Winter Round-up and Spring Sewing plans

Winter Round Up

Well, the rest of winter went by super fast and I wasn’t in the sewing mood for most of it. Let’s see how I achieved my objectives for the sewing categories I set out in my Winter Sewing Plans:

1. Underwear:

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I managed to clone my Elomi bra. I also this weekend tried Seamwork’s Florence lounge bra pattern. I will talk about it in a separate post. I also made another pair of underwear from my self-drafted pattern. I compared it to Seamwork’s Geneva knickers pattern, but found that the pattern ran very large for me and decided to go with my own pattern instead.

2. Outerwear:

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I made Golden Rippy’s Omega Angel Jacket and M6614, my Hello Kitty hoodie.

I did not get to making my raincoat M6517.

3. Skirts:

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I made my Tenterhook Patterns’ Snapdragon skirt in pink denim.

I haven’t blogged about them yet, but I made 2 dirndl skirts and have 2 more cut out and ready to go. I’m planning on blogging all four together to talk about the techniques I used for them and to not bore you with several posts of the same skirts. I’m hoping to get them done this week, though.

I did not get around to making a Sewaholic Hollyburn or a Bluegingerdoll Betsy skirt.

4. Men’s Clothes:

My poor understanding fiance. I have neglected this category completely.

5. Dresses:

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I made a Bluegingerdoll Violet Dress in snake print jersey with red accents.

I did not get to the Burdastyle tunic.

6. Tops:

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I made one white Jennifer Lauren Vintage Bronte top.

No Sewaholic Oakridge blouse, no M6649, and no M7094.

All in all, I did something in almost every category, but not everything. It was my goal to hopefully make something in every category, but not my goal to achieve everything. Planning posts are meant to direct me a little and inspire my sewing.

That being said, I am going for less ambitious plans for Spring sewing this time. We’re in full wedding planning mode and my desire to cuddle my fiance in the evening is stronger than my desire to sew right now.

Spring Sewing Plans:

1. Outerwear:

I swear I will get that raincoat made sometime this year. As a reminder, these are the fabrics I plan to use:

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Pattern M6517:

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I also want to make M7100:

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I have a major lack of Spring coats for weather that is in between. I plan on making this jacket twice in two fabrics with black rib knit and metal zippers:

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I bought the black/white fabric at the thrift store and the floral denim was from Joann fabrics. The black/white is actually a very small houndstooth with a loose weave and feels like cotton. I am pretty sure it will fray like crazy so I need to figure out how to line the jacket.

2. Men’s clothes:

I swear I will get this done. I plan on cutting out the first one this weekend. I have narrowed down the pattern to Simplicity 1544:

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View A with just the collar stay and not the full collar in black cotton from a local store.

3. Dresses:

Well, number one here would be my wedding dress, which I plan on posting in a few stages: planning, construction, and then the reveal, which won’t be until July…. Sorry! Want my dress to be somewhat of a surprise for my family. :)

Other than that, I am shifting my Winter plans of sew all the skirts into Spring plans of sewing all the dresses. I don’t plan on making any more skirts until after the wedding, but I love Spring for wearing bright colours and gorgeous dresses.

Surprise! I want more M6696 shirtdresses. You’ve seen my other versions:

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Well, now I want to create a Spring version using these complementary purple prints:

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I have a few printed fabrics, including an amazing Wonder Woman fabric that Tanya sent me:

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I want to make them into simple dresses that don’t hide the prints: darted bodice and gathered skirt. I tried to find a simple darted bodice in my stash, but sadly wasn’t able to find one that I liked. The plan is to create a muslin with the bodice of Lekala’s free dress pattern #8000 and then add a gathered skirt to it. Instead of the back zipper, I will be making a side zipper and in-seam pockets. I’ve done this twice with my dirndl skirts. I like the look of the Lekala bodice, but it will be needing some fitting tweaks to work for me. Luckily, it’s just the bodice that I will need to fit. I will probably need to lengthen the bodice as I don’t feel like Lekala really accounts for the extra fabric needed to get around huge boobs.

I still want to make the Burda tunic dress:

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I also want to make Simplicity 1459:

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I really love Tanya’s versions of this and have been wanting to make this for a while. I have two fabrics for two versions; a lovely white and navy gingham cotton and white and blue polka dot cotton:

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Finally, I’d like to make another Muse Pattern’s Melissa dress using the final version of the pattern, but I don’t have any appropriate fabrics for it yet. I’m hoping for a sweet thrift store score sometime for that.

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4. Top:

Only one top planned. The same M7094 from the Winter plans:

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With this fabric:

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I managed to pick up this drapey hunter green polyester crepe at the thrift store and there is more than enough to make view B with the button tabs, but with the tunic length/shaped hem from view D.

