Momentary Discouragment

Discouragement 

Last week I had a moment; a melt down. I was discouraged. I felt I couldn’t make bras, especially bras I’d drafted. I was giving up!

My size recently changed somewhat and the only bra I had left that fit was my navy Shelley. All my other bras didn’t fit. And both of my drafting attempts just weren’t perfect. I was discouraged.

That momentary discouragement lasted the better part of a day. All it took for me to get back on track was a trip to the local bra store.

Beauty

While there I saw such beauties as this Cassiopee Bra by Empreinte.

Isn’t this pretty? There are no cup seams to this lace bra. It’s molded lace! It was a marvel to behold.

No Turning Back

However, I  know too much now. After trying on ill-fitting uncomfortable bras, I knew I had to keep going. As well, two wonderful bra-making friends encouraged me and told me I was so close I couldn’t give up.

The bra store did hold one surprise for me. The Felina bra.

I tried on this bra and was so surprised. The bridge sits just a bit lower – the same as the bras I make. The wire was hitting in the right place too. It was so comfortable, I bought it and wore it out of the store!

I wore it all that day and could hardly believe how comfortable it was. How could this be? I knew my wire size had changed recently – don’t ask me how that happens! I’m the same cup size, same band, no change in my weight, but my wire size changed. My wire is closer to my cup size now. I’m still an Omega, just not so pronounced. But finding a RTW bra that would fit? How could this possibly be?

Wires

My husband and I were out at a function all that afternoon, but as soon as I got home, I had to find out what was going on with this bra’s wires. I just couldn’t believe a RTW bra could be comfortable. All of the other bras I tried on were not, and they weren’t comfortable because of the wires. The wires were too high under the arm, or too high at the front, or just too big. So how were these wires comfortable?

Imagine my surprise when I put a 40 long wire over the channeling of the bra… And. It. Fit! Perfectly!

Well, you have to see this too!

I’m still wondering how a cup that should take a 44 wire clearly has a 40 wire in it.

Perseverance

So, am I going to give up making bras? No! After trying on a whack of them, and only finding one that fit most of my wants for a bra, I will still be making my own, and going back to the drafting table too to fix that cradle issue too.

Did you catch that little comment above? “… one that fit most of my wants…” This bra is great, closer than any other bra I’ve ever bought, but it does have a couple of things that keep it from being perfection. The cup material has stretch. That makes it very comfortable, and it will fit more women because of that stretch, but it’s not as great for support. The other imperfection is the straps are elastic. They are a firm elastic, but still. Elastic isn’t the best to support a larger cup either.

In the meantime, I need a couple of pair of panties to go with my new bra, and I just happen to have some lovely indigo cotton spandex from Bra-Makers Supply.

Happy creating!

P.S. You might want to read A Spy in the Changeroom.

Weekly Sales

From the Craftsy blog, here are 12 Free Coin Purse patterns.

Also, here’s a new class for only $9.99 US. I’m not sure when the expiration for this price is, but it works now and is a great price!

Here’s another great price!

$9.99 US. Special pricing offer only valid on Feminine Fit: Bust Shaping Techniques. Cannot be combined with other coupons.
Expires on April 26, 2017.

$19.99 US. Special pricing offer only valid on Couture Dressmaking Techniques. Cannot be combined with other coupons.
Expires on April 26, 2017.

Craftsy Sales

Here are the sales I’ve found this week.

Just a reminder, Craftsy is doing their sales a bit differently now. You may not see the adjusted price until you add the class to your cart, and check the cart.

$19.99 US. Special pricing offer only valid on Creative Quilting with Rulers More Techniques & Motifs. Cannot be combined with other coupons.
Expires on April 24, 2017.

$14.99 US. Special pricing offer only valid on Nature in Watercolor: Painting Trees. Cannot be combined with other coupons.
Expires on April 24, 2017.

Plans for Another Bra

I have to say, I really do love sewing bras. There is something very addicting about that little bit of lace, material, and elastic. I also have to say, I really loved making a bra from a pattern I drafted. When I made my first bra five years ago, I never thought I’d do this!

I was thinking now I have a pattern I love completely, and that fits so well, it’s time to get on with my Spring Wardrobe. However, I decided one more test bra first. I can always use another black bra.

