Mulberry Roses Neoprene Dress

I’m not sure how many of you also follow the Mood Sewing Network, but my newest dress went live there yesterday. This dress was definitely an experiment for me. As you’ll read, I’m happy with the result (I feel great wearing it!), but I’m not quite sure I did the fabric or the pattern justice by combining the two. I definitely have a lot to learn when it comes to sewing with neoprene, but I’m glad I gave it a shot. Next time I might stick with a simpler sheath silhouette (my original plan, before I decided to be adventurous!) with fewer seams.

Sew Well - Raspberry Roses in #moodfabrics Neoprene

Even though I’d heard great things about sewing with neoprene, I wasn’t really tempted to try out the new-to-me fabric. I was worried that it would be too hot to wear or that it would make people wonder why I was wearing a wetsuit to the park. But then Mood Fabrics started offering digitally printed neoprene jerseys, and those prints were just too much to resist. There were quite a few prints that I considered, but this Mulberry Roses digital print ending up being the winner.

Sew Well - Raspberry Roses in #moodfabrics Neoprene

When the fabric arrived, I was pleasantly surprised by how well it draped when I hung it on my dress form. It was not at all stiff like my surfing wetsuit. It still felt sporty to me, but it didn’t scream I’m-supposed-to-be-a-wetsuit like I feared. While it was still on my dress form, I pinned it this way and that way to see how it behaved since I didn’t have a definite pattern in mind for it. I’d been thinking of making a sleeveless sheath dress, but the drape suggested I might have more options.

My favorite ready-to-wear sporty dress is fitted through the top and then flares out into an A-line skirt. The jersey it’s made out of is definitely more fluid than this mulberry neoprene, but I still wondered if the neoprene could work in a similar silhouette. If I could pull it off, I knew I’d get a lot more wear out of a dress with an A-line skirt than a sheath since the former feels more everyday casual to me.

When I was looking through my pattern collection for potential patterns, I didn’t see much that tempted me until I got to my Famous Frocks: The Little Black Dress book. The Chanel Dress variation (far right, below) was pretty close to what I was imagining: a simple, fitted top with an A-line skirt.

Sew Well + Little Black Dress Book's Chanel Dress - Raspberry Roses in #moodfabrics Neoprene

Ever since I first read through this book, I’ve always wanted to make one of its dresses. Most of the looks feel pretty classic to me.  I thought I was going to make the wrap dress pattern… until my friend lent me her original Diane von Furstenburg wrap dress pattern. How could I pass that opportunity up? I was happy that this neoprene gave me another reason to try out the book. The patterns in this book are drafted for someone who is 5’3″ to 5’6″ tall and has a C cup. I’m 5’7″ and have a B cup so I started by adjusting the flat pattern to make what I figured were the necessary modifications: small-bust adjustment, extra length, extra at the side seams since my waist measurement fell into a different size than my bust measurement. I also made the necessary modifications for the variation: raise the front neckline, lower the back neckline, take off a bit from the armhole. Then I daringly cut straight into my neoprene.  I figured the weight and stretch of the neoprene would be hard to mimic in any cheap jersey I could spare, so I might as well just give the mulberry neoprene a go and hope for the best.

Sew Well - Raspberry Roses in #moodfabrics Neoprene

(As an aside, here’s a peek at the reason I am using leaves as props in most of the photos – she loves picking up leaves, sticks, and rocks whenever we are out on a walk now!)

Sew Well - Raspberry Roses in #moodfabrics Neoprene

Sewing the neoprene was easy.  The only issues I had were prewashing and what to do with the skirt seams. My go-to fabric guide, Sandra Betzina’s More Fabric Savvy, said wetsuit fabrics like this one didn’t need to be pre-washed, but I wanted to anyway.  I threw it in with a thin white jersey that I was considering using as a lining when I wasn’t sure what pattern I was going to use (the Marcy Tilton shingle dress that I previously made here was a contender, and it uses a lining to hold the shingles in place). And, would you believe it – I had my first piece of white fabric turn pink! I’d heard stories of white socks becoming pink socks, but it’d never happened to me before. Ha! I learned a valuable lesson that everyone else already knows and that I’m surprised took me this long: be wary of washing colorful new fabrics with white fabrics!

As for the skirt seams, they almost made me wishI’d chosen had fewer skirt seams. Or that I’d stuck with my original sheath plan. When simply sewn and pressed, they wanted to cave in on themselves at the hem. More Fabric Savvy recommended flat-locking the seams with my serger, but I thought that would be a little too sporty for this dress. I liked the idea though since I found that forcing the seam allowances to be flat really helped the skirt keep its A-line shape. I tried topstitching the seams to one side, in a mock-felled seam sort of way, but my topstitching pulled the neoprene too taut, showing off the unseemly white underbelly of the printed fabric (hello shine!). I carefully unpicked all of the topstitching and then catch stitched the seam allowances to one side to try to achieve a similar, but invisible, mock-felled effect. Though it’s not as noticeable in person, I didn’t quite achieve the completely invisible look I wanted. You can see little dimples along most of my seams in these photos. Because the neoprene fabric has a bit of thickness, I made sure to only catch the innermost layers when I was hand catch stitching, which leads me to believe that, just like with my wrap dress, the reason for the dimpling is that I pulled my catch stitches to tight – the second lesson in the making of this dress that I should have already learned. Urg. I might redo them if they still bother me after a few wears.

