I've got 99 problems, but fabric ain't one...

In the spirit of this year of sewing firsts, I decided I desperately needed a bodysuit.

That's right... 90's fashion has been ringing my doorbell over and over this year!


I settled on Seamwork's Ariane and found some amazing nylon/spandex tricot from Phee Fabrics. I ordered it in both black and kelly green. I am new to lingerie and swimwear design so I knew that I wanted to make a muslin in black to ensure a proper fit. But I knew the green would be my showstopper!

I've never sewn with tricot before and was so pleased with the weight and overall quality of this performance fabric! It was a dream to cut and sew up. I used Phee's Techsheen to line both the cups and the crotch of the suit. Techsheen is a perfect lining for anyone who needs extra built-in support.

So, the fabric was a total winner. The actual sewing of the bodysuit, on the other hand, is another story...

The Ariane was fairly simple to construct. It actually did exceed my expectations, having never sewn a garment like this before.

My troubles came with the smaller details.

Like that perfect "V" between the cups... Looks okay here, but it was a disaster on my muslin. I sewed and ripped and sewed and ripped and never could get the perfect finish! Honestly, I'm still unclear on the proper way to achieve this V. My method was pretty messy!


Then came the fold-over elastic... this was one rare occasion where my online community of sewers failed me. I took to the Seamwork Facebook group to ask for recommendations on the width of elastic required. Would 5/8" work? Did I need 1"? The instructions were unclear and I needed guidance. Unfortunately, not a soul came to my aid. I decided to try both. I used 1" for my muslin and 5/8" for my final. The wider elastic is absolutely the way to go! If I needed any support at all, I wouldn't have it with the 5/8" elastic.


But it's soooo cute! I found this serape stripe beauty on Etsy.

Even as a maker, it's tough to sew lingerie for small busts like mine. So many patterns are drafted for a B-cup. Guess who's barely an A? My muslin was a little too large in the cups so I downsized for my final garment. Unfortunately, it's still a somewhat unflattering fit.

I'm sure I'll appreciate my lack of boob-age someday... I'm not there yet, though.

Making this bodysuit was an exceptional lesson in lingerie construction. I learned so much about what does and doesn't work - and can adjust accordingly in the future. And, I will. It only took a half yard of fabric to make so I can squeeze out another 2 with my leftover Phee tricot!

In atypical Rachel fashion, I'm not discouraged by the challenges faced with this bodysuit. I'm actually excited to break out my scissors and start again! Tell me about a challenging project that inspired you. I'd love to hear your stories!



Sometimes, you happen upon a match that is just meant to be... but it takes patience and time and a little more patience.

This life lesson has made itself apparent to me many times in many different forms in the past week, but we'll save the deep stuff and talk about this match:

The Patterns for Pirates Sunshine Dress + Phee Fabric's Rayon Spandex


Oh my dear goodness... there has never been a more perfect pair. I feel like a Roman goddess in this dress! It's flowy and dreamy, unbelievably soft, and not even the slightest bit "see through." I had women walk up to me today just to feel this fabric. It's that magical.


My littlest guy asked me why I was wearing my pajamas to work.

{For the record, I have zero sleepwear that looks like this, but I would totally sleep in it now!}


I've been dragging my feet, trying to work up the courage to tackle those gorgeous gathers for more than a year. It only took one look at this beautiful turquoise fabric to convince me to take the chance.

I'm no stranger to gathers, but I never enjoy the process. A lot can go wrong - the threads can break... the gathers can be uneven... they can bunch when you're attaching to your facing piece... I have ripped out more seams because of problems with gathering than for any other reason!


Luckily, we are part of a community of sewing geniuses who have a solution for everything.

Exhibit A - Use your serger!!


Perfected by The Seasoned Homemaker, her technique is so simple and gives you total control over the spacing of your gathers. This is by far my favorite method. There is something about having a little extra stability in the seam and the gathers turn out perfectly every single time. I gathered with my serger for this dress and couldn't be happier with the results.

