• D.I.Y with Nichelle B.,  Pattern Review

    Are crochet swimsuits functional???

    Hey boo! Thanks for stopping by! Today I’m talking about crochet swimwear! I made this swimsuit a while ago but I just recently got to wear it and test it out in the pool. It seems the crochet community is split 50/50 on what yarns work best for crochet swimwear. There are a lot of mixed reviews out there and it can be hard to determine what textile yarn is best for crochet swimwear. I don’t recommend skipping doing your research on this part as yarn type is the most important factor to consider when you are making a swimsuit. When I first started my research on what yarns were best for crochet swimsuits a lot of blogs and crochet designers said cotton yarn was the best if you want a natural fiber, so that’s what I went with…. I have a 2 piece swimsuit and a 1 piece crochet swimsuit made out of cotton yarn. Upon further research I saw more designers say cotton yarn should not be used; mainly because it absorbs water, can sag when wet, and it does not stretch. However, I also see reviews saying you can add elastic and/or lining to cotton crochet swimsuits to prevent sagging or stretching out of place.

    The alternative to cotton yarns are yarns are those made from synthetic fibers or blends. These are synthetic acrylic yarns and blended with bamboo, silk, and/or elastic materials. Acrylic blends are mentioned as being the best for swimwear because they do not absorb too much water and they dry fast. I did see that acrylic yarn was a popular choice for swimwear, however since the swimsuit is against my naked body I wanted the most natural textile possible and that is cotton or a cotton/bamboo blend.

    Besides cotton, the other most popular choice for swimsuits seems to be the Alize Diva Stretch yarn. This is a microfiber acrylic yarn. Its made with acrylic and elastic. This is a sport weight yarn and may be very thin, but you can crochet with multiple strands at once to use it for patterns that call for thicker yarn.

    Overall, there are some pros and cons to crochet swimsuits. There are always new yarns coming out and you just have to test out different yarns to determine what you like best. To answer the question are crochet swimsuits functional? I say yes and no.

    Yes you can get them wet but they are not meant for swimming laps or for being in the water for long amounts of time. Sun, chlorine, saltwater, stitch type, and yarn choice, can all affect the longevity of your swimsuit. I think crochet swimsuits are best for chilling poolside, taking cute pics, or taking a quick dip. My swimsuit held up great in the water, it did not get heavy or stretch out of place while worn but it did take forever to dry.. Lets get into some of the pros and cons of crochet swimsuits..

    PROS

    VISUALLY ATTRACTIVE- There is no denying crochet swimsuits are sexy.. The style options are endless and I feel like no matter what style you go with it’s a showstopper..

    INEXPENSIVE- If you crochet your own swimsuit it can be very inexpensive. I’m talking under $10 if you just use cotton yarn and nothing else. Some people add lining, elastic, and/or pads, but I personally didn’t add any of that on my swimsuits.

    WORK UP QUICKLY- Depending on the type of swimsuit you are making it can work up pretty quickly.. A simple triangle bra top can be made in a few hours.

    ADD SUPPORT- As mentioned you can also add elastic, bra cups, and lining to make your swimsuit more durable and possibly last longer.

    CONS

    NOT FOR THE MODEST- Most crochet swimsuits are kind of slinky. If you prefer to have a more modest swimsuit I would not opt for crochet. I think crochet swimsuits work best when made in 2 piece styles, thong types, or lacy designs. This allows you to use a small amount of yarn therefore you may not have to worry about sagging or adding elastic.  

    TESTING OUT YARN TYPES- As mentioned, choosing the type of yarn is probably the hardest part about making a crochet swimsuit. You will have to test out different yarns to see what you like best.

    TAN LINES- If you plan on sunbathing in your crochet swimsuit, be mindful of the tan lines your swimsuit will leave. If you have a fancy design or use a loose stitch you may be left with weird tan lines.

    To summarize…  I think I’m satisfied having made a couple swimsuits. I don’t think I would crochet more swimsuits, I would stick to sewing swimsuits and crocheting the coverups!

    What about you? Are you a fan of crochet swimsuits?

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  • D.I.Y with Nichelle B.,  Pattern Review

    CROCHET BIRTHDAY DRESS!!!

