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!

Pattern Preferences

I’ve had a number of people ask me which I prefer, the Sewy Rebecca or the Pin-Up Girls Shelley. The Rebecca was published before the Shelley. I had also sewn the Rebecca pattern a couple of times before the Shelley pattern even came out, so was used to that pattern before I even tried the Shelley.

In fact, it was the Rebecca pattern I made for the Sew-Along hosted by Amy of Cloth Habit. It was during that time – when the Sew-Along was happening – that news of the Shelley pattern came out. I loved the Pin-Up Girls Classic pattern, and have both of Beverly’s Bra-Making Manuals, so was excited about a new pattern from her.

Over the years, I’ve had people email me and ask me which bra I prefer. And honestly, I had a hard time deciding which bra I did prefer.

The Sewy Rebecca pattern consists of a three-part cup: the upper cup, lower cup and power bar. This photo of the Rebecca pattern is taken from the Sewy website.

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The Pin-Up Girls Shelley is a four-part cup consisting of the upper cup, split lower cup, and power bar. This photo of the Shelley pattern is from the Bra-Makers Supply website.

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The two bras really are similar in design. One big difference is the Sewy Rebecca is fully lined inside the cup, and that really makes it look so professionally finished on the inside – something I love.

However, I’ve made a couple of Shelley bras now and lined them on the inside making them look as professionally finished as the Rebecca always does.

My most recent bra that I made was a Pink and Ivory Rebecca and while wearing it, I realized, for my shape I prefer… the Shelley.

So, what finally made me prefer one pattern over the other? Well,…

I have read many comments on blogs, bra-sewing forums, and personal emails to me where people have expressed their thoughts on another bra – the Marlborough by Orange Lingerie.

I know sewers who love this pattern. It’s their TNT pattern that they go to every time. I haven’t personally made up the Marlborough, so can’t say anything from personal experience. One of the reasons I haven’t made it up is I’ve heard it has a shallower fit. Another reason is I’m outside the bra’s  size range. I can play around with sister sizing and grading to get the right size for me, but hearing the bra fit more shallowly has been the one factor making me hesitate to try the bra. Although I must say, I’ve seen so many beautiful examples of the Marlborough sewn up and they all look lovely. I don’t think it’s the right pattern for me.

After wearing the Rebecca, I’ve realized there’s a shallowness to the fit of it as well. Although the two patterns, Rebecca and Shelley, are very similar, they don’t fit the same on me.

The Pin-Up Girls Shelley bra pattern gives me a nice shape and lift. The Rebecca pattern does not give me the same nice shape. Even though the patterns measure pretty much the same – the cross cup seam is the same length, and the bottom cup depth is the same, the upper cup is shallower on the Rebecca. I even added 1/4″ to it, but it still just didn’t give me the shaping I want.

Happy creating!

Long Line Watson and Some Bling

I had such hopes my Watson was going to be perfect this time. The good news is my hopes aren’t completely dashed. My Watson isn’t perfect, but it’s not that far off.

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Here it was beginning to take shape. I’d made two changes. The last time I’d made it, I made the largest size, but it was a bit small in the cup, so on this one I graded the cup up and then put some gathering stitches along the seam line and aligned those gathers at the bottom of the cup where it crosses the cup seam. Those little gathers are hardly noticeable and then I didn’t have to change the cradle at all.

The other change I made was to ‘beef’ it up a bit. I lined the cups with power net. It does offer a fair amount more support than the last one.

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I have no idea why the front looks off-center like that with the foam cups in, but it doesn’t look like that without them. However, it does look a lot more deflated.

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There, all deflated with wrinkles and puckers. However, the center front isn’t off. It now looks fine.

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Here in the side view, you can see it gapes open a bit where the cup meets the cradle. It does that when it’s on me too, so I may need to shorten the underarm length on the pattern there. However, the more exciting part of this photo, which I don’t know that you can see there is really is more support to the cups with the power net added. It does give them more of a firm shape.