Exhibit B - Gather with a zigzag stitch


I love the ease and speed of this method, as demonstrated at Simple Simon and Company. The only drawback is lack of control over the gathers. I find it's a bit harder to keep them evenly spaced. I do occasionally use this method. When I do, I secure one end of the gathering thread with a Wonder Clip and gather with the free end. It's a great method for short gathers in sleeves.


How lucky are we to have such amazing resources online and great materials available to work with? Go snatch up some of this gorgeous turquoise before it's all gone! I've already ordered more of Phee's rayon spandex to make summer dresses and I'll be sharing those beauties as I'm able.


May all of your creations make you feel as special as you are, loves!


I did it, y’all.

I made my own bikini.

Plaid Fabric: Nylon Spandex || Lining: White Techsheen
Notions: Amazon

One of my Me-Made-May 2018 goals was to create something that I’ve never made before. Phee Fabrics issued the challenge and made it easy to find all of the fabric that I would need. Jalie provided the pattern and amazing instruction. Wine gave me the confidence to take these photos.


{Just kidding... I didn't really drink. Much.}

In going through this process and preparing for Phee FabricsSwim Week, I’ve been more aware of the gorgeous women in my sewing groups – real women – of all ages and body types, rocking their “me-made” swimwear with confidence and glamour.

What really takes these swimsuits up 10 notches is that they are custom made to fit each individual’s curves – or in my case, lack thereof. How lucky are we, as members of this international sewing community, to have the basic skills to make our own swimwear?! We’re not confined to the pre-sized boxes that the fashion industry tries to place us in!


 It’s pretty darn empowering. And soooo much easier than I expected.


In my heightened state of swimwear awareness, I was pretty upset by the recent ageist drama over the Instagram post of 47-year-old Kelly Ripa in a bikini. One comment read, "Kelly's gorgeous, but isn't there a cutoff age where age appropriateness comes into play? Just because you can rock a bikini, doesn't mean you should."

I’m sorry, what?

Having just turned 40 myself, I began to reassess everything… is there some implicit code of swimwear appropriateness for women over 40? Who makes these rules? Would I suddenly be shunned at the pool for my love of playful prints, obnoxiously bright colors, and – yes – bikinis?

That moment quickly passed as I came to my senses and, ultimately, felt really sorry for the person that posted that comment. Age isn’t really the issue here. You know she’s struggling with her own ready-to-wear swimsuit. Gaping cups, see-through fabrics, and bottoms that ride up are definitely worth getting mad about.


I’ll think about her as I’m rocking my own wedgie-free bikini on the beach this summer… at the age of 40.


No more excuses, ladies! You can do this, too. Visit the Phee Fabrics blog during Phee Fabrics Swim Week to see more inspirational swimwear, read about others' tips and tricks for sewing your own, and buy all of the yummy fabric you need to make it happen.

Go forth and make yourself a swimsuit!!!
Does it seem to everyone else that the stuffy days of suits and pantyhose in the workplace are falling by the wayside? I know opinions about this vary, but I ab-so-lute-ly love it.


I've recently transitioned from a more "buttoned-up" workplace to one that allows me to dress for the day ahead. If I'm meeting with clients or representing the company, I tend to dress more traditionally professional. If I'm attending a community event, I dress for photos. If I'm planning to sit at the desk and slog through a mountain of work, I'm dressed for total comfort.

And jeans or leggings on Friday... lawd... I love my Friday leggings.

My current obsession with sewing knits lends itself nicely to this shift in the work-uniform dynamic. I can create pieces to dress up or down depending on my needs. And I never, ever sacrifice comfort!

That's one of the reasons that I'm in love with the full suite of patterns from Made for Mermaids and Patterns for Pirates. They are all designed with those must-haves in mind.

First up is the Patterns for Pirates Everyday Elegance dress... How beautiful is this dress??


(all the heart eyes is the perfect reaction!!)

