Waiting for Wires

I’ve ordered a few more sizes of underwire and am doing my best to patiently wait for them. I need these new sizes for drafting.

The Problem

I’ve said this before, but I am incredibly fortunate to know more than one professional bra-maker. Karin of Mrs. Weaver’s Finest Unmentionable helped me figure out what I was doing wrong in my drafting.

I had followed the instructions both times from the Bra-Makers Manual. And both times I produced a bra that was close.

In fact, there as aspects of how these bras fit that I like better than any bras I’ve made yet. But… they weren’t fitting perfectly and I really didn’t know what I needed to change.

Those Buts

But. I’ve had a lot of those buts in my bra-sewing journey. The problem is the same problem I’ve had all along in making bras – I’m an Omega shape. Yup. The Omega shape was causing problems again, although I didn’t realize it.

So what exactly was the problem? I was using what I thought was the right wire – the one that fits me. I was using that wire to draft my cradle and my cup too. Normally, this is exactly what someone should do too.

But not someone with an Omega shape.

It was one of those smack-hand-to-head moments when I realized why both of the bras I’d drafted didn’t fit perfectly. If I want the cup to fit, I’m going to need to use a wire that fits the cup – not one that fits me.

These wires show the difference between what I need for my cradle and what I need for my cup. The narrower wire is what I need for my cradle, but the wider one is what I need for my cup.

So for my drafting I will need to use two wires. The first wire (the one that fits me) will be for the cradle’s draft. The second wire (the one that correlates to the cup’s size) will be the one I use for the drafting the cup.

Hoarding

 You know, my hubby has some hoarding tendencies. He keeps things. He says he might need them sometime. He could even be right… sometimes.

I’m not like that at all. I think, ‘I’m not going to use this.’ and out it goes. Well, I’m re-thinking that. I had these wire sizes at one time. When I first got into bra-making I had no idea what size I’d need, so I ordered everything around the size I thought I’d need. My cup usually takes a 44 wire, so I had 42s, 44s and 46 wires – in regular and long sizes. I’m going to start hoarding everything bra-making going forward because I just might need it.

Progress

While I’m waiting for my new wires to arrive, I’m still practicing drafting, only this time I won’t sew up a draft. I know my cup won’t fit just right.

Using a larger wire than will fit me to draft will also mean I’ll have to make a few adjustments to the pattern to help it fit into a smaller cradle, but I’ve had lots of experience with that. Almost all the bras I’ve made, I’ve had to make those adjustments.

I’m really looking forward to getting those new wires and making this next draft. I’m hopeful.

Happy creating!

Have you seen Merckwaerdigh has a new Mini Course out? Design your own BRA. Her panty course is great, so I’m trusting this one will be too. I’ll let you know.

Here’s a video Margreet posted on the new mini bra course:

 

Agnes Swing Top & Dress

This week I’m trying a new pattern. It’s the hallå patterns’ agnes swing top & dress. I’m making the dress.

This is so pretty! I’ve heard so many great things about this pattern. I was really looking forward to trying it.

Something I Like

Right off, I can tell you something I really like about this pattern. It’s a layered PDF pattern so I can print the size I want, or if not sure, just two sizes. I love that! I’ve also heard the instructions for these patterns are really good. I’ll let you know.

Plans

My plans are to use this adorable pattern to make a nightdress or two. I really don’t like the over-sized, one-size-fits-all sleep tees that are so commonly available. I also love my cotton, which narrows things down too.

Another idea I have for a nightgown is the Butterick 6031. I’ve made the camisole, but if I lengthen the slip it would be a lovely nightgown.

Last year, I purchased some lovely cotton Lycra my fabric store brought in. This year, it’s all on sale 70% off. I’ve bought a few more solid colors and prints just for my summer nightgown project. One of the solid colors is the same as my summer house coat, so I’m thrilled about that. That’s where I’m starting.

Small Bumps in the Road

This bump isn’t a new bump. When I look at my measurements, the pattern would put me in a size 20. I know that will be way too big. Out comes my sloper just to prove to me this is going to be too big..

