Tag Archives: rayon

OAL 2017: Getting Started!

1 Jun

Hello everyone, and welcome to the 2017 Outfit Along! My apologies that this post is a bit late – I moved house yesterday, and only just got my internet turned on in the new place. Taking a short break from unpacking to get this OAL rolling! Let’s do this!

The official pattern for this year is the Kim Dress from By Hand London. There are a few options for this pattern – choose between a straight or sweetheart neckline, and a gathered skirt with pintucks at the hem or a sleek tulip skirt. I will be making the sweetheart neckline with the gathered skirt, but obviously feel free to make whatever your heart is calling for – whether it’s another variation of this pattern, or a different pattern completely! We want you to love and wear what you make, so don’t waste your time on something that doesn’t check those boxes for ya ๐Ÿ˜‰

As I mentioned in my announcement post, I will not be running a full, in-depth sewalong for this pattern. I will be popping in every week with updates on my progress, as well as tips and tricks (with tutorials!) that you can apply to any pattern you are sewing – not necessarily specifically this one. However, if you are feeling that you need that extra help – there is a great sewalong on the By Hand London blog for this pattern, so please feel free to utilize that! You got this!!

For the first post, I’m gonna keep this one reasonably short and sweet!! This week is all about preparation!

If you still haven’t chosen your fabric, you will probably want to do that first ๐Ÿ˜‰ This particular pattern works well with a smorgasbord of fabrics – from crisp cotton lawn to slinky silk, the sky is really the limit here! The main thing you want to keep in mind when deciding on fabric is how you want the finished garment to hang when you are wearing it. Do you want a more structured garment or one with a softย drape? Choosing a fabric with the correct amount of body and drape is key for this. That cotton lawn will result in a more structured bodice and full skirt that wants to stand out on it’s own, verus the slinky silk will give you a soft, floaty bodice with a skirt that drapes beautifully around your body. For more in-depth information about this, see this post from a previous OAL that goes over the differences in drape and body in fabric.

OAL2017 - my fabric

Here is the fabric I am using this year – a soft rayon print from Mood Fabrics with a nice drape to it. I love wearing rayon in the summer – it breathes really well in the heat, and a dark color/pattern means that sweat is less likely to show. Rayon traditionally can be a little tricky – both to work with and care for – but I ultimately think it is worth the additional effort. This particular rayon is pretty stable and easy to work with, compared to other rayons I’ve used in the past, so I will not be doing any sort of pre-treatment to aid with sewing. That being said, if you are sewing one of the aforementioned slinky rayons – or a silk, or slippery poly, anything that wants to float off the table when you try to cut it – you may want to consider pre-treating your fabric to be a bit more stable before you cut it. You have a few options for this – for something quick and easy with no mess, spray stabilizer works very well. Just spray it on your fabric, allow to dry, and then treat it as usual. Once you are finished sewing the garment, it easily washes out so your fabric goes back to it’s glorious, drapey self. For a cheaper option, I’ve been very happy with the results I’ve gotten from using gelatine. This method is more time-consuming, but also WAY cheaper. You basically boil the gelatine in water, soak your fabric, and then spread it flat (or hang) until it’s dry (Threads has a full tutorial on their website). Again, this washes out easily once you are finished. The major downside is finding space to dry it flat – if you live in a small space, that can be tricky – but it’s a fraction of the cost of using spray stabilizer and works just as well one it has dried. I have used both of these methods with great success, it just depends on your time and budget!

Make sure you pre-wash your fabric before you do anything – you want to make sure you get all the shrinkage out before your pattern pieces are cut. I wash and dry all my fabric the same way I plan on treating it once it’s been turned into a garment. For delicate fabrics like rayon, you don’t necessarily want to throw it in the dryer every time you launder it – over time, this will break down the fibers. But I do think it’s a good idea to use the dryer for the very first pre-wash, as it will shrink up the fabric sufficiently and then if the garment does accidentally end up in the dryer, it won’t shrink more!

