Closet Case Files Longline Sophie


Rambling ahead! If you don't care about bikini sewing, please do scroll down to the bottom where I ask my question of the day and sign off as usual, but if you want details, I've got 'em...

Y'all, when I started this bikini project, I had never sewn anything like this before, like ever! So, first things first, thank goodness for all the amazing people I have met online and who helped me with this project, including our pattern designer, Heather Lou, for reading my mind and providing long-line pattern pieces for the Sophie mere moments after I had thought "wouldn't this be nice in a long-line?" and especially Erin, who stocks literally the perfect kit for swimwear in her etsy store and even helped me pick out underwires based on my pattern of choice and size. She is seriously the nicest and so talented--her lingerie and swimwear is absolutely amazing and I hope she doesn't mind me singing her praises! She also helped be out when I finished my bikini top and haaated ittttt... but more on that in a bit. (Suspense!)

I have this perfect bikini. It's leopard print, with a bra top and low-waisted bottoms and gold chains on the straps. It's Juicy Couture (like, one of my favorite rtw brands, no joke) and it makes me feel amaaazing. When the Sophie dropped--a pattern for a style of suit I already knew I loved in leopard!--I immediately thought how I could make a whole flotilla of my own high waisted, long line, bombshell retro bikini like the gorgeous ones from kingdom and state. So glam.

Despite having never made a swimsuit or bra of any type before, I decided I had to try the pattern so I purchased the pdf and an ultimate swimwear kit from Erin's Emerald Studio and dove in. I followed the directions to the letter and oh my gosh, y'all, I made a bikini!!! It was, well, I won't say "easy," but it was totally doable.

I tried it on. I looked at myself in the mirror. I did not like my bikini. Now, I will say this: I like it on, like, everyone who has made them, so I think it's just me. It's not Sophie. I love the bottoms--they fit like a glove (in fact, I think I'll size up from a 6 to an 8 next time--you can see it cutting into my butt a bit). I was very proud to have made a bra top. I just didn't like it. I have a small chest (27" underbust, 32/33" full bust), so I made the 0 band with the 5 cup as instructed, and it technically "fit," but I  just don't think that a full-coverage shape works well on my bust.

With my fleet of bikinis in mind, I decided to persevere. I posted a comparison picture of my Sophie top and my leopard top in the Bra Making facebook group asking what to do to make the Sophie more like the leopard. Erin helped me out (once again) and I decided to clone the cups of my leopard bra top and insert them into the body of the Sophie, since they were about the same size and the underwire shapes seemed to match. I used the press n' seal method for my pattern pieces--here you can see the three pieces of the Sophie cup compared to the three pieces of the leopard cup. I don't really understand what these differences mean since I have no experience with bra sewing, they're totally different, right?

Back to the sewing machine! I made a few small changes in addition to the pattern--I used the swim foam that came in my bundle from Erin instead of random bra foam I had from a bra kit I haven't gotten around to yet. I also just sewed the cb seam shut. I can slip this over my head--not sure if I would recommend it but it's possible (this is how the kingdom and state bikinis get on and off).

At this point, I'm pretty thrilled with my newly modified pattern pieces! I'm also pretty excited about this bikini in particular. Is it perfect? No--but it's better than my first version construction-wise and I know that the next one will be even better! With a little bit of tweaking, I know this can be, like, the best bikini ever. I definitely want to figure out a cuter center back closure, hopefully something like this target bikini. I also want to go back to using the stiffer, thicker bra foam. You can see my cups flare out a bit at the top in the top/side photo above, and I didn't have that effect in the more stable bra foam.

And as for my vast fleet of long-line, high-waisted, almost-a-one-piece bikinis? I have ordered some swatches from spoonflower (I heard their poly/spandex doesn't have the same fade issues, we'll see) in palm fronds and in botanical lemons, so... hopefully by next summer I'll be swimming in Sophies! ;)

Do you have any experience with Spoonflower's poly spandex? Do you have a suggestion on how to make that double-strap back on the target bra? (I'm thinking if, before I sew the lining to the swim fabric, I sew a u-shape at the CB, swim fabric and lining right sides together, and trim and turn it right sides out, then treat it as one piece...??? If anyone can muddle through that description!) Do you think long-line, high-waisted bikinis are a fad or a classic?

There's still a couple of days to get your Hot Hot Heat Social Sew project in, bikini or otherwise! I'd love to have you join...


ps: phew, sorry for the long, long post... and excuse the tan lines and bruise!

allie J.

