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Completed: Silk Polka Dot Boylston Bra

18 May

WHO’S READY TO WATCH ME FINISH A BRA? πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

sewing with spiegel boylston bra

Just to recap – I’m sewing the Orange Lingerie Boylston Bra on my Spiege 60609 sewing machine. If you missed the first part of this project, you can see see that post here. In this post, I’ll be going over adding all the elastics and finishing. You know, the fun part! There are a LOT more pictures in this post compared to last week, so – sorry in advance πŸ™‚

Making a Boylston Bra

I finished last week with the main parts of the bra assembled – all the fabric pieces are accounted for, and the underwire casing has been partially attached. Now we are going to sew elastic along the bottom edge of the bra!

Making a Boylston Bra

The elastic is placed on the right side of the bra, plush side facing up and the straight (not picot) edge lined up with the raw edges. For any sort of elastic that has a picot/lace edge, you want to stitch reeeeeally close to that decorative side – like practically sewing on top of it. Here is an extreme close up so you can see how close my needle gets to the picot edge. This step is sewn with a zigzag stitch. I just use a normal zigzag – #226 on the Spiegel 60609.

Making a Boylston Bra

For the most part, the elastic is sewn down flat without any stretching. The only time you’ll want to stretch for this part is underneath the cups and along the curve of the bridge – and then, only stretching SLIGHTLY. If you stretch too much, the bra won’t fit right (ask me how I know). There does, however, need to be a slight amount of stretch in these areas, to help the elastic curve when it’s turned to the inside of the bra.

Making a Boylston Bra

Here is the elastic after it’s been sewn down with the first pass.

Making a Boylston Bra

Trim down any excess fabric up to the stitching line. I like to use duck billed applique scissors because it makes things a little easier, but any scissors will work as long as you are careful not to cut a hole in your fabric!

Making a Boylston Bra

Then you flip the elastic to the inside of the bra, and stitch again with a zigzag stitch (again, I use #226, although most instructions tell you to use a 3 step zigzag. I have never been happy with how that stitch looks on my bras, so I use a standard zigzag! Personal preference!). You want to get right along the edge of the elastic – generally, you can feel this through the fabric (or see it through the power mesh, which isn’t the case here haha). When you get to the parts that had the elastic stretched – under the cups and at the curve of the bridge – gently stretch again while you sew.

Making a Boylston Bra

Here is that bottom band elastic once it’s been stitched down completely. Yay!

Making a Boylston Bra

Next is attaching the underarm elastic. I have drawn on this picture to show you where it goes for this pattern – starting at the straight edge of the power mesh back band, curving up the underarm and then going all the way up to the end of the strap.

Making a Boylston Bra

Remember those little unsewn flaps of underwire casing that we left behind? We don’t want to sew over those yet. I push them down and pin them so they are out of the way while I sew the first pass of zigzags.

Making a Boylston Bra

The underarm elastic is attached the same way as the bottom band elastic – on the right side of the bra, plush side facing up, raw edges even with the non-picot edge. Again, you want to stitch as close as you can to the picot edge, using a zigzag stitch. Don’t stretch the elastic, except when you’re at the underarm area, and only stretch a little at that point.

Making a Boylston Bra

Here is the elastic after first pass, so you can see how close I got to the picot edge. Not stitching close enough to the picot will result in a line of elastic showing when you flip it back – which doesn’t look very good! By getting right up on the edge, only the scallops when show when it’s flipped back. Also, it’s totally ok to take another pass if you didn’t get close enough the first time. Ain’t no one gonna judge you πŸ˜‰

Making a Boylston Bra

Trim down the excess fabric up to the stitching, as you did with the bottom band elastic. Now you can unpin the casing and measure how short it needs to be in order for the elastic to flip down and comfortably cover it. Chop off however much is necessary.

Making a Boylston Bra

Flip the elastic to the inside and sew the second pass of zigzag stitching, like so!

Making a Boylston Bra

NOW you can sew that underwire casing down! Sew about 1/8″ away from the edge (ahem… using the aforementioned marking on this fabulous clear plastic foot), from one end to the other.

Making a Boylston Bra

Making a Boylston Bra

Here’s the finished casing and how things are looking so far! The instructions actually have you do a second line of topstitching, back on the first side of the casing that was sewn down – but I leave that off, as I don’t like the way the double topstitching looks πŸ™‚

Making a Boylston Bra

Cut the straps to length according to the pattern, and slide your little slider on like so.

Making a Boylston Bra

Turn the end back to the inside and stitch down. I use a straight stitch for this, but you can also do a tight zigzag.

Making a Boylston Bra

Repeat for two straps.

Making a Boylston Bra

Pass the long end of the strap through the ring, and then back through the slider a second time. Straps are ready to go on the bra!

Making a Boylston Bra

Before you attach the straps, it’s a good idea to make sure the back band is the same width as your hook and eye. Mine is a little taller, so I’ll trim it down.

Making a Boylston Bra

You want it to be exactly as high as the hook and eye. Mark what needs to be cut, and them trim off, blending into the curve as best you can. Don’t forget to do this to both sides πŸ™‚

Making a Boylston Bra

The strap lays right on top of the curve, with the raw edge matching the edge of the strap, and the right side facing up. Start by sewing the strap down exactly down the middle, using a slightly narrower zigzag stitch (I’m still using #226 here, I just shortened it a little).

Making a Boylston Bra

Then sew a second line of zigzags along the inside edge of the strapping. Since the strapping is straight and it’s getting sewn to a curve, just be careful that everything is flat and there are no puckers. Do not stretch the elastic or the mesh.

Making a Boylston Bra

Here’s the strap after both stitching has been finished!

Making a Boylston Bra

Again, trim your fabric down to meet the line of stitching in the middle.

Making a Boylston Bra

Loop the end of the fabric strap through the ring, being careful not to twist the straps. Stitch this down, using either a straight stitch or a tight zigzag stitch.

Making a Boylston Bra

Getting close! To attach the hook and eye pieces, start by opening them up as much as they allow. I am just going to demonstrate with the eyes, but it’s the same process for the hooks.

Making a Boylston Bra

Lay the end of the bra over the bottom part of the hooks, keeping the top free. Set the machine to a long basting stitch and baste into place.

Making a Boylston Bra

Now fold the top part down and sew down to secure, using a tight zigzag stitch. Try to keep your stitching right along the edge.

Making a Boylston Bra

This should give you a pretty perfect application without too much fuss! For the hooks, it’s the same procedure, although you may find it easier to baste the top down first and then flip the bottom (because of the bulk of the hooks). Use a zipper foot to baste and zigzag, as it will allow you to get closer than this plastic foot will.

Making a Boylston Bra

Final steps! Put the underwire in the casing (make sure it’s going in the correct way) and trim the ends of the casing so they are flush with the top of the bridge. Sew a line of stitching along the top to secure and keep the underwires in place, and finish the edges of the casing with a dab of Fray Check. Then put your bow on πŸ™‚ I use a machine for this – just be careful that you don’t sew over the underwires! πŸ™‚ Fi

Black Silk Polka Dot Boylston Bra

Black Silk Polka Dot Boylston Bra

AND FINISHED!!!

Black Silk Polka Dot Boylston Bra

Black Silk Polka Dot Boylston Bra

This was a fun little project and I’m really impressed with how the Spiegel 60609 handled putting everything together! I think the most impressive part was how the feed dogs kept the fabric moving so it didn’t get eaten into the machine – I usually have to pull my thread tails when I start a seam to prevent this, but the 60609 didn’t require that once! I also love how the machine didn’t bounce around the table AT ALL when I was doing this – even when moving at top speeds.

I reckon I shouldn’t have questioned this machine’s ability to make great lingerie, considering Madalynne uses it for all her bra making workshops! Sometimes I just have to experience things for myself, though πŸ˜‰

Black Silk Polka Dot Boylston Bra

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In Progress: Silk Polka Dot Boylston Bra

10 May

sewing with spiegel boylston bra

Hey everyone! I’m back with another bra post… again! This time, I’m trying something a little different though – I have made this bra *entirely* on my Spiegel 60609 machine. If you’ve followed my past bra posts, you will know how much I love using my old standby Bernina 350 for assembling lingerie, especially since the variety of feet that I have make things super easy. However, I was really curious to see how the Spiegel 60609 held up when it involves fussy lingerie sewing, so I used it for this project. And now I’m going to report my findings to you!

A few things I noticed that I think bear mentioning:
– I’m not a huge fan of the way the seam allowances are marked on the throat plate of this machine, as it makes it a little difficult to get a precise 1/4″ seam allowance. However, this is really easily solved by laying a piece of tape or even a Post-it note where your 1/4″ line should be. This is what I did, and it worked fine.
– The feed dogs (what move under your needle to push the fabric along) on this machine are AMAZING. Seriously, I didn’t have to pull my thread tails at all when starting or stopping a seam. The machine just pushed everything through without any snags or chewed up fabric – even with using silk crepe and teensy 1/4″ seam allowances. Color me impressed!
– The one downside I see to this machine is that you can’t move the needle in either direction – which is what I typically do to get accurate edgestitching (on my Bernina, I use the stitch-in-the-ditch foot and move the needle all the way to one side, it gives me a perfect 1/8″ without having to even really think about it). With that being said, I used the clear foot that comes with the Spiegel 60609, and found that the opening off the center of the foot is exactly 1/8″ from the needle. As long as you line this opening with the seam that you are edgestitching, you will get an accurate stitch. It does mean that you need to pay attention and maybe sew a little slower – but the 60609 also has a speed dial to slow things down, so no excuses now! πŸ™‚
– There are a BUNCH of zigzag stitches on this machine!! For elastic insertion (which I’ll go over next week in part 2), I used stitch #226. I found the width to be perfect for what I needed.