Sew Well - Raspberry Roses in #moodfabrics Neoprene

The last major step was sewing the side seams. I started by basting them together in order to check the overall fit of the dress. Maybe it was the extra weight of the skirt or the stretch of the neoprene fabric, but the poor dress just hung off me! I pulled out the basting stitches and took the side seams in as much as I dared, essentially removing everything I’d added when I graded the flat pattern out to match the size for my true waist measurement. I thought the adjusted dress fit well when I checked it out in the mirror, but after looking at these photos, I can see that there are drag lines coming down from my bust. Maybe the weight of the skirt causes this neoprene to grow over time? Given that jerseys are so forgiving, I think I can reduce those drag lines by taking in the waist a bit more. But, I have to be careful since I don’t want to take in the dress too much since I already learned that this printed neoprene sort of shines when pulled too taut.

Sew Well - Raspberry Roses in #moodfabrics Neoprene

The neckline and armholes are bound with self fabric and the hem line was turned up and catch stitched in place. I like the proportions of the skirt relative to the top, but maybe it hits me at a weird spot in my knee? It’s funny – I felt great when I wore this dress out this weekend, but writing this post has shown me that the perfectionist in me does have a few issues with it. Maybe I asked the neoprene to do too much?Maybe it’s just natural to be critical for the blog? I actually really did enjoy wearing this dress this past weekend! But, if these little things do end up bothering me, then, thankfully, taking in the side seams, redoing the catch stitching, and altering the hem are all easy enough to do. For now I’m just going to ignore them though and keep throwing this dress on as often as I can during this unseasonably warm Seattle summer!

Have you ever sewn with neoprene? If so, what did you think? If not, would you ever?!

This post can also be found on Mood Sewing Network. I used my MSN allowance towards the purchase of the fabric.

A Little Reversible Scalloped Skirt

Sew Well - A Little Scalloped Skirt

This project was one of those that started with the pattern.  Maris of Sew Maris posted a sneak peek of her Cosmos reversible skirt pattern, and I was taken by the idea of a reversible skirt.

By the end of a typical day, whatever top my daughter is wearing will likely be covered in a happy collage of what she ate that day. But, whatever happens to be on her lower half is often in pretty decent shape.  The idea of being able to flip a perfectly fine skirt over, pair it with a clean shirt, and have a new outfit without much fuss really appealed to me.

Sew Well - A Little Scalloped Skirt

I have to say that I love that kiddie things are perfectly sized to use up my treasured scraps. After trying out several different fabric combinations, the ultimate winners were two fabrics I picked up awhile back from FineFabrics.com. The shimmering green floral was left over from the making of a Lonsdale, and the textured white floral was left over from the making of a pleated skirt.  I thought that the small scale of both floral prints would work well for such a tiny skirt, and I liked that both fabrics would coordinate with a waistband made from a bit of dark green fold-over elastic that I had in my stash.

Sew Well - A Little Scalloped Skirt

This skirt was a really quick sew. First, it’s tiny.  Second, because it’s reversible, all of the seam allowances are enclosed, which means there’s no need to spend extra time French seaming or anything.

The trickiest part was the scalloped hem. If you’ll believe it, I’d never sewn scallops before.  I spent a little extra time on the scallops each step of the way to make sure I was making them as nicely as I could. First, I carefully cut the scalloped hem of all four skirt pieces (front and back of both sides).  Then I marked the point where each scallop came together right at the stitching line so I knew exactly where to pivot when I was sewing (a tip from Maris’s instructions!). Then I clipped and trimmed the seam allowances before turning the skirt right side out and carefully pressing the scallops into place.

Sew Well - A Little Scalloped Skirt

The only downside was that the smallest size, a 2-3, was still too big for my one-and-a-half-year-old little girl. So, I just cut off a bit of length and gathered the skirt relative to her true-waist measurement.  However, I failed to realize that a skirt like this would either want to sit above or below her round little belly – not right on the mid-line where I took my measurement.  For now she’ll wear it at her empire waist – a look I find to be super cute on her anyway.

Sew Well - A Little Scalloped Skirt

Trying to capture a garment on a toddler with a camera is quite an interesting experience! She wasn’t even really crawling when I took photos of her Halloween costume last year, so I could get all the photos I wanted while camped out in one spot. This time we covered quite a lot of ground at a local park before I called it quits!

