Have you ever seen a pattern, fell in love with it, but question if it would ever look good on you? That was my relationship with the Sweetheart dress by Patterns for Pirates. I had seen so many beautiful versions of the dress on the Patterns for Pirates Facebook group, but I didn't know if I could pull it off. Then, Patterns for Pirates announced they were going to do a sew-a-along for the pattern and Pretty Posh Prints sold a polka dot Liverpool fabric, and I figured it was time for me to stop fighting destiny.
This was my first time sewing Liverpool, and let me just tell you, it sews like a dream. For those of you who are as clueless as I was about what Liverpool fabric is, it's a textured spandex blend. Unlike other textured fabrics, it maintains its texture when it's ironed and has a smooth back. Both are huge bonuses in my book.
The pattern itself is pretty easy, but you absolutely have to make sure that you take updated measurements. The bodice is drafted for an 8-inch side waist measurement, and my Amazonian stature has me coming in at 9.5 inches, so I had to adjust a pattern for the first time ever. It's important to make this adjustment so that the bodice hits you just right at the smallest part of your waist. If it doesn't, it may not flatter you. Making the adjustment is easy, and if you visit Patterns for Pirates' blog, you'll see step-by-step instructions on how to measure yourself, and there are tons of resources on how to alter patterns.
Like most of my projects, I suffered some casualties: I broke two double needles in the process of making this dress. (They actually broke in the span of 5 minutes. I was not happy.) Luckily, I didn't cut myself in the process of making the dress, which is a first for 2016. I have some plans to make other versions of the Sweetheart dress, including a peplum and another dress with the most beautiful knit fabric I've ever seen in my whole life. Hopefully, those will get done before I go on my Alaskan cruise. If not, I'll just wear this dress everyday.
My dress took me about four hours from start to finish. My fabric came from Pretty Posh Prints and cost $6.50/yard. I already had the correct color thread. The pattern cost me $7.50.
In total, the project cost $27. I've actually already worn the dress twice since I finished it on Saturday, including to my local Delta Gamma alumnae chapter's Founder's Day. Did I mention I'm in love with this dress?
I'm running the Peace Love Run Half Marathon on March 6 in Ventura, CA. The race is a 60s-themed out and back course along the Pacific. While most people choose the tie-dyed hippie look if they dress up for this race, I've never been a big tie-dye fan. I struggled with figuring out what I was going to wear, and then while taking down our Christmas tree, I saw my ornament commemorating the first Barbie and was struck by inspiration to do it as a costume at some point. About a month later, I realized that this particular Barbie fit the 1960s theme (while she was released in 1959, she was iconic through the early 1960s) and the beach location.
Luckily, I had the prefect fabric for making this project a reality in my stash and didn't need to purchase anything except for the Patterns for Pirates Sweetheart Dress pattern on which to base my swimsuit dress. If you're interested in how I made the costume, I blogged about my adventures in a series of blog posts that you can access here. Otherwise, let me show you how the costume turned out.
I'll report back on how the costume worked for running early next week, but until then keep on sewing and running!
Let me start off by admitting that this project did not end up like I thought it would and my hack for the "bra" top part of the sweetheart dress bodice ended up looking like "a bra for a toddler" (my friend Crystal's description.) The unfortunate thing was that I didn't realize it until I had sewn the bodice together and put it on, which meant that I couldn't just replace the pieces. I was going to have to figure out another solution and topstitch it on the bodice.
Luckily, with running costumes, no one really looks all that close at your seamwork. And if they did, then my Sofia the First dress probably received a lot of judging looks, because my first regular pattern to running costume pattern hack was a complete structural fail.
Anyway, it three episodes of Fargo and an extreme amount of patience to figure out how to coverup my tiny toddler bra cups and mimic the sweetheart neckline. I ended up using the smallest zig zag setting on my machine to faux embroider the cups on. With the bodice figured out, I sewed on the skirt.
