Suitcase Essentials: The One Piece Swimsuit

Hi from Palm Springs guys! It’s a pinch myself moment to be visiting, the mix of desert landscape, mid century modern architecture and 60’s glamour has always made it a bucket list destination for me. A travel guide is on its way (so so sooooo much cool stuff here), but in the meantime I wanted to talk about my favourite topic – suitcase essentiallllsssss. If you’re like me, in the past you might have packed a full suitcase and only worn a few outfits. How many times have we lamented I totally could have brought half of this and been fine’?

This process of even slightly overpacking is totally normal, but really annoying. I mean, who wants to lug things they won’t wear? Over the last few years I’ve been broadly documenting what I wear and don’t wear when I travel, and from that refining what my suitcase essentials are. To do this essentially I’ve separated the things I’ve worn from those I haven’t when unpacking – and giving it a quick eyeball. Even though I generally pack carefully using the 5,4,3,2,1 method, I’m always surprised to find there are things I didn’t wear… In matters of travel outfits, you go with what makes you feel good both in comfort and aesthetics – which is the basis for the suitcase essentials list. By reviewing my pack after I get home I’m hoping to build a suitcase essentials list that helps me back only the things I will wear, leaving behind those that I won’t.

Hi from Palm Springs!

Wearing: Grana Swimsuit, Sportsgirl Hat

First up on my suitcase essentials list? The one piece swimsuit. Without fail any one piece swimsuit I take with me on holidays goes into the ‘worn, frequently’ pile during unpacking… putting them firmly on the suitcase essentials list. So what makes them such an indispensable item? As usual it comes down to versatility, aesthetics and efficiency – they make it easy to look and feel good when you’re in a rush on the road… over and over.

Wanting to get the most out of a small(ish) suitcase for my LA trip, I went on the hunt for versatile pieces that could work in a number of different outfits, and transition from palm spotting and pool hopping to 5pm cocktail hour easily. My friends over at Grana had invited me to try their new swimwear range, and naturally I picked out this classic, faintly vintage inspired one piece – knowing for certain I would wear it over (and over). And I did!

In case you’re wondering, I found Grana’s new swim styles are super comfortable both in and out of the pool, I think because of the luxe Italian fabric they’ve have used. There’s a barely there feeling that is so different to most swimwear. They’re also designed to be breathable which makes them perfect as doubling as a bodysuit! Suitcase essential? Check!

If you’d like to try yourself, make sure to use my code ‘apasxgrana‘ at checkout to get 10% off 🙂

Hi from Palm Springs

A one piece and some DIY cut off shorts were just what the doctor ordered.

Hi from Palm Springs!

Who doesn’t love a low back?

Hi from Palm Springs!

Hat, towel, water. A simple checklist for a day by the pool (just add a margarita!).

Hi from Palm Springs!

Putting aside a trip to the Blue Lagoon in Iceland or afternoons in an Onsen in Japan (although you may want to go naked?), when I say the one piece is an essential, obviously talking about warm climate travel… or burning searing inside-an-oven heat like we experienced in Palm Springs!

Hi from Palm Springs!

Looking forward to sharing my Palm Springs guide with you soon. xx

This post is in collaboration with Grana.

Ask a Pattern Maker: How to sew darts

Another in our series about helping you sew better! Darts are ideal for shaping fabric and removing excess volume so that the garment fits smoothly around the curves of the body – I’ve used them in almost every Before & After project I’ve done in order to add a modern edge to a vintage (or, completely dowdy) style. Although, I have to admit that sewing a dart can sometimes be more hassle than it’s worth. There are times where I’ve ended up creating more lumps and bumps than when I started, or if we’re talking bust darts, I’ve made one or two not-so-subtle recreations of Madonna’s cone bra. It’s been a case of trial and error too as results also vary depending on the type of fabric I’m using, cottons and linens are always easier to sew than silks and polyesters which are notoriously slippery. Here are a few tips I’ve learnt along the way that have helped me in conquering darts and I hope they are helpful to you too!

Ask a Patternmaker: Darts Tutorial

You need

  • Fabric or a garment (we used a cotton poplin)
  • Tailor’s pencil
  • Scissors
  • Ruler or measuring tape
  • Sewing machine and thread

Ask a patternmaker: Darts Tutorial

How to

  1. Mark the dart onto the fabric with tailor’s chalk. It’s important to mark the position of the apex of the dart as precise as possible.

Ask a patternmaker: Darts Tutorial

Ask a patternmaker: Darts Tutorial
2. Make a nick (i.e. a small cut about 3mm deep) at the notch positions. These cuts make it easier to match the two legs of the dart together when folding the dart in half later on.