As a side note, there are plenty of “dry clean” only fabrics that actually can be washed in a machine. Fibers such as silk and rayon are totally machine washable – you just want to ensure that you are washed them before they are cut, again, so that you get all the shrinkage out. I wash all my silks and rayons on cold water, use the dryer for pre-washing (and hang to dry once they are finished) and have not ruined anything yet. Keep in mind that this will take a bit of the shine and stiffness out of your fabric, but I think it’s worth it to not be a slave to the dry cleaner! When in doubt, test with a swatch to make sure you are ok with how the fabric looks after it’s been laundered.

I am making a few changes to my pattern that are a bit different from how it’s drafted:
– I converted the straps to tie at the top (instead of being a continuous loop)
– Rather than line my bodice, I drafted all-in-one facings to clean finish all the top edges

For the tie-top straps, I used this tutorial from By Hand London. It’s super simple – you just trace your pattern piece, and then extend the top strap by 6″-7″, rounding out the end to a nice shape.

To draft the all-in-one-facing, here is what I did:
OAL2017 - drafting a facing

First, I marked my seam allowances on all the bodice pattern pieces. Since these bodice pieces have princess seams on both the front and back, we want to eliminate those so that the facing pieces are one continuous piece.

OAL2017 - drafting a facing

Once the seam allowances are marked, I overlapped the pieces as they would be sewn together (center back to side back, and center front to side front). Then I laid my pattern pieces on a sheet of blank paper (mine is just kraft paper from a roll, but you can use whatever you have on hand) and traced around the neckline, arm holes, and straps. I drew down the side about 3.5″ and center about 4″, which will be the depth of the facing.

OAL2017 - drafting a facing

I used a curved ruler to connect the center back/front with the side seam, just to give it a gentle curve. Then I transferred all my notches and grainlines, and marked the pattern pieces.

OAL2017 - drafting a facing

It’s a good idea to lay your drafted piece under your pattern pieces, just to make sure everything fits and matches up. Which this one does! Yay!

That’s all for this week! You’ll want to cut and mark your pattern pieces, and be ready to sew next week! Let me know if you have any questions about anything covered in this post or, you know, life in general ๐Ÿ™‚

OAL2016: My Finished Outfit!

29 Jul

What up, everyone! It’s practically the end of the July – two days left to go! – which means one thing ’round these parts… The Outfit-Along is nearly over!

OAL_Banner

I’ve had a lot of fun with the pieces this year – both making and wearing them! – and I’m excited to finally show you guys my finished sweater + skirt!

OAL2016: Zinone Sweater + Hollyburn Skirt

Here is the complete outfit!

The sweater is Zinone by Andi Satterlund, and the skirt is a Hollyburn from Sewaholic Patterns.

OAL2016: Zinone Sweater + Hollyburn Skirt

OAL2016: Zinone Sweater + Hollyburn Skirt

OAL2016: Zinone Sweater + Hollyburn Skirt

OAL2016: Zinone Sweater

Zinone was made using the suggested yarn, Quince + Co Sparrow (the color is Moon), which is a fingering weight linen yarn. This was my first time working with linen and OMG TRUE LOVE Y’ALL. Very easy to work with and felt so good on my hands! My gauge swatch put me at size 2 needles, and I knitted the size XS (which is my usual size for Andi’s patterns and corresponds with my bust measurement). I chose to knit the version with the partial lace back, and slightly cropped. I was originally going to do the full lace version, but I guess I’m way out of lace-knittin’ practice because I had a helluva time working this one out. Fortunately, the directions for the partial and full lace back at the same for a bit at the beginning of the pattern, which gave me plenty of time to change my mind ๐Ÿ˜› I also completely frogged the entire thing and started over after finishing the lace section, because I realized way too late that I had read the pattern wrong (which is why I was having issues in the first place). I was trying to be clever and separate my repeats with stitch markers – you can’t do that with this pattern, as some of the stitches borrow from previous repeats. Whoops. Once I realized I’d done goofed, let me tell you… it was hard to rip everything out and start over. But I’m glad I did, because my second attempt at the lace looks pretty bomb-ass, if I do say so myself ๐Ÿ˜‰