My sloper has a little bit of ease added to it, and I would want more ease for a nightgown. However, this would still be way too big.

I’ve been down this road so many times though, so I knew to look at my high bust measurement rather than my full bust. And even though I’ve been sewing for 25+ years, I learned about the high bust on this blog! Thank you!

My high bust wasn’t going to work this time though. It was going to put me in a size 2/4, and I knew that would be way too small for me.

Since I could print different layers, I printed off 6/8, 10/12, and 14/16.

You can see below, my shoulder hits between the 6/8 and 10/12.

Solution

If I wanted something a little more fitted, I’d probably adjust the shoulder to a 6/8. I’d make a size 10/12 except for the bust, which I’d make a 14/16. Seeing as I want this loose for sleeping, I’m making the 14/16.

My Agnes Make

This does come together really quickly. It’s quick to cut out, and quick to sew up. A serger is what is used in the instructions, so I’m used my serger.

I finished it with a rolled hem.
My hubby is so cute. He tells me this looks like a summer dress. I told him it is a summer dress!

It’s super comfy and as I’d heard, a pretty easy and clear sew.

I will definitely make another agnes, probably a top because it is a very flattering style. I’ll also make one change.

For my next one I’ll use the instructions from the Perfect T-Shirt to do my bindings for the neckline and arms. I prefer her way. It will take a bit longer, but I think the results are a bit better too. I’m not used to this way either, and feels a bit more in control sewing on the bindings in two steps. This one was just one step with the serger.

Here I am in my new agnes.

Material Disappointment

My one disappointment here is not in the pattern, or the instructions. When I was cutting out the dress, I noticed some imperfections in the material.

I’m calling these ‘slubs’ because this reminds of what you get in slub cotton. However, this isn’t supposed to be slub cotton. I’m glad it’s just a nightgown. I turn the lights out and don’t notice them at all.

Happy creating!

Split Personality Inspired Panties

After my attempt at Rad Patterns’ Split Personality Undies, I decided I wasn’t going to try another pattern size. I was going back to my self-drafted pattern, and using it to make my own version of those adorable panties.

Inspiration

I do really think these are adorable. So they were my inspiration.

However, while I’m changing things up, there were a couple of other changes I decided to make.

Personal Preferences – First Change

As much as I love the side panel, I wasn’t sure I was going to love the seams in the back. So, I decided to leave those out. My panty pattern has the sides coming around to the front to give a similar look in the front, but a smooth back.

I’m still using the two tones of beige, although in the photos here the lighter tone looks off white. It’s not. They are closer in tone than the photo is showing.

Here’s the back of the panty with no seams. I think I’ll prefer no back seams for under clothes. That’s a sad baggy-looking bottom in the photo. Thankfully, I fill it out much more.

And on the left front seam, I added a little lace tab.

Personal Preferences – Second Change

Another change I made when making my own version was to use the ‘Burrito Method’ of enclosing the seams on the gusset. The Split Personality Undies do not have enclosed gusset seams. After making panties with an enclosed gusset, I just didn’t want to not do it.

A Second Pair

For my second pair, I made my basic self-drafted pattern. The one that is so similar to my former favorites, Kwik Sew 2286.

However, for this pair, I doubled the lace at the front and added a lace bow just for something a little different.

As well, this pair has a lace tab on the left hip.

For both of these pairs of panties, I used the pattern I drafted using Craftsy’s  Sewing Panties: Construction & Fit! You can also find the same information in Beverly Johnson’s Make & Fit Panties booklet.

Happy creating!

Panties to Match

Even though my most recent bra was a purchased one, I still wanted to make a few pair of panties to wear with it.

Inspiration

While looking for some inspiration, I found a couple of things that were very interesting. So let’s go on a little detour before I show you my new panties.

Look at this:

I found two almost identical bras. The one on the left is the Felina 501 bra. (The one I bought.) The one on the right is the Conturelle 301 bra. Now, don’t they look an awful lot alike?

It all makes a little more sense when after doing a little looking, I found Conturelle is owned by Felina. It all made sense when I saw that.

