glove. For this summer version, I took 2 cm of along the back and front legs, leaving the hip zone the same. 
I followed King's directions to make pockets (from Jean-ius online course), and Closet Case Patterns to make zipper and waistband. The rest, was my own method. I self-enclosed all seams, even the front crotch one (contrary to instructions), because I like it that way.
Following the postman's instructions, I added an extra leg pocket for pen, and omitted the back pocket, with is uncomfortable when sitting on the bike's keys. He usually puts his pen in the front pocket and it always makes holes and breaks the thinner cotton fabric, so the pen leg pocket is an improvement. 

The result is perfect. He says they are very comfortable to wear, and work in, and they look perfect on him. 

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Houndtooth Brushed Cotton Jacket

This is my third project done during confinement, and another one that I have not been able to wear in public yet. I thought I might wear it for an important presentation I had a couple of weeks ago, but that day started to feel hot, and it ended up in the back of my chair. I only wore my two previous projects for videomeetings too, and that is making me rethink my whole sewing activity. Now I have decided to make some work trousers for my hubby, since he has to work as a postman in the wild outside and we have to wash his clothes everyday.

The good part about this project is that it has been a slow sewing that stretched for almost two months. I am doing crazy hours working online with my primary school students, and I have not much time left to sew nowadays, but still, I made it slowly, by hand, with much care as I could. The result reflects that.

This small houndtooth brushed cotton is simply gorgeous. I totally recommend it to everyone to make a jacket, tailored dress or slacks. it really looks like wool, but it is soft and strong as cotton. I think I bought it from Ray Charles, but I cannot find the product there now, so I suppose it is not in stock any more. It is a gorgeous fabric to work with and to wear, although I cannot testify for much wearing it yet, sadly.
For the pattern, I used my tailored jacket own pattern. I drew it long ago using Aldrich's book, and I still think it is an awesome pattern. I have used it many times with slight variations. 

In this case, I made the middle front bottom part square, and changed the lapels to copy my inspiration source. I simply omitted the upper collar and made the lapels bigger and more square at the top. I love this front!

The procedure I followed is quite standard in my sewing. 
I transferred the pattern to the folded fabric with tailor tucks, I applied thermofusible interlinng to all the bodice and the sleeve caps in this case, and then proceeded to baste it. 

I tried it on and adjusted the waist and the back princess seams, I added the lapels and upper neck facing, turning it over. 
Then, I made the double welted buttonhole and finished it in the back, on the facing. 

Next, I foded the bottom hem, but before that I had to attach some extra fabric to a couple of the panels, since they were too short. It became invisible in this patterned fabric. I put a lead cord in the bottom fold to give more weight to the jacket, Chanel Style.


I proceeded to baste all the front facings and hems, and after ironing it well (this is cotton, it takes the iron like nothing) I hand slip-stitched it all in place.

Sleeves were the next step. I applied interlining to the cap, gathered the top and basted them to the jacket. I then machine-stitched the bottom part, and back-stitched all the top by hand. If sleeves are slightly gathered at the top, sewing them by hand with back stitches is far better than machine stitching, which always provokes pinching the subtle gathering.

With sleeves in place and their bottoms sewn by hand with slip stitches as well, I proceeded to cut and assemble the lining, and apply it to the jacket, which was on my dressform inside out. I pinned the lining and proceeded to sew it by hand with slip stitches all around. 

And voilà. 

I think the jacket is a masterpiece and it is going to get a lot of wear if we some day recover the prepandemic functioning. I only have slight doubts about the sleeves, are they too long or too wide? Only wearing the jacket i will be able to decide on that. 
I hope you like it!