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Madalynne x Simplicity (+ a new-to-me clothing brand!)

As part of the Social Sew, I have issued myself a personal challenge to try something new or intimidating each month, using the theme as my guidance. My Social Sew item this month is my in-progress Sophie bikini, but when Maddie offered me a copy of her forthcoming Simplicity pattern (Simplicity 8228--list of places it is available can be found on the Madalynne blog here), I remembered my "try something new!" challenge and said "yes!" despite having almost no lingerie sewing experience.

I'm quite pleased I did. While it's certainly a new skill set to acquire, I'm feeling pretty confident after having completed some totally wearable underwear!

The hardest part was sourcing the materials. I used this rayon jersey from Indiesew for the body, but it's tricky to find stretch galloon lace in an 8" width! I ordered mine from Arte Crafts after much, much searching. I don't have a lingerie-making stash (besides a bra kit from the always-wonderful Emerald Studio etsy shop) and my local JoAnn doesn't have most of this stuff so you'll have to venture online for things like plush tricot elastic and that wide stretch lace. (If you want to make the bras, Tailor Made has kits specific to this pattern, but only for bras, not for the bottoms!)

As far as fit, I made a size small and I think the fit is fine. I actually wish that these were a bit higher-waisted. The Sophie bottoms come up to my navel and I think that true natural waist is a much more flattering rise than these, which cut me off awkwardly. I am 5' 7", so it's possible they are drafted for someone shorter. One thing to consider when making these is whether or not most of your clothing sits at your natural waist--I would wear these underthings with skirts and dresses, but I would feel weird wearing them with low-rise jeans! Mostly, I've just been wearing them around the house like this, with a comfy tee. This one in particular is from new-to-me brand Grana which I discovered recently and am now obsessed with.

You know how J. Crew used to just have, like, the perfect cardigan in a bunch of colors and at a nice price? Recently, they've become 1. more expensive 2. lower quality and 3. generally a bit too trendy for me. Grana is my new J. Crew, but way better. Based in Hong Kong, the founders work directly with mills and factories all over the world to ensure not only the high quality of the materials and products but also that laws promoting worker safety and environmental regulations are being followed. Then, they are able to change a smaller markup because they don't have sales, brick-and-mortar stores, or middlemen (so like, an Everlane setup).

They do classics like skinny jeans, crew neck sweaters, silk tanks, and tee shirts (so, exactly what I'm looking for) and the do them well: jeans in Japanese denim, sweaters in Mongolian cashmere... you get the idea. I love sewing, and generally strive for a handmade wardrobe, but I really don't feel like I need to make every single tee shirt, especially when I can get one made with high-quality Pima cotton and made by people working in safe factories, all for $15. You can expect to see more Grana on the blog in the future: I have my eye on these jeans, this classic sweatshirt, and this cardigan in camel! Bonus: how's this for an everyday-appropriate lbd?? Heart eyes!!

Have you made underwear before? Do you wish you had a Simplicity pattern with your name on it? Are you now as obsessed with Grana as I am? Lots of questions!!


ps: this isn't a sponsored post--i'm just super into grana right now--but if you like them as much as i do, use my link to sign up and make a purchase and i will get a referral bonus.

allie J.

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Marigold/Bettine Romper (+ tutorial!)

More cute short-sleeved rompers for the less sewing-inclined...

I've never been a huge fan of rompers, but a few things converged recently and I decided to try my hand and wearing and making one! First, I saw my friend Jennie wearing a super cute oversized black romper with kimono type sleeves and looking great in it. I also wanted a new coverup (with shoulder-protecting sleeves) for a recent beach trip. Then, when Tilly and the Buttons very nicely sent me the Marigold jumpsuit pattern, I knew that the bottom half would be a perfect romper bottom. Having recently tried on one of my mom's Bettine dresses, I knew I liked the fit and decided to do a little Tilly mashup, combining the top of the Bettine and the bottom of the Marigold, cropped to shorts length. Like two days after I made it, Tilly's squad posted a Marigold "hack" post with a Bettine/Marigold romper idea! Personally, I think mine is a bit more streamlined and RTW without that bulky casing... but I would think that, I suppose!

I've worn this several times already--once to the beach and once with a skirt layered over it, which makes it look like a regular blousy top (but makes it pretty tricky to use the restroom...), and also a lot around the house and as pajamas. The cool rayon and loose silhouette have been irrisistable in this hot, muggy weather we've been having.

