Free Pattern for July!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

I've got thick thighs. They're muscular from carrying around lazy pugs, hauling babies up stairs, and... a they're little chubby due to my love of ice cream and chocolate and poutine.  When I was younger, I used to be very thin, but age has but a few extra pounds on me. I don't really mind, but one thing that is a little annoying is when you're wearing a skirt or dress on a hot summer day and your sweaty thighs rub against one another as you're walking... The dreaded thigh chafe.

I tried making lace bands, but they just rolled up or fell down. I tried powders and creams, but those didn't last. So, I made some 1990's style bike shorts... and finally found something that works!

Get the Pattern Here
These are your basic fitted bike short. They have no side seam, and the pattern consists of only two pieces: The Shorts Piece and a Gusset. I added a gusset so you can wear these a la carte if you wish. 

It hasn't been terribly hot here this summer (not complaining), but I've still been getting a lot of wear out of these. They're great for under too-short skirts and dresses, or for wearing to bed with a tank top! I'll be honest... I sometimes just wear them all day because, let's face it, they're kind of cute.

I've added a size to this pattern: XXL. I personally find the sizing to be generous, especially if you sew these out of a good, 4-way stretch fabric.

These shorts don't require much... just some stretchy knit fabric (cotton/lycra is ideal), some wide stretch lace, a little fold over elastic for the waist (though I'm sure you could also make a casing and use regular elastic), and some thread. I've already made myself 3 pairs of these!

This pattern will be available for FREE for the month of July on Craftsy. After July it will no longer be free, so download it while you can!

PS. Today is my birthday!

PPS. I named these after Hilda the curvy pin-up.

New Pattern Collection

Saturday, June 27, 2015

I started working on these patterns right after I had Isabel. At first, things were easy... Izzy slept so much. Then she discovered the world and decided she never wanted to sleep again... But, with a whole lot of trial and error, lots and lots of patience, sticking to a routine, and a really good babysitter, I have finally accomplished something!

I wanted to create a collection of lingerie that could double as lounge wear. Comfortable, versatile pieces that are easy to sew. I wanted to take some vintage pieces, like '20's style tap pants and cami-knicker combo's, but modernize them. So, here they are! I hope you like them as much as I do!

The Alice Knickers are my take on 1920's style tap pants.  They have a modern low rise, and semi-circular cut which gives them a soft fluttery look.

I have a small collection of vintage slips. I've written about my love of slips before... they are so great to wear to bed. They are comfy but also so pretty. I've designed the Clementine Slip to be tight fitting, with just a little support under the bust.

The Eloise Shorts are perfect for wearing to bed. They are super short and have a low rise. I'm a lady with a bit of a tummy and like low rise garments because it doesn't cut into my new mom soft belly. The shorts have a flat front, but elastic at the back.

I posted a picture of the Emma Romper on Instagram months ago and had so many people asking me for this pattern! It took forever, but here it is. I've already posted a tutorial on how to sew it with a cinched waist.

The Hannah Chemise is one of my favorites. I came up with this style soon after I had Isabel and was still sporting a pretty significant belly. The soft gathers at the waist are so forgiving. The banding around the top allows you to experiment with different fabric combinations!

The Ivy Lace Panties are designed specifically for use with Scalloped Stretch Lace. I recommend using 8-9" wide stretch lace. I know that can be a tricky width to find, but Sew Sassy stocks it in quite a few colours.  You can sometimes also find regular width stretch lace that has a scalloped edge.

The Josephine Bralette is a style I've been making for a while. I really like it because it allows you to combine contrasting fabrics. The Josephine Bralette can be sewn two ways - either with a racer back or traditional hook and eye closure,

View A of the Nora Panties is my favourite thing right now! I want to make a dozen of these for myself. They are so comfortable and flattering. The Nora Pattern an be sewn so many ways. The pattern comes with instructions on how to make three variations... but I can think of a few other ways to sew them that would be fun too.

Lastly, is the Scarlett Bra. This is also a style that I've had in my lingerie shop for a while. The Scarlett pattern comes with instructions on how to style this bra two different ways. Racer back bras are my favourite right now. I'm not sure what it is, but I find them so comfy, and I love how they accentuate the shape of the back...

One of the new things I've been doing is working on some video's. I've started a YouTube Channel, where I post some demo's. If you've never sewn lingerie before and need a little help with the instructions, I'm hoping the video's will be a help to you.

I have one more thing in store to share with you... but that will have to wait for another day! I hope you like the patterns. 

Ohhh Lulu Pattern Hack: Advanced Techniques for the Emma Romper

Hey guys! I finally released my romper pattern... I LOVE this pattern. It's so versatile and comfy.