5. Lingerie

I plan on making another cloned Elomi bra with the changes I noticed from wearing the previous version. Here are my fabrics:

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I am also planning out more underwear to finally write up the post on that. I have some more tweaks and learning from the version I made this weekend. My fabrics are all scraps for that from previous projects or clothes that I am deconstructing so I am not going to post them. You’ll just have to wait for the finished versions.

Those are my plans from now until June 21st. Less ambitious from my Winter plans or more depending on your view…? What are your plans?

Introducing: The Melissa Dress by Muse Patterns

Disclaimer: I was asked to test the Melissa dress by Muse Patterns. I was not asked to write this blog post or give a review. My opinions are my own and they are for the test garment only. I know it’s hard to be objective when you are friends with the designer and get really excited about something, but I tried to be!

Further Disclaimer: I know my collar is not turned the right way in my pictures and my hem caught on my leg in a couple of pictures. I cannot tell you how I didn’t notice that, but it drove me nuts. I thought about doing all the pictures over, but I’m just too lazy for that! Just know the collar sits just fine, I just didn’t primp accordingly. 

I was going to hold off on testing more garments until after the wedding in July, but it is really difficult to say no when Kat throws the words: shirt dress, 1940s influence, pocket details, and sizing for B-cup and D-cup.

I thought maybe it should be called the Andie dress, because it seems like it was made for me!

I’m all about vintage styles. I would love to work from actual vintage patterns one day and add a modern flare to them for my own particular style. One day, I will do that, but first wedding planning and upping my sewing skills.

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The Melissa can be made in either a blouse, dress, or skirt. It has v pockets on the bust and on the skirt as well as a v on the back. These lovely details along with the sleeve cuffs allow for contrast colours to make them stand out. The Melissa has princess seams which add a feminine shape and make it easier to alter for fit.

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I sewed a straight size 50 with the D-cup variation. My Melissa dress is made with pink and black cotton and in one weekend. The cutting process is lengthy as there are a lot of pattern pieces. I suggest marking all pieces and laying your front pieces together and your back pieces in a separate pile. You will thank me.

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When I cut my pieces out, my fabric slipped a little. I didn’t use enough weights to keep it in place, I think. As a result, my dress has puffed sleeves, which was a way for me to deal with the slippage and extra fabric in some areas. I will be making another Melissa dress so that I can show you that the sleeves do in fact work. I even went through the work of ensuring that the pattern pieces were correct and it was in fact my wonky cutting (was I drinking?!) that caused it. In spite of the wonky cutting, I ended up having the most amazing seam match-up at the shoulders there. Look at that! Dance party! Not so much in the back v. :( It’s off by half a centimeter and is driving me nuts…

Kat’s instructions were very clear as always. The sewing process was made a lot easier with her instructions and the pictures in them. I would say that the pattern is more for an advanced beginner or intermediate sewist, because of the different construction methods for the pockets and facing. I highly recommend following the instructions very closely. Be prepared to press a ton! I mean, you should be anyway. Pressing is important. A lesson I’ve learned in the past year.

Kat listens very well to her pattern testers and also lets them know how their feedback changed the pattern. It’s really a great thing to hear and see the things I suggested on the long list. I can’t say no when Kat asks me to test her patterns, because it’s such a pleasant and wonderful process. :D Okay enough gushing over how much I like Kat…. :P Let me gush over how much I love this pattern.

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(WTH, my hemline caught on my leg, there? The hem is fine… I just failed at this photoshoot!)

Edit: There is some pulling in the bust. My high bust measurement is more than 4 inches for the D-cup specifications. I also spaced my buttonholes out further from the edge than necessary. My next version will accommodate that fitting issue.

This was the first time sewing up my Melissa dress and, while there are some fitting tweaks I will make, overall I love how it looks and how it fits. I even love the fact that with the fabric I choose I look like a waitress from the 1950s. It’s perfect! Want a milkshake, dearie?

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Mmmm…. milkshake…..

I love how the pattern is drafted and the pocket construction with the v details is very smart. You fold and press a lot of areas. I won’t go into much detail, but it’s a neat way to do it!

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It was very bright when I did my photoshoot (yay Spring!) and that damn upturned collar! Photoshoot fail, I guess, but lazy me means that’s all you get until my next Melissa dress. :) I’ll make sure that photoshoot doesn’t fail so much…Sorry…

My only issues with the pattern is how tiny the pockets (they are meant for a small smart phone or pen and not for my entire purse…crazy!) and that the sleeve cuff was tight on my large upper arms. Kat has increased the size of the sleeve cuff for the final pattern by 1cm. I will report on that change in future versions.

The princess seams and the flare of the skirt at the natural waist give a great shape to the dress and the details/contrasts are fun for the eye. It’s definitely going to become a TNT (tried and tested) pattern for me!

