Tag Archives: lace

Completed: Yellow Lace Marlborough Bra

5 Jul

Still playing catch-up with old makes here!

Yellow Lace Marlborough bra

This bra was finished over a month ago, just before my family took our annual family vacation (we went to Charlestown instead of Florida this year! It was awesome, even if it did rain the entire weekend we were there, ha). I am one of those people who feels the NEED to have all-new clothes right before they leave for at trip (I’m not sure when that shifted for me – traditionally, I’ve always embraced vacations as the excuse to wear all your favorite outfits and feel smug that no one has ever seen them before so it’s kind of like they’re still new – if that makes sense!), and I try not to give into the temptation unless it’s something that truly fills a gap in my wardrobe. Considering the majority of what I wear in the summer tends to be either white or straight-up see-through, light-colored underwear – especially bras – is actually a fillable gap.

In the past, I’ve focused on off-whites and nudes – which, personally, I think are ugly and therefore really boring to sew (maybe your nudes are pretty, but the kind of nude that looks nude on me is just… meh. It’s like the same color they paint the walls of rentals because it’s so ~neutral~. Seriously, I literally repainted a rental once that was the exact same color as my skin. My ex-landlord even complimented it hahahahaha). However, someone pointed out to me once in the comments that lighter, pastel colors also work just as well, at least with my skin tone. I’m not a pastel sorta girl either – give me all the jewel tones! – but this feels like a happy compromise to me. And I can’t deny that the pale yellow lace is super pretty!

Yellow Lace Marlborough bra

Yellow Lace Marlborough bra

Once again, the pattern used here is the Marlborough Bra from Orange Lingerie. I’ve made this pattern to death – at this point, it’s more than paid for itself with how many renditions I’ve made. I love the way it fits my body, I love how comfortable it is (mostly because it fits right, haha) and I love how it looks, especially when sewn up in lace and has all those awesome scalloped edges.

I’ve mentioned this before, but this fabric combo is a winning Marlborough combo for me – stable fabric backed with sheer cup lining (except at the top lace edge, which is unlined). The top cup is stabilized with strips of Powermesh selvedge (rather than clear elastic – I just think it looks and feels better), and I like the narrower strap and band elastics with a 3 row hook and eye. My perfect bra!

I tried to mix this one up a little by converting the bridge to have more of an arch, using this tutorial from Emerald Erin. If you’re looking really hard and not seeing an arch – ummmm I don’t see it either! Apparently my angle was too subtle πŸ˜‰ There’s even a painstakingly-matched seam up the middle of the bridge to accommodate my VERY NON-ARCH, all for naught, y’all. Whatever. It still looks pretty haha.

Yellow Lace Marlborough bra

The fabric & all accompanying notions came from my favorite bra supply source, Tailor Made Shop! (this particular kit is currently sold out, but here is a similar one. Also, can we talk about how AMAZING this stretch charmeuse one is? Yeah, like I need another wild bra to add to my drawers haha). Ying actually came down to Nashville a few months ago, where we met up for hot chicken & beers, and she brought me this kit as a present. I’m only just now getting around to making it up, but I feel like it was worth the wait πŸ˜‰

The kit includes everything you need to make an underwired bra – except the pattern and the underwires (I get my underwires from Bra Maker’s Supply – they fit my body shape well and I also have a huge stash I’m working my way through haha). It even includes enough sheer cup lining to line the entire bra, should you choose to do so. My favorite part about these kits is how the elastics match but aren’t all the same. There are both white and pale yellow elastics – matched up with the pale yellow lace and white mesh, and those little gold sliders on the straps… it all just goes together so well! I collect lingerie supplies like they are going to eventually stop producing them and my stash is currently enormous, but my matching and coordinating skills can’t compete with these kits!

Yellow Lace Marlborough bra

I should mention, the one part of the bra that didn’t come in the kit is the little turquoise bow. I added that myself, from a piece of ribbon in my stash πŸ™‚ It’s unexpected against all that white and pale yellow – I love it!

Yellow Lace Marlborough bra

Yellow Lace Marlborough bra

Yellow Lace Marlborough bra

The good news about me taking so long to post this is that I can really comment on it’s comfort and durability! The bra has held up through multiple wears and washings (I hand wash my lingerie in the sink and lay it flat to dry – just FYI!), and it’s kept me supported and feeling beeee-you-ti-ful all the while!

