Whim Swim Sewing: OOP McCalls 8813

I have no idea why. But, I was going through my patterns, found this old swim pattern and just decided to make a fitness swim suit and was done in less than two hours. I have ‘regular’ swimsuits purchased recently from eBay. They are underwire bikinis and great for fun time at the pool. But, not great for swimming laps. I have to highly recommend eBay if you are a non-traditional US size (i.e. small band, large cup). Those Brits and Germans make some really cute swimmers (Freya, Panache).

The swim top is an Out of Print (OOP) McCalls 8813 … such an old pattern. It comes in one size per envelope with the seam lines marked on the pattern. I’ve only seen that in vintage patterns! I bought it in a size 12 years ago after seeing Trena’s review of the bottom. LOL. I wasn’t even friends with her when she made the bottoms.

The pattern comes with A/B and C/D cups. I used the C/D and made a 1 inch FBA. Based on the envelope, I should have sewn an 8 on top. But, I bought this pattern in a 12 before I understood FBAs. So, when I make this again, I’ll reduce the band size by about two inches, add another 1/2 to 1 inch in the FBA and use power netting. I need the support. For the underbust elastic I used 3/4 inch and the upper bust 1/2 inch.

Actually, next time I might make the princess seam halter version. I have so much swimwear fabric and this was a quick make. It was all very slapdash. I was too lazy to get my twin needles and don’t have two spools of black (well, really dark grey since I’ve been out of black for a minute) thread that I zig zagged stitched for the topstitching.

Interesting note. I was complaining about the lack of swim lining in a one of my new suits and a friend said she’d never had a swim suit that was lined. Whaa?? Who would buy or even sell an unlined swimsuit!?!

Superstar Shorts: Burda 6-2011-111

My shorts wardrobe is nearing completion. I got a little behind with my posting this week. Work is getting busy again and I’m making a concerted effort to be more social. Enough of that, meet my Marc Jacbos Superstar Shorts!

Photos in the kitchen. It’s too hot and humid for outside shots. My makeup would just *melt*.  Maybe it’s time I set up a photo background inside🙂 Let’s see, same pattern, Burda, June 2011 #111.

These are made from my Mood order using a  Marc Jacobs black embroidered star fabric at $18 a yard. I really wanted a pair of scalloped eyelet or embroidered shorts and thought these were a cute idea.

The original dress the fabric is made from retailed for $571!

The fabric is also available in blue and I had to stop myself from buying and sewing that up for the Independence Day like this Marc by Marc Jacobs top!


For this version, I made the dart into a pleat per the directions for 111B. I don’t see terrible much of a difference. I will say in black and this flowier material I liked the shorts slightly longer. Actually, of all my material (so far) these are my favorite for shorts (love the drape).

What else…

The fabric is a bit loose and see through, so I’ve underlined with some cotton voile in my stash. I think this stuff if from a trip to Jomar in Philly.

I skipped any back pockets and also eliminated the front pockets. Do you like my awesome use of navy blue serger thread and gray sewing thread? Clearly, I need to restock the black…

Man… look at that swayback / full seat adjustment, LOL!

I see these shorts as more of a go out for dinner or drinks shorts. Great with heels and slightly dressy.  The top is RTW from Bebe. I bought it ages ago for my high school reunion. Back when you could easily find tops like this in silk instead of polyester at midrange stores….

As you can see, Linus likes to get in on the photo shoots.

That’s all! We’re out of here for the weekend. I’m heading over to the Eastern Shore to visit friends. See you next time with my final pair in gold waxed linen…..

Several t’ings

Thanks for the comments on my shorts. I forgot to say a few things about the pattern. The pattern is available for download on the BurdaStyle website for $5.40. Is it worth it? Well, I didn’t mention that I did not sew this pattern ‘out of the envelope’. I made my big fat adjustment for  full seat and full inner thigh and scooped 1/2 inch out of the crotch. I didn’t muslin them without the adjustments so I don’t know how they would have fit otherwise. But, they are a great pattern for me and will soon be transferred to sturdier paper so they may live on in infamy.

I haven’t forgotten about my officiant dress. Currently, it’s pinned to my dressform until I start the muslin in August. The design of the fabric places dark and light in different places and I’m pondering how to get the best placement for myself. I did buy the pattern at the last Vogue sale. But, it starts at a 16. I generally place into a 14 with the Big 4 (but make a 12 on top grading to the 16 on the bottom). So, I need to exchange / get the right size. I’m not grading. On sale the pattern is $3.99 and worth it to me🙂

Finally, thank you for the very nice comments on my first two shorts (two more to go!).  I would be remiss in not assigning the compliments on my legs to my mother.