Lace

Something else I found when looking for images for the bra I bought was another Conturelle bra.

I’m not sure of the name of this bra. I found it on Pinterest. What I found really exciting is the lace. Do you recognize this lace?

This is the same lace from Kantje Boord. Sigrid made a bra using this lace too.

Just look at this, the unknown Conturelle bra, Kantje Boord’s lace and Sigrid’s bra:

That is the same lace in all three photos! I’ve always loved that bra Sigrid made. I almost bought some of the lace last year, but decided to make a purchase from Sewy instead. Sadly, I looked on Kantje Boord and this lace is not on their website anymore. Darn!

Okay, back to the bra I bought. This is the most comfortable RTW bra I’ve ever owned and it deserves a couple of pairs of panties.

Matchy-Matchy

I wanted to have the panties look like a match not only in color, but design as well. Seeing as I don’t have any of this lace, I had to get creative.

For my first pair, I used some of the lace trim I had to make crisscross designs across the front of the panty. Here is a layout of what I was thinking.

I decided I liked this, and I made up my first pair.

You can see my indigo is a bit lighter than the bra, but I’m still happy with this set.

For my second pair, I wanted to more closely copy the matching panty.

On the matching panties, the lace design is only on the hip. I’m going to do something similar keeping my design to the hips.

I tried this design first – crisscrossed thin elastic bordered by the lace I will be using for the leg opening. Although I do really like it, I have another idea.

So here is my second pair of panties to go with my RTW bra.

On this second pair, I had a little bit of fun. I had a scrap of lace left over, and was about to throw it out. Then I thought of putting a tag on the hip at the seam. I love it!

I’m thrilled with both of these pairs of panties, and love having some matchy-matchy.

Happy creating!

P.S. You might want to look at While in Germany or Pinterest Find and More.

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.

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.

Navy Panties

I made some panties to go with my new bra. I used my self-drafted panty pattern from Beverly Johnson’s Sewing Panties: Construction & Fit class.

I have to say, the only thing I like better than making my own panties, and making matching panties, is making them from a pattern I drafted myself. That is the best panty-making experience. Ever.

These are indigo cotton Lycra from Bra-Makers Supply and navy stretch lace trim from Frog Feathers on Etsy. I had hoped to use the same lace I used on for the bra for the whole front panel of the panties, but this lace isn’t a stretch lace. No stretch, no front lace panel. So, I’ll save my lace for future bras and just use little bits of the left over lace to embellish my panties. Like this partial rosette on the hip  shown below.

Here is my set together:

I’m really happy with this. The navy may become my new ‘black’, or at least they will until I make myself a new black set.

Do you remember I mentioned a nasty little sharp spot on the hooks and eyes? Linda Crawford, a profession bra-maker in Ontario, Canada (Linda was part of our Canada Cups tour) shared this tidbit with me on how to fix that problem:

What I do to help with those sharp edges on the hook and eye is I put a piece of cut and sew foam under the eyes, and tiny zigzag all round the edges, then trim it so there is 1/8″ – 1/4″ left. It helps stop that scratch and it is comfy too!”

Thanks, Linda! That’s a great idea.

Back to my panties. These panties are very similar to an old favorite of mine – a pair of La Vie En Rose panties that were discontinued. I loved those. They are also similar to another favorite. Kwik Sew 2286.

After I drafted my panty pattern, I started looking for more panty-making resources. One can’t have too many resources! It wasn’t long after I took Beverly’s class that Margreet, the owner of Merckwaerdigh on Etsy, brought out her own Mini Panty course to design your own panties. One of the things I love in this mini course is how Margreet shows the original master pattern in her sketches and then the altered one. I really like seeing both images together. It’s helps me understand the changes. A comment I recently read on one of the bra-making forums on Facebook had this to say about Margreet’s designs: “The brains behind Merckwaerdigh has a talent for making the female form look exceptional.” I agree!

Here’s a video glimpse into her course from the Merckwaerdigh Facebook page (used with permission):

It’s a great mini course, and Margreet’s designs really are lovely!

As much as I wanted to make a second pair of panties to go with my new bra, I’ve had to work on some sewing for gifts. That second pair will have to wait.