I can’t wait to make another version. I just need to see what fabric works best out of my stash. I want

As with all of the other pattern releases, Muse Patterns is offering the Melissa dress, blouse, and skirt at 15% off for the first week and 100% of the sales are going toward the Life Flight air rescue and air ambulance services. Check out Muse Pattern’s blog entry for more details on the sale code and the donation.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Muse Patterns’ Melissa dress, blouse, & skirt (Test Pattern)
  • Pros: Interesting design/details, clear instructions, good structure/fit
  • Cons: Pockets are for a pen or smart phone, but too tiny for hands/my purse/book  (unreasonable criticism alert!). Sleeve cuffs are a little tight, but I have large upper arms and this is something that has changed for the final version.
  • Make again?: Absolutely! I plan on making it using the final version of the pattern and reporting on that.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

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Golden Rippy’s Omega Angel Jacket

I keep getting questions from people and not just in the sewing blog community: “what are you up to? I miss your blog entries!” I’ve been sewing a lot lately (this is the start of four unblogged projects), but finding it difficult motivate myself to take pictures for the blog. Part of me wishes I had a dressmaker’s dummy and could just take pictures of my garments on that instead. My weekends have been either busy or I am at home sewing or just generally unmotivated to put on makeup and set up the camera. My nights have been taken up with physio or doing physio exercises as part of my goal to treat myself better and get onto the path of living without chronic pain.

The last of my winter hibernation mode is holding on, but I have been slowly getting out of it. It’s nice to have warmer days now in Toronto rather than the -30 Celsius that took over February. I found February to be a very rough month. Around the end of January, I twisted my knee while trying to lift an 18kg box of cat litter into a grocery cart. Lamest way to injure yourself ever. I had trouble walking and have been in physio ever since with amazing results. My knee is pain-free now and I am walking a lot better and now we are working on other pain centres in my body to make sure I don’t hobble down the aisle at my wedding.

Of course all this work in another area of my life means that the blog gets neglected. But for good reasons and reasons that leave me with more energy and happiness in the future to create more blog entries. :) For now, I don’t mind if the blog gets a little neglected as I take care of myself. I am trying to catch up here, though.

I’m starting with the last project I completed: Golden Rippy‘s Omega Angel Jacket. I got it as part of the Sew Fab Winter Bundle. After I saw Amy’s version on Friends Stitched Together, I clicked buy so fast I sprained my fingers (kidding kidding). Amy and I have similar body types so I knew it would suit me. I loved the princess seams, large pockets, and the details: arm pocket, arm stripes, bolero, etc.

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I have been looking for hoodie designs with more interest than a regular hoodie. Of course, this isn’t a hoodie, but it’s the style I was going for so I feel okay sacrificing my desire for a hood. How often do I use the hood anyway?

The pdf goes together pretty well. I did a two inch full bust adjustment to the pattern, but it wasn’t necessary since there is a lot of ease built into the pattern. My future versions will be in the straight size XXXL.

There are a ton of pieces for this jacket including several rectangles that you cut out according the instructions. All in all, a lot of cutting and measuring during that process. There are over 25 pieces to cut out for this. Cutting out took quite a while. Construction was a lengthy process because of all the details and topstitching.

The pattern doesn’t have a sewing level listed, but claims: “It looks difficult, but the instructions make it an easy sew.” The instructions are clear, but I wouldn’t label it as an easy sew. It is definitely more intermediate or advanced beginner. I would actually place it more at an intermediate sew.

I had particular trouble with the arm pocket and getting it to work. You are supposed to have a band around the side of the pocket so it is 3D. You attach the band to the pocket piece and then top stitch it on to the arm. Because of the bulk of my contrast fabric, I just couldn’t get it to work properly and chose to not use the band and simply stitch the pocket piece on to the arm. Because of my frustrations, I didn’t topstitch as well as I could have so it’s not perfect. :( Although, seeing the picture below, the three stripes aren’t as bad as they look there… seems there was a bump in my sleeve when I took the picture.

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But the arm stripe on the other side went well:

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I also found the arm construction difficult because of the bulk created by the bolero. For future versions, because there will be others, I will leave the side seam construction and install the arms in the flat and then sew the side seams. That will be easier for me given the position of the bolero.

The bolero topstitching also went wonky because of the bulk of the material. Because stretch isn’t really needed in this jacket, I might use a thinner woven for the underside of the bolero in future versions to reduce the bulk and get prettier topstitching/buttonholes. Technically, this is a wearable muslin so I am accepting imperfections here.

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I sewed with my serger for most seams and then my regular machine for all topstitching and the zipper. My iron ran hot the entire time, because there is a ton of pressing you will need to do to get the pieces to lay flat. It’s rather difficult getting sweatshirt material to press.