The pattern I am using for this bra is the Boylston Bra from Orange Lingerie. This beautiful balconette pattern works for both foam cups and fabric cups, and features self-fabric straps and a really nice rounded shape. I’ve made it a few times in the past, and it’s a favorite of mine πŸ™‚ I am making the size 30D.

For fabric, I am using silk crepe from Mood Fabrics (look familiar? I used it to make a top! Yay for lingerie using tiny scraps, ha!) for the outer, black power mesh from Tailor Made Shop for the back band, sheer cup lining from Bra Maker’s Supply, and black foam bra padding also from Bra Maker’s Supply. The elastics and notions are from various points in the NYC Garment District – I just have a giant stash that I pull from as I need stuff πŸ™‚

I hope you like watching step by step progress shots, because that’s what you’re getting this week! πŸ™‚

The pattern has you start by assembling the cups – there are 3 pieces that are sewn together with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Don’t know why, but I don’t have a picture of this step. You’ll just have to trust me haha πŸ™‚ Make sure you backstitch at each end, as it’s really easy for stuff to come unraveled and make your (lingerie-makin’)life hellish!

Making a Boylston Bra

For the foam cups, I cut all the same pieces and remove the 1/4″ seam allowances (more info on this here!). Then you butt the edges up against each other and attach them – in the same order as you sew the fabric cups – using a zigzag stitch.

Making a Boylston Bra

Here is what the pieces look like when they’re attached. Pardon my yellow marking – those are the pattern notch markings (I use wax instead of snipping, since the seam allowances are so tiny).

Making a Boylston Bra

Topstitching the pieces as instructed is also especially important, since a lot of fabrics used in lingerie don’t press very well. Here is what I was talking about in terms of using the foot as a topstitching guide – if you line up the open side with the edge of your fabric, as shown here, the needle will automatically hit exactly 1/8″ from the edge.

Making a Boylston Bra

The fabric straps are folded in half and then sewn to the top of the cups, as shown, with the folded edge facing the center of the bra (the raw edges will be finished with elastic eventually).

Making a Boylston Bra

Next, the foam cup is placed against the right side of the fabric cup, and pinned into place along the top edge. I also like to run that edge of the foam under the serger (with a 3 thread overlock) just to help flatten things a bit more, but that’s an optional step. Sew this seam at the normal 1/4″.

Making a Boylston Bra

After sewing, you flip the foam to the inside and pull the fabric cup taunt to the edges, and pin everything down. This might require a bit of finessing with the fabric, which is normal! It’s also normal to have some excess fabric that needs to be trimmed off. I love how this finishes the top edge of the cup and also catches the strap! Once everything is as smooth as you can get it, go ahead and baste around the raw edges to secure everything, and then trim off any excess fabric so it’s even with the edge of the foam.

Making a Boylston Bra

Assembling the bridge, cradle, and band are similar to assembling the cups – use 1/4″ seam allowances and follow the topstitching guide in the pattern. I chose to line my bridge and cradle with sheer cup lining, because it gives some extra stability to the silk crepe. Also, you can use the lining to encase the raw edges so the inside is nice and clean! You just want to lay your pieces so the fabric is on the right side, and the cup lining is on the wrong side – with the seam you’re attaching sandwiched in the middle. After sewing the seam, the outer fabric and cup lining flip up to cover the raw edges.

 

Making a Boylston Bra

After the cups and bridge/frame/band are assembled, then you put them together (and THEN it really starts to look like a bra!). This part can seem a little fiddly, but it’s doable as long as you go slow and be mindful of what you’re sewing (again, slowing down the speed on the machine helps a lot). I find it helpful to use less pins – since you’re sewing a convex curve to a concave curve, you want to be able to stretch and pull the curves as you approach them (and pinning too much can limit that, at least in my experience). I pin the beginning and end of the seam, and the notch points marked on the pattern. That’s it! Another tip is always start at the center front – it’s very important to get those edges lined up perfectly.

Making a Boylston Bra

Once everything is attached and I’m happy with how it looks, I trim down the foam seam allowance to reduce bulk. Time to add the underwire channeling! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

Making a Boylston Bra

I find this step a little weird to explain and even harder to photograph, so here’s a picture of the instructions. The channeling gets attached to ONLY the cups of the bra, right on the seam allowance. Ideally, I like to be right along the seamline that I just sewed, but close enough is good enough πŸ™‚

Making a Boylston Bra

Again, the little notch in the clear foot that comes with the 60609 is perfect for lining up a 1/8″ seam allowance when attaching the casing. Sew all the way around until you get to about 1/2″-3/4″ away from the edge at the underarm, and leave that part unsewn (this will make it easier to attach the underarm elastic).

Making a Boylston Bra

Here’s the casing after it’s been attached! For now, only one side is sewn down – the other side will be sewn once some of the elastics have been added.

Making a Boylston Bra

I think that’s enough bra talk for today! πŸ™‚ Next week, I’ll go over the steps for attaching the elastic and finishing the bra – aka THE FUN PART – and showing my completed Boylston! As always, let me know if you have any questions about this part of the process! πŸ™‚

One more thing! We have a giveaway winner from last week! After some careful contemplation (aka Random Number Generator, hey-o!), our winner issssss….

winner

Yay congratulations, Rosemary!! I can’t wait to see what you make with your voucher! πŸ˜€

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway – and big thanks Contrado for your awesomely generous prize donation!

I’ll be back next week to finish that bra! Stay tuned!

Completed: Black Lace Boylston Bra

11 Mar

Ooh la la, y’all!

Black Lace Boylston bra

Hands down, this is definitely the sexiest bra I have ever made. Although, to be fair, it’s kind of hard to steer away from sexy anything if it involves black lace amirite.

Black Lace Boylston bra

It’s been a couple of months since I made this thing, which means I am going to have to dig deep into the recesses of my brain to try to remember all the little construction tidbits. On the flip, however, it does mean that I’ve worn it a lot in that time and can seriously vouch for the fit and comfort factor.

Black Lace Boylston bra

Black Lace Boylston bra

I used the Boylston bra from Orange Lingerie as the base for this pattern. Having made this pattern several times before, I did not make any additional changes to the fit (other than my previous edits to the back band). I sewed a 30D, which is in line with the size I wear in RTW. The big changes I made were in terms of construction – namely, trying to figure out how to incorporate both foam cups and a lace outer, while retaining all those cool little scallops that make the bra so pretty. I think this rendition is pretty good, although there is definitely room for improvement in future versions. Always learning πŸ™‚

Black Lace Boylston bra

Black Lace Boylston bra

Like I said, getting that form cup + scallops gave me a bit of a head scratch, so I took to some store-bought bra snooping to try to figure out how to make it work for this lil guy. It appears that most RTW bras have the foam cup and lace outer cup sewn separately, and then tacked together at the top in a few places. With this in mind, I finished the top edge of my foam cup with a simple 3 thread overlock (it’s not really imperative to do this, as the foam doesn’t unravel – but it does look nice!), and then simply laid the constructed lace cup on top and lined the innermost points of the scallops with the edge of the foam cup. Rather than tack it down, I actually stitched all the way across. The lace is super busy, so the stitching doesn’t show- but it’s very secure. For the remaining edges of the cup, I followed the pattern as instructed.

I also had to figure out how to do the straps, as the patterns calls for self-fabric straps with a little bit of strapping elastic at the back. I actually spoke with Norma (she of Orange Lingerie, and the mastermind behind these patterns) at length about this when I met with her in Boston, and while she gave me some really good advice on how to do the fabric straps with a scalloped edge – I ended up not having enough lace to cut them! Whomp whomp. Maybe for the next one. For this particular bra, I had to stick with regular elastic bra strapping. I sewed the underarm elastic as instructed, stopping right where I planned on adding the straps (as the pattern is written, you attach the fabric straps and then sew the underarm elastic all the way up. Since I had no fabric straps, I had to improvise!). When I trimmed the excess elastic, I made sure to keep intact scallops so things looked more intentional. The front of the straps are attached with the rings going through a tiny piece of elastic – again, something I snooped on existing bras. The back is attached the same way the pattern instructs.

Black Lace Boylston bra

To get the scallops along the bottom, I used the same method of flat attaching the elastic, instead of turning it back, as I did on my lace Watson bra. Since having finished this bra, Erin has published a wonderful post on how to make a lace frame bra, one method which gives a beautiful gothic arch along the bottom (instead of the straight band you see here). I am really excited to try that method!