Yellow Lace Marlborough bra

That’s all for this one! Just looking at these photos makes me want to make another bra, ahh! πŸ˜€

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!

Coral Lace Watson Bra (+ upcoming workshops!)

15 Jan

Coming back after a hiatus – even if it’s a mere 2 weeks – always feels a little awkward writing that first sentence. I have missed you guys, though! Thank you so much for all your thoughtful comments + general encouragement on my last post – I appreciate every single one of you! β™₯

Before I bring in the fun underwear portion of this post, I want to address a few orders of business first. Promise I’ll be quick!

Peach Lace Watson Bra
But first, a bra to tempt you to stick around. Ooh la la! Enjoy that butt view in the mirror, too.

ONE I am having a difficult time contacting one of the winners from our Shutters & Shuttles giveaway in December, Shesewsswell. Both Allison & I have sent emails and we haven’t heard a peep back 😦 Neither of us are terribly keen on the idea of passing the prize on to someone else just yet (I would feel absolutely rotten if it turned out those emails went to a spam filter or something), but we will need to if we don’t get a response from the original winner. SO, Shesewsswell, pleaseeeee contact me at lladybirdlauren at gmail to claim your prize! There is a beautiful piece of handwoven, Nashville-made fabric waiting for you πŸ™‚ UPDATE: Found her! Yay! πŸ˜€

TWO Upcoming workshops! First one is in March in Brooklyn, NY! I’ll be coming into town to teach the Weekend Pants Making Intensive at WORKROOM SOCIAL, which, if you’ve heard me talk about this class before – you know I’m pumped about it! This is a fun, 2 day class (3/19 & 3/20) at WORKROOM SOCIAL studios in Brooklyn, where we will cover all the basics of making a fine pair of pants – from basic fitting, to following the pattern, to all the little details that make pants look, well, like pants πŸ™‚ This is a really popular class and it always sells out pretty fast, so if you want a spot you better act fast! We also have an afternoon of fabric shopping in the Garment District the Friday before, for those who need some guidance with selecting their pants fabric – or just want to take advantage of a Garment District tour and all the discounts! All the info for the class + shopping trip are on the WORKROOM SOCIAL website, as well as where to sign up! If you want to learn more about the class from my perspective, here’s a post I wrote about the first one I did (wow, that was a long time ago!).

THREE Other workshop! In April, I’ll be in Portland, ME, to teach another open-sewing weekend at A Gathering of Stitches! I had SOOO much fun teaching this open workshop last year, and I’m super delighted to come back for a second round! The workshop is in Portland, ME, and starts Wednesday, April 13 for a pizza + booze get to know you night, then four days (4/14 – 4/17) of awesome fun sewing times! What I love most about this workshop is that it isn’t specific project-based – you get to pick whatever project you want to bring, and sew away in the beautiful shared space, use the cool equipment (like the gravity feed iron), and hang out and socialize with everyone else. And, of course, I’ll be on hand to provide assistance and ~expertise~, as well as comic relief and general cheerleading πŸ™‚ Whether you want to make a pair of jeans, tailor a coat, whip up a bra, get some help with fitting and making muslins, or just want to take a solo sewing hobby and make it social for a weekend – this is the class for you! Plus, Maine is SUPER beautiful (truth, if it weren’t for the winters, my southern ass would figure out a way to move there in a heartbeat. I already have my house picked out and everything haha) and full of such delicious food. For more info on the class, visit A Gathering of Stitches. Official registration isn’t live until February 8th at 12PM EST, fyi, but this gives some time to plan and save before worrying that it will sell out πŸ™‚ (it sold out last time. Actually, we oversold! Whoops! I loved all 11 of y’all though! β™₯). If you want to read a brief write-up of my experience with the class last year, you can find that here.

Ok, that’s enough housekeeping! Onwards to the undies πŸ˜€

Peach Lace Watson Bra

Peach Lace Watson Bra

Actually, I don’t have too much to say about this project so I’ll keep this (relatively) short! This is another Watson Bra, which is a non-underwired soft bra pattern. Perfect for a first bra project, I think! The fabric + notions are a kit from Tailor Made Shop, which is one of my favorite sources for bra kits and supplies. Everything is sooo nice and the kits are just beautiful! The particular kit I used is for coral and light pink, which doesn’t appear to be available anymore, but this one is pretty similar. And this yellow one is awesome. Ok, enough, Lauren!

