How to Sew the Soft V Neck on the Laminaria Swimsuit

The soft V neck on the Laminaria Swimsuit is really easy to sew and gives you results that are almost as nice as the sharp V neck, so if you’re not looking to give yourself an extra challenge, this is the way to go. Cut your elastic to the length described in the instructions. Mark the center of the elastic with a pen. You can go ahead and write with a ball-point pen or permanent marker (instead of a wash-away marker) since it won’t be seen in the finished suit. Pin the elastic to the inside of the suit. I like to use pins horizontally so I can take them out as I sew. The elastic is the same length as the fabric here so no need to stretch or gather anything. Make sure that your center mark aligns with the center of the V. The exact position of the …

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Ease Into Motherhood

I think it’s important to talk about things that are hard. By sharing struggles we gain strength from knowing we’re not alone, that others have the same struggles and that we can make it through them. When I was struggling in graduate school, I gathered the stories of other sewists who had made it through and found strength in sharing their struggles and successes. Now I’m at the start of a new challenge/adventure – motherhood – and I’ve joined with some sewist friends to talk about our experiences. We’ll be sharing our stories throughout the month of July and we’d love to have you join us. Ease In to Motherhood is a sewists’ celebration of motherhood and the changes it brings to our lives. During the month of July, we invite you to share your experiences of the physical and mental changes of pregnancy, childbirth and/or any other way a …

How to Sew Narrow Swimsuit Straps

There’s something ever so satisfying about a crisp little spaghetti strap. Did you know that narrow swimsuit straps are actually really easy to sew? It’s true! Both 1/4″ and 3/8″ spaghetti straps for swimsuits are deceptively easy because we can sew them around the right size elastic for crisp perfection! Start by cutting a strip of your swimsuit fabric that is 1.5″ wide (works for either 1/4″ or 3/8″ elastic. You can use the same technique for wider elastic to make wider straps though you will need wider fabric strips to start). You can sew a single strap that is twice the length of your finished strap and cut it in half when you are done. Align your elastic to one long edge of your strap on the wrong side of the fabric. You can pin it in place before sewing if you prefer or just feed it carefully as …

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How to Sew the Laminaria Swimsuit with a Mesh Insert

When I was designing the Laminaria Swimsuit I intentionally placed the contrast insets such that they could be sewn in mesh without the swimsuit becoming scandalous. The easiest way to do so is to use mesh for the inserts in View A and use a mesh or skin color lining. However if you take the easy approach your seam allowances may be visible at the edges of your mesh. If you want to guarantee that the mesh looks as clean as possible there are a few changes that you need to make to cutting and construction. They’re not technically challenging but they do require understanding the suit construction so I’d strongly recommend sewing the suit with a standard inset following the normal directions once before attempting mesh. Start by cutting View A out of your fabric using mesh for the inserts. Instead of a full lining, you will cut the lining out of …

How to Sew the Sharp V Neck on the Laminaria Swimsuit

The sharp V neck on the Laminaria swimsuit is a bit tricky to sew. I recommend trying it at least once on a scrap of fabric before you do it on your actual swimsuit. If you find this too hard or don’t want to bother you can always sew the soft V neck instead! So why are we even doing all these weird fussy steps? It effectively adds a seam allowance to the center front V so that you can sew elastic to the edge and turn it to the inside without stretching the center front. The first step is to stabilize the center of the V. If you already basted the body to the lining along the center front that should be enough. If you haven’t, sew for a few inches on either side of the center V 1/4″ from the edge using a straight stitch and pivoting at the …

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Evelyn Rose’s Nursery

As much as I might have had fun gathering inspirational images of the perfect nursery while I was pregnant, when it came down to it, I didn’t have the energy for much of any follow through. And since then? There’s always been something higher on the priority list. But that’s okay. Evie’s got a cute little nursery and while it may not make it into any magazines, it makes her happy, and that’s what matters. Of course it only took me a year to finish it. Ha! You’d think it wouldn’t take so long since the room is tiny. It’s actually just the second closet in our bedroom but it’s been perfect for use as a nursery. (Evie will move downstairs to an actual bedroom at some point in the future.) In my defense, the room has been essentially done since Evie was a couple of months old. There was …

