The Vernassa Two Piece Swimsuit

I made a swimsuit and I could not be prouder! I have pattern made a ton of swimsuits over the years for clients but have always shipped them off to a sample machinist who has all of the ideal machinery to have them sewn up.

Inspired by our beautiful maker community and after seeing a lot of high end swimwear finished with a zig zag stitch instead of twin needling I decided to give this whole sewing swimwear a go. There are so many great swimwear patterns out there but ultimately my final choice was between Cottesloe Swimsuit by Megan Nielsen Patterns and the Vernazza Two Piece by Friday Pattern Company.

After seeing a swimsuit made by the gorgeous Victoria Smith I selected the Vernazza Two Piece as I loved the little tie front detail. I decided to make the size M with a few alterations that included reducing the side seam by 7cm to achieve a higher cut leg line. I also reduced the width of the crotch seam and front 5cm up from the crotch seam so it would sit nicely between the legs with the higher leg line.

I used 6mm rubber in the leg, armhole and neck openings and 12mm rubber in the waist and midriff band. To make sewing easier I also reduce all of the seam allowances on the pattern to be 6mm to save trimming seam allowance. This also made sense given I was going to sew all of my seams with my overlocker using the 4 threads.

The sewing instructions that come with the Vernazza Two Piece are very detailed. They explain how to sew on your rubber to get an even stretch around all of the openings. I sewed my rubber on using my overlocker instead of sewing machine and then turned and finished the rubber using a zig zag stitch as recommended by the pattern.

I added elastic to the midriff band and waist band as I spend most of my time swimming in the ocean. Ocean swimming calls for a swim suit that can with stand waves dumping you whist keeping your swimsuit firmly in tact.

I made my swimsuit using a bright Liberty swim print from The Fabric Store. The print I used is no longer available but there is a super cute Ditsy Floral that I think would look amazing in this style.

The Vernazza Swimsuit

Sewing a swimsuit was a very rewarding process. I have made another version of this swimsuit with a self drafted bandeau top that I will share in the coming weeks. Summer has well and truly arrived in Queensland and I can’t wait to wear this swimsuit all summer long.

s8839 It’s all about the sleeve….

Simplicity 8839 was all about the sleeve for me. I spotted this fabulous top in the feed of Well Fibre a few months ago and knew I needed one in my wardrobe at some point.

This pattern is not available in stores in Australia and I ordered it on line direct from Simplicity . I tend to do this with all of my major label pattern purchases these days. Unfortunately the stores in Australia don’t seem to have the latest collection patterns until a long time after they are available to the rest of the world. It usually takes about 2 to 3 wks for patterns to arrive but well worth the wait if it’s a style you love.

I made this top using a gingham gauze that I picked up at Tejidos Donna in Barcelona earlier this year. From memory it was 100% Rayon. I really like the gauze nature of this fabric and have a little bit left over to make myself a summer top one day soon.

S8839 is an easy pattern to sew. I cut the size that was recommended for my body measurements. My only tips with this one is the check the elastic on the arms before you sew the sleeve up. For me the elastic lengths recommended in the pattern were to big and the sleeves would not stay in place. I had to unpick the sleeve and shorten all of the elastic lengths. It’s such a fine line, as there is nothing worse than elastic that is too tight either. It just needs to be that perfect length so you can get some puff without cutting the blood supply to your arms.

I love wearing this top with pants or shorts. I love the drama of the sleeves. It certainly is a piece that I get multiple compliments on each and every time I wear it. Wearing here with my Megan Nielsen Dawn Jean and my first ever hand made shoes, the Cosette Sandal by The Shoe Camaraderie.  Making these shoes was a super proud moment!

The Sewing Rut

I feel like I’m in a little sewing rut. It feels like none of my sewing choices are really working out or have been gelling with me lately. My fabric selection has been off or I’m choosing to make patterns because they are popular whilst knowing deep down they won’t feel right on me. And now I’m doubting and questioning every sewing decision I’m make.

Maybe that is where the problem lies. Am I overthinking this sewing blogging thing and not trusting in my gut instincts and making pieces that are truely me. Am I making things just for likes or to get tagged in a popular pattern labels feed? To tell the truth I think I subconsciously am. And the irony of it all is it is having an adverse effect on my sewing.

After last weekends project I’m hoping I’ve learnt a valuable lesson. For now anyway.  I’m going to reclaim my sewing power, my individual style, listen to my heart and trust my gut again with my making decisions.  I’m sure I’m still going to make bad choices but hopefully they are fewer and far between.

