Lily Sage & Co Splash Swimsuit + some pillows!

Lily Sage & Co Splash Swimsuit

It’s summer! That means it’s time for swimsuit sewing! This is the Splash Swimsuit by Lily Sage & Co.

This pattern came out a couple years ago but I only found it last fall. Back then I had just enough leftover galaxy fabric from these leggings to squeeze out a swimsuit. I cut the pieces out months ago but it wasn’t until the day before I was set to go visit family – and knowing we were going to go to the pool – that I sewed the suit.

Nothing like a deadline to give you motivation.

I added bust cups from Sew Sassy to the lining which gives the top some structure. To insert them you basically smoosh them down on top of the lining and stitch around the outer edge with zig-zag stitch to hold them in place. If you are a busty gal I highly recommend cutting a larger top size.

Lily Sage & Co Splash Swimsuit

The only fit change I made was a pretty significant sway back adjustment. I sliced off about 1.75″ from the center back of the pants grading to nothing at the side seams. Only I did that after I had already sewn on the waistband. With a serger. So I had to take all that stitching out first.

My advice, if you think you’ll need a sway back adjustment, be sure to try on the pants before adding the waistband…

The pants are high waisted but only go up to my belly button, which is lower than my natural waist, something to keep in mind depending on how high of a rise you like in your swimsuits.

Lily Sage & Co Splash Swimsuit
If I were to make this again I’d probably add just a half inch in length of the front piece and maybe go up one size in the width of the top.

This is the first pattern I’ve sewn by this company and I liked it. The instructions were a mix of illustrations and pictures but they were thorough and easy enough to follow. I appreciated the highlighted tips throughout. This is certainly easier than some other indie patterns if you’re a novice at swimsuit sewing.

And lastly, one of my sewing buddies recently reminded me of the old adage, “Friends don’t let friends sew home dec.” Well, she wasn’t around to stop me so I whipped up a new pair of couch pillows.

Have you ever had a fabric that just called to you? Demanded that you buy it? Something you love so much but had no idea what to do with? That was this fabric from The Cloth Pocket. I loved the neon yellow, plus navy, plus bronze metallic on ivory color scheme. I loved the texture of the weave. I had to have it. So I decided to make pillows. I bought new 20″ forms and several yards of pom-pom trim and got to work.

I made overlapping backs rather than zipper closures to make things easy. The trim makes the whole thing seem more “store bought.” They’re sunny and fun and I love them!

30 Days of Sundresses – Indigo Dyed Beach Cover Up

Indigo Dyed Beach Cover-up
My good friend Melissa from Melly Sews is a fellow Austinite. You might have seen me talk about her a few times.

30 Days

Like last year I decided to join her month long celebration of summer-y dresses but this time I wanted to mix it up so I made a fun beach cover up. And as my upcoming island vacation is not for another couple of months I’m afraid my backyard fence will have to stand in for white capped waves and beach umbrellas.

Indigo Dyed Beach Cover-up

I was inspired by the tunic-style simple dresses I’ve seen. I also liked long sleeves because I hate to get sunburned. It rather short, and the front slit rather deep so no one would mistake this for a real dress. It’s very much a walk-from-the-beach-to-the-resort-lobby kind of garment.

Indigo Dyed Beach Cover-up

I like the breezy look of white fabric but I wanted an extra bit of flare so I decided to dye my fabric.

Indigo Dyed Beach Cover-up

Oh, and pom poms! ‘Cause when else do you really get to flaunt some chunky pom poms on your clothes?
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For this design you will need:

– About 2-3 yds of natural fiber white fabric. I used a linen/cotton blend.

– About 3 yds of big pom pom trim.

– A bucket or large container WITH A LID. Plus another bucket or bowl for water to soak your fabric.

– A dowel rod or something that can be used to stir the dye – NOT a food utensil.

– Water

– An indigo dye kit (I used this one, which has all the materials you need) or your own dye.

– A plain t-shirt or woven bodice sewing pattern with sleeves. I’m using Grainline’s Scout Tee because it doesn’t have any darts and I am too lazy for darts.

