Delray Blues SWAP

I’ve finally made progress with the SWAP! Shown at left is the wrap tube top. I used the Hot Patterns Sugar Babe tube top, drew out a full-width tube top, drew the wrap on to it (I started at just about 1 1/2″ inches from the CF and then drew down to the side seam to create the wrap) and then cut out two of them for the front. The back I cut on fold as usual. Then, I took a piece of rectangular fabric the same height as the tube top, measured between my bust points to get the width. Voila! I can nurse in this tube top (I have a strapless nursing bra) by pulling aside either wrap. The center panel (dark teal in this photo) will keep me covered when the wrap is pulled aside.

The second image is the Elizabeth Lee NC107 tank top – just a basic princess tank with nursing openings under the princess seam at the bust. I think I’ll take this in even smaller on a subsequent version – they are cut very generously, and I didn’t

need the amount of ease I left for this knit fabric (though in a woven it would probably be fine.)

The pants in both are the Hot Patterns Sugar Babe wide leg pant. I added a satin drawstring along with the elastic, for a decorative effect (not shown). I like both of these outfits – good summer casual outfits. I would like to make the jacket in a coordinating fabric. But for the SWAP, of course, the button front shirt dress functions as a jacket. I’ll make that with 3/4 sleeves since it’s a summer/spring dress.

Sew Paradise SWAP

cut the sundress!

I took an hour and cut out a nursing sleeveless dress from Elizabeth Lee’s NC 307. I think the big issue with a number of people saying EL patterns are frumpy is the sizing – it’s generous! I cut out a 4-6 tapering out to a 6-8 at the hip in a dress-length (I didn’t lay a dress pattern under this, I just extended the sideseams, which were slightly a-line, into the length I wanted.) The dress has an almost 1960s feel, with an a-line shape, a big button to close the nursing overlayer and a knee-length hem. I will post a photo when done.

I’m making view 4, which has a curved front hem, somewhat reminiscent of this jacket, which I made from the same fabric last summer. I wouldn’t necessarily wear the jacket over this (though I could), but I liked the overlay on the dress that matched it.

You know how I am about the Five Easy Pieces look. I fantasize about Five Easy Pieces. I think my life would be perfect if I only could live with Five Easy Pieces. When I was pregnant, I had the smallest wardrobe of my life. And I liked it! But I was starting to get sick of it at the end. However, it doesn’t stop me from pretending that if only I could live with Five Easy Pieces (okay, maybe 10…) I could move into that tiny Paris apartment we rented and live there – just like all the other tenants did – without spilling over at the seams.

I digressed. Five Easy Pieces – from last summer, the Hot Patterns Sugar Babe set with the lime green crossdyed linen jacket, a puckered green-and-cream ombre knit tube top and black linen pants, the Christine Jonson Trouser pant, capri length (which is becoming bermuda short length this summer as I really need shorts and capris make me look short and wide). And now, the Elizabeth Lee Nursing Classics 307 dress.

The only failure of the whole thing was (really) the black linen/rayon for the pants, which shrunk up. Alas, they’ll have to become cropped pants or shorts this summer (and I’ll have to make more – OR dye my rayon wide leg pants from Dharma trading and wear those). I had been planning to dye the pants a dark brown, which would look outstanding with this set, actually. Originally I planned to batik them, but that’s not going to happen in the any time near future. When E. is old enough to trust around hot wax (8?) then I’ll do it.  But after I dye the pants, THEN they fit into the second August SWAP for this summer.

Okay these need names… last summer’s SWAP, let’s call it Key Lime Inn after what Christine Jonson called that linen. This summer, the aqua and denim SWAP, I’ll call it Delray Blues after Delray Beach, FL. and the later-summer SWAP, the Siena Sunset, after the striped silk for the pants, which I bought in Florence (close enough). The Siena Sunset mini wardrobe features my striped Italian silk pants I made several summers ago, a brown gauze sarong cami with beaded ties at the neckline, a purple Hot Patterns Sugar Babe jacket, and now, the brown rayon wide leg pants blank from Dharma trading, that I’ll dye this weekend.

So I deviated from my Delray Blues mini wardrobe just briefly on this dress. But I’ll be very happy to have the dress at my niece’s baptism in two weeks! And, it does match LAST year’s Key Lime Inn, so that counts, right?

Key Lime Inn. mmm. Doesn’t that just bring to mind that heady warm and salty, slightly briny smell that is unique to the Keys? I think so! It also reminds me of white painted verandas in the afternoon summer heat, a cold beer, and a wedge of cool Key Lime pie. Aaah. Summer. I still have to pat myself on the back for sewing all of that set last summer, with a 3-month old baby!

Everyday Paradise Shopping SWAP

What is it with the shoes?

Am I that skinny? I stepped on the scale after dinner, 110 lbs. My lowest is 109 (in the last 20 years) and that was last month. But that still doesn’t explain how an 8N from three years ago in my collection fits fine, but an 8N now is swimmingly wide! The cork wedges are going back….sigh, my fourth pair back. Hubs didn’t understand “why not go try them on at the store?” because no one carries 8N in the store!! Anyway, it is a drag. I did put cute pink SummerSoles suede insoles in my white sandals in my collection. They’ll be great with the HotPatterns Sugar Babe pants in linen this summer. And they didn’t cost me a dime (this year anyway.)

I also bought some thread and the steam a seam that I needed to finish the Hot Patterns Sugar Babe tube top from my MINI SWAP for this spring. We have til July, but it’s halfway to June now. And I still have the Burda shirtdress in denim to tackle (slooowly, see my previous post.)

