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!:)
– 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:) 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:)

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

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:) 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!๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€

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:)

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!:) 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!:)

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!๐Ÿ˜€

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: 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 year๐Ÿ˜‰

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:) 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:) 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 time๐Ÿ˜‰

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:) 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:)

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:) 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:)

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 selfies๐Ÿ˜› 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:)

Completed: The Lil’ Bird Scout Tee + A Giveaway!

3 May

I’m not really sure what prompted this, but lately I’ve REALLY been loving these boxy loose shapes on me. Made in a super drapey fabric and cropped just so, I find them really flattering and even more comfortable. It’s funny – the older I get (ya know, this RIPE OLD AGE of 30 lol amirite), the more I find myself comfortable with my body – and the more I’m ok with nto wearing things that are incredibly skintight. Both of those statements seem to contradict each other, but, it is what it is!

Silk Bird Scout Tee

The Scout Tee is certainly not a new pattern – not even in my personal arsenal (I made a really fun one last year with some beautiful handwoven fabric, in case you missed it!). But hell, I have loved wearing it! My first version was made with a fabric that made it really boxy, which I liked a lot – but I wanted to see how it would feel in a drapey fabric. Spoiler alert: This is love. This is true love. I already have the next one planned.

Silk Bird Scout Tee

Silk Bird Scout Tee

Silk Bird Scout Tee

This tee is pretty similar to my last one, in terms of construction. I sewed the size 0, and the only modification I made was to deepen the hem to about 2″, which is a good slightly cropped length for me. All the seams are French seams, and the neckline is finished with self bias facing. Overall, this was really fast and easy to put together. Since there are so few pieces – just front, back, sleeve, and that bias piece – it was even quick to cut. Yay!

I love the subtle high-low hem and I think it really benefits from some extra fabric down there to give it more weight. Especially with a fabric this lightweight and floaty!

Silk Bird Scout Tee

Anyway, this post is less about the pattern and really about the fabric! What do you think of my AWESOME TROPICAL BIRD PRINTED SILK, huh?!๐Ÿ˜€

Silk Bird Scout Tee

The fabric is from Contrado, which is a company in the UK that specializes in custom printing – including on fabric! They reached out to me several months ago about trying out some fabric design, and I’ve finally had a chance to make that happen! It was the designing part that tripped me up and slowed me down so much – I’m not much of a designer, and most of my “art” involves direct copies. Tell me that I can design literally any print that I want, and watch the fear fill my eyes haha.

It seriously took me a couple of months to even think of what kind of design to do, but I had seen a few tropical bird prints floating around on RTW stuff and I immediately knew that’s the direction I wanted to take it. I googled around for some images that I liked and played around with them in my image editing software (it’s not anything fancy like Photoshop, just so we’re clear here haha. You could probably use pickmonkey.com to do your edits) until the design looked right. Then it was a matter of uploading the file to the website, making a few more minor tweaks – and that’s it! It was actually really really easy. The hard part is definitely choosing the design.

Narrowing down a fabric choice was also difficult! Contrado offers a massive array of fabric choices – over 75, in fact. From basics (such as cottons, polys, and knits) to fancier stuff (like cashmere !!!). They sent me a swatch pack so I could see all the printed samples, which made things both easier and harder:)

Silk Bird Scout Tee

The fabric I chose to print on is a beautiful silk satin. It practically drapes like a liquid and it feels really incredible against the skin. I was initially a little worried about it being SO shiny – I generally use the “wrong” side of my silks, as I don’t like really shiny stuff. But since this fabric was printed, the wrong side looked.. well, wrong. I think the nature of this design works with a shiny fabric, although now I am wondering how practical it is to make a summery sleeved top out of white silk… I sweat a lot! Ha! Well I guess I can always yank the sleeves off if it comes down to it๐Ÿ˜‰

I will admit that this was not the easiest fabric to work with – the silk is quite slippery on the satin side, and there’s not much of a “grab” to the wrong side either (by “grab,” I mean like what you’d feel with a silk crepe). I chose a very simple pattern for this reason, which definitely worked in my favor. I didn’t do any sort of prepping before cutting – no stabilizers or using a rotary cutter or anything like that – and while cutting took a bit longer than it normally does, it wasn’t too terrible. I think when it comes to dealing with silks and other slippery fabrics, cutting is the worst part. Once you get past that point (assuming you cut everything correctly and on-grain), actually sewing the pieces together is relatively painless.