Here's where I parted from the inspiration. In the original Barbie, the bottom of the swimsuit is a stretched out seam making the bottom come together at a diagonal. That's all good and well for a doll dress, but the practicality of such a design doesn't really translate into a the real world. After all, Barbie's swimsuit is more or less a striped sock.
I ended up taking more of the 1920s swim dress approach and did a half circle a-line skirt that matched the stripes of the bodice. Since I'm going to be wearing this for a half marathon, it's more important that the structure be good, even if it departs from the original inspiration. After sewing the skirt to the bodice, I trimmed the seams and left the edges raw, since the spandex has a clean finish.
With the dress totally done, it was time to turn my attention to my Barbie legs. Since I'm not blessed with thighs that allow me to run in just a dress, I needed to make some bottoms. I turned to Patterns for Pirates Peg Legs. (I've previously reviewed that pattern here.) I went ahead and made full-length leggings because the weather forecast for my race Sunday keeps changing. With full leggings, I'll have the best chance at staying warm and/or dry depending on what Mother Nature throws at me. I forgot to add the gusset, so my promise for a step-by-step tutorial won't happen this time.
Ready for the full costume reveal? You can find it here.
Have you ever passed over a pattern because you thought, "Oh, this will never look good on me?" If you said no, let me just say that I don't believe you. I can't even begin to tell you how many gorgeous patterns I've passed over because I was convinced that it would never look good on me. Then, three months ago, I started doing CrossFit and things started changing. (Also, I'd like to make a guess that this is one of the first times CrossFit has come up in a blog about sewing...)
By things changing, I don't mean just my body. My whole attitude about myself changed. I suddenly was saying yes to things that scared me. So, when Angela of Greenstyle put out a call for testers for her new open back pullover, I applied. Much like when I signed up for my marathon, when I got the email saying I was in as the 3XL tester, I panicked. There was no way 250-pound me could sew and wear this top. I almost backed out several times, but I made a commitment and even if it looked terrible, the worst case scenario was that I wouldn't send in photos.
So, I started cutting my fabric and sewing. I was insanely apprehensive about what would happen. Unfortunately for my anxiety, but great for sewists everywhere, this pattern is extremely quick to workup. It takes about four hours from opening the pattern file to finished garment. I pulled on my first version in our living room and my husband assured me it looked good, so I packed it in my bag to wear after CrossFit the next day.
Here's the thing: in order to put the top on, I had to strip down to just my sports bra in the middle of the gym. At work. On a Tuesday. You know, no big deal. The thought had me so anxious that I actually started crying during the WOD. (I couldn't make up this story if I tried.) But, after doing a million push presses and squats, I did it. I changed in front of everyone in the box and had another athlete take my pictures. And in true Buzzfeed fashion, you'll never guess what happened next.
People started giving my compliments and were amazed when I told them I made my shirt. One of my supervisors even said "You need a red or a blue sports bra. The white one doesn't do you justice." WHAT?!
So, I did what any rational person would do: I decided to make another version.
Even though I live on the California Coast, I don't own anything for the beach. (Body issues, remember?) So, I decided to suck it up and make a shirt for pre- and post- beach outings with some flawed fabric I got from Pretty Posh Prints. While the fabric was hellacious to work with (RIP double needle), I think the final project might be one of my favorite things I've ever sewed. It's cute, flowy, and my smile in these photos is genuine: I felt happy and comfortable.
So, here's the moral of my story: if you think something is cute, make it. You never know what your next favorite project will be.
My tops took me about four hours each. My fabric came from Pretty Posh Prints.
The slub anchor fabric was a flawed lot and cost about $2 a yard. The ponte superhero print was $6 a yard. The colorblocked red jersey came from Koshtex and cost $6.75
Because I tested the pattern, I got it for free. You can get it here for $8 while it's on sale.
Hi there! I'm Meredith and a dork who happens to be bad at running and mediocre at sewing, but in love with both of them.