Sew Well - A Little Scalloped Skirt

Maris made the Cosmos reversible skirt pattern for issue 8 of the One Thimble digital sewing magazine, and I made the skirt as part of Maris’s pre-magazine pattern testing. Even though I made the skirt before the magazine was put together (it’s still coming soon), I had no idea that I might be part of the promotional material! But, look who made it onto the One Thimble Facebook page:

Sew Well - A Little Scalloped Skirt

I wonder if she’ll be in the magazine as well?  Does anyone get One Thimble?  If so, will you let me know if you see her in there once issue 8 comes out?

Also, who else has enjoyed a recent quick sew?

A Dotless Dotty in Voile

Sew Well:  A Dotless Dotty in Voile

This summer I’ve been living in my silk crepe de chine Style Arc Dotty blouse.  I’m sure it’s terrible to admit that I do this, but I’ve learned that if I stick it in the dryer for a few minutes on the lowest heat setting, then it comes out nice and bouncy and wrinkle free.  I then want to wear it as soon as it comes out.  So, when I saw this sold out Helmut Lang top, I realized it was time to make another.

Sew Well:  A Dotless Dotty in Voile - Helmut Lang Inspiration

This time though I wanted to try it out a different fabric – one that was a little more friendly to tiny, sticky hands – so I went for Mood Fabric’s light and airy cotton voile in a classic navy.

Sew Well: A Dotless Dotty in Voile

What do you think?  The Style Arc Dotty blouse with its sleeves rolled up is a pretty good match to the inspiration without my having to resort to anything in the gray area of copying a designer piece.  It’s too hot right now to wear skinny pants like in the inspiration image, so you get my blue on blue on blue look.

Sew Well:  A Dotless Dotty in Voile

To get the sleeves to roll up, I added the simple bound sleeve placket from my Grainline Archer.  But, because the placket was a bit of a last minute addition, I didn’t think through how I was going to button up the little cuff that comes with the Dotty blouse.  So, for now the cuffs have no closure.

Sew Well:  A Dotless Dotty in Voile

Sew Well: A Dotless Dotty in Voile

Sew Well:  A Dotless Dotty in Voile

And, even though both the Dotty blouse and the inspiration called of gathering the back into the yoke, I decided to add a pleat, another element taken from my Grainline Archer.

Sew Well:  A Dotless Dotty in Voile

This voile was very nice to sew with.  Since the voile is fairly translucent and since the sleeve seam shows when the sleeve is rolled up, I used French seams for all of the main seams.

Sew Well:  A Dotless Dotty in Voile

Sew Well:  A Dotless Dotty in Voile

The hem and the neckline were finished with a tiny machine rolled hem.  When I think I’m going to want to add a machine rolled hem to a garment, I typically save a scrap of fabric to get the feel for how the fabric wants to feed through my rolled hem foot. Thankfully, this voile fed through very fluidly, so it was a breeze getting a nice, even hem.

Sew Well:  A Dotless Dotty in Voile

Sew Well:  A Dotless Dotty in Voile

I’m excited to have another Dotty blouse that will carry me through this summer and into the fall. My friends are excited to see me in something new. My husband is excited to see me in something blue.  It’s a win-win-win!

Sew Well:  A Dotless Dotty in Voile

What’s your favorite summer top these days?

This post can also be found on Mood Sewing Network. I used my MSN allowance towards the purchase of the fabric.

The Newest BurdaStyle Book: BurdaStyle Modern Sewing Full-Figure Fashion

Sew Well + BurdaStyle Modern Sewing Full-Figure Fashion

After enjoying BurdaStyle’s most recent books (Wardrobe Essentials and Dresses for Every Occasion), I just couldn’t wait to check out their newest release:  Full-Figure Fashion.  Just what patterns would the good people at BurdaStyle choose to put in?!

Okay, before I launch into the patterns, I should get through some of the nitty gritty.  The book contains “24 plus-size patterns for every day”, according to the cover.  By “every day” they seem to mean mostly separates.  And, I do count 24 patterns, if you don’t include the variations but do include the included slip pattern as a separate dress.  There are nine blouse patterns (plus one variation), three skirt patterns, three pants patterns (plus one variation), four jacket patterns (plus one variation), and five dress patterns.

These patterns range in size from a BurdaStyle 44 (39.5″ bust) to 52 (48″ bust).  Correct me if I’m wrong, but that seems pretty typical for an upper range of pattern sizes from both indies and the big four – except for a few pattern lines like Connie Crawford’s at Butterick.

And, as always, the beginning of the book contains an introduction to sewing, and the end of the book contains a brief glossary and a pocket full of patterns.

Okay, I know you’re saying, “Enough already!  Get to the patterns that come with the book!”

As with the other books that BurdaStyle has released, this book is made up of previously released patterns.  I’ve linked to as many of them as I could find in case you are interested in looking into one or two of them. UPDATE: There were a few patterns that I couldn’t find online, but Sartorietta found them on the German site.

