I’m here today to introduce the second of our new swimwear patterns for Summer 2016. This one is Lisette for Butterick B6358. This is the swimsuit I’ve been dreaming of for a few seasons now.

Lisette for Butterick B6358

I wanted something with a little front tie detail, and I thought that it would be fun to add a color-blocking option as well. This pattern includes both a two-piece and one-piece style with the same details, and of course you can choose to sew either style as a solid or color-blocked version.

Lisette for Butterick B6358

Remember that cute little cut-out at the back of the Lisette B6360 swimsuit pattern? I included it here too, but this time it’s on the bottoms. The briefs have a higher waist which meant I could include that cute little cut-out and a bow at the back, instead of boring regular swim bottoms. A little flirty, I suppose you could say.

Lisette for Butterick B6358

Oh, and the top has the removable cup inserts just like B6360. I kind of love the straps on both of these swimsuit pattern. There’s elastic inside the fabric casing, so they look great but can also be adjusted for a perfect fit.

Lisette for Butterick B6358

I’m seriously considering sewing both versions of this pattern. I haven’t worn a one-piece in years, but this one I’ll definitely wear. What about you?

I’m happy to be able to introduce the first of our two new Lisette patterns for Summer 2016. These patterns are available now wherever Butterick patterns are sold.

One of the things I love about working with Butterick is that they’re so open to ideas. Last year when I proposed swimwear, I assumed they don’t include much swimwear for a reason. But they were more than happy to take the plunge (as it were).

So, here we go. Let me introduce you to Lisette for Butterick B6360: the Lisette swim dress/tankini.

Lisette for Butterick B6360

Never heard of a swim dress before? Neither had I. Or at least I hadn’t heard of anyone wearing one in the past 100 years. As it turns out, there’s a brand new type of swim dress out there, and it’s quite versatile! It’s meant to go from the water to the boardwalk/lunch/car without requiring a change of clothing. The top is long enough to cover your back side (is this our preferred word for bottom?), but it’s cut to be feminine and flattering on top. Plus, it’s made of quick-drying spandex, unlike those heavy wool numbers of yore. (I must admit, some of those 1920’s wool swim dresses were cute. But really, unless you’re going to a costume party, just No. So hot, so itchy, and they took so long to dry….)

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to add a drawstring to the sides of the swim dress so you can also choose to cinch it up and wear it as a tankini, which means you have two options here: Eliminate the drawstrings and casings if you want just the swim dress or include them if you want the option to cinch it up into a tankini. Easy-peasy, right?

Lisette for Butterick B6360

Also, this pattern comes in the full spectrum of women’s sizes: Butterick sizes 8-24W! I’m always so, so happy when we can do this. This pattern is designed to be flattering and supportive, so if you’re full-busted I think you’ll be happy with this one.

Lisette for Butterick B6360

I like the little cutout below the bra hook in back. It lets you show a little skin without compromising on comfort and support. The pattern is constructed to include little pockets for removable cup inserts, too. Sometimes I wear them and sometimes I don’t, and the beauty of this construction is that you can add and remove them on a whim.

Lisette for Butterick B6360

Seriously, I hope you’ll have fun with this pattern. I’m really so pleased with how it turned out. And look how cute the back is! I hope you’ll enjoy sewing the pattern.

Here’s the second of our new Lisette patterns for spring 2016. This one is Lisette for Butterick B6321.

I thought it would be nice to offer a fresh, springtime dress. This design has a little vintage flavor to it. I think of it as a sundress, and you can choose to sew either a basic short sleeve or a tulip sleeve depending on the look you want. But the essential features are what makes it special. This style includes a center-front panel with a pretty ruching detail instead of a dart. It also includes a little faux collar that I think could be fun to try with a fancy doily or a little embroidery. The flared skirt has pockets, and the dress closes with a side zipper.

I think of it as a very feminine style that should get you through the whole summer. It could go to the beach, the museum, church, concerts, even a night out.

OLV-B6321_Prod_Full@2x

Do the shoulders and bodice remind you of the Oliver + S Garden Party Dress? That’s what I was thinking of when I drew it. I think you could do a mother-daughter look using the two patterns; it wouldn’t be too matchy-matchy but would have just enough similarity to be really cute together. You could also try a little color blocking, either through the center-front panel or bodice vs. skirt, for other fun looks.

OLV-B6321_1_Full@2x

In terms of fabrics, obviously a pretty floral is a great direction for this style. A small, delicate floral will give the dress a vintage flavor like we did for the pattern cover, but a big bold floral would also be fresh and fun. Look for a sateen or a lawn for a perfect summer print. Linen would also be beautiful, of course. Try chambray or eyelet for a crisp summer look. (I think chambray would be perfect for this style.) Or if you want a more drapey fabric, go with silk or rayon. This would be really pretty and could dress up the style for a special event like a summer wedding.