How to Attach the Laminaria Swimsuit Straps

The Laminaria Swimsuit really can be sewn by a confident beginner sewist. I have a selection of photo and video tutorials to give an added boost of confidence. Today, I’ll show you all the steps involved in attaching the straps to the front and back of the suit. I’m showing the steps out of order but clustered by back and front strap attachment so that you can understand the process to the finished swimsuit which should hopefully make the steps intuitive when you reach them in the instructions. Remember, there are 3 options for how you attach your straps. If you want them to go straight in the back or cross in the back, start by attaching the straps to the back of the suit. If you want halter ties, skip over the back attachment steps and only attach them at the front. BACK: In steps 36/37 we pin and baste the …

Shortening/Lengthening the Laminaria Swimsuit

One of the coolest things about sewing your own swimsuit is that you can make the torso the right length. As a tall gal, 1 piece swimsuits have always been my nemesis as there’s nothing worse than rocking a wedgie every time you put on your swimsuit. The Laminaria swimsuit has printed shorten/lengthen lines on the pattern pieces to make shortening and lengthening easy. How can you tell if you need to add/remove length from your swimsuit? The size chart tells you the crotch length that the pattern is designed for which is average for an average height woman (5’6″). If you need more/less length in ready-two-wear swimsuits, you’ll probably want more/less in this swimsuit. However, the only way to tell for sure is to make a muslin out of the same fabric that you will be using for your final suit as small differences in horizontal and especially vertical stretch …

Laminaria Swimsuit Pattern Testers

The most satisfying and inspiring part of any pattern release is seeing it made up by other women! It is so fun to see a collection of different women using different fabric and making different design decisions, all from the same pattern. I was fortunate to have an amazing, inspiring, creative assortment of women that tested the Laminaria Swimsuit and I’m honored to share some of their gorgeous creations and their thoughts on the pattern! (Because this pattern is a swimsuit there were quite a number of women that asked not to be included in this post – they know who they are and I am just as thankful to them for their help!) One thing to note – you may notice that the larger sizes show off more cleavage than the smaller sizes regardless of cup size. The final pattern was regraded across the top range of sizes to fix …

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Introducing the Laminaria Swimsuit!

Introducing…the Laminaria Swimsuit! It’s a one piece swimsuit with a sinuous inset panel that wraps around the body like its namesake kelp. The pattern is fully lined and comes with 2 different cup size options (A-C cup or D-F cup) to make fitting a breeze. View A has decorative inset panels while View B is plain. Either can be sewed with a sharp V neck or an easier to sew rounded V neckline. Instructions are included for optional cup insertion. The straps can be tied around the neck halter style or can be attached to the back either straight down or crossed across the back. And in further exciting news, the pdf pattern is a layered pattern AND it’s also available in print! Buy the Pattern Now Laminaria is the scientific name for kelp (referring to the order Laminariales, family Laminariaciae, or genus Laminaria). When developing the swimsuit, I pictured …

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How to Print a Layered PDF Sewing Pattern

From here on out, SeamstressErin Designs patterns are being published as layered pdfs (wahoo!). What does this mean? It means that each size is on a different layer so that you can select only the size you want to sew for printing. You can also select a cluster of sizes in case you need to grade between sizes or even two totally different sizes if you want to print out your size and your best friend’s size at the same time! Why bother, you might be asking? Of course you can still print all of the sizes like before (pattern pieces are still nested). But you might find it handy to print fewer sizes at a time because the markings on nested patterns can get a bit hard to discern, especially on small pattern pieces. Start by opening your pattern in Adobe Reader. (There are many different programs that open …

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Rainbow Raindrops Waterproof Minoru Raincoat

I live in the Seattle area. You may not have heard this about Seattle, but it rains a fair bit here (ha!). In fact we broke rain records yet again this year so a raincoat is a timely project. Of course I finished it just in time for May flowers instead of April showers (or all winter long incessant drizzle as the case may be). But I can promise you that this raincoat will be getting plenty of wear over the years. Though I didn’t finish many projects this winter, I really took my time with what I did sew to make them as perfect as possible with deluxe fabrics and this coat is no exception (my wool & silk Fumettere and quilted velvet puffer vest being prime examples of what I mean). I used Sewaholic’s Minoru pattern (that I’ve had and been meaning to sew since it came out …