First up are the blouse patterns:

Sew Well + BurdaStyle Modern Sewing Full-Figure Fashion

Satin Shirt (Plus Size) 12/2012 #147B

Sew Well + BurdaStyle Modern Sewing Full-Figure Fashion

Tie Blouse (Plus Size) 08/2013 #140

Sew Well + BurdaStyle Modern Sewing Full-Figure Fashion

Printed Tunic (Plus Size) 01/2013 #133A

Sew Well + BurdaStyle Modern Sewing Full-Figure Fashion

Peasant Blouse (Plus Size) 09/2013 #133

Sew Well + BurdaStyle Modern Sewing Full-Figure Fashion

Double Layer Tank (Plus Size) 05/2013

Sew Well + BurdaStyle Modern Sewing Full-Figure Fashion

Shawl Collar Top 12/2013 #132 – I’d never thought about how easy it would be to turn a plain top into a cowl-necked top by simply making an infinity scarf out of matching fabric.

And, now on to the top/skirt combos:

Sew Well + BurdaStyle Modern Sewing Full-Figure Fashion

Sectioned Tee (Plus Size) 02/2014 #137 / Skirt with Pockets (Plus Size) 02/2014 #139

Sew Well + BurdaStyle Modern Sewing Full-Figure Fashion

Knit T-Shirt (Plus Size) 10/2012 #143 / Pencil Skirt (Plus Size) 10/2012 #145

Sew Well + BurdaStyle Modern Sewing Full-Figure Fashion

V-Neck Top (Plus Size) 07/2012 #136 / Okay, I could only find this skirt in dress form. Did I overlook it online? Was it just released in magazine form in July 2012?  It’s hard for me to imagine it wasn’t originally released as a part of this collection since the model is wearing it in the shot above, which is also the shot used online for the top pattern!

Our first variation – leave the ties off the wrap-front top for an off-the-shoulder v-neck top:

Sew Well + BurdaStyle Modern Sewing Full-Figure Fashion

I also couldn’t find this top variation.  I assumed it would be 07/2012 #136B or something – but, I had no luck finding such a pattern online.  It’s the same sailor and model, so I assumed it must have been released the same month, July 2012, right?!  Again, maybe it made it into the magazine but not online?  Or, maybe it wasn’t actually billed as a separate pattern since it’s the wrap top without the wrap?  Does anyone know?!

Now we’ve got the jacket/pant combos and their variations:

Sew Well + BurdaStyle Modern Sewing Full-Figure Fashion

Trendy Waistcoat (Plus Size) 12/2012 #149 / Stretch Trousers (Plus Size) 12/2012 #148

Sew Well + BurdaStyle Modern Sewing Full-Figure Fashion

Long Blazer (Plus Size) 08/2012 #142A / Straight Leg Pants (Plus Size) 08/2012 #148B

Sew Well + BurdaStyle Modern Sewing Full-Figure Fashion

Banded Neck Blazer (Plus Size) 08/2012 #142B

Sew Well + BurdaStyle Modern Sewing Full-Figure Fashion

Pencil Slacks (Plus Size) 08/2012 #148A

A couple more jackets:

Sew Well + BurdaStyle Modern Sewing Full-Figure Fashion

Loose Jacket (Plus Size) 01/2013 #127

Sew Well + BurdaStyle Modern Sewing Full-Figure Fashion

Draped Jersey Jacket (Plus Size) 01/2013 #129 – You might have noticed that none of these jackets have closures.  Is it more flattering to have a jacket that falls open all of the time?

And, a last lone pair of pants:

Sew Well + BurdaStyle Modern Sewing Full-Figure Fashion

I couldn’t find these pants, either. Help! Does anyone recognize them?

Finally, we have our dresses:

Sew Well + BurdaStyle Modern Sewing Full-Figure Fashion

Scoop Neck Dress (Plus Size) 07/2012 #139 – I was curious if Beth of Sunnygal Studio Sewing’s recent favorite of 11/2013 #133B would make the cut, but it didn’t.  Maybe this one would fit similarly?

Sew Well + BurdaStyle Modern Sewing Full-Figure Fashion

Draped Dress (Plus Size) 12/2012 #144 – From what little I can tell from this shot, I think this dress looks stunning on the model.

Sew Well + BurdaStyle Modern Sewing Full-Figure Fashion

Summer Dress (Plus Size) 04/2013 #131 – In my pattern count, I’ve tallied these two as separate dress patterns in order to get to 24 total patterns without counting any of the variations.

Sew Well + BurdaStyle Modern Sewing Full-Figure Fashion

40s Style Shirtdress (Plus Size) 08/2013 #138 – This dress is probably my favorite of the bunch, mostly because I really like the styling and that fabric.  But, I can’t seem to find anyone online who’s made it.  Anyone?  Anyone?

Okay, that’s it!  So, what do you think? Any patterns here pique your interest?  Enough to justify getting the book?  What do you hope to see from BurdaStyle next?

