Monday, 21 January 2019

Day 3 - Sew a long with SEMS Fabric

Day 3. Finishing the tops

Hello there! Welcome to day 3 of the Sems L&K swimsuit sew-a-long with Sansahash patterns. If you're only just joining us, please check back in on DAY 1 and DAY 2 to catch up. Today we are finishing off our tops! How fast did that happen?!

For racer back version

Sew the bottom bodice elastic to the bottom of the top. It is VERY important to portion your top and elastic into quarters and pin accordingly - this ensures an even finish.

Turn up your elasticated hem and top stitch with a zig zag or double needle.  

Inside view - elastic is now enclosed

Press your racer bikini with a gentle iron (and a pressing cloth if required.) Top stitch the neckline and armholes using a twin needle or zig zag stitch.
Ta daah! Now your L&K racer back bikini top is complete!

For pleated halter neck bikini/tankini

Stitch in top elastic. Ensure you find the centre of the front top and front elastic pieces. Pin and sew carefully. Quarter the larger side/back elastic and top, pin and sew and ensure your top is not stretched, your elastic will need to be stretched slightly whilst sewing.   

If completing the original bikini version of the pleated swimsuit, quarter your bottom bodice elastic and top, pin and sew. Next, turn over your elasticated hems and top stitch using a zig zag or twin needle. (Complete this step for the top portion if sewing the tankini.)

Fold your strap pieces right sides facing, sew long edge, leaving a gap between the marks you made when cutting out your fabric.

Note the gap, you will need to leave this gap in both straps.

Turn the long portion of your straps the right way out - use a turning tool like I have, or check the Sansahash blog for tips HERE on turning straps.

The short part of your straps will remain wrong way facing. Follow the tutorial carefully for this next bit if you're unsure of what the heck is happening here! However, pop on a small safety pin on your bodice where your first strap will attach. Next, slide over the short end of the strap (the piece that is still inside out.) When the ends meet, stitch the strap to the bodice, unpin the safety pin and trim seam allowance.

Safety pin and seam showing (strap will be tightly gathered below.)
Pull the strap up and over the seam. Now your strap is attached and completely right way out. Hand stitch the opening close. Sew or knot the end of your strap. Repeat for second strap.

For pleated tankini version  

Gather your skirt, see this YouTube video clip HERE for a brief instruction on gathering.  

 Sew on your tankini skirt using a stretch stitch. I recommend adding elastic to the inside of this seam too. If it appears like there will be too much bulk, use clear elastic instead.

Top turned right way out after sewing on skirt (your version will have straps attached already.)

Press top gently and top stitch skirt down using a twin or zig zag stitch.

Great work!! If sewing the pleated bikini or tankini version, you've now completed the top!

For ruffled tankini version


This version will follow a similar line of steps to the pleated version, however, YOU will need to measure the top of your bodice carefully. Do not just measure across the bodice chest area, follow the curves around. Once you have a number, cut a piece of elastic 95% of that size. For example, if my measurement was 54cm, I would multiply 0.95 by 54, this gives me 51cm (rounded.) Over lap your elastic 1cm (1.4"), divide into quarters. Divide your top bodice into quarters and pin carefully. Sew on your elastic by gently stretching elastic WITHOUT stretching the fabric. Turn over elasticated hem and top stitch with a zig zag or twin needle.

Gather the ruffle skirts to fit the tankini top. Baste both skirts together.

Find the centre front of the top, pin skirts to bodice, right sides facing. Skirts should meet at the centre front (overlap if desired.) Stitch skirts to bodice using a stretch stitch. Press, add in clear elastic to seam if desired and top stitch (using a zig zag or twin needle.)

If you would like a tankini that ties at the back (instead of a halter neck tie) sew your back tie piece right side together down long raw edge.

Find the centre back of your bodice. Make a loop with the back tie and stitch on.
Sew straps as per pleated halter neck swimsuit, however, omit the gap (sew straight down the long edge of strap.)  

Unfortunately I haven't devised a pretty way to attach these straps. To find the best spot to stitch these straps, have your model (the smaller person who will wear the swimsuit) try on the top. Mark these spots, stitch on straps. 

If you would like to add a pretty bow to your swimsuit I recommend the Honeydew Kisses Agave bow pattern, or Duchess & Hare's bow pattern, both are completely FREE (join Honeydew Kisses Facebook group for the discount code.)
Now your ruffled tankini top is finished!! Phew!! Go you!!