 She and my dad met while they were both nurses in NYC back in the early 70s. She always says it was her legs which got my dad to ask her out. I think it worked, because next month is their 39th anniversary.

I hope you all have a great weekend. I’m going to the drive in with friends this weekend and hitting up ARTscape here in Baltimore.

See you next week!

Preppy Red Poplin Shorts (and a dash of #fail)

Meet my super preppy  red stretch poplin shorts made from the June 2011 Burda magazine. Man. It’s hot as Haiti here. I took photos before 8 a.m. and it was already pushing 90 degrees (32 C).

For this pair, I was inspired by an H&M shorts I saw in the store. I tried these on and it was horrifying. I wear a size 8/10 RTW on the bottom.

Source: hm.com via Renee Cidell on Pinterest


In H&M I just start in the 12/14 range and cross my fingers. These were falling off my waist and creating a tourniquet at my thigh. Truly, horrifying. Their clothes are just not built for me. But, I really liked the preppy details of double welt pockets.

Source: hm.com via Renee Cidell on Pinterest


I also saw a similar pair on Nordstrom.com by Alexander Wang for a pittance at $240. They aren’t available yet but you can pre-order them for fall!


I transferred the three welt pocket details to my 6-2011-2011 Burda pattern and used Kathleen Fasanella’s technique for double welt pockets. Instant prep. These will be great for weekend’s on my friend’s boat or running to the market. The funnel tee shirt below is from the April 2011 Burda and discussed here.


Red is really hard to photograph😦 But, I placed double welt pockets on the back but the color is wonky and you can’t really see them in photos.

The fabric is from my July Mood Fabrics online order. It’s described as a medium weight poplin with heavy stretch.


I was worried before it arrived that it might be more shirt than bottom weight. I like this fabric and think it would be awesome as a fitted dress, jacket or capris. I went on the site to see if I could get it other colors because I liked the density of the material so much. But, alas, just white. And, I’m not making white shorts that stretch, LOL! .

Are you ready for the fail?  I did want a little double welt coin pocket on the front of the shorts like the first photo from H&M shows. I actually almost skipped adding this pocket but told myself *not* to be lazy.

How do you like that placement?  Instead of putting the pocket toward my hip, it’s at center front. Man. How did I manage to do that? My shorts kind of look like they are on backwards.

And, when I put my finger in the pocket, I look …. inappropriate. Yes, I said it. But, it’s the truth.

I wasn’t going to finish these when I realized my mistake. I was showing photos of it to folks at work and they just bust out laughing.  But, I think they look fine as long as I don’t tuck in. I mean, these things happen. Heh.

I’ve got my next pair cut out from a black embroidery. Hopefully this weekend I’ll get those done too.

** After looking at these photos I’ve decided these are 1 inch or so shorter than my seersucker shorts. Odd. So, I’m going to re-hem  a bit longer and use interfacing to stabilise. That will hopefully take care of the puckered hems.

Scissor Sharpening At the Farmer’s Market

Can we talk about how I am loathe to get my scissors sharpened? I just hate taking them to Joann’s for sharpening and being without them for a week or more at a time. In fact, I have a few pairs of scissors. Why? Because instead of giving up scissors for sharpening, I would just go and buy another sharp pair on a 50 percent off day at Joanns. I do plan on buying some nice Kai scissors soon though🙂

That being said, I was thrilled when a colleague told me that there was while you wait scissors sharpening at the Baltimore Farmer’s Market. Well, she told me they sharpened knives and I thought ‘SCISSORS!’.

I’ve been meaning to go for months now but couldn’t seem to put my hands on the two that needed sharpening until this morning…

The Farmer’s Market is pretty awesome if I do say so myself. Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, live performers, prepared foods and general Baltimore goodness. This morning I ran into several people I know too, a frenemy, kids in my fellowship, colleagues and a blog reader (I should start wearing make up out the house for these things. Especially if I’m going to see frenemies).

The owner told me this is his first year at the market and he’s loving it! He said he’s sharpened thousands of Fiskars and that my Ginghers are good spring loaded scissors. The Ginghers cost a little more to sharpen since they don’t separate like the Fiskars.