I made some slight sizing and length modifications to the sweater as well – I knitted the correct number of rows for the cropped version, but somehow it ended up really short (I am thinking I read the pattern wrong). I just continued knitting until I got to the length that I wanted, and did a couple more rounds of decreases as well. Speaking of length, this sweater is only about an inch shorter than the schematics – it’s 16.5″ long from the shoulder, which hits me right about at the belly button. The cropped version on Andi appears to be a lot shorter than mine, even though it says it’s an inch longer.

Anyway, this was a very easy and satisfying knit. I did nearly run out of yarn at the end – I bought enough for the cropped version, and ended up frogging about 3 rows of my gauge swatch. Actually, I had an extra skein but I was trying really hard not to use it so I could be cheap and return it to the store ๐Ÿ˜‰

OAL2016: Zinone Sweater

OAL2016: Zinone Sweater

I LOVE how this linen feels in the summer heat – finally, an excuse to wear my handknits even in July! ๐Ÿ˜€ And it’s pretty awesome that it’s machine washable. I haven’t done the recommend 3 washing cycles yet, though – I did one Soak wash (this is how I wash all my knits… and my lingerie for that matter. Soak is AMAZING, cannot recommend enough) and then one wash in the washing machine. My new place has me doing laundry at the ‘mat, so running 3 loads back to back to back isn’t exactly doable for me! (well, it is. But I’m not about to pay for that haha) So far, though, it has softened up considerably after even 2 washes. Can’t wait to see how it softens even more with additional wear and washing ๐Ÿ˜€

OAL2016: Zinone Sweater

OAL2016: Zinone Sweater

OAL2016: Zinone Sweater

OAL2016: Zinone Sweater

OAL2016: Zinone Sweater

Sorry, loads of photos!

OAL2016: Hollyburn Skirt

OAL2016: Hollyburn Skirt

Now for the Hollyburn!

I already wrote a couple posts about the modifications to make this particular skirt (see: Choosing Your Fabric, Flat Piping, and Installing an Exposed Zipper), so I’ll just brief over the key details here.

The navy rayon crepe is from StyleMaker Fabrics (who is one of our sponsors for this year’s OAL!). I added flat piping at the waistband (sewn with silk crepe – from my stash) and an exposed metal zipper to the back. I also shortened the length considerably, omitted the pockets, and used stretch interfacing on the waistband.

I sewed the entire skirt on my Spiegel 60609, and it did pretty well overall! While I don’t want to say I was concerned to see how it would handle that shifty fabric (I have sewn straight-up silk and a bra on the 60609, and it hasn’t given me any problems thus far with my fabric choices), I was still pleasantly surprised at the entire experience. I didn’t use any special stitches, and only feet that came with the machine. The zipper foot in particular was great for both applying the piping and the invisible zipper, as well as making sure the topstitching was nice and straight and close to the edge. I did find that I needed to increase the stitch length just a smidge for this fabric, as it wanted to bunch a little bit otherwise, but overall I’m pretty happy with it! I am glad that moving the needle over is an option with this machine (you just increase the zigzag width while on a straight stitch), however, I’d love to see some new feet released to use with this machine. Maybe a 1/4″ foot or an edgestitching foot? ๐Ÿ˜‰ HINT HINT.

OAL2016: Hollyburn Skirt

OAL2016: Hollyburn Skirt

OAL2016: Hollyburn Skirt

For me, the most fun part about this challenge is ending up with TWO pieces that I can mix with other garments in my wardrobe. I love this top + skirt together… but honestly, I like them even more with different things from my closet! They are definitely wearable with a bunch of what I already have (which is part of the reason why I got a little boring with the colors ๐Ÿ˜‰ I wanted the versatility!); here are a couple of examples:

OAL2016: Zinone Sweater

Zinone top + Ginger jean shorts
I don’t know about y’all, but I am LOVING the cropped trend! Slightly cropped with a slightly high-waisted bottom is my new favorite thing right now (not your cup of tea? This is the beauty of knitting your own – you get to decide the length!). I love the way this top looks tucked into a skirt, but the combination with my high-waisted Ginger shorts really makes my heart sing the most.

