The Wedding Dress, pt. 1: The Design, the Muslin, the Fabric, and the Outfit

The Design:

When I first started researching what I wanted to make for my wedding dress, I came up with some very similar pictures. All of them had a sweetheart neckline and an overlay of lace or mesh. I eventually found Simplicity 1606 and had grand plans of making it in a combination of pink and white and burgundy accents.

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I want to add cap sleeves to the dress and I want a fuller tea-length layered skirt. This is my inspiration dress:

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I made the muslin and was not happy with it. You know those pinterest fails?

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Yeah, it felt like that…

So, I went back to the drawing board. Okay…the pinterest boards and started pinning gorgeous shirt dresses.

Everyone knows I love a shirt dress! There is no better piece of clothing to wear than a shirt dress with a flared skirt.

I felt like a wedding shirt dress could be my dream wedding dress. I still wanted a full tea-length circle skirt on it. I got McCall’s 7084 around Christmas time and really loved the princess seams, flared skirt, cap sleeves, and the lace overlay in view C.

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All I needed to do was lengthen the skirt and do an FBA on the bodice.

The Muslin

The muslin process went incredibly well for this dress. I did pattern tissue adjustments and only created one muslin. Sorry just cell phone pictures for this process. I made a 2 inch FBA with size 22 using Mary’s method for princess seam FBAs. The FBA added 4 inches in total to the finished measurements for the bust and 6 inches to the waist. I also did a 1 inch narrow shoulder adjustment. Then I lengthened all of the skirt pieces by 4 inches. I further lengthened them by an additional two inches when I cut out my fabric.

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My muslin fit was amazing. The princess seams are perfect and there is no pulling across the bust where the buttons will be.

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Some tweaks in the collar had to be made (reduced the length of the collar stand by an inch in total), but other than that the muslin was perfect and truly felt like it was meant to be. After twirling around in the muslin, I decided to redraft the skirt from panels and godets into a full circle skirt do reduce the amount of seams I would need to make in the delicate silk and because I wasn’t sold on the look of the godets in a solid colour. It wasn’t difficult to cut the skirt pieces in three panels and I ended up using the muslin skirt itself as a pattern piece when I cut into my fabric.

The Fabric

I went back and forth and back and forth and did tons of research and visited tons of fabric stores and looked endlessly online for this and that and the other thing.

Getting me to settle on fabric was a difficult process, but I wanted it to be right for me.

I started off not wanting white. I started off wanting dusty rose and having burgundy or wine accents. I then thought maybe champagne with burgundy. Ultimately, I just drank a bottle of wine and clicked buy.

My main fabric is a white silk charmeuse from Dharma Trading. Dharma Trading sells wholesale dyeable fabrics in white or black along with fabric paints and dyes and many other things. I ordered samples from several different places. My samples from fabric.com were pretty disappointing. They were synthetic materials and I really wanted a silk charmeuse, because I’ve worked with it before and it sews like a dream, feels amazing next to the skin, and has a lovely drape that makes me so happy. The samples from Dharma Trading did not disappoint. I also got a few others at the time, as well, and might order again in the future. Dyeing my own fabric is definitely on my list of things to do in the future. I also got a few yards of silk organza from Dharma Trading, as well. You’ll find out what I used that for in my construction post.

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I was originally going to dye the white silk using tea or coffee to make it a champagne hue, but then I got an adorable “no” from my fiance who said he never gets to see me in white and that he really loved the idea of being traditional in that way. I was fighting hard against traditional things and I still am, but my fiance’s look was so sweet… I couldn’t say no. I never really do say no with him. It’s so difficult when he is so cute and dreamy and wonderful. *swoon*

Now that you’ve stopped gagging, I’ll go on about my fabric.

My lace fabric is from fabric.com. It’s not the best quality lace out there and is stretch lace, but it’s quite lovely as an overlay on the silk. I will be hand basting it to the lace to make sure it doesn’t move during the sewing process.

I have a synthetic cranberry satin for the waist tie. I didn’t want to use a silk for something that will be pulled and tied and possibly stepped on by family as they swoop in for hugs and kisses. I also got enough to make my sister a sash as one of my bride’s maids.

Finally, I got white rayon hug snug to bind the seams from fabric.com. My wedding dress will be pretty on the inside and on the outside.

I also ordered a lace in a pink blush from fabric.com for the lingerie, which I will talk about in a different post as I plan it out.

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I’ve now got the whole dress cut out and ready to sew:

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Creating the Outfit

I ordered was a tea-length petticoat crinoline in ivory from ReShashay. They are made of nylon organza and netting. They come with instructions to decrinkle them in the shower. It worked really well. The ivory looks quite lovely under the white silk. I originally ordered the crinoline during the champagne coloured fabric phase, but am still happy with my decision to keep it as ivory. It looks very cute under the white silk.

