Nautilus Swimsuit View B

View B of the Nautilus Swimsuit is the bikini versions with sexy twists at hip bone that echo the twist in the center front of the bikini top. At this point in the sewalong you should have read through the various posts on swimsuit sewing techniques and have sewn the swimsuit top with its straps and closure. The steps below are numbered like they are in the written instructions so you can check back and forth. Sewing the twists onto the sides of the Bottom is just like sewing the twist at the center of the Top, so you might want to give the Top Sewalong instructions a quick read-over before sewing the top if you haven’t looked through them recently. [78] Sew the Bottom Front Facings to the Bottom Front Lining on either side, right sides together. Match the notches. When you sew, stop with the needle down at the center …

Installing a Swimsuit Hook and Straps

Sewing clasps and straps onto a swimsuit are often the final finishing touches. There both pretty easy but somehow it’s always the last steps that seem to never get done, or is that just me? While these photographs are from construction of the Nautilus Swimsuit, you can use the same techniques to sew a clasp and straps on to any swimsuit that hooks in the back and has straps that go over the shoulders. If you’re having a hard time sourcing swimsuit hooks, I can suggest 1″ metal clasps that are up for sale in my shop. Sewing a Swimsuit Clasp: Start by threading one arm of your suit back into the closed loop portion of your swimsuit hook. You want the hook to be pointing down. Depending upon the width of your back and the width of your clasp, you may have to gather your back a little in to the clasp. …

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How to Insert Bra Cups into a Swimsuit

Adding cups to a swimsuit pattern is actually an easy modification that can make your suit instantly more supportive and comfortable. It’s pretty easy to slip swimsuit or bra cups into a suit or with a bit more work you can even add a cup with an underwire! Choosing cups: There are many kinds of different bra cups out the biggest consideration you need to make is whether it’s the type of cup that is comfortable to you. You can buy softer cups that don’t give a lot of support but do provide a bit of modesty. Foam cups are a great choice for both support and modesty. If your foam cups aren’t specifically labeled for swimsuits, make sure that they don’t retain a lot of water like a sponge when they are wet! I find one of the best ways to source cups is to go to a thrift …

Nautilus Swimsuit Sewalong View A

All views of the Nautilus Swimsuit start the same, so if you haven’t already, go sew the steps in the Nautilus Swimsuit Top and then pop back on over here. The steps are numbered like they are in the illustrated instructions included with the pattern so you can go back and forth between them as you see fit. [47] Sew the Bottom Front to the Bottom Back along the sides, right sides together. [48] Sew the Bottom Front Lining to the Bottom Back Lining along the sides, right sides together. [49] Pin the Bottom Front to the Bottom Front Lining, right sides together, with the Top in between.  You want the side seams to match and the notches on the Bottom Front to match those on the Bottom Front lining and to line up with the seam between the Top Front Facing and Top Front Lining on the Top. The right …

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How to Add a Contrast or Finished Edge to a Swimsuit

The standard for both ready-to-wear and handmade swimsuits is to sew elastic to the inside, fold it over, and sew another line of stitching to keep it in place. For an alternative, you can add a bit of extra pizzazz to your suit with a contrast edging using one of two different techniques – fabric strips or fold over elastic. Additionally, you can use either technique to get a much cleaner finish on the inside than you can with the traditional technique. Before getting started with this finished edge tutorial, make sure you have read How to Sew Elastic to a Swimsuit. Note: Both of these techniques increases the size of each finished piece when compared to the traditional way of folding the elastic to the inside. Why is that? You lose 1/4″ from every edge when you fold the elastic to the inside. When you use the fabric strip …

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Sewing Elastic to a Swimsuit

For most swimsuits, ready-to-wear or handmade, the edges of the swimsuit are stabilized and finished with elastic. The elastic is sewn to the inside of the suit and then folded over and topstitched. It’s really quite simple to do and with a few extra tips and tricks, you can have a perfectly awesome elastic insertion on your own swimsuit! Stitches: When you sew the elastic to the inside of your swimsuit, you should use a wide zig-zag. If you have a stretch zig-zag stitch on your machine, this is a great place to use it. If not, use your normal zig-zag on its widest setting. This will securely attach the elastic to the suit and allow it to stretch. When you fold the elastic over, you can use the same wide zig-zag, a narrower zig-zag, or a straight stretch stitch (also called a lightning stitch) depending upon how you want …

