DIY Swimrobe and swimsuit

Openwater or outdoor swimming seems to be having a moment, it probably has alot to do with gyms and pools being closed!

I live by the coast and swim in the sea every year. Usually from May to September, but this year we had a very mild October so it made it a bit easier to keep going.

The feeling of exhilaration from the cold water gives a great mental boost, as well as being a useful recovery from a jog!

DIY Swimrobe (Not a Dryrobe!)

As the weather got cooler, I put on my wetsuit, but I needed something to throw on after a swim, as it’s often easier to go home and dry off properly there.

Dryrobe and other similar robe brands are very popular – they are basically a loose fit raincoat with thick fleece lining. As usual… I wanted to make my own version, can’t take the easy route😆

I started by tracing the elements I needed from a coat. The hood on my Superdry jacket has great head coverage so I traced the hood and shoulders:

I improvised the general robe shape using a sweatshirt as a guide.

I chalked a wide margin around the sweatshirt. Main fabric is a lightweight and waterproof, I bought it from Guiney’s years ago, to use as a bag lining I think!
The fleece lining came from a Penny’s (Primark) blanket. The pink stripe came from a fabric sample that I bought from Minerva.com.
Generous fabric samples from Minerva

I had bought some raincoat fabric samples from Minerva, but decided to go low-cost for my first attempt at a swim robe, and instead used what I had at home. Their samples are genorously cut across the full width of the roll, so I used them to add some interest to the robe.

Playing with embellishment.
The front pocket was made from ripstop samples. Front Zip was taken from the grey jacket above (those jackets have 2 front zips.. I only need one!). I might change this to a longer zip if I continue swimming next winter.

The fleece doesn’t extend into the hem because I ran out, so the end is lined with a patterned blanket fabric.

I bound the inner seams with the red outer fabric, and wore it a couple of times before I sewed on the lower front pockets, which are lined in fleece.

I also added my favourite feature: an inner pocket for my hot water bottle!

Now that’s how to warm up!!
Bright enough!! Not hard to spot me from a distance!

The other item I needed was a sleeved swimsuit, it doesn’t add much warmth, but it will protect from the sun this summer.

I used sports lycra from fabricland.co.uk. And lined it with black lycra.

I changed the neckline after seeing the draglines in this picture.
The leg openings were finished after this (and after I’d worn it under my wetsuit to swim a few times – for research purposes!)

I almost titled this ‘new togs’ but do many other countries say togs instead of swimsuit? (or bathers/swimmers) but we use togs as much as swimsuit!

Anyhoo, the pattern I used is below- Vogue 9192. I combined the top from view E with the bikini bottoms view D. I didn’t need to make any alterations, they joined perfectly across the waistline. These were so easy to make that I’m sorry I put it off for so long!

Vogue pattern V9192

I’d like to make view C sometime too. Recommendations for swimwear fabric stockists will be gratefully received!

So that was my sewing for January. Feb and March were all about knitting, specifically Machine Knitting!. . I’ll share more of my progress soon.

Slán go fóill x

And one more picture before I go…

Unexpected bonus…. It matches my fleece lined ski pants!

Made in Ireland (Again!)

McCalls 7694

Sometimes sewing plans take a while to come together. I was given a long wool coat by my Aunt over 2 years ago, she knew I’d appreciate the pure wool fabric, and would put it to good use.

William Lett Wool Coat (1985)

It was Made in Ireland by the label ‘William Lett’ approx 35 yrs ago, and despite being worn in the 80’s to Weddings and Funerals alike – other than the lining and foam shoulder pads coming apart – it was in almost perfect condition.

I had thought about altering the shoulders and trying to change the collar etc, but I knew it still wouldn’t be my style, so I put it away for a while.

Then this pattern caught my eye:

Mccalls 7694

So in November I took the coat apart at the seams and tried to fit as many of the pattern pieces as possible.

Disassembled coat!
Pattern tetris….

Despite the length of the original coat, I was left with only small scraps once I had cut and pieced some of the panels.

The front panels have an extra vertical seam, the sleeves have a longer cuff panel than on the pattern and the inside facings are also pieced together.

I added a seam parallel to the zip line so that it would look intentional!
Sleeve panels, longer cuff panel than the original pattern
The back pleat is a pieced panel and not as deep as the pattern, due to fabric shortages!
The paisley lining and snaps were the only things I bought to complete the jacket.

It’s a great pattern and I seem to fit Mccalls size 10 quite well – despite my measurements matching up with the size 12 on the envelope. (my measurements are approx 34-29-36)

I did take the shoulders in a little, they are cut to be a dropped style, but this doesn’t suit my straight shoulders so I took them in about 1.5 cm to sit on my shoulder.

Before altering.. Comparing shoulder fit to the original

Below after altering. I also love the lower curved hem detail:

The zip came from an old RTW Cardigan!
Final bit of posing I promise! It’s lightweight but so warm!

Other than a few swear words while attaching the snaps (they kept popping off as soon as I tested them – I was being too gentle with the hammer 😂), I loved making this.

It’s nice to prolong the life of this fabric, and good to show alternatives to buying new fabric!

Buttoned skirt – Rtw skirt copy

I made this skirt by taking a pattern from a cord skirt that I love to wear… It buttons down the front and is unlined so I knew it would be a good option to make a copy.

