Monday, December 15, 2014

Two Orange Lingerie Marlborough Bras + A Pair of Cloth Habit Watson Undies

Now that I've perfected the fit of my Orange Lingerie Marlborough bra pattern, I am freakishly compelled to make like, a thousand of them.  Here is my history of my sewn Marlboroughs. Plus the laundry blackhole in my house has sucked up my very cute pink Marlborough... I can't find that bra, it's sooo weird.  And I made another pair of Cloth Habit's new Watson Bikini undies. Here's my first pair of those.  Both bras are 38B with my personal alterations (which can be seen on this post.)  The undies are an altered XL.

I used this nylon graphic floral lace.  It has no spandex so I cut the back band on a bias for a tad more stretch.  I hand dyed the lace, elastics, powermesh, tricot lining and hooks in a weak dye bath of brown RIT dye, hot water and vinegar for all of a minute or so.  Although it came out quite pink and less pale brown/beige then I expected, I really like the pale pale pink results.  I took the silver hardware from an old RTW bra for the bra straps.  The button in the center is from my vintage collection, I made a little organza bow to sit under it.

The elastics here are from Lace Heaven (I'm in no way affiliated with them.) The site is a hot mess IMHO and difficult to navigate and find what you want, but with patience I've found loads of plush back elastics that are perfect for lingerie sewing.  Click on the Elastic Trim button on their main page and it will take you to a jumble of elastics in various widths and styles-- but many listed there do not have the plush backing, so note that.  Although the lace I used here was in my stash from elsewhere, there's lots of lace on their site ideal for lingerie sewing.  I have been using a 1/4" stretch lace from them as well to stabilize the top edge of my bra cups, on the inside along the lacey edge.

I used a heavyweight powermesh on the band.  So between the non-spandexy floral lace fashion fabric and this powermesh, the band isn't very stretchy, creating a pretty firm fit.  I lined all the rest of the bra with nylon tricot I had in my stash.  That 1/2" lower band elastic is likely made with polyester so it doesn't take my RIT dye well.  And because there's no spandex in the floral lace, I didn't make a pair of Watson undies to match.  But how cute would that have been?!

Now for Marlborough brassiere numero dos and the matching Watson undies. I used a 4-way stretch nylon/spandex mesh with this crazy fun abstract design.  I lined the cups with two layers of a black tricot.  The tricot has a one way stretch, so I layered it in opposite directions under the mesh to give it a stronger foundation.

I like to spray a temporary fabric adhesive to each layer prior to cutting any patterns pieces so they stick to each other through the whole sewing process.  Machine basting and rumply layers of fabric... no thanks.  I used only on layer of tricot under the mesh for the band allowing it to stretch comfortably while wearing.  This bra is stretchier and has a less firm hold in comparison to the floral one above... but still a comfortable, casual firmness sorta bra I will wear a zillion times.

All the elastics are from Lace Heaven and the purple upper cup lace is from Porcelynne.  It's amazing I can recall where every bit and bob is from.  If there is anything I don't mention ever, just ask and I will tell you exactly where it came from.

Now these undies. The Cloth Habit Watson Bikinis.  They are a breeze to sew.  I made the XL again.  But I reduced the waist down a half size (could go a full size really) and added 5/8" (1.6 cm) height to the rise (could go higher, just for personal taste.)  You can see my muslin here.

I did not line them with anything. Well, I used a scrap of black cotton for the crotch to line. Otherwise... gross!  I put them on display for the neighbors to see just how sheer my fancy new undies are.

I've never used a such a thin, lightweight sort of mesh for lingerie sewing.  I was nervous it was get eaten alive in my sewing machine.  Nope.  Not at all.  I used a ball point needle and my walking foot.  It was fine.

Here's how they fit.  If you wonder how I alter my bra pics to remove the person from them, I just use this very simple web app called Pixlr.  I am way too lazy to get my poorly running Mac out to Photoshop anything ever, so Pixlr Editor is the easy way out.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Cloth Habit Watson Bra + Bikini: Muslin #1-- HUGE Bra & Near Perfect Undies

Watson Bra & Bikini PatternI am a sucker for new lingerie patterns so I had to give Cloth Habit's very first official pattern that's she's selling a try: The Watson Bra & Bikini.  It's a basic bralette and undie set that end up looking really great.  I followed her measurement guidelines since I felt this would produce the most accurate results for my muslins.  Nope, not at all for the bra.  I was suspicious that I'd need to size down before even cutting into the fabric but really wanted to stick with her sizing recommendations at first.  I opted for the longline in View A.  I also whipped up the undies.  I had much more success with the bikinis' sizing as I've had experience with making (and really liking!)  her Rosy LadyShorts (here and here) and assumed she used the same underwear block for these.