Black Lace Boylston bra

I really love the lace I used for this bra! This is the second piece that was given to me by Tailor Made Shop, and if it looks familiar – it’s because I also have some in navy (which I made into a lace Watson bra). It looks like the shop is out of this stuff in black, but they do have navy, pink, purple and white πŸ™‚

Because the lace is a bit lightweight, I underlined all the pieces. The bridge and frame have sheer cup lining for stability (mine is from Bra Maker’s Supply, but you better believe I am excited to restock from a US source haha!), while the band pieces are underlined with power mesh. I didn’t underline the cups, since there are foam cups and that’s pretty supportive enough πŸ™‚

All elastics and notions are from my stash, which the exception of the scalloped bra strapping – which is also from Tailor Made Shop πŸ™‚

Black Lace Boylston bra

Black Lace Boylston bra

Black Lace Boylston bra

Fit-wise, this is one my best yet! The bra is super comfortable, super supportive, and gives me a really nice shape (hell yeah my boobs look awesome in this thing). It’s not a push-up, but there is definitely some lift action going on in there. If you would like to see a picture of me wearing it, click here. This should go without saying, but, again, PLEASE do me a solid and don’t post this image all over social media πŸ™‚ Posting strictly for science purposes.

My only complaint is the horizontal wrinkle along the bottom of the bridge. It only shows on the outside, when I’m wearing the bra, which leads me to believe it’s from excess lace fabric in the front (the inside stays smooth regardless). Ugh! It’s not a huge deal – the bra is still wearable and absolutely no on has noticed (or at least pointed out) the wrinkle, so I ain’t gonna let it bother me. But the next one will be wrinkle-free, hopefully πŸ™‚

Black Lace Boylston bra

Ok, I think that wraps up about all the bra talk I have in me for today! πŸ™‚ Happy Friday, y’all!

Completed: Boylston Bras; Take 2 & 3

21 Aug

More bras this week! Yay!

Boylston Bra Starting with the prettier one, even though I actually made it second. For both of these bras, I used the Boylston Bra pattern. Guys, I really really love this pattern. I love how it comes together, I love the pretty details (like the fabric strap!), I love that the fabric requirements are so easy to work with (very little fabric, very stable fabric, foam cups, etc), and I just love the shape it gives! It’s a very pretty bra and the pattern is so good. This polka dot bra was the result of a pretty good stash-bust, apart from the foam. Since this pattern is designed for firm woven fabrics – especially with the addition of the foam cups – that means you can make it out of pretty much anything. Sooo I’ve been going kind of crazy with my fabric scraps! I especially thought that this sweet polka dot rayon (the same fabric I used to make my Simplicity mock-wrap dress that I posted last week) would be extra adorable as a bra.

All I had to do was order foam – I had nude and black in stash (from Bra Maker’s Supply, because their stuff is the best). Unfortunately, the Sweet Cups store (the US version of Bra Maker’s Supply) didn’t have any white (see what I mean about limited selection? Wah!), and I wanted white. I bought it from this Etsy shop, which is apparently in the process of closing now 😦 I’m not really sure what “spacer foam” is, but it works pretty well for a bra. It’s a little stretchier than the stuff at Bra Maker’s Supply, and slightly thinner as well (it’s not as cushiony). I read somewhere that you can buy this by the yard at places like Spandex House in the Garment District, so I will probably stock up when I’m there in November. But even 1/4 yard is TONS of foam, especially if you are making teeny little bra cups like what I require hahaha. Heyo, silver lining! Boylston Bra

Other than the foam, this whole project was a de-stash. All the elastics and underwire channeling are from the Garment District, I think, and the strapping is leftover from my red bra kit (there wasn’t enough elastic included to make full straps when I was using it to make a red bra, so I had to buy red strapping. But that’s fine because the amount they gave me is perfect for fabric straps! Yay!). I know the pattern doesn’t call for a bow in the center, but I like the bows! This particular bow was ripped off of a retired RTW bra. Ha!

Boylston Bra Here’s the back. I used a firm white powermesh (also from the stash) for the back band. I like the mix of white and red elastics and trims. I’m getting better about mixing and matching my lingerie trims, I think.

Not much else to say about this one. Here are some detail shots: Boylston Bra

Boylston Bra Boylston Bra

Boylston Bra UGH at those black dots in the cups! Those are my notch markings for assembling the cups – I used a ballpoint pin (I think I got that tip from Cloth Habit) to mark the notches, since you can’t really clip the notches and my usual fabric markers and chalk don’t really write well on foam. Except, I forgot that ballpoint pin is FOREVER and I somehow managed to mark both sides. So that’s pretty lame, but, whatever. Can’t do anything about it now except acknowledge the lesson and move on with my bra making! Boylston Bra

Boylston Bra If you’d like to see a photo of what the bra looks like on an actual person, click this link. I’m not embedding it into the post (or uploading it to Flickr for that matter, yeesh) to cut down on the number of people who see me in a bra, as well as spare any eyes that don’t want to see that sort of thing (um, hi mom! :)). But I acknowledge that it’s really hard to see how a bra fits if it’s not actually on a person – and my dressform doesn’t really fill it out correctly. And those floating ghost bra pics just don’t cut it (plus they are a pain to make haha!). So pleeease do me a solid and don’t post that photo around the internet or pin it on Pinterest or anything like that πŸ™‚ Posting only for science purposes πŸ™‚ Love y’all! OK, MOVING ON. Boylston Bra

Here’s the other bra I made, using the same Boylston pattern. Nude bras are a SERIOUS hole in my summer wardrobe – er, lingerie drawer. I have a couple, but I always need more. I wear a lot of light/sheer colors in the hot weather! So I really need to make more flesh-colored bras to wear under my clothes, so I can rotate them and let them rest from time to time. This particular make is pretty boring and looks downright sickly on my dressform (don’t hold your breath about me modeling a shot of this one because, eeew), but let’s rejoice that I made it nonetheless! I know it doesn’t look very filled out on this dressform, but I promise it fits me just fine and the cups don’t wrinkle like that.

Boylston Bra Another stash-busting bra, I used silk crepe scraps to make up the outside, and my beloved nude bra cup foam + nude power mesh for the innards. The silk crepe is the same stuff I used for the neck binding of this SJ sweater – which was given to me as a scrap bust, so it’s like, extra extra free. And as sickly as the color looks, it’s pretty close to my skin (did you not click that picture link? I mean. No one is complimenting my ~rosy glow~ over here hahaha). So it works quite well for what I need it to do! Boylston Bra

I had someone ask me about the strap assembly – the fabric straps are made with a piece of fabric folded in half and then picot elastic attached to the outside edge to finish it. There is a little bit of elastic at the back, with rings and sliders. The fabric straps are pretty stable in their own right and work quite well, although these particular straps (and not any other Boylston bra I made, for some odd reason) are a tiny bit too long for me. I shortened the elastic as much as possible and they’re still a little more than what I need, so I really need to just dissemble the strap where the ring is attached and shorten the fabric strap by an inch or so. You know, at some point in my life. Maybe tomorrow.

Boylston Bra Again, all the little bits and pieces that make up this bra were from my stash. The sliders and bow were taken off another retired RTW bra. The sliders don’t exactly match, but they “go” well enough. Boylston Bra

Again with the perma-ballpoint marks! Argh! I made this bra before I made the dotted one – and cut them both at the same time. This was the bra I realized the error of my ways on, unfortunately. I also dyed that channeling, all by myself. I used coffee this time, which gives a much less yellow beige than tea does. It doesn’t quite match the rest of the beige of the bra, but it’s close enough for me.

Boylston Bra I tried using the 3 point zigzag stitch for the bottom elastic of this bra. I don’t like the way it looks at all – it’s too busy, especially where it intersects with the underwire channeling. I much prefer a standard zigzag set a little wider (like what you see on the polka dot bra). Also, I know that the elastic is super wrinkled and bunchy looking when it’s flat, but it smooths out really nicely when I’m wearing it. That being said, I definitely pulled the elastic too taut when I was applying it – something I was able to fix with my next bra, the polka dot one. You really only need to stretch the elastic ever so slightly under the cups and at the bridge when applying it – mostly so it’ll turn to the wrong side more easily and look smooth. Not look like the hot mess I have going on here. Boylston Bra

One of my favorite parts about this pattern is being able to add a cute little picot edge at the sides. I love the way it looks!

Boylston Bra

Ok, I think that’s it! I’ve got a few more ideas for this pattern, so I hope you’re not sick of seeing a million renditions of it just yet! Up next, I want to try making some lace versions – I have a couple of gorgeous pieces from the Tailor Made shop that I’ve been waaay too scared to use, but i think it’s time to bite the bullet and woman up a bit! I also want to experiment with changing the straps – maybe leaving off the fabric strap and using elastic (either removeable or sewn on) in it’s place. I wonder if this pattern would work as a strapless? Would it be as simple as smoothing down the top of the cup, adding some boning to the side seams and possibly rubber elastic at the top of the cup? What do you think?

As a side note, I wanted to share an update with my Made Up pledge. My first rendition of a swimsuit was a HOT MESS (not so much the pattern or the construction – more like, I wanted a string bikini and I absolutely hateeeee the way I look in them! Definitely should have done some sneaky try-before-you-DIY shopping for that one, it would have saved me a bit of headache), and I was all set to try pattern #2 when I realized that I don’t have enough fabric 😦 I made an emergency order for a piece of really cool swimsuit fabric, but it doesn’t appear to have shipped out yet. We leave 2 weeks from today, so hopefully it’ll get here soon!

Completed: Silk Leopard Print Boylston Bra

5 Aug

Man, I am SO far behind in terms of what I made vs actually posting it. This is from 2 weeks ago. Ain’t mad about it!