Silk Bird Scout Tee

Silk Bird Scout Tee

Silk Bird Scout Tee

I actually took these photos after wearing and washing the shirt, and you can see how well the colors have held up (as well as the back wrinkles – sorry about that!). Speaking of washing, I get this question ALL the time, so it bears repeating – I wash all my silk on cold in the washing machine, and hang it to dry (it’s safe in the drier as I pre-wash and use the drier, but I hate ironing so hanging to dry is the way to go!). As long as you pre-wash your silk before cutting into it, it’s safe to wash it in the machine!

One last thing – in case you were curious:)

Silk Bird Scout Tee

GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED.

Time to talk giveaway! The folks at Contrado are offering a whopping ยฃ100 voucher to use on their site, to print whateverrrrr your desires on your dream yardage! Further, this giveaway is open WORLDWIDE, so you don’t need to be a UK resident to enter! (My US folks – as of today’s currency exchange rates, that comes out to approximately $146.29, fyi!)

To enter the giveaway:
1. You need to LIKE the Contrado Facebook page. Show them your love and support!
2. Comment on this post and tell me what you’d design, and what you’d make out of said fabric.

As I said, this giveaway is open WORLDWIDE and the winner will be chosen by a random number generator. I will close the comments one week from today, on TUESDAY, MAY 10, 2016 8AM CST.

GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED.

Silk Bird Scout Tee

Good luck, everyone! โ™ฅ

Note: This fabric was provided to me by Contrado, in exchange for this giveaway post! Who’s gonna be the lucky winner?๐Ÿ˜‰

Completed: Butterick 6019

27 Apr

Butterick 6019

DRESS IS DONE, Y’ALL.

Butterick 6019 - complete!

As much as I *truly* enjoyed all the work and care that went into the making of this dress – it sure feels good to be finished with it!

A brief overview, before we go into a major picture dump – the pattern is Butterick 6019, and I made the view with the circle skirt and the halter strap. I sewed a size 6 at the bust, grading to an 8 at the waist. I also shortened the bodice 1/2″ and raised the neckline by 5/8″.

My fabric is solid black silk Faille from Mood Fabrics, which is used for the entire outside of the dress as well as the partial self-lining of the bodice. The bust cups are padded with bra foam (from my stash), the side back pieces are shirred with black elastic thread, the bodice includes lots of fabric covered boning, and the hem has 2″ wide soft black horsehair braid to give it that lovely fullness (that’s right – no petticoat or crinoline was worn for these photos!).

This dress was made entirely on my Spiegel 60609 sewing machine! It handled all those Faille layers like a champ, and even pleasantly surprised me with how well it shirred the back panels. In case you missed them, here are the posts I wrote detailing the making of this dress: Part 1 & Part 2.

There’s not much else to discuss since I went into a lot of detail already, so have some pictures!

Butterick 6019 - complete!

Butterick 6019 - complete!

Butterick 6019 - complete!

Butterick 6019 - complete!

Butterick 6019 - complete!

Butterick 6019 - complete!

Butterick 6019 - complete!

Butterick 6019 - complete!

So did I actually wear it to prom? You bet I did! Pretty much exactly as you see here (yeeeeah I ain’t about to spend $$ getting my hair or make-up done for some high school event lolz) – I ended up wearing simple black flats, instead of my Converse, because they seemed like a nice compromise of comfy and still a little fancy. Although my Converse would not have been out of place there – I saw lots of sneakers! Except mine are pretty dirty in comparison:) Speaking of high school fashions, everything is quite… sparkly these days. I definitely had THE plainest dress out of everyone there, due to my lack of beading and rhinestones. Not complaining! And it seems like long dresses – especially ones with cut outs, or two pieces that show a little midriff – are still the majority rule, at least for the school that I was at.

Here’s a picture of me + my bestie on prom night! Sorry for the grainy quality – it was dark. Hopefully we’ll have some good professional photos to share once those are developed๐Ÿ˜€

Butterick 6019 - complete!

That’s all for now! Thanks for indulging my fancy dress dreams, y’all! And thanks to Mood Fabrics and Spiegel for letting this lil’ former homeschooler finally make it to prom!:)

Note: The materials for this dress were provided to me from Mood Fabrics as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.

In Progress: Butterick 6019 (Continued!)

20 Apr

Butterick 6019

I’m back for round two of this prom dress in-the-making extravaganza! Let’s get right to it!

