Liberty of London SWIMSUITS

Did you know Liberty of London makes swimsuit fabric? I sure didn’t! But I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to sew some up recently, courtesty of The Fabric Store. The special occasion is because they are now stocking it in their online store. Given the amount of swimsuits I’ve been sewing lately, I’m super excited to have another source of beautiful swimsuit fabrics at my online fingertips.

It’s no secret that swimming has become a family affair for us. All three of my daughters enjoy the sport, and my two eldest girls currently identify as mermaids. In fact, it’s because of them that I found myself back in the water. Over the past year, I’ve been gradually increasing my swim volume and boosting my fitness with as much cross training as possible (within the time constraints of adulthood!). At some point along the way, I agreed to join the Missouri Valley team at the US Masters Swimming Summer Nationals. The key relay organiser obviously saw more potential in me than the confidence I had in myself at the time.

Anyway, to cut a long story short (so I can get back to raving about Liberty of London swimsuit fabric!), I recently got back from competing in Minneapolis. It was amazing!!! The nerves, the pain, the competition. I don’t quite know where it came from, but I raced like I’d never left the sport, and came home with golds in the 50m, 100m, and 200m backstroke, as well as three additional relay golds. My times were a lot slower than what I was doing 20 years ago (as expected!), but I was extremely happy with myself, and I can see a lot of room for improvement yet (before old age does me in!). I’ve posted a couple of photos and a race video on IG for anyone interested.

Meanwhile, my girls and I have all had a nice, little break from the pool, and we are all about to jump back in for the new season. There’ll be plenty more bathers sewn over the coming year, but I actually have bigger plans afoot than outfitting the family. At the moment, I’m busy perfecting a couple of sample blocks (both for myself (size 34) and my girls (size 26)). I’m investigating having them professionally graded. It’s anyone’s guess what will happen after that, but at the very least, it will be nice for me to have more than a single size to sew for my three girls!

I’ve already sewn up two suits from my Liberty of London fabric, and I have a few more raring to go on the cutting table. I’m not quite on top of my photos, but there are plenty of sneak peeks on my IG accounts.

This particular suit was sewn up for Miss Seven in Mistral/B. Miss Nine is wearing it in the photos for a sample size study because she fits the measurements more closely (and she’s much less fidgetty!). She’s on the upper end of the size range for this suit. It fits her perfectly and it would be great for racing, but she could stand to go up a size for practice.

It looks like a pretty simple suit, but it’s taken me about ten versions to get to this point. There is more to a practice suit than meets the eye, and it’s no different for a kid than an adult. You need to consider the height of the neckline, whether it will slip down with swimming, pressure of the straps on the shoulders, no scratchy elastic edges on the back, a secure fit through the chest and hips (that FEELS secure to the swimmer too), a bottom that doesn’t balloon with water each time you flip-turn, non-restictive leg openings, and of course the elimination of seams that rub under the arms and at the neck with repeated arm motion. I think we got it covered with this suit… finally! I don’t tell this girl which suits to wear for practice, but I can see that she prefers my design now over her multitude of others.

But back to the fabric. It really is very lovely. It’s a quality, mid-weight swimsuit fabric, with great stretch recovery and a beautiful smooth feel to the hand. I know I should expect nothing less from Liberty of London. The fabric composition isĀ 72% Polymide, 28% Elastane, so I’m guessing it will perform well in the pool, and last even better if lined. I fully line all my suits because the lining significantly prolongs the life of the suit. It creates a barrier between a hot, sweaty body to slow down the degradation of the lycra. It also protects modesty as the chlorine and sun fades the fabric over time.

Stay tuned for more as I finish sewing up the rest of my swimsuit fabric stash. And in the meantime, I encourage you to check out the new range of Liberty of London swimsuit fabrics on offer in The Fabric Store’s online shop.

 

 

 

Burdastyle paper bag waist shorts

These are my new favourite shorts. I need more of them. In linen. A pants version. A whole closet full would be nice.