Sewing the Nautilus Swimsuit Top

With information on selecting swimsuit fabric, swimsuit pattern size, and grading/fitting a swimsuit pattern under our belts, lets jump in to sewing the Nautilus Swimsuit! This part of the sewalong will take us through sewing most of the Top which is the same for Views A, B & C. The steps are numbered like they are in the illustrated instructions included with the pattern so you can go back and forth between them as you see fit. [8] Take the Top Front Facing and place it right sides together against the Top Front Lining. You will be matching a single notch to do this. Sew until you have reached the center point of the V – this is a convex point on the Facing and a concave point on the Lining. With your needle down, pivot the fabric so that it lines up for the rest of the seam and finihs …

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Fitting & Grading the Nautilus Swimsuit

The principles of fitting and grading any swimsuit are pretty similar, so no matter what pattern you are using, you’ll hopefully find some helpful information to fit and grade any swimsuit sewing pattern amongst the specific example of the Nautilus Swimsuit. Before you start any fitting and grading, make sure you are starting with the best base size by reading How to Choose a Swimsuit Pattern Size. Cup Size: The Nautilus Swimsuit pattern has 4 different cup size options ranging from AA to DD+. Measure the difference between your full bust and your under bust to get your suggested size. 0-1″ = AA, 1-3″ = A/B, 3-5″ = C/D, and >5″ = DD+. However, this is just a starting point (like any other sizing) and you will want to make a muslin to determine that you are getting a proper fit. What might cause the wrong fit? The cups on …

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How to Choose a Size on a Swimsuit Pattern

When I’m sewing a pattern that I haven’t sewn before, I usually jump straight to the pattern pieces and measure the high bust and the hip to choose what size I will sew. Patterns often don’t list their finished measurements and sizing charts often don’t say how much ease they include but a pattern piece reveals all. However, this technique falls apart when selecting a swimsuit size for many reasons. Below, I’ll detail these reasons and explain what to consider instead so that you can best select the size of your swimsuit sewing pattern. Note: Like any sewing pattern, when sewing a swimsuit you can have a pretty good guess about the right size to start with, but you are well served to make a muslin and use that to fit adjustments specific to your body. Ease: For fitted garments with stretch, 0-2 inches of negative ease gives a pretty …

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Vintage Chicken Tea Cozy and Some Pot Holders

I really needed some oven mitts and pot holders for our new kitchen. I used the scraps from the strawberries and gingham dress I just made as well as some pink hand dyed fabric that was my grandmother’s. (The square potholders also got the scraps of the black floral lining from my first presidio purse demo).  The edges are finished with red bias tape from my stash and they are interlined with two layers of interfacing – some basic cotton batting and insul-bright insulated lining. Cute, easy, and functional. I was talking with my mom the other day and said “I don’t really like kitsch” and she laughed in my face. So I had to amend my statement. “I’m very selective about my kitsch.” This scrappy chicken tea cozy in pink and red and strawberries and gingham? My kind of kitsch. Since I was sewing up the potholders I kinda …

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How to Choose Swimsuit Fabric

With all of the amazing looking swimsuit fabrics out there, it can be a bit intimidating to actually choose a fabric. “What are the kind of things to look for when I buy swimsuit fabric?” you might be asking. Well, have no fear – I’m here to tell you! At least I’m here to show you the sorts of things that I look for when I buy swimsuit fabric. If there’s something you look for that I haven’t included, please chime in in the comments! Fiber Content: The first thing that I look for is fiber content. Note that there can be a fair bit of variety in the names used to label the synthetic fibers and many of them mean the same thing. Swimsuit fabric is almost always 80-90% polyamid, polyester, nylon, or another similar synthetic fiber. The other 10-20% is spandex, lycra, or elastane (all of which are …

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Pattern Testers for the Nautilus Swimsuit

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 Nautilus Swimsuit and I’m honored to share some of their gorgeous creations (and to hand out completely arbitrary and useless awards to thank them!). (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!) Mariah of Blackberry Jamble wins most classic for her cute black and white polka dot. (I made some of my initial samples in the same fabric!) She said after taking …

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Strawberries and Gingham Vintageish Sundress