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The fabric I used was black sweatshirt material and black ribbing from Joann’s and a sweatshirt print find from the thrift store for the main. I used five lime green buttons on the bolero, which is a change from the three recommended. My buttons are also smaller than what the pattern called for, but I like the look.

Edit: I meant to say this in the entry…. The zipper came out slightly wavy. I wasn’t impressed with the quality of it so I wasn’t surprised that it came out wavy unlike the zipper in my Hello Kitty hoodie. I bought it on ebay for very little. Next time, I will get another from zipperstop. More expensive, but a lot nicer results.

Here is the gratuitous photo shoot!

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And when you edit your post and realize you didn’t take pictures of the front with the bolero closed, you just toss it on and take a pic after work….damn that fifth button didn’t get buttoned:

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I will be changing a few things for the next version:

  • Making the size as it is drafted without alteration.
  • Shortening the sleeves, but increasing the length of the sleeve bands. My personal preference is to have thumb holes in my sleeve bands for hoodies/knit jackets.
  • I will continue to make the arm pocket without the band, since my ipod fits in it anyway.
  • Experiment using a thinner woven fabric for the underside of the bolero and possibly the pockets.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Golden Rippy’s Omega Angel Jacket
  • Pros: Interesting design/details, clear instructions, good structure/fit
  • Cons: Barely any with the pattern, except that the arm pocket construction could include tips on working with a bulky material and a little more detail
  • Make again?: Absolutely! Although, I will make it without pattern alterations.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

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Attack of the Bra Clone!

I’m not a Star Wars fan (I don’t mind it, but I am a fan of Star Trek all the way; I prefer technical scifi), but I can never resist a geeky reference in a blog title or anywhere really.

Disclaimer: This is the post of lists….. So many lists in this post. I like lists.

Long time no post btw. I lost my sewjo for a bit, but it was a busy non-sewing February so I don’t feel bad for taking a break from sewing. After all I made in January, it was good to have a break.

I made my first bra back in November and didn’t return to bramaking. I got a lot of “when are you making another bra?” questions from my surprisingly interested fiance and I gave him a lot of “um….after this thing….” and then it would be after the thing and I’d start another thing. I put off making another bra, because…to be perfectly honest…I hated my first one. I wear it, but it’s not comfortable at all.

Here are the issues I had with it:

1. The underwire is too small: pokes into my arm and cuts into the breast tissue on the side.

2. The bridge doesn’t sit against my chest.

3. The band is too big and the underwires under my cup don’t sit flat.

4. The cup doesn’t fit snugly under my arm.

5. The cup is not big enough and the shape doesn’t work for me.

6. The straps are too long and don’t provide enough support.

I have been feeling pretty discouraged by the whole process. I have three RTW bras that fit me almost perfectly, but they are wearing out and I refuse to buy more bras when I have all this material waiting to be transformed into bras…

Here are my issues with my RTW bras:

1. The cup doesn’t fit snugly enough under my arm.

2. The upper cup isn’t large enough, but the lower cup is perfect.

3. The bridge doesn’t sit against my chest.

There are two solutions to these problems:

1. Stretch the elastic a little tighter on the cup under the arm and possibly raise the underarm scoop slightly.

2. Heighten the upper cup.

3. Increase the cup size (possibly fixed by heightening the upper cup).

I don’t even want to get into all that would need to be done with the other pattern. I got it in my head that I wanted to make a pattern out of my RTW bras and then tweak from there. Of course, I had no idea how to do that and, being a beginner or advanced beginner at best, I felt pretty ill-equipped to handle such a task.

So I researched it:

I started searching for solutions to this and looking at my first made bra with a critical eye. I read Norma Loehr’s Demystifying Bra Fitting and Construction over and over and then researched boob shapes and what I needed to help the girls out. Luckily, I found Anne at the Clothing Engineer and all sorts of wonderful links and posts there. Her post on why the Marlborough didn’t work for her really enlightened why the classic bra from pin up girl patterns doesn’t work for me (it can work for a lot of people, but just isn’t good for my shape). Anne posted a link to boob shapes from Linda Unhooked and I found out why the classic bra didn’t work for me.

I’m a full circle:

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Which means I am just full everywhere: on top, underneath, on the side. I have big round girls and they fill in bras. In RTW, I am a 38-40HH. The bra I cut out for my class was a 48F: way too big in the band and way too small in the cup. I think the major issue with where they fit me was that they didn’t accommodate the side boob I have from being super full everywhere and so the RTW bra at the time they considered ill-fitting because the wire went back so far and the wire was bent out of shape from almost two years of wear (I wear my bras until they literally fall apart, because they are so expensive). Of course, I should have spoken up at the time. I’m actually really shy in a lot of situations and don’t speak up enough, especially when it comes to things I am unsure about like bra fitting or time travel paradox or particle acceleration. I liked where the RTW underwire was located and wanted to keep it that way and should have stated that. Of course, that means having a fuller cup. Overall, I just don’t feel like the classic bra is structured enough for the fullness of my girls and felt the support wasn’t there.

