Bra Sewing, Swimsuit Sewing, Vacation Sewing

All the sewing in this post!

I still have a backlog of projects to share with you but I thought I would share some things that I recently sewed where I have used the pattern before or, in the case of bra sewing, am using an updated pattern.

Bra Sewing

I’m super pleased with my alterations on my bra pattern. This is definitely a better fit than the last bra I sewed. The last bra fit well but throughout the day my cup would spill over. This bra does that on the 3rd day of wear after washing.

After the last bra, I incorporated more volume in the lower center cup, split the bottom cup into three to better distribute the volume and give a nicer shape, shifted the straps in by 1/4 inch, and scooped out the underarm by about a half inch graded to a 1/4 inch at the top.

It’s really difficult to tell the difference between the two since the previous bra was in black, but the projection is shifted slightly more to the centre reducing the splaying from my pectus carinatam. Unfortunately, the above picture was also taken right before my period when I was swelling like crazy. I generally have a 2 -3 inch difference in my bust at that time. Hello hormones! It’s much better now and I can see how the volume in the cup is a much better fit.

Overall, the shape is great. I feel comfortable in the bra. There are tweaks, however, for next version.

  1. More volume in the lower cups
  2. Less length along the top edge of the upper cup
  3. Move in the strap another 1/4 inch since the strap is still flipping over
  4. Even out the horizontal line where the lower cup and upper cup meet (bring it down by about an inch and a half at the side grading to the height of the cup closest to the bridge)

I’m considering accounting for the differences in cup volume in my 2 breasts, but I think I will wait until after the next iteration to do it.

I’d like one more underwired bra in my rotation and then I want to make changes to my bralette pattern. I’m going to get myself a couple of pattern drafting books for lingerie soon and see if I can apply some of those techniques for a better fit.

Swimsuit Sewing

I recently made another Cashmerette Ipswich Swimsuit and I love it.

The mermaid scales are both from Water Tower Textiles. I chose to make a full side panel with firm powernet for a scandalous see-through look. I love it.

I did not make a bra for this. I lined it with powernet instead. The fit is not bad. Definitely some drooping in the water, but not too bad. The straps with bra strap elastic really do wonders for that. This is a size 24 G/H on top. Bottoms are 24 graded to a size 26.

Why make a swimsuit when winter is about to hit Canada?

Vacation Sewing

My husband took me to Varadero, Cuba for my 38th birthday!!

It was such a perfect birthday!!

We drank…

We ate…

We went to Havana…

I could definitely spend all my birthdays in warm weather and on the beach from now on!

Of course, I couldn’t leave without some marathon vacation sewing…

Cashmerette Rivermont top

Nothing like a mirror selfie with fox pj pants!

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I love it so much. I may take the straps off, though, since I find the elastic can cover my bra straps comfortably.

I also shortened some Misty Jeans into shorts to give them new life, but neglected to take a picture.

For my birthday, I made it a goal to raise $200 for the Ehlers-Danlos Society and I exceeded my goal by $127 for a total of $327!! I am so grateful for the generous support of my friends and family. It made for the best birthday gift. ❤

In my reflection on the past year, I am grateful that I am managing my chronic illness better. It’s through my own hard work and that of my respirologist that I have come so far. With my chronic cough under better management, I am able to do more and get a better grasp on my health rather than struggling with the day to day of just breathing. I know without the meds, my health is tenuous so I have to be super careful to not miss a dosage or else my breathing becomes difficult as well. The fact that there are meds that do help me is huge and I am incredibly grateful for that.

Of course, saying I am managing my chronic illness is not a cure or that I am no longer chronically ill. I know my limitations better now and I know when to rest versus when to push it. I am gradually incorporating more exercise into my life, but I will not do it at the destruction of my body. I have a better understanding of what is good versus what is bad. I am disabled. I cannot do a lot of things normally and often have obstacles that prevent access for me. It’s been quite a year for me of setbacks and realizations and lots of wins. 38 feels good. I have hope and that is an amazing thing to have.

