Tropical Appleton Dress

Edit: I won a prize with the Dresses competition for the Monthly Stitch! Thank you to everyone who voted!

I’ve been wanting to make the Cashmerette Appleton for quite a while now and seeing Gillian’s lovely maxi version made me want to make it a maxi dress. I love Cashmerette patterns. As a curvy plus sized person, having cup options is a freaking miracle! I also really wanted to make a maxi dress. After making my first one using the Upton dress last year, I knew that I would definitely be using another Cashmerette dress. Back in December, the Toronto Sewcialists had a holiday party (hosted by the lovely Hil) and we did a fabric exchange in which I procured 4 yards of this beautiful tropical fabric:

Next up a maxi length #appletondress for the #maxisewalong2017 #sewing #sewcialists

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I fell in love. All I was waiting for to make my Appleton maxi was the perfect fabric. I’m not sure of the content or type of fabric this is. It’s a 4 way stretch and has a lovely drape. It feels to me like crepe jersey or viscose.

Cashmerette Appleton Dress

The Appleton pattern is really lovely to make. The instructions are easy to follow and everything goes together really quick. I added about 9.5 inches to the length of the dress. There are lengthen/shorten lines in the pattern so it was a really simple alteration.

I usually make a 22 G/H graded to a 24 at the waist for Cashmerette patterns. My measurements are 51-46-56. However, for more ease in the hips and more bust coverage, I chose to make a 24 G/H graded to 28 at the hips. It fits perfectly and the extra ease in the hips works really beautifully with the drape of the fabric. The only addition I made to the pattern was to add sleeve bands since I hate hemming sleeves. I serged the skirt hem since I may have been better adding a couple more inches to the hem and to get the maxi length the hem couldn’t lose any length. Works for my lazy seamstress ways! ūüėČ

Cashmerette Appleton Dress

The entire dress was made using my serger except for the hem of the skirt fronts and finishing the tie opening at the side.

Cashmerette Appleton Dress

The verdict is that I adore the dress! It fits me so well and is such a great shape on me. I am not sure why I hesitated so long on making this dress! It just really needed the perfect fabric and I definitely found it. Now I need to go on a tropical cruise!

Cashmerette Appleton Dress

Cashmerette Appleton Dress

Cashmerette Appleton Dress

Cashmerette Appleton Dress

Cashmerette Appleton dress

Cashmerette Appleton Dress

Cashmerette Appleton Dress

Cashmerette Appleton Dress

The dress fits perfectly into two different challenges:

Maxi dress sewalong

Monthly Stitch’s Indie Pattern Month Dresses week

Although dresses week is ending today, there is still tons more fun with many more weekly challenges at Monthly Stitch for Indie Pattern Month. Next week, it’s new to me!

And good news, the maxi dress sewalong runs until July 27th! So you have 20 days to make and post your maxi dresses. ūüôā

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern:¬†Cashmerette Appleton Dress
  • Pros:¬†I love everything and the size range and cup sizes are perfect.
  • Cons:¬†That I don’t have more fabric to make another right now! ūüė¶
  • Make again?:¬†Just need to find the fabric. ūüėÄ
  • Rating:¬†pink-star-black-md¬†pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

Stashbusting and #2017makenine

One of my 2017 goals from my top 5 post has to do with stashbusting. In the stashbusting group, we were all asked to submit our totals at the end of January since the goal is to be 10% down as a group. Last week, I measured all the fabric in my stash and cataloged it using google sheets so that I would be able to access it anywhere. I made categories for fabrics: cotton prints, satins, crepes, suiting, etc. Then I held my breath and did a sum of it all.

Stashbusting!

Three shelves, two drawers, and a bit of flannel on the left there equals 233 yards of fabric. I have 138 different pieces of fabric. That doesn’t include my trim, like pieces of stretch lace or elastics. I didn’t see the point in including that since they are attached to fabric and don’t stand alone.

Plans are to reduce my overall stash to 150 yards and, if I buy fabric, to only buy for specific projects or to use up an equal amount that is brought in. For knit projects, I almost always use up what I buy immediately and as a result there are very few knits in my stash. I will likely continue to buy those more than other fabrics, but I do want to use some of my deep stash: fabrics that have been around for a while like brocades and satins and rayon fabric that I love, but have been reluctant to sew.

Some people in the group posted smaller amounts than me, but lots more people posted with 5 times or even 10 times my amount. It blows my mind to have that much space for fabric! Makes me think of Carolyn’s drool worthy stash….