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I didn’t do anything different on the back. In fact, I was a bit lazy. I often do the elastic along the band separate from the straps, but they’re all one this time. I also used band elastic again. I have it on hand, so used what I had. Especially as this bra was still a test.

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On this side of the bra you can see where I put a pin. I didn’t have any sewing pins with me in my bedroom, so just used a safety-pin to know how much I’ll want to remove from the pattern. That’s an three-quarters of an inch fold there, so a fair bit to remove from the pattern, but I also have to remove from my Pin-Up Girls patterns there too.

So, will I make the Watson again? Well, if I do, I won’t use the power net for the cup next time. I may try a mesh instead as it’s a bit lighter, or I’ll double up on the Lycra. The single layer of Lycra just isn’t supportive enough for my size. An inside power bar is another option I’ve thought about to add more support to the Watson.

Lastly, a dear friend had her 50th birthday this week. She wears a Medical Alert bracelet but only has the one bracelet. I asked her if she’d like a second bracelet that can inter-change with her ID tag. She loved that idea – something with bling she said. Out came the Swarovski crystals and some lovely small hematite beads. She was so happy to get some more bling. What girl doesn’t love some bling?

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Happy creating!

For My Mum

My Mum was saying she’d been watching The Shopping Channel and saw a cardigan the same as I’d made her, but in black. She said it was $150, and wanted to know if I could make one for her for less.

I can hardly imagine a little peplum cardigan costing that much, but I assured I could do it for a lot less than that. And I did. It’s an early birthday present for her. My Mum will be 89 this Spring, but I thought she might want to wear this before it warms up too much.

 It was the same McCalls pattern I’ve made a couple of times now, in fact the same style even, so I didn’t need the pattern. I also have some Ponte material.

Once again I’m revisiting McCalls 6844. I think I’ve made most of the sizes now. I had originally made a size Small for my Mum. This time she wanted a size Medium. She wants it big enough to wear things under it. So, my Mum is getting her way. I made her the size Medium – even though I seriously doubt she needs it that big.

The only other change I made this time was to use the serger. My hubby helped me re-thread it (again) and I oiled it (again). The repair man did say to oil it well, so three times is well, and it hums away now. It’s actually hummed away well enough to do a few projects with it.

So here’s my Mum’s McCalls 6844:

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I dressed it up a bit with a pretty scarf just to add a bit of color. Black on black against beige really doesn’t show much.

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I really love the shaping on this cardigan. It flatters, well, it flatters me and my Mum and we’re pretty different when it comes to our shapes. She’s always been very thin-hipped, and I’ve been curvy for as long as I can remember. This cardigan flatters both of our shapes.

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Even the back has a nice shape to it.

I loved having the serger working and making such quick work of this. Every time I’ve sewn it before I not only double-stitched it – where I’d sewn the regular seam and then a second one 1/4″ away from the seam allowance. Then I did a zigzag over the trimmed edge. That was a lot of work. Serging my way through this project made it seem super quick and easy.

One last comment. I made the size Large last time I made this for me and it fits me loosely, which is what I wanted. However, I’ve wondered about making myself a more fitted version as the envelope photo shows a more fitted cardigan.

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So I thought before I send this off to my Mum, I’d give it a quick try on to see what changes I might want to make to a size Medium. And I did try it on, but I didn’t get a photo of me in it! I had another parcel going to the post off that day, and wanted to get them both sent off. Let me just fill you in here on my thoughts.

The first material I used had a lot of stretch to it, and if using a knit like that, I could easily go with the size Medium. However, the Ponte doesn’t have as much stretch and it felt snug in a few places like the arms and across the bust and hips. I could probably make the Medium/Large cross if using Ponte.

Did you notice I have a new badge on my blog? Amy, from Cloth Habit is starting another bra sew-along – and it starts today! I can’t wait. I had so much fun on the last one she did.

Happy creating!

