A Review of Craftsy’s Sew Better, Sew Faster: Garment Industry Secrets

It’s time for my Craftsy class review again.

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This month, I’m reviewing Sew Better, Sew Faster: Garment Industry Secrets with Janet Pray.

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Marsha and Naomi couldn’t join me for this review. Unfortunately, I don’t know when they’ll be able to join me again right now. We’re all still good together, just all busy working on different projects.

Basic Information on the Class.

Janet’s class has quite a few reviews compared to the last class I reviewed. This one has 170 reviewers, and only a couple didn’t completely love the class and give it Five-stars. It has a 4.8 rating. That’s still really good. That’s a lot of love.

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Here’s the Lesson outline.

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My First Thoughts.

I’ve watched through the class. I bought the class in mid-December and it’s now mid-February and I only received the pattern two day ago. I contacted Janet’s company, Islander Sewing Systems and they sent a second pattern. Unfortunately, as a reviewer, I can only share my thoughts after watching. I can’t give an opinion on the pattern or pattern instructions because there just wasn’t time to even begin a project.

No Pins.

 Janet emphasizes that no pins are used in making the class project. I know she’s not alone in her no-pins philosophy. However, I had a neck/arm injury years ago and although I’ve recovered quite a bit, I’m not where I was before the injury. No pins and using my hands more isn’t a selling point for me.

I did try the no-pins a little though. I tried it on the Raspberry Ripple handbag I was sewing. Yup. I tried it. Then I ripped the seam out again because I only caught part of the fabric underneath. Then I pinned it the second time. So, if you have any reasons of your own why you need to use pins, then follow your own wisdom.

I will say though, after watching how Janet does her no-pins on a long straight stretch of fabric, if you don’t have any hand/arm issues, try it! It does look simple, easy and very efficient.

 Helpful Class Features

Something I’m finding very helpful in Janet’s class is after explaining each part of the jacket construction, she shows you exactly which pieces you’re working on.

Here’s a screen shot from the class showing the pattern pieces that were pressed at this stage of construction.

That is such a helpful part of the class. I haven’t seen this done in any other classes.

Panties

This class is all about techniques used while constructing a jacket. I’m sure you’re all wondering how panties fit in with this.

Well, when Janet is showing us how she does the inside shoulders on the jacket, I’m thinking panty construction. She gets things twisted around so the seam is enclosed once it’s sewn. It’s the same as when we’re using the burrito method for our panties. Just take a look at how twisted the material is for sewing this seam. I love it! I definitely want a few pins though.

This sewing method also produces a great finish that is just as neat as the burrito method is on panties.

More Burritos

 Imagine my surprise when just a little later in the class, Janet is demonstrating The Burrito Technique! She tells us ‘we will know it’s a burrito because of the filling. If we don’t have any filling, it’s just a tortilla.’ It makes more sense when you see it, but it is another great technique to make a really nicely finished garment.

Here’s the photo showing everything all nicely encased in the cuff using The Burrito Technique.

Personal Recommendation

So, do I recommend this class? Even though I wasn’t able to sew along and make the jacket, I do recommend this class. I think Janet really knows her stuff and I learned a lot of great tips and tricks watching her class. Some of them I will incorporate, and some of them I will not. I’m mainly thinking of the no-pins.

Other than that one point where I have personal reasons for not following Janet’s tips, all of her tips were great! The jacket she makes is lovely too.

Happy creating!

A Review of Craftsy’s Vietnamese Classics: Pho, Noodles & Beyond

It’s time for my monthly Craftsy class review. If you missed our first review of Design & Sew an A-Line Skirt, you can read it here.

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Marsha and I agreed, with Christmas, holidays, and the New Year being such a busy season, we’d be a little easier on ourselves and review a cooking class this month.

A friend of mine had this class before I did and I heard so many great things about it from her, I had to buy it too. I was not disappointed. (Thanks, Naomi!)

 What is this great class? It’s Vietnamese Classics: Pho, Noodles & Beyond with Andrea Nguyen.

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Great reviews.

This class has 35 reviews, which isn’t a lot, but… of those 35 reviews, only one review wasn’t a Five-Star review. That one was a Four-star.

