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Tutorial: Strappy Back Laguna Swim Top

Jane REuter

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Blogger: Jane Reuter

Strappy Back Laguna Swim Top

Strappy back swimsuit tops are all the rage this summer, so my daughter and I made a few simple modification to the Laguna swim top to create the same look. Surprisingly, it was rather simple.

To begin, print the Laguna “Binding” pattern piece for the front top only. Use the bikini cut line. Measure the child just under the chest to determine how big of a back opening is desired and how wide the front swim piece will need to be to wrap around the sides of the body. My daughter wanted hers to just come around the sides of her body and have a larger opening in the back, so we settled on a measurement of 21.5” total width for the entire bodice piece.

The front Laguna bodice piece will need width added to draw the extended width. Tape a piece of paper to the original front bodice piece to give some drawing room. Line up the bottom straight edges.

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The pattern piece needs to become half of the measurement you came up with. For example, we wanted the bodice 21.5” wide, so the pattern piece needed to be 10.75” wide since it is cut on the fold. The size 14 front bodice piece was already 8” on the fold, so we simply measured 2.75” out from the edge of the bodice and made a mark. Draw a vertical line at this point. The height of this line will determine the height of the bodice edge. The top and bottom will lose 3/8” seam allowance when elastic is added later, so keep that in mind. Our vertical line was 2” tall.

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Draw a curved, smooth line to connect the points. Please note that the tip of the original curve will be cut off. Cut out the new pattern piece.

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If lining the suit cut a main and 1 lining. Baste the lining to the wrong side of the main. Follow the directions (starting on the bottom of page 31) in the original tutorial for adding the front center binding.

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The binding for the side curves of the bodice will be done the same way as the tutorial, but the length will need to be adjusted. For size 14 years, we deducted 17” from the length of the circumference binding. However, in the original tutorial only 1 circumference binding is cut. For the strappy back version we will need 2. Same thing for the elastic. For size 14 years, we cut the binding and elastic 38”. Follow the instructions on page 35 through the top of page 36 to attach the elastic to the binding.

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Attach the binding to the swimsuit as instructed in the Laguna tutorial. However, begin attaching the binding at the edge of the bodice.

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When finished, it will look like this. Repeat on the other side.

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Measure the bottom raw edge of the swimsuit. Cut a piece of 3/8” swim elastic 90 percent of the measurement. Slightly stretch the elastic across the wrong side of the bottom raw edge of the swim suit. Clip in place and sew to attach with a zig zag stitch.

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Using the same technique in the tutorial, fold the elastic over one time, to the wrong side of the fabric. Clip in place. Sew to secure from main side of the suit using a zig zag stitch. Trim the edges of the suit at a slight angle. When the elastic is thread through the casings, this will give the bottom edge a slightly tighter pull to keep the suit fitted across the body.

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Fold the short raw, side edges over 1/2”, keeping the newly cut angle. Sew to attach. Thread the straps through the back casings so they criss cross. Fold the raw ends of each strap back and tack them in place.

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The Laguna strappy swim top is now ready to wear and is swim tested and approved!!

Tutorial: Delray with Enclosed Front Bodice

Niina Kivelä

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Blogger: Heather Chisolm

Delray with an Enclosed Front Bodice

There is truly nothing cuter, in my opinion, than an adorable outfit that is handmade with love. Delray is a perfect summertime design for handmade sews! Today we will show you how to omit the keyhole cut-out in order to make Delray with full tummy coverage. Whether for modesty purposes or school dress code, it is super easy to make Delray with a closed-front bodice!

Select the layer for the size being sewn, and print two copies of the front bodice pattern pieces. It does not matter if the small or large opening front bodice piece is used. Tape an extra blank piece of paper to the bottom of the printed pages. The paper will provide extra length for drawing room when extending the bodice.

Creating the Lining Pattern Piece: Using a ruler, draw a line extending the bottom of the bodice and center fold line, so that they meet at a 90 degree angle. Cut out the new lining pattern piece following these lines.

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Creating the Main Front Bodice Piece: Using a ruler, extend the bodice side seam, (underarm) to the measurement listed in the chart below. For example, on a size 4, the pattern piece measures 5 1/2’’. This piece will be extended to a total length of 9 5/8.

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Using a ruler, extend the center fold line to match the new length of the side seam. Join the two lines horizontally, making sure the pattern piece is squared at the bottom of the bodice. In the below photo, the edge of the ruler is lined up straight against the underarm line and the bottom of the ruler is on the 9 5/8” mark. Cut the front bodice pattern piece out.

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Taaa-daaa!!!! The new front bodice main pattern piece is now ready! Cut the fabric according to the cutting instructions in the pattern.

Follow the tutorial through attaching the straps. After attaching the front bodice straps, use a fabric pen or pin to mark ½” down from each underarm and 1/2” up from the bottom edge of the bodice. Do not gather this section, as this is the seam allowance. Sew two rows of gathering stitches on each bodice side using a 1/4 and 3/8” seam allowance. Do not gather this yet.  

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After sewing the main and lining together per the pattern instructions, we need to create the center gather. This can be done two ways, either with ¼” elastic or with two rows of gathering stitches. The method used is a personal preference, both methods are explained below.  

Elastic: The elastic will be attached to the wrong side of the main front bodice piece only, not the lining. Using the method detailed in the tutorial to attach the elastic. Refer to the chart above for the elastic lengths required for the closed bodice.

Gathering Stitches: In lieu of elastic, gathering stitches can be used. Simply draw a line down the center front using a removable sewing marker. Sew a row of gathering stitches 1/4’’ to the left and right of the center line of the front bodice main only. Gather the front main bodice to the same height as the lining. Sew straight down the center line to attach it to the lining. Remove the gathering stitches.

In the below photo, the center is gathered but edges are not. Turn the bodice right side out.

Gather each side seam of the front main bodice to match the match the height of the lining side seams. Follow the pattern instructions to attach the straps to the back bodice, through attaching the back bodice side seams to the front bodice side seams. The gathered section of the front bodice main will be pinned to the back bodice main.

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That’s it!! Wasn’t it easy?! So there you have it! You’ve made an adorable enclosed front bodice Delray perfect for lazy summer days or back to school.

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Rhapsody Project Blog Tour

Niina Kivelä

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Little Lizard King is so excited to be part of the Rhapsody Project Tour, showcasing some of the stunning prints designed by Sedef Imer, for Riley Blake Designs.

The fabric range was inspired by the bright and happy colours of Cinque Terre, Italy. We thought the two main prints, in teal and white, and the coordinating ditsy floral prints in aqua and yellow would be perfect for our Lenox and Winnie Pinnie dress patterns. 

The Lenox PDF pattern is sized 12 months through 14 years and designed for woven fabrics, with optional collar and bodice pintucks, elasticized waist and multiple sleeve options. For this dress, we added a sweet bow detail to the center front collar.

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Winnie Pinnie was perfect for the aqua colourway, with a little pop of the yellow ditzy print used for the lining and to peek out on the ties. Stay tuned, LLK is currently working on an update for Winnie Pinnie and this dress will re-release in our full size range and new tutorial format very soon, along with this cute tie back option.

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Here is the rest of the schedule if you would like to see more of this amazing range! 

June 4 -

June 11

June 18
June 25
July 2
July 9 -