Materials 

For this bra, I chose some lovely black lace with red details. Along with that lace, I chose black duoplex and power net, but red elastics to make the red in the lace really pop.

This is one of the gorgeous laces I bought at Fabricland last year for $2.50/meter. Oh, I had fun stocking up on those laces.

Alterations

For this bra, I made the underarm smaller. I add 1/8-inch back to the bottom of the cradle as the thinned band under the cradle was a really tight sew last time. As well, I added 1/4-inch to the top of the cradle where the wire ends as it was just a touch short there.

You might be wondering how all these alterations worked out? Let’s take a look.

Here’s my newest bra from the front:

I really love the red elastics on the top and bottom of the band.

Here’s the side:

I’m asking the famous Mrs. Weaver for a bit of help again. The side of my bra is doing what this very pretty Empreinte Maya bra is doing. (Photo from Amazon.ca)

See how the bra pulls in at the wire line at the side? Mine is doing that, and I need to figure out what I need to adjust to make it not do that. Thank goodness for all the professional bra-makers out there!

And here’s the back of the bra:

It’s such a pretty bra! I love the lace and the red elastics. Looking at this photo of the back, I can see I need to trim those red elastics just a smidge more.

Lastly, here’s the bridge – I widened the bottom of it. You can see here with my navy bra beside it that it’s wider.

I need a little more room there, so this is much better.

I’m especially pleased with my sewing this week as I’d hurt my knee and all my sewing was left-footed sewing.

Happy creating!

P.S. You may want to read Just One More Stop at the Fabric Store.

Did you see Orange Lingerie has just published a new bra pattern? It’s lovely!

You can find the Fenway bra on Etsy.

Testing my Drafted Pattern

I’ve made my drafted pattern, but I want to check how it will fit before I sew up a bra.

Testing

There are a couple of ways I can test the fit before I start sewing up a whole bra. In Beverly’s Craftsy class, Foam, Lace & Beyond, she shows how to convert your Classic pattern from a diagonal seam to a horizontal seam. I did this to compare the two patterns because the original pattern I made from the draft was a horizontal seam.

It’s looking pretty good on paper and I’m feeling encouraged.

Alterations

Even though I’m encouraged by my pattern, I still want to make a tester cup. There are no alterations done to this basic pattern, and I have a list I usually need: make the underarm smaller, a flat spot adjustment, check the bridge height and bottom width. Then there are the Omega considerations. Making a test cup is simply one more confirmation for me.

This tester cup is looking good too.

Here’s the dart I pinched out. I’ll adjust the pattern and then it’s time to cut out a new bra! I’m going to adjust the strap and upper cup at the side too. You can see both in the photo below.

A Trial Bra

My sewing was going along nice and smoothly, and then a tiny snag. I pulled the elastic out of the finding kit and it was the ‘old’ elastic. There’s been a change in elastics and the newer one is 20% less stretchy. It’s a good thing the Fairy Bra Mother blogs. I went over to Beverly’s blog and used her information to take out that extra width I’d added to my band. You can read her post here.

I not only looked that up, but also her post on sewing a Gothic Arch because it’s such a comfortable alteration.

New Bra

Here’s my new bra. It fits so well, and I’m so excited about it! I think I’m more excited about this bra than any bra I’ve made in the past.

Here’s the side view. You can see there are a couple of little alterations I want to make.

The pin there? I want to take a little more out from the underarm there. As well, I’ll want to raise the side there 1/4-inch. The wire is coming to the top of the elastic, that’s why I didn’t finish it there.

The back is fine. Taking out that 20% makes it fit perfectly.

Here’s the Gothic arch I added. It is such a comfortable pattern alteration.

All in all, I’m thrilled with my new bra, and the drafting experience.

Happy creating!

P.S. You may want to look at A Review of Sewing Bras: Foam, Lace & Beyond.

Patterns

After working on drafting a bra from measurements, my work wasn’t done with the draft. The next step is to use that draft and make a pattern. Let me show you a little of the progression so far.

Drafting

Here’s the draft. It doesn’t look anything like the pieces I’ve seen in bra patterns.

