5 Things I Learned Sewing My First Swimsuit

In case you missed it, last week I shared a post about sewing my first ever swim suit as a tester for the brand spanking new Take the Plunge swimsuit from Patterns for Pirates that I was completely in love with. Its a one piece swimsuit with about a million different styling options and was a heck of a challenge for this newbie to swimwear. Throughout the test period I made four different suits, two of which were complete goners, and I learned a lot along the way that I wanted to really quickly share with all of you! 

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Holy Crap I made a Swimsuit – P4P Take the Plunge Swimsuit

If you ever want a project to challenge your sewing skills just make a swimsuit (or four) on a deadline!

I was lucky enough to be able to be a tester for Patterns for Pirates new Take The Plunge one-piece suit which means for the last couple of weeks swim suits are ALL I have been sewing. The whole process of being a tester was an absolute blast though, and while it was stressful at times trying to make something perfect to photograph while sewing with swimwear fabric for literally the first time ever, I now have three new suits (one was a total lost cause) that are comfortable, fit me really well, and that I am very proud of.

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LoneTree Jacket by Allie Olson – A Wearable Muslin

I will readily admit that I am terrible at making muslins when I sew clothing. Most of the time when I am sewing clothing I am sewing with stretchy knits which makes wearable muslins are a little less necessary than if I was sewing with wovens (although my Appleton Dress took more than a couple of muslins to get right) so I just skip the step altogether. I really do understand how important they can be for getting the fit of a garment just right but I am impatient and still a toddler at heart so I cant get myself to take the time to make something that wont even see the light of day and waste my precious fabric.

When I recently made a “wearable muslin” of a pattern I had been coveting for a long time, the LoneTree Jacket by Allie Olson, I got  first hand look at just how important making a muslin is. Although I ended up with a decently wearable garment (and I have worn it many times!) there are so many small changes I would make to this jacket to make it fit just right that I could have already done if I just would have taken the time to make a muslin… 

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CWE: Sewing for my Shape (The Cashmerette Appleton Dress)

Fit is everything when it comes to clothes. Even the most expensive clothes can look incredibly cheap when they are ill fitting. I have said it before and I stand by it, making your own clothes is the best way to make sure you get the perfect fit for you and your body. Utilizing a good tailor can help too though 😉  Style, however, can be just as important and can be even more challenging than finding the perfect fit.

Knowing your “body shape” is the first step in trying to determine what clothing styles are going to work for you. We all know bodies that come in a wide ranges of sizes, heights, and proportions of course and that, no matter what, those bodies are all beautiful but knowing which basic “shape” your body is can take a lot out of the frustration out of picking what to wear. There are a lot of different websites that already explain how to determine your body shape, including this one and this one, so I won’t go into the procedure or the math of determining body shape here but I will caveat this with saying these are very vague categories and, even within the categories, there can be a wide range of body types. For example, I consider myself a “full hourglass” meaning I have the general proportions of an hourglass figure but I still want to, and need to, include the fact that I have a large chest and a big booty. Those are all important things to consider when I look at style lines in clothing and proportions of garments and just saying ” I am an hour glass” would give me the guidance I really need.

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CWE: Sewing Tips and Pattern Designers for the Heavily Busted

One of the best things about sewing your own clothing is being able to make clothes that are tailored exactly to your own body, fit the way you like, and are in the fabrics that you like. The challenge for those of us that are well blessed in the chest department, however, can be finding patterns that are designed to even come close to fitting us from the start. Most conventional pattern companies and designers are sized for a woman that has a B-cup which is especially amusing to me considering the average chest size in America is a 34DD…

That means even the “average” woman would have challenges fitting into patterns right form the initial draft and those of us that exceed that average really shouldn’t even try to fit in a traditional pattern designed to be made of woven fabrics (the stretch of knit can make it much more forgiving!) without expecting a lot of frustration and wasted time and fabric.

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CWE: A plethora of Lane Raglans (+pattern review)

The Hey June Lane Raglan has quickly become one of my favorite patterns! I have made three so far and plan to make a few more in the next couple of weeks (or months) if time allows. It is a super quick and easy sew and, depending on what material you choose, can look and feel super casual or super dressy.

My three versions range that whole spectrum with a super casual version made from $4.99 white knit fabric form hobby, a mid level casual grey version with a heathered jersey from a local fabric outlet, and dressy camel version made from a think ponte knit purchased at my local JoAnn fabrics.

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CWE: The basic knit dress (+ pattern review)

I live in knits and dresses have quickly become my go-to for a quick, easy dressing choice. This dress, which is both made from a knit material and, obviously,a dress, just so happens to be one of my first successful clothing makes ever!

For the first projects in my capsule wardrobe experiment I wanted things that would be easy, functional, and versatile for my wardrobe. The cream knit fabric for this dress was purchased at my local Jo-Ann’s store and was meant to be used to make a wearable muslin version of this dress but it ended up  turning out so well I have been wearing it as is! The pattern is a McCall’s “Learn to Sew for Fun” pattern, number m7313, and was specifically designed for the beginner clothes maker, making it perfect for me! I feel confident in my quilting and bag making skills but for some reason, making clothing has always challenged me, especially when it comes to getting the right fit. 

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Sewing My Own Clothes, a Capsule Wardrobe Experiment

I have been on a journey lately that I honestly thought that I never would be on. I have seen YouTube videos on minimalism, heard how AMAZING the Life Changing Magic Tidying Up is, and listened to friends rave all about how their life is so much more amazing now that they threw away all of their things but I honestly thought it was a load of crap, and part of me still does really, but I am coming around just the tiniest little bit. I am by no means a minimalist, and never intend to be, but I have been making a conscious effort to be much more intentional and frankly conscious about what I am allowing into my life and my home.

For me this journey started with letting go of certain people and relationships and removing a lot of the negativity in my life that way. This felt slightly isolating at first, I will admit, and at times it can still be hard but I think it is the best thing that I have ever done for my own health.

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Sewing To-Do list for 2017

I am a serious planner. I love developing a clear plan for what I am doing, where I am going, and how I am going to get there, no matter what my end goal is, whether it is a large scale project or my daily routine. It is a habit I have tried to kick before but now I am just embracing it as one of my many quirks. There is no use fighting who you really are right? So in the spirit of embracing my intense desire to over plan every aspect of my life, I sat down last week and planned the six sewing projects, some still rather vague and some very specific, that I want to accomplish most in 2017, and to help keep myself accountable I wanted to share them all with you too!

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