Monday, September 8, 2014

Cosi Swimsuit + Pattern Review

Back at the beginning of the summer, Ashley and Emily from the sewing blog FrancesSuzanne invited me to join in on their their September Showcase.

They explained that the September Showcase was to 'show and share' indie designer patterns and no 'flipping' was required.
In essence, they were looking for a pattern review.
"I can do that," I said to myself, and immediately signed up to 'showcase' the Cosi Swimsuit pattern by Sew Pony. 
I have seen it made up on a various sewing blogs and loved the vintage look.

Before I begin a review of this pattern, I will say that overall it was really easy to construct.
A lot of thought went into this pattern. The instructions (27 pages of them) are detailed and include photos so there is no chance to misunderstand what is written plus there is a chart to follow each step for the different views.

On to my review….

The first step is to download the pattern and then tape all the pieces together. Usually that task can be somewhat daunting, no, maybe frustrating might be a better word given pages can easily get mixed up and interruptions can make you lose your place not to mention concentration too. With this pattern all the pieces are well marked that if a small wind storm blows the sheets around the room, they are easy to reassemble.

Once everything is taped together, then you can look at the 'Views' (page 4) and decide exactly which of the 6 views to make and then refer to the 'Sizing' (page 6) to determine the size to make that will fit your child.

Because it's the end of the summer season here in the Great White North, I thought perhaps I should make a size larger than what Miss C is right now, so I went with size 5.

Unfortunately I couldn't decide which one to make.  I got carried away tracing and cutting out more swimsuits than needed.

The first one I made is View D, with the peplum skirt.

Included in the pattern are notes and detailed instructions on how to measure the wearer for fabric and elastic and of course, a chart noting the finished sizes vis à vis the child in question. In addition there is a chart noting how much fabric to buy for each view.

As you can see in the photo below, there a little extra fabric in the back but again, she will be taller next swimming season and therefore glad of that extra fabric.

In the notes are also details for the notions needed such as stretch needles, bar slides for the straps and elastic.

The Cosi swimsuit is vintage inspired which in turn inspired me to make a vintage looking photo of Miss C's summer at the lake.

As I mentioned earlier, I got carried away and cut out more swimsuits than necessary. Here's View C minus the leg frill.

In the notes are also detailed instructions on swimwear fabric suppliers.
I got my swimwear fabric from Fabricland.

For each View (example View C above and below) is a chart on page 10 whereby each construction step is numbered and then you refer to the corresponding page with photos.  What could be easier?

There's a shoal on our shoreline that makes for a perfect granite bench.
Memories of summer at the lake are the best!

When I was a child, my mother inherited a number of bathing suits from a girl who was 10 or more years older than myself. One of the swimsuits looked exactly like View A, except it was a faded cranberry colour and made from shiny fabric. In the spirit of my vintage swimsuit, I simply had to make View A.

With every step of construction, is a matching photo, notes and in some cases notes on the photos so there's no mistaking what to do or how to construct.
Easy, simple and straightforward.

Both of my daughters' had 'sway' backs when they were little nippers. It must be genetic because so does Miss C hence cause a little extra fabric fullness at the back. Next summer when she's taller, she'll be glad of the extra fabric.

We have a vintage looking radio similar to the radios that everyone had in their cottage way back when.

I remember the older kids used to have their radios stretched as far as the plug would go to a window and blast the music down to the dock listening to (mostly static) tunes from Everley Brothers.

I'm glad my generation had Led Zepplin.

Miss C's mom wasn't crazy about the bar slides for the straps and asked if I could make a straps just plain criss cross, sans the slides.
She also liked the peplum skirt on the other suit and wanted another "frill" somewhere. So I added it at the top.

In the construction photos and accompanying notes is how to attach elastic. That is something I have problems with depending on the type of elastic.

Using clear 'swimsuit' elastic is a bust for me. Even if I use a teflon presser foot, it slides out from under. Cotton elastic works better, except it's somewhat thick. Ideally, thin underwear style elastic would work much better but it's not available at any Fabricland near where I live.

Also in the photo/notes are instructions on how to set up your machine for topstitching and how to add lining.

One of my fondest summer memories at the lake is swimming with flippers, snorkel and a mask. There were always so many treasures on the bottom of the lake like shells or someone's sunglasses that fell in the drink. Once I even found a camera. It no longer worked, but hey, it was truly a find for an 8 year old!

I simply had to make View G (without the leg frill) bikini style. The bikini bottoms aren't skimpy at all and Miss C said she preferred this style.

Too bad swim noodles weren't around when I was a kid. We had to settle for short, hard pieces of foam called flutter boards. They were useless. You couldn't sit on them in the water and have fun with them like you can will noodles!