UPDATE:  For those of you clicking through from GOMI, I’m sorry if I offended you by accepting this book for review.  I was offered this book by Interweave/F+W, not BurdaStyle, and I’m pretty sure that Interweave/F+W just wanted to connect a sewing book with a sewing blogger and didn’t think too much about size. I figured I wasn’t going to be able to fit any of the patterns from this book, but I thought that it would be good for the broader sewing community to see what patterns were included. I appreciate and completely understand that many of you would have liked to have seen more than just a list of the patterns.

Interweave/F+W sent me BurdaStyle Modern Sewing – Full-Figure Fashion for review.  All opinions are my own.

Five Funky Running Skirts

I’ve considered myself a runner for most of my life.  I ran recreationally when I was little, and then, at the age of 16, I started running competitively, which is when running really took ahold of me. I made time to run nearly every day from then until the third trimester of my pregnancy.  I would have kept running through my entire pregnancy if truth be told, but after a run at the beginning of my third trimester, I found a small amount of blood you know where, and after consultation with my midwives, I decided my pregnancy running days were over. I’d had two miscarriages prior to that pregnancy, and it wasn’t worth risking any complications with my current pregnancy to keep up my running streak.

Before having a baby, I always imagined that I would enjoy running with a stroller. When we lived in the Bay Area, I often ran past this one woman who was always running with her kid in a stroller.  She was out there every day, and she looked so strong. But, when I got the okay to start running again after having my daughter, I was in worse running shape than I could remember, and I found it frustrating trying to get back into running while pushing a heavy stroller in front of me. I finally understood what  my non-running friends meant when they would say that they didn’t enjoy running because now I didn’t enjoy it. And, I had too much on my plate to make time for something I wasn’t enjoying.  So, I would maybe run once or twice a week.  Maybe.  And, most of the time I would only manage a mile or three when I did.

Then, a few months ago, I had a health scare, and it got me thinking about how well I had been taking care of myself. You can probably tell that I don’t sew as much as I used to (despite never having lost the joy that it brings), and, as I mentioned above, I definitely wasn’t running as much as I used to. I’d been slowly trying to make more time to sew, but I hadn’t made the same commitment to running.  But, when I thought about it, I realized I missed running.  Desperately.  So, I came up with a plan, and… drumroll, please… I started a running blog.  I feel like those were the last words of Sherry of Pattern Scissors Cloth before she disappeared from the sewing world and started rocking the running world. But, I don’t plan to disappear anytime soon. Right now I’m just thankful that the new blog has been good at keeping me motivated to get out there and run (until this last week when I caught my daughter’s fever – ouch!).  After getting used to how the sewing blogging world works, I have to say that running blogs are a whole other breed.  It’s been interesting exploring an internet frontier that’s totally new for me.

Anyway, to get myself pumped for a summer of running, I wanted to make myself some new running gear.  I’d already picked up some basic fabrics for running tops, but I wanted to make some fun running skirts using Jalie 2796 (previously made here and here).  It just so happens that Funkifabrics reached out to me to ask me if I would like to try out some of their fabrics.  It was pretty easy to say yes but pretty hard to decide what to choose. Have you ever looked through their selection?  If not, I’d recommend going with some search criteria in mind since 1600+ fabrics is a lot to scroll through! I ultimately chose five different prints with the intention of making four different skirts.  However, you’ll notice that I ended up with five skirts… thanks to some careful cutting and some dips into my stash for things like the hidden bloomers and the pleated ruffles and such.

So, here goes – five funky running skirts!

Sew Well + Funkifabrics - Five Funky Running Skirts

Sew Well + Funkifabrics - Five Funky Running Skirts

Sew Well + Funkifabrics - Five Funky Running Skirts

Sew Well + Funkifabrics - Five Funky Running Skirts

First up is probably my favorite.  I can’t even explain how much I like this prism print.  There’s just something about it that screams crazy, trendy running clothes to me, and it makes me feel silly and happy.  Funkifabrics must agree with me because they actually just released a slightly larger version of this print as a technical fabric as well.  The striped ruffle is made from jersey left over from my ombre shingle dress, and the pink ruffle, waistband, and bloomers are made from bamboo jersey left over from my last running skirt.

Not only am I a big fan of the print, but also I learned from comparing this skirt to the others that I prefer the Jalie running skirt without contrast side panels.  Unfortunately, I made all of these skirts assembly-line-style so it was too late to apply this lesson to any of the skirts made here.  Well, too late unless I’m willing to pull out my seam ripper!

Sew Well + Funkifabrics - Five Funky Running Skirts

Sew Well + Funkifabrics - Five Funky Running Skirts

Sew Well + Funkifabrics - Five Funky Running Skirts

Sew Well + Funkifabrics - Five Funky Running Skirts

The black-and-gray chevron print skirt made from the jagger grayscale print is probably my second favorite. This one feels trendy in a stylish-even-outside-the-running-world kind of way, and I have actually already worn it for a day out that had nothing to do with running!  The black ruffle and waistband are made from jersey left over from my Drape Drape 3 No. 3 top.  The inside waistband and bloomers are again made from the pink bamboo jersey left over from my last running skirt.  And, while this skirt has contrasting side panels, I don’t mind them here.  Maybe it’s because the chevron would have been hard to match across those seams, maybe it’s because the skirt is already busy enough, or maybe it’s because the black doesn’t really compete with the busy front and back panels?