Peach Lace Watson Bra

I love the effect of the scalloped lace, and I wanted to use that to my advantage with this bra. This makes for some finicky cutting – not only do you have to be sure that you’re cutting the right edge along the scallops, but it’s also nice to mirror them so everything is balanced. Having made this pattern before with scalloped navy lace, I used that knowledge to make the coral lace. The elastics along the scallops are sewn flat and not turned back (such as what you’d do with a picot edged elastic), so the lace retains the scallops. Since the lace is pretty stretchy, I underlined the entire bra with the included powermesh. There was plenty of fabric in the kit for all this – I even have some left over πŸ™‚ I guess I could make some matching undies, but realistically, I probably won’t. I have realized that I don’t like sewing underwear. It’s just… meh.

Peach Lace Watson Bra

Peach Lace Watson Bra

Peach Lace Watson Bra

Peach Lace Watson Bra

For the pattern, I used my normal size 30D and made the version with the normal band (i.e., not the long-line). Sewing the bottom elastic was a little tricky since there’s not much real estate to work with there – I used the included picot that came with the kit, since it was narrower than the 1″ stuff I used on my navy lace version, and that helped a little. I had originally requested the kit with the 3 row hook and eye, thinking that I’d make a longline – but changed my mind and thus had to change the hook and eye. I noticed that RTW bras just zigzag along the top of the hook and eye, so that’s what I did with this one after I trimmed it down. Then I melted the edges with a lighter to really smooth them out (it’s poly, so it works). I don’t think you can even tell there was a surgery on that thing. Go me.

Fit-wise, this one is ok. It’s not nearly as awesome and supportive as the longline versions – which I had suspected would be the case, especially since there’s no underwire to bear the brunt of the support. If I tighten to the tightest hook, it does help some. I reckon this short style is just better suited for smaller cup sizes. If you’re rocking a D or larger (or maybe even a really full C), you probably want to stick with the longline so you can take advantage of that support. It really makes a difference!

This is mostly a bra for lounging around and being all fancy in-house, because it’s PRETTY comfy. And it’s really beautiful on! I think lace bras with scalloped edges are just beautiful regardless, but this one is a lovely shape and the colors are just fantastic. I really love that the kits have different colored elastics that all match the lace, and that the hardware (rings + sliders + hooks + eyes) are metal. Even the strap elastic is fancy. LOVE ALL OF IT.

Peach Lace Watson Bra

So anyway, there’s that. Happy first post of 2016! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ Who’s got bra making on their reSEWlution list this year (I am so sorry about that awful word haha)? Who’s coming to NY or Portland? Shesewsswell, where areeeee you? Let’s talk!

Note: the supplies (bra kit) for this project were given to me by the Tailor Made Shop. The Watson bra pattern, however, was purchased by me! And all gushing is 100% my opinion πŸ˜‰

Bra-Making with Madalynne

9 Feb

As you no doubt already know by now (mostly because I’ve talked about it to death by this point ahaha), I recently spent a long weekend in Philadelphia with Maddie, to help her set up for her bra making workshop – as well as attend the damn thing myself! I was obviously really excited for this adventure – for the hangs, to explore a new city (truth: the only time I’d been to Philly prior was for a one-way flight back to Nashville after helping my friend move to NYC when I was 22. A 14 year old boy hit on me while we were waiting for the plane to take off. I think he was the most traumatized between the two of us, though), and of course, because of boobs. And now you guys get to hear/see a recap! Yay!

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I won’t bore y’all with a full weekend recap – I flew in on Thursday afternoon, and spent nearly the entire time up until Saturday morning with Maddie to help her prepare for the workshop. We ran errands, we prepped handouts and the (adorable) little kits, and helped with getting the machines set up in the space the night before. I was able to sneak away for a few hours with Andrea, who took me to the MΓΌtter Museum (my request – and also this is your head’s up of knowing that Andrea is an amazing sport when it comes to visiting weird places with an almost total stranger haha) and her favorite yarn shop (where I bought sock yarn. It’s red. That’s about all that’s worth knowing :P).

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No, what we are here to discuss is a recap of the workshop! Actually, I don’t think this post warrants too much typing – you can get a good sense of how things went just based by the photos alone (and yes, those were professionally taken. OBVIOUSLY my hands didn’t go anywhere near the camera that weekend, ha!).

