Sewing Plans

I always have a long list of things I want to sew, and since my sewjo has taken a late-summer vacation, I’m organizing some of my plans. At least I still feel I’m doing something and making some progress this way.

Another Watson

Em has told me so many times that she loves the Watson I made her. She’s hinted she wants another one. She’s told me her favorite colors. She’s mentioned she wears the one she has all the time. So, I have one cut out for her in this adorable polka dot material. I think she’ll like this. 

You might recognize this material from a previous Watson I made.

I love this polka dot material. I still have a little bit left too, so we may see it again.

A Camisole for Me

  I found this gorgeous cotton-silk blend. Oh, it’s sumptuous. That’s really the only way to describe it. To make this even better, I found it in the clearance section at my local fabric store. That was just a bonus!

I also found some lovely lace material. Together, it will make a very pretty camisole.

This being such lovely material, I may look at some actual lace I have too and decide then. I just need some sewjo again. 

A Handbag for a Friend

   A dear friend of mine has been living in the US for the past year. She saw my Canada 150 bag, and said she’d love one too. I don’t have any of the original fabric left, so found some that was perfect for her. Her hubby used to be a Mountie. I think she will really love this! 

Aren’t those Mounties adorable?

Drafting Ups and Downs

You know, sometimes, I fuss too much.

My fourth draft (second with Karin) only needed small adjustments. I don’t know why I simply didn’t make those small adjustments to the pattern. Instead I went back and re-drew everything. I didn’t get the same results.

As well, I ran out of duoplex from my stash. I still have a couple of kits, but I wasn’t going to cut into those. I had to take a break from my drafting.

On that day, with no bits of duoplex left, and a draft that wasn’t what I wanted, I was ready to throw in the towel. For the better part of the day, I was defeated. I was giving up. I couldn’t sew. I couldn’t draft. I might as well delete my blog. I’m sorry I wasted all our money. Blah. Blah. Blah.

That’s when my hubby came to my rescue – he calmly told me I was doing well. Look how far I’d come. Then he told me to go ahead and order some more duoplex to keep going. He is my hero.

Future Plans

 Well, I do plan to finish all of these projects, including sewing up that fourth drafted pattern with a few adjustments. As well, I have a Spring/Fall jacket I want to make, and a Agnes top with sleeves. I have the material for both of these as well.

All of these projects are just waiting for me to get my sewjo back. I hope my sewjo doesn’t take too long a vacation.

Happy creating!

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New Cabinets

I recently got some new cabinets I wanted to share with you.

My Dream Machine

I’ve always dreamed of having a Singer Treadle sewing machine in a cabinet, but that’s yet to happen. However, I did recently buy a cabinet.

I was thrilled with my deal on this. It belonged to a friend’s grandmother, so I got the family deal too.

It does need some TLC if I want to restore it.

Broken trim.

Veneer damaged.

Paint splotches.   And veneer coming off the cabinet.Yes, it will need some TLC to restore it. But I still love it as it is.

Simply Functional

  My second new cabinet was purely wanted for something functional. I went to the second-hand store to look for a small table or end table to sit my Coverpro on. I didn’t want to sit it on the floor, and I was tired of moving machines when I wanted to use my serger, or Coverpro. They’d been sitting one in front of the other.

I found this:  It was marked from $10 down to $5. That was an even better deal than my dream cabinet!

(Do you see my antique camel saddle photo-bombing the cabinet? That’s been around longer than my hubby. His parents brought it back from one of their travels.)

Machines Included

The most amazing part of both of these cabinets is they both had vintage machines included.

The Singer cabinet had this Imperial machine inside. I’m told it will work with the treadle, but it doesn’t have a power cord, or foot pedal, and the belt for the cabinet needs to be replaced, so… It might be a while.

I have found a manual for this Imperial, but I haven’t decided if I’m going to keep it. If I decide I’m not going to keep it (no cord, no pedal), I do know Central Sewing Machines in Edmonton takes in sewing machines to repair and then donates them to charity. I love that idea.

 The second cabinet had this Brother machine in it.

