A Tale of Two Coverups

Last year I learned that there is such a thing as UPF fabric (like SPF, but for fabric–it’s treated to protect against ultraviolet radiation from the sun). Since then, I’ve been pondering lightweight coverups to throw on when I’m going to be outside for extended periods of time (rather than having to slather on sunscreen constantly).

My first idea was to make a beachy coverup out of a white woven. The problem was that all the beachy coverups I was looking at for inspiration had short sleeves and/or left the chest exposed–two areas I definitely wanted to protect! So then I thought . . . maybe I could adapt a wrap dress pattern with long sleeves? This is what I ended up with:

The pattern is McCall’s M6959 and the fabric is SunScreen50 Lightweight Nylon Woven Wicking Fabric from Rockywoods. I adapted the pattern by raising the neckline a bit, lengthening the sleeves, and shortening the skirt (more in front than in back). I also added patch pockets.

Unfortunately, it’s just not that comfortable. It’s cute, but doesn’t really give that flowy, beachy vibe I was going for. The armscyes are also kind of tight, making it annoying to layer. And while Rockywoods claims this fabric has a “soft, cottony hand,” I would say that . . . it feels like nylon. It’s hot and stiff!

On to Plan B: a waterfall cardigan in a knit. I used the Harper Jacket from Style Arc pattern and this time I went for SunScreen50 Activewear poly/spandex in Carbon Grey. It’s still a bit warm (definitely more than a lightweight linen or a cotton lawn would be), but is so much more comfortable than the woven. The major down side of this fabric is that it smells a bit rubbery; hopefully after a few more washes that will go away.

Waterfall cardigans aren’t really my style, but this is definitely good for layering and covers up both the arms and chest without any modifications. In fact, I didn’t change anything from the straight pattern. (Though in retrospect I wish I’d added in-seam pockets.) I found the instructions a bit confusing at one point, though I’m pretty sure I worked it out and luckily knit is forgiving. Plus, there are only three pattern pieces so it still comes together very quickly–especially if you don’t hem anything.

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The winner has to be the waterfall cardigan–I actually wear it since it is pretty comfortable, even if I don’t love the look. (Nothing against the style; it’s just not really me!) Still pondering if there’s a better solution that I’ll really love, though . . .

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Last-Minute Bra-Top Dress

Right before leaving for Pinewoods last month, I had a sudden burst of inspiration for how to use a random yard of knit fabric I picked up just because I liked the pattern (sadly, it doesn’t seem to be available any longer and I don’t know what it’s called or who manufactured it). First I madea bodice out of some solid black performance knit (double score–used up the last bit of that, too!) using the Brazi Bra & Dress pattern .

Then I added a skirt with a deep ruffle. I started off with the bra’s lower edge measurement, extended that down to my high waist, then flared out as much as possible given the width of the fabric (and the fact that the print is directional). The rest of the fabric was used for the ruffle. I really eked out every inch from this one yard! And by finishing the hem with a three-thread overlock, I kept it as long as possible. (Still a bit short for my personal taste, but wearable.)

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Ironing Board Cover

This project was a long time overdue. My old ironing board cover was stained and full of holes, plus the elastic was completely stretched out so that it wouldn’t stay in place. I don’t know why I took so long to get around to it, but it’s pretty simple!

I just traced around the board and added 3/4″ on all sides so that it would wrap around the top (a little more probably would’ve been even better, but this works). Then I bound the edges with bias tape and ran elastic through the channel that the bias tape formed.

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The cover is just a quilting cotton (Midnight Pastoral Toile in cream from Alexander Henry; same thing that I used for this clutch); padding is provided by some cotton batting (cut to the exact size of the ironing board top).

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At last, a nice-looking cover that stays in place!

Zéphyr Skater Dress

As much as I love the Lady Skater pattern, I’m finding myself preferring princess seams on bodices so the Zéphyr Dress from Deer&Doe was a good pattern to try out. The bodice does indeed fit nicely thanks to the four princess seams. I didn’t even need to shorten it! I followed the pattern exactly except to grade between sizes like I usually do, and I’m pretty happy with how it looks. But this also means no pockets. (What can I say? I was lazy the day I made it. . . .)
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I did have a couple of issues with the pattern. One is that the arm bands are really, really short (hence all the wrinkling around the armscyes–I had to stretch the bands a lot to get them on). I googled a bit to see if this was a problem other people had (maybe an error?) and the only mention I found was that one person said they seemed short but she drafts her own bands anyway. If I make this again without sleeves, I’ll definitely do the same.
Speaking of that . . . I don’t know why I thought I would be happy with a sleeveless dress. I guess I’m spoiled by all the patterns with various options, because it’s kind of disappointing to have no sleeve options at all (and no pockets–come on, guys!). The paper pattern and instructions are quite lovely, but if I make another one I’m definitely going to try to add sleeves. (Maybe redrafting the armscyes based on the Lady Skater pattern and using those sleeves might work?)
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The fabric is the other mystery fabric in that order I mentioned in my last post. I asked the retailer which one they thought it was, and they said this was probably the Soft Wicking Jersey. Remember, this is the one that’s a bit less smooth and had a rubbery smell (which has finally mostly faded after the third wash!). I definitely prefer the other fabric (Interloc Wicking), though both do dry quickly, are similar weights, and do not require hemming. Thanks for the help, The Rain Shed!