For the undies I am in the XL size range.  I made a straight size XL but added on some extra butt coverage.  I had to do this for her Rosy LadyShorts, plus I could tell just by looking at the pattern that I'd need to add some material to cover my full rear end.  You can see in the photo on the right where I added on some extra fabric but maintained the XL sizing.  The red line is the original pattern line.  I found that the rise of these undies are a little short for me and will add maybe an inch (2.5 cm) next go round just for personal preference.  The waist is a tad large so I will have to reduce the it down by half a size as well.

My dark blue fabric is a 4-way stretch nylon spandex. I've used it for a pair or running leggings last year.  The white lace is a firm nylon spandex stretch lace that is a nice stand in for a medium powernet... I've it used numerous times and even dyed for a bunch of bras found here, here, here and here.. and maybe other places, too?  I just traced out the edge of the pattern along the edge of the lace then attached it with a medium zig zag stitch along the lower lace edge.

I only used my regular sewing machine for all the seams, the serger would create unwanted bulk.  I opened the seams on the undies and top-stitched them to make a nice smooth look on the front.   I am not a huge fan of having the exposed seam in the crotch as the pattern directions suggest to do.  I enclosed my seams, and it's way easy. I used the 'burrito method'.  You can find detailed directions on this method with the Fehr Trade Free Lacey Thong Pattern.  That purple elastic is the same elastic on these undies, just dyed in a red RIT dye.

And now for that too big but very cute bra.  I measure 36" (91.5 cm) at my underbust, this dropped me in the size 40 band according to the directions.  I was apprehensive, but I went for it.  I am often a 36 or 38 in RTW depending on the bra.  The Watson pattern guidelines: underbusts between 36-37", use a 40 band.  For comparison, I make a size 38B for the Orange Lingerie Marlborough Bra with an aleration for a shallow bust, a 38A for the Pin Up Girls Classic Full Band Bra and about a 38A for the Kwik Sew 3300 bra pattern.  Yes, the fabric has some good stretch but this is waaaaaaaaaaay to huge. Check out the picture below, the cups are massive and I pulled out the band *very* lightly and got inches extra, this is on the tightest set of hooks.  And those cups are gigantor.

This bra is clearly designed for smaller busted women or for women who need minimal support.  I wasn't expecting loads and loads of support with an non-wired bra, but at least a closer fit in the band.  I may be an A/B cup but I need more support then most A/B gals.  I need my band to be tighter-- like the general rule of thumb: if you need more support, use a tighter band... if you need less support, go up a few inches in the band for a looser fit.

What will I do for my second version of the long line Watson bralette?
-Go down a band size and TWO full cup sizes-- from this 40B to a 38A (a 40B cup is equivalent to a 38C cup)
-Use a firmer cup material OR line with a low stretch fabric
-Use powernet or a firm elastic (like the white stuff I have in front cradle) for the band
-Possibly make a shallow bust adjustment

Also, one thing I noted in the materials list that threw off the sewing of the elastics on my bra-- the need for better clarification on which size plush elastic to use for the underarm and neckline.  In the materials list is states to use 1/4" OR 3/8" plush elastic.  I used 3/8" but only to find out after sewing it on that it should have been 1/4".  It would have been helpful to state that the 3/8" was exclusively for the undies in the steps of the directions during that step.  I see that in the Seam Allowance section prior to step one now, it mentions that the SAs on the neckline/underarm are 1/4"... so be careful with that one!  I shoulda done a little better sleuthing.

Overall, the directions are pretty well written but omit a few items that would be of use (i.e. which elastics to use where, there are no metric measurements and inches are used exclusively, etc.)  The illustrations are fantastic.  I followed all of her suggestions for zig zag stitch sizes just for the sake of using and following a new pattern (she does a nice job of telling you what stitch where and when and the size) but I have personal preferences for certain stitches and sizes of them and will likely use my own ideas next go round.  I was a stickler for switching out my threads CONSTANTLY making sure to use white where white materials were used and dark navy where the blue material is... didn't want the contrast stitching.  I sewed this all up quickly, overall not much of a challenge as far as what sewing skills are needed.  I would like to get the right size/fit because I want a comfy, easy to wear non-wired bra.  I always wear underwires (I LOVE my Marlborough. LOVE!)  I think this is a nice pattern with lots of potential for loads of styles/prints/colors.  Plus, if your a bikini wearing type for you swimsuits... this could be a great pattern to use if you added some of those soft padded cups for nippulur modesty.  Alright then, onward!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Cashmere+Viscose Knit Holiday Dress: Vogue 8921-- My December Fabricista Post

