What I made for the PRSewing Bee 2015 Final….and an unfortunate side effect….

Hello chums,

Allow me to present my final entry for the PRSewing bee. An ensemble for a Jamaican swimming competitor. Finished in good without as much stress as the previous round. Here is the link http://sewing.patternreview.com/cgi-bin/readreview.pl?readreview=1&ID=117090.

Be afraid. This review is not for the faint-hearted, I will be delving into the depths of swimwear sewing and revealing unexpected talent and I also discovered a whole new style of sewing that requires no pins!

Identify which of the following is reflected in your entry:
1. Summer or Winter Olympics : Summer Olympics
2. Country your entry represents : Jamaica
3. Event your outfit represents (Options include opening ceremony, a specific athletic completion, which you identify) : Opening ceremony and Swimming

Describe how your entry represents your 3 criteria stated above.
Summer tracksuit with shorts. Colours focused on the main black and green with yellow accents of the Jamaican flag. Tracksuit that can be worn over the swimming costume for the event and can be worn for opening ceremony too.

As an aside I didn’t realise that womens swimming was only added as an Olympic event in 1912? Plus women had to wear a modesty panel despite the fact the suits were long and made of wool. It wasn’t until 1973 that the modesty panel was eliminated. Crazy!. Men, however did not have modesty panels. For competitive swimming non textile suits were outlawed in 2010 and the amount of coverage was limited to between the waist and knees for men and not past the shoulders or knees for women. That’s why the racerback is so popular for female swimmers.
As a result swimming doesn’t offer much in terms of team uniforms for most countries, rather, team identification is limited to swim caps during actual races.

I digress, moving on..

What pattern(s) did you use, or is your entry self-drafted or draped?

Swimming costume Jalie 3134
We start with a happy tale of a new love discovered. You may recall my self imposed criteria had been to make things I would wear and use only stash items. I broke my word. Jalie 3134 – the racerback Swimsuit. I dare anyone to say racerback without getting a little frisson of excitement☺ . So what’s the fuss about? Well this pattern comes in 27 sizes for girls, women and plus sizes! I am covered for my little girls and for the future as I grow older, wider, wiser? Win/Win. Coupled with a figure-flattering contrast inset of course I snapped it up.

Thanks in part to its excellent sizing I made it without a muslin because lycra spandex fabric is so expensive. It receives further great review for the excellent instructions. I think sewing swimwear will have an enduring appeal (with five little people who do swimming there is plenty of scope).

I love this swimsuit because it fits all the criteria for competitive swimming:
»Its snug just like a competitive suit should be.
»Provides good backside coverage.
»Women’s competition suits do not include any kind of bra or bust support. A tight fit across the chest creates a more streamlined silhouette , reducing drag and increasing glide times.
»Suits for competition are not lined, since reducing drag is a priority. I have lined the crotch area on mine. Though a suit with lining will generally last longer, and hold its shape and colour better than an unlined suit I did not have lining fabric and the scrap I used was from my old swimming costume.
»Its one-piece, with moderately cut leg openings, fairly high neck and a racer style back which has a secure fit and freedom of movement

Tracksuit Jacket Mccalls M7026
This is a semi-fitted unlined jacket with yokes, princess seams, side seam pockets and exposed front separating zipper. Its cute and have had this for ages in my stash. Pleased to get it out I cut a straight size 12 and it fit right out of the packet! Initially I put in pockets but they were too shallow and were gapey so I removed them.

Making it was very straight forward. I made yellow piping for the seams. The lining inner section was made up first – my rationale was that any fit issues would be revealed in the lining and I could fix for outer shell. I was surprised at how quickly and easily it came together.

I love the back yoke detail and this pattern will get more makes from me.

Tracksuit Shorts Part self drafted/Part Simplicity 1112
Based on Simplicity 1112 jumpsuit that I drafted a waistband and hip pockets for. The bottoms became shorts due to lack of fabric. Decided that if they were going to be shorts I will add a retro – y feel by curving the hem slightly. I didn’t add piping because for me the focus of this ensemble is the jacket.