    Do yall know that meme where the girl walks in the room and she’s like “Heyyyyy… How yall doin??” and it’s a really awkward silence and no one says anything back… That’s how I feel writing this blog post… LOL I knowwww it’s been a long time since I wrote a blog post and I’ve seriously missed it. I think I mentioned in the last post that I lost my sewjo for a REALLLY long time and as a result I started crocheting. It started with me crocheting an ear warmer and kind of just took off from there. So far I’ve made 3 swimsuits, a sarong, a coverup, 2 dresses, and I’m working on a sweater. Obsessed much… I know. This doesn’t mean I will never sew again, Im just exploring yarn right now. LOL

    Anyway, as promised, this post is about my birthday dress. If you don’t know I have been making my birthday outfits for about 6 years now. This year I decided to go completely out of my comfort zone and try to crochet a dress instead of sewing something like I usually do. I did mention this was going to be a very detailed post so I’m going to start with the inspiration pic. This dress was inspired by @n00rvana on IG. I saw this dress on her page and fell in love with it! She is like a master “crocheter” I don’t know if that’s the proper term, but her work is amazing. You should definitely check her out page for some crochet inspiration.

    Since I’ve crocheted a few projects, I felt semi confident going into this. This project is (kind of) beginner friendly. Because its literally just chains and single crochet its pretty easy, but I recommend you have a little bit of crochet experience before starting. This dress is worked from the bottom up, in rounds, until you reach the bust part, then it’s done in rows. I used a size 3.5 hook purchased from Amazon.

    YARN– I knew I didn’t want an acrylic yarn because I thought it would be heavy and uncomfortable against my skin. I didn’t want cotton because that doesn’t really drape or have any stretch. Since I’m not that experienced, I was afraid to order yarn online. Luckily there is a cute little yarn shop in Atlanta called Needle Nook. I went there and the sweet ladies who work there helped me out. In the end I went with a DK weight yarn that is a cotton/rayon blend. It worked and the dress turned out great, but it was definitely a hassle to work with. If I made this dress again, I would have to find another yarn option. I was unaware that yarn sold in hanks had to be wound into balls before you can use it. There is a machine/apparatus you can use to speed up the process, but I didn’t want to add more gadgets to my home.

    So before even starting the dress, I had to roll all 6 of these hanks into balls, by hand.  Super annoying. The next annoying part about this project was the fact that I had to use 2 strands of yarn at a time, so I had to crochet with one ball on my left and one on my right. I had to stop to untangle yarn A LOT and that was super annoying… If I could have used a cotton/rayon blend yarn that is slightly thicker than DK weight, that would have been ideal for this project. The rayon does make the yarn a bit softer and have a bit of drape, but the winding and using 2 balls of yarn really made this project take a long time.

    How the yarn comes in the store.
    After you wind it into a ball the yarn pulls from the center.

    PATTERNS– If you know how to read crochet patterns then you can just use this pattern I found on Etsy and turn it into a maxi dress. That was my plan, however I don’t understand crochet patterns just yet. So luckily I found this tutorial on Youtube. That tutorial is super helpful if you don’t know how to read crochet patterns.

    *UPDATE* Unfortunately the written crochet pattern is now sold out on Etsy, but the tutorial is still up on Youtube!

    MISTAKES– Although you can’t tell from the pics this dress has one MAJOR flaw. Lol I didnt make the bottom wide enough, so unless I hold the dress up above my knees, I can only take small steps in it.. LMAOOO

    Now, I knew that I wouldn’t really be able to walk in it when I was done, but the only way to fix anything in crochet is to take it out and do it all over again and I wasn’t willing to do that. So, I finessed it the night of my birthday, but if you are making a maxi length dress and you are following the tutorial, DO NOT start with 45 chains… lol If you are my size I would start with at least 60-70 chains in each section to have the bottom of the dress be wide enough to walk in and put on! Lol Which brings me to the other flaw this dress has… Since I didn’t make the bottom wide enough it’s hard to take on and off.

    Lastly, you will have to count the ENTIRE time you are making this dress. Each section in the round needs to be even so for example if you are doing 60 chains per section you are basically counting to 60 over and over and over again. I tried to watch something interesting while making this and kept losing my place while counting or just forgetting to count and that was also annoying! LOL!