OAL2016: Hollyburn Skirt

Hollyburn skirt + sleeveless coral B5526 button up
I did not realize when I made this shirt that it was going to be one of my top 10 handmade garments of all time, but it is. It goes with everything. The sleeveless option + lightweight cotton fabric make it a great option for summer, and it layers beautifully under sweaters in the winter. The color is perfection and looks especially great with navy (my go-to summer dark neutral). It’s as easy to wear as a knit tshirt, but looks a helluva lot more refined and classy.

OAL2016: Zinone Sweater + Hollyburn Skirt

Anyway, I guess that’s it for this post! Those of you still scrambling to finish your outfits – you have 2 days before the deadline! Make sure you upload your finished outfit to the Official OAL2016 Finished Outfit Thread on Ravelry before 7/31/16 Midnight PDT if you wanna win one of those sweet prizes! Andi and I will be drawing 3 winners at random, who will win fabric, sewing pattern, and knitting pattern vouchers! Even if you’re not participating, do take a look at that thread! There are some amazing outfits to drool over ๐Ÿ™‚

OAL2016: Part 1 (Pockets + Piping)

8 Jun

Good morning, everyone! Time to get some sewin’ done for this OAL!

Before we get into the post, a few things I wanted to mention:
– Unlike previous years, I will not be doing a full step-by-step of sewing the pattern. Part of the reason is because this is a really easy pattern and the instructions are super straightforward and simple to understand on their own.
– Now, before you freak out – there IS a sewalong for the Hollyburn skirt! Not hosted on this blog, but a sewalong nonetheless! You can find it here on Lavender Lane. So if you reeeally need the help and the instructions just aren’t cutting it for some reason or another, there is that option!
– Instead of step-by-steps, I am splitting the OAL sewing stuff into 2 posts – today and next week – both with modification tutorials. I will also include links to relevant tutorials from older posts as they are needed. That way, those of you who are not following the OAL and/or don’t care about sewalong posts (I’ll be honest – I skip over them too!) – this is less for you to skip over ๐Ÿ™‚ And for those who are here for the OAL and love reaching sewalong posts – they’re still here! ๐Ÿ™‚
– And DUH, I’ve made like a zillion of these skirts – so feel free to ask me questions as well! Either in the comments, or you can email me! Don’t worry! I got ya covered!
– FINALLY, I should mention that I’m using my Spiegel 60609 sewing machine to construct my Hollyburn, so you’ll see it in the photos! I wanted to see how it handled my mega-shifty fabric ๐Ÿ™‚

Ok, back to the OAL!

OAL_Banner

Before you do anything, it’s a good idea to prewash your fabric in the same manner you will be washing/drying it once the garment is complete. Some fabric reeeeally likes to shrink, so you want to get that out of the way before it’s cut! I am using this cool zigzag rayon crepe from Style Maker Fabrics and it certainly shrunk a LOT! It’s a bit shifty to work with, but I think the payoff will be pretty sweet – it has the dreamiest, swishiest drape! I found that my increasing my stitch length just a hair (the standard stitch length on the Spiegel 60609 is a little short for sewing really delicate and shifty fabrics, I’ve learned) and using lots of pins was enough to keep the fabric in check for the most part.