I sadly don’t have that much room. I am able to house fabric in my cabinet, but outside of that… I slowly push my husband out of the bedroom so… I would like to avoid that since I love him very much. ‚̧

This month’s theme in the group is sewing organization. My stash is pretty organized and neat, especially after taking everything out and measuring it and then ¬†putting it back neatly. I also have a nicely organized UFO area with everything in two wicker baskets and all of my supplies, trims, and tools are organized as well. The big mess is my scraps. I have two large overflowing plastic tubs and two¬†large plastic bags of scrap fabric on the floor of our closet. *hangs head in shame*

Now that I have measured the stash, my next goal is to go through the scrap fabric. Whatever I can’t use will be put into bags so I can take them to H&M. Did you know that they take fabric scraps?¬†I am excited to have a more sustainable hobby by packing up my scraps rather than throwing them in the landfill. I assume there are still amounts that end up in the landfill, but I¬†would much rather a portion of my scraps goes towards recycled material than 0%.

The plan is to cut up some of the cotton scraps into quilt squares for a quick scrap quilt. It will probably just amount to a small quilt and I will back it with a fleece blanket from the dollar store or thrift store. Some things may become baby hats or little bags that I might post on etsy. I also have a huge bra project that will need some non-precious fabric for testing so I can use my scraps for that.

Another part of my stashbusting goals this year is to use up patterns that I have owned for a while. I have a lot of Burda patterns downloaded from the website that I want to use this year. I’ve made some Burda in the past and really liked them. KS_Sews is also doing a Burda challenge and has for the past couple¬†years. I am joining that with a commitment of at least 6 patterns.

Here is my #2017makenine Except for the middle column, these are @burda_style patterns. I made a goal to make more Burda patterns since I love the designs and think the block fits me pretty well. Plan is to make at least these 6 this year starting with the grey sweatshirt using some cat print terry I have. In the middle column, I want to make a maxi length @cashmerette #appletondress with some lovely tropical fabric I recently acquired in a swap. I love #M7537 from the @mccallpatterncompany early spring release. I can see it becoming a quick favourite. Finally, I have a bunch of flannel in my stash that is due to become pjs using the free pattern from @5outof4patterns If I bust that stash, I clear out an entire shelf of my stash! And I get many cozy pjs to wear about the house in various lengths for the year. Last year I didn't get any of my list done. This year feels pretty reasonable and should be doable. ūüėĀ #sewing #sewcialists

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Last year, I didn’t accomplish a single item on my #2016makenine post. This year, I have a mix of easy projects and more complicated projects. My #2017makenine is mostly filled with the six Burda patterns I want to make this year. Starting with the first row and going across:

  1. Prairie Style Dress from Burda.¬†I’ve been drooling over patterns like this for a while and really love the details in it. I am not a huge fan of the ruffles, though, and may leave them off. I actually love ruffles on a bodice, but they seem a bit excessive in this dress since there are so many lovely design details.
  2. I want to make the Cashmerette Appleton dress using up some lovely tropical print material I got in a local sewcialist swap. Ever since seeing Gillian’s lovely dress, this has been in my head and I’ve wanted a tropical maxi version of my own.
  3. Cowl Neck Top from Burda. I will need to buy fabric for this one.
  4. Keyhole dress from Burda. While this one is similar to #1 with those front pleats, it is different enough to have me wanting to make it.
  5. M7537. I don’t have this pattern yet so it would sadly add to my stash. I really love view C with the different prints and colours. I love the sleeves in view B as well.
  6. Raglan sweater with zip. I have some fleece and some cat print terry in my stash that I will use, but I might need to buy some more rib knit. I will leave the zipper off of the top, though. I’m not one for unnecessary zippers.
  7. Belted Kimono from Burda. This¬†will require fabric, but I hear there are some nice bamboo terry fabrics at Fabricland. I’ll try to coordinate with a sale to make the journey to get to one.
  8. I have 22.5 yards of flannel in my stash that are begging to become pj pants using the 5 out of 4 free pj pattern that I made a bunch of for family/friends this Christmas.
  9. Boho maxi dress from Burda. I have a gorgeous crepe print for this pattern. I will have to wear a little slip under it since it is a bit see-through. Now I just need a lovely beach to walk along…

Considering how many projects I tackle in a year, I know nine won’t even really cover my plans, but I haven’t enjoyed planning my sewing for a while and prefer to live wild and free. I have a¬†massive bra project I will be starting¬†soon and¬†a blazer I want to make and a bunch of¬†party dresses I put in my top 5 goals. I also am full of plans to make bow tops and cute pinafore dresses to go with them. Not to mention the basics I need throughout the year, like leggings and underwear and little shorts for the summer to wear with skirts and dresses. I’d like to anticipate those and not scramble to sew them¬†when I am desperate for¬†them. Right now I need a couple more pairs of leggings to get me through the winter, but then around March I’d like to buy some fabric to get me ready for spring and summer.

I’m excited to show you some different projects this year. I really want to challenge myself to create an even better and more accessible wardrobe.

Simplicity 8137 Wrap top

Disclaimer:  I received this pattern free of charge in return for a review on the CSC. All my opinions are my own. 

