Tag Archives: Mood Fabrics

Completed: Sewaholic Pacific Shorts + Dunbar Sports Bra

12 Jul

Since moving into my new apartment last month, I have been busy discovering all the cool stuff in my area (bonus that it’s all pretty walkable/bikeable, unlike at my last place in the middle of nowhere :P). One major selling point for me was that I am now super close – about 2 blocks, and again, walkable – to a really great greenway. The multi-use paths are nice and wide, mostly shaded by the trees, and there is a big creek that runs through it which means lots of cool bridges to cross! It’s a fantastic area for both cycling *and* running, and I’ve been taking full advantage of it.

While I have my fair share of workout wear, it quickly became clear to me that what I had was lacking pretty badly, at least for running. My preferred workout of choice has traditionally been hot yoga – where I tend to wear leggings or capris (you know, for the sake of whoever is unfortunate enough to practice right behind me hahaha) and they don’t need any pockets because you are standing in one place. I find those long pant lengths to be way too hot and restrictive for running, at least in the summer time. And I definitely need a pocket to hold my phone and keys, so I can listen to music and/or podcasts and keep my hands free! I noticed that Mood Fabrics has added a lot of performance/activewear fabric to their site, so this seemed like a good excuse to stock up and try them out.

Sewaholic Pacific Shorts + Dunbar Sports Bra

Sewaholic Pacific Shorts + Dunbar Sports Bra

I ended up making 3 pairs of shorts and a sports bra. The first pair uses Midnight Black Max Dri Performance jersey, although you can see here that they are much closer to a darker grey. I love these mottled jerseys and bought them in several colors!

Also – hello from my new studio! I’m still trying to get the hang of taking photos indoors (not cool enough to lug a tripod down the greenway and take action shorts, sorry guys), so I’m sorry that these are subpar.

Sewaholic Pacific Shorts + Dunbar Sports Bra

The pattern I used is the Sewaholic Pacific Leggings – although, obviously, I made some changes to the pattern to turn them into little running shorts! This was as simple as drawing a line where I wanted the new hemline to be, making sure to include a 3/4″ seam allowance for hemming. I started out with a 4.5″ inseam, based on a pair of shorts I already had, but ended up taking another inch off before hemming. I like my shorts short enough for some buttcheek to peek out. Ain’t no shame in that.

I made this pattern before earlier this year, for a couple of full-length yoga pants (which I never posted about, ha). It’s pretty great in terms of fit. I sewed my usual Sewaholic size – a 0 – and even though the line is geared toward pear shapes, my un-pear-shaped ass fits in it just fine. The pattern has some cool seaming on the legs (which is awesome for color and pattern blocking), a nice snug waistband that stays in place, and a back zippered back pocket that is actually big enough to hold my iPhone 6 – check it out!

Sewaholic Pacific Shorts + Dunbar Sports Bra

Sewaholic Pacific Shorts + Dunbar Sports Bra

Now I can run to my heart’s content and know that my phone is safe and secure without worrying that it’s going to bounce out. This pocket is also big enough to hold my key and cash, should I need it (laugh all you want, but the greenway in question actually connects to a Target, soo… I’m just saying.).

Sewaholic Pacific Shorts + Dunbar Sports Bra

Sewaholic Pacific Shorts + Dunbar Sports Bra

The second pair of shorts is pretty much the same as the first pair, except I used the Husky Grey colorway instead. You can barely see the zipper in this picture – it’s pale blue (that was the closest match I had on hand in my stash).

As with the first pair, I used a combination of my serger + sewing machine to construct these. The zipper area gets stabilized with a piece of fusible stay tape (to keep the fabric from going haywire while you’re putting the zipper in), so it’s really easy to sew in. The waistband has clear elastic sewn inside the seam allowances at the top to keep things snug and in place. The only part I did not enjoy sewing was the gusset – that thing is super tricky! I found the only way to get it in even somewhat nicely was to baste with my sewing machine first (because you are gonna end up ripping it out multiple times, so you might as well make it easy on yourself) and then go over the basting with my serger. I am still not a huge fan of the gusset – it kind of gives me cameltoe, if we’re being completely honest here (aaand now that I’ve said THAT word, I’m gonna get some weirdos in here via Google search, lord). I just ignore it and figure – if someone is staring there hard enough to judge the ‘toe, I’ve got a much bigger problem on hand hahahah.