And although last weekends sewing project didn’t work out exactly as I would have hoped the Wiksten Shift Dress is a great pattern that looks fabulous on so many people. The pattern is well notched and the sewing instructions are very easy to understand. It is an oversized boxy shape so if that is a shape your are comfortable wearing you will love this pattern. Be sure to read the finished measurement of the dress and size down if you would like it to be not so boxy.

I am fairly sure I am going to give this pattern another go some time in the future in a softer washed linen and will hack it into a baby doll shape instead of the original shift dress.

I am also excited about the dress I am going to turn this one into. The fabric I have used is a beautiful Broderie Anglaise from A & R Fabrics. It has a geometric pattern that is a nice break from floral patterns. I will end up with the white summer dress of my dreams it’s just taking a little longer than expected.

VIDEO TURURIAL | Alya Skirt Part A: How to pattern make a 1/4 circle skirt with front side split.

Well……… it’s finally done!  My first ever video tutorial. Boy this has been a journey full of learnings and laughter.

Part A is how to self draft a 1/4 circle skirt with a front side split. Part B will be released in a few days which is an in depth tutorial on how to sew your skirt.

I hope you enjoy this one. All feedback is welcome so I can look to improve my video content for you moving forward. My mission is to teach an inspire as many people as possible in the art of patterning and making your own wardrobe. The inspiration and learnings I get from this community in return is so vast and for that I am grateful.

I would love to see your versions of this skirt so please share your makes using the hashtag #alyaskirt and tag me @taree.marsh

Happy patterning!

Olya Shirt by Paper Theory Patterns

Olya Shirt

Well…. this was a sewing experience that pushed my brain cells to a new level. I have sewn for years and can practically sew with my eyes closed and with minimal instructions, but this pattern put a spanner in the works. In a good way…..

Olya Shirt

One of my greatest loves in life is learning new skills and to be challenged. So as dramatic as my last paragraph was it was “the best” feeling for my sewing brain to be challenged. I loved that I had to stop and think, to read and re read again before sewing the sleeves of this shirt.

Olya Shirt

I was initially drawn to and inspired to make this shirt when I spotted it on the feed of Gyasti. I have been looking for an oversized button front shirt pattern for a while and to be honest I really struggled finding the perfect pattern. The Olya Shirt by Paper Theory Patterns was pretty close to the look I was chasing.

Olya Shirt

I went up one size and cut a size 12 in a gorgeous Silk Noil gifted to me by the lovely Trin from A + R Fabrics. I absolutely love the colour and the rawness of this fabric. In hindsight I wish I had added about 10 to 15cm in length to the shirt. I really like the oversized width but proportionally wished it was quite a bit longer.

Olya Shirt

Although some of the techniques in this make are slightly tricky, or more to the point are something I have never done before, I do feel the instructions are very clear once you get your head around them. My recommendation is to sew one side and check it is correct before sewing the other. Don’t presume it is correct and sew both sides up at the same time.

Olya Shirt

The way the sleeve is set into the shirt is really clever so congratulations to Paper Theory Patterns for creating a pattern that is little left of centre. There is no seam at the front armhole. The front sleeve is part of the front body.

Olya Shirt

I finished my shirt off with some wood buttons from Spotlight Stores to keep in with the raw, natural vibe I was going for with this make.

I have worn and washed this shirt and the Silk Noil fabric washes up well. I did wash mine in the washing machine because I can’t deal with clothing that is to precious to wash is a machine….

Olya Shirt

I will definitely give this pattern another go in a different fabrication like a printed crinkled Viscose crepe when I find the perfect print. And hopefully cut my sewing time down by a third now I understand how to construct this beauty.

Happy sewing this one. You will learn a few new techniques which in my books in a win all round!

Olya Shirt

The Fabulous Intrepid Boilersuit by Alice & Co Patterns

Intrepid Boilersuit
Intrepid Boilersuit

Every garment I make I pretty much full in love with these days but this one is extra special. The Seaweed color Lara Linen from Potter & Co is next level beautiful. It was the perfect washed back blue hue that I had been dreaming of.

Intrepid Boilersuit
Intrepid Boilersuit

I had been eyeing off the Intrepid Boilersuit by Alice & Co Patterns for sometime and it was a done deal for me once I spotted Gyasti version of it on good old Instagram. It was the soft neutral tone of her suit that inspired me.

