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Scuba 5oo4 Zen Trousers & Knot Your Average Shirt

Believe it or not, I've never sewn with scuba fabric before, so when I saw the chance to try this fantastic floral Scuba Fabric, I jumped at the opportunity!The floral pattern has a textured appearance, but the fabric itself is flat with a slight hint of stretchy rib. The stretch itself is good as you would expect from scuba, and it has a great stretch recovery as well. 
I originally decided to make a pair of 5oo4 Zen trousers but changed my mind at the last minute to include a sleeveless Knot your Average Shirt as well. My theory was that I could jump on the romper trend, but have my outfit as separates, to make those 'comfort breaks' a little easier.
Before starting, I'd read a few blog posts about sewing with scuba, and all of them mentioned how "impossible" it is to unpick stitches (as the needle holes will show) along with how you should never iron it. Because there's always that risk of needing to unpick stitches which haven't gone quite 'right', I was apprehensive, but I didn't find unpicking stitches to be that terrible – as long as they are unpicked carefully so the fabric itself wasn't caught, there was no sign that I'd unpicked any stitches at all.
Sewing the top was a little challenging in places, but a lot of that was down to my relative inexperience with the sewing machine I was using, rather than the fabric itself. I found I got on best using a light presser foot pressure (the lowest setting on my machine), and going very slowly over any seams to stop the fabric from stretching as I stitched.
I wanted the top stitching to show as a feature, so I picked some floral decorative stitches and a pale pink Coats Moon Thread as a contrast to the black background. Some of the stitching did come out more bunched up than I intended, but I think that was more operator error rather than the fabric!
Spurred on by the top looking even better than I expected, I dived into making the trousers. The outer leg seams are top-stitched, so I swapped over to a walking foot just to make things a little easier and stuck with a straight stitch for the leg seam topstitching rather than decorative ones.
One disadvantage of using the Zen Trousers pattern, is that the designer relies on Heat n Bond or hem tape to hold the pockets and waistband in place before top-stitching. I will admit I wasn't brave enough to try ironing my scuba fabric, so instead of using anything that would require an iron, I carefully pinned the pieces in place before sewing as slow as possible to ensure the seams were accurate.
For the main seams though, I used Wonder Clips instead of pins. I've used these before and found them very helpful for fabric which might get snagged on a pin, or slippery fabric which doesn't want to hold still with pins. The clips held the pieces better, and eliminated the risk of the pins causing catches in the fabric if I pinned at the wrong angle.
Not only have I never sewn with scuba before, I also haven't ever worn anything made from scuba before, so I eager to discover how it would feel. I was concerned it could feel a little 'clingy' which is something I tend to avoid. I needn't have worried though, as although the front of the trousers ended up fitting a little more snugly than the previous pair of Zen Trousers I'd made, they are still incredibly comfortable.
I do think if I made them again from scuba fabric that I would either size up, or baste and try the sizing without the pockets first. I have a feeling that when I top-stitched the pockets in place, I inadvertently pulled on the fabric a little, which causes it to feel more snug across the front.
Overall, I love my new outfit. The floral scuba doesn't crease, so it would be the perfect choice for a travel outfit as it needs no ironing! When I unpacked the fabric initially, I thought it seemed quite heavy but once I put the outfit on, it definitely seemed more of a medium weight – just right for cool summer evenings and early autumn days. Making a romper style as separates also means I get three outfits for the price of one, as I can use them individually or together.
Paddy @ Dragon's Flame Designs

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