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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Pajama Party!!

I made pajama pants for myself using the same pattern as my presents to the kids. I thought I would go into a little more detail than in the previous entry, because this time I made them for myself. Making gifts you have a different mindset than when it is for yourself.

The pattern is a free one from Simplicity so the price is right! It’s a pdf and is absolutely horrible to put together, because it doesn’t quite match up right. Unlike other pdf patterns that have tabs in the middle of the pages to show where to join, this pattern has them on the side and there are three indicators only one of which is the one you go by to match up the pattern. Now that the pattern is together, I will never need to go through that torture again, but it was seriously horrible.

The pattern is pretty straight forward and meant to be a very loose pj pant. Wearing them on myself, however, I noticed things that didn’t pop up or occur to me as I was making them for other people. The pant leg tapers in at the bottom, which makes it difficult to hem the bottoms. The tapering is actually more extreme in the larger sizes and something I will be straightening a little more for any future garments. I made smalls for the kids so I didn’t notice; this is graded to an XXL, because I wanted a super loose pj pant, but the XL is still pretty massive.

Other than that, it’s a great free pattern and a breeze to sew up: sew up the pant legs, sew up the crotch, sew the waistband, make the drawstring, put in the elastic and the drawstring, hem the pants. Basically an hour or less even with my standard french seams. I think all in all the two pairs took me two hours with fitting checks. When I made them for Christmas presents, they took even less time: more like an hour and a half for two. A note for the drawstring: I didn’t sew it inside out and then turn it around. I did that in one of the pj pants for Christmas and wanted to scream. Instead, I pressed it under like I was making double fold bias tape and sewed up close to the fold. At the ends I turned the raw edged into the folds. It’s way way easier that way than the sew and turn method. I even used tricks for that method and it was just not my thing.

I probably won’t make this pattern again for a while. I really want to make Sewaholic Tofino pants in the short version as part of my summer sewing plans.

The fabrics are flannels from Joann’s.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Free Simplicity PJ Pants
  • Pros: Did you read free? Also, very simple pattern. And it’s free! FREEE!
  • Cons: Tappered pant leg makes it difficult to hem, especially in the bigger sizes. Recommend straightening a little more for future garments. PDF is an absolute pain to put together. And of note, if you are making it for other people, the pattern doesn’t provide a standard measurement for the elastic. I recommend doing a quick standard measurement search for that.
  • Make again?: Absolutely! Considering I never will put that pdf together again.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdwhite-star-black-mdwhite-star-black-md3/5 stars (star lost for pdf pattern torture)

Here’s a goofy pajama party photo shoot:

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Seasonally Inappropriate Nautical Shirt Dress

Since Mary extended the last day of Fall of 1000 Shirt dresses, I managed to finish this M6696 in time. When I bought the pattern, I had some lovely polka dot cotton fabric (hello, January Sewcialist theme!!!) in mind for a nautical version of the dress. I picked up some red and white striped cotton for the contrast. Although, sadly didn’t pick up enough and didn’t get my dream of having the striped for the button band and waistband. Instead, I used white cotton from my stash.

Of course, the dress is incredibly seasonally inappropriate.

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Look at how thin that fabric is! I likely won’t be wearing this outside until the weather really warms up in May.

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Here she is inside out, right-side out, and styled with a red tie (not sure how I feel about it, but it was in my closet….so….). I did my usual french seams on the dress and hand-stitched the button bands, collar facing, and waistband on.

Instead of pleating the skirt, I gathered it. I used self-made bias tape for the armholes and made button tabs for the shoulders. This picture is before I put on gold buttons (same buttons from my gold/pink Jenna Cardi):

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All of the red and white striped fabric is cut on the bias, except for the details in the collar.

I did a small FBA (1″) on the bodice and graded the waistband up a size (extra 2″). I still think the top needs a bit more in the FBA department and I might go up another inch to reduce the pulling in the button band completely.

Not much else to say about the dress. I adore this pattern. I might make it once more before Spring, because I have some lovely purple flowery cotton and purple/white gingham for contrast that is calling out to me… “Andie, make me into a shirt dressssssssss…..ignore the piles of dishes and the floor that needs to be vacuuuuuumed…..Aaaaaaaandieeeeeeeeeeee.” Man, that fabric is persistent. ;)

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Since it’s super cold here, I did this photoshoot last night in my sewing room and created a disaster zone there. I am still working on indoor lighting, but I am pleased with the result, especially with the lighting in the top two photos. That is much closer to the lighting I want.

Of course, this seasonally inappropriate dress got me dreaming about tropical paradises and suddenly….

 

 

 

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Yes, those are sequined and feathered pineapples. Yes, I had this lying around my house (lying in our costume bin….yes…we have a costume bin).

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In other news…….

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Jane Eyre now has a Rochester!!!