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If you are ever in the market for a crinoline, I really love the one I have and would definitely recommend it to other people. I could have gone through the process of making my own, but damn all that gathering and all that fabric can’t really be beat with a $36 price tag. Saves me time/money!

My shoes were also back and forth in my head. I wanted pink….red…..white…….etc.

I settled on gold and kept pinning all these lovely gold shoes. I looked into custom made ones (which were way too expensive for me) and then one day while at the mall I walked into Call it Spring and fell in love with these two matching pairs:

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The wedge heels were $40 dollars and will be worn during the ceremony. I’m not really a heel person (although, I could actually walk in these ones comfortably!) so I figure at some point I will want to burn them and put on cute flats. I picked up gold flats in a similar material as the heels for $35.

And, of course, I couldn’t resist finding buttons that matched (I have 12 buttons in total):

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I have no plans yet for jewelry, hair/nails, or the bouquet. It will all come together eventually. :) I’m a pretty relaxed Bride-to-Be.

Next Up:

Sewing the dress, of course.

Stay tuned for:

May: The Wedding Dress, pt. 2: Construction and Details

June: The Wedding Lingerie

July: The Wedding Dress, pt. 3: The Reveal and the Day.

I promise I will be using the DSLR from now on so that you can see the details really well and don’t have to contend with shitty cell phone pictures.

4 times the dirndl, 4 times the fun

Reader, I sewed a lot of skirts this month. I do not need to sew skirts for a while. I made 4 dirndl skirts this month. A dirndl skirt, for those who don’t know, is a simple gathered skirt made of two rectangles sewn together and gathered on to a smaller rectangle, the waistband. Gertie has a tutorial for a dirndl skirt.

When I started sewing my skirts, I needed skirts or felt I needed skirts because my wardrobe was lacking in a million skirts. Now that I’ve sewn 4 skirts in a month, I think I’m good for skirts for a while.

The challenge for this project, however, was making the skirts with in-seam pockets and a side zipper as well. I have to count that a success all around and I got better as I made more and more of these skirts. Here is the progression on my skirts:

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The plaid skirt, my first one, has an exposed zipper and the other three have lapped zippers. The two bottom floral skirts are equally matched for quality. I didn’t attempt to do pattern matching. Although, I did try to match the plaid on the vertical. I mostly succeeded. The side with the zipper is about 4mm off, but perfect on the other side.

I extended the waistband of all skirts. For the two bottom florals, I added buttons; the plaid and pink floral have hidden hooks.

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I adore the buttons on the blue floral. They’ve been in my stash for a while now and I love them.

I didn’t do any fancy math or actually follow a tutorial when I created these skirts. I cut them based on the fabric amounts I had available. Some are longer and some are shorter; some are more gathered than the others and some are less gathered. I wasn’t really concerned with that. As long as you have some gathering, the skirts work quite well.

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My favourite of the four is definitely this blue and white floral; it’s the perfect length and perfect gather. It’s a cotton lawn from Joann fabrics. It’s a very light, flowy fabric and is perfect for Spring/Summer. I wish I had gotten more to make a dress as well, because I crave light florals like this. Do you go through fabric cravings like I do? Probably the reason why my stash is so large…. :/

My second favourite is the yellow plaid. I really love the fabric. I got it from the thrift store and it’s a very light fabric. I am unsure of the fiber content, but it’s likely a poly-cotton blend.

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I usually wear the plaid with my red Bronte top, but decided to wear all my skirts with mostly sleeveless tops in this photoshoot.

My skirt collection would not be complete without a pink floral skirt. I’ve been hoarding this cotton floral for a while and am very happy with it. I chose to put a colour block at the bottom of the skirt to increase the length. That was also a testing of my skills to match along the vertical. I accomplished that rather nicely. :)

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The last skirt I made was this red Christmasy floral that I inherited from my nana with a colour block on the bottom.

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It’s definitely the shortest and most gathered of the skirts. I am not sure I will wear it much to be honest. I feel very…Lolita in it. Which isn’t a bad thing…really. I like a lot of the Lolita style, but I’m not sure how I feel about it on me. I would definitely feel better in this if I were wearing some leggings or tights. Both this one and the blue floral flew up when I was taking pictures. Luckily, I was just on my back porch, but I definitely need something under those two for walking around in the summer.