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Honestly, the entire day was more of an event and less of a workshop. I knew Maddie had something special planned when we were cahooting about this shit months ago (well, my side of the cahooting was just being a personal cheerleader. I love cheerleading my friends while they are doing amazing things πŸ™‚ ), but I was surprised when I started seeing things coming together. Of course, I probably shouldn’t have been surprised – anyone who’s lurked up Maddie’s blog knows that that woman is all about turning everything around her into beautiful art (y’all should see her condo. I couldn’t even DEAL) – but yeah, it was all lovely. The production for the workshop, as well as all the styling and catering, was handled by The New Old Fashioned, and the event took place in the Love Me Do Photography studio. There was beautiful vintage furniture everywhere, fresh flowers, a never-ending supply of coffee (and later, prosecco. Yay!), a catered lunch, a light breakfast, adorable cakes, a photo booth – even a freaking spot to get your make-up professionally touched up. I’m telling you, this shit was an EVENT. It was amazing and there was obviously a lot of love and attention that went into every detail. Definitely not the kind of half-assed workshop that I’d throw together – but that’s what you get when you are dealing with Maddie. You get something that’s just as beautiful as it is useful.

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To be completely honest, I wasn’t expecting to learn a whole lot at the workshop itself – I’ve already made a couple of bras at this point, and I have an ok handle on how they come together. I knew I’d be hitting Maddie up for fitting advice outside of the classroom, and I knew that the environment itself would be amazing and fun. I’m happy to report that I was wrong, at least in the subject of “learning new things.” I definitely learned a whole bunch of new tips and trips – a more effective way of cutting the fabric and lace, when to use certain zigzag stitches and widths, a way to beautifully finish the top of the bridge, amongst other things. And duh, of course the class was fun as HELL! I had such a great time meeting everyone, talking boobs, and making bras together. My kind of awesome day!

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(I am sharing this photo because I have no idea why I’m making that expression! At least my hair color doesn’t look like swamp sludge haha)

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Oh yeah – and the food was fucking fantastic!

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Here are some more photos so that you can be good & jealous of our fabulous day. Our take-home goodie bags included those beautiful cookies, a tiny bottle of prosecco (again – yay!) and a fresh bouquet with a handmade medal.

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We also had temporary sewing-themed tattoos – which, by the way, who else thinks Maddie should get a pair of shears tattooed on her neck? Amirite?!

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I was REALLY excited to see that Carolina and Jen were also part of the class! I met both of these ladies last time I was in NY – Jen was one of my students in the Pants Making Intensive at WORKROOM SOCIAL, and Carolina randomly asked me for coffee (which clearly ended up being a match made in heaven – I mean, we make a pretty adorable prom couple). It was great to be able to see both of them – in a completely different city than before, even.

I know that my friendship with Maddie does make me a bit biased, but this workshop was seriously fabulous. I’ve never felt so pampered while in a class – it’s kind of a nice feeling (I might be kind of spoiled now! Ha!)! And, hey, the bra didn’t turn out so bad, either πŸ™‚ Want to see?

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If you recognize the fabric, it’s because I used it before on a Bambi bra; it was originally given to me from Maddie. Let me just say – the kits that we got with this workshop were seriously nice. Everything was included – all the fabric, notions, hardware, even a tiny rotary cutter and a really nice marking pen – and it was all super high quality stuff. I think most of it came from Bra Maker’s Supply – which, if you’ve ever ordered from them before, you know how nice their products area. No cheap plastic sliders or questionable elastic here! I would have found this very helpful had I been making my first bra – it gives you a good idea of what the good-quality stuff feels like, so you know what to shop for (plus, it’s easier to sew!).

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We used the Marlborough pattern for our bras; I brought my own copy (everyone got a copy with their kits) since I already had some fitting tweaks done. The lace we used is really stretchy, so everything is backed with power mesh to make it more stable. It still has more stretch than the duoplex I get from Bra Maker’s Supply, but the resulting bra actually fits pretty nicely! I’ve spared y’all the floating ghost bra photos for this post (mostly because I’m feeling lazy haha sorry), but, just trust me.

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Our tableware at the workshop was tied with this cute twill tape that looks like a measuring tape – I saved a little piece to make a bow for my bra. Love it πŸ™‚ And check out that pretty gold hardware! Honestly, that’s my favorite part of the whole damn bra. Looks so luxe.

