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.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

McCall's 7026: A Polartec Fleece Jacket (& A Fehr Trade XYT Top)

It's about fall time and I need some lightweight jackets for everyday as well as for running.  I fell fast for McCall's 7026, a pattern with several Lululemon-esque activewear jackets, plus some super basic tights.  I sewed up View B with a few changes.  I've never ever in my life sewed with fleece and I wanted to do it right a quality one.  I got this super soft Polartec Classic 100 for only $3/yard at Mill Yardage.  (FYI: The queen of ugly, cheapy quality fleece, Jo@nn Fabrics, actually carries Polartec fleece now-- I saw several basic colors for $9.99/yard, I am sure it's the Classic 100.)  You can see I tried to take pics in the yard but the sun is shockingly perfect and bright today causing major overexposure and weird shadows!  So I went to the porch next to ye old push lawnmower. 

I made slightly above a 14, graded to above a 16 at the waist and then just above an 18 at the hip.  I added 1" (2 cm) to the arm length as well as for the bodice.  I'd really say I added another 1/2" (1 cm) to the hem as I sewed it up super narrow.  My zipper is the recommended 22".  I could have used the 24"?!  I would like more length on this jacket next time, too.  I for some reason cut a straight size 14 for the arms and sewed it a little snugger then that, the arms are a tad tight. 

The back hemline doesn't dip down low like all the technical drawings indicate.  There is a line on the pattern pieces for the low dipping hem as well as a line for a straight back hem.  The princess seaming is fantastic for easy altering.  I wish the sleeves were two pieces for a more accurate fit.  

I did not do the piping on the seams, I wanted them free so I was able to take in/out anything as I sewed.  I'd do the piping next time.  You can also see I excluded the hand warmer thingies... that is one of the main elements I love about the pattern. Why did I get rid of 'em then?!

Look at the pic right above, it was during sewing while those hand things were on.  They were super awkward with the thick layers of black fleece AND the arm was all bunched up and looked so weird.  They got chopped off.  My next version will have a modified version of the hand cuffs.  And I also hacked out my pockets.  I used a mesh fabric but they added a weird bulk and kept bunching up.  I should have understitched the pocket, this would have helped.  Plus they were in an awkward location in the seams, it just felt weird to put my hands in it. Goodbye pockets.  I'll do pockets in another one.

 The zipper I used is not the best at all.  It's a Coats & Clark separating zipper, it's so crappy. I tried to press it flatter, it's just bumpy and distorts the fabric.  But to be honest, it's not a complete deal breaker, I'll wear this still.  Another modification I will make on Version 2: I will add that little fabric tab that folds over the top of the zipper to stop it from scratching my neck.  You know, that little bit that the lady in purple has on her zipper here on the right.  
The jacket is unlined.  And I totally never got around to blogging about this super cute white Fehr Trade XYT Top (previous version are here, here, and here.)  I used a New Balance spun polyester activewear fabric (from Fabric Mart, but it's no longer available).  It's super soft, lighter weight, but after wearing it for several runs I've decided the fabric may be better for cold weather base layering since it felt like I was retaining more heat the I liked.  The cherries are a nylon/spandex swimwear I got last year from Fabric Fairy (it's not on their site anymore either.)

You can't see it very clearly but the black fleece has these lines running through it.  This material is from the Flawed/Overstock sale and this is actually a "flaw"... but it looks really cool and adds texture.  Plus I was freakishly careful and got every seam and line all lined up ever so perfectly with all that piecing! Happy dance!  No one will ever care besides me though. You can see the lines in the pic below, I had to take it off and hold it up to the light.

This a great little wearable muslin.  I did follow along with directions for maybe 3/4 of the project, and they are solid.  I used my serger for all my seams and took care to switch thread colors when sewing on the pink or the black.  On to the next project!