OLV-B6321_2_Full@2x

I didn’t find much in the way of inspirational photos for you. But since this is a relatively unique style with a lot of potential for you to make it your own, I thought it would be fun to give you the technical drawings instead. Think of it as a coloring book page and use these illustrations to dream up your own design ideas! (If you right click with your mouse on the image you can save it to your computer and print it out as many times as you like.)

line-drawings

Another styling suggestion: wear it with a narrow belt for a really great look.

However you make it, I hope you’ll show us! Add it to the Lisette Flickr group, tag it #sewlisette and #B6321 on Instagram, and show us how you styled this pattern to make it your own.

Today and tomorrow I am going to introduce you to my two newest Lisette styles. These are included in Butterick’s Spring 2016 collection, and both are available now everywhere that Butterick patterns are sold. The Butterick style numbers are B6321 and B6331. I hope you enjoy them!

In thinking about how to introduce you to Lisette for Butterick B6331, a story came to mind. Although my mom is a very accomplished sewist who made most of my clothes when I was growing up, it wasn’t until I was a sophomore or junior in college that I started sewing for myself. Until then, I just watched. Mom used to do all her fabric cutting out on the living room floor because it was the largest space in our small house, and I would sit and talk with her while she worked. I had time to ask all sorts of questions and learn a lot about sewing before I ever started it on my own. When she sewed for me I went to the fabric store with her and we chose patterns and fabric together, so I had a lot of experience with learning which silhouettes and fabrics worked well together. (By the way, the more you practice these skills, the easier they get.)

OLV-B6331_Prod_Full@2x

Then one summer when my family was away on vacation and I stayed home for a summer job, I stopped at the fabric store and chose fabric and a pattern for a simple jumper. I went home, cut it out, and sewed it up with almost no trouble at all, aside from a little difficultly learning how to make button holes on the sewing machine. I knew exactly what fabric I wanted for the jumper and how I wanted it to look when it was finished, and it turned out almost exactly as I had envisioned, all because I had been watching and learning from my mom all those years.

But it wasn’t until I finished college and was living in New York that I finally had enough time to really commit to sewing. Back then I’d rush from work to B&J Fabrics in order to shop before they closed for the day. I loved the tear sheets they posted on the walls with swatches of similar fabrics you might use to sew the same styles cut from magazines. In many cases the fabrics swatches were identical to the fabrics in the magazine pages because the designers of those styles actually shopped at B&J, so it was a great education in high-end fabrics and how they were used. I felt like I was sneaking into a secret society. It was all so thrilling! I longed to be a legitimate, fully accepted member of that society. (It wasn’t until recently that I realized I was a member all along. If you walk into a fabric store you’re a member; it’s really not all that complicated. You just keep learning more the longer you stick around.)

One of the very first pieces I sewed for myself in New York was a short safari-inspired jacket in a deep forest green cotton twill with lots of topstitching and details like belt loops and pockets. I was so proud of how it turned out. It wasn’t a difficult pattern, but it looked impressive, and I felt good about it when it was finished.

OLV-B6331_1_Full@2x

OLV-B6331_2_Full@2x

I was thinking about that jacket this morning because the little trench coat included in Butterick B6331 is a similar cut and style to that jacket. It would have been a perfect pattern for me to sew back then. The princess seams make it easy to adjust the fit to your preference (if you need extra room through the bust, princess seams are the way to go!), and the raglan sleeves are so much easier to sew than set-in sleeves. This pattern also includes those details that look impressive but are actually very easy to sew: collar, front pockets, back shield, elasticized back waist with front ties, and cute little button tabs for rolling your sleeves up.

Trench coats are one of those pieces that show up on everyone’s “must have” list of wardrobe basics. To be honest with you, I put no faith in those lists. Everyone is different, and one person’s basics will be completely different from another person’s. It took a long time for me to find a trench coat that worked for me without feeling like Inspector Gadget. But one thing I did discover was that it’s a lot easier to wear a trench coat that’s short rather than hemmed just above the knee, which can sometimes come off feeling a bit stiff and costume-y.

We also included a simple pair of narrow trousers in Butterick B6331 because so many of you have asked for them. This is a very easy style to sew, flattering and classic. Probably a wardrobe basic for many of us.

OLV-B6331_3_Full@2x

OLV-B6331_4_Full@2x

The details on this style are totally denim-inspired, but feel free to sew them in fabrics besides denim and chambray as well. Basic black stretch twill would make a really versatile pair you could wear almost every day. But here, too, think outside the box. What would you love to wear?

It will be fun to see how you sew these styles. You can find more inspiration on my Lisette: Sew Your Style Pinterest board, and I hope you’ll post your own sewing to Flickr or tag them #sewlisette on Instagram. Full details on the pattern are available on our pattern page for Butterick B6331. Have fun!