After finishing the construction of the bodice, I assembled the skirt. Since I chose the option with the circle skirt, this was incredibly easy (especially compared to engineering that dang bodice!). Three pieces, three seams. I serged all the edges and pressed them open (I normally French seam my silk, but silk faille is a bit thick so it’s not really suitable for that), and also serged the edges of where the zipper will go. I don’t have a photo of all this, but, I reckon y’all know what a circle skirt looks like:)

Butterick 6019 - progress//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

After that, I attached the bodice to the skirt and finished the raw edges (again, with my serger). Because the center back pieces include a lining, I made sure to not stitch those down (they will be slip-stitched to the zipper later).

Butterick 6019 - progress

My dress will have a lapped zipper, so I prepared the back bodice by folding back and pressing – 5/8″ on the left side, and 1/2″ on the right side. The lining pieces were already folded back and pressed 5/8″, as per the instructions.

Butterick 6019 - progress

Butterick 6019 - progress

My zipper was quite a bit too long, but it’s easy to shorten! I just use the machine – no hand-stitching required! Mark where the zipper should end, and sew back and forth over that marking a few times with a straight stitch, then cut off the remaining zipper end about 1″ below the stitching. Easy!:)

Butterick 6019 - progress

On the right side (the side folded under 1/2″), the zipper is sewn with the teeth up against the fold, like so. At this point, I don’t worry about the top of the zipper past the pull – you can push that under the lining and deal with it when everything is getting slip-stitched down. But you do want to be sure that the teeth of the zipper are riiiiight up in that fold’s business.

Butterick 6019 - progress

Butterick 6019 - progress

This is where the humble zipper foot comes into play. Most machines come standard with this foot. On the Spiegel 60609, it looks like this. The side is notched out to let you get really close to the zipper, like so.

Butterick 6019 - progress

Side one done, now to the second side!

Butterick 6019 - progress

The left side (the side folded under 5/8″) will be placed along the zipper tape with the folded edge right on top of the stitching you just did (on the right side), thus creating a lap. I start by matching at the waistline seam, so I can be sure the seamline is uninterrupted.

Butterick 6019 - progress

When I pull the left side open, I can see where the zipper tape needs to lay along the fold to create that overlap. I find this much easier than trying to overlap and pin while the zipper is closed.

Butterick 6019 - progress

Then you just pin all the way up (to the bodice *only*, the lining should remain free). Once you get to the top, you can tuck the remaining zipper tape down and inside where the lining will cover.

Butterick 6019 - progress

Here it is pinned front the outside. One thing I highly recommend (which I didn’t take a photo of, hm) is to hand baste the zipper into place before stitching. This ensures that everything is in the right place and won’t shift when it gets under the needle (and that you’re actually catching the zipper tape!). The topstitching step of this process is not difficult, but it can be tricky to see what you are doing! Definitely take the extra couple minutes and baste that sucker into place with some long basting stitches.

Butterick 6019 - progress

Once basted, open up the zipper and topstitch from the right side, again, keeping the lining free.

Butterick 6019 - progress

When you get to the bottom, lower your needle, lift the presser foot and pivot the fabric, then sew across the bottom of the zipper back and forth a couple times to secure everything.

Butterick 6019 - progress

Finally, pin the lining to the zipper tape and slip-stitch everything down.

Butterick 6019 - progress

Beautiful, right?:)

Butterick 6019 - progress

Next step is hemming! Since this dress has a circle skirt, that means the bias needs to settle before hemming (otherwise, the hem will end up being super uneven!). I have a dressform for this purpose – both for hanging and hemming (if you don’t have a dressform, you can hang bias stuff on a hanger, but you’ll probably need a second person to help you with the actual hemming. There are also doodads you can use for solo-hem jobs, but I don’t have any experience with those). Bias garments need to hang for a minimum of 24 hours to get their stretch out. Being paranoid, I let this one chill for like 5 days lolol.

Butterick 6019 - progress

Once that’s done, you hold a yardstick (or in my case, a T Square) at the floor and measure the same point all the way around the hem.

Butterick 6019 - progress

I mark every couple includes or so with a pin. Look at how uneven my skirt was!

Butterick 6019 - progress

After trimming the skirt, I added 2″ wide black horsehair braid to the hem. Mostly, to give it some extra body – but also because it makes hemming easier, as the braid kind of acts like bias tape (as in it’s very flexible and curves along with the curve of the circle skirt). I started by sewing it to the right side of the side, using the width of the Spiegel 60609 presser foot as my seam allowance guide.