With tops complete, we will now be moving on to bottoms! Stay tuned for day 4 starting Tuesday 22nd January 2019.
Please share your progress with the group and ask any questions. We are very excited to see your work!
Happy sewing!

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Day 2 - Sew-a-long with SEMS Fabric

Day 2. Sewing shoulder, neck & side seams

Welcome back for day 2 of the Sems L&K swimsuit sew-a-long with Sansahash patterns!! If you haven't read day 1, go back and visit our first steps HERE.

For the RACER BACK version

Today we are sewing the shoulder, neck and side seams of the racer back top (for the other versions, scroll down.) Sew your main and lining pieces right side together.

I personally like to sew my seams using a lightening bolt stitch with my regular sewing machine first, then overlock (or serge, as our overseas friends would say.) There is no real need to overlock as knit fabric doesn't fray.

Put your lining and main pieces right sides together and sew the neck opening. Be careful not to stretch your fabric while sewing.

Close up view of neck lines

Pull your top right sides out and press gently if desired.

Our next step can seem quite confusing if you have never sewn a garment using the
"burrito technique". Please check out this
YouTube video by Melly Sews (it doesn't show the L&K top, but is similar enough to gauge what is happening.)
You will need to roll up one side of your top towards the other.  
When you get as close to the other edge as possible without going past it, pull the lining from underneath the main, over the roll up part to meet the edge of the main fabric. The right sides of the fabric will meet, wrong sides are exposed. Pin well and sew.

Top with both edges sewn, wrong sides exposed

Pull out the garment to show the right sides again and repeat the step for the other side. It will look odd!!

Top pulled out correct way with one side sewn

Top right way out with both sides sewn

Side seams: With right sides facing, sew your side seams. Refer to the pattern tutorial for more guidance.

Baste bottom raw edges of the main and lining together - a zig zag would be fine for this step. Put top aside, you are DONE for day 2! Well done!

Pleated halter neck bikini or tankini


Make sure you have marked all your pattern pieces carefully. Pleat your top carefully, from the back view, the pleat will face towards the underarm/strap area.

View from correct side

Once you have pinned both sides, your front bodice should look similar to these photos.

Baste your pleats.

Your lining will NOT have pleats. Sew your bodice fronts, right sides facing at the side seams. The back bodice piece will be WIDER at the TOP. Repeat for your lining.

Wrong sides together, baste your main and lining bodices together.

For TANKINI version only

Sew your skirt pieces, right side together, at the side seams.
Congratulations! You're done for day 2 if you're sewing the pleated version!

For Ruffled hack version

Measure your main bodice piece central height. Divide this measurement by 4, cut a piece of 6mm elastic at this length. Measure down/up 3.5cm from the top and bottom of your bodice. At these points pin your piece of elastic. Stretch your piece of elastic right out, pin excessively if needed. Sew on your elastic using a zig zag stitch. Repeat for the lining.

Your front main and lining pieces should look similar to this.

Right sides together, sew your main and lining bodice at the side seams. This step is exactly the same as the standard pleated version, scroll up to check instructions for further guidance.
Baste main and lining together, wrong sides facing.

Skirt pieces with side seams sewn

Sew front skirt ruffle pieces to back pieces at the short edge, right sides together. When placed right sides out, they should look similar to my pieces above.
Well done all!! You have now completed day 2 of the Sems L&K SAL. Please share your progress in the event (found HERE - you will need to be a Sems Facebook group member to view, join HERE.)
Stay tuned for Day 3, Tuesday 22nd January 2019.

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Day 1 - Sew-a-long with SEMS Fabric


Welcome! We are on day 1 of our Sems L&K swimsuit sew-a-long! If you have not taken part in a sew-a-long (SAL), it's very simple, each day for a week, we will all sew a step together of our L&K swimsuit. There will be 2 days to catch up at the end and then Katie & Amyee of Sems Fabric will choose 2 winners!

First prize will be a $75 Sems Fabric voucher & 2 Sansahash PDF patterns of choice. Then a second prize for most creative swimsuit will win a $50 Sems Fabric voucher.

The only rules are that you use Sems swimsuit lycra and the Sansahash L&K swimsuit pattern. You may hack, and embellish your swimsuit however you like! We can't WAIT to see what you sew!

To be in the running, you will need to join the Sems Fabric Facebook group HERE. (Entries can be a modelled or flat lay of your swimsuit and will need to be submitted to the "Final entry" album in the group.