So here’s a hypothetical question for y’all – where’s the line for calling something vintage? Or even vintage inspired? Because I just drafted this dress (and it’s 2015, in case you forgot) but it strikes me as 70’s does 50’s. As I was working on this dress I realized that with every decision that I made it looked more and more like Vintage Simplicity pattern 6926, from 1976, that I used on my Southwest Eyeblinder Dress. I pleated a dirdnl style skirt instead of a 4-panel A-line and I pleated the ruffle instead of gathering it which give it more of a 50’s feel. Oh yeah, and I added a waistband. And the straps are different. So I guess that just means that what’s similar is the fact that it’s a sundress with a princess seam bodice that dips down a little in the back. Is this dress a modern …

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Pink Anchor Dress I Will Never Wear

I guess the title kinda gives away the punchline, no? I do adore the dress in the photo above. But before I zoom in on its faults, let me step back a bit and tell you why I sewed this dress. Everyone has their least favorite tasks when sewing. Many people complain about cutting fabric, which I actually happen to love. My least favorite part of sewing is fitting. I do not have a straight-from-the-envelope body which is one of the major reasons I started sewing, so I spend a fair bit of time fitting every new pattern that I sew. I also tend to sew a pattern once and, even if I love it, never get around to a next time. Well, recently I had this revelation that if I sewed a pattern more than once, I wouldn’t have to spend time fitting it on any future versions. Duh! …

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Happy Hippo Dress

I know that just about every time I sew a new dress I go on about how it’s my favorite. And I totally recognize that the sillier the fabric I use for the dress is, the more I rave about how it’s going to be a wardrobe staple (e.g. my Farm Animals dress, Southwest Eyeblinder dress, or Baseball Staple dress). And, recognizing my behavior patterns, I’m going to repeat them. Because OMG look at this dress! It’s my new favorite thing and I’m going to wear it all the time!! For serious! So where do I find all this amazing/ridiculous/awesome fabric? The thrift store. All of those amazing/ridiculous/awesome dresses were sewn from fabric I bought at the thrift store, most from Granny’s Attic, the thrift store on my island. When I lived in San Francisco I didn’t have nearly such good luck finding awesome fabrics at thrift stores because everything was …

How to Turn a Soccer Jersey into a Bike Jersey

If you’re a member of my family, summer means bike rides. Well, to be perfectly honest, summer means not having to ride your bike in the rain, because riding happens year-round. So summer means even more bike rides and we are all gearing up for the start of summer and the (continuation) of bike rides! My stepdad recently asked me to help convert some of his old soccer (or football since he’s a Brit) jerseys into bike jerseys so that he could get more wear out of them since you’d be hard pressed to find him on a soccer field and hard pressed to find a day that he’s not on his bicycle. You need:  – a soccer jersey (or any other type of sport shirt that breathes. Shirts from ultimate frisbee, marathon running or American football will work just as well). The shirt should be fairly fitted. – a rectangle …

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Red & White & Retro Summer Outfit

We’ve had some sunshine and warm weather the last few days that make it feel like summer is definitely on it’s way, and I can think of no better way to celebrate the arrival of summer than with this sunny outfit! I sewed the outfit from vintage reproduction patterns from the 1950’s – Simplicity 1426 and Simplicity 1166. The fabric was provided by Minerva Crafts for being a part of their blogging network. I made the top from a lovely polka dot print cotton poplin. The poplin isn’t opaque, so I lined it with a white muslin since if I self-lined it, the polka dots would have showed through. I made the skirt from a solid cotton poplin. The color was called “claret” which I think is a good description of the true color, although I was hoping it would turn out a bit more true red like the polka-dots since …

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One Hour Halter in Sew News June/July 2015

My super fast, super easy, and super cute (if I do say so myself) one hour halter pattern is in Sew News magazine this June/July. One of the perks about needing to sew samples for magazine articles is getting to keep the finished garments, and since magazines run on such long lag times, it feels like Christmas when they come back to me – since I’ve just about forgotten them it’s like they’re brand new to me! The color of the sample on the model doesn’t look great on me but it’s good on my mom so she’s a happy recipient of that one (as well as both tunics from my last Sew News article. Lucky mom!). I’m digging the fact that I have a metallic gold version for myself now – I just have to actually go out some evening so I get the chance to wear it! I …