Today, I am sharing my thoughts on Simplicity 8137 in a navy blue crepe lined with black rayon. The pattern includes a top, dress (knee length and full length), and pants. I made the top. I was given the pattern for free as part of Curvy Simplicity Week on the Curvy Sewing Collective. My review appeared on CSC yesterday.

Simplicity 8137

I made a size 28W and did very few adjustments! 

I narrowed the shoulders by 1 inch and did a large bicep adjustment of 3 inches as well as adding 1 inch to each side seam in order to give adequate room to the armscye for the bicep adjustment. After doing a quick tissue fit, I figured an FBA wasn’t necessary since the princess seams crossed the apex in the correct location, but narrowing the shoulder and a large bicep adjustment would be necessary.

This is actually the least I’ve done for anything I’ve sewn up in a while from the Big 4. Simplicity patterns aren’t widely available in Canada due to a pricing dispute between the major distributor and Simplicity. The shipping/duty charges tend not to make ordering from the website manageable¬†so this is only the second time I have used a Simplicity pattern, but after seeing how few adjustments I needed for the plus sized pattern, I will be asking my US friends to send me a couple of patterns in the future. I also have a few in my pattern stash¬†that¬†are probably going to go up in my sewing queue now!

Edit: Turns out the shipping costs have gone down significantly since the last time I was looking a few years ago. But the currency conversion and higher cost/lack of sales/duty charges are still an issue and overall it is more inconvenient to order online rather than buy locally.

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Simplicity 8137

The construction process went okay. The instructions were a bit…lacking. I looked over them several times, but didn’t see where it referred to actually sewing up the lining before you sew the lining to the bodice or sewing the side seams. They aren’t the kind of instructions for a beginner to follow, but I was okay. The pattern doesn’t have a difficulty rating, but I would place it in advanced beginner simply based on the instructions. With better instructions, there is nothing at all complicated with the design or construction and a beginner could complete it, but the missing parts would confuse them.

I decided to save time and not slip stitch the lining at the waist by hand during construction and simply treated the lining and main fabric as one piece in attaching the peplum to it. It worked out just fine, but is maybe not as neat of a look as the design intended. I finished all my seams on the serger.

Simplicity 8137

 

I think the pattern fits pretty well!¬†I do think it tends toward being wide and low in the v-neck. For someone who works in a conservative setting, this is a slight issue. I felt more comfortable wearing a camisole underneath the top as it does go quite low. The wrap top is fixed by snaps and the ties don’t actually have much function beside a design feature and a bit of cinching in at the waist. They don’t pull in the fronts as much as traditional wrap tops where they are affixed to the ends of the bodice and slipped through at the waist. That makes the construction a lot easier since they are sewn in at the side seams and waist but it doesn’t help keep the bodice v together like traditional wrap top designs. ¬†I think the wrap design is great for my body shape and would work for a lot of people since it goes in at the waist and flares at the hips adding a nice curve. Overall, the fit is really good¬†except for the low front.

Simplicity 8137

I will make this again for sure. I will probably add another couple of snaps to this version to cinch in the front and make the v-neckline a bit less revealing. In future versions, I will raise the neckline, as well as add in extra snaps so that the v shape stays in place. I can see this becoming a staple in my wardrobe in both the top version and the dress version. I doubt I will make the pants, though, since my hips do go beyond the 28W sizing and I don’t really wear pants anyway. I can also see how this top would look nice with a pencil skirt or even a circle skirt on the bottom. So, it works quite well with my wardrobe.

I can see this becoming a wardrobe staple for me and think you’ll be seeing a full length dress version on me in the summer next year!

Simplicity 8137

 

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Simplicity 8137
  • Pros:¬†Design is super flattering due to the princess seams, ties, and the flare of the peplum.
  • Cons:¬†Instructions were lacking a few details and the v isn’t as cinched in as I would like it.
  • Make again?:¬†Yesabsolutely. I will add more snaps as well as raise the v for modesty reasons. I love a good revealing top, but my work environment is a bit conservative for that.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdwhite-star-black-md4/5 stars

 

Upton Maxi dress

Back on my honeymoon, I was 3 weeks away from my sewing machine and I started dreaming of what I would make when I returned. The fabric haul I brought back helped, of course, but I also dreamed about the fabric I already had, including this lovely bright print:

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It’s definitely reminiscent of African wax prints, but I am not 100% sure if it is one. I forgot to ask and, quite frankly, at $5/metre, I doubt it is a wax print. Every wax print I saw while I was in the Netherlands was around 15 euros a metre or more and looking briefly online I see similar prices. I saw so many gorgeous wax prints in the Netherlands:

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I wanted to buy them all. As a result, my mind wandered back to this fabric I already had. I bought 5 metres of it without a clear idea in my head of what I would make, but it was only $25 so I just did it. I was 100% after my trip that it was screaming to become a maxi dress. Then Cashmerette released the Upton dress and Ashley announced the Maxi dress sewalong and I knew: an Upton maxi dress.