Let’s see, what else? Sunday, Carolina & I walked all over Philly (ok, seriously, maybe 5 miles, tops. haha) and it was cold but also really fun! I really enjoyed getting to spend some time with her and get some bonding done. We visited Andrea at Butcher’s Sewing Shop, where she was teaching a class. Actually, we crashed that shit and drank their mimosas, but everyone was really friendly and the shop is just adorable. No ragrets. Finally, I made it home just before the next snow storm – and I’m happy to report that I wasn’t hit on by a 14 year old this time. Also, the Philadelphia airport is WAY nicer than I remember.

I had an amazing time – the workshop obviously being the highlight of the trip, but it was so wonderful getting to hang with everyone and meet some great new people (and reunite with people I know I already love πŸ™‚ ). If you were interested in taking the workshop, but were put off by the price or didn’t know what to expect – hopefully this revs your engine a little πŸ™‚ It’s definitely an experience! For a more in-depth recap, with lots more photos (as well as a run down of all the vendors who contributed to all the pretty that you see), check out Maddie’s blog.

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I am just gonna leave this picture here, because I think it really illustrates the class well. There is alcohol and cookies on that table – and we can’t tear ourselves away from the machines. TYPICAL.

Disclaimer: I was given a free ticket to the Bra Making Workshop, in exchange helping with prep, set up, and trouble shooting – as well as keeping Maddie’s nerves calmed for her first class (I shit you not, she started VACUUMING her condo like 30 minutes before we had to leave that morning hahaha). I paid for all my travel and food expenses, but my workshop ticket was gratis! This review is just cos I think the class was awesome, and I wanted to talk about it.

Completed: I Knit Socks!

24 Dec

I cannot believe it’s been 3 years since I learned how to knit! Where has time gone?

When I was first starting my journey into knitting, there were really only two things I was interested in making – sweaters and socks. The sweaters, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, have not been a problem – as of last count, I’m working on #18 (yes! I looveeee sweaters!). Socks, on the other hand, have remained a bit of a mystery to me. I made it worse by trying to be picky about every pattern I considered – I wanted to learn to knit socks on Magic Loop, I wanted to do two at a time, I wanted the yarn to be fingering weight, etc etc. I am pretty sure it was less that I wanted a ‘specific pattern’ to make my first pair of socks with, and more that I just wanted some more excuses to allow me to push everything to the backburner! Needless to say, I haven’t knit a pair of socks – or even attempted to knit a pair of socks – since I first started my Journey of the Knit ‘way back in 2011.

Dancetty Socks

UNTIL NOW HEH HEH HEH.

Dancetty Socks

Sorry about the pictures! It’s surprisingly hard to take photos of your own socks – who woulda thought? As you can see, my reupholstered chairs are well used and loved, and, yes, that is a ladder with a plant on it under an American flag in the background (results of some drunken “how hipster can we make this wall?” night. I always laugh when I see the Hipster Wall. It stays.).

Anyway – socks! My first pair, go ahead and feast your eyes!!

Dancetty Socks

Dancetty Socks

Every time I think about how ridiculous this must have looked to anyone who might have happened to peer in my window (Truth: We don’t close our curtains. At least not in the dining room, where this took place), it makes me laugh more. Oh, the things I do for blog photos.

Dancetty Socks

Imma try to keep this short and sweet, because it’s Christmas Eve, after all (sorry to give y’all socks for Christmas! Am I the worst ever or what?!). The pattern is Dancetty by Abbey Morris (keep reading for a coupon code!), and I used one skein of Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine for both of them (with tons leftover). I’m just going to be totally straight and upfront with y’all – I ultimately chose this as my first sock pattern because Abbey offered it to me in exchange for a review. Otherwise, without that gentle push, I might still be spiraling down the endless turmoil of “I don’t know what sock pattern to knit fiiiiiiirst!!” Abbey assured me that, with my knitting experience (17 sweaters, man!), I would find these easy enough for a first time. The ladies at my local yarn store, Haus of Yarn, were confident I’d have these finished in a week. In reality, these took me two months. One month per sock. Ha!