Silk leopard print Boylston braThe pattern here is the Boylston bra, which is the newest pattern from Orange Lingerie. I think I mentioned this before, but I’ve been waiting for a hot minute for this pattern to debut – Norma showed me a photo of one of her samples when I met with her in Paris (man, that sounds so fancy! I wish I was that fancy irl haha) and I was super excited about the idea of making a bra with a woven fabric. Also, tiny prints. You need a tiny print so that it doesn’t get lost in these little pattern pieces. And isn’t everything tiny automatically twice the fun? Yes.

Another big selling point of this bra vs the Marlborough is that the Boylston has been designed to be made with foam cups (you can also make it without foam cups and just have a soft, lined bra, if that’s your jam!). At the time of my snooping, I wasn’t terribly interested in foam cups (I am now, though), but I loved the idea of a lined bra, again, made with a tiny print. Also, the balconette shape is new to me – I don’t think I’ve ever actually owned a bra with this silhouette because I’ve never found one that fit properly. So obviously it was time to try something new! Silk leopard print Boylston bra

Since I’ve already made the Marlborough bra a number of times (one two three, etc etc), and I was pretty comfortable with the fit, I compared the pieces of the two patterns together to see if there were any similarities. Both the bridge and the back band on the Boylston and the Marlborough are almost exactly the same. The cradle is also pretty similar. Obviously the cups and straps are different, but I felt pretty confident that I could cut my usual size in the Boylston and not have any weird surprises. So I made my bra up in a 30D, same size as the Marlborough was for me. I also applied my Marlborough back band changes to the Boylston pattern – I figured if the bands were drafted the same, then they would probably need the same LT-alterations (mostly shifting the curve so that the straps hit the right spot, and extending it to be slightly longer. Which means technically this band isn’t a 30, but, whatever. It fits me now, that’s all that matters). The cup wrinkles you see on the dressform aren’t there in real life; she’s just a slightly different size than I am.

Silk leopard print Boylston braI tried to wait & hang around to see if anyone else made this pattern before I dove in, so that I could steal their ideas without having to figure things out on my own. But, y’alls is too slow for me! I waited a couple agonizing weeks and said, fuck it. Cut that sucker up, stitched her together, new bra by the end of the day. Yay! Silk leopard print Boylston bra

I wanted to try something super duper fancy for this bra, so I made it out of silk! The outer is this leopard print silk charmeuse from Mood Fabrics, and it’s REALLY nice stuff! I used the shiny side facing out – normally, I prefer the matte side of silk, but the shiny side definitely looks more bra-like (and I’d guess will also wear better under clothing, since it’s ~slick~). For the cups, I did try out foam for the first time – and I’m a total convert. Bra foam RULES, you guys!! Making the little cups was really fun (and having little foam boobies floating around the sewing room is a total thrill, let me tell you) and they definitely make this bra look way more RTW than anything else I’ve ever made. I’ve hated foam bras for quite a while now – mostly because of that weird half-grapefruit shape that they all come in. My boobs definitely aren’t shaped like that, so they never fill out the bra correctly – there’s always a giant gape at the top half of the cup. What’s nice about this pattern is that the cup is seamed, so you get a more natural shape which in turn makes the foam cup fit better. I bought this foam from Sweet Cups Bra Supply (which is the US version of Bra Maker’s Supply – cheaper shipping, but the selection isn’t quite as extensive, wah) and I really like the way it feels, as well as how it sewed. One of those little foam pieces was plenty for this bra – I estimate that I have enough to cut at least 2 more bras, maybe 3. So it’s not terribly expensive, either.

While this bra pattern was designed to work with foam, the pattern isn’t actually drafted to be foam-friendly – you have to do that yourself (does that make sense? The stye works with foam, but the pattern needs a couple of tweaks for the best sewing results.). Part of my waiting around for someone else to make this pattern was that I could not figure out how to seam up the foam on the bra – wouldn’t the seam allowance be bulky? I did some lurking and found this make a foam cup bra series on Cloth Habit, which answered pretty much all of my foam questions. I retraced the cup pieces onto light plastic and removed the seam allowances, and followed Amy’s tips for sewing everything together and trimming down the foam within the seam allowances to reduce bulk. I’m really pleased with the results. I think this bra looks totally professional.

Silk leopard print Boylston braAs with my other bras, I used firm powernet for the back band and lined the bridge with the same powernet. All the elastics and notions are from my stash (mostly from the Garment District, but I buy my underwires from the aforementioned Sweet Cups because I love their wires! In fact, I love everything I’ve bought from that site. Their quality is the best!). Interestingly, I had *exactly* enough of all the elastics I used – nothing more, nothing less. Dunno how that happened, but I won’t argue with it! The cups are lined with the foam, and thanks to the elastic and underwire channeling, the only seam you see is the side seam that connects the bridge to the band. I serged that seam with a 3 thread overlock; next bra I make, I might experiment with binding it or even adding a lightweight boning. So many options! Silk leopard print Boylston bra

Silk leopard print Boylston braSilk leopard print Boylston bra

I worried about the straps getting stretched out of shape, since they’re silk and all (a double layer, but still). The edges are finished with elastic, though, so that helps them keep their shape. I’ve worn this bra a LOT since I finished it. I’m actually wearing it right now as I type this πŸ˜‰ hahaha!

Silk leopard print Boylston braThe only thing I will change for the next bra is that damn seam allowance at the top of the cups. Instead of following Amy’s advice and using 1/8″, I used the pattern’s 3/8″ and as a result, the foam is really bulky and there’s definitely a ridge at the top of my bra. Using a smaller seam allowance would have eliminated that. Oh well! Silk leopard print Boylston bra

Here are the foam cups. Aren’t they adorable! They are sewn up with a basic zigzag stitch, the pieces butted together with no overlap. I’ve seen some people cover their foam cup seams, or use a satin stitch to piece them together – but I like the basic ol’ zigzag. It’s strong enough, not very noticeable, and super quick!

Final thoughts – this is by far the prettiest, best-fitting bra I have ever made. I think the shape is really beautiful and modern, but not Victoria’s Secret’s idea of modern (no big half-grapefuit foam cups, PLS). I don’t have any photos of me wearing this one, sorryyyyy, but I’ll make an attempt for the next one (as of this writing, I have 2 cut and ready to be sewn, so it’s safe to say that there will be more of these in my life!). I LOVE that the pattern is made for non-stretch fabrics, and thanks to the foam cup – you could make this bra out of almost anything. Which has definitely got me thinking hard and lurking into the depths of my fabric stash! The fabric straps are pretty, and bonus – they use less elastic than normal elastic straps (so, again, yay for using scraps!). I also think the cup piecing could lend itself to some gnarly colorblocking. We’ll see! I also wonder if this pattern could be converted to a strapless? The shape is pretty similar to the RTW strapless that I own; except the cups have less coverage on this one.

As far as how easy the pattern was to make – well, I definitely did not make it any easier on myself thanks to my fabric choice! Silk charmeuse is hard enough to deal with on a good day, but we are talking about teensy little pattern pieces here. A couple were cut off-grain and had to be recut. I didn’t have too much of a problem assembling and topstitching, but I’ve also made a few bras at this point so I’m pretty confident in those skills. The only construction part that was hard was getting the elastic around the underarm and up the strap. That curve was difficult to navigate. I don’t think this is a hard pattern, per se, but I don’t know if I’d make it my first bra pattern. Definitely not in silk charmeuse with foam cups, at any rate. Maybe start with the Watson or the Marlborough first πŸ™‚ The instructions were good, pretty similar to the ones for the Marlborough. I did notice that Norma added grainlines to the pattern pieces, which indicate the stretch direction so cutting is easier. That was a MASSIVE help! I do wish there were more markings on the pieces themselves – mostly, top and bottom markings. I’m not really sure if my cups are upside-down or not, because there’s really no way to tell.

Tried a new bra pattern tonight! This is the Boylston from @orange_lingerie, sewn up in silk charmeuse with foam cups! Another nail-biter till the end (will it fit?? will it fit??), but I'm happy to report that it fits awesomely. Now to put foam cups in e

Ok, who else has bought this pattern and when are you gonna make it?! Guysss! I need to see more Boylston bras up in here, please and thank you!

2016

15 Mar

2016 makes – click on the link to see the full blog post!