    Since this dress is worked in the round, from the bottom up, it isn’t a complete fail. I plan to just turn it into a mini dress. I’m going to start taking it out from the bottom and stop at my desired length. Then it will be a mini dress that should fit perfect and I will be able to walk in! I do feel like at the point I turn it into a mini-dress, its more of a swimsuit cover up than an actual dress, but at least it will still be wearable.

    So, overall this dress was a great challenge and a pain in my ass. Lol My number one tip if you want to learn how to crochet or make this dress is to be patient and keep checking the fit!!  

    Leave your thoughts, comments, or questions about this dress below!

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  • D.I.Y with Nichelle B.,  Pattern Review

    D.I.Y Crochet Swimsuit

    So as I mentioned in my last post I’ve been addicted to crochet lately. So far, I made the fishnet cover up, a top, a bralette, a mesh skirt, and 3 swimsuits! I haven’t gotten around to taking pictures of everything but as soon as I hit the beach you will see me in my crochet swim collection. I saw this swimsuit on IG and it was one of those “see it, like it, make it” moments. I loved the simplicity of it and I would say this is a beginner friendly project only if you have some experience with crochet.

    The swimsuit is easy because it only uses one type of stitch (double crochet) but it was a little tricky (for me) to get the fit right! Even with the help of the tutorial I spent a lot of time second guessing if I was doing things correctly. Hence the reason it took me almost 2 weeks to make this. smh If you are an experienced crocheter this swimsuit would probably be a breeze to make.

    In the end everything came out great and I only have 1 small tiny thing I wish I could change. I think I should have went up a few more rows in the back. It isn’t bad or even super noticeable but if I was being picky that is the only thing I would have done differently. I used “I love this” cotton yarn from Hobby Lobby to make this. I made the fishnet coverup out of the Sugar ‘n Creme yarn which was cool but I think the Hobby Lobby yarn is softer and the color selection is way better.

    After making all those items I am truly done with crochet for now!! I came, I saw, I conquered… lol Major respect to the crochet artists out there. You all inspired me and I couldn’t have made any of these items without the help of your tutorials. I can imagine if you crochet a lot or for other people it can take a toll on your hands or neck from sitting still, looking down, and doing repetitive motions with your hands for long periods of time. Make sure you crochet artists take care of yourselves, your hands, and your body! If you want to see the tutorial I followed to make this swimsuit click here! She will walk you through the steps on how to make it but she is not making the swimsuit on camera, so it helps if you have some knowledge of crochet to understand it! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog! I appreciate you!

    I did a cheeky style bottom. This dress form isn’t really made to model swimsuits,
    but hopefully you still get a good idea of what it looks like!
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  • D.I.Y with Nichelle B.,  Pattern Review

    Men’s Button Up Shirt Refashion

    Hey boo!!! I miss you all! So much has been going on in the world lately I don’t even know where to start.. All Im going to say is that during these weird and somewhat trying times I hope you are still taking time to care for yourself! A form of self care for me was visiting my family in Maryland recently so that was great! Anyway I had quite a bit of thrifted clothing DIYs saved and I thought I would try this one out.

    This idea and tutorial came from my girl @FashionWizadry on Instagram and Youtube. She is one of my favorite DIY bloggers! Pretty much every DIY from her page that I try turns out great, this button up shirt included. I followed her tutorial which can be found here. Now in this tutorial she did do some math calculations and she kinda lost me on that part. Lol Although I didn’t do the calculations I do recommend it so you will know exactly how big or small your tucks should be. My shirt was from Goodwill I believe, it had a pocket on it and I just seam ripped it off. Other than that I just followed the tutorial! Its amazing what you can do with a men’s button up shirt!