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Baby Pants

There are two types of sewists when it comes to sewing things for babies. There are those that look at pattern pieces for pockets and say “That’s silly, she won’t be needing the pockets. I’ll just leave them off for simplicity’s sake.” And then there are those of us that go “Squee!! Tiny pocketses!!” By looking at the photos of Evelyn’s latest pants, I’m sure you’ll be able to guess which camp I fall into :) I know that babies grow in spurts, but I swear I just blinked and all of the sudden Evie only had 2 pairs of pants that fit her.  Since I try to avoid doing laundry every single day (though sometimes that seems to be inevitable), I grabbed the couple pair of pants that fit her from our island thrift store and I made her a couple of pairs myself. Though it is tempting to …

Fancy Forest Pillows for a Reading Nook

I have a vision of a jewel tone rainbow forest for Evelyn’s bedroom and I’m slooowly working my way there. Evie sleeps in a nursery right now (which is a second closet in our bedroom and just big enough for a crib and a dresser) but she’ll need a bigger room eventually and it’s nice to have a playroom to contain messes because if she’s good at one thing, it’s pulling things out of bins and off of shelves. The first bit of decorating that I’ve done is to make pillows for a reading nook. The thistle and owl quilting patterns for the big pillows are from Elizabeth Hartman’s Fancy Forest quilt pattern (which I am also sloooowly working on for the room). The hedgehog pillow is a panel print intended for a baby quilt that I snagged from my mom’s stash. I sewed the log pillows out of brown …

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How I Organize My Fabric

I have a rather large fabric stash (580 yds when I counted at the beginning of the year). I’m not ashamed. It makes me happy and inspires me. I love having a whole wall of fabric to pick from any time I want to sew. The vast majority of the fabric has been gifted to me or came from the thrift store for $2/yd so it also helps me to sew frugally. However, I also like to be organized and a stash like this certainly needs an system if it’s going to stay organized! I’ve toyed around with various organizational systems, both physical and digital, and have finally settled on a pretty dang simple method that works well for me. I really wanted to find a digital solution that I loved, but there were always flaws. If it was a digital system without photos (like an Excel spreadsheet) then my …

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Wool, Silk, and Leather Luxe Fumeterre

I started this skirt at the beginning of the year. I meant it as a replacement of an old high-waisted wool maxi skirt that I loved in theory, but I had made it so long ago that the shoddy construction I used back then drove me crazy now. I used Deer & Doe’s Fumeterre skirt pattern for a replacement wool skirt. I certainly could have drafted my own 8-gore maxi skirt, but I just couldn’t get over those delicious front pockets. Again, I could have figured them out on my own, but Eleonore had already done the work to get the proportions perfect and I like to support indie designers so I went ahead and bought the pattern. This is a very deluxe skirt that also happens to be quite frugal. I used a gorgeous wool crepe that I picked up at the thrift store for $2/yard, a silk crepe de …

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How I Organize My Zippers

I love organizing things, but sometimes great organization solutions are slow to appear. I think I’ve finally hit upon a pretty dang good one for zippers and I’m excited to share it with you. My zippers were formerly all housed in a nice labelled tupperware together. The problem was, I accumulate zippers since I pick them up at the thrift store and to find the right color/length zipper, I’d have to dump the whole tupperware on the ground and sort through the zippers one by one. And then I reached a point where I had too many zippers to fit in the tupperware so it barely closed so the zippers were constantly spilling and it just wasn’t a good situation. I had a flash of genius (if I do say so myself) that allowed me to easily and visibly organize zippers by type and size. To organize your zippers in the …

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Sunday Stash

A few weeks ago I had a revelation. I can buy fabric. Yeah, that might seem a little ridiculous, coming from a woman who has almost 600 yds of fabric in her stash, but bear with me. Almost all of my stashed fabric has been gifted to me or I’ve bought it at the thrift store for $2/yd. I have one stack of fabric that I bought new while traveling in SE Asia, but generally when I buy new fabric it’s for a specific project that then gets immediately sewn. I don’t stash new fabric. Though I’m generally a pretty frugal person, this has mostly been out of fiscal necessity. But I kinda just realized that I’m no longer a college student just scrimping by or a graduate student just scrimping by. Our household has a stable, comfortable income so it’s okay if I sometimes buy new fabric, even if …

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More Than “Good Enough” Nursing Bra