Butterick 6019 - progress

First press pushes the horsehair braid down and the seam allowances up.

Butterick 6019 - progress

Then second press folds everything to the inside nice and flat.

Butterick 6019 - progress

From there, it’s just endless slip stitching (well, not *too* endless – I think this took me about an episode and a half of Mad Men haha). You can topstitch at this step, but I feel like a fancy prom dress needs an invisible hem! It just looks so nice!

Butterick 6019 - progress

Here is some of the inside finishing – I added buttons for the strap, as well as ribbon loops for hanging (literally a piece of ribbon lopped and handstitched in). And my tags! I need a tag that says โ™ฅMade with My Spiegel 60609โ™ฅ hahaha

And some full shots on the form – these were taken before hemming or adding the hook & eye, but you get the idea๐Ÿ˜‰

Butterick 6019 - progress

Butterick 6019 - progress

Let me know if you have any questions about any part of this process – I tried to explain as clearly as I could, but I have a cold right now so I’m pretty medicated haha. And the fact that I’m sewing with black fabric doesn’t help!

Super pumped for prom next week!!๐Ÿ˜€ Is it bad that I want to wear my converse with this dress? I don’t think I’ve worn heels since I quit my office job 3 years ago! :B

In Progress: Butterick 6019

13 Apr

Hey guys, guess what.

I’M GOING TO PROM.

This is 100% not a joke. I am going to a literal high school prom.

Butterick 6019

Before anyone starts thinking that I’m dating someone WAY too young for me, I should probably use this opportunity to point out that my date is my BFF, who happens to be a high school English teacher and gets 2 free tickets to prom every year:) I will take any excuse I can get when it comes to dressing up, though – especially if it means I get to make a party dress! The bulk of my sewing used to involve a lot more frosting than cake, and while I’ve reverted to making a lot of useful basics, I still get starry-eyed when I think about ridiculous party dresses. Prom is the *perfect* excuse to get some fancy sewing out of my system!

My pattern of choice is Butterick 6019, which I have been wanting to make for ages. I’m going with view A, which includes removable halter straps and a circle skirt. The fabric is a black solid silk faille from Mood Fabrics. I ain’t gonna lie – I originally tried to buy something with actual color, red being my first choice. But it being prom season and all, Mood ended up selling out before my order was fulfilled and I had to choose a different color on the spot. Since I didn’t have time to get swatches for color comparison (and I didn’t want to end up with a bad color, considering this silk is $50/yard and non-returnable!), and the selection was super limited at that point, I ended up getting basic black. This means I probably am sewing the most practical formal dress ever. Oh well!:) At least I’m ready for my next black tie wedding, ha!

One more thing I want to point out about silk faille – it’s pronounced “FILE.” Not fail or foll (both of which I have tried and been laughed at for. Ok, y’all, it’s been like 10 years since I studied French and I wasn’t very good at it to begin with! Give me a break). I already made an ass out of myself, so now you don’t have to! โ™ฅ

Butterick 6019 - In progress

This project is definitely a labor of love – there’s a lot of work (and notions!) that go into a dress like this. The bodice is lined with self fabric, and features boning, shirring, a lapped zipper, bust padding, and that beautiful bias-cut crossover piece. For the skirt, I decided to add horsehair braid to give it some extra body and really make it flare out. Whenever I start a project that includes a lot of notions, I like to corral them into one place so they are easy to find. In the past, it’s been Ziploc bags – which are super useful, but not really that pretty! I recently received this sewing notions pouch from Tailor Made Shop and it’s perfect for this use! The pouch is roomy enough to hold everything I need (it even fits a pair of 8″ Gingher scissors – not really necessary for this particular use, but GREAT for when I’m teaching and I need to take some tools with me!) and it zips securely so nothing spills out. And it’s way prettier than a Ziploc bag:)

Butterick 6019 - In progress

I don’t want to freak anyone out here – but I actually TRACED my pattern pieces for this project. lolwut right!? I had a hard time determining my size (even with the finished measurements and cup sizing – the sizing on this pattern just doesn’t make sense to me at all), and so I needed to keep the sizes intact in case I cut the wrong one. Fortunately, the bodice of this pattern involves a lot of small pieces, so it wasn’t a huge time suck. I ended up going with a size 6 A/B cup at the bust (FWIW, I wear a D/DD bra so yeah, um, the cup sizing is a bit skewed here!) and graded out to an 8 at the waist. Since the skirt is just a giant circle, I didn’t trace those pieces.