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  • D.I.Y with Nichelle B.,  Pattern Review

    D.I.Y Paper Bag Waist Pants

    Hey loves! Im just going to skip over the fact that I haven’t wrote a blog post in months… LOL To sum it up… I had a crazy work schedule before Covid-19 sat us all down and I was simply too exhausted to sew anything let alone write a blog post.. I absolutely love blogging but it does not pay my bills… So it had to take a backseat for a while. I hope you all understand that and know I missed you dearly while I was away. lol

    Ok on to the pants… This fabric is from Fabric Joint in Atlanta. I like the fabric shopping scene here in Georgia. It’s not like New York or LA fabric shopping but there are definitely options. I like Fabric joint for my solid colored fabrics. I feel like their print selection is kind of outdated, but that’s just me. I also like their prices I don’t think I’ve ever bought a fabric over $5 from there. This is actually a kind of heavy fabric, I think its sweatshirt material.

    To create these pants I used McCalls pattern #7577 (pictured below) .

    I have other paperbag waist patterns however, none of them were as casual as these pants. Sewing these pants is really easy and doesn’t take long at all.

    Lay out your pattern pieces according to the instructions. You are going to add to the top of the pants pattern. How much you add will depend on the size elastic you use in the casing and how tall you want your paper bag to be. My paperbag waist (meaning this top of the pant that is hanging free) is about 3 inches tall and I used 1 inch elastic in the casing so I added about 5 inches to the top of the pants. Here is a little diagram to help you understand better if this doesn’t make sense.

    The blue portion is where you would add to the pattern. What you add at the top will become the paperbag waist and the casing. You don’t need to worry too much about the curve of the hip because the pants are very loose fitting.

    Once you have your pants cut out they will look kind of weird but you are going to assemble the pants according to the directions, sew them up and add your side pockets. When it comes to the waist part you will fold the top down to create the paper bag and a casing. Hopefully this makes sense! Leave any questions below!

    The only thing about using this method for a paperbag waist is that you will have a center seam in the waistband. I know some people don’t like that that’s why they do the waistband separately. For these particular pants I didn’t mind the center seam!

    I think paper bag waists are super cute paired with crop tops, sports bras, or really close fitting clothing like a bodysuit. The bodysuit and sports bra also have posts which can be found here and here!! As I mentioned on my IG page these pants are perfect for lounging, and you can dress them up or down. What do you think!? Are you a fan of the paperbag waist? I honestly think these pants would look great on many body shapes.

    Thank you for stopping by!

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  • Pattern Review

    1 Dress, Styled 3 ways

    Heyyy Loves,

    I told you I would be showing you ways to style the Simplicity Pinafore Dress so here it is! Again the reason I love pinafore style dresses is because you have the option to dress them up or down! You can keep it simple and chic by pairing a turtleneck underneath, or you can go a bit more dressy by adding a fancy blouse underneath, or if you want to be really chill you can throw on a vintage tee underneath!

    With a white button up shirt underneath you can take this look to the office or to church!
    Paired with a t-shirt I feel like I’m ready for a concert! lol You can also wear a shirt on top of this dress, to make it appear as if you have on a skirt.

    I couldn’t get the individual pics to upload for some reason.. But which style is your favorite? Have I convinced you to make a pinafore style dress yet? ?

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  • D.I.Y with Nichelle B.,  Pattern Review

    D.I.Y PINAFORE STYLE DRESSES

    Hey lovesss,

    This post is about 3 pinafore style dresses I made. If you are unfamiiar with the term “pinafore dress” it is just a sleeveless dress intended to be worn over a top or blouse. I like the idea of having a dress you can pair with different tops underneath to give it different looks. The first dress is one I made last year and you can view that here.

    The fabric for this dress below is from Joanns. It was actually in the clearance section of fabrics, it was only like $7, and I thought the print was cute. I wanted the top of this dress to come off so I could also wear the dress as a skirt, so I attached 2 snaps in the front and two in the back so it could be removable.

    This dress below is Simplicity #8944. I really didn’t have enough fabric for this dress according to the pattern so I made it work with what I had! In the pattern the bottom skirt is really just 2 huge squares. I just made the squares smaller to fit my fabric. I draped the bottom and played with it until I came up with this layered asymmetric bottom portion! lol

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  • Pattern Review

    Simplicity #8648 Duster

    Heyyy Booo! I’m back with another D.I.Y Project. This duster, kimono, coverup, type of thing. lol The pattern says this is a duster (if you want to be technical lol) but I really think this could be worn as a swimsuit coverup or over jean shorts with a tank top underneath. The silhouette of this garment is beautiful and if you follow me on IG you know I was obsessed with this rayon fabric from Blackbird Fabrics.