Indigo Dyed Beach Cover-up

Dyeing the fabric:

I dyed my fabric prior to cutting out the pieces just in case I messed up.

I did cut down my fabric into two smaller sections so that it would be easier to fold and handle.

Following the kit directions I went outside and put 4 gallons of warm water to my plastic box.

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Then I poured in the indigo dye. It quickly starts to change color once it hits the water. Neat looking, right?

After that I added the reducing agents and mixed. The key to indigo dying is to not introduce oxygen in the dye so you always need to stir very slowly without splashing and cover the dye container in between uses. Oxygen “sets” the dye so if too much gets in the dye vat it won’t work.

Stir the mixture gently and let sit, covered, for about half an hour or until the liquid itself turns a lime green color and the top of the vat has a layer of darker blue on top (called “flower” or “bloom”). It kind of works like a protective barrier to keep oxygen out.

Prepare your fabric by folding it up. For my square pattern I folded it accordion style down one direction then the other making a nice little stack of fabric. The kit comes with a booklet of patterns to try.

Then I placed the two wooded boards included in the kit on either side and secured them with rubber bands (also in the kit).

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I soaked the fabric in water and squeezed out excess air and fluid and transferred it to the dye vat.

You’ll need gloves for this part, obviously. Push the flower aside and carefully dip the fabric in the vat. Don’t let it hit the bottom as sediment can collect down there.

I kept my fabric submerged for only 2 min or so but you can keep yours in longer.

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Then take it out and set it aside. It will look lime green but after exposing the newly dyed fabric to air it will begin to turn blue.

dryingfabric

The fabric looks darker while wet.

When you’re finished you can keep the vat covered and it will last for about a day just in case you decide to go dye-happy and find every white shirt and pillowcase in your house and dunk it in there.

 

Cutting pattern pieces:

After the fabric has dried, gently wash and iron it.

From here you need a few measurements. 1) The length of the dress from the center front neckline point to hem + seam and hem allowances, and 2) the length of the sleeve from the underarm point to hem + seam and hem allowances

bodice_pattern

I took the front and back pieces of my scout tee and aligned on the fold of my fabric. Then, with my ruler I extended the center front line down from the neckline to my new hem (Measurement 1). I next extended my side seam down and slightly outward from the underarm point and drew a gently curved line connecting my new center front and side seams at the hem.

sleeve_pattern

I made the sleeves longer by doing something similar – extending the seam lines down and out to give the sleeve a bit of a “bell” shape, and adding a slightly curved hem (Measurement 2).

makefacing

For the neckline you have a few options. You can simply bind it with bias tape or you could make a facing with a neckline slit like I did by copying the neckline curve from the original front and back pattern pieces.

Assembly:

Almost finished! From here I put together the pieces like normal.

If you made a new facing sew it on like this:
sewfacing

 

  • Add interfacing if you like to the facing pieces.
  • Sew the dress front and back at the shoulders. Sew the facings at the shoulders.
  • Finish the raw outer edges of the facings.
  • Right sides together, sew the facing around the neckline. When you reach the front slit, stop, pivot, and continue down to your slit end point. Pivot and continue back up making a narrow “V” shape. Pivot again back at the top and continue around to the end.
  • From here you can cut the slit. Be very careful not to cut through the stitches. Clip the corners. You can undersitch the seam allowances to the facing if you’d like.
  • Turn right side out and press.

For the sleeve and dress hems I folded the raw edges inward 1/4″, slipped the pom pom tape inside so it is covered by the folded fabric (and you only see the poms from the outside) and zig zagged around the the edge.

Indigo Dyed Beach Cover-up
I hope you found this tutorial helpful!

Coursegiveaway

Melly Sews is also hosting weekly giveaways celebrating 30 Days of Sundresses. This week you have the chance to win one three detailed and informative online pattern drafting classes (Melissa has her own pattern company so she has a lot of experience in that department). You can click here to enter.

Thanks for reading!