I really liked making these Cosi swimsuits. The instructions certainly were 'hand holding' and therefore I had good results.

For someone who has never made a swimsuit before, this is an excellent pattern.

My only issue making these swimsuits was with the type of elastic I was using which has nothing to do with the pattern. The pattern is perfect, my elastic...not so much.

Since I have made a bathing suit in the past, I knew how to sew in the elastic thanks to this website (click here) but found I needed to practice a little bit more to get it right. As I mentioned before, there are instructions in the pattern on how to apply elastic.

I am pleased with all 5 bathing suits and with my experience making the Cosi Swimsuit.

Thank you Suz for a terrific pattern …. it went so swimmingly well!


Now for the fun stuff! 

From now until September 20th, all Sewpony patterns are 20% off with discount code: SHOWCASE20

There are many more amazing patterns featured during the September Showcase so check everyones blog post for their review, plus inspiration and bonus, many of the designers will offer a discount on their patterns.

And who doesn't like a chance to win?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Sunny Tea

Well, the Sunny dress was a hit. Not only did it fit perfectly, but everyone (especially mom) LOVED it!

She loves it so much, she wants me to make some as gifts for friends.
Miss C has said it might be her first-day-back-at-school dress.

She also said that because she has to sit "criss-cross applesauce" she may need some matching bloomies so the boys don't see her undies.
I used the free Sunny Days shorts pattern from Oliver + S and shortened the hem. They worked perfectly.

On a summer day it's the perfect dress to wear - with a hat of course - for afternoon tea in the Gazebo.

However lazy summer days are over and it's back to school.  
She did indeed choose this dress for her first day back at school.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Explorers Vest

For Mr. A's 3rd birthday, I made him the Explorer's Vest from the Book Little Things to Sew by Oliver + S.

I left off the buttons because the vest will most likely be worn open and besides, he can't do buttons yet.

It's size 3.

 Bampaw decided to call it an Adventure Vest and using Quark, designed a little tag that was ironed onto a pocket.

Getting carried away with iron-on transfer paper, we also copy/pasted a Smokey badge. His dad loves anything Smokey the Bear so we know he'll enjoy this.

On one of the pockets, I put a little strap to hang a bug finder box.
The d-ring comes in handy for hanging a compass.

I got carried away in a toy store and bought a bunch of "adventure" items and attached them to lanyards and a big carabiner.
There's a plastic Swiss army set, a flashlight, a drink bottle, a whistle and a compass.
My guess is he'll play with these and not bother much with the vest :)

The lining sure suits the vest.

The vest turned out well and I hope he finds it useful when he goes on an adventure in the woods.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Baby Cardi's

Having finally learned how to knit I figured I ought to make a few baby cardi's to have on hand in case someone has a baby. Mostly, I wanted to practice.

The first one is called Baby Sophisticate by Linden Heflin.  It's a free download on Ravelry. I think the pattern is absolutely adorable. An old-guy sweater for a new-guy.

It's size 0-3mos according to the pattern.
It was easy and quick to make.

It's difficult to get a good photo on an overcast and dreary day.

Anyway, I used brown buttons hoping to emulate vintage leather bound buttons. Wood with a black tint button might look nice on this cardigan as well.

Being a new knitter, I had a few questions which I was able to answer for myself. A sign that either:
A) I'm talking to myself or
B) I'm grasping knitting terms or
maybe a little of both A) and B) :)

The first  question I had was; when working on yoke part of cardigan where it says to continue working in st st until yoke measures 3.5(4.5)" does that mean from the cast on edge or from finishing rows 3 & 13 3(4) times.
The answer is it's from the cast on edge and if more st st rows are required it won't be many and will be hidden under the armscye.

Second question was making the collar section where it say's to start at the bottom left edge.
Does that mean the baby's left or my left?
The answer is it's my left as I look at the sweater.

The third question was the w&t steps starting at row 5 on the collar.  If I bring the yarn forward for the w&t wouldn't that mean I should continue in a p st?
Just bring the yarn forward, turn and then adjust the yarn and continue in k st.
Oh, and use markers to help find those last 18 sts.

I couldn't figure out the bind off as per the authors suggestion and just did it the way I was taught.

Yarn used was Bernat Alpaca, (15s X 20r) colour Stone, 5mm circular needles.


The next baby cardi was also a free download from Ravelry called Garter Yoke Baby Cardi by Jennifer Hoel.

Once again getting a good photo is proving difficult.

I usually choose solid coloured yarns but this time around, used a variegated yarn from Cascade Yarns, Cherub DK  (22-24st X 4") colour 512 Lilypond and used 3.5mm circular needles.

