Monday, October 20, 2014

Burda 6990: Cool Weather Raglan Top

Line Drawing

I've made Burda 6990 two times in the past, you can see them here.  One is a running top and the other a sweater.  This is View A.  I used this beefier then average navy and red striped cotton jersey I picked up on my Fabric Mart trip a few weeks back, from the Julie's Picks Club.  The red is a really nice ponte I got from Mood Fabrics, it's leftover from a really terrific dress I made for a friend and never blogged about.

I made my standard Burda size of 42 and graded out to a 46 hip.  I've found that the seam on the raglan shoulder, front and back, have this really weird bulge to them and had to take that in... I did that for my past versions as well.  I also took in the sleeve width about a 1/2" (1.25 cm) because they were baggy.  With that, it ends up all being no too tight or too loose.  A center back seam would have taken care of the fabric pooling in back, but since I'm working with stripes it would have been weird looking.  I opted for the mild pooling of material. Whatevz.

I want to make more of these basic tops! The pattern is a blank slate for sure.  I added a binding on the neckline and wide cuffs to the improvised 3/4 length sleeve. I would made long sleeves but my scrap of red ponte was too short.  I did NOT lengthen this top as I usually do for Burda.  I am 5'8" (1.73 m) and found this to be a nicer long length shirt right from the envelope.

I was in the mood for some zig zag top stitching so I decided to forgo the twin needle.  I kinda like the detail of it.  Here's a grumpy face.  I can't take myself that seriously when I'm in my backyard getting photos taken of me, I'm sure half my neighbors think I'm a weirdo.

It's a perfect top for fall. I often don't get quick reaction from my husband on things I make but I walked downstairs in this shirt this morning and he commented on how he liked it.  I get man points for this one.  I'm not sure what man points are.

Oh, my garden is now a cat's litter box and a random container of various other crap.  But I do have decorative corn stalks, as sad as they look.  I've been working on a winter coat.  I've had one failed muslin and have another one in the works.  Plus I got a really interesting long term sewing proposition last week.  More to come on that...

Monday, October 13, 2014

How I Dye My Bra Stuff + A Very Green Orange Lingerie Marlborough Bra

Dyeing bra fabrics, laces, elastics and notions is ridiculously easy and quite economical since I want to make multiple different bras with my limited stash.  I purchased many yards of this very nice quality nylon/spandex white galloon lace at FIFTY CENTS a yard over  a year ago at a clothing & lingerie manufacturer's warehouse sale.  I need only so many plain white bras.  I used plain white everything else for dyeing purposes.  Note that polyester materials will not dye well, or at all.  All of my stuff here is a nylon based, the rings and sliders are nylon coated.  I used a medium/heavyweight powermesh and a nylon/spandex fabric that might technically be a swimsuit fabric.  My wide elastic for the bottom of the bra was a surprising polyester/spandex and took on only a hint of my dye.  It somehow didn't get photographed above but it's evident in the finished bra pics.

I dye all my materials before sewing because there may be variations in the dye job on the fabric, I can cut around them if it happens, but I've not had that issue anyhow.  For this green bra I used liquid RIT dye in Apple Green (I know, the photo has brown).  I often will mix colors for custom shades but I kept it straight up green today.  I use a large pot usually meant for canning and a plastic spork thingy, both I've allotted for dye jobs only... no cooking ever with these.  I cut the recommended amounts of fabrics and elastics.  I fill the pot about 1/2 full with hot water, place it on my stove to heat it while I dye... but flip the heat off after 5 minutes so.  I used about 1/3 of the bottle of RIT dye and about a 1/2 cup plain white vinegar.  The vinegar helps the dye to do it's job on nylon materials.

I pre-wet my materials with plain tap water-- this allows the dye to absorb evenly when you dip it in, helping it to not soak up in some weirdo way causing a messed up, uneven dye job (this has happened to me before).  I throw EVERYTHING in.  I toss in the itty bitty bits first (the sliders & rings, the hooks and elastics) so they don't get wrapped up, lost and wonky mixed in with the larger bits-- the fabrics.  I use my mega spork to constantly stir (*gently* for a maximum non-splashing experience).  Constant agitation makes sure I have an even dye job-- letting it sit quietly in the pot un-stirred=icky, uneven color (been there, done that). I keep it moving.  I usually leave it all in about 10 minutes or so until I see a color result I like.  So no one is breaking their arm stirring a pot of bra stuff.  