In making a pattern from clothing there are a few ways to approach it – it can be cut apart and used as a pattern Or it can be traced without damaging the original. I want to keep wearing this skirt, so tracing it is…

Grey striped fabric and original cord skirt.

I pinned the skirt onto brown paper and added the seam allowance for the button placket:

I took some photos and a video as I was tracing it and have it saved on Instagram.. The link below should bring you straight to it… (If I’ve done this right!)

I cut the new skirt from a lovely grey suiting fabric with a pink stripe, which I got from the recent fabric swap.

Cutting the pockets at an angle
Pockets have been lined and are topstitched on

I underlined each skirt piece with some thin habotai lining, before folding and sewing the facings.

Front facing folded and front waistband attached
Skirt fronts finished
Interior.. Side seams sewn
Bias strips of lining to finish the side seams
Seams bound and waist facings attached
Testing out pink buttons

I had some pink buttons that were the perfect size and made the buttonholes using the embroidery unit on my Pfaff machine. I took alot of photos of that process and will post about it soon.

In the meantime since the pattern worked out – I have cut and almost finished a 2nd version.

Burda 113/02/20

Anyone remember the Burda Dress I started back in March/April?..

burda 113/02/2020
Burda 2020

I finished it (finally) and got a few pictures last weekend. It’s fine… But I’m a bit meh about it!

Maybe it’s just too much green? I bought that fabric in Hickeys Fabrics for some jeans-type trousers and I think I should have stuck to that plan.

I’ll wait til the summer and try it with a different top/cami underneath or I might dye it!

Also I’m pretty sure it’ll need extra buttons…

Also visible is where I had to piece the left front 😆
I love how the buttonholes are integrated into the waist seam.

I really like the large pockets and the waist buttons, and I might even make it again if I find the right fabric. Anyway it’s good to finish it and move on.

I’ve had a burst of sewing lately, I got involved in a fabricswap on Instagram that was organised by Gillian from Worthy Design studio and Ann Marie from Craftystudio

I received fabrics and some patterns from 3 lovely ladies and I gave away two pieces of fabric that were sitting unloved. I made a new skirt that I’ll upload soon and I also made a new shirt which is pictured below waiting for buttonholes.

M7575

I used McCalls M7575. Its my 2nd time using this pattern – the 1st shirt is made from a white and grey fabric, and even though the colour isn’t great on me, I still wear it to work because I love the fit. (It might go in the dye bucket with the green dress now that I have a replacement!)

Plans for this weekend including hiding from the rain and wind and prepping some patterns for my next burst of sewing. Oh and for anyone interested – I did manage to get in the sea last week for the first time ever in November – not as cold as I expected so I must be acclimatising 🙂

Pj sewing , sewing for dolls & Saving time & fabric!

Hi there! I hope 2019 has gotten off to a good start. I’ve enjoyed seeing everyones sewing and knitting plans for 2019, but I know better than to declare any plans of my own, because I’ll never stick to them!

St.Brigid’s cross

Because its the 1st of Feb, a fair few school children will get to try weaving today, and will arrive home with battered and squished rushes/reeds made into crosses. It’s ‘Lá ‘le Bríd’ , first day of spring. It was traditionally a time when you’d leave a small item of clothing outside overnight for St.Bridget to bless. We did it as kids, but not anymore, and probably just as well – judging by how far the swing set got blown across the garden last night! We’d probably have found our scarves scattered around the parish !

Hopefully it’ll inspire some kids to carry on with weaving and maybe knitting and sewing too…!

Speaking of kids (+sewing), I had a lovely morning in November with one of ours and her friends. We made skirts for their dolls. They loved using the sewing machine and the simple gathered rectangle was a good beginner project for 9 yr olds.

Then in December I made a last minute effort to get some jammies and dressing gowns made for Christmas presents.

Flannel pyjamas

The pj top had a boxy shape with straight side seams, so I eliminated the side seams by pinning the pattern pieces together.

Pinning back and front at side seam

Then traced as one pattern piece.

This also meant I didn’t have to match stripes at the sides when sewing.

Kwik sew k3553

The pj ends side seams were also gotten rid of, and I narrowed the legs a little so I could fit everything.

I cut out a section of the pattern for the grainline so that I could easily see the fabric lines, and cut each leg separately to get the stripes evenly matched.

Then a quick stitch up and they were done over two evenings. I bought the fabric in Guineys and it was only about 3 euro per metre. Well worth making these because the tall recipient can never buy pyjamas that are long enough in the legs! A second pair has been requested so they should probably go on the 2019 to-do list !

The dressing gowns were made from pink fleece and a New Look pattern 6170. I embroidered a unicorn crown onto the backs using my Pfaff creative 2144.

New Look 6170

That machine is about 12 yrs old and still working fantastically. I used the embroidery unit alot when I first bought it. But the last few years not so much, because I can only transfer the designs using a really old desktop that runs windows 98!

I also changed the pattern a little to make the facing cut on instead of a separate piece. This cuts down on extra bulk at the seams.

Facing cut as one with the front.

The collar is unlined to reduce bulk, I overlocker and turned the edges.

So there ya go, some of what I’ve been making! I also just finished knitting a child’s cardigan and a hat for myself, so will share those soon. Slán go fóill ☺

Ps..the hat I knitted was a free pattern from Kelbourne Woolens, they’ll be releasing more as part of their ‘Year of Hats’.