I’ve never worn or even tried a maxi dress on before in my life. I had a strange notion that because I was short and fat, it would make me look even shorter and fatter. Now I don’t give a flying beep about that. I just want to try new styles and stretch my fashion wings. So a maxi dress is perfect for getting over that fashion fear.

Usual disclaimer: I didn’t test the Upton pattern, because the timing was off for me, but I did receive it for free.

I’ll go into a more extensive review when I actually sew the entire dress, but for my maxi dress, I only used the bodice, didn’t even line it, completely ignored the instructions, and can only speak to how that worked out. I made two¬†muslins¬†for the bodice. One I tried the 24C/D graded to the 26 at the waist.

Another I made the 22G/H graded to the 24 at the waist (that one wasn’t even IG worthy!). Then I measured myself again and chose to make the 24G/H graded to the 26 at the waist and it was perfect:

Next version, I will narrow the shoulders and maybe do a forward shoulder adjustment, too.

I made extra darts at the armholes to get a good fit. I had this opinion that armhole darts are not ideal for some reason and should be avoided, but unless I am working with princess seams I really need them to get a good fit everywhere. My high bust to full bust to underbust ratio is extreme and my shoulders are narrow. With princess seams, I’m always shaving off a bit where the armhole meets the princess seam. It works well without a dart there for princess seams, but in a darted bodice, that extra dart at the armhole works so much better for me. Any flat pattern adjustments won’t quite get the right shape, because we are 3D beings. In patterns with sleeves, it’s a bit different as the sleeve generally pulls that extra fabric in, but in a sleeveless bodice with darts, I’m all for that armhole dart. It just looks better on me.

Again I had a horrible time with my zipper.¬†I need more practice, but also my machine just does not want to work with zippers. It won’t feed them through for whatever reason. It’s not bulky and there is no thread in the way. It just hates zippers. I’ll figure out what the issue is eventually or get a new machine, but in the meantime I am trying to figure out how to perfect my lapped zippers. I’ve looked up many a tutorial and am ready to get better at it. I changed the zipper from a back zipper to a side lapped zipper. My mobility in my shoulder is pretty limited and I definitely have an easier time with the side zipper.

I’m slightly ashamed of my sewing on this dress. Neither of the waistband seams meet in the right place and the zipper is a bit of a mess. But there is no way I am ripping it out to make it perfect. The print hides everything so I will just wear it as is. I didn’t take any pictures of the mistakes either because they don’t really matter. If you zoom in on some of the pictures, you’ll probably see them anyway. If you really want to be like that.

For the skirt, I just gathered two panels of the fabric from selvage to selvage and attached them. I also added pockets because why wouldn’t you add pockets. I should have checked the skirt pieces on the pattern for pocket placement because they sit just slightly too low. I can still get my hands in, but for getting anything out of the bottom of the pocket, it’s a bit tricky. Trickier when you have mobility issues with your shoulder.

I also made a Muse Patterns Jenna cardi. My many versions of these are worn all the time. I got this pink knit content unknown from the thrift store. It’s a perfect addition to my wardrobe since I have many dresses that would work with it. Pink is totally a neutral for me. I don’t have buttons on it yet and am definitely wearing it around until I find the right ones. The cardigan fits with the stashbusting sewalong theme for the month of seasonal change¬†and will help transition my dresses into the fall nicely. I can’t believe I am actually thinking about fall. I’ve pulled out a bunch more patterns for seasonal change so I am hoping to do some more fabric stashbusting. I’ve got one shelf in my stash almost half gone! It feels great! Almost all the fabric from my honeymoon is sewn up. Knits get sewn really fast for me. I’m trying to focus on wovens more lately, though, so I can stashbust those.

Prepare for a bunch of pictures of my maxi dress!!!

Jenna Cardi and Upton Maxi Dress

Jenna cardi and Upton maxi dress

Upton maxi dress

Upton maxi dress

Upton maxi dress

Upton maxi dress

Upton maxi dress

Upton maxi dress

Upton maxi dress

Upton maxi dress

Excuse the picture dump, but I am stoked about the dress. I made it with v-neck back and front and finished the armholes and neckline with bias tape.

I’ll review the Upton dress properly when I actually make it in full.

 

 

 

More Misty Jeans

I made another two pairs of StyleArc Misty Jeans!

First up is part of this month’s challenge on the Monthly Stitch.

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A floral pair! It’s made with the leftover material from my floral bomber jacket. JoAnn Fabrics sent me double the amount for some reason! End of the roll, but like a lot more than a¬†yard.