Gingham Archer Popover
Archer Popover

Fraser Sweatshirt
Fraser Sweatshirt

Kitty Rayon B5526 - front
Kitty Rayon B5526

Niizo Freedom Backpack
the Freedom Backpack

MΓ©lilot shirt - front
Melilot Shirt

Plaid Rosari Skirt - front
Plaid Rosari skirt

Denim Rosa Dress - front
Denim Rosa Dress

Navy Ponte Morris Blazer
Navy Ponte Morris Blazer

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - front
Navy Cotton Twill Ginger pants

Rise Turtleneck
Rise Turtleneck

Coco Dress
Striped Coco Dress

B5526 Chambray Tencel
Chambray Tencel B5526

Marlborough Bra - Glitter Stars
Marlborough Bras

Silk Rite of Spring shorts
Silk Rite of Spring Shorts

Seawall Socks
Sea Wall Socks

Silk Chiffon Archer
Silk Chiffon Archer

Smells Like Teen Spirit Sweater - front
Smells Like Teen Spirit sweater

Organic French Terry Augusta Hoodie
Augusta Hoodie + Anima Pants

Travel Backpack
Travel Backpack

Birdy Scout Tee
2 More Scout Tees

OAL2016: Zinone Sweater + Hollyburn Skirt
Zinone Sweater + Hollyburn Skirt

Silk Lakeside PJs
Silk Lakeside Pajamas

McCall's 6952
McCall’s 6952

Sewaholic Pacific Shorts + Dunbar Sports Bra
Pacific Shorts + Dunbar Sports bra

Yellow Lace Marlborough bra
Yellow Lace Marlborough Bra

Linen apron
Sewing for my New Apartment

Sleeveless La Sylphide
Sleeveless La Sylphide

Denim Rosari Skirt
Denim Rosari skirt

Black Stretch Twill Rosari Skirt
Black twill Rosari Skirt

Black Silk Polka Dot Boylston Bra
Silk Polka dot Boylston Bra

Sheer black polka dot Marlborough bra
Spring Marlborough bras

Silk Bird Scout Tee
Silk Bird Scout Tee

Butterick 6019 - complete!
Butterick 6019

McCall's 7351
McCall’s 7351

Silk Top & Corduroy Mini Skirt
Silk Top + Corduroy Rosari skirt

Black Lace Boylston bra
Black Lace Bolyston Bra

Simplicity 1799 robe
Simplicity 1799

Ginger Jeans + Silk Tank
Ginger Jeans + Silk Cami

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt
Silk Georgette shirt + Brocade skirt

Skyp socks
Skyp Socks

T&TB Agnes Dress
Agnes Dress

Peach Lace Watson Bra
Coral Lace Watson bra

Completed: Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

3 Jan

Happy 2017, everyone!! I’m going to kick off this year with one of my last makes from 2016 – featuring some uhhh-mazing leopard print silk charmeuse!

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

Having spent the last 1-2 years of my sewing working on essential wardrobe basics, my handmade wardrobe is quite practical these days. Lots of pants and jeans, lots of tshirts and button ups, lots of comfortable and stylish casual sundresses. I feel really good about where I’m at when it comes to those needs, and as I mentioned before – right now I am just updating the old/worn out and not really scrambling around to make new stuff anymore. WITH THAT BEING SAID, I ended up with a surprising hole in my wardrobe – fancy dresses! This is somewhat hilarious to me, considering I spent the first several years of my sewing career endlessly making frilly party dresses that I rarely wore (or stopped wearing after I got over the novelty of wearing a party dress to, say, the bar. Hey, if that’s your jam, you keep doing you! Me, I will put on leggings and a giant sweater instead haha). I ended up with a closetful of impractical clothing, and have spent all these years trying to rectify that with the practical. I also did a bunch of purging with what was already hanging around, getting rid of things that no longer fit (or never fit right in the first place) or in colors/styles that I didn’t feel like suited me.

I have done such a great job that once the holiday season hit, I quickly realized that I have nothing to wear. lolwut.

I still have my glorious Marc Jacobs birds dress (which is still my favorite favorite thing EVER), this blue cotton sateen dress via the Sew Bossy challenge, and my sparkly brocade skirt. Both of these have been great to have for festive holiday parties, or the occasional wedding ceremony, or that one fancy date that I get to on on like every 6 months. I am also totally not opposed to wearing the same thing multiple times – having been the sort of person who needed a new dress for every occasion, I would rather now just have a handful of things I really really love that I know I look and feel good in – I felt that it was time to give myself permission to make another fancy dress. Just in time for the holiday season to end, ha! Whatever, I’ll take myself out for a steak date and wear this shit!

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

After some deliberation, I ended up with Simplicity 6266, cos I just can’t get enough of that 70s mock-wrap neckline and those sweet tulip sleeves. Honestly, I wanted to make this version with the long sleeves – but I didn’t have enough fabric to cut everything (which, in restrospect, was probably for the best – I think that sort of style would do better in a solid color. That much leopard print could be overwhelming!) because I’d already cut a little bit off and used it to make a bra. I’ve made this pattern before twice (one and two), and yes, I realize that I basically just made a duplicate of the first version. I totally still have that dress – after a couple rounds of alterations when my weight started changing – and I love it, but the polyester content of the fabric makes it not such a great choice for summer. I’ve always wanted to make another version in a more breathable fabric, so here we are.

My leopard print silk charmeuse is from Mood Fabrics, and while it hung around on the site for months after I bought it, it’s sold out now. I think it was originally Rag and Bone, and it’s been in my stash since 2015 hahaha. It’s a nice weight with a gorgeous drape, and I gave it a cold wash before cutting which helped make the shiny side a little more matte (and now I can wash this dress like any other old thing in my laundry basket, ha!). The shiny side was still a little too shiny for my tastes, so I used the matte side as the right side of my fabric. The added bonus to doing this is that the dress feels REAL nice on the inside now, heh heh heh.

I wanted to try a new way to stabilize the silk for this project – in the past I’ve used Sullivan’s Spray Stabilizer, which works GREAT but it can be $$$. I was tipped off to try using gelatine – yes, basically unflavored Jell-o – and I decided this was the project to test this theory with. You can read the full instructions on how to do this here, but basically – you cook the gelatine in water until it boils, add more water, stir in your fabric and let it sit for an hour to soak everything up, then wring it out and lay it flat to dry. I folded mine in half lengthwise and then used a series of chairs and my drying rack to get it as smooth as possible so it would dry reasonably flat. Once the fabric was dry, it had a much more stiff body – similar to a silk organza before you pre-wash it. To remove the gelatine, you just wash the garment as normal (so, this will only work with something that’s been pre-treated – you can’t use it to sew something you wouldn’t wash, such as a coat lining that’s not removable) and it will soft right back up to how it was originally. It’s still not the easiest thing in the world to sew – I mean, we are talking about silk charmeuse here, y’all, it’s never going to be completely fool-proof – but it was a HELLUVA lot easier to manhandle than it had been before the treatment.

Because of the gelatine treatment, assembling this dress was reasonably easy. I used a brand new, 70/10 sharp needle to sew it, and finished all my seams with a serger and then pressed them open (I know that traditionally you sew silk with French seams – and this is what I usually do – but I was anticipating alterations with this. More on that in a sec). For the hems, I turned them under 1/4″ twice and blind-stitched them by hand. The stiffness of the fabric only moderately affects things, if you’re a fit-as-you-sew kind of person (I am!) – as in, the fit is still accurate, but everything just kind of hangs weird because it’s lacking that drape. My sleeves in particular looked RIDICULOUS, but they are fine now that they are soft again. I left off all the topstitching, except at the waist (only because I felt like the silk needed the topstitching for extra stability), and sewed the ties together into a removable waist tie instead of attached at the side seams. Oh, and I used an invisible zipper instead of a lapped zipper. I added a strip of fusible interfacing to both edges of the dress where the zipper would go, which keeps the area smooth and supported.

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

I did have some snafus with the fit on this dress, which at least I was anticipating. See, my pattern isn’t exactly my size – it’s for a 33″ bust, and I’m closer to 32″. This is why I had to take in the original cheetah version, and I had some fitting tweaks that needed to be made on the polka dot one as well. With both dresses, I didn’t actually record my changes – so I had to start from scratch, again. Awesome. For this dress, I sewed the side seams and shoulder seams at 3/4″, instead of the usual 5/8″. This helped a bit – the dress still isn’t super tight, but I like the drape of charmeuse with a little bit of ease. Interestingly, it was the sleeves that gave me trouble with this dress. First, I sewed them with the wrong side on top – and I didn’t notice until after I had finished the dress (including all the serging) and I was comparing it to the original cheetah version. They look really awful when they are the wrong way, in case you were wondering – and I had to unpick and resew them. Also, the shoulders were strangely wide on this dress – the armscye was the correct depth (thanks to that 3/4″ seam allowance), but the sleeves started past the edge of my shoulder and it was channeling some serious linebacker shit. Of course, I noticed this AFTER I had fixed the sleeves – and I wasn’t about to unpick that shit again! So I added a 1/2″ tuck on top of the shoulder, which only goes about 2″ and then folds into a soft pleat over the bust and down the back. This was enough to pull in the sleeve cap so it actually started where a sleeve cap was supposed to start – and also made the bodice fit a little better, too. It’s not the most elegant of solutions – it’s a total hack job, tbh – but it worked!

I also tacked down the center front invisibly, because the dress wanted to gape open (probably cos my boobs don’t quite fill it out lolz).

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

As a side note, I am trying a new spot to take photos. I had a few people tell me that my other location was too distracting, and, well, it totally is haha πŸ™‚ I don’t know why I never tried this wall – it’s pretty empty and gets ok light. What’s weird is how different it looks with me standing there vs the dress form (I took all these photos in one session). The background is boring as hell but it’s not like anyone is here for my stunning photography. Also I’m not really sure how to get rid of that giant shadow behind me.

And because I’ve gotten some comments on it recently – the thing I’m holding is my camera remote (my camera is old and the only remote that works with it has a giant antennae), not a screwdriver hahaha.

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

Anyway, thanks for all of your great comments and insights on my last post. I had a great time ringing in 2017 and I look forward to what this year has to offer!

Note: The leopard print silk charmeuse was purchased with my allowance from Mood Fabrics, as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.

2016: A Year In Review

31 Dec

I can’t believe this year is nearly over! 2016 was such a weird year for me – it seems so brief when I look back, but also like it lasted FOREVER.

At Camp Workroom Social!