This one excites me a little more. Probably because it has a power cord and foot pedal. I do need to find a manual for this one, and try it out. It just came home yesterday. My hubby is telling me I’m out of room, but where there’s a will, there’s a way.

I think I’ll be researching my new Brother today.

Happy creating!

The Fifth and Final Draft

This bra is my fifth and hopefully my final draft at this time. I hope it’s… well, I hope it’s perfect!

My Fifth Draft

  I really went back and forth before I sewed this bra – Should I sew it with the water-soluble (WS) thread, or just sew up a bra. If I use the WS thread, even if this bra is perfect, I will be re-sewing it. I really didn’t want to do that. I just want to sew a bra. However, I finally decided to just sew up it as another tester with the WS thread.

This looks better than the other two, but you can see it’s still not finished as nicely as a bra I want to keep.

A wonderful little tip I heard after I’d sewn my first bra with WS thread is to use the thread in the needle only, and regular thread in the bobbin. Water will still dissolve the upper thread, and the seam will come apart just fine. I’ve also heard to just dab the seam with water, which would save a lot of the drying time, and ironing.

Changes

 My band was a bit too big. Well, an inch too big to be exact. I’d recently lost a little bit of weight, and of course my ribs being one of the smallest parts of my body, that was where it showed first.

So before I sewed up another bra, I re-drafted the pattern for my cradle and band with my new measurements. I didn’t mind re-doing it all either. I really want to get drafting down pat, so a little extra practice isn’t a bad thing as far as I’m concerned.

 More

I re-drafted the pattern for my cups, again too – just for more practice. In fact, I spent the better part of a day drafting over and over. I made three drafts of both the cups, and the cradle and band by time the day was done. 

One other change I made while I was re-drafting my cup pattern was to lower my strap placement.

In addition to the changes I’ve mentioned above, I made my usual adjustments: a custom bridge, lowering the upper cup to meet the bridge, and adjusting for a flat spot.

One thing I’m not having to adjust is the difference between my cup and cradle caused by being an Omega shape. Let me tell you what I’m doing differently.

A Different Change

I’d heard before that you can go up or down one size in the cradle from the wire size you’re using. So if you’re using a 40 wire, you can use a cradle made for a 38, 40, or 42 wire.

It’s the same if you’re using a 40 cradle – you can use a 38, 40, or 42 wire. You can go up or down one size.

I’m doing that with my drafting. I’m using a 42 extra-long wire to draft my cradle – that’s one size bigger than the wire I normally use. It just happens to be the same length as the wire my cup size normally uses. Does that all make sense?Do you see how the 42 Extra Long wire is the same length as the 44 Long wire? My cup size matches a 44 Long wire. I normally wear a 40 Long wire. Using a 42 Extra Long wire to draft my cradle size, I’m able to make my cradle match my cup size perfectly.

The Conclusion?

 Somehow the band is still a bit too big! I’m having to fasten it on the middle eyes, but that’s a small adjustment. As well, when I lowered my strap placement, I achieved a bit more Va-va-voom than I want. A few tweaks to my pattern and I’m sewing up a real bra next!

Happy creating!

A Fourth Draft

This is my fourth draft in all, and my second draft with some help from the amazing Karin, of Braphoria & Mrs. Weaver’s Finest Unmentionables renown.

 For this draft, I re-used the band, cradle and straps. I only had to cut the cups out again. I really recommend using the water-soluble thread for something like sewing a draft or muslin. Here are all my ‘bits’ after soaking them and letting them dry – just a quick low-temp press and they were ready to go again.The Fourth Draft

 Here’s my draft: 

This is pretty much spot on. The band is still a touch too big, but when I pull it in tighter, everything looks good.

You might notice this bra looks a little more finished than the last one. I just couldn’t stand what a mess that bra was. I had to do this one a little better; finish a few more bits to make it look neater rather than it all looking like it was falling apart.

Here’s a side-by-side of this one and the last one:You can see the cups are a little more rounded over the apex, and the bridge is a little lower.

Even though this draft isn’t as messy as that third one, it still has its messy parts. Just take a look:

 

The channeling isn’t finished, the elastic isn’t finished under the cups, threads aren’t cut, and bits of elastic are peeking out here and there.