The pattern is Burdastyle 111A shorts style. I made a few small modifications.

  • I omitted the front fly (might have been a faux fly…)
  • I also ommitted the belt carriers
  • I stitched down the facing and created an elastic casing as I did this. The shorts do not include an elastic waistband, but I wanted a pair of easy, comfy shorts that could be pulled on (as well as tied up with a big bow!).

I love my new shorts. The linen is from the Fabric Store; a most divine shade of Military Green. I love the exagerated paper bag waist of the design. I’ve been wearing them with a silk tank I made ages ago. The very pretty charmeuse is an oldie from Tessuti Fabrics. I can also see myself wearing these shorts with a billowy, white linen top in Fall.

 

BHL Orsola dress in mustard linen

I’m excited to finally get to share my Orsola dress. It’s By Hand London‘s latest pattern release.

The Orsola dress is a true wrap dress. I sewed mine up in a beautiful linen from The Fabric Store.

I made a few small modification to my Orsola dress. I graded between sizes, sewing one size larger through the bust and blending to a smaller size through the waist and hips. I lengthened the bodice by 1/2 inch and the hem by 4 inches.

The bodice in the dress pattern has bust darts and waist darts. I’m an A-cup bust on a good day so I removed the bust darts, just keeping the waist darts for shape. It worked perfectly.

After toiling the skirt, I also removed the front darts. My body is angular rather than curvy and I didn’t need the extra fullness through the hips that the front darts provided. I also skimmed a few mm off the upper hip curve, just to reflect my shape better.

The result is a super comfortable and elegant dress that I’ve been wearing a great deal. It fills the ‘smart casual’ gap in my wardrobe perfectly. If I had more linen in my stash, I’d be inclined to sew up another!

 

Little pink drop waist in New Look 6016

After months of requests for a pink winter dress, I finally relinquished. I feel I should apologise for yet another drop waist, but at the moment, with all the crazy packing and organising going on for our move, I feel like I need to stick to simple and necessary sewing. Of course drop waist dresses are necessary! How could anyone possibly question this fact?!

 


I dragged out New Look 6016 again to make this dress. It was made with a beautiful pastel viscose which came from Tessuti Fabrics. The skirt was made with a little leftover Lisa Ho cotton/silk from The Fabric Store. This Lisa Ho fabric is amazing, so light and silky, and perhaps a little bit too special for a four year old. In my pre-blogging days, I made a pair of Suzy pants with it, and more recently a pair of boxers for hubby.

As usual, I made several modifications to this pattern. I started with a size four.

  • lengthened the top by 4cm
  • widened the sleeves by about 2cm each side to eliminate the taper, and added cuffs (I didn’t shorten them at all)
  • added a gathered skirt (I always aim for 2 x the width of the hem I’m attaching it to, but as I generally use scraps for these skirts, I use what I have)

This is actually one of my favourite knock ups. The drapey viscose worked out so much better than I anticipated and I much prefer the top with cuffs. I can see myself making a few more of these little dresses in the winter months, mainly for my girl who flatly refuses to wear anything but dresses. As you can see, it is the perfect dress for twirling and practicing magic with your spoon-wand.

 

The Rigel floral bomber

Oh, this Tessuti fabric just made me swoon at first sight. Kirsty from Top Notch obviously thought the same, as I spotted her lovely O’keefe skirt in it the other day. No wonder it sold out so quickly! Mine has been in my stash for some time, just waiting for that perfect project to come along. And it finally did, as soon as I laid eyes on the Rigel Bomber by Papercut patterns.