As with my wrap-up last year, I’m not going to post every single garment I made in 2016 (part of the reason being that I STILL have unblogged pieces lol whoops), however, I do want to touch on my hits and misses of the year! As always – if you’d like to see everything I made during this year, you can always Lurk my Closet. I can’t always guarantee that page is up-to-date, but it is as of this posting πŸ™‚

First, the faves:

T&TB Agnes Dress
Agnes Dress

I am surprised at how much I LOVE this little dress! It’s comfortable thanks to the knit fabric, it’s easy to accessorize to change the look (lately, my favorite way to wear it is with combat boots and a denim jacket, but the look in that post is good, too!), and I just feel pretty when I wear it! When I made it, it was definitely one of those “I have this fabric/pattern lying around, I just feel like making something” situations, but it ended up being one of my favorite things to wear during the fall this year. I made this dress at the end of 2015, so technically it’s not a 2016 make – but that’s when it’s blogged, so we are counting it as so.

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt
Sparkly Brocade Circle skirt
Another surprising make (and another from 2015 – I actually wore this to ring in the new year haha). I really just made this skirt to wear out on New Year’s Eve, but it has seen a lot of wear during the holidays this year! The metallic makes it look all festive and shit, and the fact that it’s grey means it looks good with lots of different tops (current favorite pairing: with a white collared shirt and a black v-neck sweater). My friends are all in different social circles, which means I totally wore this to every single holiday party I was invited to haha no regrets.

Silk Top & Corduroy Mini Skirt
Mustard Corduroy Rosari skirt
Might as well call 2016 the year of the Rosari skirt – I made this one, a black one, a denim one, and a plaid one. I fucking LOVE this pattern, if you can’t tell.

McCall's 7351
McCall’s 7351
Probably the dress I wore the most all summer (other than my Chambray Hawthorne, which still gets TONS of love). It is easy to throw on, super comfortable in the heat thanks to the rayon (and doesn’t show sweat, thanks to the dark color + pattern), and also it’s just super freaking cute. I got stopped and complimented a lot while wearing this dress – and introduced a lot of people to the idea of making your own clothes haha πŸ™‚

Sewaholic Pacific Shorts + Dunbar Sports Bra
Sewaholic Pacific shorts
These are the best little shorts for running! The back pocket is big enough to hold my phone, and the zippered top keeps it secure so it doesn’t bounce out. I wore these all summer while running on the greenway behind my apartment building. The Dunbar sportsbra did not get worn as much – it’s just not as secure as I’d like in a sportsbra. I think this could be fixed by going down a size, or using a firm powermesh across the whole front, but I haven’t gotten to the point of testing this theory as I already have tons of sports bras as it is. Maybe next year! It is cute, though, and fine for practicing yoga.

Birdy Scout Tee
Birdy Scout Tee
I am SO glad I finally cut up that birdy fabric and made it into this top! I loooove this tee and actually wore it on Christmas! That fabric makes me so happy!

Travel Backpack
Rainbow Travel backpack
I did a lot of traveling this year, and this lil’ guy was soo handy for that! Since making that pack, I made a much nicer/sturdier waxed canvas backpack (which I haven’t actually carried out into the world yet, so I can’t really review it for it’s usefulness!), which I’m also pumped about. I don’t normally like sewing bags, like, at ALL, but both of these projects were super enjoyable.

Organic French Terry Augusta Hoodie
Augusta Hoodie + Anima Pants
These two also surprised me. I made the Augusta hoodie with the intention of wearing it around the house for loungewear, but quickly realized the snaps and super thick fabric made it feel more like a lightweight jacket. I ended up wearing it a lot this fall, it’s a great transitional outerwear piece. And those Anima pants are amaaaaazing when it’s super cold outside! They look way too ridiculous to wear outside of my house (seriously, they are straight-up Santa pants), but I love them for lounging on the couch as they are incredibly warm and very very comfortable. And no, since taking those photos – I have not worn those two pieces together haha.

B5526 Chambray Tencel
Chambray Tencel B5526
I am all about that B5526! The Chambray Tencel one was my favorite, though. It just gets softer the more I wear and wash it, and it really does go with everything.

MΓ©lilot shirt - front
Melilot Shirt
This shirt makes me so happy, I don’t even mind that I have to iron it every time I wash it.

And now, for the misses of 2016…

Ginger Jeans + Silk Tank
Bias silk cami
Love black camis, love this silk, do not love pleats over my boobs.

Simplicity 1799 robe
Plaid Flannel Robe
I love this robe in theory – it is really beautiful and quite cozy – but in practice, the arm holes are way too low so the whole thing shifts when I move my arms. Also, the way the robe is made means you have to keep it tied, and sometimes I just like a little breeze, you know?

Black Silk Polka Dot Boylston Bra
Silk polkadot Bra
Real talk: I cut this bra up the other day. It’s REALLY beautiful, but I pulled the silk too taut when I was covering the cups and one of the boobs ended up flattened. Totally noticeable from the outside, too. After several months of it languishing in my drawer with me pretending like I *might* wear it someday, finally just took my scissors to it and salvaged whatever bits I could. MOVING ON.

Silk Chiffon Archer
Silk Chiffon Archer
I still have yet to wear this shirt, even though I really love the way it looks. Maybe once the weather dips enough to warrant wearing a sweater, I will try it as a layering piece.

Silk Rite of Spring shorts
Silk shorts
One of the few true fails of this year. These shorts were fucking stupid. Bad combo of pattern to fabric, looks awful, blah blah.

* * * * *

I really cut back a lot on sewing this year, and it’s definitely reflected in my wardrobe. I’m at a point now where pretty much everything I have is handmade and I don’t have a lot of holes to fill in my closet. As a result, I have really slowed down my sewing – mostly in the form of taking the time to rip out mistakes and do things correctly, or alter/repair pieces that I’ve made and loved to death. I’ve also stopped trying to ~power through~ major sewing sessions. If I feel myself start to get frustrated (which is usually when major mistakes start happening because I start getting real careless), I will acknowledge that I’m not enjoying the process anymore and just stop for the evening. Sewing is my hobby, and I want to keep it fun and happy. Stepping away from a project has been immensely helpful in that I have a chance to cool off and re-assess at a later time.

With that being said, I still really really love to make things, and I’ve had a serious struggle with finding that balance between indulging my creative side vs not having a closet full of shit I don’t wear or even need. As I don’t have a lot of wardrobe holes anymore (other than underwear that’s not all ratty – I still can’t bring myself to spend precious sewing time making panties haha), this means that a lot of what I’m making these days is a nicer replacement to things I already had – whether they were starting to wear out, or they weren’t right begin with but I wore them anyway. This has been a good compromise, as I get to continue to make awesome things but don’t feel super wasteful making a bunch of crap I don’t need and won’t wear (except that prom dress, I DON’T REGRET THE PROM DRESS). Slowing down the process has also been going for this – while I can make an entire top in a couple of hours, there’s really no need to. Also, I will make that underwear next year. This is my promise to myself.

Blog-wise, I feel pretty good about where I am currently. Blogging less gave me more time to work on projects – without feeling like I needed to rush to finish them so I could throw them on the blog. Less posts means I also have more time to respond to comments, which always bothered me that I didn’t do in the past. I don’t blog all the stuff I make anymore – some of it just seems too redundant to warrant it’s own post (tbh, you probably won’t see that underwear ever get posted, so don’t hold your breath or anything haha) – but I will admit that I do miss having a catalogue to look back through. A lot of it did get posted to Instagram – not all of it, but a lot of it! – and moving forward, I’m going to start tagging my makes #madebylladybird so I have that catalogue, albeit on a different media source. It feels weird to give myself my own tag, but, whatever haha. I started doing this the other night and it’s fun to scroll through the tag! Of course, Instagram flagged me once I got about 2 years back and I’m currently blocked from tagging (lolwut) so getting back to the beginning might take a while!

I started out this year with a partnership with Spiegel sewing machines, and did that for about half of 2016. As you’ve probably noticed, I am not working with Spiegel anymore, and it’s been a few months since those posts stopped. The reason for this really doesn’t have anything to do with Spiegel or the machine itself – it just ended up not being a good fit in terms of my available time to commit to it. I have been asked by a few people about this, I did want to mention it just so we are clear!

:D* * * *

On a personal note, I know 2016 was a really terrible year for a lot of people, and probably even for the world in general – but it was actually a really, really good year for me. Growth-wise, this might have been my best year yet. I had a lot of baggage that I carried over from 2015 – I was right at the beginning of a break-up and about 6 months into working through all my personal demons that had come up while I was on that ayahuasca retreat. I really feel good about the challenges that I not only faced head-on – but really charged through them and came out triumphant on the other side. I am proud of the person I’m growing into, although there is still a lot of work that I need to muddle through.