Dancetty Socks

I knit these socks with size 0 DPNs (double pointed needles) – the 0 was based on my gauge swatch, and the DPNs are how the pattern is written. I actually really appreciated the way the pattern was written, because it kind of dumbed things down enough to where I could easily follow the instructions (pretty much blindly on my first sock, ahaha) and still get a good result. Each section tells you how many stitches to have on each needle, and there are separate lace patterns to follow based on what part of the sock you’re knitting. Apart from the whole lace sock thing, this was a somewhat mindless knit. The lacework… woof. That’s where things got interesting (and why these took me so dang long!). On at least the first sock, I think I unknit every other row, because I kept making so many mistakes. I’ve never been one to think lacework was super difficult, but something about it being in sock form was just ruining my brain (that, and I was trying to do this while watching TV and/or drinking. Whoops?). That being said, I was really happy to turn the heel – I’ve always heard that turning the heel is magical, and it kind of is!

Sock #2 took about the same amount of time as sock #1, but the process was much smoother. Since I already knew what I was getting into, I didn’t make as many mistakes – but I did take a lot of breaks, which was why this was so slow-going! I know that Second Sock Syndrome is a real thing for sock knitters, but for me, it was nice to be able to try again the second time around and make improvements when possible.

When I finished both socks, they were initially a little short in the foot. An overnight wet block (I used sock blockers, mostly because I wanted to buy something new, but you could just block them like a sweater too I guess, and pin the heck out of them) solved that problem. I’m also wondering about the cuff – see how it’s scrunching down? How can I get it to stay up? (A knitter’s lament) Should I thread thin elastic through the edge like I do with my hats?

Dancetty Socks

Dancetty Socks

Dancetty Socks

Anyway, this was a fun pattern to knit up! If you can do simple lacework, short rows, and knit in the round – you can knit socks. It’s really not much different than knitting a sweater (although it might take as long! Oh no, wait, that’s just me πŸ˜› haha!). Next up, I want to try knitting socks with Magic Loop – while I didn’t think the DPNs were fiddly to knit with, it was hell on earth trying to transport the damn things. They kept slipping out of my stitches and wreaking havoc on everything, no matter how I tried to store my WIP. Also, note to self: don’t buy bamboo DPNs, you will snap those sticks like the toothpicks they are. Good way to feel like a Hulk Woman, though.

Next sock pattern in my knitting queue? Good question! I’ve had my eye on these Little Cable Knee Highs (have you seen Michelle‘s? Oh my god, Becky.), except, ugh, the DPNs again. Any good suggestions for fingering-weight socks knit on circular needles?

Want to try Dancetty yourself? Use the code “Lladybird” to receive 50% off any pattern from Abbey Morris Designs Ravelry Shop. This code is good through January 31, 2015! Thank you so much, Abbey!

Dancetty Socks

That’s all for now! Ravelry notes are here. I hope y’all have a very Merry Christmas and a lovely end to your December! I’m just now awakening from the throes of my DEATHBED (first time feeling human since Sunday night what up y’all), and I’m looking forward to spending some time with the family, the boyfriend, and my handknit socks. Yay!

Disclaimer: Dancetty was provided to me, free of charge, from Abbey Morris Designs, in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own. And I am very happy to finally have a pair of a hand-knit socks in my arsenal. Christmas miracles really do happen.

Starting My Bra-Making Adventure!

2 Oct

I’ve reached what I feel like might be the most hardcore-DIY’er point to date in my me-made journey. I’ve slowed down the impractical makes and gone fullstop into the daily practical wear – tshirts, jeans, coats, pajamas, even workout clothes. The next logical stop on this me-made-merry-go-round?

Undergarments.

Yikes.

I never thought I would be that person who makes their own undergarments. On the surface, it seems unnecessarily fussy – like, why buy undies (or whatever your country calls them) if you can pick up a pair for less than $5? Sure, bras are expensive – but falling down the bra rabbit hole can be even more expensive when you look at the up front cost of sourcing all the materials and patterns, and then dealing with mock-ups (which, unlike other handmades – must be made from the same fabric as whatever you intend on using for the finished product. No cheapo bedsheet muslins here!). For those of us who treat sewing as more of a relaxing hobby and less of a “EVERYTHING I WEAR HAS TO BE MADE BY MY OWN HANDS, ARGH!”, it seems wasteful to spend time sewing something that no one sees.

However, I don’t fall in that category. I’m that weirdo who loves to wear all handmade (and y’all, I am NOT judging you if you don’t fall in this camp! I just tend to go balls to the wall with everything I do), and now I want it to include my undies. Yes! It’s also been driving me crazy as of late that I spend $70-$90 on a single bra that still doesn’t quite fit correctly (the underwires and bands fit, but the cup is not the right cut for the shape of my breasts, to get a little TMI on y’all)(and please don’t tell me to shop online, I fucking hate buying underwear online and dealing with returns. I won’t do it). Might as well make my own, right?