Intrepid Boilersuit
Intrepid Boilersuit

My measurements were close to the size 6 and this is what I proceeded with for my toile. I made my toile in the brightest Purple plain weave linen from The Fabric Store. I also made my toile with a button front tab and elastic casing through the back and side front.

On review of my toile I made the following adjustments.

The thigh and seat area felt a little tight in comparison to the rest of the suit. I decided to add 1cm to each side seam through the hip along with 1cm through the inleg but only at crotch point for about 12cm down the leg. I also remove some of the hook from the back rise shaping as it felt like it was going up my butt a little. Below are images of the pattern alterations I made.

Back Rise
Back Rise
Front pant adjustment.
Front pant adjustment

I also felt it was pulling up at the back waist so I add 1cm into the back rise. Again pictures below of this adjustment.

Back rise adjustment
Back rise adjustment

I decided not to add the waist casing and instead 7 belt loops and a self fabric belt.

Belt loops and self fabric tie
Belt loops and self fabric tie

The hardest decision for me was the front closure. I thought I wanted a concealed button front but after further consideration I opted for a lap front zipper opening. This decision was based on ease of wear. It so much easier to unzip a onesie than unbutton a million buttons when needing to use the loo!

I also knew I didn’t want the zipper to be a feature as an exposed metal zipper so I used a dress zipper and the lapped zipper technique. And I am so happy with the outcome.

Front pockets are a little to high
Front pockets are a little to high

I think I was so caught up in the front closure and pant adjustment that I overlooked the front chest pocket positions. I think they are a little to high and not quite positioned right. Next time I will take greater care to review all features.

Back view
Back view

I love the way I can style my Boilersuit with sneakers for a daytime look and heels for an evening look. I am genuinely really happy with this make and I will be using this beautiful washed linen from Potter & Co on another project in the not to distant future.

Making your own shoes with The Shoe Camaraderie.

I have not long finished reading a great book called The One Thing by Gary Keller. It was a timely reminder that great things and big dreams occur over a long period of time one small step at a time. And that every small step you take is so important to the overall process.

Making a pair of shoes is no different. It’s all the small steps that come together to make a pair of shoes.

How to make the Cosette
The Cosette

Making your own shoes is not the cheapest way to acquire new shoes but it is certainly the most satisfying. Last weekend I attended a workshop hosted by the magician shoe maker Lisa from The Shoe Camaraderie . It was held at the Kylie And The Machine head quarters is East Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. And camaraderie it was. We were a small group of 6 students that supported each other through the shoe making process.

The shoe I selected was the Cosette but there is a variety of shoe styles and shoe making kits that can be purchased from The Shoe Camaraderie if you are not able to attend a workshop.

Hoe to make the Cosette
The Cosette

The day began at 9.30am with preparing our soles and heels for finishing stages of the shoe making process. It involved a couple of layers of smelly, sticky glue.

Next we cut our shoe pattern from the leather. There is a choice of 4 colours for your shoes and I went with the dark tan. Cutting the 24 stripes was a little fiddely but got easier each time. My advice here is to not go to thick and try to stay at the 6mm width to make weaving easier in the next process.

Weaving was the next task which required some patience and perseverance. It was the last hole that was the most difficult every time. I personally don’t mind repetitive task like this weaving phase. I find them quite therapeutic and soothing. In saying that I was also happy when that phase of the project was over.

Weaving the Cosette
Weaving, weaving and more weaving!

The next stage is to attach the top of the sandal to the shoe base. We used a last (shoe mould) to help in this process.

This is done one side at a time to ensure symmetry. And I got to practice one side before completing the other. The glue used is magic. It is easy to correct mistakes and adjust fit.

This was a bit of a high five moment for me as the shoes actually look like shoes. And shoes that fit well and looked OK.  The next step is the sand the leather on the shoe base to create a porous surface to attached the trim.

After the trim is attached it’s time to join the sole. This is when you really know your are on the home stretch to having a beautiful pair of me made shoes. The glue applied to the soles first thing in the day is heated until it becomes tacky again.  Then the sole is attached. The lovely Lisa trims the sole back and then it’s onto the last bit of hard work before finishing your shoes.  This involves sanding back the sole to attach the heel.

Lisa again trims the heels back to fit the shoes before giving the edges a final sand while we finished the day of with a glass of wine and cheese.