I made a muslin of the bodice – shirring included, but no boning. The shirring is extremely necessary if you’re muslining this dress, as it drastically affects the fit. The sizes I traced and cut ended up being perfect, albeit the top of the dress itself is quite low (which I had read about in reviews, so no surprise there!). The pattern changes I made were to add 5/8″ to the top of the bodice all the way around, and then shorten every piece by 1/2″ at the lengthen/shorten line so the skirt seam would hit my waist. I also traced the cup pieces a second time and removed the seam allowances all the way around. These pieces ended up making the bust padding, which is constructed the same way a foam cup bra is made (with the pieces butted up together and zigzagged across the seam). Rather than cut my pieces and then remove the seam allowance – which is wasteful as hell, sorry – I did this instead. Look at the difference in their size!

Butterick 6019 - In progress

The pattern has a lot of markings for placement – boning placement, the bias strip, and just basic construction seam allowances. Since I didn’t want to risk a permanent stain on my dress, I marked the wrong side and then thread traced the markings with silk thread. The silk thread allows the markings to be seen from both sides, and can easily be removed. I used a different color for the type of markings – tan for the strip, white for boning, red for construction. This was MASSIVELY helpful when putting together the puzzle that is this dress.

Butterick 6019 - In progress

To keep the cups curved against my body and to prevent them from stretching out, I added twill tape to the seam allowance. This isn’t instructed in the pattern, but it’s good practice for anything that runs the risk of gaping (such as bustier tops like this, or woven wrap dresses). You basically just cut 1/4″ twill tape the length of the neckline minus 1/4″, then place it inside the seam allowance, up against the seam line. Since the tape is shorter than the neckline, the neckline gets eased into the length of the tape. The easing means the neckline curves with your body, and the twill tape provides some stability to an area that would otherwise stretch out over time.

Butterick 6019 - In progress

Assembling the bodice is pretty easy and straightforward. I trimmed down, clipped, and graded my seam allowances pretty aggressively to prevent a bunch of bulk (silk faille is quite stiff), and pressed the life out of everything. #1 reason why I went with silk faille instead of cheaper polyester faille – it’s just easier to work with. I really shudder at the thought of trying to make this dress with something that doesn’t press well.

And now it’s time to shirr! I STRONGLY recommend testing this out on a scrap of your fabric first, as you might need to tweak your machine settings a bit.

Butterick 6019 - In progress

For shirring, you need elastic thread. Be *very* aware of the yardage amounts that your spool contains, by the way – I didn’t realize this brand only has like 11 yards, which is not enough for this project and I unfortunately ran out and had to stop and buy more (also, black elastic thread is harder to find than white, ugh). I used 2 spools, even though the pattern has you only buy one. Just FYI! Anyway, the elastic thread goes in the bobbin, and it is wound by hand with only a slight tension in the thread. The upper thread is your basic all purpose polyester.

Butterick 6019 - In progress

Set your machine with a longer stitch length. For the Spiegel 60609, I used a 4.0 length.

Butterick 6019 - In progress

At this point, you’ll want to test the stitches and make sure the tension is good. If it’s not, you can adjust the tension in the bobbin (the little screws you see here). The needle tension (the numbered dial at the top of the machine) can also be used. If you mess with the bobbin tension, its a good idea to mark the location of the screws before you start twisting them around – just use a really fine point marker and draw directly on the bobbin. Otherwise, you might have trouble getting the tension balanced again when you’re done shirring – and you’ll need to take the machine in for a service to set things back to default (and this question has come up a few times – you can get a Spiegel machine serviced at pretty much any sewing machine dealer, regardless of the brand that they sell. *Most* dealers will service all machine brands, even if they sell something different). My Spiegel 60609 did not require any tension adjustments for shirring, so yay!

Butterick 6019 - In progress

To shirr, you’ll sew long lines of parallel stitching 1/4″ apart. Some people draw guidelines for this, but I just use the edge of my presser foot as a guide. The foot on the Spiegel 60609 is the perfect width for this. Start your first line of stitching a little outside of the seam allowance, and continue sewing parallel lines until the whole piece is covered. Leave long thread tails at the beginning and end of each line, otherwise your shirring will come undone.