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There are so many reviews that say ‘Love this class’. I love it too. If you read my last review, I had a little trouble with my feelings towards the class. I have no trouble at all with this class! I not only bought this class, but also Andrea’s Favorite Asian Dumplings from ScratchI didn’t even think about it.

A personal comment.

Just a personal comment here. Andrea really has to be great because I can’t have gluten and I bought her dumpling class! I will share more on that when I review the class.

Class content.

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There are a number of lessons in this class I was thrilled to try, starting with lesson One. I love Rice Paper Rolls, and Andrea shows how to make them, and make them so they present well too.

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Aren’t these lovely? This is a screen shot from the class. Mine didn’t look that nice, but no one here was complaining about them. They were delicious!

Andrea shows us how to make these, with tips on displaying the shrimp and making the rolls look pretty and delicious. It’s little touches like this, that make this class great. As well, Andrea is so engaging.

Pho, Pho, and more Pho.

From the Rice Paper Rolls, Andrea takes us right into making Pho. In fact, she shows us Pho four ways. We start with a shortcut Chicken Pho, which I haven’t tried yet, but have heard it’s really good. Then right on to full traditional Chicken Pho, Beef Pho, and Grilled Pork Rice Noodle bowl.

Last month in our teaser posts, Marsha and I each made one of the Pho recipes. You can read Marsha’s recipe review here. You can read mine here.

For my recipe review, I made rice paper rolls and traditional Beef Pho. All I can say is my house smelled so good! And there were no leftovers. My family was delighted with the recipes I tried.

Recommendations

So, would I recommend this class? Yes! I have no hesitation in recommending this class. It’s really great. From the lessons, to the recipes, to how engaging Andrea is, in my opinion this class is one of the best classes Craftsy has to offer and I’d love to see more classes with Andrea!

For a frame of reference, I previewed almost every cooking class Craftsy offered in October 2015 when they had a monthly pass. There are a lot of good cooking classes, and really good recipes, but I can’t say all the instructors are as engaging as Andrea.

I’m going to head over to Marsha’s post now to read her review. Let me know if you have this class and have a favorite recipe too. Of if you don’t have this class, what is your favorite cooking class on Craftsy?

Happy creating!

2017: The Year of Finishing Things

I don’t make many resolutions, but as I began my sewing year this year with messes all around me, I made one. I’ve decided that this year I’m going to finish a lot of the unfinished projects that are all around me.

Let me give you a few examples of what I’m going to work on.

Footstool

Our footstool is often used and looked like it. The top had split along all four seams, and my wonderful hubby suggests I make a new cover for it.

I got as far as cutting the old top off.

Then after another month or more, I tried some material on it to see how it would look.

I even cut out material to make a band all around it. All I have to do is sew it. Yet it sits there, with half my pins in it.

It’s been sitting there for two or more months just waiting for me. Part of the problem for that is I’m not 100% sure just how I want to finish it. The other part of the problem is I want fresh and new projects all the time.

Purses

Do you remember when I’d met a sewing friend a year or so ago? She had made her own handbag, and I complimented her on it. She also gave me three handbags that she’d cut out and interfaced! All I have to do is sew them! But I haven’t yet.

They’re all cut out! And interfaced!

That is one of my UFO projects I’m going to do this year. In fact, I’m not packing them all back up and putting them all away again. I’m keeping one of them out to sew up.

Pants

More specifically, hemming pants. I have a favorite pair of pants that I love, but hate to wear because they’re too long. Every time I put them on, I thinking I’m ruining them because they need hemming. Pretty much weekly, they make it to my mending pile, only to be taken back out again.

We won’t even bother going into mending…

Enough!

Craftsy Classes

I love Craftsy, and unfortunately I have a lot of classes I haven’t watched yet. I’m changing that. Once a month, I’m going to review a Craftsy class. Since I’ll have to watch them to review them… You get my logic here. I win, and hopefully, you win too with the reviews. I’ll say here, although I am an affiliate with Craftsy, any class I review will be my honest opinion.