So this will be my bra-making adventure. Hope you like to read about undies! Also, if you were hoping to see some modeled bra shots… don’t hold your breath. That shit’s not happening, at least not in this post. Sorry!

bambi pattern

Making bras is pretty weird! As I mentioned before, it’s quite different from making, say, a dress. You have to mock-up the bra pattern, and it has to be done with the same fabric you’ll be making the real deal from. You can get a general idea of fit just by sewing the pieces together without the trims, but you won’t *really* know how that thing fits until you’ve actually completed it – straps and all. If the bra needs a lot of tweaking – too bad. You gotta make another one (hope you bought enough fabric!). This alone has been the biggest drawback to bra making, at least for me. The other big drawback is sourcing all those dang bits and pieces you need to make *one* bra – the fabrics, the lining, all the elastics and channeling and boning and trims, and ugh! Too much! Can’t deal!

Like I said, the thought of putting all that work into something that I may not even be able to wear was very off-putting. However, I have made a couple bikini tops at this point (see one and two), and I didn’t find either of those processes traumatizing at all. So I decided to start with a soft bra – the kind that don’t require a lot of special notions (including underwires) or fabrics, with similar assembly to that of a bikini top. The Bambi Bra pattern from Ohhh Lulu seemed to fit the bill quite nicely, so that’s the one I went with. Fortunately, my boobs have shrunk enough now that I can actually wear one of these (because I don’t really need much support these days), but they’re also good for lounging around the house/sleeping. You know, comfy bra!

I bought the pattern and printed it out. I exchanged quite a few emails with Madalynne, who gave me lots of great tips and encouragement and even offered to phone or Skype if I was having fitting issues. Ultimately, though, I realized that no one was going to come out here and make this bra for me, so I set about making my first one a couple of weekends ago. And here she is! My first bra!

Bambi Bra

I made this first Bambi using fabrics that were sent to me from Madalynne – a beautiful blue stretch lace with matching white power mesh. The white lace trimming at the top is actually from my own lingerie elastic stash (oh yeah, I totally have a stash of that shit). It turned out REALLY pretty! It also turned out to be a bit too small in some places, and too large in other places, but that’s ok. It’s still wearable and it’s quite a learning experience and both of these things are satisfactory to me.

Bambi Bra

For this bra, I followed the sizing of the pattern but kind of went my own way with the directions. All of the lace is lined with the power mesh – in retrospect, probably/definitely should have left that upper cup lace and back band lace unlined, as it’s a little too stable right there (see what I mean? Learning experience!). When I put on the bra without the elastics, the upper cup was gaping a bit (this is a problem I have with my RTW bras), so I tried to compensate by pulling the top elastic for a snugger fit. BAD idea! You shouldn’t pull that elastic more than a 1:1 ratio, except in certain areas. I knew that. I did it anyway. Oh well!

By the time I got to the back, I realized that I didn’t have a hook and eye to sew in there. Oops. I just stole one off an nude old bra that doesn’t fit. It doesn’t match at all and looks pretty bad, why is why I didn’t take a photo πŸ˜›

Bambi Bra

Here it is flat – see how much the elastic is pulling? It definitely shouldn’t pull that much. You may also notice that I just literally sewed the strapping elastic to the bra – there’s no adjustable sliders on this guy! By the time I realized this bra wasn’t quite right, I decided not to waste my cute little gold strap slider things (that Madalynne also included) and save those for a bra I’ll actually wear. In case you were wondering – I have more of this lace fabric, and the powermesh, so I can totally make another one once I get my fit down. Again, learning experience!

First bra down means that the second one can only get better though, right?

Bambi Bra

This one was SO much better! For one, I used a non-stretch woven fabric cut on the bias (leftover from this top, in case you were wondering!), which gave me the stability I wasn’t getting with the stretch lace. I also tweaked the sizing a bit, so it’s better (but it could still use some improvement).

Bambi Bra

Here’s a close-up. I’m like a sexy lumberjack up in hurr.

So, let’s talk about the sizing. My underbust is 28″, my full bust is 32″, and I typically wear a 28DD in RTW (I know, according to ~bra measurement guides~ that shouldn’t be my size, but any band size higher is way too big and any cup size smaller means I’m busting out of the place. This is the size that *generally* fits my body best, at least with brands like Freya and Panache). The Bambi bra says that the XS will fit a bust of 34″-35″, so I was apprehensive right off the bat.