    It took me a ridiculous amount of time to decide what I wanted to make with this fabric. After looking at tons of kimonos and styles of dusters I decided on this Simplicity Pattern. I wanted something that could be worn to the pool or with denim, so I think this piece is it. My favorite part about this garment is the sleeves. I think the sleeves give it a very romantic feel and I dig it. It’s crazy how just a sleeve can change the whole vibe of the garment.

    I did make a few modifications to the pattern but they were simple.

    • no center back seam in the skirt
    • interfaced the waistband in the middle
    • lengthened the sleeves by about 3 inches all the way around

    This garment took ALOT of hemming. lol So if you make this, (especially out of a lightweight or flowy fabric) I would suggest you do some practice with your rolled hem foot. Although the rolled hem foot can be tricky I really do think it produces the best results and once you get the hang of it it’s not so bad!

    Have you ever made a duster before? Would you give this pattern a try?


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  • Pattern Review

    Simplicity #8655 Pattern Hack

    Heyyy boo, Happy Fridayyy! Thanks for stopping by!! If you’ve been following me on IG for a while now you know sometimes I take short breaks. It does get overwhelming to keep up with the photo shoots, blog posts, IG posts, my real life, work, sewing classes, family… etc.. When social media starts making me feel drained, I have to do what is best for me and detox. lol I know thats easier said than done for most in this age of “personal branding” and running a business.. I do think it’s important to stay consistent when trying to build a brand or a following etc, but it’s also important to have a healthy balanced relationship with social media and technology. That is something I’m still trying to work on… I talk more about this in an upcoming blog post.. But for now back to this pattern hack…

    Yall know I love linen! It’s such a beautiful, chic, laid back fabric. I definitely want to explore different types of linens as I’ve only used linen fabric from Joanns. This particular fabric is a linen rayon blend. Last year I made a few items out of yellow linen check them out here and here!

    So this is the pattern and fabric I used to create this top.

    This pattern has a really loose fit drop sleeve. It’s the type of sleeve that is really a rectangle shape and you just add it on to the bodice. Also I did make this in a muslin fabric first. I made a regular armhole on the front and back bodice pieces so I could do a set in sleeve. I’ve never done the slash and spread method so I followed this tutorial to create the “puffed sleeve.”

    Here is the Pinspiration behind this outfit.

     

    This top is by Faithfull The Brand. It retails for $150. Image was found on Pinterest.

    Pictured below is my version of this top. I’m still undecided on the length I want to make the ties but I loove how it came out. What do you think? Are you a crop top person??

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  • Pattern Review

    Fibers To Fabric x Nichelle B. x Simplicity #8644

    Hey boo Heyyy,

    The fabric for this dress was provided by FiberstoFabrics. An online Etsy shop that can be found HERE!!!

    First let me tell you all the reasons I love this fabric shop:

    • Authentic Artisan Fabrics
    • Made in India
    • Sells Trims and Notions
    • Supports sustainability in the textile industry
    • Take custom orders and can create custom garments
    • They offer handprinted and hand woven fabrics
    • They welcome wholesale resellers
    • Shipping was super fast and FREE for this order to come from India

    If that’s not enough reason to make you love this shop then I don’t know what else to tell you! lol I ordered 3 yards of this printed cotton fabric. This pattern is for a wrap top, I just extended the bottom/peplum to have it be a wrap dress.

    I love how this came out. If you can’t tell by now, I have many different styles. LOL Some days I’m thrifty chic, sometimes I’m glam, sometimes I’m all black, and sometimes I’m what I like to call “grandma chic.”

    “Grandma chic” style is wearing outfits or pieces that look like they could have possibly came out of your grandma’s closet, BUT you actually look hella chic wearing it. LOL So this is a perfect example of grandma chic to me. This fabric is really lightweight and would be perfect for a top but I decided on dress at the last minute. Since it is so lightweight I did wear shorts under this dress.

    How do you feel about “grandma chic” style? Is it a style you would rock? Leave a comment let a sistah know!

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