Sewaholic Pacific Shorts

Sewaholic Pacific Shorts

Last pair of shorts! These are a boring, basic black. The fabric is one that I have had in my stash for a couple of years – it’s a another dry-wicking activewear fabric, although I think it’s actually from Nike. My girl Lola sent me a yard of it way back in the day, so I’m not sure where it was purchased from. What I can tell you is that I put it in a really weird stash place and couldn’t find it for those 2 years, whoops. Imagine my delight when I unearthed it while packing for this recent move! Yay! In comparison to the stuff from Mood, this fabric is a lot thicker and more robust. It wears and dries about the same, but the heavier weight does make it feel like it’s a higher quality. It was a little more difficult to sew because it is more slippery, but not too bad. Even with adding a zipper and dealing with a tricky fabric, these shorts don’t take a lot of time – or fabric! – to make. And they are SO MUCH cheaper than buying some shitty Lululemon or whatever.

(In case you were curious, the yellow/grey sports bra is not a handmade – it’s RTW. I like the color combo though and would like to try something similar! Also, I have no idea what happened to the lighting in those photos! Took them at the same time as the others, wtf)

Sewaholic Dunbar Sports Bra

Finally, the sports bra! I’ll be honest – I am 100% a-ok with the stash of RTW sports bras in my drawer. I have a fairly small bust, don’t need a lot of support, and fit well within the size ranges that are available at the store. I tend to buy them on clearance, so they rarely cost me more than $15 a pop. I wasn’t totally interested in making a sports bra because what I already have works, but the Dunbar top pattern (also from Sewaholic) caught my attention enough where I figured I’d try it. I like the details and fabric combinations, and being able to use one of the cool printed Activewear fabrics that Mood Fabrics carries (or even just making a bra to match my shorts because I am SO that person) was a plus. So I tried it out, and I’m a fan! I spent a really long time debating what size to sew – and even traced the pattern just in case I chose the wrong one – but ultimately, went with my usual size 0 and the fit is pretty good. I ended up taking in the band elastic a LOT more than what the pattern calls for, but I have a small ribcage so that’s not surprising (I think the pattern calls for 26″ of elastic at the band, and my ribcage measures 27″. I needed more negative ease than that!). For the record, my full bust measures closer to the size 4, but the 0 was just the right amount negative ease for me.

I used – again! – the Max-Dri Performance Jersey, this time in Midnight Blue – for the main color of my top. For the dark blue contrast, I used navy nylon spandex. The top gets its support by compression – which is achieved with an underlayer of Powermesh . I can’t speak for every boob out there, but my experience with the support in this bra was great. Again, I ain’t rocking a huge cup size here and I don’t need much support to begin with, so take that as you will:)

Sewaholic Dunbar Sports Bra

Sewaholic Dunbar Sports Bra

Sewaholic Dunbar Sports Bra

Anyway, the sports bra was a bit fiddly with all the little pieces – but it was overall easy to make. I used my sewing machine for the majority of the construction and elastic application, just as you would with a regular bra. I think it turned out quite nice! I think the ability to have really cool patterned/colored sports bras (especially using some of my leftover swimwear spandex, which I am totally eyeballing now) negates the downside of how fiddly it was to sew. It wasn’t even difficult to make, just time consuming with a lot of tiny pieces. Sort of like, I dunno, a bra. lolz.

Sewaholic Pacific Shorts

Sewaholic Pacific Shorts

I’m feeling pretty good about these new additions to my drawers! I didn’t realize how much more fun it is to exercise when your clothes are fun too – even if you’re going to get all sweaty, it’s nice to feel like you look nice while you’re doing it. And speaking of sweaty – these performance fabrics have definitely lived up to their “Max-Dri” hype. I still sweat – a lot! – but they dry very quickly, which is awesome.

Sewaholic Pacific Shorts + Dunbar Sports Bra

I am pretty sure one of the things I said I would never make is activewear – so, I guess I take that back! Honestly, though, I’m running (lol) out of practical holes to fill in my closet, at least in terms of fun practical. Now I’m down to sewing things activewear, white tshirts, and panties. I really love the experience behind sewing and creating, but I don’t want to be wasteful and make things just to make them, you know? So this feels like a good compromise, even if it’s not a necessarily interesting end result.