What bras work for me?:

Bras with more room in the upper cup and bras with something I now know is called a power bar (thanks Megan!).

My RTW bras are all Elomi bras with a similar shape like this:

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This is the Caitlyn side support bra. The power bar is the cup piece along the side of the cup closer to the underarm; it extends from the lower cup to the upper cup and includes the strap attachment. There are two pieces to the lower cup and then a wide upper cup that extends above both lower cups. The power bar is meant to provide extra support and push the girls forward. Two lower cup pieces provide a structured shape and the large upper cup provides enough coverage to avoid the dreaded quad booooob!!!! Scary stuff there. This is the perfect shaped bra for me. (edit: the Shelley full band bra from Pin up Girl patterns is basically the same as the Elomi bra above, if you are looking for a similar pattern with the two piece lower cup. I meant to talk about this in the post, but realized later I left out this tidbit.)

Why is cloning a bra a better option for me than buying?:

1. Elomi bras range from $70-$200 for me at my local specialty bra store here in Canada in my size.

2. Online shipping/custom charges from the States or UK don’t save me any money on the above costs even with great sales which do not happen often.

3. Limited choice of colours and styles (I like a rainbow of colours and can only seem to get black and beige here in Canada most of the time…)

4. Working with a cloned bra as a base means more options, cheaper options, and a heck of a lot happier Andie.

So, I set out to clone my Elomi bra.

Seeing how Anne cloned her Panache bra set me on a mission. I investigated methods and chose the pins in a cork board or, in my case, cardboard method from her post. Michelle’s creations also show pictures of this process in her post. Apparently the Bra Maker’s Manual has a chapter on cloning a bra, but I have yet to buy this book.

You first have to take the underwires out of your bra. This can be done without destroying the bra, but luckily I had a bra with the underwires popped out already from it being worn out. Then you pin it with tissue paper between the cardboard and the bra. Pin close to the seamlines around each piece very carefully (those pin holes will connect the dots for your bra pattern. You may also want to wear a thimble. I didn’t and my finger tip is numb now. Bad decision Andie.

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After you pin, you remove the pins once you are happy with it and connect the dots with a pencil. Then you add quarter inch seams around the pieces.

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(sorry, I was using my phone camera instead of the DSLR through this so the photos are not good quality…)

If you have a power bar or places where the elastic was stretched and then sewn on, be sure to get the piece to lay flat. It’s a fiddly process and requires a lot of patience. You may also want to note on the pattern pieces where the elastic was stretched so that you will get it right for your test bra.

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I had almost perfect fit the first time around with a few, but totally fixable issues.

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There were a few mistakes I made:

1. I didn’t pull the elastic tight enough in the underarm area of the power bar.

2. I didn’t install the bottom elastic properly and you can see it peaking out more than it should (you are only supposed to see the scalloped edge there). I had my classic bra pattern instructions next to me, but completely spaced on the band elastic method.

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3. I shouldn’t have added seam allowances to the bridge (the area between the cups), because I pinned on the other side of the wire (in the seam allowances) and not in between in the bridge (d’oh).

4. My machine should have been completely cleaned out and maintained before I started, because it wasn’t working well and didn’t sew properly so my stitches are messy messy messsssssy (embarrassingly so!).

5. I didn’t account for the extra stretch in the upper cup, because I didn’t use anything to stabilize it and so I made a dart in the upper cup to account for the fit.

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Overall, though, the fit is good. So much better than my first made bra, which I wear but feel very uncomfortable in. I altered the pattern pieces for the bridge (narrowed it), band slightly (just to fit the closures), and reduced the length of the upper cup from arm to bridge to account for the stretch fabric and then heightened it a little more to account for the bridge not sitting perfectly (not pictured).

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It’s not bad for my second bra imho. I’m not Lauren in terms of kicking ass at making bras (one day I will be!), but I don’t nearly match Lauren’s skill. I think it’s good for my level. Tons to learn and perfect, but I am really pleased with it. You can see the original (very worn) bra above and the cloned bra in the middle with my first bra at the bottom. It’s quite a difference between the three with the best fit one in the middle: mine!

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I’m not going to plunge right into the next one, because I want to wear it and see where else I can improve the fit. I try to do this for all the things I make and I try to do this before I blog.** I find wearing a garment really changes how you think about it. There will be more issues that arise with how it wears. All in all, it’s pretty exciting to have a bra pattern to work with that I am excited for.