What sewing techniques did you use to achieve your goal?

Jalie 3134:
Working with spandex fabric meant using stretch needle in sewing machine for zigzag topstitching and 4 thread serger for seams. I had to use swimwear elastic on openings. Stretching the elastic correctly was tricky – especially for leg openings. The amount of tension at the front of leg opening is not the same as at the back, which makes sense because the booty to keep covered.

McCalls M7026 jacket
Ooodles of piped seams in a contrasting yellow colour. It can totally work for opening ceremony. I thought to myself if I were designing for an Olympic team who are travelling long haul to get to places why not reduce their luggage by designing something multi-functional. The jacket is reversible. I cannot stress enough how comfortable it is. It’s a quilted synthetic fabric. Very light weight but holds a seam well.

Shorts Simplicity 1112/self drafted
The shorts are reversible as well with a cotton yellow lining. The hip pockets were drafted on the trouser part of Simplicity 1112 jumpsuit. I added a simple foldover waistband that would encase a 1″ elastic. They sit below the waist. The lining is 100% cotton which I sewed up and basted to the shell wrong sides facing at waist before attaching the waistband. They were fast and quick to make.

What particular features would you like to point out to the judges?
The tracksuit is reversible so there are many different combos that can be achieved. Who says athletes cant be stylish, eh?

What was your inspiration for your entry?
To be perfectly honest my inspiration came from the fabric .A combination of 3 circumstances led to this outfit
1. I did not have any fabric in my stash for sportswear. I wanted to make something I hadn’t made before. So I had decided straight way that I would make something sporty. I needed to replace my 8 year old saggy swimsuit (bought when I was pregnant so its bigger now ick)! Initially I was just going to do a swimsuit as I really really did not want to spend any more money: the lycra fabric was pricey at £7/m plus swimwear elastic cost £4. But then I realised a swimmer doesn’t just rock up in their swimsuit they need a tracksuit! With only 2 hours to spare for fabric shopping I stumbled upon this quilted poly fabric at £5/m I bought 2 m. Unfortunately I underestimated how much would be required for trouser length so I went with shorts instead.
2. Swimwear fabric available at my local shops was only in very lurid neon coloursapart from black, white and emerald green. Didn’t like the idea of a white swimsuit so black it was with a green contrast. There was no yellow.
3. Going through my stash I found the green jersey and yellow cotton fabric.

So I landed on Jamaica. It’s a place I’d love to visit someday and well Usain Bolt seems like a really cool guy.

Any other details that you want to share about your Olympic outfit or your process in creating the outfit?
My separating zipper was too long so I had to shorten it using some pliers. Lucky though it was a nylon zipper it still had metal stoppers.

Figuring out the order of construction for making the jacket reversible was great fun. I ended up doing zip edges then sleeve hems followed by neck edge and finally one side of hem to 10cms from CB then pulled it all out and and voila!.

The hood was frustrating because after I made it and tried it on it was clear that it would not be a snug fit!! But with no fabric I couldn’t redraft. For future I will draft a 3 piece hood that has a better fit not this cone-y look I have going. But I still rock it 😎😎.

I have discovered sewing without pins! The fabric for the outer shell of the tracksuit doesn’t like being poked around you can see little hole afterwards so I had to get on without pins and I was so surprised at how well everything was lining up even on the princess seams that are curved. It meant my sewing was a whole lot faster too!

Indicate here that you included the required photographs. Remember that the Front and Back photographs must be on a live person (the head can be omitted / obscured if desired):

1. Front [Required]:Yes

2. Back [Required]:Yes

3. Inside detail [Required]:Yes

4. [Optional]:Yes

5. [Optional]:Yes

In truth this hasn’t been my favourite round because I had to buy fabric to make something sporty and stretch myself. Making it to the final has been very surreal. I already feel like a winner. I now know with full certainty that I can make anything I want and make it in 10 days if I want to. That’s powerful!