I fish it all out with my spork or go right in the pot with gloved hands-- the reason why I don't REALLY heat up my dye water to boiling or something.  I toss it all in a plastic bag, run to my basement to pour the pot of dye into a slop sink that has years of dye and paint splatters already on it... no worries there with dye.  I rinse my bra materials then hand wash them with detergent.  Then everything air dries on plastic hangers above the same sink in case I haven't washed the dye perfectly out and residual dye drips down.

I used my very favorite bra pattern here: The Orange Lingerie Marlborough Bra.  You can see previous ones I've sewn and my alterations right here on past blog posts.  The basics: I make a 38B, altering the upper cup and bridge for my figure.

Yes, I forgot to dye any lining fabric and that support elastic across the lacey upper cup.  But I did use a non-stretch beige nylon tricot for the cups-- the green nylon/spandex fabric on the outside is pretty stretchy and needed to be stabilized.  The beige elastic on the lace upper cup is a 1/4" (.635 cm) wide.  You can see how the wide elastic on the bottom of the bra is a faint green-ish color... this ended up being a polyester based material that doesn't dye well with the dye I used.  There is RIT dye for polyester but that stuff is wicked nasty toxic smelling and gross to breath in--- I used some of that stuff to dye my wedding dress a crazy pink to make a new dress from it last year.

I had a little fun improvising with my laces.  I added a bit next to the hook and eye bits on back.  I also extended the lace of the side seam.  To hold it in place, I just use a small zig zag stitch around the lace edges.

I made my own little bow from a roll of skinny ribbon.  It was already green, no need to dye!  I love these shades of green.  As soon as I saw the dried materials after dyeing I realized that it's the exact same color as the green shag rug I had in my bedroom growing up.

And here is how it all fits.  I've forgotten back shots before... so here's one.  It's all so green.  It's Kermit the Frog green. 1970s Shag Rug green.  But not puke Brady Bunch avocado green... there's a fine line and this is not that.  Green!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Orange Lingerie Marlborough Bra: A Red & Black Lacey One

I'm on a roll here with my Orange Lingerie Marlborough Bras!  I need to replace some old ones and I also am just obsessed with bra making at the moment.  I made no alterations as compared to my last very success version of this pattern.   This red and black bra is a size 38B with my upper cup alterations for my shallow bust. You can see Version One here, Two & Three here along with the alterations I made and the sizing I worked with.

I used a non-stretch black lace for the cups and bridge.  I used a temporary fabric spray adhesive (it can be purchased at most big box stores) to secure the lace to the red nylon/spandex material-- this made is so easy to sew without the usual shifting that can occur with a million pins holding it all together.  What's nice it that the spray adhesive cleans up with plain old soap and water plus it's acid free.

The red nylon/spandex fabric is a little beefier then I'd normally use for the cup.  I actually used the fabric for a pair of running tights last year.  My fabrics are both from a clothing manufacturer's warehouse sale I went to last year, so I can't replace this stuff.  I ran out of materials to make a pair of matching undies!

My dark red elastics and straps are from a Merckwaerdigh kit.  I *WISH* I had gold rings and slider  to replace the clear plastic ones that came included on the straps... but these are a wider strap then I usually use and don't have any in my stash.  I normally use 1/2" wide strapping.  The elastic along the top of the upper cup is actually the same as the underarm elastic... I just carefully trimmed off the picot edge.  The black hook & eyes on back along with the underwire casing is from Sew Sassy.  I have a number of different underwires in my stash but the ones from Porcelynne in size 38 have been exactly what I need for my wide, shallow bust.  I made my own little black bow from a spool of ribbon and then added a vintage button.

I don't have my dress form set up to be my perfect duplicate to model the bras I sew, so here is another modest snapshot of this super adorable bra on a body!  It's a really nice, comfy fit.  I wish I pulled the elastic tight for the underarm area, it's a wee bit loose, but not a huge issue at all.  I didn't line the upper cup.  This bra will be really great for less hot weather because it's a bit more substantial then some I wear now.  But that red fabric is a technical fabric and feels GREAT against the skin. So much of my technical/running/activewear fabrics are perfect for using in lingerie making.  I use all the scraps and bits after sewing crazy running tops and tights.  

I should really make a combined list of all the lingerie suppliers I like and/or use.  There are several already out there but none list all the places I frequent.  The one that I find to be the most comprehensive is from Amy over at Cloth Habit.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Orange Lingerie Marlborough Bra: Third Times The Charm!

