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!

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 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.

Another Two Canada Bags

My Canada 150 bag made a bit of an impression. In fact, my original bag is now residing in California, USA with a Canadian woman. I think everyone will know she’s a Canadian now.

I’m going to be making another one for myself soon – it’s all cut out on my cutting table.

However, before I got to sewing my own, I had a special request from my son’s girlfriend. She has some really dear friends in Colombia who just happen to love her, her family, Canada, and all things Canadian. Could I please make two more bags? I couldn’t refuse.

Canada Bag Version Two

I don’t like doing the same thing twice, so I wanted to mix things up a bit. These bags may all be similar, but each is unique. That was just what Em wanted for her friends too.

Here’s the front of Version Two:

I’m still using the Emmaline Bags’ free Miss Maggie pattern. I’ve used the Long John strap anchors, attached a bit of bling – the Handmade tag – and cut out a red leather maple leaf.  Since this bag has the Long John strap anchors, I decided to reduce the size of the maple leaf by 20%. This bag also has the side snaps to bring it in and give it a defined shape, a magnetic snap closure and bag feet.

Here’s the back of the bag. It has a divided slip pocket going across the back of the bag, and some fun Canadian quiz material.

The inside of the bag is the same for both bags. Off white material with red maple leafs, and a slip pocket.

I used the lining material to make the straps as well. I just couldn’t resist those maple leafs! Em told me these women are Colombian and like lots  of color and bright things, so that helped me decide to make one set of straps brighter.

Canada Bag Version Three

Here’s the third Canadian Miss Maggie from the front:

  I really like this one! For this bag, I wanted it to look different so I used the pattern instructions to add a seam in the front, and used that to feature both of the materials I was using. I also added a red leather maple leaf at 100%, a brass Sewn label, the Diamond strap anchors, added a magnetic snap closure, and bag feet.

I made a mistake attaching these anchors. I didn’t know it, but I was coming down with a doozy of a summer cold. So what did I do? I placed the pattern piece upside down when I was marking where the anchors were to go! As a result, I struggled a bit to get them in, and then really had to fight to top stitch around them. I’m not thrilled. However, they’re in the bag, and there’s no moving them.

Here’s the back of Version Three.

You can see on the sides, I’ve added the snaps to the side of this bag as well, but have left them unsnapped. I want the bags to both have their own unique look when they arrive at their destination.

 I hope they’re both loved and cherished.

Along with a fourth Canada 150 bag, I’m back to drafting again this week. I’m really looking forward to it.

Happy creating!

Two More Agnes Dresses

Last summer I bought some gorgeous floral material to make my favorite Flirt Skirt to wear this summer. I still haven’t done that. I have, however, made two  more dresses from the hallå agnes swing top & dress pattern.

This first material has the design as the red top I made, but in blues and I made it as a dress. Here’s the front: 

This dress comes together really quickly with serged seams, and serging used to attach the neckline and armbands.

I had thought I’d change how I attached these bands, but decided to make another change I’ll tell you about below.

Here’s the side view: 

 Here’s the red top just as a reminder to see the print on it.

I know my hubby loves blue on me, so I think this blue dress will be his favorite.

This forth agnes is a dress too, in black, white, with little bits of yellow. 

The yellow isn’t very visible in the photo, so here’s a close up:

I think four agneses is a good place to stop for now. I really do love this pattern, and am living in this dress this summer.

One Change

Although, I’m loving all my hallå agnes dresses and top, but there’s one little element I wasn’t loving. The seams are all serged on these dresses and the top. That’s great. The seams all looks nice and neat this way.

However,  once these were washed, I found the seams at the neckband and arms were flipping or folding in half. It wasn’t visible from the outside when I was wearing it, but I could see it when I was putting the garment on. I didn’t like it.

Here you can see how the seam has folded up:

My fix for this was to use my coverstitch machine. It worked beautifully too. I’ve finished all my dresses this way now, and no more flipping or folding seams.

One of the things I did to help line up the stitching was to use the markings on the presser foot. That first grove was my guideline. It worked out really well.

Drafting Again

My new wires are here and it’s time to start drafting again! I’ve done a few drafts now, and that’s led to a couple of questions. I’m one or two answers away from drafting, what I hope is, my perfect bra pattern.

Happy creating!

Hallå Agnes in Jasper

My hallå agnes swing top & dress took a little overnight trip to Jasper with me and my hubby.

I loved taking both my swing top and my first finished swing dress on a short trip. Both being made from cotton Lycra, they were cool to wear, and were great for traveling.

The View

Seeing as we were in the mountains, it was more of a challenge to get a photo of me, when all we wanted to take photos of were the mountains.

Here’s a couple of photos of the view we had out our kitchen window:

Sitting at the kitchen table looking ahead there are mountains. They’re in the distance, but they’re there.

Then just turning my head to the right a little. More mountains.

Sheer bliss!

Here’s the view from our balcony without any windows or blinds in the way:

 There were mountains on all sides of us, but there were also trees. So some of our view was blocked, but we were still immensely enjoying being surrounded by nature.

Agnes Swing Top

 Being in such an idyllic environment, I had to take a few photos of my agnes swing top and dress.

This is the top. It’s so comfortable. But my top and I are simply the forefront to one of the most majestic views imaginable. Oh, I love the Rocky Mountains!

We weren’t quite in Jasper yet, but had our pup with us, so had to stop for a break on the way there.

My hubby decided he wanted a selfie with those gorgeous mountains in the background. I decided to peek over his shoulder.

 Agnes Swing Dress

   You know, I thought I really loved the agnes swing top and thought that would be my favorite. But after making a top and dress, I really really love the agnes swing dress.

I live in skirts during summer, but I think I’ll be living in the agnes all summer this year. I really love this pattern.

There are two more cut out that need to be sewn. I think there’s no time like the present.

Happy creating!

Michael Men’s Underwear

More Birthday Sewing

I had some other sewing plans for my son’s birthday besides the robe. I made him two more pair of the Michael boxers from Pin-up Girls’ Men’s Underwear Pattern.

The feedback from my son, who is an avid SAXX wearer is these are good, and he wears them.

To make up these boxers, I bought two bamboo kits like the ones shown above from Bra-Makers Supply (BMS). The last time I just used cotton Lycra from my stash. His news ones will be a lot more neutral in color. A nice gray with plush black elastic, and a navy with plush black elastic. I think he’ll enjoy both.

Here’s the last pair I made. (Definitely not neutral.) He also didn’t like the elastic I used for this pair (not from BMS).

Although the kits from BMS say they are bamboo, the material in the two kits was different. The gray heather is firmer, and doesn’t have the same hand as the navy; it was also easier to sew.

I should clarify that last comment. The underwear isn’t difficult to sew at all. I’d simply misplaced my washout tape and the waistband was a little more tricky than usual.

 Here’s the navy pair with his robe.

And here’s the gray pair with his robe.

My son will be well covered with new briefs and a robe.

Here are both pair of the Michael boxers.

 There. All the birthday gifts are sewn. I still have a bralette to sew, but after the robe and boxers, I think I’ll really enjoy it. Then some selfish sewing!

Final Thoughts

 My son loves them both! He’s worn them both already too. He does say they are not the same as SAXX, but hey, he’s wearing them. He also likes the plush elastic that Bra-Makers Supply sells much better than the elastic I sourced locally.

Happy creating and Happy Canada Day!