I plan on making a turquoise bra and a fushia bra in the below fabrics and possible laces.

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I will be making some knickers.  I also have a good underwear pattern that I cloned from my best fitting pair of underwear. Cloning all the things! My wearable muslin fits well, but I will be making some tweaks for the next versions. I’ll talk more about that when I have a few million more pairs to show you and I’ve figured out the fit/style I want.

**I didn’t wear my white Bronte top before blogging about it and I regret it. I didn’t even pay attention to the pictures or think about the fit, because the post was mostly about the skirt and I was dazzled by the pretty insides of my top. I will talk more about this in a future post, but the neckline clearly stretched out as I sewed it. Looks nice flat, but wavy on me. :(

Hello Kitty Hoodie

Not all things I sew are going to be a grand old time. In fact, some will be fraught with issues. This garment was one. I made M6614 in View D, the hoodie in XXXL. Admittedly, I should have cut out the XXL. I meant to cut out the XXL. I think I might have been watching Gilmore Girls and that’s what made me cut the XXXL instead. Even if I had cut out the XXL, I still would have taken the hoodie in several inches. The finished measurements were listed as 58 across chest/hips (it’s all straight), but it was definitely bigger than that. Good old McCall’s built in ridiculous ease. Size down people…size down. I took in about 4 inches from the sides of the garment (that means 4 inches from the front and back on each side… 16 inches left and it’s still big on me, dudes!). I shaped for my hips. I decided to leave the width at the hips for wearing ease, because it’s a long hoodie on me.

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On the one hand, the hoodie was a great make for scrapbusting. I used bits from several projects (ribbing from my pink/gold Jenna cardi & white textured double knit from my cranberry/white Jenna cardi; both blogged here) and a small amount of mint sweatshirt fleece I got at the thrift store for the arms/pockets. Great use of 1 yard or less pieces.

On the other hand, there were major issues with the pattern. Other than being drafted far bigger than is necessary (I guess the unisex qualities mean that the hoodie fits super large), the pattern envelope erroneously lists a 24 inch zipper for all sizes of the hoodie, which would be great if the hoodie’s length didn’t increase in length the bigger it goes. I found a wonderful separating mint green zip on etsy at Zipper Stop. When the zip arrived, I cut out the pattern and started constructing the garment to find that the zip was off by several inches. I had already put the ribbing at the bottom and was not in the mood to cut it off and shorten the whole hoodie. After some instagram advice, I decided to cut down the neckline, because the hood wasn’t installed yet and deal with it that way. I’m very upset at the zip. It’s very simple to see that the zip should be longer for the larger sizes since they all increase in length. It’s not that difficult to print that on the envelope and say: 24″ to 26″ or longer. I just feel like McCall’s should know better… Or have been checks for those things. I shouldn’t have such a large issue as the wrong size zipper. It’d be great if I had a bunch lying around, but I ordered it off etsy because it was a special colour. And another thing: if this is meant to be unisex, why are the bleeping pockets so bleeping small?! Every other hoodie on the bleeping market has bleeping huge pockets and this one has bleeping tiny ones and if I had enough leftover mint material I would have bleeping made them bleeping bigger, but I bleeping didn’t! BLEEEEEEEEP!

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You can see how the zipper doesn’t reach the neckline and how tiny the pockets are in comparison to the sleeves…. hrrmph.

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Anyway….*counts to ten and calms down* /end rant. I dealt with it. I moved on. I’m fine. Calm blue ocean.

Sometimes when a garment is this frustrating to make, I never wear it and then throw it into a charity pile, but I didn’t want to do that to hoodie! So, how do you get over a frustrating garment? You make it your own and be proud about it in spite of all the annoyances as you made it.

In other words, if you are Andie, you embroider Hello Kitty on it.

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I’m happy again! Yeay!

I used white embroidery floss and followed a template. I reinforced the back with thick sewn-in interfacing and then put thin iron-on interfacing on top of that. I ran it through the washing machine over the weekend and it came out perfectly. I am going to get a ton of wear from this hoodie and the embroidery will definitely hold up for that. I love hoodies for all weather and often wear them to work or pop them on for the cold AC/poor heating of my office or any other place.

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For readers who are not aware, which may be most of you, I love Hello Kitty. I have since I was young and will continue to do so until I am granny clutching my Hello Kitty pens and writing Happy Birthday on a Hello Kitty card to my great great step-grandchildren. I have two Hello Kitty tattoos, plans for more tattoos, and tons of Hello Kitty stuff. Now, I’m not as laden as some (not even close actually), but I do restrain myself quite often. I could probably just put Hello Kitty on everything. Also, I want every single Liberty Hello Kitty fabric print out there. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. I will never buy them all….of course….I restrain myself. I actually don’t own any at the moment. I will also not justify buying it for my wedding dress. I have promised not to have a Hello Kitty wedding theme…. (I might make a Hello Kitty garter belt, though……hehhe).