In my instructions for the Emma Romper, I give the basic assembly method...  I thought it might be fun to show you how you can take this pattern to the next level with some more advanced techniques! The basic assembly remains the same, but the finishing will be finer. Instead of doing serged seams, I'll show you how to sew french seams. We'll finish the crotch with bias tape and snaps (hand sewn or hammered), and add some gentle shirring to the waist.

What You'll Need:
1. The Emma Romper Pattern
2. A fabric with a good drape. I'm using a Liberty of London silk.
3. Lace trim for the neck and legs.
4. Sew in or Hammer in Snaps
5. Small Scrap of Interfacing
6. 1/2" Strapping and bra strap rings & sliders
7. Needles and Thread

1. Begin by applying lace along Front Neckline, as indicated in the Pattern Instructions.

2. With the wrong sides together, pin your center front seam. Stitch together using only a 1/4" Seam allowance.

3. Trim back seam allowance to approximately 1/8".

4. Using a warm iron, press seam allowance to one side. Then fold your garment along the center front seam, and press flat.

5. Stitch seam closed using a narrow, 1/4" seam allowance.

6. Repeat the same process on the Center Back and Side Seams. 

 7. Sew lace onto the right side of the garment. Turn seam allowance under and press. Top stitch in place. An extra pretty way to finish the leg openings would be with appliqued lace. Check out my hero, Carine Gilson for some dreamy inspration.

 8. In this intance, I've finished the raw edge of the crotch seam with self fabric. I measured the width of the crotch seam (including the lace portion) and added 1/2" to either side. I wound up with a measurement of 5". I cut 2 pieces of fabric and 2 pieces of light weight interfacing that were 5x2"

 9. Iron interfacing onto the wrong side of your fabric strips. Fold in half lengthwise and press.

10. Pin and stitch on to the right side of the Front of the Romper.

11.Turn under the raw ends of your fabric strip.

12 Turn strip towards the inside of the garment, and top stitch all the way around the exterior of the strip. Repeat this process on the opposite side.

13. You can either hand sew on snaps or try your hand at hammered in snaps. I ended up putting hammer-in snaps in mine, but they aren't quite as perfectly set as I would have liked!

14. Finish the upper edge and straps as indicated in the pattern.

15. To add some quick contouring around the waist, Try on the romper while it's inside out. Find your natural waist, which is the narrowest part of your torso (you can also use the waist line guide on the pattern pieces) and mark that part at each seam with a pin (or use dressmakers chalk). I suggest trying on the garment to find your natural waist because waist height varies greatly. My waist is super high. My friend's waist is perfectly in the middle of her torso... everyone is different.

16. I used some soft, 1/2" elastic to cinch in the waist of my romper. To do this I used my pins as a guide and zig-zag stitched the elastic onto the inside of the garment. Pull on the elastic as you stitch. This creates soft gathers and will pull in your waistline. Alternatively, you could also sew a casing onto the inside of your garment, and draw elastic through the casing. Adding button holes and a drawstring would be fun too! I have also finished these with long satin sashes tied at the waist.

Now you're ready for some seriously luxurious lounging.

Sarah & Ava Retro Swimsuit Tutorial Part 2

Sunday, May 24, 2015

It's time for Part Two of my Retro Bikini Tutorial. I've done a tutorial on how to sew the Ava Panties as Bikini Bottoms before. I did this version just a little differently. I wanted to add a contrasting band around the waist and omit the elastic around the legs. I have full hips and thighs, so these bottoms fit snug as they are. If you're on the thinner side, you might want to add elastic or bind your leg openings like we did on the Bikini Top.

1. To make the waistband, I roughly measured the waist of the panties front and back. I cut a size medium, which had the same measurement for front and back. I then drew a straight waistband, which was 2" wide with 1/2" seam allowance on either side. I indicated cut 2 on my new pattern piece, as my front and back measurement was the same.

 2. Cut your fabric - I'm lining the entire thing.

3. Baste your front lining to the swimsuit front.

4. Like we did with the swimsuit, we're going to sew the lining and swim fabric all in one motion. Begin by layering: Back Self (rightside up), Front Basted Self (rightside down), then Lining. Pin together if needed and sew your seam. Now your crotch seam allowance in encased between your layers.

5. Sew your side Seams and try them on. They should fit snug all over.

 6. Sew the waistband into a continuous loop. Fold in half and press with a light iron. Attach to the waist of the panties, lining up your side seams.

7. I top stitched down my waistband seam allowance using a twin needle.

8. To finish the legs I simply finished the raw edges with my serger, then turned the edges and top stitched them with a twin needle. You can also finish with a zig-zag stitched hem, bind the legs, or use elastic.

That's it! I've found it takes some getting used to sewing swim fabrics. They are slippery and can be hard to manage. But, the more bathingsuits I make, the better they get!

Here I am in mine. Neverind the pug butt and falling down fence. I made Izzy a matching suit too! Now hopefully the weather gets a little warmer so I can test mine out at the beach.