I really like this pair of jeans. Although, the material could use a little more stretch… Not for wearing after eating a big meal. I’m hoping they stretch out with wear, because they are a tad tight¬†at the moment. I’m also hoping that my trip and all the walking we do will help? Wishful thinking! ūüėÄ

I left the back pockets off this version, because the floral was busy enough. I find I don’t use the back pockets at all. I may leave them off future versions, too.

I topstitched everything with regular black thread. I’m really starting to think I may have to save for a new machine. My machine just doesn’t want to work with thicker thread no matter what I do (tension, needle, stitch length, etc.). I think I will have to invest in a better machine. I’ll probably still keep this one around, because the quilting functions are really great and it has a long arm. I do want to get into quilting after following along with #quiltlikeaboss on Lavender Lane. Sadly, timing didn’t work out for me to get started on a quilt at all, but I plan on picking up some funky Dutch-themed fabrics for a commemorative quilt for our honeymoon while we are in the Netherlands. Quilting is in my future.

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For my second version, I used a stretchier denim that my mom sent me for Christmas. It has a sort of striped pattern in it. I topstitched with yellow thread for this pair. Again, just regular thread. These are super comfortable and really nice to wear. You’ll probably see a few more pairs of Misty Jeans in the future. It’s really difficult to try a new pants pattern when this one is so comfortable and fits me pretty well. I have the Jennifer city shorts, though, and summer is begging for me to make a pair.

I’m done sewing for the trip since we leave in a couple of days. I didn’t quite accomplish all my plans… I did get my Pepernoot coat done (spoiler: it’s amazing!). I will post about that tomorrow. I didn’t get my three Pavlova skirts done or a new bra. I did, however, repair three bras to help give me more bras to wear while we are away. I’m kind of glad I have the skirts to sew when I get back since I will be seriously¬†missing my machine. Having a couple of projects ready to go will be great. I am also taking my sketchbook for train rides, days at sea with the cruise, and the plane to sketch out some future projects! I have sew many ideas floating around in my head and figure some fabric shopping there will fuel that, too.

Progress Report

First off, check out the interview I did as part of Muse Pattern’s Meet the Maker series! It was a blast to be a part of. You all know I’m a big Muse Patterns fan. I’m also a pattern tester, but I wouldn’t be doing that if I didn’t love them. ūüôā

Second, one of the things about working through a super long list of sewing like I have on my honeymoon plans is finding time when I am not sewing to actually take pictures of my finished products. It’s pretty difficult, actually. Add to that chronic pain. Add to that full time job. Add to that not ignoring my husband or stepkids. Add to that eating, sleeping, improv comedy, etc. It’s not my preference to share cell phone pictures, but I’ve decided to do that for a few of them since otherwise I will have far too many pictures to take at once. Some I will save for better pictures and full pattern reviews, but some will be in posts like this, because I am sewing too fast for blogging right now.

In the inane and boring category, I sewed a bunch of leggings. They weren’t part of my plans, but I recently retired three pairs of leggings and then took a closer look at the remaining ones and saw that I had very little time left with them as well. RIP leggings. I usually buy my leggings from Old Navy on sale, because they tend to be a lot cheaper than buying the fabric. But I’ve decided to not give in to fast fashion and make them myself. I had to buy some fabric for this, but I went to the clearance section at Fabricland and bought a bunch for actually much less than the Old Navy sale leggings would have been.

I used my Old Navy leggings as a template for a pattern and got to cutting my muslin.

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Of course, my muslin is in a shiny spandex… Hahha. They turned out okay. A little small in the butt due to the stretch in the spandex.

My next version was in snake skin print:

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These fit so well.

My next two are black and black with white polkadots:

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Unfortunately the fabric isn’t that great and was a lot thinner than I expected. The pair on the right might actually be a wadder sadly.

I’ve got some stretchier and thicker material (read: better material) for my next four (two pairs of the gray):

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On to the next:

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I made a pair of lace underwear using a tutorial. I’m not going to link to it, because I really didn’t follow it correctly. Hahha. Ever the rebel. The underwear are okay and fit well, but the lace is a bit scratchy.

I have a ton more Kitschy Coo¬†Barrie Briefs cut out and ready for sewing. I sewed one pair, but the stretch percentage made it a wadder. I test for these things. Sounds like I don’t, but I do. But with fitted garments like knickers even a slight difference makes the fit go wonky. Ugh. Luckily, it wasn’t a huge amount of wasted time. The knickers looked good, though. Totally forgot to take a picture of them, though.

In geeky things I made:

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This smoking hat reminiscent of Dumbledore’s hat in the Harry Potter movies.

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Why? Because my husband was playing Dumbledore in a local show called Potterprov. I, of course, was ill both times he played. Nerd fail.

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I made the hat with some fleece on the inside to give the satin body. I just stuck a band on a round piece of fabric otherwise and serged the whole thing. It’s fast and easy not right….

