Two-Piece Scuba Set // Ada Spragg + Britex

Ada Spragg // Not Your Nanna's Sewing // DIY Two-Piece Scuba Set

Oh me oh my! So I knew late August to early September would be a cracker, what with the three patterns to sew in preparation for workshops at The Craft Sessions retreat + this final two-piece + a tutorial in conjunction with Britex Fabrics. What it was supposed to look like was pulling it off with grace and flare and my-not-previously-mentioned superpowers, in the two days per week that my littlest has kindy, all the while bringing you regular posts here. What it actually looked like, during that time, was one broken arm, courtesy of my littlest, emergency surgery and a hospital stay where I must have attracted some sinus thing, timed especially for my flight which resulted in a mass-pattern tracing right up until an hour before I left. Life stuff and lots of it. Whereas last year I pushed and pushed, this year I’m trying to practice the art of letting things go in the interests of self-love and its resulting good mental health. Which I guess makes me two weeks not-so-fashionably late to my own Two-Piece Set-Acular. Ugh. Thank you for waiting. AND for your two-piece sets, which I cannot wait to share. There’ll be a mass two-piece round-up hitting the blog soon, sooner than this set but I won’t set a date in case someone breaks a femur.

Ada Spragg // Not Your Nanna's Sewing // DIY Two-Piece Scuba SetAda Spragg // Not Your Nanna's Sewing // DIY Two-Piece Scuba Set

It’s hard to pick favourites with your hand-made closet, but this here, is my favourite make this year! One, it’s a two-piece, two, it’s made from SCUBA (amphibious makes are all the rage) and three, both Simplicity 1366 (top) and Vogue 9031 (skirt) just worked. This is my second go at Simplicity 1366 (previously sewn here) and first attempt at this freshly released Vogue pattern. Just from the pattern cover, I thought it had potential. Okay, I lie…I knew it was going to be AMAZING! Hellooo?!  This shape + my shape + this shape + scuba = heaVEN! It works in the other direction too, equally there are pattern covers I look at and know will be terrible on me. But this fitted through the hips, flared out below silhouette is really fun! Kind of like a hybrid pencil / A-line I think it creates the perfect balance between clingy and, well, not clingy. There are four side panels made up of quarter circle skirt pieces that lend themselves to fabrics with volume, like scuba or ponte. I love it so very much I’m now dreaming up a second version in some solid fuschia ponte from the stash and / or a leather version, since the pattern is actually designed for a woven and includes some tips for using leather.

Ada Spragg // Not Your Nanna's Sewing // DIY Two-Piece Scuba SetA fun sew on both accounts and I want to stress the fun part because, if you’re like me and you harbour a lingering association between beautiful hand-makes and a certain amount of hard-labour / cussing, it’s always exciting to be proven wrong! What made these pieces both so fun were several things: firstly, scuba (or neoprene) is, quite literally, wetsuit material and a dream to sew with. It is stable and meaty (yes I did just say meaty) and orgasmic to cut into. Cannot tell you how good it felt to man-handle a fabric on the back of several flimsy fabric projects. And speaking of man-handling, the other perk is scuba loves the serger. Now I for one have never sewn an entire knit project on the serger.  Didn’t entirely trust the stitching would hold together. But with a fresh new serger to play around on ( a birthday up-grade) and being completely time poor I had a go…HALF AN HOUR, my friends, from start to finish. Even the skirt, which couldn’t be sewn on the serger alone (lots of seams to be left open), slapped together in half the cutting time.

Ada Spragg // Not Your Nanna's Sewing // DIY Two-Piece Scuba SetAda Spragg // Not Your Nanna's Sewing // DIY Two-Piece Scuba Set