Adjustments

So if it’s pretty good as it is, then what adjustments do I still want to make? Well, I feel the bridge could be a smidge lower. Not a lot, but maybe another 1/4″.

As I mentioned above, I need to take the band in a little more. That’s it.

Frankenbra

With the bridge being pushed out at the top, I was wondering if I needed more room in the cups or if it was just my bridge too high for me. So, to see better what was going on, I cut open the seams to see if it was more room in the cups that I needed. It turns out, I didn’t need to do that. The band not being tight enough wasn’t giving me enough pull or splay on my wires. When I pulled on my band, everything settled where it needs to go… except the very top of the bridge.

So, I’m making one more muslin or draft. I’m really wanting to make a nice bra I can wear. I’m trying to decide if I will or if I’ll just make another muslin. I’m really going back and forth as to whether I’ll make another draft, or seeing as it’s so close and these are just little details, I’ll just make a bra I can wear. I’m leaning towards making one I can wear.

Thoughtful Gift

 My hubby is very supportive of my bra-making journey. He was there when I would come home crying after trying on every bra in a store, and still not find one that fit. Then I found specialty stores, and how could a bra cost $150 or more? He has been there through it all. Although he couldn’t understand all the whys or hows, he witnessed it.

The first year I started making bras, my DH bought me the first Bra-Makers Manual for Christmas. The following Spring, he bought me the 2nd Manual. With my drafting underway, he just bought me a wonderful third resource:

 Such a thoughtful gift.

Happy creating!

A Few Alterations

My third bra draft was pretty good. In fact, it would have been wearable except I used water-soluble thread. That little fact alone would make it good for one wearing only. Well, the water-soluble thread and the fact that it was slapped together…

It fit pretty well. That’s what I’m really trying to say here.

There were only a couple of changes I still wanted to make to this. I wanted to add a bit to the underarm area for more coverage there – just a half-inch. I wanted to round the cups a touch at the apex. And I wanted to lower the bridge a half-inch as well.

Changes

While I was making those couple of changes I listed above, I decided to change the style of the bra too. I added a power bar. So  now it’s the same style as the Pin-up Girls Shelley pattern with a split lower cup and a power bar. Shelley has been my favorite pattern, so it only makes sense I make something like that. 

Making these changes were such much easier than the actual drafting of the cups. That was much more of a challenge.

 Leftovers

After soaking my bra, all the threads dissolved, and I was left with bits again. This is great as I can re-use most of these bits. It’s just the cups I need to cut fresh. I found the band too big as well, so have adjusted that. It’s all ready to go for a second sew. 

Stay tuned for my bra-drafting. I’m hoping only one more draft and I’m cutting into some gorgeous lace again.

Seize the Day

Remember how I couldn’t put a bow on Em’s Watson because she didn’t want to take it off once she’d tried it on? Well, I had my chance. The circumstances surrounding this? Well, I don’t want to know. I do know the bralette was on the floor and got stepped on… That was already more than I wanted to know.

It seems little plastic rings can’t withstand being stepped on. I had to repair the bra. I replaced the rings and sliders with metal ones from a little second-hand bra I bought. I also added the bow! I had no intention of missing that opportunity.

Happy creating!

A Third Bra Draft

My third bra draft really was a success!

A Few Differences

There were a few things I did differently this time. One of the changes I made was to use water-soluble thread – and it came in handy! I realized very quickly I had mis-measured my cradle for the elastics. A quick little soak in some water, and it was all bra bits again rather than a partially-sewn bra meaning I’d have to start over or unpick the whole thing.

 I was not expecting to have a bra when I was done. I was simply seeing how my draft fit and what changes I needed to make. That is a very freeing feeling.

My Pattern

I made a diagonally seamed bra with a split lower cup. Nothing fancy for this bra – I only want to see the fit.

My ‘Kit’

  The same attitude I had for the pattern, I had for the kit. Nothing fancy, just bits of this and bits of that. Not all the bits were even matching, but they worked for their purpose.

In this little pile of a kit, I have beige Duoplex and Power Net, some beige and some white bottom band elastic, white upper band elastic, white strap tape, and blue trim! I’m really not expecting this to look good.