You can purchase your Sems fabric HERE.

The L&K swimsuit pattern by Sansahash is available HERE.

Join the Facebook Sansahash pattern group HERE.

STEP 1. Choose a style 

This is my heavily hacked L&K ruffle top paired with vintage bottoms
The L&K swimsuit pattern comes with 2 top options and 2 bottom options. You will need to select the view you would like to sew.
You may also choose to hack these versions. I will show you how to achieve the 2 different looks I achieved with the L&K pattern.

Standard racer back top option with vintage bottoms

Hacked pleated top version paired with bikini style bottoms

Back view of hacked ruffle tankini and vintage bottoms

Back view of racer back top paired with vintage bottoms 
Back view of pleated tankini and bikini bottoms

STEP 2. Cut out fabric

Download your L&K pattern. Measure your child accurately and print out applicable size(s). Grade your pattern pieces if needed! This ensures a snug, well fitted swimsuit, very important for swimmers!

Fabric pieces for standard racer back version and vintage shorts. Don't forget to cut your lining too!  

I will be providing tips and a basic run down of the steps we are sewing each day, however, please refer to your pattern tutorial for in depth instruction.
Some of your swimsuit needs to be lined. I have used a soft stretch nylon, lycra blend netting for my lining. If you don't have specific swim lining fabric, then use your main fabric for your lining too. I strongly recommend a similar weight fabric for the lining for the RACER back version in particular as the technique used to construct this top will leave the neck and armholes prone to stretching out of shape as there is no supporting elastic in these areas.      

Pieces required for the pleated halter neck & bikini bottom version.

Skirt pieces for creating a halter-neck pleated tankini

To create the pleated tankini 

If you would like to re-create the tankini version of the L&K swimsuit, you will also need to cut out 2 "skirt" pieces for your top. The width of the skirt will depend on how much ruffle you like. Measure the width of your front LINING pleated pattern piece, then multiply this width by 175% - 200%, so your ruffle is twice or nearly twice as wide as your pattern piece. The height of these pieces can be cut as tall or short as you wish! I recommend holding the front bodice pattern piece up against your child and measure down to the desired length. For a size 5 height, I used a height of 15cm (or 6") for my skirt pieces.   

To create the ruffled tankini version

Draft a front bodice piece for the ruffled tankini version
If you have never drafted your own pattern pieces before this can be challenging! The ruffle tankini version will require you to print out the pleated halter neck version of the pattern. You will use the back piece as is, however you will be recreating the front. Use the pleated bodice version LINING piece, measure the HEIGHT from the centre bottom to top (so to the lowest part of the "v".) Then measure the WIDTH across the front - grade if necessary. Draw a rectangle using these measurements - remember that your piece will be cut ON THE FOLD.
After your rectangle is drawn, you will carefully need to curve the top right corner. This will follow towards your child's underarm. Cut out a MUSLIN FIRST! If your piece doesn't look right when holding against your child, re-cut! Remember there is a 12mm or 1/2" seam allowance!  

Skirt pieces for ruffled tankini

I made 2 layers of skirting, one half the height of the other. To recreate my look you will cut a total of 6 skirt pieces!
To cut your short top layer work out how tall you would like your skirt to be over-all. I worked using the 6" or 15cm height as per my pleated tankini. So my shorter ruffle is 3" or 7.5cm tall (this is for a size 5 height.)
Once again measure the width of your bodice pattern piece, multiply the width by 2. Cut 2 pieces at this size. Take one piece, fold in half and round off the bottom corner. A cup makes for a good template! Cut around the curve. 

Repeat the above steps for your lower layer of your skirt.

The above pieces show the front skirts sewn to the back - however we are not up to this step! This is simply to show you all the pieces required for the ruffled tankini!

For the ruffled tankini you will now have:
  • 1 front curved bodice in main fabric & 1 front bodice in lining
  • 1 back bodice in main & 1 back bodice lining (as per pleated version)
  • 3 top layer skirt pieces
  • 3 bottom layer skirt pieces
  • Straps as per halter neck version - add approximately 10" or 26cm to the strap length if you wish to tie at the back as per my version
  • Back loop piece 4" x 2" (10cm x 5cm)

Day 1 is now complete!

After today you should now have all your pattern pieces cut out ready for sewing! Go you! Please share your progress in the event in the Sems Fabric Facebook group, we'd love to see what fabric you picked!
Stay tuned for day 2 (Monday 22nd January 2019).