Happy creating!

A Navy Shelley

Fall/Winter Lingerie Wardrobe.

I’m finally working on my Fall/Winter lingerie Wardrobe. First up is a lovely navy Shelley.

Here’s the lace.

stretch-laces-6-inch-15-cm-six-inch-navy-blue-rose-stretch-lace-ls-60-68-from-bra-makers-supply

I saw this lace and fell in love right away. You can find it at Bra-Makers Supply (BMS) here.

Here’s my Shelley.

front

I really love how the mirrored lace has a bit of a butterfly effect because of  where the roses are.

Adjustments.

I’m so happy with this bra. It fits really well. However, I did have some changes in my size and needed to give my TNT pattern a major overhaul.

To make this fit me, I adjusted the pattern for my shape – a less pronounced Omega shape. As well I made adjustments for a flat spot, I lowered the bridge, used one size smaller cradle and adjusted the cup to fit into it. I also thinned the cradle area under the bust, and for comfort, I added a Gothic arch.

Gothic Arch.

In the past, I have nailed the Gothic arch and I’ve not quite nailed it. On this one, I was so careful, and I was checking and turning things to make sure it all looked perfect as I was going along, and it did! Then I finished the sewing and … it’s not quite perfect. Of course, no one will know but you and me. Do you see how nice and thin it is under the cups?

gothic-arch-nqp

Aesthetics.

I love this lace. However, I need to add sheer cup lining behind my lace to add support. I looked at it with black behind the lace and it lost a lot of the sheer look it has. I put white behind the lace too. Too white. I’m so thankful I have a little bit of this blush left from when I made my Heather bra. This looks perfect – like there’s nothing behind it, especially when it’s on. In this photo the cup has a black foam cup behind it, which doesn’t show up at all.

cup-lining

A few more images.

Here’s the bra from the side.

side

Here’s the bra from the back.

back

Something I will have to fix on this bra before I can wear it is a sharp spot on the hook and eye closure. When I tried it on, I got a scratch that went all along my side. Nasty. I’ll trim that off and do a satin stitch over the raw edge. No more scratches.

Next time.

The band is a touch loose on this bra. That’s odd though, because I used the band from my TNT pattern. It’s also not a big deal. I’ll just wear it on the second hook and eye setting rather than the first one. That’s something I can look at fixing for my next bra in my Winter Wardrobe.

Other colors I’m thinking about for my wardrobe are Black (a basic), Black Cherry, Brown, Red, and Fuchsia. I have a Brown kit all picked out and saved in my Wish List on BMS, but I’m thinking I should use a few of the kits I have already.

Pretty touches.

The kit I ordered from BMS only came with one bow. I never seem to remember to order more bows when I place an order. However, I love to cover the seams where the straps meet the cup too. I found this lovely navy ribbon and made a few bows for my bra. They turned out so nicely.

strap-bow

One other thing I did on this bra that I haven’t done before is leave the trim off the straps. I usually add neckline trim, but I decided to try the straps the way they’re outlined in the Shelley instructions. I like the change!

I’ve decided to treat myself and use the Jewelry Quality Metal Rings and Sliders – for this pretty navy bra I’m using Silver.

bling

Next up.

To go with my lovely new bra, I’m going to make some matching panties. I have some indigo cotton Lycra and navy lace for the waistband and leg openings. As well, I’ve left things very late, but it’s time to work on some Christmas sewing.

Happy creating!

A Dress Form Cover

One of the many projects I plan to make is a dress form cover. I love Catherine, but we’re not the same size.

This is something I’ve looked into a bit, but haven’t found that perfect solution yet. I think a lot of the dress form tutorials and classes are all great for sewing, but not perfect for bra-making. From what I’ve seen, most dress form covers result in more of a uni-boob look, which would not work at all for bras.

Here is the first one I found, which I still think is so beautiful! Mary uses the sloper she made from Suzy Furrer’s Bodice Sloper class.

completed me

This image is from Cloning Couture‘s blog post. Isn’t this professional looking? I do love this! If I decide to simply to cover my dress form for sewing clothes, I’ll do this too.

