Category Archives: lycra

Vintage McCall’s 6497 // A shirt for Miss Seven

My original plan was to make Miss Seven a pair of pink cigarette pants to go with her new coat. However, I fell in love with every view on the front of this pattern cover and I thought I’d try out the shirt first.

I used more of my vintage sheet set to make this shirt. The print looks so lovely in a shirt that I’m planning to make myself one now too.

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The pattern went together beautifully. My only complaint was to do with the sleeve cap ease, but I find excessive sleeve cap ease a fairly common feature of old patterns. Next time I’ll shave some height of the sleeve cap so it can be set in a lot easier.

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I made this pattern up in a size 8, which corresponded quite well with Miss Seven and a half’s chest measurement. I expected it to be a little bigger on her than it is though. However, it would stand to reason that she has lovely broad shoulders like her mother. The torso fit is lovely and it looks comfortable. I suspect the pants and skirt in the pattern will swim on her tiny hips so I may have to grade them down first.

And before I sign off on this post, I just want to share a quick peek of the best leotard ever. It’s a birthday present for Miss Five. My beautiful, gentle Miss Seven is modelling it. The tiger poses will come later with the fierce Miss Five. I even added tiger eyes to the back of the suit so she could terrorise people behind her too. The pattern is Jalie 3136, which I’ve now made more times than I can remember.

I made the fabric myself on Spoonflower. I used the sport lycra, which is a nice weight and completely opaque.  In fact, this fabric generated so much interest that I ended up purchasing the license for the photo so the design could be made available to others. It will only be available on Spoonflower for a limited time though.

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Kwik Sew 1615: Tutu togs for the cousin

I made this little swimsuit for my niece, who is very close in age to my Miss Five, but a bit more petite in size.

I used my daughter as a sizing estimate and these photos were supposed to help me adjust the straps to suit her slightly smaller cousin. It wasn’t the easiest process, because wearing these bathers instilled a sudden sense of silliness in Miss Five which rendered it impossible for her to stand still.

These bathers were made to a size 7. I think I may have lengthened them by 1/4 to 1/2 inch but I can’t quite remember. I used a previously traced copy of the pattern that I’d sewn last season for Miss Seven.

The length is perfect on my exceptionally tall Miss Five, but they are just a bit too wide. You can see how the underarm gapes when her arms are down. The front neck is also a little wide so the binding doesn’t sit flat and there are some wrinkles at her waist. However, these fit issues are hugely amplified by the straps being too long. I always err on the conservative side with strap length to begin with and only baste them in place initially. The gape and neckline fit improved a lot after I shortened the back straps, but two photo shoots were not an option.

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These tutu togs are going to be a bit big for the recipient too. In retrospect, a size 6 would have been a better match, but since it’s currently Winter in Australia anyway, too big is probably better than too small.

The fabric I used was leftover after sewing another pair of bathers for her mother. I like inflicting a little bit of matchy-matchy on unsuspecting victims. I wasn’t able to make the main fabric stretch the whole way for these little tutu togs, which is why you see the green contrast fabric for the straps.

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Kwik Sew 2422 and 1615: swimsuits for my big girls

I’m going to start this post with a disclaimer: I was given this fabric for free by Funki Fabrics in exchange for making something and blogging about it. How could I say no to free fabric, particularly with swimsuit season upon us.

We all know it’s hard to be completely objective about something if you’ve been given it for free, but I’ve tried my best. For a little more information, it’s also worthwhile checking out Gillian from Crafting a Rainbow’s review here.

I made two little swimsuits with my fabric, and I have a little bit more to go yet. My first make was for Miss Five, using Kwik Sew 2422 (complete with a big raspberry drip of melted icy pole on her leg). She was quite specific about the exact style she wanted (down to the actual pattern and strap design). She also chose her own fabric; digitally printed neon tetras. She wanted to be in camouflage for her swim lessons. Obviously.

My only modification to this pattern (from last time) was to raise the neckline by 1.25 inches. Then I just measured the old neckline curve, compared it to the new, and adjusted the length of neckline elastic by the difference. I should have also narrowed the neckline a little as I raised it. Next time.

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The second pair was for Miss Seven, using Kwik Sew 1615, with the same (added seam) modification I’ve used in the past. I think she looks very chic! I only lined the front of the swimsuit bottoms, but due to the light colours, I realise now that I should have probably lined it all. At the moment, they aren’t see-through when wet, but I will have to wait and see how that goes as the print fades.

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I’m pretty fussy about most fabrics, and swimwear is no exception. I was pleasantly surprised with this haul. The prints on the fabric were spot on and exactly as I expected (I could have ordered swatches but I didn’t bother as I was mainly sewing for kids. Yes, double standards abound in this house.). For me, the enormous variety of printed lycra and foiled dancewear fabric are the best thing about Funki Fabrics. I will say though, that their website is a bit awkward, and it does take a bit of time to navigate.

Quality wise, I think the swimsuit fabric is good. In comparison to a RTW surf rashie I own, the fabric is better. But it’s not the best I’ve ever had. I think this may come from the fact that Funki Fabric is all about variety and fabric design. It appears to me that they have the same white, base fabric that they apply all their prints to. It’s a little bit thinner than some other swimsuit fabric I have in my stash, so if using it for myself, lining will be a must. For my kids though, this fabric is more than adequate on it’s own.

Overall, I’m actually very happy with this product. The fabric has a lovely, smooth hand, good stretch and recovery, and the printing is beautifully done. The lighter print (black hearts on cream) feels a little painted on, but not terribly so, and I suspect this is intended to improve the opacity of such a light colour.