Some notes on cutting:
Here is a post I wrote for the 2014 OAL on cutting and marking. Different pattern, same concept.
– It is entirely possible to make this pattern with a striped or plaid fabric! You will need extra fabric to allow for matching and it may take longer to cut, but it can be done! Depending on your stripe/plaid, you may only be able to match 2 seams instead of 4 – if this is the case, match the center front and center back seam. Mismatched side seams are less noticeable ๐Ÿ™‚ Here is my tutorial for matching plaids. Also relevant: my tutorial on matching the stripes at the pocket.
– This pattern calls for you to cut the waistband on the straight grain (parallel to the grain line). If your fabric has a bit of stretch, though, you may want to consider cutting on the cross grain (perpendicular to the grain line). This is what I did ๐Ÿ™‚ Keep in mind that if you cut on the cross grain, you’ll want to interface the waistband with a tricot interfacing to retain that stretch. I personally love the PROtricot at Fashion Sewing Supply, but most fabric stores have something similar ๐Ÿ™‚
– If your fabric is super drapey and you don’t want the pockets to bag out, you may consider eliminating them entirely (go ahead, gasp or whatever). This is what I did on my skirt, to allow for a smooth front. You can always add in-seam pockets if you’d like.

Eliminating the pockets is super easy:
OAL2016- Removing Pockets
You’ll need your pocket piece and your skirt front piece.

OAL2016- Removing Pockets
Fold the pocket piece in half along the foldline, matching the notches.

OAL2016- Removing Pockets
Lay the pocket piece behind the skirt front at the pocket opening, again matching the notches. Then just tape it down into place – I am using surgical tape because it peels off easily without tearing the paper (I can’t take credit for this – I got it in my goody bag at A Gathering of Stitches. Sam makes the BEST goody bags!), but you can also use regular tape, painter’s tape, pins, or even just trace off the pattern pieces. Whatever works!

Next steps are to construct the skirt as per the directions. Sew the pockets (if you still got ’em!). Sew the center front and side seams at 5/8″, but leave the center back seam open. If you would like to finish your seams, now is the time. I used my serger to overlock the seams after I sewed them, and then I pressed them open. Finally, staystitch the waist of your skirt (just a straight stitch about 1/2″ from the edge) to keep it from stretching out.

At this point, I decided to add flat piping to my waistband seam. So you get a tutorial!

OAL2016- Flat piping
I started with a strip of bias-cut silk crepe that was 1.5″ wide. The width of your piping will determine how wide to cut your bias – you’ll want 2x the finished width, plus 2x seam allowance. Cut enough bias to go all the way across the waist of your skirt. Fold the strip in half, length-wise, with the WRONG sides together, and press.

I promise I will get a new ironing board cover eventually. Ew, that yellow stain. haha.

If you don’t know how to cut bias, here are two really great tutorials: continuous bias (my favorite!) and bias strips.

OAL2016- Flat piping

Lay the folded bias along the waist edge of your skirt, matching raw edges at the top, and pin into place.

OAL2016- Flat piping

Sew the bias in place just within the seam allowance (I sewed at 3/8″) to hold it there. You can use a basting stitch for this step; it’ll get a second sewn pass in a minute!

OAL2016- Flat piping

Lay your interfaced waistband on top of your skirt, with right sides facing and raw edges matching. The bias strip should be sandwiched between the two.

OAL2016- Flat piping

Now sew your second pass to secure all the layers at 5/8″. Make sure to shorten your stitch back to it’s normal setting if you were basting ๐Ÿ™‚ I ended up sewing another line a little more than the seam allowance, because I wanted the piping a little bit narrower.

OAL2016- Flat piping

Check the right side to make sure that everything looks good. I have no idea how I managed that unintentional perfect pattern matching, but hey, I’ll take it!

OAL2016- Flat piping

Press all the seam allowances up toward the waistband, using lots of steam so the piping lays nice and flat. If your fabric is bulky, you may want to trim down your seam allowances and/or grade them (trimming them in staggering layers) to prevent bulk from showing from the outside.

OAL2016- Flat piping

Now admire your pretty, flat piping! Isn’t that dainty? ๐Ÿ™‚

Ok, that’s all for this week! Let me know if you have any questions about these steps ๐Ÿ™‚ Next week, we sew in the zipper and finish the thing! Woohoo!