Apparently “good enough” isn’t good enough. I was sure that the “good enough” nursing bra that I just made was going to last me just fine until I’m done nursing. But sitting down to blog about it got the idea of making a better version stuck in my head. So I used Evie’s nap time the last couple of days not doing any of the tasks I really *should* be doing (or working on one of the other handful of WIPs I already have going) but instead sewing another bra. And I’m pretty well chuffed about it. Never mind that this set of photos look pretty dang close to the last set of photos, I swear they’re of a different and better bra! It’s the same Kwik Sew K3594. I went down one band size and used 2 layers of power mesh for the band (instead of the 2 layers …

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Kate of The Confident Stitch on Sewing & Style

Kate and I first bonded over being tall. Since then we’ve discovered we have a lot in common so she’s definitely become more than just a tall sewing friend – she’s more of a tall big sister cheerleader sewing friend. I’m excited to share her thoughts as part of my Sewing & Style interviews, especially in relation to her own new “baby” – The Confident Stitch fabric store that she recently opened in Missoula, MT (which also has an awesome online shop). Describe your style. I’d call my style Sophisticated and Down-to-Earth. I love high-quality natural fibers and tend to wear neutral solids with an occasional pop of pattern and color. Describe what you sew. I mostly sew clothes, but I also sew some quilts. What inspires or influences your style? I grew up in a fancy town located next door to Berkeley, California. My style is a mash-up of …

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Kwik Sew K3594 Nursing Bra

This bra isn’t that exciting. It’s Kwik Sew K3594 that I converted into a nursing bra. As much as I want to sew only exciting things, apparently practical still wins out occasionally. This bra was meant to be a wearable muslin – I do have pretty fabrics and lace that I want to sew into a bra, but I’m not totally sure what size I should be wearing right now as my bust size has changed yet again since I have been slowly losing weight post baby. Since it’s pretty near impossible to figure out if a bra fits until it’s almost all sewn, I figured I’d start simple and then when I figure out the fit go ahead and use my pretties. I haven’t quite gotten the fit right with this bra. You can see there’s a bit of extra fabric in the bottom of the cup. The one fit …

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#OOTD Month 2: I Quit

I’m not one to give up on things. I finish reading books even if I hate them. I can’t leave a movie half way through. If I find a new musician I like I listen to their whole discography. But I’m already quitting the challenge I gave myself at the beginning of the year. Why? I learned what I needed to learn from it for a while. I challenged myself to take an OOTD photo of myself every day to help me re-figure out my style and to push myself out of dressing like a schlub and back into looking at every day as another chance to play dress up. I learned quite a bit during January about the current state of my closet and the silhouettes that feel good to me right now. I cemented those findings when I read and worked through the Curated Closet. I posted some photos in …

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Electron Layette Pattern Testers

As always, I have so much gratitude for the awesome ladies that help me release patterns by volunteering to be pattern testers. The batch of dedicated and talented folks who helped me with the Electron Layette are no exception! Here are most of their finished garments for your eye candy pleasure! (If you’re interested in helping me pattern test in the future, make sure to sign up here). Carolyn sewed the whole set (aside from hems and topstitching) on her serger. She comments that the “Tips for Sewing Knits” section in the instructions would be “especially helpful for people new to sewing, or just new to sewing knits.” (As a side note, I’m seriously crushing on that floral print for myself!) Maria (Blog & Instagram) used a stretchy knit for all of the pattern pieces for a slightly different look but it sure does look cute on her 2 year old …

Electron Layette Sewalong: Sweatshirt

The first step is to select your fabric. The sweatshirt calls for a mid-weight knit with less than 20% stretch. This means fabrics like french terry, sweatshirting, even fleece or ponte. For more about selecting fabric, see the post on Choosing Fabric for the Electron Layette. Along with your fabric, the notions you need are snaps and interfacing. Cut your fabric. If you cut your pattern pieces out with your fabric on a single layer you can squeeze it into a smaller amount of fabric. Regardless, you need to end up with 2 fronts (mirror images of each other), 2 sleeves, 2 pockets (optional), 1 back, and 1 back neck facing. Note that there are two options for the neck facing piece – one has size 3 months, 9 months, and 18 months on it while the other has size newborn, 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years on it. The …

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The Curated Closet and Curating My Own Closet