Horizontal Seam

Then, a few more steps and things start to look more familiar. Beverly takes you through it all in her manual. Take a look at these pieces. These actually look like bra pattern pieces.

I’m not the biggest fan of a horizontal seams. I used one when I made my Heather bra.

Common Bra Seams

Here are some different seams shown in bras (photos are from Bra-Makers Supply and Sewy):

Vertical Seam

I’ve also tried the vertical seam when I made KS 3300. Once I started making my own patterns from the draft, I had to try each pattern. This part of the process was definitely fun for me. The photo of the vertical seam is from the Sewy website. It’s their Linda bra pattern.

Diagonal Seam

My favorite seam in bra-making so far has been the diagonal seam. That’s the bottom left in the photo collage above. A diagonal seam is what we find in the Classic pattern or the Shelley pattern from Pin-Up Girls patterns.

I also love the power bar and split lower cup on the Shelley. Here are a few of my favorites from that pattern.

I love this pattern, and know I will make it using my drafted pattern!

Curved Seam

The one I really wanted to try was the curved seam. All the gorgeous Cloth Habit Harriet bras I’m seeing were making me want to buy that pattern too. I had to be very strict with myself not to buy yet another pattern I have. The photo in the first collage is from Sewy again. It’s their Isabell pattern, which I have. I also have a clone of a Fantasie bra that is a curved seam too. I didn’t need one more pattern, but I was tempted! However, I did want to make one when I was making the patterns.

Patterns I Made 

Here are all my new patterns. I just need to add seam allowances to some of them, and make little changes like adjusting for a flat spot, thinning the band under the cradle, and lowering the bridge.

I also drafted my a new cradle and band.

Happy Creating!

P.S. You may also be interested in Sewing Bras: Foam Lace & Beyond.

Here’s some exciting news.

Merckwaerdigh

The news is from Merckwaerdigh’s Etsy shop. Here’s what Margreet said in her post on Facebook: “SPRING … a perfect time for a major change! As of today all listings in the Merckwaerdigh shop at Etsy are FREE SHIPPING!!!

She is raising her cost a bit, but what she is adding to the costs will still be lower than shipping costs! Yay!

A Review of Craftsy’s Coverstitch: Basics & Beyond

It’s time for another Craftsy class review.

This review is for Coverstitch: Basics & Beyond with Gail Yellen.

I’m on my own for reviews at the moment, as Marsha and Naomi have other pressing engagements.

Reviews

This is a fairly new class, so it doesn’t have the amount of reviews as some of the other classes I’ve reviewed. At the time of this writing, there were only 35 reviews, and a few of them were less than favorable.

A few reviewers expressed a desire to have had more information that fit the ‘Beyond’ category.

If you notice the Instructor rating, Gail gets her highest rating there, and I agree! I had a couple of questions and Gail answered really quickly – I’m talking the same day – and her answers were very helpful. Gail deserves that high rating.

 Outline

First Thoughts on the Class

I was really happy this class came out. I’ve been purchasing a Janome Cover Pro 1000CP from a friend. It had been staying at my house, and I decided I wanted it. Thankfully, my friend is being very patient in my paying it off.

Seeing as this was a brand new machine to me, I knew nothing about how to work a Coverstitch machine and wanted a class that started with the basics. This class did that.

In the class, Gail shows both the designated Coverstitch machine, and the Serger/Coverstitch combination machine. She goes through how to change the needles on both machines, and how to set the needles for different stitch widths. For a complete beginner, that is great!

Gail also gives us ideas on how to use these different stitches and demonstrates them on a few projects.

In the above collage, all taken from screen shots from the class, Gail shows how to make a tassel, sew a flat fell seam, and install a zipper – all with the Coverstitch machine. I would never have thought of using this machine for any of those. Honestly, I really thought it was just for hemming. So, this was all much more ‘Beyond’ than I was expecting.

Gail also shows how to hem an unbound neckline.

This is a lovely neckline. Hmm, this is a pretty idea to try on my next tee. I know I’ve wanted to hem a few things using the Coverstitch machine. I hadn’t even thought of necklines.

Disappointments?

There were a number of reviewers who expressed they wanted more and there wasn’t enough beyond the very basics. So was I disappointed? Well, no. Looking at the class, I can’t say I am. The class does cover a lot. More than I thought or expected.