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

1 Apr

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

McCall's 7351

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

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

McCall's 7351

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

McCall's 7351

McCall's 7351

McCall's 7351

I cut the size 6, based on the finished measurements, and didn’t make any pattern adjustments except the shorten the hem quite a bit at the end. The waist is a bit bigger than what I’m used to wearing – hence the belt – but I’m going to leave it like this for now because I suspect I will looove that loose waist come 95* weather ๐Ÿ˜‰ I experimented with moving the placement of the buttons at the apex of my chest to eliminate button placket gap – but as you can see in the photos below, there’s still a tiny bit of pulling as it’s not *quite* in the right place. Whatever, I’ll figure it out with the next dress haha ๐Ÿ™‚

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

McCall's 7351

McCall's 7351

I LOVED working with this fabric! Rayon challis is one of my favorite things to wear – not necessarily to sew, as it’s pretty shifty and hard to wrangle (honesty, I’d rather sew silk crepe – I think it’s easier to work with!), but it’s worth the effort because it feels SO GOOD in hot weather. This rayon is a little heavier than most of the challis (challises? challis’? challi?) that I’ve worked with in the past. It’s almost the same weight of a poplin, so it’s not sheer at all and has a nice heft to it. It’s also easier to work with and not as shifty (but still feels really good!). This was my first experience using fabric from Cotton + Steel and I get why people love this stuff so much. It’s really luxurious feeling, wears and washes well. And cherries! ๐Ÿ™‚ I still can’t get behind their quilting cotton (well, not as garment fabric. Sorry. Old habits die hard), but they can continue to make this rayon and I will continue to sew it ๐Ÿ˜€

McCall's 7351

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

McCall's 7351

McCall's 7351

McCall's 7351

McCall's 7351

McCall's 7351

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

McCall's 7351

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

McCall's 7351

Kevin & Wilbur! Did I mention that my roommate bought a second pig as a companion for Kevin? Well. Kevin has a boyfriend now. Also, we are pretty sure she’s pregnant now with his babies. Her stomach is massive – like about to drag on the ground because it hangs so low. Hopefully there will be piglet pictures in a future post! ๐Ÿ™‚

blog tour

Hey, so that’s all for this part of the Spring Canvas blog tour – but be sure to check out all the other participants if you haven’t done so already! Lots of really amazing stuff to see ๐Ÿ™‚ ALSO, just an FYI – but all domestic orders, regardless of size, ship for $5 from Style Maker Fabrics (and discounted international shipping, yo!). Cheap shipping is good through 4/3/16, so you’ve still got a couple days ๐Ÿ™‚

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

McCall's 7351

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

Completed: Boylston Bras; Take 2 & 3

21 Aug

More bras this week! Yay!

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

All I had to do was order foam – I had nude and black in stash (from Bra Maker’s Supply, because their stuff is the best). Unfortunately, the Sweet Cups store (the US version of Bra Maker’s Supply) didn’t have any white (see what I mean about limited selection? Wah!), and I wanted white. I bought it from this Etsy shop, which is apparently in the process of closing now ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I’m not really sure what “spacer foam” is, but it works pretty well for a bra. It’s a little stretchier than the stuff at Bra Maker’s Supply, and slightly thinner as well (it’s not as cushiony). I read somewhere that you can buy this by the yard at places like Spandex House in the Garment District, so I will probably stock up when I’m there in November. But even 1/4 yard is TONS of foam, especially if you are making teeny little bra cups like what I require hahaha. Heyo, silver lining! Boylston Bra

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

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

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

Boylston Bra Boylston Bra

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

Boylston Bra If you’d like to see a photo of what the bra looks like on an actual person, click this link. I’m not embedding it into the post (or uploading it to Flickr for that matter, yeesh) to cut down on the number of people who see me in a bra, as well as spare any eyes that don’t want to see that sort of thing (um, hi mom! :)). But I acknowledge that it’s really hard to see how a bra fits if it’s not actually on a person – and my dressform doesn’t really fill it out correctly. And those floating ghost bra pics just don’t cut it (plus they are a pain to make haha!). So pleeease do me a solid and don’t post that photo around the internet or pin it on Pinterest or anything like that ๐Ÿ™‚ Posting only for science purposes ๐Ÿ™‚ Love y’all! OK, MOVING ON. Boylston Bra