This is a definite stashbusting project, especially if you make short shorts and leave off the pockets like I did (I just forgot to cut them out and fudged it with my front pants pieces, but what you should do is layer the pocket over the pants piece aligning the side and waist seam allowances and then cut it as one piece): I squeezed this size 4 out of 1 1/2 yards of a pretty rayon from Gertie's Joann line.

I was really making this up as I went along, so I'm not sure if I would suggest you do this exactly as I did... You should do it better ;) I've simplified my method here, good luck!

Pattern pieces:
Marigold: the front and back pants and the pocket. (If you want shorts for a romper rather than a full-length jumpsuit, chop the legs of the Marigold off, front and back, at your desired inseam length. I think for a loose-fitting romper, the shorter the better!)
Bettine: the front and back of the top and the neck facing (Cut the back neck facing and the back top piece with a 5/8" SA at CB, not on the fold.)

1. Assemble your Marigold pants/shorts as instructed, but leave off the darts.
2. Assemble and interface the neck facing, leaving the back seam open.
3. Attach the front and back Bettine pieces at the shoulder and side seams, leaving center back seam open, attach neckline facing.
4. Either insert an invisible zipper in the CB seam or sew partially up the back seam, leaving enough space to get your butt though the neckline! (If you do the latter, you'll want to attach some pieces of ribbon or self-fabric tubes to tie the top together at the neckline--this would be really cute in the front too!!)
5. With the wrong sides together, pin waist of the Marigold bottoms to waist of the Bettine top, matching up side seams and back seam. Ease or lightly gather the two so they are the same circumference, and sew them together! This doesn't need to be perfect since the whole thing will get gathered in the next step.
6. Cut a piece of 1/2" elastic to fit around your waist comfortably, and pin to the waist seam allowance. Stretch as you sew to gather the waistband to to the elastic.
7. Finish sleeves and hems.
8. Done!

Let me know if you decide to make a Bettine/Marigold romper with this tutorial (and tag me on instagram @helloalliej)!! I think this would be extra cute with exaggerated kimono sleeves like Amelia's dress version...


ps: this would make a great hot hot heat #SocialSew project this month! 

allie J.

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Inspiration: The Hot Hot Heat Social Sew

Who here is ready for summer to be ovvvverrrrrrr? After a mild start, the heat wave that has been blasting North Carolina (and everywhere else, it seems) has got me feeling so. over. it. At the same time, I know that I have weeks and weeks of summer left, so I might as well embrace it and revel in the hot days we have left. That means it's time for the Hot Hot Heat Social Sew!

Remember, my main goal is designing the Social Sew link-up was to make the theme narrow enough that someone unsure of what to make next could find some guidance, but broad enough that someone with sewing plans could find a way to make their pieces fit. If you're a bit stumped on what to make for this month's theme let me suggest...

A swimsuit: It is August and it is time to go to the beach (or at least a pool)! I just got back from a bachelorette beach weekend and my VS bikini was one of very few non-handmade things I packed... time to remedy that!
Patterns: The Closet Case Files Sophie is undoubtedly the swimwear pattern of the summer (and what I hope to make!), but the Named Beverly and Lisette for Butterick 6358 are favorites of mine as well! 

Lingerie: As the song goes, it's getting hot in herre, so take off all your clothes...
Patterns: I can't even pretend to suggest the best patterns since I have no experience in lingerie sewing... but from what I've heard the Watson is a great beginner bra, and the two styles from Orange Lingerie are popular. I have MakeBra DL03 and all the needed supplies, but haven't quite had the guts to get started! Finally, Maddie's new line for Simplicity is coming out asap--I'm super jealous of her but I can't be too mad since the patterns are so cute!! ;)

A linen dress: Eileen Fisher has a bit of a rep for being kind of unstylish I think, but these linen dresses seem to fit that minimalist, all-chambray-and-linen aesthetic that's been sweeping the sewing community recently. Bonus--the simple shapes are easy to replicate!
Patterns: Grainline Studio AlderNamed InariMegan Nielsen Eucalypt, or any number of other simply designed dresses.

So what about you? Are you soaking up all the summer you can get or are you planning your fall capsule?? (Or are you Australian?) What are you planning on making for the Hot Hot Heat Social Sew?


ps: send me good vibes for trying something new!!

allie J.