I made some other garments:

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A Jenna cardi hacked into a sweater using this tutorial on the Muse Patterns blog. I refashioned my Fall Moneta from years ago. I used the sleeves cut a bit shorter into 3/4 length. The skirt became the sweater, except for the band which was from the bodice. I did make the band a bit longer so it fit over my high-waisted skirts without any issue.

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Next up a Snapdragon skirt from Tenterhook Patterns made in cream suiting with pastel threads throughout.

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This was a UFO for a while and made in the last days of February as part of the Monthly Stitch UFO theme. I think I cut this skirt out back in December or perhaps even earlier along with this version:

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The wool I used for this one is red with black and grey plaid stripes. ¬†It’s a thick winter skirt, but will be nice for brisk Spring or Fall days. Right now I am writing up a review of the skirt for the Curvy Sewing Collective. I’ll let you know when that is out. Of course, I will also take much better pictures then.

I am also sporting my new vee neck Jenna Cardi using the expansion pack that Muse Patterns released a short while ago. This is made¬†in the merino wool sent to me as my prize for the Muse Loves Merino contest¬†for my Gryffindor cardi. This post is all about Muse Patterns love, it seems. I’m okay with that.

Up next, I am working on my next pair of Style Arc Misty Jeans in actual jeans fabric. I added front pockets and a waist stay to this version:

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I was inspired by Heather’s bright jeans pockets and added some gorgeous floral and butterfly fabric to make my insides pretty.

The waist stay is amazing. Seriously. I am so glad I added it. I was afraid at first that it would cause the pants to not fit well because of the lower stretch, but they fit so well. I’m very impressed. They suck that tummy in, too! The pockets are nice and deep for my phone and keys and whatever else I need. I drafted a waistband for the jeans, as well. It hasn’t been attached yet, but that’s happening tonight. I made a few other alterations to the pattern this time for fit: shortened the front crotch curve, full bum adjustment, and a large calf adjustment.

I also topstitched with purple thread!

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Some errors there, since my machine isn’t that great with heavy fabric, but it looks good to me and totally fine on. I’m a bit annoyed that the back yoke is slightly mismatched causing the pockets to be slightly out of line with each other, but I am not unpicking the seam since it looks fine on and my butt looks amazing in these jeans. Haha.

I’m working through my honeymoon wardrobe list pretty nicely. I have all the pattern alterations done for my Waffle Pattern’s Pepernoot coat. Graded up two sizes and did an FBA for a crazy amount of pattern pieces. I’m tempted to skip the muslin stage and just get started, but I will make the muslin. Sigh…. Being good is haaard.

I got faux fur for the coat and purchased zippers as well. I plan on making the faux fur trim on the hood removable with buttons and button holes. I think it should be an easy pattern hack. I might post a tutorial, if people are interested.

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I also got a bunch of bias tape, because I went a bit nuts that day in Fabricland. I do have plans to grade up the Sewaholic Tofino pants and make a bunch of pj pants, though. Bias tape is always useful, too, and it wasn’t expensive either. My zipper for is a two way separating zipper and heavy duty. It’s going to be a durable coat!

I settled on pink plaid for my Pepernoot coat. I’d like to make the red plaid version in the future if it turns out I love this pattern.

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I’m also going to use a brown wool I have for the pockets, yoke, and sleeve tabs, because I adore contrasting details.

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The wool on the bottom there will be the contrast. I want to play with stripe direction, too, for the heck of it. I just need to get interfacing for the coat and then I have all the materials ready to go.

I got my first Decades Everyday Three’s a Charm Jacket cut out in black with pink polkadots fabric. I think it’s cotton, but I haven’t tested it. I had¬†just¬†enough fabric for this by cutting the back with a seam along the selvage. I will have to cut the facings out of some black fabric I have, though.

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I was tempted to use the wrong side of the fabric since it is also fun, but I will sew it using the right side since polkadots. It’s a very soft fabric so I am leaving it unlined for this wearable muslin. Future version will be in plaid so I need to draft a lining for the pattern.

I also couldn’t resist getting the new Decades Everyday pattern, the Buttons and Bows blouse¬†even with the horrible Canadian dollar. I need to resist making it up this second, though. I’m becoming a Decades Everyday fan and I haven’t even completed a garment yet! I own three of their patterns now, including the ESP dress. I just love vintage style, but need it in modern sizing. I am outside of the size range, but just need an FBA and a large bicep adjustment for their patterns¬†since their largest conforms to my high bust measurement. So far I am impressed with their patterns. There’s a lot of thought in them and nice details I don’t see often in indie patterns.

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I’ve got this massive pile left to go for things on my planning list before I can tackle that blouse pattern. I seem to be sewing at an insane pace, though, so I think I can get a good amount done by the end of the month. Imagine if I had it all done by the end of the month?! In my dreams… I do have to sleep and eat and work and pay attention to my family…

Can anyone spare some extra time?