My wonderful fiance who is wonderful and does wonderful things for me wonderfully researched sergers for sale on kijiji and came across a wonderful Janome MyLock 204D! And it’s mine now! I need to seriously clean it out and oil it, but it’s mine! The woman who sold it also gave me a bunch of thread, too:

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You can’t really see very well, but other than white and black, she gave me forest green, blue, and purple. 29 cones in total, including the ones in the machine already. And she gave me the machine threaded so I can just do the trick Brooke taught me and tie the ends to the other ends for the cone.

I’m so very happy. Thank you to my wonderful fiance! He’s wonderful! I think I’ll marrrrrry him.

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Winter Sewing Plans

Lately, I am sewing a ton, but barely have time to take pictures for the blog. I have to this week as the deadline for Fall of 1000 Shirt Dresses is looming and I have another M6696 to share. It’s seasonally inappropriate, but very cute. Tomorrow I will take a bunch of pictures for a slew of posts.

Today, let’s talk winter sewing plans. I am a little late on this as winter officially started on the 21st of December and it’s now mid-January, but I figure better late than never, right? These are my plans until spring starts on March 20th. I like planning posts, because they tend to keep me on track in terms of focus. While I don’t always keep to the goals, it definitely keeps me somewhat on course. These plans are also meant to keep my eye on the stash  (patterns and fabric) and make sure I sew from that (except for wedding dress purposes and gifts) until after the wedding in July or until I run out of my stash (wouldn’t that be crazy?!). I have to curb my spending and toss my poor credit card in the freezer.

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I’m going to cover categories and talk about what patterns I intend to sewing in each. I’m also looking forward to Spring with some of these and sewing a bit for that. Although, it’s still cold here in Toronto so I am not sure how much sewing I will get done for the next season before it’s suddenly here! You’ll notice that the wedding dress is missing from these plans. I have a separate post planned for that when I talk about the muslin process.

1. Under where? Under there! Oh! Underwear: 

I love lame jokes. Sorry not sorry. I need new lingerie: bras, panties, a leather corset. Er…..I don’t need that last one…until the wedding night! Hahaha! Kidding, kidding.

Bras:

Now that I have made my first bra, I am excited to get the fit right for the second and other versions. The pattern will be the Classic Full Band Bra by Pin up Girl patterns, like my first one. I have some fitting changes from the first bra and I plan on changing the wires out from what the first bra had. I have to make a visit to Bra Maker’s Supply in Hamilton for this and exchanging the underwires, as well as getting more fitting tips from Beverly Johnson. I will also be picking up fabric for the undergarments for the wedding and some additional bra making supplies. I have set a budget for this and intend to only purchase within the budget.

Emerald Erin has an awesome bra a week challenge for this goal. While I don’t plan on participating every week, I will get a few bras done and send pictures to her. I have far too many things I want to sew to make tons of bras, but I will happily be sewing a few of them this season.

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After another boring white bra, I will be using these lovely fabrics:

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Underwear: 

I bought a lot of fold-over elastic and stretch lace for these purposes:

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The knit remnants in my stash will be perfect for this, too, as underwear doesn’t require a lot of fabric and several of the knits I have in my remnants will work very well for underwear. Nothing like using up the scraps for projects.

I have made a pattern for this using my best fitting underwear:

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We’ll see how the first pair goes. I will likely need to make adjustments for it and then I should have a perfect pattern.

2. Outerwear: 

Raincoat M6517:

For about a year now, I’ve had hot pink nylon fabric and clear vinyl with a pink swirl pattern on it:

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I searched for the perfect pattern for a vinyl coat and came across M6517. I ordered a teflon foot for my sewing machine after the horror of sewing the pleather for my coat. Plans are to cut the nylon into bias strips and use it to bind the seams as I sew for a perfect finish. I hope it goes well… I’ve always wanted a raincoat like this. I’m a little upset that the view they show for the clear vinyl doesn’t have a hood. I may have to add one since the pattern includes a hood. I have to look more closely at the pattern and decide whether it is a simple tweak or I will need to create a muslin. The coat is a loose fit so I wasn’t planning on a muslin for it.

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Knit Jackets:

I am currently finishing up a hoodie using M6614. It’s a very basic hoodie pattern.

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I’ll leave the previews to my Instagram account. There were some issues in the construction that will mean some pointing/blaming fingers at McCall’s. If you have this pattern and are thinking of making it up in the larger sizes, you may need to order a longer zipper unless you want to make alterations to the length or the neckline. Also, size way way down. WAY DOWN. The hoodie is maaaaaaasssssive.

My other plan is to make Golden Rippy’s Omega Angel Jacket.

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I’m going to do a slight FBA on the princess seams, because my black contrast sweatshirt fleece has very little stretch. These are the fabrics I am using:

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I picked up the blue sweatshirt fleece from a thrift store and the black sweatshirt fleece and ribbing is from Joann’s.

I love all the seam details in this pattern and am excited to try it out. This and the other hoodie are perfect for transition weather in the early spring. I will probably wear them well into the summer, too.