The Cosette
The finished product!

The process of making shoes was sometimes frustrating but extremely rewarding. I can’t wait to make my next pair, The Freya. A fun fact…. all of my garments are finished with a woven label from Kylie And The Machine and my shoes where finished off at the Kylie And The Machine headquarters….

Trend Patterns TPC1

Trend Patterns have just released a new pattern which is TPC25 Paper Bag Trousers . I am so excited to make this pattern but first I’m going to share with you my experience with TPC1 Oversized Sleeve Top.

TPC01

This was another design that I discovered on the Instagram feed of Adaspragg. It’s no secret I find Sophie’s style super inspiring. I am drawn to garments that play with proportion and this Oversized Sleeve Top fits that brief perfectly. The fitted bodice is perfectly disproportioned with its bellowing oversized sleeve.

TPC01

Through clever pattern making, the team at Trend Patterns have created a pattern that has an edgy designer feel while being relatively easy to sew. I was surprised at how simple and easy this pattern was to cut and sew. It is marketed as a difficult easy pattern and I think they are spot on with their sewing level categorization.

TPC01

From a sizing perspective my measurements were very close to the finished measurements of the size 10. I used some left over yardage from a previous project to make my top. It was a Viscose Linen Noil in Almond from Blackbird Fabrics. For me this fabric was the perfect fit as it is soft making the sleeves a little more relaxed and easier to create an everyday look.

The right size zipper was not available so I did purchase a zipper that was shorter than the recommended length. Luckily I can just get the top on over my shoulders. Any shorter and I would have been in trouble. So make sure you buy the correct size zipper for this project.

TPC01

The pattern is well notched and fits together like a dream. The instructions are brief but sufficient and easy to follow. The written instructions are complimented by photos. I wore this top a few times on my recent holiday and will be wearing it to work Monday with some jeans.

TPC01

I love that you can dress this top up to create a more edgy designer look as well as wear it with shorts and jeans to create an everyday look. Pull the sleeves up to create that peasant look that is so on trend right now. And it will look perfect with the TPC25 Paper Bag Trousers that I will be making in the not to distant future. Just wishing the Aussie exchange rate was a little better to purchase UK patterns……

Drafting your own patterns from blocks is so much fun!

Side view

There is something very rewarding and satisfying about drafting your own patterns from blocks. I hope I am not repeating words from an earlier blog on this topic but self drafting is something I am very passionate about.

It is a dream of mine that everyone who would like to draft their own patterns has access to a good block set without having to go through the tedious task of developing them from scratch. It is a dream of mine to be able to share how I create my self drafted pieces from blocks so that you too can do the same.

Creating a pattern from blocks

My latest sewing project was inspired by Faithfull The Brand. They have the most gorgeous dresses, however, the price point is a little on the high side and I am on a mission to buy less and make more. It is my aim to end up with a wardrobe that is 90% me made one day.

My fabric choice for this project was inspired by Lily Sage & Co . And thankfully I was able to purchase some of this gorgeous abstract stripe from The Fabric Store .

I used my 2 dart front bodice, back bodice, front skirt and back skirt blocks to create this pattern. Self drafted projects do take longer to complete than using purchased patterns. This dress involved creating each pattern piece through slashing and spreading, pivoting and reducing. After each pattern piece is created roughly they need to be re traced and seam allowance added. I also keep the original pieces without seam allowance so I can easily make any adjustments after the toile stage.

Basic Blocks

Once the initial pattern is drafted it’s onto the toile. I like to make a neat toile so I can really check and analyse the fit of the garment. I don’t overlock my toile unless it is in a fabrication that I am hoping will end up being a wearable toile. I write on my toile with a sharpie all of the adjustments I am going to make.

My Toile

The next step is to adjust any pattern pieces that need adjustments post toile stage. It is so important to adjust pattern pieces without seam allowance. If you don’t, you are not actually adjusting the pattern in the correct place and the full adjustment will not be actioned.

You may need to toile for a second time, however, in the case of this dress I was confident in moving straight to my final fabric.

Given the sheer nature of the fabric the dress is fully lined.  It features a faux front button placket with entry to the dress via a back invisible zipper.  Ties at the sleeve cuff and waist, a hook and bar for modesty at the front neck, side slant pockets and side seam splits.

I’m positive this dress is going to get some solid wear time this summer and I’m also going to turn this pattern into a jumpsuit sometime in the future.

The back.