It is full of little details that make it so special - yoke pleating, gathers at the shoulders, a buttoned tab sleeve... and such an easy make! I'll admit that I may have had to make it twice because of lazy poor  construction decisions... costly mistake but it was worth doing over again!



If you've been following the tour all week, you may recognize this perfectly fall-ish ghost crepe from Vinegar & Honey. While a departure from my knit-kick, it was the ideal woven for this silhouette.

Next up is a total comfort look - the Made for Mermaids Mama Joy with the Patterns for Pirates Cocoon Cardigan.


I made the dress to wear during the warmer months and paired it with this amazing cardigan for the recently cooler weather. You could literally whip both of these garments up in an evening. They are both such easy makes. Perfect for beginner and seasoned makers alike!



And... how can you go wrong with sweater knit and double-brushed poly? I snuggled all day in this outfit and it was work appropriate! Win-win!! The sweater knit is Girl Charlee and the DBP is Knitpop.

(I could seriously live my entire life in DBP... it's that ridiculous.)

And, finally, a winning casual Friday look. To be honest, I'd probably wear this gorgeous outfit during the work week, too. Actually, I did. On a Thursday. It's got all of the scandalous parts covered, right?


This cardigan is the newest Made for Mermaids release, the Mama Darcey. I've paired it with the Mama Courtney (sans knot) and the Patterns for Pirates Peg Legs. All SUPER easy makes and separates that can work in any number of outfits.



Holy moly... I love this sweater. I'm wearing leggings and knit from top to bottom and I feel GLAMOROUS!!!



You can find this sweater knit and wine cotton spandex at Girl Charlee and the distressed knit at So Sew English Fabrics.

I hope you've enjoyed our week of work wear during this blog tour! Which garments do you plan to incorporate in your professional wardrobe? If you've missed any of the days, you can find the posts here:

Day 1  |  Day 2  |  Day 3  |  Day 4  |  Day 5

Now, bring on the weekend!

XXOO
Admittedly, I'm easily impressed. However, it takes a lot to knock my socks off.

Earlier this year, I discovered PDF sewing patterns and had that moment of, "Holy. Cow. This is freakin' genius!" One file... every size you could ever need... yours to print as many times as you'd like... and, I'm soooo late to the game!

Needless to say, I've been making up for lost time and have quickly fallen in love with a few designers. The sisters behind Made for Mermaids and Patterns for Pirates have quickly captured my heart. Their designs are timeless, easy, and packed FULL of options. If you've never used PDF patterns, these ladies have generously provided a few free patterns to get you started (and they are pretty fabulous!!).

It was a magical moment for me when I was invited to test the newest addition to the Made for Mermaids collection - the Mama Kourtney.


The pattern features options for tops, tunics, and dresses in sleeveless, short- and long-sleeves. There is even a girls' pattern!

I'm still blissfully living in my "leggings are pants" fashion world so the sleeveless tunic was a perfect match for my current lifestyle. Not to mention that it's still a bajillion degrees here in the south.



I used a cotton rayon blend from Girl Charlee that had just the right amount of drape. I think the tiny flower print gives it a great vintage vibe.

Overall, this make couldn't be simpler. From cut to hem in less than an hour! That is, if you don't sew the arm binding to the neckline and the neck binding to the armscye. With a serged seam. And solidly impale your finger with your seam ripper. Then, it might take you a few hours longer.

Don't sew when you're exhausted, friends. Just don't do it.

The feature that elevates this pattern is the sexy little hemline knot. Looks complicated. Is actually super simple. The directions are very easy to follow and Megan provides the perfect video to make it even simpler.


Made for Mermaids patterns are color-coded, rather than sized with traditional numbers. I cut a pink for this top and made no alterations. It's a little large for my taste under the arms so I will likely take it in a bit for my next make.


You can download this essential pattern here. It's on sale separately and part of a bundle with the girls' pattern.

Grab your pattern today and be sure to share your makes with me! Happy sewing!!