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Garden Bra

Yep, more lingerie. I am not sorry for this! I love it! That being said, I will have a v-neck Jenna cardi and a Jenna top to share with you soon.

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This is my latest cloned bra, the Garden bra.

Why the Garden bra?

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I have an entire garden of little flowers sewn to the bridge and some lovely floral lace.

For this version, I added some to the power bar. Big mistake. I thought this might help with lift and push the girls forward, but it didn’t sadly. The good thing is that I still have my previous pattern pieces and can go back.

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It’s a little bit of a frumpier look with the girls going a bit more sideways. There is very little vertical stretch in the lace, too, which causes that horizontal line to look a little bit wonky. I look fine wearing this under a dress, though:

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I probably would have been better off to line the power bar with a sheer cup lining for extra support. For now, though, I am moving forward. I recently had to retire a different Elomi bra from the rotation and decided to clone it, because I am having trouble parting with it. The upper cup is split into two pieces with the top half in non-stretch sheer cup lining. Since I want to copy Erin’s Parisian bra, I will be using this pattern and putting the gathered bra tulle into the upper cup. I’ve made a “test” version in sheer cup lining and navy lace and will be sewing that up before CSC lingerie month is up.
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Then I am taking a break from sewing bras, because that will make 7 bras this year… I do want to sew a couple more before the honeymoon, though, but those can wait. I’ve got my pepernoot coat to work on. I’m almost done the flat pattern adjustments and ready for the muslin! There were a lot of pattern pieces to adjust.

I’m happy to announce that the hook and eye installation went so much better for this version after all the feedback I got before. I cleaned out my machine. There was an entire dust bunny in there! I put on a new needle before sewing this part. I’m using a zigzag stitch now and it looks great.

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I made another bra after that (my third Maya bra) and it went even better. The strap elastic also went on better there and I got much better in the Maya bra (review for that will be posted on the Curvy Sewing Collective this week) as well. I’m feeling pretty confident after all this crazy bra sewing.

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Of course, no bra of mine is complete without at least one sewing error. Look at that wonky shit on the power bar above the lace. Hahaha. Oh my!

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How weird do these bras look hanging on a hanger? My band can’t even close because it’s so much smaller than my cup and the wire is huge in comparison, but somehow this thing looks just fine and is comfortable as a pillow on.

 

Desert Sunset Bra

Do you remember long ago I asked for a name for this bra? Nicole came up with Desert Sunset.

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I cut out the bra back in August and then it sat around for quite a while….

I made some modifications from the last bra: increased the lower cup, moved the apex slightly to match my apex (edit: up and to the centre).

What results is the best fit yet for my cloned bras. I really love this pattern and am excited to see the fit improve with each adjustment.

I’m going to do something I’ve never done before and show you how it fit after I made it. I didn’t put the bows on it yet in this picture.

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The bridge sits nice and flat against my chest, the cups are perfect, and the band is perfect. After wearing it for a day, the bridge does come out about 1 cm from my chest. May be due to the fabric stretching out as I wear it.

For the next one, I want to add a little more to the power bar on the side to push them a little further to the front as I have a bit of splaying to the side. Doesn’t bother me, though, since you can’t tell the difference when I am wearing a shirt.

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I find photographing my bras to be weird, because of that stretch lace upper cup and the fact the cups are so large. Inflated vs. deflated balloon. Ha! It’s also kind of why I wanted to show you how it looks on me. You get a better idea of the fit.

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Here is the inside of the bra.

Instead of using the band elastic from my BMS findings kit (material links below), I chose to use 5/8 strap/waistband elastic. It’s a firmer elastic and less stretchy. It made the band an even better fit due to the lower stretch. The main reason for the switch was because the band elastic was rolling after a couple of hours of wear. Now, there is only rolling at the end of the second day of wear.

I made so many mistakes when making this bra. Ripping out stitched from duoplex, stretch mesh/lace, and lingerie elastic is basically a horror movie. The fabric gets torn apart so easily. Some mistakes I just left because the bra itself was secure.