Some notable highlights from the year:

  • I traveled a lot this year! I visited a few new places (San Francisco, Charleston, St Louis, Newport, Exeter), a few old favorites (Portand Maine and New York!), and made plans for next year as well. I taught bunches of sewing classes and retreats (both during my travels and locally), and also assisted at Camp Workroom Social for the first time. I promised myself when I left my corporate job back in 2013 that I would budget more time and money for traveling, with the goal of going *somewhere* (even if it’s just to a neighboring state for a day trip) at least every 3-4 months. So far, I’ve been sticking to it! I even got TSA Pre-Check so I don’t have to stand in that line and take my shoes off haha!
  • I’ve been single for pretty much all of this year, and it’s been… interesting. Definitely met some incredibly awesome people, and definitely navigated my way around some real creeps (if you ever meet me in person, please ask me about my date that involved the pigs. It’s really the kind of story that needs to be told in person, and it’s great.). Don’t get me wrong – I actually really enjoy being single (more time for meeee, fuck yea), but having previously been in a relationship for nearly 5 years, there’s been some adjusting to do. Let me also say that Landon really disappointed me this year – our split last year was amicable, but we are not on good terms anymore. He stole several hundred dollars from me and disappeared off the face of the earth. Pretty much the only retribution I have at this point is to publicly shame him, so, there you go. On the flip side, glad I dodged the bullet. He’s the one who has to spend the rest of his life with his shitty self, not me.
  • I bought a car this year! This was pretty exciting, and I’m still super thrilled about it. I have always owned very old/shitty cars – the kind that you’re afraid to drive more than a couple hours away from home, lest you break down on the side of the road – and my last one was so basic, everything was manual and it didn’t even have a tape deck, just a radio. I have been saving my money for the past 2 years to buy something nicer, and spent a few months researching what was available in my price range. In February, I became the proud owner of a cherry red 2012 Prius C. I’ve never bought a car by myself – my dad always found them for me and I just paid him for them – so that was a new experience, but I did it all myself (although I did buy from Carmax, so there was no negotiating or anything). I got a killer deal on what was practically a new car (less than 20k miles) and I am so so happy every time I drive it. It’s the nicest thing I’ve ever owned – there’s a fucking tv in it and sensors on the doors that lock/unlock when you touch them – and it’s all MINE. And his name is Ricky πŸ˜‰
  • After living out in the ‘sticks with my BFF for over a year, I decided it was time to move back to the city. Honestly, I did love living in the woods at first – it was quiet, it was serene, and every single night was BFF night. But I hated the 45 minute commute that was required to get anywhere (even buying that new car did not make the drive more enjoyable), and it became very isolating after I broke up with Landon. It was really hard to make myself go out and do anything, knowing I’d have to make that drive – and understandably, no one really wanted to come out to me, either. I also realized that I really wanted to be alone in my own space, and not have to share it with someone else. So I found a 2 bedroom apartment in West Nashville and moved out here in June. I cannot even tell y’all how much happier I am being back in the city. I love being close to everything – whether it’s a short car ride, a bike ride, or a really cheap Uber. I can order food (or Amazon Prime Now) and have it delivered RIGHT TO MY DOOR. Having my own space all to myself is awesome, especially after nearly a decade of living with someone else (be it a roommate or an SO). Plus, I have all these amazing windows and my apartment is right next to a beautiful greenway! I love it so much!
  • A big part of what afforded me the opportunity to move back into the city was a change in one of my jobs. I was working for Elizabeth Suzann as one of her production seamstresses, and I loooooved that job. I’d just come in, put on my headphones, and sew my way through a stack of pre-cut pieces. I had the most amazing coworkers and a seriously, seriously incredible set of bosses who did everything in their power to make their employees feel valued and appreciated. I still love everyone there and do my best to visit when I can (and when they’re not too busy with orders!), but I was offered a much more lucrative job at Craft South and I couldn’t do both. At Craft South, I am the Education Coordinator – so I plan, schedule, and promote the classes, and handle everything related to them. It is a part time job, which puts me in the store 2 days a week (I also work part time as a personal assistant, which I’ve been doing for the same woman since 2014. I don’t talk about her much on this blog bc it’s completely unrelated to sewing, but I absolutely ADORE my boss. She’s an amazing person and I’m so lucky to be in the position I am. She moved to Newport this year, so now I’m remote and I work from home!). I’ve always wanted to work in a craft store, and I really love it! They are also super accommodating with my travel schedule, so I can take off whenever I need to for my workshops. Its pretty great- I have a wonderful new set of coworkers, an inspiring place to be surrounded by other makers, and an excuse to get out of the house a couple times a week. Plus I get to sew on those $10k Janome machines, which, is a pretty sweet perk πŸ˜›
  • On a more somber note, we did have a big scare with my dad towards the end of summer. He got very sick with pneumonia that quickly went septic, and he ended up on life support for a full week. It was a really bad time and the doctors didn’t offer us much hope. I was preparing myself for the worst – which, even when you know the inevitable is going to happen (my dad has been fighting colon cancer since 2013, and we’re not delusional here), you’re still never really prepared for it. He made this incredibly miraculous recovery, though, and bounced the fuck out of there the second they released him. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still an ongoing battle – he’s still quite sick, and we still have scares that make us rush back to the ER – but we are so, so happy to have him back for at least a little while longer. My dad is such an awesome person, and I’m so thankful that we got this second chance.
  • Speaking of colon cancer, I did finally get that colonoscopy that his oncologist had insisted I do a few years ago. The procedure was completely uneventful – it’s really the prep that’s bad, and yes, it’s as awful as everyone tells you haha – and everything was benign. So yay, no cancer!Β  I also just found out the other day that I don’t have any cavities either, so I’m basically on a roll of awesome here right now hahaha.

* * * *

What’s on the table for 2017? Beats me if I know – but I’m ready for whatever it throws at me! I don’t like to make resolutions as I’d rather just jump right into positive changes than wait for a specific date to start – and I hope 2017 brings me more creativeness, positivity, and growth (both personally and professionally). And I guess more handmade underwear, too πŸ˜›

Much love to you all, and wishing everyone a wonderful new year! β™₯

Completed: Marlborough Bras for Spring (also some life-y updates, yay)

5 May

I say this every time I post about this subject, but I love making bras. Hell, I really love not having to buy bras. I just realized the last bra I actually purchased was when I was in London back in 2014. Pretty sweet!

Anyway, I don’t have a new bra pattern to share or even new techniques to talk about… so this post is going to be a repeat of most of my other lingerie-making posts. I really like how these turned out, though, which is why I’m showing you them! I used the same pattern for both bras – the Marlborough from Orange Lingerie – which is one of my favorite patterns to use (I also looove the Boylston, which is a foam cup – and don’t worry, I have a post for that to share next week HAHA). I love this pattern because it’s comfortable and supportive, fits me well with some very minor adjustments, and I think the shape is just beautiful. The fabric cups are really soft and natural looking (you better be ok with the world knowing that you are cold, though. I decided that was not something I was going to worry about anymore haha) and you can make it out of a really awesome variety of fabrics. After a lot of Marlboroughs, I’ve learned that my favorite fit comes from woven fabrics that are backed with sheer cup lining. I like slightly narrower straps (3/8″ or 1/2″, as opposed to the recommended 3/4″ for DD+) and a 3 row hook & eye. I use the size 30D.

Also, because I get this question ALL THE TIME – this is a fantastic beginner bra pattern. At least, it was for me! I’ve made some soft bras in the past, but this is the first “proper” bra pattern I ever made – with underwires and all that fun. The instructions are very clear and you can buy a kit that includes everything you need to make it. If you want more info on making bras, check out this post I wrote last year πŸ˜‰

Sheer black polka dot Marlborough bra

Bra #1 is really simple! I bought this sheer black polka dot mesh netting from Blackbird Fabrics (it appears to be sold out, but here is some in the white colorway), and Caroline threw in a black findings kit as a little bonus with my order. I can’t remember where I bought the sheer cup lining (I just got a lot of it so I have a big stash that I dip into haha) but it’s either from Blackbird Fabrics or Bra Maker’s Supply. Both are stores with I highly recommend, especially for their kits! Unfortunately, they’re both based in Canada which is a shipping bummer for us in the US. I’ve recently gone all up Tailor Made Shop‘s butt these days, and I’ve been really happy with everything I’ve received. And she is based in the US, so yay!

Anyway, back to the bra!

Sheer black polka dot Marlborough bra

Since the fabric was pretty flimsy on it’s own, with a little more stretch than I needed, I lined every piece with black sheer cup lining- including the top where one would normally put lace. I thought about leaving that part sheer, but I think I made a good choice because I do like the resulting fit! Because all the pieces were lined, I was able to encase all the seams inside the layers, so the inside is very clean and makes me happy.

Sheer black polka dot Marlborough bra

For the back, I used firm black power mesh on a single layer.

Flat bra shots:

Sheer black polka dot Marlborough bra

Sheer black polka dot Marlborough bra

Sheer black polka dot Marlborough bra

All right, now for the second bra!

Floral/lace Marlborough bra

Bra #2 is definitely a bit wilder in terms of color, and yes it looks suspiciously like another Marlborough I made last year don’t you dare judge me πŸ™‚ The fabric was given to me by Annessa – she was showing me something she made with it and I about lost my mind over how beautiful it was. So she offered to send me some scraps, which OF COURSE I accepted because I can totally sew a bra out of scraps! The lace is from Blackbird Fabrics – it was part of that aforementioned order – and the notions are just a bunch of stuff I pulled out of my stash (I think the strapping and gold hardware are from Tailor Made Shop, actually). I had fun putting this one together in terms of what colors to use – there are so many colors in the fabric, and I have collected a lot of elastics over the past couple of years! In the end, I went with white everything except the underarm elastic, which I think is really pretty.

Floral/lace Marlborough bra

Cutting the fabric was a bit of a bear because I was trying to place the colors with a bit of thoughtfulness, but I think it turned out ok! Honestly, I didn’t really like the way this looked when I first finished it – it seemed a bit chaotic with all the colors and piecing everywhere. But I’ve worn it a few times and have really grown to love it!