My First Watson

The Watson bra pattern from Cloth Habit is showing up all over the place on blogs. And it is an adorable pattern. I also seem to have an addiction to bras and bra patterns, so I had to try it. I also think Amy (of Cloth Habit) is wonderful. I admire her sewing, and participated in her bra sew along two years ago (can it really be two years ago already?). So when Amy said she was releasing a pattern, I wanted to try it.

The Watson bra pattern isn’t something I’d tend to think about for me. I need support, and this isn’t a support bra. However, it was too adorable for me not to try, and I do wear leisure bras around the home from time to time. The other aspect that was making me hesitant was the material used for the Watson. I usually use duoplex and power net. When I do use Lycra, it over those other very supportive materials.

An interesting aside to this is last year I’d read about a French lingerie company and how they didn’t make structured bras, only soft cupped bras. Their philosophy was a woman’s natural shape was the most attractive shape. I dismissed it at the time thinking that definitely wasn’t for me, but I notice more and more soft cupped bras are appearing in both RTW and patterns. Amy may be right on trend with this.

Here’s my Watson:

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I really love this. but it’s not perfect. This was one of those projects where I had to fight over ever step.

I chose some fabric I had left over from a Merckwaerdigh kit I bought a few years ago. I made a bra from this too, but it just seemed too much of something. I don’t know if it was too much pink, or what, but I didn’t wear it. You can see it here. The Watson in this material? I love it.

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Here’s the side view. I put my oft-used foam cups in to fill the bra out. I really do love this material for the Watson.

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And the back view.

It really is an adorable bra. I do think I’ll try the longline version next.

There’s a little fabric left after making this, and a fair amount of the bright pink lace. I’m thinking of making Merckwaerdigh’s E-SH20 panties, View A.

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I think that will make a really cute set.

Do any of you follow Erin from The Sewing and Life Adventures of Emerald Erin? Erin has set a sewing challenge for herself – a bra a week! She said for a year, but then amended that the first three month of 2015. She is also open to having others bra makers send their photos to her and she’ll post them along with her own. That just sounds fun! You can check out her blog for all the information, and here’s the email to send your own bras to her: bra.a.week@gmail.com

One last comment; I had a phone call from my Mum. She wants another cardigan. She saw something on the Shopping Channel that looked the same, but cost $150. So now she wants one in black. She also wants a size bigger, which I question, but I’ll make it for her. I was planning another McCalls 6844 for me, so I guess two more are on my sewing list.

Happy creating!

Will It Ever Stop Snowing? And Other Greats!

I saw a cute video by Rick Mercer, a Canadian comedian, which depicts how I feel so well:

Yes, that is the sad state many Canadians are in right now. We’re just hoping for warmer weather, and … well, it’s snowing right now. Sigh. So much for the calendar saying Spring.

I’ll happily stay indoors today and work on my pattern, right? Sigh, the pattern. Okay, I’m going to focus on the positives and deal with the challenges next.

I got the short wires from Bra Makers Supply. I’m was hoping for the same length on the side, and shorter at the front to accommodate the lower bridge. Great! But nope, those didn’t work the way I wanted them to – too short on the side. I think I still want the Vertical wires, I’ll follow Amy’s suggestions on her blog (Cloth Habit) for shortening them.

With newly shortened Vertical wires in hand, I got out my Bra Makers Manual and drew a new bridge & cradle for these new wires. Another great! But, I’m not done with this topic yet. More to follow…

Then I decided to make sure my custom bridge really was the best fit I could get. An article from Threads that talks about making a Duct Tape Sloper was my inspiration. I decided to follow the same principle and use multiple layers of tape to make a ‘sloper’ for my bridge. That worked well too. And then I checked it against the custom bridge I’d made. It is almost exactly the same as what I’d done when I followed the instructions in Norma’s book, Demystifying Bra Fitting and Construction. So I have my correct bridge shape. Great!

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Here’s my little tape sloper. I didn’t continue the sloper past the marker – that wasn’t the problem area, so I focused on the middle of the bridge. The rest of the wire was fitting fine. But that area…

Well, a picture is worth a thousand words, so here is the difference between my little tape sloper and the newly drafted cradle pattern. Yes, there is a problem.

cradle issue

Do you see that area at the front of the cradle where the bridge is? It’s nice and round. I don’t match. So, what to do about that?