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My machine is seriously hating attaching the hook and eyes lately… I’ll get there and figure out the trick of not having my machine break five needles at that point and the hook and eye not moving about so much… I’ve been looking at tips and tutorials left and right for that. I just got so frustrated with all the mistakes and ripping out previously that I kind of just shrugged my shoulders at this point and said that is good enough. I’m not changing it now, but going forward… I really hope that area doesn’t look that shitty. I was getting better and then this…. UGH.

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I added some florescent orange bows to the bra. Originally, I want to overlay the power bar in a florescent orange lace, but affixing it to the fabric turned into a nightmare and I decided to leave it off.

I’m not sure why, but this bra makes me want a Sunset Margarita:

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Which fits in great with January’s Monthly Stitch Challenge! Originally, I was going to make a Mint skirt and top ensemble and site my drinkspiration as a mint milkshake…..but that never happened with all this bra making. But I kept thinking about Sunset Margaritas and it fit in well. They are so tasty.

Desert Sunset Materials:

Lilac large findings kit (KF-34) from Bra Maker’s Supply

Fuchsia duoplex (FJ-6) from Bra Maker’s Supply

5/8 inch black strap and waistband elastic from Porcelynne

Lilac and fuchsia lace from Arte Crafts

Black Powernet (FP-1) from Bra Maker’s Supply

Black Stretch Mesh (FP-7) from Bra Maker’s Supply

Florescent ribbon from stash

Up Next:

I have another cloned bra about halfway done along with my second Maya bra. I’ll be posting my Maya bra review on the Curvy Sewing Collective for Lingerie Month in February. I will also post my review here as well. I’ll be modelling the bra again (!) to show you how each one changes with fit. Check out the beautiful materials I am working with for my next few bras:

20160123_205255 Blush bra kit

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Speaking of materials, Megan and I have some bra making materials tips and shopping lists that will be posted on CSC next week to help you start your bra making journey. I’ll be listing all the materials from the above and talking about large busted material tips. Keep your eye out for that!

Agent of Love and Exams, the pretty sailor suited soldier Sailor Mercury!

This is a post about a bra.

I grew up with the English dubbed version of Sailor Moon. It was my favourite show and I would watch it endlessly. This was before we could download shows or stream them. I taped tons of Sailor Moon and ran home at various time from school to watch. I was 15/16 when I first started watching. We got the internet around the same time and I discovered that the English dubbed version was pretty different from the Japanese version. Eventually I read the manga and got to watch the Japanese version. I bought Sailor Moon everything and became a hardcore fan.

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At 15/16, I bought all of the Sailor Moon mini palaces including the larger moon kingdom palace above. Little chibi Sailor Scouts were a favourite of mine. Sadly, I have nothing left from this era. I loved this stuff, though.

I wasn’t a popular kid growing up. I was a bookworm. Naturally, Sailor Mercury was my favourite. She could kick ass and still get her assignments in on time.

There’s something about the Sailor Scouts for me. The idea of being a young woman and being assertive and strong resonated with me. The show gave me a lot of strength and repaired a lot of my feelings about vulnerability. I wasn’t going to be the victim anymore. I started standing up to bullies and really became the strong woman I am today.

I have been watching the new Sailor Moon Crystal series. I actually really love it. I’m not that far in, though, because the wedding distracting me. I need to catch up!

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The bra’s colours instantly reminded me of Sailor Mercury along with the oversized bow. I named her Sailor Mercury and she’s a beauty and strong. I put the bigger bra lower so it wouldn’t be bumpy under whatever dress I am wearing.

This is my best fitting bra yet. I will be tweaking the fit a bit more and more as I make more, but I’m pretty satisfied with this one. It’s super comfortable to wear and has a nice shape and lift.

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I’ve gotten mostly rid of the bulk problem in the bottom seam. There is the tiniest of bumps left. I’m going to ask about sheer nylon stabilizers when I am at Bra-Maker’s Supply in a couple of weeks. This should help reduce the bulk in the seam, but make sure I still get the appropriate support.