Indigo Dyed Beach Cover-up

Dropping a Bombshell

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Hey readers, I feel like I’ve been neglecting this blog and my blog reader/twitter/sewing community in general for the last week or so. Sorry for that! I hope to get back to reading all your lovely blogs and comments right away. If you want to read more about what’s been making me so distracted you can skip down to the bottom of this post, or skip over it entirely.

In the mean time I want to talk about my new swimsuit! This is kind of my late submission for the Swim-along even though I finished it over a week ago. Travel and working at the fabric store (and other things) have kept me from taking pics of it so far but I have already gotten to use it at my cousin’s 5th birthday party and I plan on wearing it to my friend’s birthday party next weekend, too. I love this suit!

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The Goal: I wanted to make a suit for the Swim-along. My other bikini I’m working on still hasn’t been finished yet. Also Heather Lou of Closet Case Files so kindly sent me this pattern to try out so I wanted to whip one up.

The Pattern: If you follow sewing blogs you’ve already seen this Bombshell Swimsuit pattern. Dozens of people have made it, as we all should, it’s awesome! My favorite feature is the “skirt” effect in front that’s great for those of us who worry about coverage in the front as well as the back… The back is great, too. Full coverage in the bum area as well.

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The Fabric: I bought this swim fabric from Fabricker. It’s kind of an abstract floral print. The colors remind me of a Polynesian sunset or something. I’ll have to remember that when I’m swimming in a stagnant creek where I’ll most likely be wearing it here in Central Texas.

The Changes: I didn’t make any changes to the pattern this first time but next time I might tighten the elastic on the front neckline a bit more. It’s not a huge problem as it is right now and so far I’ve picked the lazy route and decided not to go back and re-sew it.

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Also next time I’ll baste my lining and outer layers together with a straight stitch rather than zig zag or serging because basting the front and back layers then stitching them both together at the side seams makes for a lot of exposed basting stitching to rip out. Some of which I have yet to remove… one day… 😉

The Results: This is a great pattern design. I didn’t follow all the directions all the time although I recommend that you do. With so many elements and pieces there is a logical order to how to assemble this suit which you should follow. The instructions are so detailed that I think an advanced beginner to use this pattern to sew her first swimsuit and feel incredibly accomplished.

I was worried the straight line at the bottom would exaggerate my pear shape but if it does, I don’t care. I love this suit and I think it looks pretty darn good!

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Ok, so back to my excuses about not being around much. I don’t intent to turn this into a political blog but I feel compelled to talk about this subject. You might have heard by now about how here in Texas we’re facing legislation that could effectively close dozens of women’s heath clinics across this state. On Tuesday, June 28, Senator Wendy Davis filibustered for over 10 hrs to block Senate Bill 5.

I was there that Tuesday in the Senate Gallery from about noon to 4 and later that night I stayed up watching the live feed of the filibuster. The bill failed but our Governor called another special session to push the bill through. So I went back to the Capitol again on June 30, and again for the big rally on July 1 and for the House committee hearings on the 2nd and again on the 3rd for good measure. I’ll be back next week, too.

And if I wasn’t wearing orange or packing protest snacks or working at the fabric store I was on Twitter and news sites trying to figure out what was going on and to try and make myself feel better.

You see, for the first time in my life I feel like I am being specifically targeted because of my sex or my gender, not anecdotally in society but by those who make the laws of the land. For me, personally, this bill isn’t about saving babies. This woman already wrote an excellent piece on that point. And let’s face it – I’m a privileged, educated, white woman who has never been without health insurance when she needed it, and who, most likely, will never need an abortion. Heck, I’ve never even stepped foot in a Planned Parenthood. This law will not directly effect me. It will however effect rural women, women of color, and women in poverty and that’s not ok.

But even for white ladies like me this bill is dangerous. While watching some political round table show one of the commentators made the distinctions between the Supreme Court’s recent decisions on DOMA and the Voting Rights Act. He said that the SC struck down DOMA because it explicitly discriminates against gay couples while the portion of the VRA was struck down because it dealt with implicit discrimination that wasn’t obvious. Because of that states like Texas can enact Voter ID laws when registered hispanic voters are known to be less likely to have a photo ID than whites.