As I’ve talked about before, I’m currently re-discovering my style in my stay-at-home life, in my post-baby body. I’ve never really quite been able to put a finger on what my style is, but it has been bothering me recently. The only style book that I’ve ever connected with is Women In Clothes (my review here) and it’s an awesome inspiration for letting your own freak flag fly, but it’s not so much help in figure out what your own freak flag looks like. Enter The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees. It’s a great book that describes a really easy way to figure out your own style and to build your own wardrobe around it. No trying to make yourself fit into a prescribed category, no lists of things you need to have, no pressure to have a capsule wardrobe. I highly recommend it for anyone who wants a bit of …

Electron Layette Sewalong: Pants

The first step in sewing your Electron Layette Pants is to select your fabric. Paying attention to stretch, you can use a variety of fabrics including jersey, interlock, ponte, and sweatshirting. For a thorough walk-through, read/watch Choosing Fabric for the Electron Layette. Cutting the Electron Layette pants is quite simple. You need 1 Front, 1 Back, and 2 Waistbands. Cut the fabric on a single layer and, if your fabric is directional, make sure that your pattern pieces are facing the same direction. Make sure that the direction of greatest stretch is perpendicular to the selvedge so that it stretches most around the body of the baby/pants. Place the Front and Back right sides together and sew the side seam using a 3/8″ seam allowance. Since your fabric has stretch, you will want to make sure that you are using a stitch that stretches. If you have a fancy stretch …

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Introducing the Geometric Table Runner

Though it’s clear my biggest obsession is garment sewing, I do dabble in many things textile related and quilting is certainly on that list. I originally wrote the pattern for this Geometric Table Runner for Sewing World Magazine, May 2014 where it was called “Tangerine Dream”. After getting a couple of requests for the pattern since then, I decided it was about time to dust it off, reformatted it, and expand and illustrate the instructions. The pattern is really quite simple so it’s approachable for beginning quilters. More experienced quilters can have fun playing with quilting in the large open spaces or getting creative with fabric choices. The pattern uses 5 separate fabrics. I’ve made the table runner twice for my house and it’s quite remarkable how different it can be when comparing an assortment of high contrasting solids to using low volume prints. We’ve changed color palettes again so maybe I …

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Quilted Velvet Puffer Vest

When winter set in and I started thinking about what I wanted to wear, vests were at the top of my list. I tried a quick-and-easy vest and it was a hilarious flop, so I started working on making myself a quilted velvet vest. And I slooowly worked on it, and worked on it, and worked on it. It’s finally done (just in time for the weather to warm up, of course) and I don’t want to take it off, inside or outside. I think it’s the perfect blend of unique, comfy, practical, and pretty for me. I’m kinda obsessed. Before you get too gaga about my velvet puffer vest, I have to admit that it’s not actually a silk velvet. It’s an upholstery velour or velveteen (I so remain perpetually a bit confused about the nuances of difference between velvet – velveteen – velour) which sounds decidedly less glamorous, …

Electron Layette Sewalong: Bib

The first step is to select your fabric. There are many options for the bib. You can use fabric with or without stretch though it will be easier to sew without stretch. I recommend cotton for drool absorption purposes. If you use a layer of waterproof fabric in the middle it will prevent drool from leaking onto baby’s shirt. For more about selecting fabric, see Choosing Fabric for the Electron Layette. Along with your fabric, you need a piece of velcro. The pattern calls for a 3/4″ square of velcro, but really anything in a similar size will work – 1/2″ to 1″ will work just fine. If you don’t like velcro (or don’t have any on hand), or if your babe is prone to just yanking the velcro’d bib right off, you can substitute a snap for the velcro. If you choose to use a snap, make sure that you still …

Electron Layette Sewalong: Hat

The first step is to select your fabric. You need to choose a knit with at least 30% stretch so that it comfortably stretches on for wear on baby’s head. For more about selecting fabric, see the post on Choosing Fabric for the Electron Layette. You don’t need any notions for this hat. Start by cutting out your hat. You need to cut two copies of the hat and make sure that the direction of greatest stretch goes horizontally across the hat so that it stretches around baby’s head. You can cut the pattern piece twice on a single layer of fabric or once on a folded piece of fabric. The first thing to do on any sewing pattern, after you have cut out the pattern pieces, is to transfer any markings from the pattern to the fabric. The Electron Layette hat has three markings that we need to transfer …