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Social Sew #5: Hot Hot Heat

Despite the fact that it has been in the high 90s all week and here in North Carolina we have approximately 17459 days of summer humidity left, I have been noticing a shift towards fall online! Sewing bloggers are sketching out autumn sewing plans, and I myself am guilty of muslining a little jacket project even as the ceiling fan battles in vain against the heat from my iron in my sewing room. But let's hold off on fall sewing plans and revel in summer for one more make, shall we?

August's theme is Hot Hot Heat!

I'm hoping to make a to-die-for bikini--this is totally out of my comfort zone, as I have never made anything even remotely similar before, so wish me luck! You could take the temperature part literally and make a cool and breezy tank top, something in linen, or a swim cover-up, or... why not make something that makes you feel smokin' hot, whatever that may be?

Also, a note: I'd like to say thank you to all the past Social Sew participants who have taken my survey--you've been a big help! Two recurring comments were 1. getting themes in advance for planning purposes and 2. getting reminders about the Social Sew deadlines. As for the first, I'll try to get the themes out as early as possible to allow planning time. You may see your theme suggestion represented down below in the upcoming themes list. As for the second, I'm brainstorming ways to help, including an email list, a reminder post here on the blog, and/or a facebook event--what do you think? Which would be your preference? Email me at hello @ alliemjackson . com or leave a comment here!

The link up will be open from the 1st of the month (at about 8 am est) and will close the last day of the month.

Some rules: 
1. This is for adult apparel sewing, so no kids clothes or home decorating (unless specified otherwise in the theme).
2. Newly blogged garments, please: the things you add to the link up should be made in the month the link up is for. Remember, the theme and the link up are there to inspire you to create something new!
3.  Please click on the logo above to download it, and put it either in the post you are linking up, or in your sidebar. I'd also appreciate you linking to the Social Sew--the more people who discover it, the more participation we'll have, the more inspiration! Thanks, y'all.

Upcoming themes:
August: Hot Hot Heat
September: Tried and True
October: Try Something New
November: TBD
December: Glamour
January: TBD


ps: if you really can't wait to cut into those fall projects you've been hoarding--i'd say sewing a wool coat in august would count as "hot hot heat," don't you? phew!

allie J.

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Vintage Social Sew Round Up!

Say hello to our lovely vintage Social Sewing goddesses! Thank you all for sewing along with me this Vintage Pledge month!

Laura at Petite Passions made a fabulous vintage modern dress with the 1940s Tea Dress from Sew Over It. Although it is a very 40s-style pattern, her dress looks very wearable for every day!

(I've been reading the wonderful suggestions y'all left in the survey... more on this tomorrow but I wanted to repost the link up so there were thumbnails of everyone's projects here as someone suggested.)

SewsNBows' amazing leopard print shorts use a modern pattern (the new Reef Shorts from Megan Neilsen) for a 70s look!

Adeline of AdeSays made an elastic-waist circle skirt for a vintage style skirt that is super easy to wear--full confession, Adeline: I've never made a circle skirt either!!

Kelly SeamRacer made our most vintage-y vintage look of the month, a white linen late 30s number with lovely embroidery... and a hat, too!!

See Carmen Sew made a vintage Vogue dress with some very interesting construction details (like side seam snaps!!) described in her post, so definitely check it out!

Alice in the Zoo's white lace dress is certainly vintage inspired, and so lovely! She used all leftover wedding dress fabric and her brand new serger (um it is so amazing to have a serger, y'all).

Finally, representing the latest era in our round up, Almost a Hippy Alexa made a pattern from the 80s! Despite the pattern's publication date, the simple style lines keep her new chambray dress looking current and casual.

Thank you to everyone who linked up! The new one will be up tomorrow, and the theme is... Hot Hot Heat!!


ps: don't miss my two versions of Simplicity 4475 from the 60s! one in pale blue seersucker and one in coral eyelet ;)

allie J.

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#VintagePledge: A Coral Eyelet Simplicity 4475

dress: Simplicity 4475 (last seen here)

Fresh of the heels of my seersucker version of this pattern, another version! I think you'll find this one to be fairly different in final appearance... it can be so remarkable the difference a few subtle changes and a fabric change can make to a pattern, don't you think? I'm posting all the details over on Kestral Makes for #VintagePledge month, so pop over there and take a look!

This knocks a pattern off of my vintage pledge and is doubling as my Social Sew item this month--there's still a few days to get in your vintage makes in so please do join us, there are some lovely makes coming in...

Thanks for having me, Kerry and Marie!


ps: have a good weekend--stay cool and try not to melt!

allie J.

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