Back to the hoodie, I put a Hello Kitty on it, because I was determined to not feel bitter about it and to love it and want to wear it all the time, because that’s me and hoodies. I freeaaaaking love hoodies and comfy knit jackets.

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Left: my mood before putting HK on it. Right: my mood after!

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I love the hoodie! I am pleased with the shape of it and the style of it. I have to say…I really considered adding little kitty ears to it, but restrained myself. So. Much. Restraint.

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TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: M6614 View D
  • Pros: Unisex pattern with several options. Raglan sleeves. Good basic hoodie shape and nice pullover tops for the other views.
  • Cons: Based on the pattern, the zipper was too short by several inches. There was too much ease in the pattern beyond what the envelope stated as the finished measurements. Pockets are far too small for anyone and should be a lot bigger.
  • Make again?: For me, with tons of alterations in the smaller size with hip shaping into the pattern; I do want more hoodies. For others, I would, but with bigger zipper for the larger sizes. It’s a strange thing to give a pattern 1 star review and say I would make it again, though, but I would, because I do love hoodies and I’d rather make a pattern I own than buy a new one that will be very similar.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md white-star-black-mdwhite-star-black-mdwhite-star-black-mdwhite-star-black-md1/5 stars (I’m very upset about the zipper issues)

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Rawr! Jungle January Snakerific Violet Dress

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Wait, snakes don’t rawr….uh…..

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Ssssssss………..

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Um……… *awkward*

I really love this dress. Not only is it the first project I made with my new serger, Rochester (I posted the other one out of order of making things), but it’s also a fabulous dress. This is a Bluegingerdoll Violet dress. You might recognize the red fabric from my recent Bronte top (which I can’t stop wearing and am working on making 500 more). I picked up the funky snake print jersey from the thrift store. I thought this snake print was perfect for Pretty Grievance’s Jungle January. :)There was also another snake print stretch material, but it wasn’t as good of quality. I still bought it, of course. I can’t say no to fabric. It might appear on the blog one day, but I am sticking to my plans for the next block of time, because I have to stay focused and get that wedding dress done, too. :)

Oh and those gloves were made for a costume long ago. Wolf gloves with claws!

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Back to the dress, because I digress…

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I made a straight size 24 with no alterations for fit whatsoever and am extremely pleased with the fit. BDG drafts for a D cup so I knew that it could handle a great deal of boob, of which I have. I am more than a D cup, but hey….no one in the pattern drafting world thinks beyond a D and certainly won’t draft for my HH. D cup drafting often works okay for me, especially with stretchy material patterns. The only thing that is perhaps an issue with being an HH in a D cup dress is how low the V-neck goes. I think I will be raising the neckline in future versions, which honestly isn’t an issue at all.

Construction of the dress went really well. Rochester wasn’t cranky at all. There are some parts I used Jane Eyre’s delicate touch on rather than Rochester’s cutting speed. The pattern has you put in clear elastic in the shoulders and in the waist line. I used Jane for those steps, as well as the neckline, but elsewhere I used Rochester.

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I did change the way the dress is constructed, because it didn’t make sense to me. The instructions have you sew the sleeves in the flat. Rather than sewing the sleeves together, you leave them flat and then sew them into the armscye, which is also flat. Basically, you sew the front and back bodice at the shoulders and then put the sleeves in and sew up the sides and in the same line sew up the sleeves. Gillian has a better tutorial on this, which explains things far better than I can. Basically, this method is great for knits, which have a tendency to slip when sleeves are set in the round. I use this method for most of my sleeve setting. Back to the pattern. The instructions have you do the sleeves in the flat and then you sew up the bodice/sleeves, then you sew the skirt pieces together, and install the bodice to the skirt in the round. Well, being me, I wanted to do it a better and faster way. Instead, I sewed the sleeves in the flat, then sewed the bodice front to the skirt front and the bodice back to the skirt back, and then sewed the entire side seams from skirt bottom to sleeve end and it came out perfectly. The only thing you have to do because you are changing up the method is to slightly stretch the bodice waist to fit the skirt. It’s very little stretching and makes for a better fitted waistband area in my opinion.

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The other thing I did extra was add in pockets, because I do that in almost everything I make. I have a standard pocket pattern I use. I think it’s from the Colette’s Moneta, but enlarged for smart phone usage. I’ve been using it for over a year now so I can’t quite remember where I got it, but I know I enlarged it, because phones.

The pockets went in okay….I used my serger. There were some issues turning for the pockets. Jane Eyre stepped in for the bottom of the pocket where it meets the skirt seam, luckily. Rochester was just too clunky for that bit.