There was only thing I wanted to see and didn’t – the foot shown below. My machine doesn’t have a regular presser foot (I have one on order), but it has a Center Guide foot, much like a Stitch-in-the-Ditch foot. I did realize I can take that center guide off, and I have a see-through foot. So, I’m happier with this foot now.

Feet

Let’s go over the machine feet Gail does cover in the class: the regular pressing foot, a curved pressing foot, a see-through pressing foot, and a narrow chain stitch foot. She also covers a belt loop binder, and a down turn feller, and seam guides. She even gives an idea for how to make a seam guide using a Post-it note pad.

I thought this was a neat idea, and tried it twice. The first time the pad moved, and I was also sewing a curved hem. That whole thing didn’t work out. The second time, I really pushed on the pad to make sure it was good and stuck down. I had no problems at all. It’s a great little trick if you don’t have a seam guide. (I want one of those too!)

Recommendations

 I do recommend this class. It’s a great class, with a lot of very good basic information in it, and some not-so-basic information too. This class made the difference in me bringing out my CoverPro machine and using it rather than letting it sit like it had been.

What I Made

Well just before I go there let me tell you one really great thing about Coverstitch machines: I learned if you make a mistake, you can very easily rip out the stitches – from the last stitch back to the first. I needed to use that tip. It took me a minute or two to find the right thread to pull, but once I found it – those stitches came out so smoothly and easily! What a nice feature.

So what did I make? I made a very sloppy looking hem! I don’t think a curved uneven hem is the first thing I want to try sewing and showing from my machine. I pulled those stitches out.

I also planned to hem a gorgeous Maxi skirt I wore once and then the hem started coming out. It’s been sitting in a mending pile for the better part of a year waiting for me to learn to use this machine. I got it out and… it’s a blind hem on it! (Rolls eyes!)

I did shorten my favorite pants. I’ve been wearing them too long for over a year, but every time I put them in a mending pile, well, they just couldn’t stay there – they’re my favorite. This time, I did hem them using Gail’s Post-it Note pad idea!

If you have a Coverstitch machine, and haven’t used it, I do recommend Gail’s class to give you a great base to learn how to use your machine.

See below for a coupon for this class.

Happy creating!

P.S. You might want to look at Another Perfect T-Shirt.

Another Perfect T-Shirt

After working on drafting a bra, I wanted an easy sewing project. I knew just what to sew.

I pulled out my Perfect T-Shirt pattern.

This was my third time making this pattern. The first one was pretty good, but the neckline was a bit loose. I adjusted the shoulder so the neckline would fit better for the second one, and have loved it. So this third one, well, all the alterations I needed for this had already been done, so it was simply a matter of cutting it out and sewing it up.

This T-Shirt pattern was shown on Sewing with Nancy – that was where I first saw it. I recorded the show thinking I’d watch while making up the tee. You can watch it here.

However, being in Canada, I’ve had a hard time finding the notions used in the show and recommended on the Pamela’s Patterns website:

Knit Stay Tape (neckline), Woven Stay Tape (shoulders), Double Sided Fusible Stay Tape (hems)

The Stay Tape is shown here in a screen shot from the show.

I asked at my local fabric store what they’d recommend instead of the Stay Tape. One of the staff there sews a lot of knits; she said she uses knit interfacing for the neckline and hems. She uses a woven interfacing for the shoulders. I did just that. Here is my first tee showing the woven interfacing on the shoulders. (I didn’t take any photos during sewing this time.)

I have to say, I’ve made three tees this way now, and the interfacing works beautifully. If the Stay Tapes aren’t available in your area, knit and woven interfacing works and is probably a lot less expensive.

Here’s my last tee’s hem with the knit interfacing for the hem. I cut a 1″ strip and fused it onto the tee.

Below is a screen shot from the show where they’ve used Double Sided Fusible Stay Tape:

Looking at this, I’m thinking the interfacing would take less time than the Stay Tape. They’ve had to cut the Stay Tape so it will curve along the hem. There’s no cutting the interfacing once you’ve cut the strip because it’s a knit. It curves along any curves very easily. I do have to use pins though, where they’re not using any pins.