Same as with the black version, I underlined all the pieces with sheer cup lining (this time in white), except I did not underline the lace. I did stabilize the edge with a piece of navy powermesh selvedge. I think that looks and feels better than using clear elastic.

Floral/lace Marlborough bra

The back is pretty boring, although it does have purple topstitching πŸ™‚ I just used firm powermesh for the back pieces, again, one layer.

And the flat shots:

Floral/lace Marlborough bra

Floral/lace Marlborough bra

Floral/lace Marlborough bra

The inside definitely doesn’t look as good as the black one. For one, my dark topstitching doesn’t work with the white interior (go figure?). I should have threaded two machines but I was feeling lazy (although I did at least put white in the bobbin when I sewed the band elastic). Further, I should have changed out that pink serging thread for white – or better, made that open seam the one right below the cups, as it would have been covered by the underwire casing and elastic. Whatever!

So those are the bras! Now let’s talk about meeeee!! I’ve already mentioned most of this stuff on Instagram, but I realize that a lot of y’all probably don’t use/follow me on Insta, and also, I can just go into more detail here!

First of all – as of March, I am no longer working for Elizabeth Suzann. Everything is fine between us – I just got a really good offer for another job that I couldn’t refuse (and unfortunately, I can’t do both because there are only so many hours in the day). More on that in a sec! I absolutely love love LOVED working for Elizabeth – her and her husband, Chris, are some of the best bosses I’ve ever had, and my coworkers were just fucking amazing. I had so much fun on the days that I worked there, and I never really felt like it was a job. Every day was different, and I liked challenging myself to do things faster while still being accurate. Of course, it helps to be somewhere where you feel appreciated and valued, which I certainly did! Liz is always looking for fabulous new seamstresses, by the way, so if you’re in Nashville and have some sewing skills, you should definitely apply! I can’t say enough good things about the company or the people who work there. I offered to help as a freelancer whenever they are overloaded with orders – so we’ll see, I just may be back from time to time πŸ˜‰

So, hey, the new gig! I am now working at Craft South, which is an ADORABLE little crafty shop that Anna Maria Horner opened in Nashville about a year ago. We sell fabric, yarn, Janome sewing machines (which means I will definitely be buying a coverstitch at some point this year, hellz yea), embroidery and weaving supplies, handmade/locally made gifts, and just a general assortment of craft-based merchandise. My official title is “Education Coordinator,” which means I’ll be handling all the class stuff – scheduling and coordinating, planning, making samples, etc. I’m working alongside Anna and we have got some super awesome stuff in the plans for this summer! I’m also teaching Beginner Garment Basics classes – next up is this Breezy Caftan on 5/12 – and whatever else I can dream up, cos guys, I love teaching sewing πŸ™‚ ALSO, I’ll be manning the registers and fabric cutting like a normal retail shop person on Tuesdays and Fridays – so if you’re in Nashville, stop by and say hi! Take a class! Support the local fabric store! You might even run into Anna Maria Horner herself, who is way cooler than I am πŸ™‚

FINALLY, one more big change coming up – don’t laugh, but I’m moving! AGAIN! (and if this doesn’t surprise you – dude, get in line, literally everyone I’ve told this to replied with, “Yeah I was waiting for this to happen” haha) Honestly, I really love the house I live in and my living situation is totally ace (I’m in the middle of the woods with my best friend, so it’s like constant BFF night over here), but the reality is that I don’t like living so far from the city. If I could pick this house up and plop it back down into Nashville, I absolutely would… but that’s not how life works. My commute from Kingston Springs to Nashville is about 30 miles one way, which I’ve learned is absolutely killer for me. I hate it!! I miss being in biking distance of my job! I miss ordering takeout (lol jk I never order takeout or delivery but HELLO OPTIONS ARE NICE)! I miss having a 10 minute / 5 mile commute. These are things that are important to me. I’ve felt stuck here for a while now, because Nashville has gotten outrageously expensive now that everyone is moving here (btw – if you’re thinking about moving here, don’t. We’re full.). However, this new job has literally afforded me the opportunity to get out and back into the city. So I found an apartment in West Nashville (where I was before I moved out here, and also, my favorite area!) and I’m moving in mid-June! Yay! That means a new sewing room will eventually be in the works, too πŸ™‚ I’m not sure how I’ll manage blog pictures since I don’t really like doing the tripod/timer thing in public, but eh, I’ll figure that out when I get to it. At any rate, if things get a little quiet here in June… that’s why. As a side note, I’m cleaning out my closets in anticipation for the downsize in housing, and I’ve listed a few of my handmades that I don’t wear on Etsy. Most have already sold, but there are 2 things still listed if you are interested – you can check out my shop here. Someone give these handmades a good home and the wear that they deserve!

And, in case you were wondering – only my cat is coming with me (cat is a deal-breaker!). The pigs actually belong to my roommate, so obviously they are staying here in the country πŸ™‚

One last thing – it’s May, which means Me Made May ’16 is in full swing again! If you’re not familiar with Me Made May, it’s a month where you challenge yourself to wear handmades (every day, a few times a week, entire outfits – whatever works for you!). I have participated in the past (see: 2012, 2013, 2014), but I won’t be doing it this year. About 99% of my clothes are handmade at this point, and it’s pretty much Me Made Everyday. There’s not really a challenge involved for me to wear them, so it seems silly and almost a little show-offy to jump in with everyone else. Also, I hated doing the daily selfies πŸ˜› But rest assured that I am still rocking the me-mades – today I am wearing my Ginger Jeggings, the Starwatch Watson bra, a handmade black tshirt (unblogged because, it’s a tshirt) and a striped hoodie (also unblogged. Man I’m behind on this).

:)

Anyway, that’s about it for me! Have a picture of my favorite part of my (current) sewing room. I really love this space, but it’ll be fun to set up a new one πŸ™‚

2015

19 Jan

2015 makes – click on the link to see the full blog post!

Flannel Archer shirt
American Flannel Archer

Shutters & Shuttles Sway Dress - front
Hand-woven Sway dress

Colette Oslo Cardigan - front
Cozy Loungewear

Flannel Carolyn PJs - front
Plaid Flannel Carolyn PJs

Colette Wren dress - front
Colette Wren Dress

Grey Little Cable Knee Highs
Little Cable Knee Highs

Self-Striped Vanilla Latte Socks
Self-Striped Vanilla Latte Socks

Papercut Waver Jacket
Crazy Aztec Waver Jacket

White Graphite Sweater - front
White Graphite Sweater

Stacie Jean Jacket - front
Stacie Jean Jacket

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans - side
Cone Mills Ginger Jeans

Style 1559 denim skirt
70s Denim Skirt

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - front flat
Navy Lace Watson Soft Bra

Red cotton twill Thurlows
Red twill Thurlow shorts

Paisley print Stretch & Sew Bikini - front
Paisley Stretch & Sew Bikini

Papercut Patterns Sway dress - front
Linen Sway Dress

Handknit red socks
Basic Ribbed Socks

Striped Linen/Cotton HawthornStriped Linen Hawthorn Boylston BraPolkadot Boylston Bra

Vogue 1610 // DVFVogue 1610 Simplicity 6280Simplicity 6266

Scout TeeHandwoven Scout Tee & denim Gorts

Silk crepe Saltspring
Modified Saltspring

Silk leopard print Boylston bra

Silk Leopard print Boylston bra

OAL2015 - Vianne

McCall’s 6887 + Vianne cardigan

McCall's 6952

McCall’s 6952

Vogue 1395, hand-dyed silk

Vogue 1395

McCall's 7119

McCall’s 7119

Striped Hollyburn

Striped Hollyburn skirt

Knit tank dress

Mission/Skater mash-up

Floral Lace Marlborough Bra

Floral Lace Marlborough bra

Starwatch Watson Bra & Bikini

Starwatch Watson lingerie set

Plaid Silk V1395

Modified Vogue 1395

Brumby Skirt

Brumby Skirt

Ikat Maritime Shorts

IKat Maritime shorts

Alison Swimsuit

Alison Swimsuit

Gingers & B5526

Butterick 5526 + Ginger jeans

Watson Bikini

the Watson Bikini

IMG_0009

T-shirts

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

Cabernet Cardigan + Hollyburn skirt

Carolyn Pajamas

Carolyn Pajamas

McCall 6887 - Pineapple dress!

McCall’s 6887

SBCC Cabernet Cardigan

Cabernet cardigan

Denim Hollyburn skirt

Hollyburn skirt

Myrtle knit dress

Myrtle dress

Francoise Dress

Francoise dress

Ginger Jeggings

Ginger jeggins

Black and nude Marlborough Bra

Marlborough + Watson Bras

M5803/Gingers/Jenna

McCall’s 5803 + Ginger jeans + Jenna cardigan

Undercover Sweatshirt + Ooh La Leggings

Undercover sweatshirt

B5526 Floral
<a href=”https://lladybird.com/2015/02/04/completed-floral-butterick-5526/”Floral Butterick 5526

Leggings & Ensis Tee
Ooh La Leggings & Ensis Tee

Portside Travel Set
Portside Travel Set

Watson Bra
Watson Bra & Bikini set

Dotty Jamie Jeans
Dotty Jamie Jeans

Ginger Jeans
Ginger Jeans

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon
Albion Toggle Jacket