If you hadn't seen it yet, my latest Fabricista blog post is up over at Fabric Mart's blog today.  This month it was inevitable that I sew up a dress for the holidays.  I don't go to super swank parties but still wanted something nice for family or friend events plus something for those annual family photos we are taking next week.  I found this decadent green cashmere/viscose knit while shopping Fabric Mart's site.  It's a drapey, super soft knit that moves like a dream.  I perused the internet for inspiration before officially choosing Vogue 8921, View B for my pattern.  I found these two jersey dresses, one from Pucci and another from Issa (yep, the blue version was Kate Middleton's engagement dress... I totally did not know that when I chose the inspiration!)

A few things I forget to mention in the post over at Fabric Mart... I raised the neckline by two full solid inches (5 cm) after having read reviews of this pattern.  Folks said it dips low and I'm not in the mood for a Seinfeld style fashion faux pas in my Christmas photo.  

I used my serger for all my seams but don't own any green cone thread for it.  So I just popped out my first cone and replaced it with a spool of regular green thread so the seams would have green along it.  All the other three cones are black thread.

I also did a quickie swayback adjustment with the back upper bodice waist seam on my tissue before cutting any fabric.  I saw multiple folks reviewing the pattern they had to do one as well.  I just folded up the lower edge to take a fish eye dart out in back.

I was so nervous using this fabric because of the dry clean only suggestion (more on how I pre-treated on my other post on Fabric Mart) but the material went right through my machines with zero issues.  I love the color and the classy-lady vibe this dress has!

Head over the Fabric Mart's blog to see my full post about my dress!  Not sure quite yet what I'll be doing for my next Fabricista post, possibly an activewear one being that it will be the New Year?!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Burda 6990 As A Top & As a Dress: Polartec Merino Wool PowerDry Fabric is Awesome!

There's a road trip in my future and I really wanted some easy to wear travel clothes.  I used pulled out my handy dandy Burda 6990 pattern (previously sewn & blogged here and here) and cut out View D, the raglan turtleneck top.  I then whipped out another favorite of mine, Vogue 8663 (sewn & blogged here, here and here) and spliced the skirt from it to the Burda top. The real star of this show is the Merino Wool PowerDry knit fabric! More on that below.

I traced the lower edge of the Vogue dress to the bodice of the raglan shirt-- it's a bit more fitted that the top.  I wish I went a little lower with the bodice length, the waistline hits a tad higher then I normally like but not really an issue.  I kept the back center seam on the skirt in the name of being thrifty with using my fabric. And I LOVE this fabric!!  It went through my machine and serger like buttah! No puckering, stretching or those common issues with knits.  I did use my walking foot on my regular machine along with a ball point needle.

I picked up this Polartec Merino wool blend PowerDry knit fabric a few months ago from an insane sale online at Mill Yardage.  I paid a glorious $3 a yard for this stuff!  They had a clearance sale getting rid of seconds or damaged yardage-- the issue with this fabric... there is an occasional hole on the layer of wicking material on the reverse side, this has no effect on the technical properties or overall quality what so ever. What's so great about this fabric? Their website describes it this way : Adding Merino Wool to this style means an odor fighting benefit! This soft, stretchy fabric isn't just the best technical underwear of the outdoor market, it is ideal for shirts and aerobic wear. It outperforms all next-to-skin fabrics on the market because its patented construction has two unique surfaces: the soft inner layer rapidly wicks perspiration away from the body, while the durable outer layer spreads moisture for maximum evaporation. 

I doubt I will be sweating like a pig in the dress or shirt and using all that lovely wicking potential it has, but it's a lovely warm layer I can build on with a cardigan, heavier tights, a coat, etc.  I've worn both the dress and the shirt already this week and am loving it.  I get so freakishly cold in the winter and a turtleneck dress with extra warming properties is #1 in my book.  Mill Yardage has a couple more colors of this fabric, be it $10/yard, I'm considering buying some.  The fabric has a sweater-y feel, is thin but opaque.  The right side does have a slight wooly feel, but is soft and may feel a tad scratchy if you're sensitive to wool. The reverse side is very soft and seems to have no wool content.