I had similar thoughts about the Craftsy class Customize Your Dress Form. This class takes you through exactly what to do, step by step. I watched this class when Craftsy had their October pass in 2015. I thought it was really great, but again, it wasn’t addressing my desire to have the bust defined. That definition is an important part of bra-fitting.

14154439

So, I kept thinking about how I could adjust my sloper so I could have that bust definition I wanted.

Let me take a side road here and show you why I haven’t been 100% happy with any solution I’ve seen yet. This is the bra dress form Beverly uses in her Craftsy classes; Naomi, of Barely Beige also has one. This dress form is called Ashley. There’s no uni-boob happening here.

sewing-bras-designer-techniques-craftsy-taught-by-beverly-johnson-beverly-feature-image

How am I supposed to be satisfied with anything less than bust definition on my dress form after seeing this?

I recently came across a blog post by Sew Chic Pattern Company. They have a three-part post called Copy your Figure: A Dress Form Tutorial.

 Laura does do a dart to give bust definition, but I’m still thinking it won’t give me as much definition as I’m wanting.

bust-dart

Here’s a photo from her blog. This is getting closer.

I know from making my own sloper that mine doesn’t give enough bust definition the way it is now.

moulage done

Here’s the one I made. There’s a small dart there on the sloper, but…

So what I’m thinking is do some draping with fabric to see what size of darts I’d need, where I’d need them, how many darts I’d need. I might need to play with it a bit, but I think it can be done.

Has anyone made a dress form cover with more bust definition? What did you do? How did it turn out?

Happy Thanksgiving & happy creating!

Using My Sample Packs

Something I’ve had for a while now are the Sample Packs from Bra-Makers Supply. When I first ordered them, I was more excited about them than the rest of my order. I could see all the colors of Duoplex at one time, in one place. The same for the Power Net. Only a bra-making geek would be excited about this. There’s a link in the photo if you too want your own sample pack. (No affiliation with Bra-Makers Supply – just love.)

swatch-pack-duoplex

That’s the photo from the BMS website. Here’s my own Duoplex Sample Pack.

bms-sample

Here are all my samples:

all-samples

These are the Duoplex, the Regular Power Net, The Cotton Lycra and Tricot Samplers. They really are such fun and very useful. You can find a full listing of all the Sample Packs Bra-Makers Supply carries here.

In the past I’ve show you how I’ve used them. When I purchase a lace or other bra-related material, out come my samples right away to see what I can use to match my purchase.

Here’s a recent one. Merckwaerdigh‘s Etsy shop had a gorgeous Devore Cotton knit bra kit. I’ve learned to not even think about these things. She only ever has one of these treasures, so scoop it up quickly.

devore-cotton-lace

These two photos showing the Devore Cotton are both from Merckwaerdigh’s store.

devore-cotton

Isn’t that pretty? Devore Cotton is also more commonly known as Burnout Knit. Devore Cotton sounds so much more exotic.

However, I know from experience, I need a little more support than this kit will provide. That’s where my Sample Packs come in.

Here are a few of my Duoplex options.

Here’s the Devore Cotton and Light Beige:

dc-and-light-beige

In this photo that looks like a pretty good match, but in person the Duoplex is a little bit lighter than the beige in the cotton.

Here’s the DC with Dark Beige:

dc-and-dark-beige

Hmm. This still isn’t what I’m envisioning. But the beiges are a good match.

Here’s the DC and Platinum:

dc-and-grey

This  was what I was thinking for the kit. I do like this one. The greys are not the same, the BMS one is a little lighter than the one in the DC, but I might be leaning towards this one. I’ve been wanting to make a Platinum bra.

And the DC and Black:

dc-and-black

I think the black makes the DC look washed out, which is definitely not a look I want!

I think I’m going to go with a platinum band and use Sheer Cup lining behind the DC.

Do you have any of the BMS Sample Packs? Do you love them too? Do you have a favorite? What would you use behind the Devore Cotton? Duoplex or Sheer Cup Lining?

Happy Creating!