Ask a patternmaker: Darts Tutorial

3. Mark a point 1cm above the apex. This is the point you will taper towards when sewing (refer to diagram in Step 6).

Ask a patternmaker: Darts Tutorial

4. Fold the dart in half along the centre fold line and pin to secure.

Ask a patternmaker: Darts Tutorial

5. Always begin sewing at the base of the dart where the notches are. Using the dart leg as a guide, sew the dart together coming in towards the fold so that your needle ends up about 1mm from the centre fold of the dart at the 1cm mark (refer to diagram in Step 6).

Ask a patternmaker: Darts Tutorial

6. From the 1cm mark to the apex stitch consistently 1mm away from the edge.

Ask a patternmaker: Darts Tutorial

7. Once you’ve reached the apex, don’t back stitch as this will create unnecessary bulk but leave a tail of thread. We will use this to secure the end of the dart

Ask a patternmaker: Darts Tutorial

8. Tie a knot at the end of the dart and cut the thread leaving a 1cm “tail”. This will prevent the thread from unravelling when the garment is being worn or washed.

Ask a patternmaker: Darts Tutorial

9. Using the head of your ironing board or an ironing arm or ham (a round, firm cushion that mimics the curves of the body and helps shape fabric), iron the dart volume to one side. This also helps mould the fabric to shape.

Ask a patternmaker: Darts Tutorial

Go forth and dart guys!

DIY Woven Market Backpack

A little reader request coming at ya! A few of you have asked that I make this market backpack, an item I’ve seen a couple of times here and thought why not and something I was more than happy to do given that all you need is a bag, some leather and a few studs. Easy and totally practical. What’s not to love?

DIY Market Backpack

You need:

  • A woven bag
  • Scissors
  • Leather hole puncher
  • Studs (or a needle and thread)
  • Leather straps (if you need more than what’s already on the bag).

DIY Market Backpack

How to:

  1. First, remove the existing straps of the bag.

DIY Market Backpack

2. Using the leather hole puncher, create a hole about 5cm (2 in) from the end of the leather for the shoulder straps.

DIY Market Backpack

3. Using a stud (or needle and thread), secure the leather strap at the front of the woven bag along the top edge. You may need to trim back the ends of the shoulder straps so that the are equal lengths to each other.

DIY Market Backpack

4. Once both shoulder straps are secured at the front, insert a metal stud in between the two.

DIY Market Backpack

5. On the opposite side of the bag, insert a short piece of leather like you did for the shoulder straps. This will act as the bag closure and will attach to the metal stud you placed on the bag in Step 4.

DIY Market Backpack

6. On the opposite side of the bag about two-thirds of the way down, use a sharp tool to create two holes to insert two studs. We will use these to secure the other side of the shoulder straps.

DIY Market Backpack

7. Punch a hole into the other end of the shoulder straps, and insert onto the studs.

DIY Market BackpackDIY Market Backpack

All done! Ready to get stuck into the markets.

DIY Market BackpackDIY Market BackpackDIY Market BackpackDIY Market Backpack

Ps guys thanks so much for all your tips about LA! I had such a good time. I’m now in Palm Springs and looking forward to sharing all that with you 🙂

Photos by Bryant Lee

DIY Throw Cushions

I know it might sound odd, but as time goes on I become as excited about accessorising my space as I do my body. Do any of you guys feel this way? Whilst previously I was oblivious to the details of a space, now that’s pretty much all I can see when I walk in the room. And the difference between a good space and a great one? The details… The accessories! Naturally cushions are an easy way to inject a little extra design in your space, but have you noticed just how expensive they can be? Phew! Luckily they’re so so easy to make at home. Read on to see how!

DIY Simple CushionsDIY Simple Cushions

You need

  • Mudcloth fabric (or heavy duty fabric)
  • Pillow inserts
  • Invisible zipper
  • Measuring Tape
  • Pins
  • Fabric scissors
  • Pencil or fabric chalk
  • Sewing machine and thread

DIY Simple Cushions

How to

  1. Using the dimensions of your pillow inserts as a guide, measure two squares (or rectangles) slightly bigger than the pillow inserts from your mud cloth. I added 2.5cm (1 in) extra to each side plus for the extra and the seam allowance.

DIY Simple Cushions

2. Cut out the two squares of cloth.

DIY Simple Cushions

3. Laying the patterned sides together, pin the two pieces of mud cloth together along three of the sides. We will leave the fourth side open to insert the invisible zipper later on.

DIY Simple Cushions

4. Sew the sides together using a 1cm seam allowance. Because mud cloth is thicker than your normal fabric, use a longer stitch length and feed the material under the foot at a steady pace.

DIY Simple Cushions

5. On the side that you’ve left open, pin the invisible zipper into place.

DIY Simple Cushions

6. Using your normal sewing foot, sew in the invisible zipper.

DIY Simple Cushions

7. Once you’ve sewn both sides of the invisible zipper in, turn the pillow case right side out.

DIY Simple Cushions

8. Then, pop in your pillow insert and zip it up!

DIY Simple Cushions

DIY Simple CushionsDIY Simple Cushions

Photos by Bryant Lee

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