And here's another one of those sewing blogger "I'm looking at the floor and appear to be very contemplative" shots.  I never have that feeling ever when I am taking photos for my blog.  It's more like, "hurry up before the neighbors start gawking" or "hurry up before my 3 year old runs into the street while I take this photo."

I like my shirt.  I like my dress.  I will make more for I am the practical seamstress.  Now that I've whipped out so many easy peasy projects, I'm going to cut out my materials for my winter coat FINALLY.  I will try to share progress as I go.  I've completed a muslin (two actually, one was a failure but that's what they are for.)  I've pulled all the components together-- lining, various interfacings, interlining, buttons, so on and so forth.  Onward!!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Sewing For Boys 2-In-1 Jacket: A Coat Made From My Cape's Scraps

Last week I finished my Simplicity 1775 cape.  All the while I was working on it, my three year old son kept touching and smelling the wool coating telling me how he loved it. When I was done with my cape I looked at the odd shaped bits I had leftover, about a 1/2 yard and some smaller scraps... I could manage to make him a really simple autumn coat. Totally unplanned awesomeness!!!  I used the 2-in-1 Jacket pattern from the book Sewing For Boys, one of the few pattern resources for making boys clothes.

This jacket is meant to be reversible but I'd think that the wool would be itchy against the skin, so I made it with that in mind.  I used the leftover bits of my black Polartec fleece I used for my McCall's 7026 muslin jacket,

My little guy usually wears a 4T, so I cut size 4T/5T.  This works nicely since the fleece takes up a little more of the wearing ease then a woven. It's still roomy, he wore it over a long sleeves t-shirt and sweatshirt today.

This pattern is sooo easy to sew up.  The inside is just a duplicate of the outside, then they are sewn together with the right sides facing, flipped out and topstitched on the edges.  I opted to make some super easy patch pockets in the name of speed rather then making welt pockets... he needed  a medium-weight coat the next morning for school and I didn't want to stay up any later then I needed.  It took all of three hours to sew.

I wanted this to be an easy to wear garment... it's for a three year old to run and jump and play in after all. The only interfacing I used was on the collar.  I'm not concerned with drape and all that for this coat, the fleece gives the wool coating a nice full body and weight.  I didn't have 5 buttons that matched but I had a pile of buttons to cover!  Adorable!!  I just did machine worked butting holes, another time saver and they still look great.  The one complaint I have about the pattern's directions-- it tells you to put the buttons on the WRONG side of the coat! Ugh!! I had already started sewing the button holes before I caught that.  The book specifically says to sew them this way.. traditionally boys buttons are on the reverse side. Oh, well, not a deal breaker once it's all said and done now.  Hurray for making tiny things from that odd amount of otherwise useless material!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

My Inaugural Blog Post As A Fabric Mart Fabricista Blogger: The Simplicity 1775 Cape

So today is the official kickoff for me as a Fabric Mart Fabricista!
You can find my complete blog post about my cape with lots of pics and a review of the pattern I used right here.

 Some folks may recall I was a participant in their first annual Fabricista Fashion Challenge in 2013.  I have been a devout Fabric Mart shopper for a handful of years now-- I'd estimate that 2/3 of the fashion fabrics I sew with are from them.  I've had an unofficial annual trip from Baltimore to shop in their brick and mortar store for the past couple years.  I've had the fortune of meeting a bunch of the ladies there... and what a great group of folks they are, all so personable and quite knowledgeable!  So it feels natural for me to be a contributor to their blog.

What is a Fabric Mart Fabricista??  Well, right now there are about four of us starting off who will be sewing and then blogging for FM on a regular basis as Fabricistas.  Each month I will sew up a new project with fabrics from FM, photograph and blog about it all-- exactly what I do already for my bloggity blog here.  I want to disclose that yes, I am provided with a monthly budget for each project.  I propose a project (this month it's my freakin' awesome new cape) and select fabrics from their website.  The world famous Julie at FM will approve the proposal and send off the materials to me at no no charge.  You may be familiar with the wildly popular Mood Sewing Network-- I feel like this is similar to their sewing circle.  My blog has not been about making crazy cash or selling you random products or slapping all sorts of ads on my sidebar--supporting a small independent business that I frequent is absolutely worth my while and is, like I said, a natural step for me.  I am going to sew this stuff  plus blog about it anyhow if I wasn't blogging for FM, you know!

Alright then.  So if you wanna see my fly new cape I made for autumn, go on over to the Fabric Mart blog.  And later this week on my own blog, I am going to post what I did with the weird shaped scrap I had leftover.

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...