I started with the XS, and used the straight size for the Blue Lace, just to get an idea of the sizing and what needed to be adjusted. Not surprisingly – the band was too big and the cups were too small. The band can be adjusted by taking out of the center back or side seams – you can even adjust the back right before sewing in the hook and eye at the very end. The cups, unfortunately, just kind of are what they are. They’re definitely not big enough, which is actually kind of awesome because it almost makes me feel like I have huge rack! Woohoo!

For the Lumberjack Lady, I made a few adjustments:
– I sewed the bust curve (that seam that runs vertical right over the nipple) at 1/4″. The seam allowances in this pattern are 1/2″, so I figured that would give me a little more room where I needed it.
– I kept the seam allowance at the center front at 1/2″, although next time I may shave off 1/4″ because it’s still a little wide.
– I also added 1/2″ to the bottom of all the pieces except the little lace piece at the top, so the bra would actually cover my entire breast (Blue Lace has a little bit of underboob action going on). Next time, I will also add 1/2″ to the top of the pieces as well. They just need a liiiiittle more coverage up there.
– I took some length out of the band to make it fit my ribcage, but I honestly couldn’t tell you how much. Sorry!

Bambi Bra

The end result is a better fitting bra. It’s still not perfect, but we are getting there!

Bambi Bra

Here’s the back – don’t laugh too much at how bad it looks. I was feeling so clever about this salvaged hook & eye that actually matched, until I realized that it’s not the right width – after I’d already sewn on the elastics! Argh! Lesson learned!

Bambi Bra
Bambi Bra

By the time I was sewing on the trims for bra #2, I found that I was much more comfortable and confident in the process – and I think the end result really shows (other than that embarrassing hook and eye! STOP LOOKING AT IT!). The elastic was sewn on at a less tight ratio, which really shows when the bra is laying flat (and makes it fit much more comfortably). Also, dudes – sourcing all the little trimmings and fabric combinations for this thing is fun, at least when it come from a stash raid πŸ™‚ The black lace is from my Georgia Dress, The lace trim is from Pacific Trimming, and the straps were sent to me from Trice. WHAT UP, FREE BRA.

Bambi Bra

The inside is lined with a soft cotton jersey.

So that’s it! Some things I learned with this new experience:
– Bra Making is really fun and kind of addictive. It uses the tiniest little pieces of fabric (forreal, the amount of blue lace I used was smaller than a sheet of copy paper, ha!), which means you can never throw scraps away. Sorry!
– Adjusting the sizing is not as scary as I thought it would be. Basically finishing a bra before knowing whether or not it’ll work – yeah, that still kind of sucks, but there are worse problems to have, you know?
– You can sew this – start to finish – on a sewing machine! No serger needed. I used a lightning bolt stitch to assemble pretty much everything, and a standard zigzag for sewing the trims.

One big thing I learned is – ok, soft bras are fun, but I’m ready to pull out the big guns! Bring on the real bras with underwires and lots of tiny pieces! I’ve been reading Orange Lingerie‘s Demystifying Bra Fitting and Construction and I just bought my own PDF copy of the Marlborough Bra – partially because it was designed and drafted by Norma herself (and I totally trust her bra-making expertise), and partially because it looks exactly like my favorite RTW bra (aka, the only one that really fits right, haha). I also bought a couple of bra kits from Bra Maker’s Supply, which means I didn’t have to personally source all the bits and pieces. So that’s a plus!

marlborough patternWhat about y’all? Would you ever consider making your own lingerie (or… have you?)? Are you a handmade-all-the-time kinda sewer, or would you rather focus your free time on making extravagant and fun things? I think you guys all know my stance, but I want to hear yours!

Hey, and one last thing – last week, I had the pleasure of “meeting” Corinne of The Sewing Affair via phone and chatting her up – and now it’s a podcast that you can listen to! Go have a listen – even if it’s just to decide whether or not I have a southern accent (southerners think I don’t; everyone else thinks I do. Someone sway the vote, my voice is feeling like it doesn’t have an identity haha). ALSO, Corinne has been killing it with these podcasts and they are ALL so good – you should listen to them all! It’s so cool to put a real voice to the blog voices I’ve been reading for the past few years πŸ™‚