Tag Archives: podcast

OAL 2018: Quick Waistband Adjustment

12 Jul

Hello everyone! It’s been a minute since I mentioned the OAL, but we are still going strong (and it’s wrapping up in the next couple of weeks, meaning, YOU STILL HAVE TIME TO PARTICIPATE). I wanted to check in and see how everyone is doing, and also offer a little hack-y fitting tip for your Lander waistband (or any straight waistband, for that matter!).

BUT FIRST I wanted to share this – I’m on a podcast!

I was super honored to be interviewed for the Love to Sew podcast recently, and my episode just aired! I’ve been a long time fan of this series, so it was pretty flattering to get my own episode! If you are interested in checking it out, you can listen to the episode here. I hope you enjoy it!

Now, onto the rest of the blog post!

You’ll have to forgive me in advance because I don’t have photos of the progress (just the result); I was experimenting and not sure how this would pan out (story of my life). But I think this is a pretty simple and straightforward adjustment, so hopefully my words are enough to convey the information across 🙂

One of the features of the Lander Pants & Shorts is that they include a straight waistband made from a single piece of fabric. This is very simple to sew, but may not result in a perfect fit if you are especially curvy. Some people get excess fabric and gaping at the center back, since the waistband does not curve with their back. This does not indicate a bad pattern – it just indicates a draft that does not correspond with that particular body shape (there are PLENTY of bodies that fit great in a straight waistband, and PLENTY of bodies that can’t do a curved waistband, etc). This is something than can easily be adjusted by changing the waistband to a curved waistband (or, better/lazier yet – stealing a curved waistband from another pattern and using that), but you have to do it before you actually cut your fabric. If you’ve already sewn your waistband on and are experiencing this – read on!

My previous 2 pairs of Lander pants did not gape very much, and I was easily able to fix it by simply wearing a belt. Since these are shorts, and they felt like they were gaping a little more than I was comfortable with, I wanted to try to find a way to eliminate the gape without needing to wear a belt (it’s hot outside, I don’t need a layer of LEATHER around my waist amirite). Of course, one option it to unpick the waistband, pinch out the excess into a dart (creating a curved waistband, but with a seam), and then taking out the excess in the pants either at the center back or the darts (or all). I wanted my waistband to be fitted while also still being comfortable, so I thought I’d try a little bit of elastic at the back instead.

OAL 2018: Adjusting the Waistband

I cut two slits on the inside of the waistband, positioning them as best I could under the side back belt loops (to hide the topstitching I was able to do next). I only needed to take in a little bit – maybe 1/2″ at most – but in my experience it’s good to stretch this amount over a longer length than you need, which will make things less bunchy.

I fed a length of elastic that fit in my waistband (I found that 1.5″ wide elastic fit perfectly in the topstitched waistband), pinned one end down, and tried them on to determine the best length of elastic – i.e., tight enough to pull in the gape, but not so tight it was starting to gather.

OAL 2018: Adjusting the Waistband

After cutting the elastic, I secured each short end down with a zigzag stitch. Since these are under the belt loops, they aren’t visible from the outside. Then I stitched closed the holes I had made inside the waistband.

OAL 2018: Adjusting the Waistband

Here is how it looks on the inside (oops, I need to re-sew that hole closed I guess haha)

OAL 2018: Adjusting the Waistband

And the outside!

And finally – some gratuitous shots of my butt so you can see what they actually look like on:
(I am really sorry)

OAL 2018: Adjusting the Waistband

OAL 2018: Adjusting the Waistband

As you can see, it mostly flattens out so it is not super gathered. It snugs up the waistband enough so that it sits flat against my back, but the elastic will stretch if needed (i.e., tacos) so they are still comfortable.

This is a SUPER easy and quick fix if you need a minimal adjustment at the back waist – like I said, mine was no more than 1/2″. It’s also definitely a hack fix – the proper way would be to make a flat pattern adjustment to the waistband so it is curved – but sometimes I think a hack is good enough. If it’s the difference between you wearing the pants and not wearing the pants, I’d say it’s worth a try!

I also realized I never shared my yarn or stripe ideas for my Waters tee! God you guys I am awful.

OAL 2018: Sweater Progress

Here is where I’m at as of this posting. Making good progress, which wasn’t evident until I took this photo, if I’m being completely honest! I’m heading to Canada today to teach a couple of jeans workshops at Darrell Thomas Textiles (and I *think* there is still an open seat for the weekday class, ahem), and I’m hoping I can knock the rest out pretty quickly because I am dying to wear this thing!!!

My yarn is Quince & Co. Sparrow, and the colors are pigeon and lunar (I don’t know why it looks black in these photos, pigeon is actually a nice blue-grey. Oh right because I can’t take photos to save my life lololol). I changed my stripes to be a basic 4×4, and the edging will be the darker color. I need to decide which side I want to be the right side, though – because the purl side looks pretty freaking rad, too!

Ok, I think that’s all! How is everyone doing with their OAL projects? Have you finished yet?

Advertisements

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 😛

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 🙂 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 🙂