Ahhhh the cutting time…deserving of it’s own paragraph! This beautiful intricate ‘Chinese Dragon and Lotus‘ print scuba was supplied by Britex for whatever I deemed suitable. A two-piece set…DER! What I didn’t pay attention to in the ‘ideas stage’ was the perfectly symmetrical nature of the print. If we include the time spent staring at the fabric and nudging pattern pieces around on it with my toes, in the cutting time then it took 12 hours. I got so frustrated the first night I tried to cut, I had to walk away, watch some consolation Sex And The City and return to it in the morning. Which turned out to be the best call ever! Okay so the cutting time turned out to be three hours and the challenge was not only getting individual pattern pieces to match their opposite but trying to get a total of five top pieces and twelve skirt pattern pieces out of  one full repeat and two 3/4 repeats of the design. The only way I could make sure things were symmetrical was to lay the fabric out flat (as opposed to doubled over) and cut each piece separately. For pieces marked ‘on the fold’ this meant, cutting one half, flipping the pattern piece over and matching up points in the design before cutting the other half….hence the three hours!
Ada Spragg // Not Your Nanna's Sewing // DIY Two-Piece Scuba SetOne of the other nice things about scuba is you can be really lazy with hemming. You know, make your unfinished hems a design feature! Vogue 9031 calls for the hem to be left raw. Considering the pattern is meant for wovens, I thought this was a curious “”feauture””, what with fraying and longevity and all. But for now I think the unfinished hem looks pretty appropriate with the Scuba although I may take to it with a coverstitch eventually. There are so many things to love about this pattern: the front and back are made up of intersecting pieces, which make for a super sweet feature and flattering lines. The waistband has a schmick facing finish, which I lurve! Size: I made my usual Vogue size, a 12. Mods: The 12 was good, but I ended up taking it in at side seams from waist to hips. Sew-tricky: At the risk of sounding totally masochistic I loved the challenge of getting those corner semi-perfectly square, where the side panels meet the front and back. The first one was great, the second was a little dodge, but by the fourth one I was sad there weren’t any more. You can see at the front the fabric is pulling across this area a bit which I’m sure is to do with using a stretch here.

Ada Spragg // Not Your Nanna's Sewing // DIY Two-Piece Scuba SetAda Spragg // Not Your Nanna's Sewing // DIY Two-Piece Scuba SetSimplicity 1366 is a great pattern on its own, but I wanted to modify a few things to make it more like a super comfy RTW boxy crop I have. I took the shoulders in a fraction, shortened the sleeves, raised and scooped the neck and added a binding / ribbing. Because it’s a knit, it didn’t need any sort of closure but I thought an exposed zipper would make a banging feature on both the top and the skirt. I started with the skirt, and followed this tutorial up to a point, which covers inserting an exposed zipper when there is a seam running through the middle. For the top, to insert an expose zipper, literally in the middle of no-where, I had a play around and am so very proud to come up with this working tutorial for inserting an exposed zipper into scuba. Maybe the Sewing Greats would cringe at my errr ‘technique’ but hey it’s simple to follow and the result is pretty darn fine.

Ada Spragg // Not Your Nanna's Sewing // DIY Two-Piece Scuba SetSo there it is, the last of the two-pieces! It’s been fun. If you’re thinking about dabbling in some scuba sewing of your own then you should jump in! I’ve been collecting scuba sewing inspiration here and have included some links to Scuba fabric resources too.

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  • Sarahwrote:

    ahh this is so beautiful! I especially love the skirt!

    The fabric is lovely too.

    Amazing job!

  • Zoe Maywrote:

    Amazing! I just can’t stop staring at that fabric and your perfect pattern placement!
    Those pictures of the back zippers are seriously swoon-worthy…
    Now I just need to find something scuba appropriate to make before festival season 😀

    x. Zoe

  • Alisonwrote:

    Great outfit! I never thought of sewing clothes with that type of fabric before. I love the print you chose and the whole outfit looks great! I like the zippers you added – nice touch. Oh, and you look amazing in it!

  • adeywrote:


  • Clairewrote:

    Whoa! amazing! Especially the zip in the middle of the circle on the top.

    Seeing neoprene around more and more I wonder is it hot and sweaty? What happens if you go underwater?

  • Debbie Ileswrote:

    I love this set so much. You make need more beautifully patterned scuba in my life.

  • Natalie from Sewoutnumberedwrote:

    Wow wee! Amazing as always! Cutting would have to be my least favourite job. Especially today – all prepped, psyched and ready to start my bombshell and realise I didn’t flip the pattern piece over to cut both a left AND right back piece. Grrrrr!! Back to the fabric store I go…

  • Kimwrote:

    Gorgeous!! I can’t believe thats scuba fabric.. It must be awesome to work with, would love to make a Rigel bomber out of it 🙂

  • annawrote:

    stunning! You are a fashion maven. I bow to your sewing awesomeness!

  • Sarahwrote:

    The exposed zippers are definitely a banging feature. Lovely pick, it’s a fantastic outfit. Such a brave choice but it worked out great!



  • Nicolewrote:

    you have done it again, you clever lady! This is amazing, the print kind of reminds me of a Versace print . Zips are a great little design detail 🙂

  • Scruffy badgerwrote:

    I feel a barrage of adjectives arriving….. Beautiful, inspiring, Chinese gorgeousness, and crikey—- scuba?? – brave and pioneering!! Really inspired, looks amazing.

  • Sarawrote:

    Amazing! This is runway worthy!

  • Colettewrote:

    Boom! What a statement set (and the statement is ‘awesome’)! All that time spent on pattern placement was worth it, I love the zips, especially the one on the top ;o)

  • Catdoesitwrote:

    What. A. Print. Happy and chic!