 

Maya Bra

Oh you were expecting a non-lingerie post…. I’m the worst. I swear I¬†have a bunch of non-lingerie garments to share. I just need to find the time to take pictures. Sooooon.

This was originally posted on the Curvy Sewing Collective for Lingerie Month.

Today I am reviewing the free (YES YOU READ THAT RIGHT!) Maya Bra pattern from AFI. AFI¬†wrote a great post about why she made this a free pattern. It’s worth a read. I’m extremely happy¬†about the free part since most bra patterns are $15-$20 plus shipping in some circumstances.

The Maya bra is a three piece foam cup bra with lining and an outer fabric as well as a full cradle and band wings. AFI includes different band wing pieces for a 2 eye hook and a 3 eye hook, as well as pieces for the foam cups and the lining/main fabric cups. This saves time changing a pattern for bigger hooks and takes the guess work out of removing seam allowances for the foam pieces.

The size range is extensive and AFI adds new sizes all the time. There is a range from EU 60C/ UK 28C / US 28C to EU 100J/ UK 44GG/ US 44J in letter size and A4 size in English and Romanian. If your size isn’t available for download, simply comment on the download page and ask when that size will be added. AFI is pretty responsive to comments.

To choose your size, you need to know two things: rib cage measurement and wire size. There is a guide on how to measure and how to choose your size along with downloadable wire charts.

I am a 40H in some RTW bra sizes. But I didn’t choose my size based on that. I followed the guide on how to measure. I measured my ribcage at 44 inches and used my wire size 60 that I’ve found to be comfortable in other bras I’ve made. Based on that, I sit at the very end of the size range with a US 44J. I printed off that size and got to work.

Using Emerald Erin’s tutorial on how to piece the foam cups, I found sewing the foam cups went well. The foam pattern pieces have the seam allowance taken out saving you that job. You butt the pieces together with no overlap and use a satin stitch to sew them together. Using the satin stitch in Erin’s tutorial, I was able to put the foam cups together very quickly and the seam is super strong. At this point, you can sort of hold the cups up to your breasts and test a bit of the fit. Unfortunately, it won’t give you a really clear indication of how the cups will really fit since there will be all sorts of factors affecting the fit (gravity being the big one). With bra making, you test the fit when it is all done. It can be a costly endeavor to fit a bra pattern.

You can compare with other bras to get a general idea of fit. I was sewing another bra during one of my versions and able to do a bit of comparison:

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These are pretty close in size which is a good sign.

The instructions are great for novice bra makers¬†to follow along with. However, they aren’t complete just yet. AFI is working on them all the time. Unless you have experience sewing a bra, I wouldn’t suggest you begin with this pattern as the instructions aren’t complete. Once they are though, I think a novice bra maker could follow them easily; AFI provides pictures and clear instructions for the steps that are available. You will need to have some experience with sewing to sew a bra. Beverly Johnson says that as long as you can set a sleeve, you can sew a bra. Think of that as your beginning point.

Construction process was easy. I did disagree with the materials required. AFI uses cotton fabric for the cradle and the lining, stretch lace for the bands, neoprene¬†for the cups, etc. These are good materials when someone is making a bra for a smaller bust and band, but the materials need to be a bit better when making a bra for a larger bust. Instead, I used no lining fabric (I suggest you do line it with sheer cup lining, though; I was lazy and would definitely line it in any future versions), a stretch satin for the main fabric and one layer of the cradle and stretch lace for my 3rd version with black duoplex on the cradle, lined my cradle¬†with sheer cup lining, and doubled powernet for the band wings. It also suggests boning for the sides where the cradle and the band wings meet. I’ve had this in bras before and found it horribly uncomfortable so I left it out, but I did put channeling in that location and that provides enough support to keep the sides from wrinkling.

Version #1

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The first version I made was very large in the upper cup. While I am full all over, I do seem to have a shallow upper cup and a narrow shoulder. Since the method for measuring yourself doesn’t take into account the bust measurements and instead goes by the wire measurements, it does have a much larger cup than may be necessary for your two measurements. My upper cup ended up being far too large. The lower cup seemed okay in that first version, but it was¬†difficult to gauge that. I had more than two inches of excess fabric in the upper cup on each side. The bridge (where the wires meet between your breasts) was also coming away from my chest quite a bit. The band was a little big as well.

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Here is a front-on picture without the excess pinned out and then a picture with the excess pinned out. You can see the difference. The bridge comes away from my chest, but that is difficult to get a picture of.

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Here is a wonky side picture to show you the wrinkling in the band indicating that it is too large.

Version # 2

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For my next version, I removed two inches from the upper cup and one inch from the band. I noticed in the this version that the lower cup didn’t have enough room. It created quite the push up bra experience and was fine to wear for a day, but since the bridge sat away from my body by an inch or two, it was rather uncomfortable by the end of the day. Under the arm came up too high in this version, however, and is a little uncomfortable.