As well there’s the YLI Wash-A-Way thread. If you haven’t tried it, it’s great! It works perfectly for testing a pattern like this.

A Hot Mess

Honestly, the sewing on the bra looks terrible. Well, not the sewing really. It’s more the techniques or lack there of. It’s a mis-match of colors, and I didn’t do a lot of the things I’d normally do to ‘neaten’ things up. Just look at the bottom band elastic.

 Normally, I trim the elastic under the channeling – I like a thinner band running under the cups. Not this time. This time I’ve simply folded the channeling over the elastic and pushed it out of the way.

It’s looks so bad.

 While we’re talking about the bottom band elastic, I used two colors because I didn’t have enough of one color to do the full band. I used a great technique of piecing together bits of elastic. I saw Monica Bravo do on a YouTube video. It’s quick and it really doesn’t show at all from the front. You can view the video here.

You can see I wasn’t trimming anything, not even threads. This was a quick sew to see how things were going to fit. That’s it.

Does It Fit?

I have to say I am so surprised by the outcome of this drafting experience. First off, I never thought I’d be drafting my own bra pattern from measurements!

Secondly, I made a very wearable bra! Well, it would be wearable if I hadn’t used the water-soluble thread! But it fits. There are a few tweaks I want to make, but it fits.

The whole time I was sewing this, I kept thinking how I’d never sewn/thrown a bra together like this. There are bits hanging or sticking out everywhere! The upper band elastic is hanging out of the side of the cup because I didn’t finish the straps; on the other side it’s hanging down the back at the hooks and eyes. The channeling is sticking out. It really is a mess to behold!

There’s not a top-stitch to be found, and barely a back-stitch present. I sewed it just enough to hold it together to try it on… well almost. I did pull on the strap a bit too much and pulled it off! I had a pin handy, so was able to continue in the trying-on/evaluating process. 

Adjustments

  There are only a couple of adjustments I want to make. I plan to add a little more coverage to the underarm area – probably a half-inch will do. I want to lower the bridge by about a half-inch as well. Rounding the apex and adding a power bar will complete this. I’ll also likely do another test run. Then I should have a perfectly fitting self-drafted bra and pattern. What a feeling!

Happy creating!

My Last Canada Bag

I loved my first Canada 150 bag. I used Emmaline Bags’ Miss Maggie pattern.

I even enjoyed making a second and third Canada bag similar to my first bag.

I still wanted to have a Canada 150 bag just for me. So, this is my last Canada 150 bag. There will only ever be four of these made by me.

Things I Love

There are things I love about this bag – the pattern is free. (Have to love that.) The snaps bring it in, giving it a great shape. I really like the strap anchors, especially the Long Johns. This photo shows both the shape and the anchors.

I also love the bling I used like the sewn label, the leather maple leaf, the leather tassel, and handmade hanging tag.

In making these, I found I really liked the two-toned look of the second bag. I found the two-tones made it pop more.

Possibilities and Changes

I do want to include a zipper pocket inside as well as the slip pocket inside.

I’m thinking of changing the side snaps so they’re permanent by using rivets to create that shape. They won’t unsnap, and we’ll have to see if I mind that or not.

Canada 150 Take Four

So, after a little though of just what I wanted to include, here’s my final Canada 150 Miss Maggie bag: 

I went with a solid pattern because I didn’t have enough material left over from my other bags to do the two-toned look.

 I added a Sewn label, but just to keep all the bags individual, I put it in the bottom corner of the bag. I made a leather tassel. The first bag had 1/8″ fringes, this one has 1/4″ – again, just to add little touches to make them all different. This tassel is longer too.

Of course, the Handmade hanging tag. I love some bling.

I really love a back pocket, whether it’s a slip pocket or a zippered pocket. But I decided not to include one on this bag so as not take the focus away from the Long John Strap Anchors.

I saw a wonderful blog tutorial on Chris W’s Designs’ blog – Jazzy Straps. I loved Ellen’s straps. Mine aren’t as vibrant with contrasting colors, but I still love how they turned out. I took the regular 20″ length of the straps and added another 10″. The length is perfect for me for a shoulder bag. 