Note: The fabrics used for some of these projects were supplied by Mood Fabrics, in exchange for my participation in the Mood Sewing Network. I should also point out that Tasia of Sewaholic sent me all the patterns in the Vancouver collection – which includes the Dunbar Top and Pacific Leggings – free of charge last year when the line launched. There was no stipulation that I needed to review the patterns, Tasia is just a nice person:) And I have nice things to say about her patterns because they are fucking awesome. That is all.

Sewing For My New Apartment!

28 Jun

All right, y’all, time for something different – another round of HOME SEWING PROJECTS (heh heh heh!). No wait, come back! I promise it’s at least somewhat interesting!

So, as I’ve mentioned repeatedly – I moved this month! Yay! From a basement apartment in the middle of the woods, to a second floor apartment with masses of windows in my favorite part of Nashville. Literally movin’ on up, here! :B Since things go all kinds of haywire during moving month (from packing, to moving, to unpacking, to figuring out your new neighborhood bar, etc etc), I knew I probably shouldn’t devote myself to trying to make a whole outfit or something crazy for this month’s MSN project. Never mind that I actually unpacked and set up everything in 3 days hahaha. I decided to focus my efforts on sprucing up and decorating, to get the new place real pretty instead. Not to mention, this gave me an opportunity to actually shop the home decor selection at Mood Fabrics. Yes! I don’t normally sew with home decor fabrics, like, ever (too stiff to wear, at least for me!), so that whole side of the website was so fresh and new and different and ahh I love it.

Linen apron

First up is a basic (but so useful!) apron, made using this Blue and White Striped Linen. I know, aprons are generally one of those things that people make when they are first learning how to sew haha. To be completely honest – I’ve never actually sewn an apron before (as with all my adult learning, I jumped straight into the “difficult” stuff). But I knew I needed one because I am a helluva messy cook – I get splatters everywhere and I’m always wiping my hands off on my clothes. I’m also a really clean cook – in the sense that I clean as I cook (seriously – I won’t even sit down to eat until all the cooking dishes are washed, unless there’s something that needs to be soaked. A sink full of dirty dishes stresses me out!) – so I’m also usually covered with water by the end of the prep. Using an apron might actually make me feel more like a grown-up. Plus it would be cool to wear one while whipping up a delicious meal to impress whatever man I have over. If that ever happens. BTW, Tinder is incredibly depressing hahaha. ANYWAY, MOVING ON NOW.

I didn’t use a pattern to make this, just this adjustable Unisex Apron tutorial from Purl Soho. You basically make a series of measurements directly onto the fabric to get your pattern. From there, it’s just a lot of folding, pressing, and topstitching. The tutorial was really easy to follow, and this linen was even easier to sew up. I did find that the straps were a bit too low to hit my waist – so to fix this, I folded over the top by another couple of inches and topstitched it down, which shortened the apron enough so that everything hit me in the right spot. A better fix would be to reduce the angle and length of the diagonal cuts, obviously, but since my pieces were already cut at this point, this was a quick and dirty fix!

Other changes I made to the ~design~ was to leave off the pocket (what’s the pocket for, anyway? Dirty spoons? Secret snacks? Seriously, I am not putting my phone in that mess) and also to change the webbing to some 1″ twill tape. I did try the webbing, but it was WAY too stiff to be comfortable or even tie easily. The twill tape is nice and soft and it’s much more comfortable. I also topstitched along the edge of the apron where the twill tape goes around the neck, because otherwise it tends to slide off when you’re putting it on. The topstitching anchors everything so it stays in place at the neck, but the sides/back are still adjustable:)

Linen apron

Linen apron

Linen apron

Linen apron

Linen apron

Once I finished with the apron, I realized I had quite a bit of fabric left over (I had bought 2 yards). Not enough to make a full garment, but certainly enough for some kitchen linens! Yeah, Friday night just got WILD up in here!

Linen napkins

Linen napkins

I was able to squeeze out 7 cloth napkins, and 3 dishtowels. Yay! For the napkins (pictured above), I cut 13″x13″ squares (I know there are lots of sizes for cloth napkins, but I personally like mine to be about 12″ square) and folded each edge under 1/2″ twice, and then topstitched. Really easy, and very fast when you sew it assembly-line style:) This was definitely not the most exciting project, but it is certainly useful! I am trying to move away from using disposable products as much as I can, including paper products like napkins, mostly cos I’m sick of having to buy them over and over. Plus, cloth really does wipe your face off better than paper does. Now if I could just get my visiting friends to stop using paper towels to dry their hands (whyyyy do people do this, use a real towel ffs).