I have asked that question before, and didn’t get an answer that was satisfactory. I was told by one person there was nothing to be done about that. But that’s an important very supportive area, and it does need to fit. So, I re-drew the cradle with the custom bridge in place of the bridge here.

Back to those shortened wires. Oh my! I will tell you, shortening them is not a problem. However, covering that rough edge is! I read Amy post, and decided to follow her suggestions for using Plasti-Dip. There was no variety of colors, in fact I had my choice of red or black. That was it.

So with red Plasti-Dip in hand, I came home and dipped my newly cut and filed wires. I let them dry overnight even. They looked great! And then came that magical moment when I went to insert them into the bra channel. I should have taken a picture… I inserted the newly rubberized end of the wire into the channel and pushed, and pushed and pushed. Then I did what I’m sure 99% of married women do when they can’t do something physically — I called my husband. ‘Honey can you help me?’ He pushed and pushed. And then looked at me and said that’s not going anywhere.

It seems Plasti-Dip is a rubber coating. Rubbery is not what I was expecting. I’ve been to every hardware store in 3 towns and no one has anything other than the rubber coating-type Plasti-Dip. Well, that didn’t work.

I have read about others using Goop, but I don’t think that is a preferred method. I bought some heat-shrink tubing and will try that. I’ve said this before, and it’s still true… I’m close.

Happy Creating!

The Shelley – without Seam Allowance

I still have a hard time believing I did this. I actually worked on the pattern, making sure the underarm area was shortened, and the allowance was made in the pattern for the Omega shape – but I forgot to add a seam allowance to the pattern! And it all went together so nicely that I didn’t notice until I tried it on!

All that upset aside, it turned out very well and looks so pretty.

Shelley Bra Full Band Beige Omega Design Front View

Here is the Shelley from the front. I love the lace I used here. All the materials are from Bra-Makers Supply. I decided to do something a little different with the lace and used a little flower I cut out to cover the front seam on the band where it joins to the bridge. I applied it before sewing in the cups or sewing the elastic to the lower edge. I was quite pleased with that little detail.

Shelley Bra Full Band Beige Omega Design Side View

Here is the side view. Do you notice, there are no little gathers at the bottom of the cup? I made some alterations to the pattern and I am so happy with them. I actually took it in at the corners on the bottom so it would fit into the cup perfectly and it did! So, that means no more darts or ‘easing’ the cup into a smaller opening.

Something I’d been wondering – and I’d need someone who has much more technical experience with pattern drafting to let me know if I’m correct or not – if I’m using a D for my wire size, then is the D cup pattern the correct size for the base of my pattern. I’m dealing with two different sizes, so I was just wondering.

My wondering led me to check. and I pulled out the D pattern and compared the pattern I’d made and it fit. So, now I’m thinking I could [possibly] make my patterns by starting with a D and then graduating it up to the F cup I need. Hmm, some more playing with patterns is ahead.

Shelley Bra Full Band Beige Omega Design Back View

And this is the back. I’m very happy with it as well. I based this on a Prima Donna bra I had and took apart to clone. I haven’t done that yet, but did decide to copy the back. I will need to make my fabric straps longer if I do this again. There was no ‘extra’ in that strap.

As well, the hooks are a little wonky (is that a word?). I’ve been having a bit of trouble with my zigzag handling the fabrics for lingerie. I’ve spoken someone in the education department of Elna (my sewing machine brand). They suggested using a walking foot to help with that. I haven’t tried that yet though. I had a few problems with the stitches bunching up on this bra in a few places. I wonder if anyone else is having the same problems?

Even though I left out the seam allowance when I made this, and the cups aren’t quite deep enough as a result, I’m still very happy with this bra. I now have my pattern with adjusted seam allowances, and am ready to sew it again.

Before I do, I’m planning on joining Amy on her Bra-Making Sew Along.

Happy creating!