  • Charlottewrote:

    This is uh-mazing!! Great choice of patterns, and that fabric is to die for!

  • Rosiewrote:

    It’s absolutely gorgeous! I love the pattern placements & have no doubt it took a GREAT deal of concentration but WoW! Nice one. Nice nice. Very well done.

  • Amandawrote:

    Dude, this is a Mona Lisa of scuba-liciousness! Truly, Sophie, this is perfect for Queensland spring days. Gorgeous work!

  • Loriwrote:

    Amazing job on your two-piece outfit, it is stunning as are the pictures.

  • liza janewrote:

    That fabric is super duper cool. I’m totally impressed with your cutting skills. Have you made the skirt from 1366? I am getting ready to attempt it. The instructions for the facing vs. side panel are a little confusing. Just curious. I’ve only seen one review of it online.

  • lisa gwrote:

    wow! this is utterly fabulous. i swooned a little seeing the back neck zip inside that circle on the print… the zips were the perfect touch. gosh that fabric design is fantastic! i need to get on the neoprene train… sounds so dreamy!

  • salliewrote:

    This makes my eyes SO FREAKING HAPPY!!! Seriously, it’s like an optical Mardi Gras! That print is so amazingly stellar! And scuba?!! SCUBA!! That stuff has been everywhere lately and I can’t believe I haven’t used it for something yet! And that skirt is just so dreamy. Your print placement with it is so subtle and just bang on perfect! Awesome job!!

  • Lilianawrote:

    I olve it! So cool, the print is amazing, but your print placement is even better.

  • kristinwrote:

    SCUBA!!! i love it. i want to touch it. Looks so fun to wear – I bet that top is great with jeans and the skirt is great with a flowy solid top too, eh? Your hard work definitely paid off with the pattern placement. Bravo, bravo!

  • Nancywrote:

    Amazing job on the pattern placement. The scuba print is beautiful. Definately setacular!!

  • Heather Louwrote:

    FAB uuuuuuuuu LOUS! Love this. So Versace but in a good, non trashy sort of way. Also, poor you. Hope your arm is on the mend my beauty.

  • Gingerwrote:

    Oh, lady, this is so good! It’s absolutely stunning and so worth all the time you spent sorting out the print placement! It’s so, so fabulous! Hope everything has calmed down at home and everyone is on the mend! I’m really wishing I had a two-piece setacular right now… I had one in the works, but loused up the bottom half beyond the point of repair, boo!

  • Dankawrote:

    WOW! Great outfit, great fabrics and great photos! Everything about this post is absolutely gorgeous!

  • Fabric Kate Dwrote:

    What a scintalating costume! I absolutely love the fabric, design and styling. I want one. Thank you.

  • Sarawrote:

    This is AMAZING! You’re incredible. That fabric is incredible. I want all the scuba!

  • Jennifer, WORKROOM SOCIALwrote:

    The print on this is so beautiful! Who knew scuba could come in such a lovely design?!

  • Marionwrote:

    Fab scuba fabric …. I’m now a convert. Went online only to find it selling like hot cakes . Can’t believe it’s so flowy. I can see why you chose this pattern to show off scuba’s slinky attributes and standout side folds. What a keen eye for selecting a pattern that makes the most of a fabric’s qualities!

  • silkewrote:

    That’s so great! I love the fabric! Gorgeous pictures…

  • ebonyhwrote:

    Errr Merrr Gerrrd!!! English translation: I just pissed myself a lil bit with the level of excitement I have over this look. Everything about this look is perf, the fabric, print placement, zipper details, your styling choices. Looks like you nicked this outfit from the designer section at Barney’s. And as delightfully dramatic as they are together, these look like they’re easy to wear as separates. Doesn’t dishwater just wipe right off scuba fabric?

  • Gailwrote:

    You’ve made all the right choices here. Perfect fabric and pattern mix.

  • Five inspirational blogs « Song of the Stitchwrote:

    […] I really love grey!) there is something fascinating and entrancing about really colourful outfits. Like this one. Which she made using SCUBA, one of my current fabric obsessions (see here and here). Sewers like […]

  • Ada Spragg: Happy New Year and a Galaxy Dresswrote:

    […] like a ponte knit. If you want to know more, I preached its joys with my previous scuba project here. And I knowwwww its a novelty and probably one of those trends we’re all going to look back […]

  • sewadelinewrote:

    This is ridiculously AMAZING!

  • Michellewrote:

    Sophie, this is great! I’m sewing vogue 9031 now and having trouble with joining the right angle seams. Any tips for how you got the hang of this? Thx!

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