Sarah & Ava Retro Swimsuit Tutorial Part 1

Friday, May 22, 2015

We had frost here last night...

BUT! I'm not going to let that get me down!  Last weekend I made this swimsuit. I was inspired by Alexia (from Whimsy Tails ) who made an amazing 2-piece version of my Abigail Swimsuit. You can see it on her Instagram. I really loved the way she place the stripes on the top. I decided I'd give it a go using my Sarah & Ava Pattern to do something kind of similar. I really loved how it turned out and I get lots of emails about using my patterns for swimwear so I thought I'd offer an indepth tutorial.

What you'll need:
1. The Sarah Bralette Pattern and Ava Panties Pattern
2. Coordinating Swimsuit (Spandex) fabric.
3. Swimsuit Lining
4. Thread
5. Twin Needle
6. Rotary Cutter (optional, but handy)

1. Print out your patterns.

2. Trim away margins where indicated.

3. Tape pattern together.

4. Optional: I wanted to have a diamond motif pattern layout on the back, so I added seam allowance to both my back pieces, instead of cutting them on the fold.

5. Make adjustments. I have a slightly larger cup size than what I've drafted this pattern for. All I have done is cut between a size small and medium. If you need a significant change to the bust area, you can slash and spread the cups to increase the size. You can also wing it, like I sometimes do, by just exaggerating the curve of the cup and adding some height. If you are more petite, just straighten that sucker out. Check out my tutorial on adjusting the cup size of my Jasmine Bra for some further instruction.

Cutting between a small and medium

5. Optional Pattern Placement: I have drawn a line on my pattern pieces so I know where to place my stripes. I wanted to create a chevron motif over the bust so I took a little bit of time before cutting my fabric to make pattern placement indicators on my pattern pieces.

7. Cut your fabric! For a swimsuit, you'll need to cut Lining & Swim Fabric. You don't have to line the back, but I think it makes for a nicer suit.

8. Cut your binding. Using a contrasting fabric, cut several long strips of binding (stretch should be going lengthwise). I cut mine in 1 inch strips, as I wanted narrow, quarter inch straps and binding. Cut accordingly! Using a rotary cutter makes life a lot easier.

9. Baste lining to Front Cup.

10. We're going to line and sew our cup seams in one motion so that our seam is encased between the lining and swim fabric. Layer your pieces like so: Side Cup Lining, Basted together Front Cup (lining side down), finished with Side Cup (right side down). Sew your seam (1/2" Seam Allowance). Why do it like this? This way your lining and exterior fabric won't shift and you'll have less seam allowance to worry about between your layers. I'm serging my seams, but you can also just use a zig-zag stitch.

11. Prepare your binding by turning under the raw edges by  1/4" and pressing with a warm iron. Careful not to melt your farbric!

 12. Baste Binding along front edge of cup using a narrow zig-zag stitch. Gently pull on the binding as you stitch. You wan the suit to contour along your bustline. When you're done, turn the binding under and top stitch with a twin needle. If you don't have a twin needle, you can also zig-zag stitch. The binding gets applied exactly the way you'd apply any binding (though I apply mine to the right-side first). I made a Video! Watch!

Raw edge trimmed back, binding is ready to be turned under and top stitched.

Twin-stitched binding.

 13. Baste Lining to Center Front Band.

14. Just like we did with the cups, we're going to sew our lining and exterior fabric in one motion. Layer your fabric like so: Side Front Band Swim fabric, Center Front Band Basted Piece (Swim Fabric Down), finished with the Side Front Lining. Sew your seam, and now your seam allowance is encased.

15. Stitch cups to Front Band

16. Prepare your back pieces. If you're doing it like me, you'll have to sew your Center Back Seams. Then, go ahead and baste your lining to your swim pieces. Stitch your Upper Back to your Lower Back.

17. Sew your side seams then try this baby on! If you're happy with the fit, finish your seams by serging or zig-zag.

18. Apply Band Elastic on the inside of the garment using a wide Zig Zag stitch, as indicated in the pattern instructions. I have also made a video to show you exactly how to do it. 

 19. Now it's time to bind the upper edge of our tops. I used a length of binding approximately 80" long (I had to attach two pieces in order to get this length). I started basting on my binding approximately 31" down the length of the binding - this extension forms your strap. You will be left with a long extension on the opposite end as well.

20. Folding your binding in half, and making sure all of the raw edges are turned towards the inside, top stitch with a twin needle.

21. Cut your straps so that they are both an even length and tie the ends into knots.

22. Cut a strip of elastic approximately the same lenth as the bottom of your top. Stitch it into a loop.

23. Pin the binding evenly around the bottom of your swimsuit top and baste on. Finish just like we did all of the other bindings by top stitching with a twin needle.

I'll post the tutorial for the coordinating bottoms in a separate post!

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