I think I got it!  I think I got the fit spot on!! It's my latest Marlborough Bra from Orange Lingerie.  I sewed my first version (the cream colored one) a couple weeks ago, thought it was too big in the cup, went on to sew Version 2 (photos immediately below)  which ended up a disgustingly small fit in the cup ), went back to Version 1 (that cream one), then sent photos and asked Norma (designer of the pattern) via Twitter for advice on how to adjust the cup.  Of course she was right, check out Version 3, the pink one above!  But first, I must mourn the loss of a the gorgeous, too small bra.  I took photos for posterity, then ripped it apart to keep the findings.  I hand dyed all the fabric and lace that lovely shade of purple and lined it with silk organza.  It was about 95% done.  No way I was tossing out those elastics from a pricey Merckwaerdigh kit.

Update, Sept 30, 2014: Version 4 can be found here!

  I used size 38B for this pink Marlborough Bra.  I found that my original one version (the cream one) was much too large in the upper area of the cup.  This is a very common occurrence in nearly every RTW bra I try on since I have a shallow bust as well as a wide root.  This means most of the bust tissue is lower on the bust and each bewb takes up a pretty wide area.  So I need a wide cup... but the top half of the cup has a hollow, open space creating wrinkling and a "hammock" effect.  Funny fact, a 38B cup is equivalent to a cup in a 32DD.

I could pinch out a decent amount on the upper cup (LEFT).  After removing a
sliver from the pattern pieces, the pink bra is the result (RIGHT).
Yes, I took some generic, vague pics of the cups while it was being worn.  It was the best way to demonstrate the problem.  I asked Norma, the designer of the bra, what would be the best way to remove that excess material.  I used her advice.  I pinched out the extra fabric along the vertical seam, I wanted to only remove material from the upper and lower cup and NOT the power bar. I pinned it.  I then transferred the markings to my pattern.  You can see this below in the photos.

First I lined up and taped the upper and lower cup where their seams meet on their right.  I marked and drew in a new seam line and cutting line.  You can see it's a wedge.  I cut the extra pattern edge off. I then re-drew my seam lines as dotted line to match  the rest of the pattern pieces.  For my ease of reference, I wrote on all the seam lines to let me know which seam line it will be sewn to... i.e. "attach to lower cup", etc.

I laid my first bra against my latest bra for comparison's sake.  All's the same except for the height of the top of the cup, plus there is a little space removed in the volume on top.

Crazy how the fabric pieces and lacey bits are all just a tiny mess of a pile that turns into something so pretty and quite supportive.  This bra pattern is great for everyday support.  I am not jogging in it or hiking in it.  But I'm doing normal stuff in it.

I used the same laces and elastics in this pink bra as I did in my first bra (the cream one) just so I could compare apples to apples.  A different material can drastically change the fit of a bra.  I hand dyed this lace a while back.  I wish I thought to toss some findings, underwire tubing and the bra clasp for the back.  And that bridge... it's making me so happy.  I altered it to fit using Norma's book Demystifying Bra Fitting & Construction.  Check out my review of the book here.

If you look real close, I did use a different lace for the bridge... it has the same qualities, hand and stretch as the other so there would be no noticeable difference in fitting.

I always want to see what a finished garment looks like on the body.  And when it's a bra I like to understand the shape the cups produce.  So I took a few photos and tweaked them for modesty's sake.

And to get a better idea of how it works under just a regular top, I took a shot while I wore it under a plain tank top here.  Bewbies!!!!

Here's a fun little trick I've seen in a variety of places (I can't recall the original source, possibly Sigrid?)  To get the lace to line up ever so perfectly, line up the seam line with a low dip in the lace's scalloped edge.  Perfection!

ANYONE sew up this pattern yet besides me?!  I want to hear what you've experienced and see what you think, too.  Do share!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Vogue 8950: A T-Shirt

I made a t-shirt. 100% cotton jersey.  The easiest thing ever.  So I am obsessing over the fit instead.  This is View A of Vogue 8950.  It's a tunic style, meaning the pattern's bodice is mega long and will cover ones rear (I shortened it some.)  View B and C are long sleeved if you that that.  It's a super roomy fit.  I looked at some other reviews of this but no one really compares their normal Vogue size to what they made, or it's not being modeled on a body.  I normally cut a 16 bodice and grade up two sizes for the widest part of my hip.  For this top I cut a half size down overall.  Worst yet, there are NO finished measurements on the envelope OR the tissue. Grrrrr!