We’ve already taken the new swimsuits for a few test runs (which I was waiting to report back on) and they’ve performed very well.  I can’t confirm that they helped the “big arms” actually make it out of the water, nor did I lose sight of my child amongst all the other neon fish at our local pool, but I am happy to say that there have been no saggy, baggy bottoms or immodest see-through togs.

Two little Jalie 3136 leotards

These leotards are such a quick and easy make. I love the opportunity to use contrast fabric, and I’m very happy with the overall fit on my tall, slim girls. I’ve made a few pairs already (here and here) so I knew what to expect. For Miss Seven, I stuck with a size 6, the same as last time. They fit her very well through the torso. The leg elastic is borderline too tight, but I think she’ll be ok with it. That’s the only thing I’d say about this pattern, is check the fit of the leg elastic before sewing it on.

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Miss Three LOVES gymnastics, more than anything else in this world right now. Three year olds really don’t need gymnastics leotards but I couldn’t resist making her one, just so I could watch her impossible cuteness in it. She wakes up everyday, puts on her leotard, and asks if its her ‘nastics day.

Her suit was made up in a size 3 and it’s a perfect fit all over. She is on the 50th centile from head to toe, the true “baby” of this family. Despite, LOVING this suit, and actually being a very happy child all day, she decided to practice her grumpy, angry person poses for the photos. I did my best, but there really isn’t any point negotiating with a three year old.

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A Jalie leotard for Miss Five

I’m quite fond of Jalie patterns for active wear. I’ve only ever sewn the smaller child sizes, but I generally find the fit to be very good on my girls. I made this leotard up in a size 7 (years) for my nearly-Miss Seven. However, because it is destined to be a birthday gift, Miss Five agreed to model it for the photos.

The length of this leotard is a little long for my five year old (as would be expected), but not by much. The width fits nicely and the leg elastic is a little on the snug side, but not overly so. Miss Five disagrees. She’s actually stopped wearing her last pair of Size 5 leotards in this pattern specifically because of the tight leg elastic.
 

Initially, I wasn’t sure if the tight leg elastic was just a mistake on my part with the first pair, but now I realise it is a feature of the pattern, and so probably worth considering if you are planning to sew these. As a reference point, Miss Five is tall, but apart from her height, she’s on the 50th centile for BMI and a perfectly standard size 5 on all her other body measurements (which has been very useful for me in my recent patternmaking!).  

  

Kwik Sew 2724: Just another little leotard

I have some big, exciting dreams on the burner right now, which means that my mind is not really on creating wardrobe staples. This particular staple for little Miss Five, is a gym leotard for the Summer months. I’d been promising it for a while, mainly because her Winter suit is a little small around the legs (and I’m too lazy to make the comfort modification given she has a smaller sister following behind her).

 
The pattern I used was Kwik Sew 2724. Despite the fact that I’ve had such a rotten run of poor fit with this pattern, I still really like it for what it is, and that is, a quick and easy sew. I cut this version in a Size 6. I took a gamble with the size because my heart wasn’t in customising it for her. The length fits her quite well (as I predicted), but there is just too much room in the width (as I also predicted). You can see all those horrible wrinkles and excess fabric in the crotch and bum. I should have simply lengthened the smaller size.
 
In any case, this child barely stands still for more than a second at the best of times, let alone when she’s doing gymnastics. So in all her jumping, skipping, tripping, and tumbling, I think it’s highly unlikely that anybody will ever notice how poorly her leotard fits. Phew!
 

 
 




Jalie 3136: winter leotards

There is something to be said about quality fabric. I made two little gym leotards not too long ago. They are already in a very sorry state. I probably should have been handwashing them, but I’ll freely admit that I’m not a handwashing type of person.


I spent the entire duration of my teenage years training 5hrs a day in heavily chlorinated swimming pools, so I think I have a discerning eye for good swimsuit lycra. Bathers never used to last long in my swimmer’s world. The elastic deteriorated within the fabric itself, the colours faded and the swimmers stretched out, turning see-through, until I had to wear two pairs together. It isn’t just chlorine that kills the fabric. UV light and sweat also contribute.

I’ve been so impressed with the swimsuit fabric I’ve purchased from both Tessuti Fabrics and the Fabric Store in Sydney. I’ve made several pairs of small people bathers (here, here and here) in the last few years. The oldest pair is faded and a little abraded on the bottom, but there is still no sign of the fabric deteriorating.

The same can’t be said for the metallic spandex I used for my big girls’ gym leotards (here and here). They’ve only been worn for a few months and the metallic coating has nearly all been washed off, somewhat unevenly. The actual fabric has also stretched out and lost a bit of it’s recovery in places. But those side panels of swimsuit lycra are still in perfect condition. I wonder if metallic coated fabrics are a just a little less hardy than what I’m used to.


This time round, I made the main body of both leotards up in swimsuit fabric and just used the metallic spandex for contrast on one arm. What can I say? I don’t like to throw away stash and my girls like shiny things. If one arm loses a bit of it’s sparkle, it won’t affect the rest of the suit.

The pattern I used was Jalie 3136. Miss Four’s suit was made up in rainbow fish scale mermaid lycra (new stock from Tessuti), cut to a size 5. I added 1.5cm to the torso length for her because she is a very long mermaid and I wasn’t quite sure about Jalie’s length sizing. As it turned out, I probably could have skipped this modification.

 
 

 

I’m going to call these leotards a win. Miss Four loves them and I can’t help but smile when I see those fabulous rainbow fish scales. The great thing about sewing little leotards is that they use up such a tiny amount of fabric. I still have enough leftover for Mummy gear next summer.

Miss Six’s leotards turned out just as well. I made absolutely no modifications to her version.

 
 

 
 
 
 
Aren’t those flowers just the prettiest? Gnome thinks so.