02/26/14

Tutorial: Sporty knit slip

by Jessie Kwak

I’m so in love with this slip, you guys!

Sporty knit slip tutorial - finished | Bicitoro bikes and crafts

I have an army of camisoles that I wear under everything from tees to dresses in order to smooth out bra lines and add a bit of smoothing, etc. (You know.) The problem with wearing a camisole under a dress is that it tends to bunch up around the hips, giving you that weird bulging line right where you least want it.

This sporty knit slip is basically a long tank top, and eliminates that tank-top line problem.

Why is it sporty? It’s made out of wicking, anti-microbial activewear fabric. It’s stretchy, so there’s no problem pedaling, yet it fits a bit snugly, so if your skirt flares up on your bike you’re not giving the world a show. I think it’s quite nice to wear under a dress if I’m pedaling around town.

It’s meant to hug the body snugly, which is why I’m not going to model it for the internet. I’ll let Little Red take on that responsibility, because she doesn’t mind spending a February afternoon standing around in the backyard in her underpinnings. She’s a bit of an exhibitionist that way.

Sporty knit slip tutorial - front view | Bicitoro bikes and crafts

You’ll just have to believe me when I say it looks fabulous on me, too. πŸ™‚

Make your own sporty knit slip

Grab a favorite close-fitting knit camisole – this is your main pattern. The only other pattern piece you need is this one, for the bodice. That piece is for a size small – I’ll talk about modifying it in a moment.

Lay the camisole out on a double layer of knit fabric, and trace around the whole thing with chalk. Use the back of the camisole as your guide, and don’t bother tracing the front at this point. You’ll be making the bodice cups separately.

Figure out where the hem of the camisole hits on your body, and figure out how long you want the slip to be. Draw a line straight down from the camisole’s hem to lengthen the skirt.

(You can make the skirt flare if you like, but I kept it as a pencil silhouette.)

Add seam allowance (I used 1/2″), then cut out the whole thing through both layers.

You now have two Back pieces.

To make one of them into the Front, figure out where the underbust line is. Draw straight across that, add seam allowance, and then cut across.

The bodice cups

Using this pattern piece modified for your own size, cut out two cups.

This piece is designed for a 14″ underbust measurement (flat measured on the Front pattern piece, including seam allowance). It fits well from cup sizes A-C, since the knit material is so stretchy, and it’s designed to fit quite snugly for extra support. I’m a C cup, and it fits great. Little Red’s an A cup, and it looks nice on her, too.

Sporty knit slip tutorial - little red1 | Bicitoro bikes and crafts

That said, if you’re a D or larger (or if you just want more coverage) you should probably do a FBA. (This post on Pattern Scissors Cloth about doing a FBA for the Ruby Slip is a good place to start.)

For a totally effective, totally hack way to modify it to a bigger (or smaller) ribcage size:

Measure flat across the underbust seam of your Front pattern piece (for me, that’s 14″). The lower edge of the cup piece should be two thirds that length when measured at the seam line, subtracting the fullness of the dart (the sample pattern piece is 9.5″ across, subtracting the dart).

Simply blow up that pattern piece on your computer to get the desired dimensions.

Like I said, that’s the totally not tailor’s-union approved way of going up a size. Knit fabric is super forgiving and the cups don’t take up much fabric, so give yourself permission to play around.

Construction

Stitch the darts in the cups.

Apply picot lingerie elastic or fold over elastic (I got mine from Porcelynne on Etsy) to the neckline of both cup pieces, leaving a tail long enough to be a strap. (Measure the straps of your pattern camisole to get an idea of length.)

To learn how to use picot elastic, check out this post at Indigorchid. (That’s a great place to start if you want to make your own undies, too.) Angry Chicken has a nice video tutorial on fold over elastic.

Sporty knit slip tutorial - closeup | Bicitoro bikes and crafts

Lay both cups over the pattern to figure out how much they should overlap in front, then baste together.

Stitch the cups to the front of the slip with right sides facing.

