Monday, May 20, 2019

Sewing "Frosting": Bay to Breakers Disco Bodysuit

I totally missed the "Sew Frosting Challenge" hosted by True Bias and Closet Case Patterns last fall, but I absolutely loved seeing everyone's pretty, impractical makes. I love sewing for sustainability and it's super important to me, but equally important is having the passion for sewing that can get me to a slow fashion closet and sometimes that means something a little more "out there" to get the sewjo flowing.

Part of my 2019 Make Nine included "something sparkly." In the past year, since I moved to San Francisco, I've been experimenting more and more with what I wear. I'm into glittery earrings, colorful outfits, rich textures. It helps living right next to a bunch of really well stocked thrift and vintage stores and that my amazing queer community here is always ready to turn a look on a Friday night. I've been so inspired by London-based artist Florence Given, whose insta stories of her dancing and being silly in wild outfits make me smile every time. I had a moment where I was like "I wish I was an artist and could dress a little eccentric like that," and immediately realized that, while I work a more traditional 9-5, no one at the small company I work for gives two shits and I really and truly can wear whatever I want. I put no restrictions on what "something sparkly" means, knowing that when a special occasion or perfect fabric presented itself, I would know what to do.

ENTER: BAY TO BREAKERS.



Bay to Breakers is a footrace that goes across the peninsula of San Francisco, from the bay to the ocean (where the water breaks on the coast). Everyone dresses in crazy costumes and honestly it's more of a big street party than a "race." I decided to go this year as a disco ball!

I had a white, halter neck bodysuit that was either thrifted or gifted—one of those pieces where I'm not sure where it came from, but I rediscovered it deep in the caves of my closet and it has become a staple recently. I did a rub off of it, coupled with some silver holographic spandex and glittery fold over elastic from Fabric Outlet.

My first iteration was... painfully inaccurate. It was looking small as I got the front and back pieces together so before sewing the crotch and attaching the leg elastic, I tried on the top half and...

ft. my "full length mirror" aka very safely standing on top of the toilet


It was so tight I couldn't breathe and my ass busted the back seam, and it was at least 4 inches too short in the torso. I realized that I never calculated the differences in stretch in the material I was working with vs the one the bodysuit I copied was made of, and my pattern pieces would need to be adjusted to account for that. After some researching, I also learned that the direction with the most stretch should go horizontally across the body—I had done it vertically, thinking I didn't want it to be too short, fat load of good it did me! Thankfully I had a bunch of extra fabric, so I could do a second try. Silver (holographic) lining of the situation, I had a little extra practice applying fold over elastic!

Some serious math-ing later, I had my new pattern pieces ready to go, only to realize the front pieces, which include the entire crotch fabric, were too long for the fabric piece I had left. Back to the drawing board to readjust to split the crotch shape and add part to the back pattern pieces. Seriously, I feel like an architect after this project! It turned out really great, except for the elastic on one hole being too tight (I measured it against the too-small first iteration 🤦🏼‍♀️), and made for a great costume! I definitely think I'll get more wear out of this piece for other costume parties or theme nights at my favorite dance clubs. Does anyone have a fix for too tight FOE that doesn't involve unpicking the entire leg hole? Inquiring minds would love to know. Regardless, you can tell I absolutely HATED wearing it:





This project did exactly what I hoped it would: get my creative juices flowing. I feel so inspired to sew swimwear, which has been so so intimidating to me, but a bodysuit is BASICALLY a one piece swimsuit and I'm feeling way more confident in my elastic abilities to boot. I also am craving more color in my day-to-day wardrobe. Nothing quite this kooky, but I loved feeling extra colorful in a me-made. What frosting are you sewing? Share with me!!

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