Sew Well + Funkifabrics - Five Funky Running Skirts

Sew Well + Funkifabrics - Five Funky Running Skirts

Sew Well + Funkifabrics - Five Funky Running Skirts

Sew Well + Funkifabrics - Five Funky Running Skirts

The navy polkadot and stripe prints are actually the two prints I was most excited about making into a running skirt when I placed my order. I thought they would be so perfect paired together.  They’re printed on the same fabric base so there’s no need to worry about having troubles sewing different types of jerseys together, as I had to deal with when sewing my ombre shingle dress.  And, the navy ink is the same for both, so there’s no need to worry about clashing navy blues.  However, these skirts probably ended up tied for my third favorite because of my preference I’ve now learned I have against contrasting side panels.  I have half a mind to rip them apart and switch the side pieces, but so far I’m leaving them be since I still really like them in theory, and I’m seeing if they’ll grow on me in reality.

Sew Well + Funkifabrics - Five Funky Running Skirts

Sew Well + Funkifabrics - Five Funky Running Skirts

Sew Well + Funkifabrics - Five Funky Running Skirts

Sew Well + Funkifabrics - Five Funky Running Skirts

When I chose the two navy prints, I actually thought I’d only get one skirt out of them.  I knew I liked them both, but at the time I chose the fabrics, I hadn’t decided which print should dominate the front.  When the fabric arrived, my inner debate as to which print should go where kept me from cutting into my fabric right away.  And, that day of extra time is actually what led me to realize that if I used another fabric for the bloomers (again, I used the pink bamboo jersey left over from my last running skirt) and was okay with really skinny pleated ruffles, then I could squeak out two skirts from the fabric I had been given, preventing me from having to make a decision as to whether the stripes or the polkadots should be the main fabric for the skirt.  I used the same idea for the bloomers in all of the other skirts since I then realized it would actually be nice to have the bamboo jersey next to me in all of my skirts.

Sew Well + Funkifabrics - Five Funky Running Skirts

Sew Well + Funkifabrics - Five Funky Running Skirts

Sew Well + Funkifabrics - Five Funky Running Skirts

Sew Well + Funkifabrics - Five Funky Running Skirts

Now, I really like the star print that I used for this last skirt – teal and turquoise are my favorites! – but, I have to rank this skirt as my least favorite of the bunch because of my strange new-found aversion to those silly contrasting side panels. Is it crazy that I think this skirt would have ranked up there with the prism skirt if I’d made it with matching star-print side panels?! Is it even crazier that I think I’m going to rip this skirt apart and replace the side panels? Even though I serged the side seams?!  Ha!  I’ll let you know how it goes!

Bonus:  all of these running skirts feature five pockets.  The two typical side pockets as well as three pockets hidden in the waistband.  I recently posted a tutorial on how I made the waistband pockets, and while they are working out, they are not perfect.  You’d think having made five versions I would have been able to perfect the technique, but since I made them all assembly-line style, I didn’t give myself the opportunity to learn as I went.

These skirts actually mark my first experience with Funkifabrics. After seeing them pop up all over the sewing blogging world, I’d been dying to make a pair of galaxy-print leggings, but I thought that since Funkifabrics was a UK company, they catered to UK customers.  In fact, when we were emailing about fabrics, I asked as much.  It turns out they ship everywhere!  If you’re like me and wondering if their fabric fits into your budget and if you live in the UK or USA, their shipping rates are as follows:

    • UK Mainland Customers
      • £4.95 for 0.5-1 m
      • £5.95 for 1.1-2 m
      • £8.95 for 2-3 m
      • £10.00 for 3.1-70 m
      • Price to be agreed upon for orders 25 kg and above
    • USA Customers
      • £14.00 for 0.5-2.25 m
      • £16.00 for 2.5-4.25 m
      • £18.00 for 4.5-6.25 m
      • £20.00 for 6.5-8.25 m
      • £22.00 for 8.5-10.25 m
      • £24.00 for 10.5-12.25 m
      • £26.00 for 12.5-14.25 m
      • £28.00 for 14.5-16.25 m
      • £30.00 for 16.5-18.25 m
      • £32.00 for 18.5-19.5 m
      • Price to be agreed upon for orders 20 m and above

For everyone else, they charge shipping at cost based on weight, dimension, and destination.  Shipping to some countries is calculated during the checkout process.  Those countries include…

Albania, Andorra, Cyprus, Estonia, Guernsey, Gibraltar, Croatia, Israel, Lithuania, Latvia, Monaco, Malta, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey, Austria, Belgium, Germany, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Finland, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, Bulgaria, Greece, Iceland, Norway, Czech Republic, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Denmark, Netherlands

If your country is not on that list, then when they receive your order, they will reach out to you to collect shipping costs separately. Again, the quote you receive will be the actual cost for the size and weight of your order to your shipping address.​​