Here’s my new tee. It was a lovely quick sew, and I know I’ll enjoy wearing this as much as I’ve enjoyed my last two Perfect tees.

Here’s the front.

Here are the back and side.

This is a darted tee, so the fit is very flattering. However, there are a couple of little construction aspects I’m not sure I love. I’m showing them in the set of photos below.

When sewing on the neckband, it’s the standard quarter the neckband and distribute it equally around the neckline. It even says this for the scoop neckline, which I used. I wasn’t thinking when I sewed it up because it’s not equal distances all around the neckline. You can see the difference between the front and back below in the first two photos.

One other design aspect to this tee is the curved hem, which is flattering on, but to keep the material from distorting, I had to narrow the hem at the sides. (That’s the third photo.) It’s about 1/2-inch on either side and it’s 1-inch for the rest of the hem.

It’s not a problem as along as I’m aware I need to make these changes. So, I’ll make a note on the pattern to remind myself of both of these issues for the next time I sew a Perfect T-Shirt.

Happy creating!

Attempting a Draft

If you were trying to reach my blog yesterday, I’m very sorry. It was down for the better part of day. Thankfully, I’m back.

I was going to make a Valentine’s bra for myself. I had everything set out and was getting ready to cut it out. I even knew the one alteration I wanted to make.

Still using my Pin-Up Girls Shelley pattern, I was going to add a little bit of width to the bottom of the bridge.

Right there. I want it just a touch wider, but everything else fits really well. In fact, it’s my current favorite.

However, much like making my Personal Croquis (which I’m still really enjoying), I’ve had another project on my list of things to do for a while now – draft my own bra pattern.

Resources

I have Bra Design & Draft from Beverly Johnson’s Bra-making Manuals.

In fact, I’ve drafted part of my pattern already. The only part of the drafting process that is new to me is the cup. Because of the alterations I’ve needed for my cradle and bridge, I’ve been drafting my own cradle/bridge for a few years now using information from the Manuals.

Even though only part of this process is new, it still felt daunting. I figured the worst case scenario was it wouldn’t turn out, and I’d go back and use my Shelley pattern making that one little adjustment. The best case scenario would be I’d have a self-drafted pattern. I took a deep breath, and started.

Beginnings

 I was geared up to start. I had my paper, pencil and eraser and thought I was all ready. I drew two lines, and then searched the house for a compass. Even my hubby got in on the search. Nope. We didn’t have a compass anymore. Our kiddos are done school, and we didn’t keep any of those school goodies. (I love to declutter!) So, it’s a quick trip to Staples, and now I’m ready again.

 From here, I did what I usually do. I decided it wasn’t just right, so I crumpled it up and started again. I did this when making my bodice sloper too. My sloper was fine, and so was this. But I like things just so, and I don’t mind making sure.

The next step felt like going back to the beginning. I hadn’t drawn out the cradle and band this time. But I needed those before I could say the cup fit. So, re-drew my cradle.

Third Time’s a Charm

 I was happily getting started on my band and cradle, and realized I didn’t have all my measurements! I was drafting away thinking I was doing better than I anticipated, and everything came to a stop. I needed measurements which I couldn’t do on my own. I’d never drafted the band part, so didn’t have those back measurements. My hubby to the rescue.

Sigh

There was one more bump in the road. I got to a point with the drafting and mine didn’t look like what Beverly had in the Manual. It really didn’t look the same, but I knew all my measurements were correct. I was stuck. You can see how I was feeling even. No sparkly stars shining perfection on my draft!

I am so fortunate to have worked on a blog tour with The Fairy Bra Mother and Mrs. Weaver. In fact, I’ve worked on a few projects with Mrs. Weaver. I’d mentioned to Mrs. Weaver that I was attempting a draft. She very kindly offered to help if I got stuck. I took her up on that.

It turns out I was on the right track; it’s just much easier to see what the next step was rather than read it. Thank you so much, Karin!

Next Steps (Finally!)

Here’s my newly drafted pattern from my measurements. I won’t sew this up as it is. I’ll change the lines – add a power bar, split the lower cup – add a few of the pretty details I like in a pattern. Once I make it more a style I want, I’ll make a test bra to see how it all fits.

Happy creating!