Linen kitchen towel

The dishtowels have a finished measurement of 25″ x 14.5″, and were sewn in the same manner as the napkins. Again, definitely a useful thing for my kitchen! I prefer smooth tea towels over the really plush terrycloth kind, at least for kitchen use, and these work exactly the same way. I love the blue stripes and I love how they look in my (admittedly boring off-white) apartment kitchen:)

Now, linen does tend to wrinkle up like crazy and this particular linen was no exception! I will point out that it was very stiff and flat when it arrived, but washing it made it soften up very nicely. I actually washed my linen 3x in hot water (and dried on extra hot) before cutting into it, to get it to shrink as much as possible and also because that does help with preventing future wrinkles. As you can see, they still wrinkle when they are laundered, but it’s not terrible. I’ve learned that just giving them a good shake after pull them out of the wash helps a lot. I do put mine in the dryer, however, line-drying will also prevent wrinkles as well.

My last home project doesn’t involve sewing at all – just fabric and hot glue:)

Recovered Lampshade

I’ve had this cool gold floor lamp for several years (and my grandpa had it in his home for even MORE years before I got my hands on it), but the drum shade has definitely seen better days. It’s pretty old and brittle and will crack if you so much as look at it funny. I also wasn’t a big fan of the yellow-y off-white color, especially not for my new place. Rather than try to buy a new drum shade (because those things are $$$ – if you can even find one!), I recovered this one!

Recovered Lampshade

Recovered Lampshade

The fabric is this beauuuuutiful Peacock Geometric Chenille. The colors were perfect for my new living room, and I just love the chenille texture! The fabric was wide enough so that I only needed a half yard to cover my lampshade, but I may end up buying more to cover some pillows for my couch as well:) Because it’s THAT beautiful!

Anyway, covering the shade was really simple! I cut the fabric to be a couple inches taller than what I needed to cover the shade, and then turned under one long edge by 1/4″ and hot glued that to the wrong side of the fabric (since it does fray a lot, you’ll want to cover your raw edges or double turn them). Then I carefully wrapped the shade with the fabric, hot gluing as I went. The edge at the top of the shade was left raw, and then covered with this gold metallic braid. The bottom has an overlap of about 2″ of fabric (the edge with the 1/4″ turn under). When I came back around to where I started, I turned the fabric under 1/4″ and glued it down before overlapping. Done and done!

Recovered Lampshade

Here is the shade in all it’s glory, in my NEW LIVING ROOM😀😀😀 (psst – see that chair in the background? I recovered that bad boy a couple of years ago – also thanks to Mood Fabrics!😉 ). Also, I totally knit that white blanket – using size 50 needles and fluffy wool roving that basically feels like a cloud. It’s a simple k2 p2 rib, and just big enough for me + my cat to cuddle up. Ravelry notes are here, if you are interested!

Ok, so real talk – sewing things for the home doesn’t exactly top my list of favorite things to make, but it’s fun to switch things up every now and then! Not to mention, in a world where greys and chevrons are the current fashion, it’s really nice to have full control over my decor (even if it means I have to be a little bit more hands-on than just throwing something in my shopping cart at Target). What about you? Do you even sew (or hot glue) for your home?

Note: Fabrics were provided to me by Mood Fabrics, as part of my involvement with the Mood Sewing Network.

Completed: Black Twill Rosarí Skirt

23 May

I’m really behind on posting my projects – I finished this skirt almost two months ago, LOL WHOOPS. To add insult, I took these photos around that time as well – and have since changed my hair color :3 (spoiler: it’s still red). But these will do for now! Let’s just appreciate Past Lauren in this post, yeah?

Black Stretch Twill Rosari Skirt

Another Rosarí skirt! How predictable of me. What can I say – when I like a pattern, I like it enough to make it over and over and over until everyone gets sick of it (everyone except meeeee, that is). This is my second version (you can see my first version in mustard corduroy here), and I’ll just go ahead and admit that there is a third version that’s currently waiting to be posted. Don’t look at me like that. I wanted to try all the views offered in the pattern. ha!