For this bra, I increased the lower cup a little more and increased the bottom seam of the upper cup. The seam between the two lower cups now sits where it should at the apex. Before the seam wasn’t quite there and definitely contributed to an odd shape. I think for the next one I will increase the upper cup just slightly, because there is still a tiny bit of flatness in the seam between the upper and lower cups. I also increased the band by a little more than a 1/4 on each side. A little bit more than a 1/2 inch in total. I can’t quite remember the amount to be honest. That’s why I am being vague. That was just enough to make it a lot more comfortable for me. My other two are a little bit too tight. I can wear them okay, but after a day my sides pinch a little bit. This one, though, perfection. A bra should be so comfortable that you barely notice that you have it on.

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I did a much better job with the straps and hook and eye than I have in the past. The stitching is still not perfect and my machine skipped a couple of stitches, but it’s getting there! They look kind of wonky in the picture above and don’t appear to sit correctly, but on me they scoop perfectly down to the hook/eye and sit very flat. I don’t think I will be working up my nerve to show you a picture of me in these bras. My day job would have a fit about that if it ever got back to them. The back looks great, though, take my word for it.

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I did a much better job of making the bridge look nice at the top of the cups. I extended the channeling and used that to cover the raw edges. It also nicely lends a bit more structure to the lace at the top and will help it last.

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I also lined the lace! I used stretch mesh with spandex from BMS. It’s definitely going to preserve the stretch lace.

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Speaking of the lace, I took the lace off of a nightgown that I had used for a cosplay project last year. The upper part of the nightgown wasn’t needed so I cut it off. The large bow also comes from the nightgown. I made the smaller bows on the straps using the fork method.

The teal blue fabric is duoplex and the band is white power net. Elastic findings are a kit. All these are from BMS.

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The insides of my bras are starting to look at lot better. I would still like a way to make the raw edge of the lace look better though. I will be asking about that at BMS.

The final touch I made for this bra was to officially make it Sailor Mercury:

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On the right strap at the back, I embroidered a tiny Sailor Mercury symbol to let my geek subtly shine through. Now I have to make sure my strap is showing! 😉

This is my favourite bra yet. I’ll probably be saying that for sew many bras in the future! I have planned out three more bras in terms of fabric combinations and named two with the help of Instagram! I need your help for the last one. 🙂

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Ruby: Black duoplex/elastics/powernet with red lace. Thanks to Maris for naming this one!

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Black Raspberry: Black cherry duoplex, dusty rose lace, black power net/elastics, and grey ribbons. Thanks to Elizabeth for naming this one!

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Help me name this one!

Fuschia and lilac lace from Arte Crafts, fuschia duoplex, and lilac findings kit.

Update: The name was randomly chosen! Thanks Nicole for Desert Sunset. 🙂

It’s Lingerie Month over at the Sewcialists blog. Will you be taking part and posting your project to the flickr group for the round up post? I’m definitely posting this!

Winter Round-up and Spring Sewing plans

Winter Round Up

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

1. Underwear:

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

2. Outerwear:

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

I did not get to making my raincoat M6517.

3. Skirts:

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

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

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

4. Men’s Clothes:

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

5. Dresses:

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

I did not get to the Burdastyle tunic.

6. Tops:

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I made one white Jennifer Lauren Vintage Bronte top.

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

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

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

Spring Sewing Plans:

1. Outerwear:

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

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Pattern M6517:

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I also want to make M7100:

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

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

2. Men’s clothes:

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

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

3. Dresses:

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

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

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

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

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

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

I still want to make the Burda tunic dress:

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I also want to make Simplicity 1459:

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

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

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4. Top:

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

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With this fabric:

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

5. Lingerie

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

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

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

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:

hollyburn

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:

betsy

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:

snapdragon

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:

S1544

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:

S2741

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:

M6932

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:

violet

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):

Burda tunic

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:

bronte

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:

oakridge blouse

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:

M6649

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:

M7094

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?

Beginner Bra Making Workshop at the Bra Maker’s Supply in Hamilton, ON

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November 28/29, I took a beginner bra making course at Bra Maker’s Supply in Hamilton, ON, Canada. If you ever have an opportunity to take a class there or anywhere with Beverly Johnson, I suggest that you take it!