Activewear Skort

Hurray, finally I made something from an activewear pattern that I actually like! This is the Jalie 3670 Loulouxe Skort. I made the version with leg bands and two pockets (obviously!).

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I added about 3 inches to the skirt length (ha) and flared the front skirt panel a bit more, but otherwise followed the straight size for my hips. And it’s very comfortable!

I’m not sure exactly which fabric this is since I bought two cuts of black activewear knit in the same order and they weren’t labeled when they arrived. I wish I knew because I like this fabric a lot so far, but the other one still smells faintly of rubber, even after washing twice. (I used that one for a dress; will post about that soon.) Otherwise, they are a similar weight and conveniently don’t curl, so I didn’t have to hem either garment (hurray!). UPDATE: I contacted the retailer and they said they think this one is their Interloc Wicking item #4325. At that price, I’ll definitely try ordering again!

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Linen/Cotton Tunic

The best thing about this tunic is that it finally gave me a chance to use the scraps of black-and-white rose print quilting cotton I’ve been hoarding for years! I loved that print and never could find it again, and all I had left were a few pieces that were too small for most things. Well, they worked out great in this!

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The gray fabric and contrast black are a linen/cotton blend–it’s a little coarse-feeling, but I’m hoping it softens up in the wash.

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The pattern is the Torii Tunic from Serendipity Studio. I found it yielded a pretty loose fit on me (in contrast to the pattern photos) when I made up my usual size and I ended up using 1-inch seams on the sides to get a closer fit (the pattern uses 1/2-inch seam allowance). It’s still a bit loose, but that’s what I wanted–figured it would be something comfy yet protective for hot summer days.

Pink Activewear Top

Hmph. This fabric‘s color is listed as “orchid” and on my screen it sure looked like a lovely pale lavender (I mean…I don’t know what colors orchids come in!). So it was a bit of a surprise when it arrived! It’s definitely pink, very pink. Luckily, I’d just snagged one yard on a whim (in an ongoing quest for quick-drying, cool activewear), so I shrugged and made something with it anyway.

This started with with good old McCall’s M7349, View B, but cut short. I lowered the front neckline a bit into a gentle V and added some pockets in the side front panels. They’re kind of weird and small, but also kind of fun.

Well, I’d say this is fairly flattering on me, though I don’t love the color. I’ve worn it for dance a couple of times and it does dry quickly, but the true test will come in a few months at camp. I have a few more yards of activewear knits for more items in a more “me” color (black, haha), so hopefully I’ll have some stuff I’m more enamored of in the near future….

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A Simple Ponte Circle Skirt

I had just enough fabric leftover from my last dress to make this simple circle skirt. It’s all cut in one piece, and then the waist is serged to a loop of 2-inch-wide flat elastic that serves as the waistband. That’s it! I didn’t even bother hemming it. Hurray for this lovely, stable knit!

Hogwarts Uniform Skirt

Don’t judge too harshly–I’m not claiming this is an accurate movie replica. But it’s a dark gray A-line skirt with two box pleats in front, so it’s close enough for me. I started with the skirt from the Laneway Dress, since it met my two requirements: A-line and (IMHO) flattering on me.

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Then I drafted box pleats for the front, used the contoured waistband pattern I’d already made for an earlier skirt, and added a lining since the skirt is wool. Center back closes with an invisible zip.

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This is some random wool I picked up from Fashion Fabrics Club on sale and it’s actually pretty nice; kind of wish I’d bought more. On the down side, it doesn’t want to hold a crease AT ALL. I wish I’d edge-stitched the pleats; they’re already falling out after just one day of wear. (And this after sewing them down by hand and leaving the stitches in for over a month!) Ah well.

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Next up for the uniform, I’m planning to knit a sweater vest. We’ll see how that goes!