Sunday, February 28, 2016

Togs x 2

I finished my togs yesterday at 5.30pm... great, that gave me 30 minutes to get to the pool before it closed at 6pm and have a swim to test them out. They are great. I didn't 'feel' them at all. I'm still surprised to see that I MADE TOGS! 

Truth be told they are a little big.. not noticeably so if you see me in them but they need to be a little tighter - there isn't enough negative ease for my size. I made a size Y which was a 40. All the measurements except the body length, where I'm 5 cm shorter than the size Y. There isn't any markings on the pattern to shorten the body and I couldn't find any instructions or help on the website with shortening either.  Maybe there is but I couldn't find it.  As I have a tiny back I cut the back band out a couple of sizes smaller but I could have cut it smaller, but I think with one size smaller overall, a slightly smaller back band would be needed still. 

Because I was using smaller pieces of the fabric to make these togs, I couldn't carry the colour around the body like it shown on the envelope.  The side looks a little harlequin like. I went through my lycra stash today and I actually found a piece of plain black so I could have made a black pair and an orange pair with some white I have, as I don't really love colours with black. I'll see how I like wearing them at aqua aerobics tomorrow and they may be donated to my younger sister who is taller than me.

I lined the inside with some tricot I had. Jalie don't include instructions for lining the back, but I lined mine as I have found when the lycra lets go, it's at the bum and that's when lining comes into it's own.
I sewed it up with the overlocker and basted with the sewing machine. I found the lining slipped when I basted with the machine, so I ended up basting by hand. I watched this tutorial by Jalie about how to sew the elastic in and this helped getting the technique right quicker. It wasn't perfect everywhere but it didn't really matter, it was good and it was getting better the more I did.

There is a lot of talk about Jalie patterns around. I love the sizing being so comprehensive and I would buy them for this reason alone. They are modern in the styling and draft. I found some bits of the instructions a little like Style Arc to be honest... particularly putting the back band on was tricky and the diagrams weren't complete. In the instructions it names the front side panel, the wrong letter also. If the diagrams were more detailed, the instructions may have made more sense in this tricky part. It may be intuitive if you've made a few pairs or swimsuits or leotards but I hadn't so for a new swimwear sewer, it was not clear. ( this was where you put the elastic on the top part of the back band, but you use the one long piece of elastic to go on the one side of the left strap, then the top of the back band then the one side of the right strap but the diagram doesn't show this clearly. I've looked since making it and it still isn't that clear to me.)

The elastic lengths were good. As I'm very short between my armpit and top of shoulder (about 8cm) I cut some off the front strap and the rest off the back strap, this was my shortening of the pattern by 5cm and although the length is ok, the suit is a bit long in the body. For those in the know, where should I shorten the body of the suit for next time?

Taking advantage of my success, I decided to tackle the elastics on a Kwik Sew suit (it's a 1987 pattern and I've just realised part of my Vintage pattern pledge... does it count if I half made it?).  I cut it out a couple of years ago and didn't finish, mostly because it didn't fit and secondly because the fear of putting the elastic on. I started, if you count joining the end of the elastic starting.
Years ago I made a beautiful purple one to the exact stage as the KS, waiting for elastic and didn't finish it so this is a long time coming for me.

When I finished the Jalie, I put the two pairs together (the KS unfinished as above) to see how different they are. The KS back is cut on the fold and I think this shape is better for a more modest or flat bum, but mine fits better into the pieced and shaped one with the seam. The legs are the more modest cut, but I think the higher cut would be better and I should have trimmed it before sewing the elastic in. The KS is also very wide at the bust/armhole and I need an FBA on it really. The Jalie has terrific shaping in the whole suit really. The Jalie is a much more modern cut, style and shape.

I lined this suit with some really fine, power mesh type stuff. This is seriously firm, fine, stable knit, with 4 way stretch. It would be great for shape wear (or control pants like we used to call them! Marketing!) but probably not great for togs that are already too tight. However, this would be great for those togs that have the control factor to them... I find it too hard getting into and out of them, and to be honest, it's not going to make me look any more like Elle ... I need a lot more than that.

This is only two pattern pieces and the back straps were way too long but I didn't think about this when I cut them out so did a botch quick fix, and just cut and pieced it together taking some length out. Here it looks obvious but it is less noticeable when the elastic is put in. The racerback shape is very comfortable.

See, with the elastic it's not so bad. So the elastic... I used some of that clear plastic elastic for the legs,  just to test how it went and I remembered I had a teflon foot for the machine, that I bought 2 years ago to finish these. In the Jalie I used the covered elastic but not the one I really wanted but I couldn't find the one I wanted. (It's worth watching the Jalie tutorial linked above as it shows why some elastic is better than others.)  I actually used the KS elastic lengths, but remembered after putting on the one arm hole/strap that I had cut the length so it doesn't sit so well and I just did the same for the other side regardless. It is not visible when wearing but it isn't as firm as it could be.

The actual lycra was bought at The Fabric Store in Brisbane after I'd just been to see the film adaptation of Tracks. It was a remnant piece and cost $17 but was about 1.5 metres. Despite my careful planning of the plaid, if you look at the back and front, I hadn't noticed the irregular checks.. doh! I have enough to make another one and I might try making an FBA on it and a shelf bra.

I had made togs for my son and that's great practice... I mean children don't notice and they grow out of them quickly. If you haven't had a go at togs for yourself, I say have a go. The Jalie is pretty detailed, but a simple one like the KS is so achievable. 