So, while those in the UK definitely get cheaper shipping rates when they shop at Funkifabrics, the rest of us aren’t left out if we want some crazy printed lycra for our own stashes.  In fact, after my experience with these fabrics, I took advantage of their recent sale and bought some more crazy prints. I decided four meters was the optimal amount of fabric for my order since it allowed me to be just under the max allowable for their second tier of shipping costs to the USA. I couldn’t even believe it when the fabric showed up three days later! That’s twice as fast as I see from many US online fabric stores. What am I going to do with more crazy prints?! I decided I have enough running skirts for now, so I put the fabric in my soon-but-not-quite-yet pile.  These are being saved for cooler weather since I want to turn them into leggings and running tights – galaxy leggings, here I come! (Note:  I didn’t take advantage of Funkifabrics’ offer of free fabric to make the galaxy-print leggings I’d been dreaming of since I was pretty sure most of you had already seen that done once or twice or five-million times by now.  But, since I am a huge fan of galaxy leggings, I figured it would be okay to use my own money to make them!)

Are you a runner who sews?  A sewer who runs?  Have you ever made your own running or exercise gear? What do you think about crazy prints?

Funkifabrics sent me the printed lycra for review.  All opinions are my own.

Tutorial: Adding Pockets to a Knit Waistband

Sew Well: Tutorial: Adding Pockets to a Knit Waistband

Sew Well: Tutorial: Adding Pockets to a Knit Waistband

Sew Well: Tutorial: Adding Pockets to a Knit Waistband

I recently got inspired to make a million running skirts.  And by a million, I mean five.  But, making five felt like a million because assembly line sewing means even when you’re on the next to last step, you still have so much left to do!  Especially when deconstructing a ready-to-wear waistband pocket modification is your next to last step!

My running skirt pattern of choice is Jalie 2796.  I’ve made it twice before already.  The first time I made it up exactly as prescribed.  The second time I went up a size, chose the view with the wider waistband, and added ruffles to the back since I kind of felt like I was wearing a college party skirt instead of a running skirt whenever I pulled on my first version.

This time I decided to take the skirts up another notch by adding pockets to the waistband.  I was inspired by my favorite ready-to-wear Lululemon capri tights, which have two little pockets hidden in the front of the waistband and a large zippered pocket in the back.  I couldn’t be bothered to add a zipper to all five of the running skirts I was making, so my version has the two pockets in the front and a large non-zippered pocket in the back.

The key to this technique is the fact that the waistband is just a wide band of jersey.  If you double up on the bands and stitch in just the right places, then you magically make pockets!  And, since there are many patterns out there that use a large rectangle of jersey for a waistband, I figured some of you might be interested to know how to add your own pockets to your own knit waistband patterns.

Sew Well:  Tutorial: Adding Pockets to a Knit Waistband

Okay, so first off, you need to cut two waistbands. The waistband on the Jalie pattern is just a simple rectangle with notches in the appropriate places.  I’ve cut one in fashion fabric (the blue polkadot, which came from Funkifabrics) and one in a thin bamboo jersey (the pink, which came from Mood Fabrics). Because you’re adding bulk by adding a second waistband, you want the extra waistband to be as thin as possible while still having the same properties as the fashion fabric.

Sew Well:  Tutorial: Adding Pockets to a Knit Waistband

Stitch the short ends together, just as you typically would.

Sew Well:  Tutorial: Adding Pockets to a Knit Waistband

Place the extra waistband inside the main waistband, right sides together.  Double check that the right sides really are together by confirming that the seam allowances are both facing out!  Align all the notches and either baste or pin the two together.  Here, I’ve just pinned at the seams and all of the notches.  Fold the waistband sandwich in half, just as it will be when it is sewn to the garment, to find the midline. Press to form a crease.  Baste or pin along the crease to keep the two waistbands together.  Here, I’ve pinned at intervals.

Sew Well:  Tutorial: Adding Pockets to a Knit Waistband

Sew Well:  Tutorial: Adding Pockets to a Knit Waistband

Now it’s time to mark your pocket openings. I wanted two pockets in the front, which I centered around the front notches in the Jalie pattern.  I made the opening 2″ wide using this sliding ruler, thinking that that would be a good size for pulling snacks out of them during a long run.  I wanted one pocket in the back, which I centered around the center back seam.  I made the opening 3″ wide so that I could maybe fit a phone in there during my run (still to be determined!).  You are welcome to dream up whatever kind of pockets might work for you during this step.  Have fun and try out different combinations!  I marked the edges of the pocket openings with a red Clover Chaco Liner.

Sew Well:  Tutorial: Adding Pockets to a Knit Waistband

Sew Well:  Tutorial: Adding Pockets to a Knit Waistband

Stitch along the crease marking the midline but only between the pocket openings you marked.  Do not stitch over the pocket openings! Make sure to reinforce the ends of your stitching lines to prevent the seams from ripping as you use your pockets.