Best picture I took this windy morning. Or ever?

I actually did NOT lengthen the pattern for once (I usually have to by 1"/2 cm since I'm 5'8"/1.73m)-- I lopped of about 2" (5 cm) off the finished hem instead.   Here, check out what it looked like before (below) I cut off that length and hemmed it while in my sewing basement... I felt like this short was screaming an early-maternity-look.  It was an odd length on my figure. The hem needed to go up.. or lengthen it for a cutesy a-line spring dress.

No likey.

I am quite pleased with the front bodice fit.  But my back side is a zone of major curves and bumps creating a need for better tailoring.

I need to do some swayback adjustment.  I *almost* did one before I even cut the fabric, but laziness prevailed.  The truth is, this is how my RTW tops already fit anyhow. But I'm not here to bust out RTW fitted tops!  I was on the ball and did alter the back neckline.  I added two dart because it was gaping out (this is a normal occurrence with almost all patterns for me.)  You can't even see them.

The side view is not my favorite.  The back has so much extra material floating around back there.  I know, you're like, why is she being so critical.  These are my notes for future reference for this pattern and I feel like I don't have a load to say about the steps and process of sewing a basic tee.

I made a pocket. Why not?  You can also see I top stitched my yoke and added a narrow binding for my neckline.  The pattern tells you to just fold over the edged and stitch?! No thanks.  I ended up cutting of enough length to remove the side vents at them and ten created a softly rounded hemline.  I used Pellon Easy Knit Tape (cut to half width) on my hem before folding it up and using a straight stitch.  This hem will never need to be stretched so a straight stitch is totally fine.  I did just fold my sleeve hems up and do a very slight zig zag stitch. This was 1.0 width and 2.5 length.

Friday, September 19, 2014

McCall's 6844: An Autumn Sweater

It's lightweight sweater season!  At least in the early morning and evening here in Baltimore in late Septermber.  Summer was pretty tame this year anyhow.  So I got on board and sewed up McCall's 6844 .  It's a wildly popular on the internetz with the sewing crowd.  I was REALLY unsure about it once it was done and I was down in my sewing hole in my basement at 11 PM last night, with it big ole fluffy butt ruffle in back.  In the light of day and after a solid morning of wearing it (hence the wrinkles and slight disheveled look of it in the photos here) I am loving it.

Aww geez... I did not look in the mirror before taking this pics, I am so annoyed with that rumply bit above my left boob.  I used a cotton/spandex knit that clings so nicely to the cotton t-shirt I'm wearing, but I sew normal, everyday clothes and this is what I look like if you when you  see me skipping down the street.  It was a MAJOR pain to cut evenly since it's such a very stretchy, crepe-like fabric.  But it's a crazy comfy light sweater.

I made View D in size Medium. The front lapel is not meant to close or touch but mine overlaps due to stretchiness of my material.  I lengthened both the sleeves and bodice by 1" (2.5 cm), this is a standard alteration for me since I'm 2" (5 cm) taller then what McCall's drafts for-- they draft their average height patterns for 5'6" (1.68 m) while I'm 5'8" (1.73 m).

I did not use any interfacing in the "band" piece... the lapel on front.  I did not want the stiffness that it would create.  Plus I am sure the super stretchy, bumpy crepe surface of the fabric wouldn't allow the iron on interfacing properly adhere.

But I did stabilize both the shoulder seams, back neck and lapel/band.  I cut my Pellon Easy-Knit Tape down the center to split it in half and then ironed on the proper length to each section on the seam.  Rather then staystitching (Step 3 in the directions), I used this stuff to stabilize that section of the lapel/band.  I used my serger for this project with the exception of the topstitching.

This lone sunflower is the last of my garden besides a tomato plant that is slowly dying.  Amazing what a matter of 4 weeks did to my crazy, lush garden.

September 19: Nothing but some bundled dry corn stalks
August 13: Jungle
This was a really simple pattern to sew.  It took me about 2.5 hours at the machine and going at a casual speed, too.  I've got a new version of McCall's 7026 cut and ready to sew.  This one will be a half zip with some stupid soft, amazing technical wicking fabric from New Balance. Plus I found a local resource for the quality YKK zippers I was looking for... that last version I used some nasty Coats & Clark one from JoAnn's.  If  you live in the Baltimore area, it is a MUST to go to Stadham Sewing.  These guys have are a local gem for sewing supplies, machine repair or to buy an industrial machine or twelve.  Renee did a great job blogging about them last year with lots of pics.