So, one of my favorite fabric groups, Vintage Lace, is running their 4th of July round right now! The way timing works on custom fabrics, from printing to shipping, to cutting and shipping again, holiday prints are commonly run four (or even more!) months ahead of time. Which means, that as a strike off seamstress, I'm always way ahead of the game on my holiday sewing. It makes me feel totally on the ball, but also a little silly when I'm outside taking pictures of my shamrock undies in the November snow, praying my neighbors don't notice.
I had signed up for this round from Vintage Lace, but didn't know I was picked until I found the package in my mailbox . . . I was so excited to have been sent not just this awesome panel, but also a fat half of each of the coordinating prints. So many fun possibilities! I ended up choosing the Bowlicious from George and Ginger and using the Mama Bear Joggers from Patterns for Pirates for shorts. I made a couple of basic mods to the patterns, so if you're interested, I'll go over those below!
Mods to the Bowlicious
George and Ginger patterns almost always work for me without any changes or modifications. However, the Bowlicious is a small exception to that. Itdoes come with 4 sleeve lengths-- however the sleeveless option is the same armscye as if you were adding sleeves. And to be honest, that just doesn't work for me and my petite frame. It ends up being too wide for my shoulders and I get gapping in the armholes. Luckily, this is a super easy fix. Most G&G patterns that have a sleeveless version do have a separate tank cut line. So, I grabbed one of those (In my case, the Edgy). I cut my Bowlicious like normal, but then I put my Edgy pattern on top of the front piece of my Bowlicious, lined up the bottoms of the armscye, and cut off the excess. I repeated this for the back.
The second mod I did was to add snaps to the center piece of my bow. It is a suggestion in the pattern, and I like to do it, because you can make sure your bra is covered this way. So, the main section of the bow is tacked to the back of my shirt (where my finger is pointing in the third picture), but the bow center is a separate piece that I put on when I get dressed. It's not very pretty from the inside, and it's a little awkward to do, to be honest, but I think it's worth it. I usually put my shirt on backwards, with my bra twisted around backwards as well. Then I wrap the center piece around both the bow and my bra, snap it, and twist the shirt around. Everything stays nicely in place!
The Bowlicious is such a cute summer top! It feels like a lot of hemming, but you get it all over with right away. There's also a girls' version which is equally fun!
Mama Bear Jogger Mods
I LOVE the look of a drawstring . . . but it just doesn't work for me. So, what I like to do is to make the elastic version of the waistband, but I add in grommets and do a faux drawstring! It's still super cute, but so much easier for me to wear. If adding grommets scare you, this is a nice project to practice on, as they're more for looks than anything else. Because it's just a faux drawstring, there isn't too much pressure or pulling on the grommet (so if you don't put it in perfectly, it'll be okay!). I'll share the steps and some tips with you:
Eyelet pliers are awesome and super easy to use, but I can never find them in a size I want. So, I have the good old fashion anvil and setter for this size. You can buy a simple kit from any craft store that comes with the anvil, setter, and the grommet pieces. Grommets have a male piece and a female piece. The male piece is taller.
In this picture, the red and white striped fabric is my waistband. You can see the wonderclip is my center, with two little dots to the left and the right; I marked where I want my grommets to be. The black plastic piece on the left is the setter, the metal piece is the anvil, and the white-handled tool is the awl, which I like to use to make the hole. The grommet pieces on the right are my male pieces; they are taller than the female pieces.
The first step is to create a hole for your male piece to go through. Ironing on some stabilizer to your fabric is recommended, but I'm completely out, so I skipped this step, since these grommets are more for appearance anyway. Now, your instructions that came with your kit will tell you to cut a hole in your fabric, slightly smaller than the hole of the grommet. However, when I'm working with knit fabric, I never cut a hole. Instead, I use an awl to start a small hole, and then I work it bigger, using the awl and the male piece, until eventually, I can stretch the hole around the male piece. If you go the route of cutting the hole, it's SO easy to cut it too big, and then you're bum out of luck. If you have really large grommets, or you're working with woven or especially heavy fabric, you will need to cut a hole, just take care as this step can make or break your work!
Once you have your hole, you put the male piece through from the right side of the fabric. Turn your fabric so the wrong side is up. Set the right side of the male piece on top of your setter.
Set your female piece on top of the male piece. Put the anvil on top of the female piece.
Make sure that all of these pieces--the setter, male piece, female piece, and anvil, are all lined up carefully and evenly. Make sure you're on a sturdy work service! Using a hammer, hit the anvil a couple of times, smoothly, evenly, and with a decent amount of force.
Done! You can see mine didn't turn out perfect-- some of the edges didn't crimp over the male piece, especially in the bottom right corner of the grommet on the left. Oh well! Like I said before, these are mostly just for looks, and there won't be a lot of strain on them, so they should still stay fine as I wash and wear them.
After the grommets were inserted, I added the elastic to the waistband and sewed it on like normal. Then I cut three short pieces of faux suede, braided them and inserted them through the grommets. I love the look and I love how much easier they are to wear.
I have so much love for this set. When the Mr. was taking my picture, I kept saying, "don't I look cute? Don't I look cute!?" Nothing like a little modesty, right? Haha! But this set makes me feel good, and I cannot wait to wear it this summer! Only four months to go ;)