Given the unfitted nature of this bomber, I threw caution to the wind and jumped right into stitching it up. Now the sizing appeared to be working out pretty good, but I was far from happy with how the insides of this jacket were looking. It is meant to be an unlined jacket and of course, it could look wonderful as such had I given some forethought into binding the seams. But I still don’t think the internal pocket construction (with the fusing and multiple raw edges) could be tidied up to an extent that would make me happy. Or maybe it could…

So after completing the outer shell (sans ribbing), I made a snap decision to line it. Luckily, I had the perfect remnant in my stash (another Tessuti fabric), a silky, silvery viscose that just feels delightful against the skin. All I did to line this jacket was cut lining pieces of the back, fronts, and arms, sew them together, and attach the intact lining to the jacket exactly as you would the facing (according to the instructions). I then basted the free arm hem edges and bottom hem edges of the lining to the jacket fabric so that I could sew them together as one to the ribbing. It didn’t take that much more effort and I am SO delighted with the results. It has turned a rather nice bomber into a luxuriously decadent bomber. The lining adds that little bit of extra weight and warmth. The silkiness of the slippery viscose also makes putting it on over other clothes much easier.


I should also mention that I nearly doubled the length of ribbing for the arm cuffs, which by the way, is a beautifully robust double sided cotton ribbing I picked up as a remnant from The Fabric Store.

I love my fabulous new jacket! Now I just need to sew some more monotone separates or I will start giving my neighbours a headache with all the gorgeous prints in my wardrobe.


Happy birthday has finally arrived

And it’s a high five for me, who has scored a perfect ten on fit. Yes, birthdays are all about me and seeing my creations finally being worn. If you can remember, I made hubby some Lisa Ho boxers and a gorgeous modal Henley a few months ago. I am ever so proud of myself for refraining from gifting them before today.

My reluctant model permitted me to take a few photos (even though it was barely 6am and he had only just woken up). And yes, he did comment on the gorgeous fabrics. I will definitely be making these for him again. The modal works pretty well in this size for the Henley, but if I use a sturdier or less stretchy fabric, I think I will have to go up a size, particularly in the arm width (yes hubby, to accommodate those massive guns).

 

 
Thanks Nick for the photos. You are a natural! x
 

The Little Truck Stop Top Dress

Did I mention that I purchased 3m of that Marc Jacobs cotton knit fabric?! It would have been a good amount if not for the leg placement disaster of my own playsuit. But as it happened, I had enough for one more little top dress.


I had been eyeballing the Little Truck Stop Top for months but finally decided to get out there and purchase it, even though I knew it was still going to be a few sizes too big for my littlest girl.

As I’ve already mentioned, this little project was to use up the last bits of my Marc Jacobs knit. I also pieced together about six tiny lengths of some Liberty leftovers to make a beautiful bottom ruffle. I am a little obsessed with Liberty of London cotton right now so it might feature again pretty soon.

I cut the pattern to a size 7. It is way too big but it doesn’t gape immodestly. Miss Coco has not yet decided whether she will wear it as a dress or a nightie to rival her swishing sister.

And by the way, I managed to ‘roll’ the neck binding beautifully this time. I was so pleased with how it turned out after my earlier efforts, that I decided to push on and bind the sleeves before I went to bed. Wrong! I was obviously sleep-sewing. As you can see, I bound them the wrong way again so this is why there is no lovely ‘roll’ on the armscye. 

Another swishy nightie dress

Ok, so this little girl really does not need another night dress but what else was I to do with the remnants of my playsuit? I had to piece the back together in two small sections but you can barely see this due to the pattern.

 
 

The design is my own, basically a sleeveless and slightly shorter version of the other nightie I made for her this Spring. I’m planning to make a Little Truck Stop Top for Miss Five with the last little bits of this fabric so I thought I’d have a go at the interesting sleeve binding feature you see on this top. At first, I wasn’t sure what I did wrong because I simply couldn’t get the fabric to ‘roll’ the correct way. But now I realise that some fabrics just prefer to roll a certain way and I should have just attached it to the other side of the binding fabric instead.


Miss nearly-Four is now completely sorted for the hot summer nights ahead and putting on pyjamas is now a thing of great excitement for her each night. High five for Mummy making bath times a breeze and adding the swish factor to Miss nearly-Four’s nightwear!