Over on the Oliver + S blog, Rachel is spending part of January doing a year in review series that highlights some of the things we covered there last year.

In today’s post, she recaps the eight new Lisette styles we released last year, and she shows what many talented sewists have made with them.

 

lisetteTITLE

 

You can jump over to Oliver + S to read the post and pick up some great inspiration for your own Lisette sewing.

As we were preparing for our move to Spain this past summer, I was surprised by the number of athletic pieces I packed. I guess I don’t really think of myself as a wearer of athletic clothing, but exercise does play a big role in my life. I exercise almost every day because it helps me to manage stress and to feel good. (I do a combination of yoga, running, and ballet.) I’m guessing that exercise plays a role in your life too, or that you want it to play a role if it doesn’t already. So when it came time to design another Lisette for Butterick collection, it made perfect sense that the new designs include active wear in that mix. I mean, your wardrobe includes your exercise clothing, right? Even if it’s not part of your wear-to-work wardrobe, many of us rely heavily on active wear in our lives.

 

Lisette B6295 for Butterick

 

Lisette for Butterick B6295 includes four pieces. First there’s the sports bra (View A), which I prefer to call a “yoga top” because it just sounds nicer and because this piece is stylish enough to be worn alone. But it’s also designed to work for many of us as a real sports bra. I wear mine when I run, and it’s very comfortable. The front of the bra is lined and includes a fun little detail that allows you to add removable cups for extra support and shaping. This is my favorite detail on the bra, and I think it makes it a really useful pattern.

That same removable cup detail is included in the tank (View B) with built-in shelf bra. Nice, right? Both pieces (bra and tank) can be sewn with two different strap options for extra versatility and style. I’m particularly enamored of the double strap detail. I’ve been seeing lots of similar styles in my yoga classes, and the straps are a fun little touch that make the tops special. But if you don’t want to fiddle with sewing narrow straps, choose the single side shoulder strap option instead. Either one is cute, stylish and practical, and the elastic inside the straps gives you good support that you can adjust as you’re sewing to get a perfect fit. (How nice is it to be able to try on the top as you’re sewing it and sew the straps the perfect length for your body? You just can’t do that when you buy your active wear in a store!)

 

Lisette B6295 for Butterick

 

But the leggings are my favorite piece in this set. They include a side panel with a little pocket that’s just the right size for your cell phone. Or keys. Or a little money, just in case. (The first time I went running in Madrid, I put cash in one pocket of my leggings just in case I got lost and needed to take the metro or a taxi home. Do you do this too?) I love the ruching detail at the hem of the full-length leggings (View D). It’s a fun little addition to the pattern that makes the leggings special. I also love the yoke seam at the back, which flatters the rear view. The seam is like an optical illusion that gives you a visual lift, if you know what I mean. Sew the leggings full-length or cropped (View C), as you like.

 

Lisette B6295 for Butterick

 

Lisette B6295 for Butterick

 

In terms of fabric, you’ll obviously want to look for lycra/spandex fabrics with two-way stretch, meaning that the fabric will stretch in width and in length. So ordinary cotton T-shirt jersey isn’t going to cut it here–you want the power stretch fabrics, which are more similar to swimsuits. Fortunately there are lots of great options for these sorts of fabrics right now. I’ll see if I can assemble some ideas for you, but I think you might also be pleasantly surprised by the options you’ll find in your local fabric store. When you’re shopping, look for fun patterns and colors. I love the space-dyed fabric we used for the pieces on the pattern cover, but look for interesting prints too.

But don’t be afraid to think outside of the box, too! Over the last couple of years there’s been a real trend in the fashion world toward “athleisure,” which is active wear worn as street wear. Some athleisure pieces are quite luxurious, too. While I’m personally not a big fan of wearing workout clothes as street wear (I’m in Fran Lebovitz’s camp on this topic), I do love mixing dressy and casual pieces, so I think it will be fun to play with these patterns to sew them as versatile fashion items that work into my regular wardrobe. I’m especially looking forward to playing with the leggings pattern. The other day I bought a stretchy, lightweight faux leather that I’m going to combine with matte spandex. I’m thinking of it as texture blocking rather than color blocking, since both fabrics are black. I think it will be fun to wear the faux leather leggings with chunky sweaters this winter. And the tank will be a great layering piece as well. I haven’t found any really fun prints for this one yet, but I’m still on the lookout!

Oh, and for the sewing construction we found a fun way to sew the leggings that allows you to get the look of a coverstitch without the need for a coverstitch machine–or even a serger if you don’t have one! Your basic straight stitch and zigzag will do the trick. But of course it’s always nice if you have a serger; it gives such nice results and is so fast.

I hope you’ll have a lot of fun with this pattern. I’ll show you my faux leather legging as soon as I finish them and hope that you’ll post your photos to the Lisette Flickr group. Or tag #sewlisette and #B6295 on Instagram.

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