Sew Well:  Tutorial: Adding Pockets to a Knit Waistband

Sew Well:  Tutorial: Adding Pockets to a Knit Waistband

Now it’s time to sew the side of the pockets.  Stitch up from one side seam to the already sewn midline on the side of each pocket opening.  I stitched about an inch away from the ends of the openings for each of the front pockets and about an inch and a half away from the ends of the opening for the back pocket. Can you see how the stitching has formed three pocket on the bottom half of the waistband in the two images above? Again, whatever width you choose here is fine.  In fact, I kind of wish I’d added a little opening to that space in the center front since it would be perfect pocket for a single key.

Sew Well:  Tutorial: Adding Pockets to a Knit Waistband

Sew Well:  Tutorial: Adding Pockets to a Knit Waistband

Now it’s time to under stitch! Turn the waistband right side out, and separate the single layer that will make up the front of the waistband from everything else. Mark the ends of the pocket openings with pins since you don’t want to under stitch over them.

Sew Well:  Tutorial: Adding Pockets to a Knit Waistband

Sew Well:  Tutorial: Adding Pockets to a Knit Waistband

Under stitch through every layer but the single layer that will make up the front of the waistband.  I’ve used pink thread here, which was easy to see against the white back of the polkadot but hard to see against the pink.  Hopefully you can kind of make out the glow of the stitches.

Sew Well:  Tutorial: Adding Pockets to a Knit Waistband

Fold the waistband in half, and you’re finished!  The waistband is now ready to stitch onto your garment, just as you typically would.

One note – I did not account for the turn of cloth for simplicity, which is why the bottom edges don’t meet.  It’s a good idea to baste all of the waistband layers together before stitching them to your garment to make up for the difference in the turn of cloth. You wouldn’t want to forget, line up all of the edges, stitch your waistband onto your garment, only to see a bunch of weird puckers. Basting also helps to make sure you catch all of the layers when you stitch your waistband onto your garment, especially if you’re planning on using a serger for the seam.  There’s nothing worse than having to unpick a merged seam for a loose raw edge of fabric!  Well, maybe there are plenty of things that are actually worse than that, but you know what I mean!

Let me know if you use this tutorial or if you have your own preferred method for adding extra pockets into stretchy waistbands like this!

UPDATE:  After wearing the running skirts that I made with this tutorial, I’m not sure I’ve quite perfected my waistband-pocket-making methods just yet. You see, every time I bend over, the top of the waistband keeps flopping over, like so:

Sew Well: Tutorial: Adding Pockets to a Knit Waistband

I’m not sure if the waistband is too high, if it needs some sort of interfacing, or what?  I guess that’s what I get for getting so excited and writing a tutorial without first fully testing out my methods!

Onesies No More

Sew Well - Onesies No More

My daughter is currently obsessed with her belly button. She calls it her “bah bah”. She’s also obsessed with books, and she also calls them bah bahs, so it can be a bit confusing at times, but we figure it out. Anyway, she spends a good chunk of time with at least one finger touching her belly button. She reaches for it when she needs a bit of comfort, and she’s quick to show off her belly if you ask her where her belly button is.

Because of this obsession, we’d stopped putting onesies on her. It was just so sad to see her searching for her belly button and only coming up with fabric.  The onesies she’d been given (we never say no to hand-me-downs!) were just sitting in her drawers, while her few t-shirts were on a heavy wash-wear-repeat cycle.

It finally dawned on me that I could pretty easily convert all of those lonely onesies into belly button friendly t-shirts by just cutting off the bottoms.

Sew Well - Onesies No More

I’d taken them down to my sewing space intending to hem them (another excuse to use my Lite Steam-A-Seam 2!), but then I realized that even though they were tiny, hemming ten little shirts would actually be a lot of work. But, I didn’t want the side seams to start pulling apart after the bottoms of the onesies were cut off and the raw serger ends exposed…

Then I remembered that many of you commented on my post about securing serger ends to say that you often use fray blockers to finish your serger ends. I’d never used anything like it before, but I figured it was worth a try, so off I went to pick up some of my very own.

I chose the June Taylor Fray Block because of this Stitcher’s Guild Forum (thanks Debbie of Stitches and Seams!). The forum had warned me it would be runny, but what I hadn’t expected to find was that I was supposed to hold it under hot water for 3 minutes and then shake it for 30 seconds before use. Is that typical for these types of products?! I can’t seem to find any information on what it’s made out of online. The only thing the tube says is that it’s flammable, so my guess is that it’s some sort of magic anti-fraying compound dissolved in a flammable solvent. The heat and shaking could then be to make sure the magic compound is appropriately mixed with the solvent before use?

Sew Well - Onesies No More

Anyway, long story short – my darling daughter now has ten more t-shirts to add to her rotation, which has slowed the wash-wear-repeat cycle tremendously! The Fray Block has held up to her running and playing, and I’ve actually already used it again on my most recent projects.  Stay tuned for those!