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SATC Skirt

I’m calling this skirt Silliness and the City (or SATC for short). Because clearly, the thing that I needed in my wardrobe to prepare for a week spent in New York City is a puffy fuchsia tulle skirt. I wore it almost every day and absolutely adored it. It’s the perfect wardrobe staple that carries from daytime wear with a t-shirt and slip-ons to a night on the town with a sexy top and heels. Okay, I understand it’s not a wardrobe staple for everyone, but for me, this is gonna be a workhorse! The fabric was given to me by White Tree Fabrics. It’s a circle skirt with a bottom layer of cerise poly satin and 5 layers of tulle (what they call hexagon pure net) on top. White Tree has an overwhelming selection of nets, but I emailed with them about what I wanted to sew and what …

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Stretch Denim Capris

Only fellow sewists would understand the reason why I sewed these capris – I wanted to work on my crotch. Most of my sewing projects are inspired by certain fabric or a certain pattern that simply must become a garment I can wear. Occasionally I recognize a gap in my wardrobe and seek to fill it. In this case, it wasn’t so much inspiration or even a need for the capris as a desire to put the dreaded crotch curve in its place that drove my sewing. The couple of times that I’ve sewn stretch denim jeans I wasn’t terribly happy with the crotch curve, especially the front crotch curve (first with my vivacious pink jeans and then my giant cuffed gingers). I think it comes down to being afraid of over-fitting, but if I try on the couple pairs of RTW jeans I have that sorta fit, I have …

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Introducing the Conifer Skirt!

I initially developed this skirt after getting a little too excited about a purple and green striped jersey that I found on an outrageous sale and bought kind of a ridiculous amount of it. I wanted to sew a maxi skirt since I love wearing skirts, I especially love wearing maxi skirts, and the idea of a maxi skirt from a comfy knit sounded like a dream. I wanted to play with the stripes, so I put giant shingles of fabric on the maxi skirt. The initial drafts of the skirt in the purple and green stripes have since gone the way of the thrift store (that’s why it’s pattern development – there have been definite improvements since that first draft!) but I found that I loved wearing the shingled maxi and that the base skirt that the shingles are layered on makes a great, simple skirt on its own. Since the …

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Red Plaid Bruyere Flop

This is my unhappy face. This blouse had every potential for being a a perfect addition to my wardrobe, but (like a recent sweatshirt), it just doesn’t do it for me. I love the pattern (having made a chambray bruyere already) and I perfected the fit on my last blouse. Moreover, I LOVE this fabric – it was part of the box of my Rambo fabric, and I’ve since used it on my favorite romper and the sample blouse I wore on my SewItAll TV appearance. It’s a heavy gauze and paired with the black Kona quilting cotton as accent (and for some strength on the waistband and button placket), would make the perfect spring blouse. The problem with the fabric is that I had just barely enough to eke out this blouse. I was able to do a bit of pattern matching (like making the left front match the …

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Purple Wool Jersey Vintage Simplicity 6934

This luscious fabric, given to me by Minerva Crafts, is a wool blend jersey. I originally had visions of making the world’s comfiest harem pants (Don’t laugh! Every other tourist was wearing them on our trip in SE Asia and they got into my psyche. Okay, go ahead and laugh.) to wear around the house, but the fabric was just too nice to never be worn in public. Then I had visions of a wrap dress, but I hemmed and hawed about buying a pattern or drafting one and I’ve always felt that wrap dresses were hit or miss on me. So finally I ended up on a vintage Simplicity pattern from my stash – Simplicity 6934 from 1975. The pattern is written for wovens, but I knew that it would look lovely in a knit. The only thing that gets lost in the knit is the slight gathers above …

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Spring for Cotton Farm Animals Dress

When some people think of spring, they think of budding flowers, or sunshine, or lengthening days. Nothing says spring to me like baby farm animals. Now that we live in a rural area, I find myself squealing when I drive past a neighbor’s yard full of baby sheep and goats (much to Adam’s dismay). I even took a chick-raising class at the hardware store (although actually getting chicks is going to have to wait until we have a home of our own!). For the Spring for Cotton sewalong, I knew that I was going to have to sew a dress form this amazing/ridiculous farm animal print cotton that I found at the thrift store recently. I used vintage Butterick 4309 from 1966. A fairly basic shift dress I had in my pattern stash, but I was drawn to the oversized asymmetrical collar and contrasting yoke. And even better, the dress has pockets! It’s a kangaroo …

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Ginger Jeans with Giant Cuffs