He told me to come back in 30 minutes. So, I walked around the market getting some food for the week (and coffee and fresh made donuts for breakfast).

I am so making a peach cobbler today.  And, fried green tomatoes with grilled corn. Mmmm.

My scissors were done in 30 mins for $12 total. And, they are cutting like buttah. Not bad! Thank you Pro Edge Sharpening!

Next time I’ll take my chef’s knife, craft nips and my duckbill embroidery scissors🙂

Rainbow Brite Shorts: Burda Magazine 6-2011-111

I haven’t owned or worn a pair of non-athletic shorts in well over three years. I mean, I used to have some. But, they got ratty or I outgrew them.  And, I just never found any that I liked and which fit (blame my tragic waist / thigh ratio). I decided this was the summer I was going to have a week’s worth of summer shorts. After all, I’m working on having ‘dog walking clothes’.

I ordered material from Mood Fabrics online. I want to point out that when the box reached me, it was already open. Why? Because I took delivery at work and my co-workers (Project Runway fans) couldn’t wait for me to come out of my meeting before opening it for me. They said they knew I would understand. But, I digress…

Anyway, here’s the plan: seersucker, red poplin, laminated linen and black embroidered cotton. I think these will run the gamut from dressed up to dressed down. I’m not sure I’m going to make the madras anymore. We’ll see…

For this project, I chose this #111 pattern from the June 2011 Burda(link to $5.40 download on Burdastyle.com) I wanted a short inseam. Longer shorts make my legs look like tree trunks. I like to distract from the width of my legs with the shortness of my shorts😉

These have a nice flat front, side zip and contoured waistband. All things I knew I wanted. For my first pair, I eliminated the side pockets.

I’m calling these my Rainbow Brite pair, heh. I love color and stripes and seersucker. I was sold on these the minute I saw the material.

I underlined them in cotton batiste (also from Mood online). When I made this skirt last summer I realized that light seersucker is see through. I means you can not only see my underthings, but you can also see clothes tucked in to them.

The underlining also gave the fabric some more structure. I’ve seen seersucker shorts in the store and they never seem to be substantial enough. But, the seersucker suits I see at J.Crew and Brooks Brothers seem to be much thicker.

I also used a template to make the pockets. This made sure they were both the same and gave a nice sharp edge / finish with pressing. Oy. As drafted, pocket placement is comical on me — just  6 cm from the waistband. I moved these down and out several inches.

I’m very very happy with this patch pocket version. I found the waist a too high by one inch for my taste and have altered the pattern for my next go round (red poplin this weekend I hope).

The nice thing about the higher waist is there’s no belly to hang over the waist band or fear of showing my underwear when sitting. But, I’m still going to tweak these.

I’m happy! It’s been so long since I’ve had shorts that fit me well and are flattering!

Credentials and Dress

Yes, that’s right. I am now a minister of the Universal Life Church. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about being ordained in a church that isn’t the one I grew up in.

Here I am getting ordained while at my desk. It’s free for the online ordination. $6.99 for the certificate and another $8 to have it mailed to you……

I actually don’t need to be ordained in the state of Maryland to perform the ceremony, but I’m doing it for good measure and for my hoped for mention in the New York Times wedding section (affectionately known as the Sports Section for Women).

The bride has submitted the announcement and I’m sending positive thoughts that it will be selected. I’ve always wanted to be in the NY Times wedding section. Preferably as the bride, but I’ll take what I can get😉

Now, about my dress. I’ve decided I want to make Vogue 8280, the infamous Galaxy Dress. I wanted something tailored like you guys suggested but with *some* interest. I think the sleeves provide the perfect interset. I’m going to muslin the sweetheart neckline. It’s not a neckline I normally wear, but I thought it would be less ‘rigid’ for the wedding.

The material I bought from Mood is a Carolina Herrara jacquard. It has plum, black and grey (with some shimmer). The plum alternates with the black depending on the light. The bridesmaids are in charcoal gray with plum accents. So, this pulls in the wedding colors nicely. I originally went in looking for a solid fabric. But, Ann showed me this and I fell in love. I emailed it from my phone to the bride and everything was in motion. I totally understand if you can’t see it yet. But, I can. And, it’s going to be epic😉

The wedding isn’t until early September so I’ll start muslin / sewing in late July/ early August. I also reserve the right to chose a different pattern should the mood strike or if the muslin doesn’t do me any favors.