Beverly Johnson is called the Fairy Bra Mother and she is definitely that. She fits bras so perfectly that you can get a perfect bra on almost the first try, if not the first try. Not only does the class price include the pattern, but it also includes fabric/notions for one bra, a personal fitting and custom pattern by Beverly, as well as an alterations needed after you make your first bra and a wicked pink pen:

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Did you know I like the colour pink? Did you!?!

The amazing thing about the workshop are all the sample bras available for us to inspect for various parts of the construction with either the main pattern or other patterns by Beverly through Pin Up Girl patterns. I found it incredibly useful to inspect these and see the pretty variations on the patterns to get fun ideas for future versions.

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Our main instructor for the class was Denise. Beverly was available for the fittings and any questions we had along the way.

Denise is a wonderful instructor. She’s very clear in her explanations and was always available for questions or one-on-one coaching, as well as trouble-shooting machine issues and comfort/tea in hand when a machine was deemed broken. Not mine, luckily. My wonderful machine, Jane Eyre, was a trooper and didn’t have an issue with the transportation or the fabrics for the bras. Go Jane Eyre! Reader, I love my machine!

I’m going to take you through the class and tell you about all the wonderful things I learned.

Off the bat, we’re taken into the fitting room one by one to determine alterations to the pattern and try on some mock-ups that have no underwire in them. This allows Bev and Denise to see how the cup fit is and how much to add to the band width.

You will be naked on top during parts of the fitting. Don’t be squeamish about that. It’s just like getting an exam in a doctor’s office. All Beverly and Denise see are what to to with the bra pattern. The pattern used for the class is the Classic Full Band Bra.

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They make all sorts of notes on the alterations needed to get the perfect fit.

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I had a ton of alterations. Also, as you can see, my size is a 48F. Crazy!

The fittings actually take a while to get through. As soon as you are fitted, you then begin tracing your pattern pieces: Upper cup, lower cup, back band, strap, and front frame. The basic pattern pieces are shown below.

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Then Denise and Beverly run around cutting up the tissue that you lovingly traced, slashing out bits and adding in others and making your custom pattern based on the alterations.

This all takes until about noon or 1pm, depending on where you were in the fitting line-up. Cutting out the actual fabric didn’t happen until the afternoon for me and then the sewing began after that.

My alterations for my first bra included cutting my lower cup into two (centre lower cup and armhole side lower cup), extending the back band by one inch (which was later removed after fitting), and all sorts of other things listed on the above page.

As soon as the sewing began, I was in my own world. When at home, this often means my fiance doesn’t get listened to for long periods of time and I forget to eat. Of course, in a class, I have to listen to the instructor and I need to eat for sewing fuel. I was pretty bad about eating during the two-day course.

The seams for the bra have to be a perfect 1/4 inch seam and Denise had a wonderful tip for making sure you stick to the perfect 1/4 inch seam.

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Measure 1/4 inch from where your needle hits and stick a chunk of painter’s tape there. It has to be rather thick (cut into the thin painter’s tape while it’s on the roll). Then you are just running your fabric along that to get the right seam. Worked perfectly for me.

The seams also all need to be pressed to the appropriate side (the patterns tells you how to press the seam). Of course, my pattern had the split lower cup, so I had additional steps and pressed the seams slightly differently for the lower cup to make them sit correctly.

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The neat pressing blocks they have!

 

Here are some pictures as I sewed:

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The last photo shows how far I got. I did not get very far by the end of the first day.

The second day began and I was the last to arrive (although, first on the first day). We just went straight into sewing and sewed away for the rest of the day with short lessons by Denise throughout.

Check out my cute little corner of the workshop:

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I don’t actually have a picture of the bra when I finished sewing. I have a picture of the bra after the final alterations with the fitting.