Here are what my shirred pieces look like after stitching. Also, I know my nail color keeps changing. I told you, I had to go out and buy more elastic thread! Sewing came to a stall for a few days! blech!

Butterick 6019 - In progress
Right side

Butterick 6019 - In progress
Wrong side

After you’ve finishing sewing all those lines, you’ll have a really hairy looking piece of fabric that still doesn’t stretch. The real magic happens with you steam the crap out of it, which shrinks up the elastic thread and makes the whole piece really stretchy and awesome. It’s fun to watch it shrink up! However, I recommend skipping this step for now and waiting until the bodice is constructed first. It is a lot easier to sew those pieces when they are flat and non-stretchy. You’ll see the shirred pieces in all their glory at the end of this post:)

Ok, back to the bodice construction!

Butterick 6019 - In progress

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, the bust cups are slightly padded (to give that area some structure and also for modesty reasons, if you’re wearing this dress without a bra). The pattern calls for cotton batting, which I did not have on hand. Instead, I used foam padding that is used for bras. The pieces have the seam allowances removed, and then the edges are butted up next to each other and sewn across the split with a zigzag stitch.

Butterick 6019 - In progress

Then the little padded cups are nested in the cups of the bodice lining, and sewn in. The pattern has you catchstitch this part, but I don’t particularly care if you see stitching inside my lining so I zigzagged those pieces in. YOLO, y’all.

Butterick 6019 - In progress

Butterick 6019 - In progress

I used plastic sew-in boning for this dress – the kind that comes pre-covered (purchased at Mood Fabrics, if you’re curious!). Spiral steel boning is nice, but a pain to work with (it has to be cut *exactly* to size and capped, and no). This stuff is much easier to use. I straightened out the pieces by blasting them with steam while they were still in their fabric casing (you can also dunk them in hot water to relax the plastic), and then removed the boning and sewed the empty casing to the bodice lining. Like I said, the boning can be sewn through – but it’s easier to get a consistent straight line if the casing is completely flat. After the casing is sewn down, you can just slide the boning in. I trimmed off the sharp corners at the top of the boning so it won’t tear through my dress fabric, and left the ends long (those will be trimmed when I attach the skirt).

Here is the bodice lining once assembled:

Butterick 6019 - In progress

Butterick 6019 - In progress

I added a couple extra pieces of boning for additional support – the center front was especially necessary to keep things smooth. Looking good so far!

Butterick 6019 - In progress

Finally, time to attach those shirred pieces and cut off the thread tails! The pattern has you tie off each individual line of shirring… I don’t know about y’all, but pretty sure ain’t nobody got time for that. Instead, I shortened my stitch length and sewed two lines of stitching when attaching the shirred panels to the rest of the bodice. Once those were secure, I gave all those thread tails a haircut and then steamed the elastic.

Butterick 6019 - In progress

Butterick 6019 - In progress

It shrunk up quite nicely!

Butterick 6019 - In progress

Here is the finished bodice flat.

Butterick 6019 - In progress

And here it is on my dressform!:)

WHEW that was a lot of post! Next week, I’ll go over the rest of the construction. Can’t wait for prom! Yay for fancy dress making!๐Ÿ˜€

Completed: McCall’s 7351 // Style Maker Fabrics Spring Canvas Blog Tour

1 Apr

Hey guys! I’m excited to be the final wrap-up stop for the Spring Canvas Blog Tour with Style Maker Fabrics!

McCall's 7351

It’s always really flattering to get asked to participate in a blog tour – although I typically send my regrets, as I think they can be a little exhausting if you’ve got a dozen people talking about, say, the same book or whatever. Kind of boring and personally I skip right over those posts! I found the idea of this particular blog tour a little more intriguing, though, as it is all about spring fabrics and spring fashions and all the fun stuff that comes with that! I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a necessarily fashionable person – I like the way I dress, of course, but I don’t exactly go out of my way to follow trends as they come into fashion. So this might not be a very “on-trend” outfit for me to make, but it is something that I will wear! So there’s that!

For this tour, I was given free range to choose whatever fabric I wanted from the new spring arrivals available at Style Maker Fabrics. Surprise surprise – I went with this navy rayon challis printed with cherries from Cotton + Steel, because I am nothing if I’m not predictable (I don’t even like cherries, but this is my third cherry print dress. See one and two. Hey, at least this one isn’t black hahaha!). It was a bit of a crunch to get this finished in time for my ~tour date~ – what’s with being out of town, getting sick, and then playing mad catch-up at work. But, spoiler, I finished it just in time to wear for Easter Sunday! Yay!

