Saturday, September 11, 2010

Summer Sewing

At the end of the summer last year, one of my co-workers asked me if I would sew a bathing suit for her. Keep in mind I hate sewing for other people. I always feel such serious anxiety when I even think about sewing for others. However, I said yes. Since it was the end of summer and school had already started and she said she was in no hurry, I put it off. That is until June this year rolled around and school was out and she wanted to go swimming.

What she wanted me to do was make another suit like the one she had worn out. To do this I took apart her old suit and copied it exactly. I spent hours and hours on just the pattern and ripping apart the old suit. However, I'm really happy with the way it turned out. I think it looks as good as the old one, if not better.

I don't know why blogger wants to turn some of my pictures sideways but if you turn your head to the side you can see how good the bottoms turned out. The original had this same belt and belt straps. I used the original suit's D-rings for this suit. The only real problem I had was sewing those straps down to the suit. However, mine looks just as good as the ones did on the professionally sewn suit, so I was happy. Too bad you can't see them better in the photo.

I couldn't figure out how to put in the bra cups I bought for this suit, so I made a pattern from the old suit for this part as well and just sewed in the old bra cups. I think they look silly in this color but she said they don't show through so I'm not going to worry about. I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out. I certainly charged her enough for it. :-)

I didn't sew anything else that month because at the end of June is when we found out that my Mother-in-Law was sick and she went into the hospital for treatment for chronic diarrhea and then again for chemo treatments for the leukemia. However at the end of July, while Bob and I were taking care of her between hospital stays, I left my husband alone with his mom and took my son and I on a week-long stay at my dad's timeshare condo in the mountains. After all, it had already been scheduled and our son deserved his summer too. We took one of his friends with us.

If you look closely in the photo, you can see lots of sewing stuff laying around. While my son and his friend had lots of fun running around in the woods and hanging out at the club house, my sister and I sewed. I made two dresses, one for myself and one for my niece. I can't find a picture of the dress I made for my niece, but it was McCall's 3672 in a pretty pink pin-whale corduroy.

I made this dress for me. (Sorry about the goofy smile) It's the cover dress from the 5/2008 issue of Ottobre Women's pattern magazine. The dress was designed to use a woven, but I made it from a poly/lycra knit I bought at Michael Levine's Loft for $2/pound. It's really a wild print and the details of the dress are completely lost in it. I cut out a size 48 and had to take it in at the sides and the center back for a more fitted look. With a FBA I could probably use the same size pattern with a woven. I wish I had used the same sleeve pattern they did on the cover. These are almost too short for me but are nice for the summer.

During my MIL's final days I had a lot of free time on my hands. I had been spending time on Craigslist searching to add to my recent sewing machine collection, more on that later, so I had a machine with me that I had just picked up. I also had some fabric in my car along with sewing supplies that I carried for my beginning sewing classes that I teach. I whipped this dress up for my niece. It's the same dress pattern as the pink corduroy one except that I cut it shorter and added a ruffle at the neck edge and hemline. To do the ruffle, I used the ruffler that came with the CL machine.

I'm very happy with the way the ruffles turned out using the ruffler. If you have one that will fit your machine, you should try it. I don't think I'll ever go back to using the thread pulling method again.

The pants pattern was found a thrift store, another thing I did to keep myself busy while staying at my MILs house. Don't worry, I didn't leave her alone. By that time we had hired 24-hour caregivers so that we could sleep and my husband could go back to work. I was off for the summer and my dad was staying with our son.

As always, you can click on the pictures to see them full size to get all the pretty details. It's time to sew me some fall clothes. Since losing weight, I don't have any pants that will be appropriate for the cooler weather. Watch for pants muslins coming soon.


  1. Hi Sherril!!
    Now kick down 1/2 pound to the 70's... GOOOOO, Girl!! ;)
    <3, Rhonda

  2. Wow, you got a lot done in your busy summer. I love that dress on you. You are a saint to make the swimsuit, and I had to laugh that you just happened to have a sewing machine, sewing tools, and fabric and a pattern in your car. I am so sorry to hear about your mother-in-law.

  3. It's so good to have you back; I love your blog!!

  4. Welcome back! I love your print dress. It looks great on you and perfect fit, as always!

  5. Nice to see you back. I hope time is helping you heal. I got a great vintage machine given to me at the beginning of the summer a Pfaff 130 with the original case, books and attachments. There is nothing like an old workhorse that makes your heart sing is there? I think I love it more than my Bernina!!!

  6. Great job on that bathing suit. What an undertaking! Your dress looks very nice also, and cute little one's outfit! Best wishes.

  7. I like the dress on you. I love that you had everything in the care to whip up a little outfit for your niece. I've been wanting to use my ruffler but never think about it when I'm making the grandbabies outfits. Glad to have you back.


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