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Not as much excess in the upper cup, but the bridge still comes away from my body.

Very little wrinkling in the side, if any. You can see a bit of the push up effect of the bra by the cleavage happening there.

Here is a comparison of the previous version with this one:

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The upper cup of the first version is folding inside the upper cup of this version.

I added a nice little detail for this bra since I was pretty happy with it:

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Version #3

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For my third version, I increased the volume in the lower cup, narrowed the bridge, and decreased the upper cup yet again. And then I made a disaster sewing… I decided to just make the pieces for the main fabric and trim the seam allowances once I cut out the foam. I definitely did not trim them enough and had to rip the cups out after I sewed up the bra. My seam ripper broke after the first cup and then I used a knife. That turned out to be a great idea and I got the other cup out in half the time. Now I have a knife in my sewing room. Quite the badass here. When I resewed the bra, the issues seemed to be almost the same as the previous version: not enough room in the lower cup and the bridge sits away from my body. The fit it better under the arm, though, and the issues are better albeit in minor ways.

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No wrinkles on the band, but you can really see the bridge issue in this version. Probably due to the fabric choices and not lining the bra with a non-stretch lining. There is also definitely not enough room added to those lower cups.

Here is a comparison of this version with the first version:

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The bigger first version is super squished inside the third version.

Conclusions

I think the Maya bra fit me a lot better than the first time I made the Pin Up Girl Classic bra. Helps that I am using a wire size that is comfortable for me. Maya¬†definitely flatters much better and has a nice round shape instead of the pointy shape of the Classic bra. Except for the upper cup being far too wide, the fit was pretty good. The bridge being too wide is a common issue I have, as well as it not sitting against my chest completely. This is true in RTW. There is a very narrow space between my breasts and it’s difficult to fit for that and still have enough space for the channeling and wires.

I know I will eventually get the right fit with the Maya bra. In the meantime, I’m not using up too much in materials since I can pull apart the bigger bras and try again.¬†I will make the pattern again since it is such a nice shape and the foam really pushes my breasts up. The whole push up bra thing is a novelty in my size!

My advice for anyone trying out this pattern is to compare that upper cup to a bra that fits you well in that area and see whether you need to take it in first. I think the upper cup is likely the part that would not fit for a lot of people¬†unless they have very very full breasts that haven’t felt the effects of gravity ever. Since none of us are lucky enough to live in zero gravity, we’ll have to deal with upper cup adjustments. The bridge may also be too wide. Again compare it to a well fitting bra and adjust before making your first version. There are some things we can do to alter bra patterns before we sew them. If you need some help figuring out some basic bra pattern adjustments, Norma Loehr’s Demystifying Bra Fitting and Construction has a section on bra pattern adjustments based on the fit issue. There are also many amazing tips in the first Beverly Johnson Craftsy class. Or you can check out these Cloth Habit posts:¬†cup adjustments, and¬†band and frame adjustments.

With bras, the larger the cup, the more adjustments and failed bras you will go through. Sorry everyone… BUT! You can always baste the entire bra together to get the idea of how it will fit before completing the bra. Compare to your other bras to see if the fit will be similar. The important thing to remember is that even though the fitting curve is steeper with large bras, once you get a good fit, you can make all the¬†bras¬†at a lower cost in most cases than RTW. My RTW bras cost me between $60 and $200. The bras I cloned were $80 bras. In comparison, my materials cost me on average $25-$30. If I do factor in labour costs, I actually end up with a $150-$200 value bra for the price of $25-$30. That is a pretty sweet dollar savings and I get the bonus of having a custom bra in my style. Even cloning a RTW bra, it took me until about the fifth one before I could say it was really good. There are always fit issues. With bras, you have to be a lot more precise. My advice to you is to take it slow, be patient, and not get discouraged. Also, feel free to tag me or message me privately on Instagram¬†to ask for help. I love talking bramaking! There are also two great private facebook groups where you can ask a bunch of people for help: Bra Making Forum¬†and Bra Makers – Beginners through Intermediate. You can always use the contact page on my blog and we can chat through email as well.

Size Range (1-5): 5
Instructions (1-5): 3.5 (5 for the ones that are complete, but lost marks due to incompleteness of final steps)
Construction Process (1-5): 4
Final Fit (1-5): 3.5
Overall Rating (1-5) + Explanation: 4

The Maya bra is a great foam cup bra pattern with an impressive size range and an amazing shape. It is unfortunate that the instructions aren’t complete just yet and that places it in the intermediate bra making experience zone. Once the instructions are complete, I can see it being a good place for beginner bra makers to start. Not for beginner sewers, though. You need to have enough experience to confidently set a sleeve to be able to sew a bra.