The pattern say's it's 6-12mos but judging by Baby Sophisticate, I'd say it's more like 3-6.

Again, it was fairly straightforward and quick to make.
However there were a couple of knots in the yarn that I didn't discover until mid-row in two areas.  So there are a couple of glaring flaws in the stitches on the front and on the sleeve.

When it came to the raglan shaping beginning at rows 9 & 10, I copied the following from a comment by the author on Ravelry:

The raglan shaping will add 8sts every odd row (one m1 on either side of the k2 that forms the front and back seam of each sleeve).
Row 11: sl1, k10, m1, pm, k2, pm, m1, k8, m1, pm, k2, pm, m1, k22, m1, pm, k2, pm, m1, k8, m1, pm, k2, pm, m1, k11 (76sts)
Row 12: sl1, k11, pm, p2, pm, k10, pm, p2, pm, k24, pm, p2, pm, k10, pm, p2, pm, k12.
Row 13: sl1, k11, m1, pm, k2, pm, m1, k10, m1, pm, k2, pm, m1, k24, m1, pm, k2, pm, m1, k10, m1, pm, k2, pm, m1, k12 (84sts)
Row 14: sl1, k12, pm, p2, pm, k12, pm, p2, pm, k26, pm, p2, pm, k12, pm, p2, pm, k13.
Note how the m1, pm, k2, pm, m1 is consistent regardless of the number of stitches elsewhere.
I didn't use the i-cord button band as per an option in the instructions, using a basic garter buttonhole band instead. I need more practice doing those. Lots more practice.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Sunny Dress

About a month ago, I downloaded a free pattern from the sewing blog Sew Very. It was the bloggers first pattern and she was offering the pdf in 3 sizes for people to try out.

Well, this morning I cut out the pattern and made a Sunny Dress.

It's an a-line sundress with a little frill collar.
The instructions, which are very good, appear on her blog along with photos.  Overall, it was a very easy pattern to make and fun too!  I really enjoyed making it.

I made size 5 and since the chest measurement is an inch wider than required I cut the back elastic less and took in a deeper side seam.

If this fits (and I'm sure it will) I will make more Sunny dresses.
There are no buttons, zippers or anything fiddly.

Go to Sew Very to get the download and try it out too.
On Monday August 11th, she is going to feature some the Sunny dresses other sewing bloggers have made. There'll be lots of good ideas, I'm sure.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Maggie Mae KCW #5 6 &7

Between housekeeping, weekend guests as well as power and internet outages, I was able to sneak in one more item for KCW.

The power is back on, the internet is working - sporadically - so I will attempt to upload the latest.

It's size 5, Maggie Mae from Shwin & Shwin.

I used  1/2 meter of print fabric and made up the difference with contrast. I think the hem might be a wee bit too short. If it is, I can always re-cut and add a wider hem band.

In the winter, I bought several bags of coloured buttons. The shipment had just come off the truck during a -40C day and the bags were so cold, they were difficult to carry to the cash.
Anyway, they came in handy today for this outfit and the good news is they have defrosted!

Tomorrow Miss C can try this dress on. We'll see then if the hem is a bit short.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

KCW#4 2Tee's and 3 Shorts

I had a productive day today making 2 School Bus T-shirts and 3 pair of Sunny Day Shorts.

On one of the T-shirts, I ironed on a photo I took of one of the local ships when it came in front of our cottage. Mr. A calls it the "toot-toot" boat because it toot's it's horn whenever a boat passes by.

To go with it, there are 2 pair of Sunny Day shorts with pockets but no extra stitching like a faux fly as I just wanted to get them done quickly.  The fabric for both shorts is cotton twill.

The toy ship is made from Lego.

The other t-shirt is a from the remnant bin. To me, it looks like the kind of shirt fabric an old guy would wear.
The shorts are dark navy twill with a little stretch, again, like an old guy would wear.
Yet whatever Mr. A wears, he always looks so cute. The benefit of being a young guy.

Everything is size 3T with the t-shirts lengthened 2 inches.

Meanwhile my housekeeping is suffering. The window boxes are dry, the grass is ankle high, there's laundry to be put away, a stack of ironing to do, an empty fridge to fill and a bunch of people are arriving tomorrow to stay for the weekend so I simply must whip the vacuum through.
I doubt that I'll get anything done for KCW#5 or #6 or #7 for that matter :(

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

KCW #3 Tee and Shorts

Between the power going off and the internet fading in and out today I was still able to make a School Bus T-Shirt (O+S) and Sunny Day Shorts (O+S) for KCW Day3, plus get a photo and post it.

Using iron-on photo image transfer paper, I put a Chipmunk image on the t-shirt to liven it up.

