Despite all the awful things that have happened on April 15th (Titanic Sinking, Lincoln’s murder, Boston Bombings, National Tax Day, etc.), it’s a very special day for me. My very best friend and sister was born!
Here’s my second vintage inspired swimsuit. (View my first bustier bathing suit top here.) It’s another boned bustier top made with a polyester/rayon fabric.
I recently tested my first bustier swimsuit in sun, water & chlorine. The top worked really well in all those conditions. It didn’t fuss, fade, or stretch out. :)
This was the original design drawn by a girl I babysit for. Read more about it here.
This swimsuit top is for my sister. She’s expecting her first baby soon, so her size is fluctuating and it’s hard to predict what size she’ll be this spring or summer. As a result, I made some changes to my bustier design.
First, I made the bustier 2 sizes bigger than the original top.
Second, I made the straps adjustable by adding plastic S hooks and rings. I wasn’t able to take any of her measurements or make a mock-up ahead of time. Consequently, I had to go back and shorten the shoulder straps because the first straps were WAY too long! (The S hooks landed on the top of the shoulders…oops!)
Third, I changed the back band to a tie back. I love it and it’s really cute! However, the fabric is thick and I’m worried about how tight it can be tied. She hasn’t tested the top in the water yet, but I might change part of the back band & tie piece to a black polyester/lycra fabric.
A Few Notes About the Video
Before I begin sharing my project, I want say thank you to my old friend from Notre Dame friend, Pat McKillen. He gave me permission to use his song Found for my video. Even though it’s one of his older songs, it’s still one of my favorites as it seems to capture my journey over the years. Some of my other favorites include: Carry On Caroline, Cover Time After Time, and Cover Galway Girl.
Even though I am still developing my talents as a videographer, I filmed all the clips for this video. Ditto for my sketching skills, (My sister is giving me lessons!) I’m a little embarrassed to even post it, but I did want to share it. Please remember that it is a very rough sketch.
It’s been a year since my babcha (grandmother) passed away.
One would guess that my daily life wouldn’t have been affected so much living so far away from her. I was not one of her devoted caretakers. Nevertheless my life has changed quite a bit. In all aspects of my life, I have seen my hard work pay off and show results. Coincidence? I think not. I have no doubt that Babcha has lent a hand in some way.
With Ash Wednesday, it was time for me to start my annual Easter dress. There was no question that Babcha was my inspiration – but with an unusual twist. This year I’m incorporating Mad Men fashion to the dress, and participating in Julia Bobbin’s Mad Men Challenge. (I don’t watch Mad Men, but the outfits inspired me!)
This is by far my least favorite time of the year. Between giving up daily pleasures during Lent, doing taxes, and the gloomy weather, I dread March and early April! Despite all these things, there’s one thing that does lighten the mood…sewing my 2014 Easter dress!
Again I’m designing an Easter dress inspired by my babcha. This time I’m using some of her old fabric rather than spending countless hours doing Ukrainian Embroidery! Since I’m using some of her vintage fabric, I decided to take part in JuliaBobbin’s Mad Men Challenge and make a Mad Men/vintage inspired dress for Easter.
My original design looks nothing like the design I’m sewing now!
I’m only about 1/2 way through. Here’s a sneak peek of where I’m at now.
I’ll have much more to share with you in the 2nd Easter dress post!
Ever since college, I’ve mused about making a bikini. They are easy to make and require very little fabric (obviously), so I’m not really sure why it took me so long to make one. Perhaps it’s because of my taste for polyester swimsuits.
Growing up, my sisters and I went through so many lycra swimsuits, because they would fade in just a few weeks from the chlorine and sun. So when Speedo & TYR started offering longer lasting polyester suits, I never went back to the lycra suits.
Even with all the beautiful lycra fabrics available in my local stores, I was never inspired enough to make swim suits out of it. I just wasn’t convinced that it was durable enough to withstand the chlorine and sun.
Finally after my sister’s persuasion (and commission), I decided to give vintage bathing suit making a try! Neither of us are string bikini gals. We like more coverage/support. So we decided on a retro swimsuit design. This design requires much more work than your typical lycra swimsuit. Why? Because the fabric is polyerster/rayon (looks like linen) and not stretchy, so the fit must be exact. In addition, I’ve also added boning to the cups and side.
Before beginning my sister’s suit, I decided to make one for myself first. I found a sewing pattern to help me pattern the cups, but the pattern’s directions were slim so I used it as a guide instead. I also changed it up by adding boning to the cups with elastic and snaps on the back, rather than hooks.
I LOVE this swimsuit! It’s extremely flattering & fun!
Good thing I made a practice suit because I have a few things I want to change to the design for my sister’s swimsuit! You’ll have to wait to see it, in the meantime…
Here’s a sneak peek!