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Best laid plans..

This is where my togs are at still.... I wanted to finish them to do aqua on Friday but I didn't have the right elastic, what I had was too wide. I went to Trad's on Thursday night to get some and my son wanted sushi for dinner and that was ticking two boxes with one trip. I parked at the shopping centre and luckily I checked for something in my bag before I sat down to eat and realised I left my wallet at home... sigh! So we went back home, got the wallet and I said to my son, I'm getting the elastic before we eat, but of course he closed at 7pm and it was 7.04pm.  Sigh! So instead of avoiding one trip in the car, I added an extra one because I had to go back yesterday after  aqua aerobics and coffee. I hope to finish them today and swim in them this afternoon.

This is a close up of the topstitching on the panels. Two things to note. I realised after finishing that I should have made the stitch length longer. Confession - I rarely think to change the stitch length on a straight stitch for some reason... haste? The other thing to note is the print is upside down on the small side panel of togs, shown here on the right hand side of the photo. I was fitting pattern pieces on scraps and didn't take note of the direction. As I had already lined it and was being lazy, I didn't recut it. You'd have to be pretty close to me to notice it so I'm guessing not many will. Of course they will be dazzled by the fact that I MADE MY OWN TOGS, they won't even notice! Ha ha ha!

I got all inspired while having no elastic and started these togs that I cut out about 2 years ago and then got scared out. I don't know why really. It's just fabric that I got cheap for practice so it wouldn't really matter but I'd get skills honed, but still I procrastinate. I have to lose this fear with no real consequences... I mean it's not base jumping or anything!

This is the pattern and as you can see, the front isn't featured at all, but the back has basically the same straps done in a variety of ways. I like the one with the ring in the middle but wonder if it would hurt my back, but I doubt it. I'm not sure what the difference is between A and F... just checked .. it has the straps going through a number of rings that make a tube if that makes sense. i.e view F is the flat ring and view A the rings are stacked and the straps go through... that makes more sense.

I also got my Ottobre Spring/Summer 2016 issue delivered yesterday. I really like this issue and really want to use more of these patterns. I find they are really nicely drafted and although Burda is terrific for styles, I hate the pattern sheets. I have pulled out a couple of my old Burdas and they have the old pattern sheets, and it is so much easier to trace.

Some really nice basic (again) but very useable styles. I think these great basics really highlight nice fabrics, of which I have plenty. I seem to have some sewing mojo at the moment so maybe that clear out, while it isn't so obvious looking around, has cleared the air for me and freed the sewjo!

I think this is one of the nicest pattern sets I've seen with the more mature model. It's great fabric but I think it shows how nicely this style can be without that too high waisted peplum look that I never really liked.

More basics that look like quick makes, and I love the two tone pants.

When I got to Trad's I picked up some of this great pineapple print rayon, it was only $3.50 a metre so how could I resist. There is more there with a black background and a white from memory. So cute and I like the smaller pineapples.  What do you think... could you resist this fabric? I think it will be a maxi dress.

Pineapples are a huge crop for Queensland and are so beautiful and sweet and juicy. I make a spiced pineapple dessert that I have with vanilla ice-cream. It's so easy -
chop your pineapple into bit size pieces, put into a baking dish with some crushed cardamom pods (if you like them), cinnamon stick, cloves and star anise, put some brown sugar over it and if you have some, extra pineapple juice. Leave in the oven for about 20 minutes on about 200 degrees .. let cool and YUM!

Oh, I also started the cloud shorts I had cut out for my son... they only need the zip, waistband and hemming done so hopefully they'll be finished for next post too. Happy sewing!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Jalie 3134 with the Girl with the Pearl Earring ... or Frida.

This is the second start at this. The first time was too long and detailed. The short version:
- son started high school... busy.. buses... piano... homework club etc
- old parents getting older
- house clear out (took forever... did every room)
- guests stay
- sewing room clean out.

I haven't finished the Burda pants still.. just the waistband and hem to do but I need togs before I need pants. To tell the truth, it has been so hot and humid here, I couldn't bear to think about trying them on to check the waistband size. I do need togs for aqua aerobics and lap swimming, my year round exercises of choice. I was so desperate, I bought a pair at Aldi (that are pretty nice actually for a really reasonable price) but they are not good for active swim sports, more for swanning about. 

I'm using Jalie 3134. There's a story to the pattern but I'll tell you about that another post. This fabric I got from a Brisbane Arcade, shop sale, where the shops sell off their extras. This is from the Tengdahl shop (actually I bought a few things - this was ages ago and I photographed it but haven't thought about blogging it since... oops). This was a scrap bag for $10. 

Look closely... the black lycra has a "girl with pearl earring" lookalike, and the orange has a Frida Kahlo look. I'm not sure it's swimwear lycra It is swimwear lycra but the pattern pieces fit perfectly on the scraps and it's 4 way stretch so as a wearable muslin, I think it will be ok. I'm not usually a fan of black with a colour (or black on top) but as this is so cute...). The little dots are a bit smaller than the  size of a 1 cent piece (remember those??). They are such cute prints. So different. (This link talks about the inspiration for this fabric by the designer and also how it is very personal for the artist who created the images for the print. Wish I had some of that white too.).

Interestingly, Julie's husband went to my high school and was in my last year's classes).

I'm half way through the making of the togs. I had a visitor yesterday and that slowed me up but I should be want to be finished with them for Friday morning's aqua class. Lets see how I go. What do you think about the fabric?