Everyone’s final fitting was different. Some had very little or nothing at all to change for the next bra. I, however, was not so lucky. I had multiple alterations. I tried on the bra and there were plenty of things to make better. The only issue with bra making is that you can’t fit along the way as you can with other garments. It’s only the complete garment that gives you the full picture. My first bra wasn’t lost. As I write this, I am wearing it. It is not perfect, though. We had to add in darts in the cups and the bridge, as well as shorten the band. Beverly also made changes to my tissue pattern and ensured that I had some extra white fabric to try another bra to check the fit. She also said that I should come in to see if there was anything further that needed to be done. I’ll head back once I make another bra.

Let’s take a look at my first bra:

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Those blue dots are from fabric markers. The thread is in a pale pink so that we can rip out stitches, if necessary. And all the bras were in white fabric. You can see the darts in the bottom pictures. The shortened band was simple to change and not have anyone be the wiser. A wider hook and eye piece was added and the ends of the band with the previous hook and eye cut off. My pattern pieces were also altered by Beverly to make the lower cup horizonal rather than diagonal. I’m interested to see how this makes the fit better. Beverly said this type of cup is better for a large bust, as it provides a better shape/support.

Since then, I have added some hot pink ribbons at the centre and at the part where the upper cup and strap meet on both sides, as well as weaved the ribbon in the upper elastic. I haven’t taken a picture of that yet, since I’ve been wearing it pretty consistently since. I will try to take a picture when I show you my next bra.

Upon wearing your first bra, you’ll notice what needs to change. I will be shortening the fabric portions of the strap for the next one, as I find that I wear it on the smallest elastic setting and still find it too long. I will shorten by an inch and adjust the elastic appropriately. I also think the back band should be snugger. I’ve considered shortening that as well, but it could be remedied by doubling the power mesh, as Beverly recommended. My underwires are also not the right size, as they hit me in an awkward spot. I will ask Beverly about that when I go back for another fitting with the next bra and ask for a replacement of the other wires I bought.

It was also my birthday during the course. I celebrated turning 34 appropriately by buying lots of sewing things:

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I got a beginner quilter’s kit, which comes with a rotary cutter, square ruler, small cutting mat, chalk pencils, thimbles, pins, and safety pins at Walmart. Yeay, first rotary! I have two more large cutting mats on their way from Joann’s as part of their cyber monday sale. I bought notions, lace, and fabric for two more bras: turquoise and fushia, as well as the notions for my next test bra.

Unfortunately between a long commute to Hamilton and not eating properly for two days, I have been unwell since. I have fibromyalgia (chronic pain and fatigue are the main symptoms among other things), as well as many food sensitivities, which means I wasn’t able to really carry a lot with me without being in horrible pain and didn’t have many options for food while there. The second day I did manage to eat more, but find that any changes in my eating schedule or just my schedule in general tend to set off fibro flare-ups like crazy. I didn’t get home until 8pm and was up at 6am both days. I felt pretty defeated all last week (I cried a lot and stayed off social media for the most part…pain makes for an emotional and reclusive Andie), but did manage to put pdf patterns together towards the end of last week and then cut out a bunch of things on Saturday (although, I regret doing too much of that as I was very sick that evening). I am starting to feel a little less horrible in the fibro department. All of this is to say that it was difficult to find the energy to write this entry until now and I feel like it wasn’t as fresh in my mind, but I am definitely a fan of the class. I will answer anyone’s questions if you feel like there are gaps in my retelling.

I can’t recommend the class more and will definitely be taking more classes there in the future. There is a swimwear class and various others that are right up my ally. Of course, that will all have to be after the wedding! I also purchased the Craftsy class Beverly teaches called “Sewing Bras” during Craftsy’s Black Friday sale. I wanted to make sure I had a back up to reference when my foggy memory failed.

If you’ve ever been afraid of trying out bra making, but always wanted to, take the plunge. Seriously, the actual sewing is relatively simple and fitting can be worked out over several test bras. As long as you go into bra making with the understanding that your first bra will likely not be perfect, you will be okay. Beverly says, if you can set a sleeve, you can make a bra. That statement is very true.

Have you ever thought of making a bra?