I had major issues with the neckband, but I’m not super skilled at v-necks for knits. They are slightly tricky. I also think I cut mine too long based on the stretch in my red material, because it’s a little loose, especially at the back. Next time, I will account for that or use rib knit. I find rib knit is easier to install for neckbands anyway. At least I found that for my Jenna cardis.

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The whole dress was cut and sewn in a few hours on Thursday night last week.

I’ve sewn a ton this year (7 things!) and it’s only the end of January. It’s crazy to me how productive I am being! I have one more to share with you tomorrow and then I will slow down for a bit. I’ve got a wedding dress muslin to focus on next week. I might have other stuff sewn next week, but I want to start looking for material for the dress so that means the muslin has to be perfect before I start thinking about material. I also need to know how much I need.

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TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Bluegingerdoll Violet Dress
  • Pros: Great opportunity for colour blocking and lovely lines. Definitely a more interesting take on the skater-style dress.
  • Cons: Barely any. A technical thing about PDFs: the instructions print off wonky for them and they are pretty hard to read. I’m not a fan of the style of BGD’s PDF instructions, but the PDFs go together really well. I don’t quite understand why the whole dress isn’t sewn in the flat rather than the instructions directions to sew the skirt and then sew the bodice and then sew them together. Since the elastic is already on the dress, it seems a lot easier to sew the front skirt to the bodice front and the back skirt to the bodice back, sew the sleeves in the flat, and then sew up the sides from the skirt along the bodice and then end with the sleeves. Way easier method.
  • Make again?: Absolutely! I’m in love.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

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Pink Denim Snapdragon skirt

The challenge this month at the Monthly Stitch was denim never dies and the additional challenge was pink, because of their new pink logo (which I love since I loooove pink). Being the overachiever I am, I had to hit both challenges with pink denim. I took the opportunity at the beginning of January when a pink denim went on sale at Joann fabrics and I snapped it up along with a few other fabrics before I put myself on a buying freeze.

I’ve been on the search for a perfect pencil skirt pattern for my inner sexy librarian for a while and came across the Snapdragon skirt from Tenterhook Patterns. I fell in love with all the views and the bonus of the plus sizing. I love where the skirt is meant to hit: at the high waist or natural waist (your smallest point). For my shape, that really is the best place for the waistline. The Snapdragon skirt has three variations: straight pencil skirt, asymmetrical faux wrap and faux wrap style, which I have made.

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I cut out the largest size (size G) to give my hips enough space. I knew I could take it in at the waistband and deepen the darts to adjust for my size, but I wanted to make sure the hips were well taken care of. I ended up taking in an inch on each side throughout and deepening the darts throughout. I likely could have made up a size E or F instead, but I didn’t want to chance it, because I didn’t make a muslin. I kind of ran out of time and wanted to get my pink denim challenge done. It ends up fitting really nicely and allows for details like the extended waistband and the button.

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I wanted to add front slash pockets to this skirt but opted not to since I wasn’t sure how the fabric would respond or if there was enough room in the skirt to do that.

I used my own method for things like the waistband and the zipper (I haaaaate invisible zippers or break-apart-crappy zippers, as I call them). I made a lapped zipper and made the waistband overlap with button closure. I just love that detail. I considered adding belt loops, but really wanted those buttons on there.

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I feel very prepared for Valentine’s day in this skirt. I’ll likely wear it then.

The raw edges are all finished on my serger, Rochester. Pretty insides!

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You might also notice that the top is a Bronte top! It was the second garment I made on Rochester. The top is made from a soft interlock knit from Joann’s (part of the last biiig purchase).

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This top is basically my best make ever. It’s so professional looking and well done that I stared at it for about two hours while I was supposed to be watching something that I will have to see again sometime, because I have no idea what happened or what it was called….

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Loooooook. So. Pretty.

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I have two other Brontes in different colours (black and blue) of the interlock knit cut out and ready to go. I really want more of them. It’s honestly the best top I own.

I finally have a sexy librarian skirt!

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Shhhh…. I’m reading….

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Tenterhook Patterns Snapdragon Skirt
  • Pros: Tons! The pattern is nicely done. I love the instructions, even if I didn’t follow them, because I used my own methods. They are very detailed and great. Some things I followed and am definitely using for the future, such as pressing the darts over a tailor’s ham to give them more of a curve for my hip-tastic self. The different options for the skirt are also a bonus. I love having several variations to make the skirt again with an entirely new look. I also love where the skirt is meant to hit (high waist), because that’s where my smallest point is.
  • Cons: No pockets. I just really love pockets. I think I will add front slash pockets in the future. That’s not really a con….actually….that’s my personal preference….
  • Make again?: Absolutely! (I say that a lot, but I really want tons of these skirts)
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

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