"Ready for my close-up C.B."
Gee, I love it when the local wildlife co-operates.

I made the t-shirt longer than called for on the pattern because Mr. A is really tall for his age plus his mom said she likes his t-shirts long.

Mr. A also loves pockets so I put pockets on the shorts using the tutorial from Melly Sews.
I didn't bother with the faux fly because I was on a mission … get 'er done before the power goes out again. Besides, if he wears his shirts long, no one will see the faux fly nor the pockets.

I've got more tee's and shorts on the way for tomorrow. They are fun, easy and I know they will fit.
Size 3T
Oh, and no chipmunks were harmed making this blog post.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

S3859 day #2 KCW

My daughter asked if I could start making A-line dresses.
"Sure! No problem" I said figuring I could make some during KCW.

In my stash was a Simplicity #3859 pattern and it filled the bill…or so I thought.

I made view B with white contrast hem and v-neck bodice and used a half meter of a summery greenish-aqua and white fabric.

As it turned out, it didn't fit the bill.

She didn't like the v-neck and she didn't like the bow on the bodice as per the pattern, so I took it off and plunked it on a hairband. She liked that.

When we tried it on, it was miles too big both in length and width.

Miss C usually wears size 5 in RTW but I made size 6 judging by the chart on the back of the pattern that indicated it would fit a 22inch chest and she's just shy of 22".

I didn't get a photo of the ill fitting dress because it was, well, ill fitting.
Off hand I would say it worked out to be much like a RTW generous 6X.

However the good news is she has a dress made and ready for next summer…….

…and with a matching hairband.

Monday, July 21, 2014

More swim wear

One of the other patterns I bought during a Peek-a-Boo sale was the Hang Ten Rash Guard.

It was really easy and quick to make. I made size 3. But unfortunately,  it didn't go over Mr. A's head!
I need to make the neck opening larger for the next one.
Miss C needs a rash guard too, so I'll be making two very soon.

I also made 2 pair of Seamus Trunks from Ottober 03-2009-40.  Cindy very kindly sent me the magazine so I could make this pattern. It's she just the sweetest? Thank you again, Cindy.

The trunks fit Mr. A perfectly. In fact they are completely adorable on him.
I didn't get a photo because while we were trying them on, we were all ooohing and aaahing over his adorable-ness and I forgot to grab the camera! Doh.

Funny thing about the trunks.
His mom only likes boxer style swimmers. These are more European looking and I knew I was truly testing the waters (pardon the pun) with this style of swim wear. But when he put them on and her friends and husband were squealing with delight, not to mention Mr. A who liked them too, my daughter quickly changed her mind.
The power of peer pressure!

The trunks were easy and quick to make but I did have a problem getting the piping to sit flat and not pucker. When they are worn, the puckers disappear so I worried needlessly.
I plan to make another pair but will add length to the leg.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Laguna Beach Swim Cover-up

There was a sale at Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop and among the several patterns I bought, was this one called Laguna Beach Swim Cover-Up.

Around the same time, I found 2 nice quality beach towels for $8.00 each at the grocery store where I shop. I looked earlier for towels at a bargain store but they were more expensive and poor quality, go fig.

These little cover-ups went together quickly. The pieces are simply a back, front, hood, sleeves, front pocket and front placket.
I made size 2/3 for Mr. A and 4/5 for Miss C.

The first one went together in about an hour and a half making me a seasoned pro to make the next one that took a little under 1 hour to make.

Now if the weather would co-operate and warm up to normal summer temperatures, they'll get used quite a bit.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Chanel meets the Bubble Dress

This is the last of the Bubble Dresses I've made to date.  However I'm still considering making a Koos van den Akker inspired one using the scalloped sides on view A of the pattern.

I've made the Bubble dress before several times with long sleeves. This time around, I decided to channel Coco Chanel for another long sleeved version.

Using a very dark navy wool-like fabric (totally washable) I used a random long sleeve waist length bodice pattern and paired it with the Bubble Dress skirt.

For sleeve cuff inspiration I referred to an image of Coco Chanel where she is wearing white bracelets.
So I made my version with white satin petal shaped cuffs.

The skirt is lined with Bemberg making it soft and silky to wear. The bodice is lined in broadcloth.

Looking back again at the images of Chanel, she was always wearing several strings of pearls in varying lengths.

At the fabric store they sell plastic pearls by the meter so I bought 2m, cut them into varying lengths and hot glued the ends together.
I found a "C" initial in a bead store and added it to a strand.

The outfit needed a hairband, so a little ribbon tulle, some pearls, a hot glue gun and the job was done!

Channelled Chanel via a Bubble Dress!