Sporty knit slip tutorial - bodice | Bicitoro bikes and crafts

Stitch the front and back together at the side seams.

For all the seams, I used a narrow zigzag stitch, and then finished the edges with my serger.

Finishing

Now you’ll use the fold over elastic to finish not only the back and underarm, but also the picot elastic straps. This creates a really strong, stretchy strap.

Starting at one end of the picot lingerie lace that edges the neckline, head down under the arm, around the back, and back up the other strap.

Sporty knit slip tutorial - strap detail | Bicitoro bikes and crafts

I use a zigzag stitch down the middle of one edge while the fold over elastic is laying flat. Then I fold it over and zigzag closer to the edge to make it lie neatly. Don’t stretch too much, since your pattern should already be quite snug.

Try on the slip. Pin the straps at the correct length, and mark the hemline. Mine falls about 3″ above my knees.

Stitch the straps in place with a zigzag stitch, and trim off any extra.

Hem the bottom, being sure to use a stretchy stitch, since it’ll stretch quite a bit when you walk or pedal.

Sporty knit slip tutorial - bodice detail | Bicitoro bikes and crafts


That’s it! This project took me about 2 hours, including the time I took to re-do the picot trim because it was wonky at first.

Questions? Ask away in the comments. My goal is to help people be more comfortable sewing quick projects like this without patterns, so I’m happy to help if you get stuck on any of the steps.

02/22/14

Sewing patterns for activewear

by Jessie Kwak

Has your winter been weird, too? In Portland it’s been sunny-rainy-gorgeous-Snowpocalypse-sunny-rainy-repeat. I’ve gotten out on my bike a little, but mostly I’ve been staying close to home.

Bad weather days are great for tackling sewing projects, and I’ve been feeling inspired lately to make some more activewear. Maybe another pair of leggings and a different vest.

Y’know, change up my look.

(How many years in a row can I rock the exact same leggings and vest?)

Photo by Robert Kittilson

Photo by Robert Kittilson

Sewing leggings is a pretty simple matter (check out this tutorial), but I’d like to make some more complicated items.

It’s hard to find good sewing patterns for activewear, though!

Here’s a roundup of what I have found. Have you got anything to add? Sound off in the comments – I’d love to hear from you!


Lola Sweater Dress

Lola_Cover

This sweater dress, Lola from Victory Patterns, would make an adorable winter cycling dress! I’ve got a few yards of bamboo sweatshirt fleece, and some yummy merino jersey that might be great for it.

I first saw Lola on Lladybird, where Lauren has some good tips about her own adjustments, as well as sewing lightweight knits.


Minoru Jacket

Materials for a Sewaholic Minoru

Of course, the Minoru Jacket from Sewaholic is a great cycling jacket. It’s got a loose and comfortable fit, and you can make it out of waterproof fabrics.

I made a version last year, and reviewed it here. I wear it all the time in the spring and fall!


Green Pepper Patterns

Oregon biking shorts

Santiam vest

Green Pepper Patterns has some awesome-looking activewear patterns that I’ve been meaning to try. That Santiam Vest would be perfect with the silver quilted nylon ripstop I picked up a few years back, and I’ve always wanted to try my hand at a pair of padded cycling shorts.

They also have a mens and womens racing jersey pattern, as well as a lot more outdoorsy patterns for runners and hikers.

There’s a great post on The Train To Crazy reviewing the jersey pattern.


Jalie Patterns

Jalie sports bra

Jalie also has some good sports patterns, like this zip-front jacket and hoodie, a softshell jacket, and a racerback sports bra top.

The sports bra is on my list – I’d love to make something that’s truly comfortable, yet does it’s job well.


Fehr Trade

Fehr Trade running top

I was super excited to see that Melissa of Fehr Trade has released a pair of awesome activewear patterns. I love this great workout top (with a built-in compression bra!), and equally great blog post from Kathy Sews about making it up.

I may have to try making these running leggings, as well!


How about you? Are you working on anything sporty this winter?