I had a limiting belief. The belief was that I cant sew as many things I want to the high quality because I don’t have enough time. This limiting belief has been preventing me from seeing opportunities and from even trying at all. Now I can : There is always a way if I’m committed. But best of all these last 6 weeks have taught me that if I’m confused, I’m about to learn something. So thanks PR! I have already won! (although it would be pretty sweet to actually win a physical thing that isn’t a grand mind altering epiphany .

Thanks for reading!
Mucho ♥♥♥♥


And here are the pictures….

Full Track suit Jalie 3134 Reverse of tracksuit Run Run! Swim SwimSewing Bee Round 4 086Sewing Bee Round 4 099

I absolutely had a great time but there has been a rather unfortunate side effect of all the focused sewing is that my sewjo has gone. I have no desire to sew at the moment. I am not too worried though – it will come back when its ready. In the meantime I am using this time to get our house Christmas ready as we will be hosting it and are going to have a few house guests.

Baking has also been taking up a lot of my time. So far this past week I have made an Apple Crumble Cake, Apple Tarte au tatin(we have 4 apple trees so a glut of apples atm), the christmas pudding, a New York cheesecake and a Victoria sponge. The family isn’t complaining :-).

Thanks for stopping by my little section of the interwebs.

Happy Sewing!



20 thoughts on “What I made for the PRSewing Bee 2015 Final….and an unfortunate side effect….

  1. So glad you have emerged from all that sewing relatively unscathed – apart from a temporary loss of mojo. What can I say? This is just amazing! Congratulations. I can’t believe anyone else could top this!


  2. This is fantastic! I can’t believe you sewed your own swimming costume! Amazing stuff! You’re well and truely forgiven for not wanting to sew at the moment. I would be the same. We’ll be here when you get back!


  3. Congratulations Hila for all the beautiful garments you made in this contest, it required a lot of skills and will to manage all those difficult tasks! It’s totally logical to need a brake from all this!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well done! I’ve been watching out for your grand finale! What a great outfit, and reversible too. Enjoy the baking and family and your sewing mojo will soon be back. I hope you’ll be applying for the gbsb – it’d be a doddle compared to what you’ve just put your self thro. Fingers crossed now 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Once again you have totally blown my mind with your skills!! In 10 days?! *takes hat off* lol I can understand you losing you sewjo now!! And I have to say I love a lot about your post but one thing I am going to try to remember is when I’m confused that means I’m about to learn something. Good thinking 🙂


  6. Hila – you did an incredible job through out that competition, always going above and beyond. I am in awe of you! Take a break! You deserve some down time and a bite of a yummy apple dessert!


  7. I love what you created. The colors and the fact that it is reversible is terrific and the yellow piping and zipper just pop.


  8. Oh my word what have I been missing? This is astonishing. Love the reversibility of the outfit. Every piece fits perfectly. Enjoy your break from sewing and all the food: Nigel? Nigella? Actually, thinking about it your recipes are probably all original Hila’s! x


  9. Oh, wow Hila, you’ve done it again. Thus is fab and then you go and reverse the jacket to reveal that beautiful inner fabric, such a great job! Am bowing down to your talents, super impressed. Good luck!


  10. I love everything you show in this post! I was seriously impressed and then I saw that everything is reversibel too?! Well done!! I love reading your Posts, not only because I like what you make but you also have such a positive energy. Enjoy the baking!


  11. Congratulations on getting to the final – all your outfits have been amazing. I absolutely love the reversible tracksuit top – both sides look perfect! And you took outdoor swimsuit pictures at this time of year – very brave! You definitely deserve a rest after all that work!



  12. Wow!! This is an amazing feat and you have certainly risen to the challenge! You are so talented and inspiring, good luck!


Join the conversation!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s