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Boylston Bra

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

As a side note, I wanted to share an update with my Made Up pledge. My first rendition of a swimsuit was a HOT MESS (not so much the pattern or the construction – more like, I wanted a string bikini and I absolutely hateeeee the way I look in them! Definitely should have done some sneaky try-before-you-DIY shopping for that one, it would have saved me a bit of headache), and I was all set to try pattern #2 when I realized that I don’t have enough fabric ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I made an emergency order for a piece of really cool swimsuit fabric, but it doesn’t appear to have shipped out yet. We leave 2 weeks from today, so hopefully it’ll get here soon!

Completed: Simplicity 6266

14 Aug

How often do we fall in love with a pattern and swear that we’re going to make a million versions, and then end up with just the original one? Yeah. I definitely made this pattern like 3 years ago, and I definitely have been saying ever since then that I need to make it again. Whoops. Better late than never, anyway!

Simplicity 6280

The pattern in question is Simplicity 6266, which, 3+ years later, I STILL can’t find anywhere on the internet. EDIT: Definitely had the pattern number wrong. Dunno what that was all about hahah! This post has been corrected ๐Ÿ™‚ I made this forever and ever ago in a slinky poly cheetah print, with adorable little tulip sleeves. It’s the best dress. I still wear it all the time – it is kind of awful in the summer (polyester not being breathable and all), but I do it for the ~fashion~. Truth me told, the OG cheetah version is one of the few dresses that I actually altered to fit my new size after I lost weight, rather than get rid of it (which happened to most of my closet, if you were around for the Great Closet Etsy Purge a couple years ago). Now you know that’s true love!

Simplicity 6280

I knew I eventually wanted to make it again – it stayed in my pattern queue piles for years, and I waffled back and forth on fabric choices. I finally decided to bite the bullet and just fucking make it – and I used a special/hoardy fabric to do it. Might as well kill two birds with one stone! Get’er done and all that!

Simplicity 6280

Simplicity 6280

Remember when I said that I had to alter the original dress after I lost weight? Well. I knew the pattern was going to need some adjustments, since it was completely unaltered and thus the original size (which was for a 33.5″ bust, sadly larger than what I’m rocking these days), but I threw all fucks to the wind and just charged ahead with making this before I changed my mind. So, there were a lot of last-minute fitting alterations to get this thing even remotely sized like I am. I took quite a bit out of the side seams, as well as raising the shoulders a bit (not much, less than 1/2″. Maybe more like 1/4″. I don’t remember! Sorry!). The resulting fit is pretty good, I think, but it definitely added quite a bit of unnecessary unpicking and re-adjusting that I could have avoided had I bothered to make a muslin and do some flat pattern adjustments. With that being said… did I make those adjustments to the pattern after these alterations? Hell no! Do I look like I operate on common sense?? ๐Ÿ˜›

Simplicity 6280

All that aside, once I got the fitting sorted out – the rest of the dress came together beautifully. This is the kind of project that I just love doing – working with a pattern that I know I love to wear, made up in a beautiful and special fabric, and spending the extra time on parts of the construction, such as blind-stitching the hem by hand (I can’t even remember the last time I did that! What is wrong with me?)

Simplicity 6280

Simplicity 6280

I kept most of the construction true to the pattern, but I did change out a few things. For one, I left off the arm hole facing and used bias facing instead. Since there’s a lot of topstitching going on with this dress, the topstitching for the bias facing doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb. I also traded out the lapped zipper for an invisible zipper, because it looks a bit more polished. I did not make the waist tie for this dress (on my cheetah dress, I made it, just didn’t attach it to the dress), instead I added some thread loops to hold my belt in place.