I’m itching for a new handbag for summer. I’ve got to go stash diving and see what I have. I think I’ll make a commercial pattern – sometimes that’s easier and gets me over the hump of having to design something. Right now, I need easy.

Sew Paradise SWAP

I bit the bullet, SWAP II

Yes, I bought interfacing. for THE DRESS. It’s been 25 years since I made a shirt. With a proper stand collar, etc. But armed with the tute at, I’m going for it. Pam’s an expert shirtmaker, and with her tute, I’m gonna tackle this dress. It’s just a big shirt, really.

I worked more on the tube top – I kept the teal underlay – only a tiny triangle will show, and it adds some dimension. But I need to press and then use the wonder tape or fusible tape to hold everything in place while I topstitch. Then, add the elastic, and done! The shoes should arrive tomorrow, so I can hem the pants once I get them. Add the elastic/drawstring there, and done! That leaves the Janina short and the aforementioned shirtdress.

My SWAP should be done by July for sure – in fact I may be into the SWAP II – the brown/silver/purple mix.

That SWAP looks like this: from existing sewn items: wide leg silk striped pants in brown, silver and purple

Brown smocked top (simplicity OOP) with beaded halter ties – made in the sarong nursing style.

Purple linen HP Sugar Babe jacket with charmeuse ties in brown leopard jaquard scraps.

Shorten the brown jaquard leopard skirt to knee length (see above for the scraps)

Lilac rayon/lycra princess wrap top

Purple sarong cami cut out of mom’s old vintage dress, with lace inset

A nursing dress. Tulip overlay, perhaps in the brown rayon/lycra knit (sleeveless dress).

And either the HP Denim Diva skirt and jacket set OR the jacket with the CJ 1017 flare leg pant in dark iridescent denim.

In each of these SWAPs I have some easy things and some harder things – a good mix of things.

That should take me through summer and in to fall. Baby’s still nursing a lot so most of the tops and dresses need to be nursing.

Sew Paradise SWAP

SWAP plan photo

This is my SWAP for spring/summer 2008 (see post a few weeks ago).

I started the teal top – Elizabeth Lee nursing shell/tank. I had a few issues (see post below), but I think I can fix them and the project will be fine. Sometimes I think I should be more muslin oriented. But you know I hate sewing muslins. So sometimes I get wadders. And cry.

I put up the tube top for a few days – I needed to think about what to do. Because I altered the pattern (it’s a wrap front tube top) I’m glad I put it up. Because I changed my mind on layering the underlay in a darker teal (the tube top is aqua). I think I’ll do it in the same color as the tube top.

I also am almost done with the pants – I bought shoes with the intention of hemming the pants to match, but struck out on the shoes. I ordered THREE more pairs (!) I’ll have to send at least one pair back. Or atone for my sins some other way. This time I ordered them from Aerosoles; I ordered a 7.5m last summer and they fit. So we’ll see. Naturalizer just has been inconsistent – I bought shoes in the fall in an 8M and they fit fine.

This weekend I intend to finish the shell and the tube top.

And then I can cut out the BurdaStyle Janina shorts – I’m saving the shirt dress for last

MINI SWAP on Sewing Refuge

Sew Paradise SWAP


We’re doing one of those wardrobe capsules between May and July1st on Sewing Refuge, the former Sewziners site.

Five pieces, interchangeable. I just bought some new fabrics – and I have many in stash. But I desperately need casual clothes that fit for summer since I’m down to a crazy low weight (109-112).

But now that I have to think of five pieces that interchange, I’m having trouble! Okay, let’s identify the most important ones – at least two nursing tops for summer. A pair of wide leg linen pants, a pair of shorts – maybe the long slim bermuda style. And I’d love a shirtdress that can go over the pants or shorts as a cute suit but also worn as a dress.

So, in stash I have a dark blue medium weight denim for a shirt dress – and a BWoF pattern or two for it – from 6/2004, shown in teal with a matching belt and front patch pockets. I may eliminate the pockets, do a different belt.
And I have the Hot Patterns Sugar Babe pants in wide leg linen for the drawstring pants
I could make the aqua tube top for one of my nursing tops – the wrap style tube top.

And I could make another nursing top in the dark teal (there will be lots leftover from the wrap dress).

Maybe a sleeveless princess shell?

And shorts. I’m thinking the Janine from BurdaStyle, but I know that BWoF had some shorts patterns of the same style that I could look into as well. In the light denim.
I could wear the tube top, the wideleg pants and the shirtdress open like a jacket. I could wear the dress and shorts like a summer suit with the teal princess seamed shell. Dress by itself, or over the teal shell (like a cami). Shorts with tube top. Shorts with shell, pants with tube top, pants with shell.

To extend this capsule – the brown tunic babydoll top (simplicity pattern from a few summers ago) with a beaded halter strap. And the HP SugarBabe jacket in the same linen as the pants for a casual summer ‘suit’.

And now that I’ve decided on all this, I have to decide on a pair of espadrille wedges for summer. I have a pair in light blue, but wanted another pair with leather straps, not just the canvas tie on type. I’ve been waffling on what to get but now that I have a SWAP, I might as well get shoes to go with it!

I am also planning to make a necklace out of a shell and seed beads. The shells I picked up on the beach in Florida. I got a very cool looking black/white/gray large shell that had a hole in the top where you’d want one to string it on a necklace.