I’m often a little late to get on bandwagons (if I do at all), but I’m glad I jumped onto this one. Yes, it’s one more pair of Ginger Jeans making its way to the blogosphere. I have sewn jeans before (high-waisted vintage style and mid-rise fuchsia denim and my favorite ever brown floral jeans that weren’t actually out of denim and fell apart after only a couple weeks of wear) but none of them are a wear-every-day sort of pair. Feel free to just look at the pictures, because I don’t have much to say that hasn’t been said about this pattern already (although I will also say that Heather is a total rockstar!), unless you want to hear me talk about fitting and my butt and my crotch. If that’s the case, read on! I will start by discussing my fabric – the denim and all the jeans accoutrement were given …

Breezy Blouse in Sew News Magazine April/May 2015

My mom is always the first person to be proud of any accomplishment of mine (although my husband now fights with her for that title), but I have to admit that my mom was excited that my Breezy Blouse pattern was going to appear in Sew News Magazine April/May 2015 for more than just pride – she wanted me to give her the samples! I originally drafted the pattern for my mom and its working title was simply “Mom’s Blouse.” It was inspired by a RTW blouse that she liked. I have already made her 3 versions with the batik rayon version her definite favorite and the beige silk version a strong second. Sew News is offering the pattern available as a free download (until May 31, 2015) although you will need to buy the magazine for the instructions, so pop on over now if this is a pattern that …

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The Sweatshirt That Shouldn’t Have Been a Flop

I love the pattern (having drafted it for myself and used it for another sweater that gets tons of wear). I love the fabrics (having made several pairs of leggings from the ridiculous scuba print that I adore). I love the color (me and fuchsia get along real well). I love sweatshirts (I wear a seriously high quotient of sweatshirts). And yet this combo of fuchsia and scuba sweatshirt is a flop. I really tried wearing it for a couple of weeks but I just gave up and sent it to the thrift store. It’s funny because I don’t think it looks that bad in the photos – but part of the reason is that I figured out exactly how the sweatshirt needs to sit to look right, and it only does that when I’m carefully posing for a photo. A big part of what was so successful in the first go …

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Southwest Eyeblinder Dress

Occasions often inspire my sewing, and there’s no occasion quite like traveling to Borrego Springs, in the middle of the Anza Borego Desert, in SoCal, to visit my mom for a week. I love visiting the desert and I will admit to some slight disappointment when I arrived in the middle of the worst week of weather they’ve had all year! Fortunately, it warmed up by the end of the week and I got to wear my new dress. Of course I had a great time visiting my mom, regardless of weather. Just for the occasion, I sewed Vintage Simplicity pattern 6926, from 1976 (so it’s another Vintage Sewing Pledge). I bought the pattern this winter in New Zealand and happened to find the ridiculous/perfect cotton fabric at the thrift store two weeks ago. It’s so bright and patterned that it’s a little harsh on the eyes, which is exactly what …

Monster Mittens Sewalong

What follows is step by step photo instructions for sewing the MonsterWear mittens (hat instructions are over here). There’s some additional tips and tricks mixed in. If you’ve got any questions while sewing along that this sewalong doesn’t answer, ask a question in the comments and I’ll do everything I can to help. Before sewing along, you might want to read about Fabric Selection and Sizing for the Monster Wear and you definitely want to read tips for working with faux fur. Note as you’re sewing these mittens that the thumb and claw uses a 1/4″ seam allowance while the rest of the construction is a 5/8″ seam allowance. Before you start, you will want to machine wash your lining fabric and if you are using fleece, wash the fleece as well. Don’t machine wash faux fur. After cutting your pieces out, transfer the markings using chalk – I don’t recommend snipping the notches because the 1/4″ …

Monster Hat Sew Along

What follows is step by step photo instructions for sewing the MonsterWear hat (mittens sewalong is over here). There’s some additional tips and tricks mixed in. If you’ve got any questions while sewing along that this sewalong doesn’t answer, please ask a question in the comments. Before sewing along, you might want to read about Fabric Selection and Sizing for the Monster Wear and you definitely want to read tips for working with faux fur. Steps 1-3: Construction of the Monster Hat starts with the ears (variation idea: leave off the ears). The whole pattern uses a 5/8″ seam allowance, so use the same seam allowance throughout. We first sew the ear contrasts (variation idea: leave off the ear contrasts). Take two ear contrasts pieces and sew them right sides together. Trim the seam allowance down to about 1/4″ and notch the seam allowance. This helps the curve have the …