3. Skirts: 

Dirndl Skirts:

I plan on self-drafting a pattern, but if you want a pattern that goes up to many sizes, check out the Margo skirt from Style Arc:

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You can make a dirndl skirt easily using two rectangles of fabric for the front and back, and one smaller rectangle for the waistband. I am adding pockets as well and I have a self-drafted pocket that I use. You base the size of the waistband rectangle on the width of where you want the skirt to sit (plus seam allowance and any overlap for a button or hook) and then your front/back is much wider than that. The amount of width is based on how gathered and full you want your skirt to look. Gertie has a tutorial that adds 25 more inches to the skirt pieces than the waist pieces for a total of 50 inches of extra material around. This will likely be a good amount of gathers around. Of course, you can add more or less depending on how full your skirt is… or you can get the Margo skirt and not have to think about it at all!

I have a bunch of floral fabric planned for these skirts and one plaid:

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Sewaholic Hollyburn:

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I have been wanting to make this skirt for a really long time, but putting it off due to having to create a muslin, as well as grading up the pattern several sizes. I have two fabrics planned for this skirt:

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The one on the right is dark navy blue, but looks black in this photo.

Bluegingerdoll Betsy:

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I am continuing my quest for a pencil skirt and am excited to try this pattern. I might need to make some adjustments to this pattern and will definitely be creating a muslin.

Tenterhook Patterns’ Snapdragon:

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Another pencil skirt pattern. I really love the two faux wrap styles and am excited to see how it works out in the muslin process.

For Besty and Snapdragon, I have some potential fabrics, but no firm plans and they all depend on which skirt pattern I like the most:

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One of the three skirts will be the skirt I make using this magenta jean fabric for the Monthly Stitches’ jeans challenge with the bonus pink challenge achieved:

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4. Men’s clothes: I am so selfish in my sewing and very prone to promising stuff for my fiance and not delivering on it. I have stash fabric already purchased and need to sew him some button up shirts for work in the next few weeks or else!

Shirts:

I have three potential pattern for a nice button down shirt for him:

Simplicity 1544:

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I’m not super thrilled with this one, but I do like the cuffs on it best out of the three. I do like the Western-styled version of the shirt, but I don’t think my fiance will love it.

Simplicity 2741:

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Bonus of this pattern, is the included boxer shorts and vest pattern. I doubt I will make the vest, but the boxer shorts will definitely get made. I may not share the finished version on here, though. I can show my underwear, but my fiance’s is a whole other thing.

The shirt pattern itself had some nice pleats on the back, but isn’t much different from the other Simplicity pattern.

McCall’s 6932:

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This one is probably better for more casual shirts than work shirts. I do like the pleat on the back, but am not thrilled that there isn’t a separate button band and the collar is different.

I figure I will create a muslin of all three and let my fiance decide, since he is the one wearing them.

Right now, I just have two black fabrics picked out for him. I’ll spare you a boring black fabric picture. I hope to get some nice cotton shirting from local stores.

5. Dresses:

I’m actually not really in the mood to make dresses lately, but have two planned out.

Bluegingerdoll Violet:

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I have two fabrics for this and plan on creating this for Jungle January:

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The red is the remainder from my Wonder Woman outfit and the snake print jersey is a thrift find.

BurdaStyle Printed Tunic (01/2013 #133A):

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Tanya made a gorgeous version of this as a dress and I’ve wanted to make it ever since. This will be lengthened into a dress and made in a light blue fabric that I picked up in a thrifting adventure:

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6. Tops

With skirts, there must be tops and I have a couple planned.

More Jennifer Lauren Vintage Bronte’s:

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Since I loved the top I made for my Wonder Woman outfit so much and have worn it a bunch since, I have three others planned in these fabrics:

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Sewaholic Oakridge Blouse:

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I really liked the Granville shirt, but the Oakridge blouse made me squeal in glee! I had been looking for a top with a bow detail for a while. I’m patiently waiting for it to come in the mail and then I will decide on fabric. I may need to purchase some drapey fabric for this. So I probably won’t be sewing this until around March.

M6649:

The main reason I didn’t get the Granville shirt pattern is because I already have a couple of nice shirt patterns with cup size variations. M6649 is one of them:

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I want to make view B or D. I’m not sure I would have as many ruffles as are in the pattern. I may only do half the amount or decide that ruffles on boobs my size are ridiculous. No fabric planned for this and, if I have to buy some, we’re looking at March for this.

M7094:

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More drapey fabrics. I love all the pleats at the shoulder and the gathers at the back. I might need to buy fabric for this, which will not make me happy, but we’ll see what is in my stash. This is definitely a couple months away from being made. I’m hoping I will have my stash depleted enough to justify the purchase of drapey fabrics.

Those are my non-wedding dress plans from now until the end of March. Do you have an sewing plans?