One of the little girls we babysit for wanted to design her suit! I told her if she drew up different designs, I’d choose one of them! Here’s the drawing we are using for inspiration!
I made turquoise polyester bottoms to go with this top! I also plan on making a matching high-waisted skirt to go with this top too!
We all know the most interesting man in the world drinks Dos Equis, but do you know what he wears? It’s a shame smoking jackets are no longer popular and rarely seen on men today. These mid thigh-length velvet & silk robes are bad ass! Just imagine how luxurious & relaxing life would be if men wore smoking jackets during their morning coffee or evening reading by the fire. Perhaps, that’s an unrealistic expectation since we’re accustomed to our fast lives and easy-wash garments. But heck, who knows — maybe they’ll make a come back!
For over a year now, I’ve wanted to make one of these sophisticated throwbacks. I’ve procrastinated because of the high cost of velvet and my lack of a velvet board. But finally after stumbling upon some clearance velvet & a sewing contest, I was finally pushed to make the jacket!
Gomez from Addams Family
I’m entering it into an “Inspired by the Movies” contest. The movie character that inspired my jacket was Gomez from the Addams Family. I almost chose a solid colored velvet to make a jacket inspired by Ebenezer Scrooge, but I decided on Gomez since I had a plaster hand that looked similar to Thing the creepy but helpful character who popped out of boxes throughout the Addams Family home – wish that he could help me with my sewing projects!
I used Folkwear’s smoking jacket pattern. I originally bought lining for the jacket, even though the pattern didn’t call for it. But since I couldn’t afford to spend too much time on this project, I skipped the lining and followed the directions as they were written.
I used the largest size offered by the pattern. I didn’t make any mock-ups to test the fit prior to cutting the velvet. I think the largest jacket fits fine, but if I had tested the fit ahead of time I would’ve made the armholes larger. (I hope my brother doesn’t grow!)
The jacket is made with a dark paisley print velvet and accented with black velvet in the collar, lapels & cuffs and maroon velvet in the underarms and belt.
Here I am posing as Morticia Addams. My design aesthetic is not dark, but I had fun posing for this Addams Family photo!
I also made my black lace overlay dress (two years ago)!
Think Spring Even Though It’s Winter
Contact me if you want a spring jacket for yourself (you can pick the fabric)!
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Clothes really are worth passing on. Certain pieces are made to last and are important elements of the stories that tell the history of a love, a family, and how things came to be the way they are.
That hideous fur coat? It shows the streak of reckless elegance that runs in the family, just as those pointed leather cowboy boots do, worn for generations…
First Ukrainian Dress I made in honor of my grandmother is here
But then some things are born, introduced––my sister now has a wedding dress, two pieces that are part of her new family history. It tells a story, one that includes so much about her life & love, the things important to her and the details of the way her wedding came about and was celebrated. Clothes are a way of preserving and keeping tradition.
Clothes also give honor––we honor ourselves (in the right kind of way!) when we dress nice for events that call for respect. We spend more money on things deserved, properly earned and properly acquired.
And in my case, I make custom clothing (and spend countless hours on special pieces/garments) because it’s a way for me to express my gratitude to those deserving around me.
The dress I wore to my sister’s wedding was a way of honoring my late grandmother. She was an immigrant who made her own way in America, who stitched clothes to pay doctor’s bills, and who wanted to live well and work for prosperity that she and her husband would give to their children. Instead of buying a cookie-cutter bridesmaid dress, I resurrected and completed something my babcha started with her own hands, her own idea of beauty to be given to a loved one.
My Babcha was a special woman. Her story is quite remarkable and the lessons she taught me were even more so. I only hope to be as strong as her and pass on her spirit to others.
Aside from her wisdom, her love of sewing was passed on to me. My babcha was an incredible seamstress! She was self taught and used her skills as a seamstress when she moved to America.
Before my babcha’s passing in March (at the age of 93), I finished my first Ukrainian embroidered dress. My babcha was very sick and it was uncertain whether she would make it to Easter. However, she always wanted to die on Easter and we all believed she would make it to Easter day. (There is a Ukrianian myth that if you die on Easter, you go straight to heaven.) But sadly she didn’t make it or see the ukrainian embroidered Easter dress. But I’m sure she got a glimpse of it up in heaven! (And I have no doubt that she is guiding through my current projects!)
Dress is hand embroidered (took lots and lots of time to stitch)
Invisible Back Zipper
My babcha, Kataryna, was born in 1920 in Western Ukraine. Her father, prior to World War I, voyaged to America to work in the coal mines of Pennsylvania, while he built a homestead for his family in western Ukraine. My babcha’s parents settled to rear eight daughters, farming and woodcarving in that quiet, picturesque village in the rolling foothills of the Carpathian Mountains. As a child, my babcha vowed never to leave her home or her family. Little did she know of the adventures that lay ahead!