Black Stretch Twill Rosari Skirt

This version is the same size as my previous – 34 – with the D pockets. I am not normally drawn to things like pockets with exposed zippers, but I saw a really cool version during my daily Instagram lurking and that shit immediately moved to the top of my sewing queue. Made in black fabric (which, honestly, a black summer-weight skirt is missing from my wardrobe. Well, not anymore!) with matching snaps down the front, it kind of has a cool rocker vibe… as long as you don’t look at the person wearing it :B

Black Stretch Twill Rosari Skirt

Black Stretch Twill Rosari Skirt

I found the fabric while I was in NYC at Mood Fabrics. It is a bottom weight black cotton twill with a really generous stretch. I actually bought a lot of twill while I was there because I’ve found that I don’t like ordering stretch fabrics (for bottoms, anyway) online. I find it really unpredictable in terms with what I end up receiving (I like my pants fabric to have a LOT of stretch), and nine times out of ten I can’t be arsed to wait on a swatch and/or that shit sells out way too fast. My new strategy is to wait until I get into the Garment District (which at this point has morphed into twice a year, yay) and then just stock up my suitcases. And then fly Southwest cos, 2 free checked bags woohoo.

ANYWAY, I am all about this stretch twill! It’s nice and heavy and it has enough stretch so that the skirt can be fitted but still super comfortable. The only downside is that is shows cat hair REAL fucking bad. I think that tends to be the case with all black fabrics, but this one seems to have a special cat hair magnet. I am not the kind of person who stresses over lint and cat hair, but I actually bought a lint remover specifically for this skirt. It is that bad. And, yet, there is still fuzz all over the skirt in these photos. Oh well.

Black Stretch Twill Rosari Skirt

Black Stretch Twill Rosari Skirt

I kept the style of the skirt fairly simple because I wanted the focus to be on those pockets! The zippers are from Sil Thread in NYC, which is my favorite place to buy zippers… they cost around $1 each (more or less, depending on length) and come in a nice range of colors and metal finishes. They didn’t have quite the right length, so I just shortened them at the bottom (basically catching the zipper teeth in my topstitching and *then* cutting the excess of). Even with shortening the zipper, doing that exposed zipper pocket thing was super easy. The pocketing is used to make a facing for the cutout, and then you just slap in the zipper and topstitch it down.

Black Stretch Twill Rosari Skirt

Black Stretch Twill Rosari Skirt

Black Stretch Twill Rosari Skirt

Same as with my corduroy version, I used a professional snap setter (courtesy of Elizabeth Suzann studios) to set the snaps down the center front. I’ve used the Dritz kits before (both the hand held one that looks like a hold punch and also the little metal thing you use with a hammer) and they work ok for what they are. That being said, I have access to one of those honkin’ big cast iron ones that they use in factories, so obviously I am gonna take advantage of that haha.

The only downside to these big industrial snap setters is that they mean BUSINESS. As in, you better be real sure of your placement because that shit ain’t going nowhere once it’s set. My coworkers warned me of this, and I smugly went ahead and set the first snap at the waistband… upside down. Whoops. Thankfully, I was able to pry it out with the help of a flathead screwdriver and seam ripper, but believe me when I say that I was really sweating for a minute there.

Black Stretch Twill Rosari Skirt

Oh hey, I didn’t even show y’all the cool POCKET LINING!

Black Stretch Twill Rosari Skirt

This lil’ piece of awesome is also from Mood Fabrics – you can find it here. It’s labeled a stretch twill, so I bought a yard of it last year to make some cRaZy shorts. Unfortunately, I wasn’t thrilled with the weight (it’s a bit on the light side) and the fact that it was printed off grain and thus hard to match the print. I gave up and stashed it, and have only now found a use for it. It makes REALLY FUN pocket lining! And since it’s stretch, it stretches with the outer fabric. I thought I would be real clever and sew it wrong side facing out, so that the inside of my skirt looked super fun. The only downside is that now the inside of my pockets don’t look super fun… they’re just kind of, fabric wrong side white. Oh well. It’s not like I walk around with my pocket zippers flapping open.

If you can see in the picture, I also used the same fabric to make a bound edge for the waistband facing. I really love the way that looks, and it’s so much easier than trying to fold up the seam allowance of the facing and get everything all even when you topstitch it down.

Black Stretch Twill Rosari Skirt

I guess that’s about all the Rosarí chat I have in me today! How about those zippered pockets, tho?😉

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!😀😀😀

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!😀

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: 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 developed😀

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 ♥Made with My Spiegel 60609♥ hahaha

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

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!!😀 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! ♥

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!😀

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