On the inside of the bag, I’ve made a slip pocket (not shown) which is included in the pattern, but also added a zippered pocket. I used the tutorial from Emmaline Bags for that. You can find that here. Just look at all those maple leafs!

I did add rivets to bring the sides in and secure them on this bag. I’m super happy with that part of my new Canada 150 handbag too. As well, I included a magnetic clasp for a closure.

Something all four bags have had in common is the bag feet I’ve used for them. I love these little feet. So much detail, but they don’t get seen very much. I kept forgetting to show them too.

Such a pretty detail.

All the hardware for my bag (except the feet) came from Emmaline Bags. The feet I found on Etsy but the store no longer has these. I’ll have to look for them again somewhere else. They are adorable.

If you follow my blog, you might be wondering if Em’s Watson bralette fit her.

Was it Bow-Worthy?

Em’s Watson fit her perfectly. However, it will remain bow-less.

Em said she wasn’t going to take it off after trying it on. She said it was more comfortable than the very-well-known-big-name bralette she’d been wearing! That made me feel really good. We already have her next one in the planning. Not only that, but now her Mom wants one too. However, before Em or her Mom get a bralette, I have some bra drafting/sewing to do for me.

Happy Creating!

A Watson for Em

What would you do if your boyfriend’s Mum made bras? Would ask her to make you one? Em did.

First Make

For my first bra-making venture for Em, I thought a bralette would be best. She really wanted a bralette too. So which pattern to try?

I have to be honest here. I have struggled so much with bra-fitting for myself, that I wasn’t looking forward to making a bra for someone else. I found the very thought daunting, and kept putting it off.

Once I started sewing though, well I really love sewing bras. With each step of the process, I admire how it’s coming together and looking more like a bra.

My first make for Em was the Cloth Habit Watson.

I was debating a bit whether I’d make her the Watson or Pin-up Girls Sweet Sixteen Bralette.

I decided to make the Watson because I’ve made it before. She also really liked the long-line version, so that’s what I made.

Hoarding

Remember I mentioned in a previous post how I had to order new wires because I hadn’t kept different sized wires? I had them a few years ago and gave them away? Well, a year ago I gave someone my Watson pattern because it really didn’t fit me and I thought I wasn’t going to make it again. Guess what I had to buy again because I don’t hoard enough? Yes. I had to buy another Watson pattern! I am going to start hoarding all things bra-making.

Much Better Now

 Sewing the Watson was much a much better experience this time than the two times I made this pattern in the past. The big difference is Em actually fits in the pattern’s range. I was just outside it and had to size up and make adjustments. She’s also young, with all the benefits that go with youth. Need I say more?

Sewing this pattern again, I do have to say I really like it. It’s a lovely pattern, with tips in the instructions that are both thoughtful and helpful. While sewing, I had the impression that this is a charming pattern.

Em’s Watson

 Seeing as I don’t know if this is going to fit Em either, I wasn’t breaking into one of my nice kits. Nope. It was scraps and left overs, little bits from here and there. Despite not using a kit, it came together quite well.

Here’s Em’s Watson from the front: 

I used some lighter-weight coral mesh that had been a gift, peach stretch lace which I think also had been a gift, and white elastics from one of my first purchases from Bra-Makers Supply. I didn’t have any smaller rings and sliders for the straps, but have a few kits from Merckwaerdigh and they have smaller findings. I know I won’t be using the findings from those kits for me so pulled them out. They were perfect.

I found an adorable little butterfly bow in my bow stash that is almost a perfect match for the peach in the cups. It’s not sewn on yet. This has to fit before it’s getting a bow of any kind.

 Here’s the back: 

Here’s a side view: 

I am really happy with how it came together. Now I have to wait.

Does It Fit?

  I have to wait a few days to find out whether this fits or not. Oh, if you think the wait is bad when sewing a bra for yourself and wondering the whole time if it will fit… This is worse. At least when sewing for ourselves, we can try it on right after we snip those last threads!

 Happy creating!

P.S. You might want to look at the first Watsons I made. My First Watson, and Long Line Watson and Some Bling.