McCall's 7351

I used McCall’s 7351 to make my cherry dream dress, which is a new pattern from the McCall’s spring collection. It’s a classic shirt dress with a few extra options. I liked the idea of the straight skirt with the curved hemline that looks like, well, a shirttail, so I went with that option. Originally, I considered adding sleeves – but upon making my muslin, they were weirdly restrictive and I didn’t feel like going through the drama of figuring out how to fix it. Sleeveless dress it is! I actually prefer it this way; I think it’ll be more comfortable in the summer without sleeves.

McCall's 7351

McCall's 7351

McCall's 7351

I cut the size 6, based on the finished measurements, and didn’t make any pattern adjustments except the shorten the hem quite a bit at the end. The waist is a bit bigger than what I’m used to wearing – hence the belt – but I’m going to leave it like this for now because I suspect I will looove that loose waist come 95* weather๐Ÿ˜‰ I experimented with moving the placement of the buttons at the apex of my chest to eliminate button placket gap – but as you can see in the photos below, there’s still a tiny bit of pulling as it’s not *quite* in the right place. Whatever, I’ll figure it out with the next dress haha:)

Construction-wise, this is a really easy pattern. It has all the pieces of a proper button-up – separate button placket, collar stand, self-lined yoke – and I’ve made so many of those, I could do that in my sleep at this point. I used a very lightweight interfacing as not to interfere with the drape of the fabric, and finished all the seams with French seams and bias facing for the arm holes and hem. I used navy thread for the construction, and red thread for the topstitching and button holes. The buttons are from Mood Fabrics in NYC. I had to bring a swatch of fabric with me to get a good match – the cherries are more of an orange red than a true red – but this looks pretty good to me!

McCall's 7351

McCall's 7351

I LOVED working with this fabric! Rayon challis is one of my favorite things to wear – not necessarily to sew, as it’s pretty shifty and hard to wrangle (honesty, I’d rather sew silk crepe – I think it’s easier to work with!), but it’s worth the effort because it feels SO GOOD in hot weather. This rayon is a little heavier than most of the challis (challises? challis’? challi?) that I’ve worked with in the past. It’s almost the same weight of a poplin, so it’s not sheer at all and has a nice heft to it. It’s also easier to work with and not as shifty (but still feels really good!). This was my first experience using fabric from Cotton + Steel and I get why people love this stuff so much. It’s really luxurious feeling, wears and washes well. And cherries!:) I still can’t get behind their quilting cotton (well, not as garment fabric. Sorry. Old habits die hard), but they can continue to make this rayon and I will continue to sew it๐Ÿ˜€

McCall's 7351

Here it is on the form. I prefer it with the belt – I definitely need the waist definition (and the fact that the waist is already too big is also a factor here).

McCall's 7351

McCall's 7351

McCall's 7351

McCall's 7351

McCall's 7351

I always put a hook and eye at the waistline of dresses like this – it keeps things from gaping, but still allows me to wear a belt (buttons are too bulky under a belt, ew).

McCall's 7351

I know my photos don’t look very springy! It’s all green and flowering here in Tennessee, but not in my yard apparently haha. And while my neighbor has a beautiful cherry blossom tree that is in FULL GORGEOUS BLOOM right now, I do not have those kinds of guts to stand under it for photos! This is who was watching me take these photos – which is nerve-wracking enough:

McCall's 7351

Kevin & Wilbur! Did I mention that my roommate bought a second pig as a companion for Kevin? Well. Kevin has a boyfriend now. Also, we are pretty sure she’s pregnant now with his babies. Her stomach is massive – like about to drag on the ground because it hangs so low. Hopefully there will be piglet pictures in a future post!:)

blog tour

Hey, so that’s all for this part of the Spring Canvas blog tour – but be sure to check out all the other participants if you haven’t done so already! Lots of really amazing stuff to see:) ALSO, just an FYI – but all domestic orders, regardless of size, ship for $5 from Style Maker Fabrics (and discounted international shipping, yo!). Cheap shipping is good through 4/3/16, so you’ve still got a couple days:)

Thanks again to Style Maker Fabrics for letting me be a part of this blog tour!๐Ÿ˜€

McCall's 7351

Note: The fabric was provided to me by Style Maker Fabrics so that I could participate in their blog tour!

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