09/14/12

How to take your measurements

by Jessie Kwak

Taking your measurement for women and menI’ve had a couple questions lately about how to take your measurements. These have mainly been coming from people looking to buy a custom merino wool jersey, but whether you’re shopping for ready to wear clothes, sewing your own or commissioning a custom garment, it’s helpful to know just what’s meant by arm length, bust and hips.

I mean, sure, we all know what those words meanβ€”but what exactly do I mean when I ask you to send me some cold, hard numbers?

Well, let me tell you.

How to take your measurements

When I make clothes for myself, I have the luxury of trying it on and checking the fit as I go. When I make clothes for someone I’ve never met (like the gentleman in the UK who just ordered two jerseys), I’m constantly checking the garment-in-progress against the person’s measurements, taking into account garment ease, etc.

The numbers are all I’ve got, and if they’re accurate, they’re all I need.

To take your measurements, you’ll need:

  • A flexible measuring tape
  • A friend
  • This handy dandy chart (one for ladies, one for gents [PDF downloads])

Tips:

  • Wear snug-fitting undergarments, like a tank top and leggings. Ladies, wear the bra you intend to wear with the finished garment.
  • Stand straight and relaxed.
  • Keep the tape measure taut, but not so it cuts into you.
  • Don’t try to suck in your gut. You want your finished clothes to be comfortable.
  • It’s absolutely best if you have a friend to help you, but it’s not impossible to do on your own.

For the Ladies

Bust: With your arms at your sides, and wearing the bra you intend to wear with the finished garment, measure the fullest part of your bust. Keep the tape parallel with the floor.

Waist: The easiest way to find your waist is to tie a string snuggly around your middle, then bend and twist until it settles at your natural waist. This most likely isn’t the point that your trousers sit at, by the way.

Hips: With your heels together, measure the fullest part of your hips.

Arm: Place your hand on your hip with your elbow bent 90 degrees. Measure from the center back of your neck across your shoulder, to the elbow, and down to the wrist. I’ll add a couple of inches to this measurement when I make your jersey, so that your wrists stay covered when you’re riding.

Shoulder Width: Measure flat across your back, from the end of one shoulder to the other.

This isn’t a commonly asked-after measurement, but I like to know it because for ladies our bust measurements don’t always correspond to the measurement of our actual frames. That is to say, most ready to wear clothes are designed for B-cup gals. If you’re a size C or larger and buy a top based on your bust measurement, more often than not it’ll fit too large in the shoulders. And that sucks.

Torso length: Measure from the nape of your neck (that first knobby vertebrae you feel) to your lower back, at a point that’s level with where you took your hip measurement. When I create your jersey, I always add a couple extra inches to this measurement to make sure you have plenty of coverage when you’re hunched over those handlebars.

For the Gents

One of the major issues that a lot of guys have with ready to wear clothes is arm length and torso length. Say you’re a tall, muscular sort of guy. If you buy a shirt simply based on your torso measurements, the sleeves will often be too short because the manufacturer targeted that girth to a short, stout guy rather than tall, muscular you.

So grab that tape measure, and let’s get you something that fits you perfectly.

Chest: With your arms relaxed at your sides, measure around your chest level with your armpits. Keep the tape parallel to the floor.

Waist: The easiest way to find your waist is to tie a string snuggly around your middle, then bend and twist until it settles at your natural waist. Measure at that point.

Hips: With your heels together, measure the fullest part of your hips.

Arm: Place your hand on your hip with your elbow bent 90 degrees. Measure from the center back of your neck across your shoulder, to the elbow, and down to the wrist. I’ll add a couple of inches to this measurement when I make your jersey, so that your wrists stay covered when you’re riding.

Shoulder Width: Measure flat across your back, from the end of one shoulder to the other.

Torso length: Measure from the nape of your neck (that first knobby vertabre you feel) to your lower back, at a point that’s level with where you took your hip measurement. When I create your jersey, I always add a couple extra inches to this measurement to make sure you have plenty of coverage when you’re hunched over those handlebars.

And that’s it! Go out armed with your new knowledge and seek out clothes that fit well and look great on you.