I look at these pictures and I feel good about myself. I feel good for being brave enough to wear sleeveless tops and bare legs; things I have felt really self-conscious about in the past. I feel good about having made skirts that scream my own personal style. I might not have the supposed ideal body that society tells us is ideal, but this body is mine and I am determined to feel good and feel happy in it. I feel positive about myself in these skirts and that is what sewing is to me.

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Seamwork’s Florence Lounge Bra

Disclaimer: there is swearing in this post.

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I sort of knew going into this project that it might fail horribly. I have huge boobs, after all, and the phrase “lounge bra” as Seamwork calls it doesn’t really fit with huge boobs, even if my measurements are within the pattern’s specifications. I wanted to try it out, though, because I had some scraps lying around and it doesn’t hurt to try things and watch them fail. It’s all a learning experience.

I really like the idea of Florence, I do. I also have a major crush on the model, Sierra McKenzie. Most of her stuff is nsfw, fyi, btw. So google her carefully or don’t, whatever. ;) Anyone else giggle when they say they are googling someone or is that just me? It sounds oddly dirty.

Anyway…..

I was pretty excited for the lingerie issue of Seamwork and the two patterns. The Geneva knickers are also really cute, but I had a good pattern already. Florence, however, took me in. I want a lounge bra: something to wear at home or to bed and feel supported but not restrained. Florence isn’t really that unless you do major changes for larger cup sizes.

In the larger sizes, the cup increases length-wise, as well as in the width. It’s a significant increase length-wise. Based on the line drawing, I wouldn’t have thought that it would be such a long cup, but in the larger sizes it is very long.

The instructions have very little information in them as well as an odd instruction or two that made me question the process all together.

First off, there is no instruction on stretch percentage. The fabric is simply listed as 6″ stretch lace, but there is no guidance given in terms of stretch percentage. I have four stretch laces in my stash that vary from 20% – 150% stretch. That’s quite a difference. Not all stretch lace is considered equal, either; some can be higher quality than others and have perfect recovery while others have shit recovery. I decided that my lace was either too stretch or not stretchy enough and figured for my first Florence I wouldn’t risk using any of it and instead went with a spandex that had a good stretch/body to it. You saw it before with my gold Moneta.

Second, there is a far easier method to creating the adjustable straps than the one listed in the instructions. Here is the easier method via Madalynne. I was taught this way in my bra class and the method in the instructions, which is here, kind of makes my head spin. You can still attach the extra bit of elastic to the other side of bra ring after or before, but why go through the trouble of sewing the slider bit around other bits of elastic, when you can make a much neater bar tack without all that crap in the way?

Third, I find it very unlikely that they tested this for the larger sizes.

Fourth, I think the band runs really large. So test your fit before you put the elastic in. In comparing the Geneva knickers to my pattern, I also see those run rather large….and there might possibly be an overall issue in both patterns and how they are graded up.

Of course, I know I am not a typical size in my chest, but I doubt this works for larger bust sizes (1X-3X). That’s the problem with lounge bras, I guess, they cater to small busted women, which is great…for small busted women.

I guess I have a problem with creating a pattern for a certain size when it won’t work without proper guidance on stretch percentage or possibly reinforcing with powernet or etc.

If you want the Florence to work for you and you have a large bust like me, be prepared to do a ton of shit to make it work.

Things you might want to do to make the Florence work for a larger bust:

1. Line it with powernet.

2. Add in a closure at the back so that you don’t have to stretch it over your head, because the powernet won’t be as stretchy as the lace.

3. Extend the bridge length slightly so that the cup is more supported underneath.

4. Shorten the cup length, if you have to. I would have to, because I have short shoulders (wait, is that a thing…. I dunno how to describe it…) and the bra cup extended to the back….

5. Drink lots of wine.

6. Repeat #5 until you forget what you are doing.

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*please drink responsibly*

I think I will just get a sports bra pattern from Pin-Up Girls and toss this in the garbage. The nice thing is that I didn’t use much new material for it. No big loss there. :)

Honestly, I am glad for fuck-ups like this, because they help me learn. I learned more about sewing with spandex and using elastic in lingerie. It was a nice learning experience even if the pattern didn’t work out for me. :)

Here is a picture of my Florence. I literally got to a point when I didn’t care about creating a perfect finished product….so the sewing isn’t great, because I just used it as an opportunity to try new stitches and play with elastic methods…

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TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Seamwork’s Florence lounge bra
  • Pros: Great for small busts….maybe? Not for large boobs…
  • Cons: Errything. Too much to put here.
  • Make again?: NOPE.
  • Rating: white-star-black-mdwhite-star-black-mdwhite-star-black-mdwhite-star-black-mdwhite-star-black-md o/5 stars

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. :(