Bills like what are now HB2 and SB1 are examples of both explicit and implicit discrimination against women. The explicit part is as obvious as a coat hanger. But whether or not these bills pass and are ultimately struck down by the SC, the implicit part will linger.

Bills like these legitimize and perpetuate the myth that female sexuality is bad or taboo or “a sin.” These bills reenforce the idea that women’s sexuality must fit inside a tiny box of abstinence until heterosexual marriage. It’s the “virgin/whore” dichotomy we’ve been dealing with for thousands of years.

That mentality is used by businesses to deny employees contraception coverage (because it’s “against our beliefs”), by education boards to not fund day care in schools so teen moms can graduate and reduce their chances of being on welfare (because it’s “encouraging bad behavior”), by legislators who think they can debate what is or isn’t “legitimate rape.” It’s the mentality that keeps law makers from understanding the bills they write (rape kits =/= abortion). It’s what makes men in cars think they can honk and catcall at me while I’m trying to mow my own damn lawn. It’s what enables slut shaming and rape culture.

If you are a woman in Texas in need of abortion services you are at best a “victim” and the state needs to protect “vulnerable women” like you and at worst you are a super skank undeserving of state assistance to help raise a child you can’t afford. There’s no winning. It’s only black or white. And the mentality seeks to divide us.

During these protests I definitely felt an urge to “prove” my self worth to pro-lifers. I’m not a “murderer,” I’ve never even been pregnant. I’m a respectable law abiding adult. I’m not one of them. And see, that’s the real problem. The anti-women mentality is implanted in girls like me from an early age. At 11 I had to hear from abstinence only presentations at my school that as a woman I am defined my by “purity” and that once I’ve unwrapped my “pink present” I’m basically useless. That in order to have sex I need to be married (even if it’s an abusive marriage, like my mother’s), not that I need to be ready or give consent or be safe and informed. My mother was first married at 16 and she sure as heck wasn’t ready for sex. Teaching these things to girls is wrong because having sex or not having it does not make her a terrible person. It makes her a person, who shouldn’t have to demand respect and dignity.

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The mentality behind these bills makes it so that people feel they can make assumptions on a woman’s character not based on her personal history but on her specifics body parts.

When you look at that picture of me above that I took in my back yard you can’t tell if I have kids, if I’ve ever been pregnant, if I’m married or single, if I’m gay or straight, how many sexual partners I’ve had, when I first started having sex, whether or not I use birth control, what my religious beliefs are or how I personally feel about abortion.

The only things you can tell from that picture up there (besides the fact that I am uber-pale) is:

  1. I sew my own swimsuits, and
  2. I stand with Wendy and all Texas women.

Swim Along Progress

I usually don’t post in progress posts ’cause I never really know what to say but these two projects are ones I’m excited about – both swim suits!

Have you been following along with the SwimAlong? This post is making me want to make a scuba inspired zip-up suit!

I’m working on two suits. This first pic is the bikini bottoms I’m making from Ohh Lulu’s Grace Panties pattern.

This pattern is designed for stretchy fabrics on the sides and woven fabrics on the bias for the front and back center sections. Obviously I used swim fabric for all panels and I’m happy to report that it works fine with all stretch fabrics!

The only other change I made was to sew a layer of lining fabric on the front and back center panels rather than the use the crotch lining piece. Now all it needs is elastic (oh, and a top to go with it).

 

The other swimsuit I’m working on is Closet Case Files‘ new Bombshell Swimsuit! I’m making version A with the sweetheart neckline. This is the front piece gathered at the sides. I need to order more swim cups in order to finish it, though.

I really like this design with the skirt front and the ruched sides. (Doesn’t she look great!?)

My fabric is a big floral print that I think will look cool with all the ruching. I got it at Fabricker!

Also, I was pondering an idea – I love sewing swimwear but sometimes finding supplies can be difficult. I was thinking about buying a bunch of typical swim supplies and selling them as kits or on their own on Etsy or something. You know, get your swim cups, lining and elastic all in one go. Thoughts?