Simplicity 6280

The fabric was another gift from the fabric goddess herself, Sunni. This, too, was part of the awesome care package she sent me last year. I’ve been waiting so long to figure out what to use with it, but I’m happy that I decided to match it up with this pattern! This fabric is rayon challis that has the most gorgeous, fluid drape. Really really lovely stuff. It shed like a hairy little monster, but otherwise sewed and pressed well. It is slightly translucent, so you can see the facings shining through the front in some lights, but that doesn’t bother me. I just wear skin-colored undergarments and get on with my life.

Simplicity 6280Similar to the cheetah version of this dress, I tacked the front surplice together to prevent it from gaping when I bend over. Unlike the cheetah version, I literally just sewed the two pieces together (see the stitching line? It’s aligned with the topstitching so it doesn’t show from the outside), instead of using a snap. A snap seems kind of silly with a mock-wrap dress – I mean, when am I going to unsnap it? Never, that’s when!

Simplicity 6280

Because the fabric is so drapey and shifty, I added a strip of stay tape to the waist seam to prevent it from stretching over time. Just sewed it to the seam allowance at the waist, and then topstitched it down on the outside. Not shown but also there – I interfaced the zipper seam allowance with a strip of fusible interfacing, before I added the zipper. This not only adds strength, but also keeps the fabric from wrinkling by the zipper. I know there are still a few puckers – alas, the nature of the beast – but it’s not nearly the horrifyingly wavy thing that it was threatening to be pre-interfacing.

Simplicity 6280

I love making belt thread loops! Ha!

Simplicity 6280

Simplicity 6280

Simplicity 6280

Simplicity 6280

One of my favorite parts of this dress is this section right here – the dart + the lines of the surplice neckline. I just think it’s so pretty!

Simplicity 6280

Really glad to finally get a good idea for that fabric so I could give it the love it deserved! I actually almost made a Hawthorn with it – but decided at the last minute that it might look a little too cutesy with the polka dots. This sleek 70s mock-wrap is a good alternative because it’s a classic style in it’s own right, and I know I love wearing it. Ideally, I’d like to make this again for winter with the long sleeves – but I also know I’d have to do a lot of pattern adjustments to the tissue before that happens. We’ll see!

In the meantime – I used some of the remaining fabric to make a really adorable bra, so stay tuned for that!

made-up-logo-ii

As a side note – have y’all heard about the Made Up Initiative that was just launched yesterday? Karen and Love Sewing Magazine have dreamed up a great fundraiser, where you pledge a donation and set your own challenge to make something before September 10 (it doesn’t have to be sewing related! It can be anything!). There will be prizes for those who complete their personal challenge on or before the deadline. All the money raised goes to the National Literacy Trust.

I love the idea of pulling the sewing community together to accomplish something like this, and bonus if it’s for literacy! Reading was a huge part of my childhood and I fell in love with it at a very early age. I come from a family of voracious readers and it saddens me that not every child (or adult, for that matter) has those same opportunities that I did. So I’m definitely on board with this, and have contributed and made my pledge – I will be making a swimsuit before we go on vacation next month. It’s a pretty simple pledge – I really wanted to make something show-stopping, like a coat or some shit – but I realized that time is pretty short right now and I need something low-key if I actually want it to be finished by the deadline. Plus, I want an excuse to use this 70s-fabulous string bikini pattern that I bought at the flea market a couple of months ago. We are going to Cancun, Mexico, the first weekend of September, so time is short!

I encourage all of you to consider joining the Made Up Initiative and set your own challenge! Again, it doesn’t have to be a big fancy project – it can be as small as making a couple of napkins – or even sewing related. You just need to make something by the deadline. And even if you don’t think you can manage anything by the deadline, maybe consider donating anyway. Even $5 makes a difference!

For all the info on the Made Up Initiative, check out Karen’s blog post. You can also donated directly to the Just Giving page – as of this publish, it’s at 91%, which is awesome. Think we can double that? C’mon, y’all! Do it for the books! โ™ฅ