Let me go back to those favorite pants for a minute. And while I’m there address something else – my CoverPro machine. One of the reasons I hadn’t hemmed my pants was because I have this wonderful CoverPro machine and I wanted to use it to hem the pants. But… I didn’t know how to use it!

So I bought a Craftsy class on that. Coverstitch: Basics & Beyond. I’ve watched it, and hopefully, with my new resolve to finish some UFOs, I’ll use the class info and my machine to hem my favorite pants. I think there’s another pair of pants and a skirt in that hemming pile too. Yup, it’s time to get around to this.

So, I’m trying to plan out my sewing and blogging for the year. My goals so far are to do a class review once a month. I was thinking if I also do one UFO each month, that leaves me two weeks to play with new things, which are much more motivating for me.

So, we’re into our second week of January. Did I start? I did! I repaired a blouse I’d bought. It’s a stretch knit, with chiffon below the hem. As pretty as it looked, the chiffon had no stretch but the rest of the top did. Here’s the photo from the website. There’s a link in it too.

Well, because it didn’t stretch at all at the hips, it wasn’t fitting very well. I opened those seams and did an overlock stitch along them. There! The first of my mending pile/UFOs done. The chiffon is now vented giving me that little bit of extra room where I needed it.

Do you have a UFO pile? How about your Craftsy classes? Are you getting through them? Did you make any sewing resolutions this year? I’d love to hear!

Happy creating!

A Craftsy Review: Design & Sew an A-Line Skirt

I have a lot of Craftsy classes, and I know I’m not alone in that. In fact, I know two other bloggers who also have a lot of classes, and we’re teaming up to post monthly (we hope) reviews of the classes we’ve taken.

Reviewing along with me are Marsha of Flying by the Seam of my Pants and Naomi of Barely Beige. Marsha and I have done a few blog tours together now, so I think you’ll all recognize her. Naomi is just getting started. I hope you pop over and read both of their reviews, and please make Naomi feel welcome .

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Now, let me share with you our real motive behind our plan to do these monthly class reviews – it’s to really watch all of these wonderful classes we’ve bought, and really get the most from them; you know – do the projects, make the wonderful makes, and not just have a lovely Craftsy class collection (as wonderful as that would be on its own). Is there anyone else out there who has classes they haven’t watched yet? I’m so guilty, but don’t tell my hubby!

So, for our first review we’re covering Design & Sew an A-Line Skirt, which was one of my first Craftsy classes.

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Of all the classes I’ve taken on Craftsy, this will probably be the hardest one for me to review. The reason for that is I’d like to just say great things about this class, or any class. It’s a little harder for this class to do that. Here are my first thoughts on the class from a couple of years ago. And here are a few more thoughts from that time.

However, I like to focus on positives, so I’ll share some really good things about the class now. Let’s cover those first.

One thing I like about this class.

One of the things I really like about this class is it taught me to put in an invisible zipper for the first time. I’d avoided them until this point. A regular zipper was fine, but I had been too intimidated to even try an invisible one. Just the name itself had scared me off.

Deborah’s instructions were very clear on how to install the zipper and I had no trouble. Her instructions were great really.

Here’s an old photo showing the zipper. (Sorry for these terrible photos – I was having camera trouble back then.)

invisible zipper

That zipper is about as perfect as a zipper can get. That’s a great aspect to the class.

I made a skirt that fit.

I did finish my skirt. That’s another positive for the class. Not only did I finish the skirt, but it fit as well. Here’s another (terrible) old photo.skirt

A personal dislike.

The skirt we make in this class sits a couple of inches below the natural waist, and I don’t love that. That’s simply a style preference.

Positive reviews with cautions.

This class is rated for beginners. It has reviews from 87 people and they have given it a 4.5 out of 5 stars. That’s pretty positive. However, there are comments in those reviews questioning whether this is really a class for beginners.

Maybe not for beginners.

The reason reviewers are saying this class isn’t for beginners is this instructor wasn’t answering questions. The fact that so many don’t receive answers makes me think this class might be better suited to someone with more sewing experience.

I had the experience of not having my questions answered when I ran into a bit of trouble. With this class, I made my first sloper. I’d had no previous experience with slopers.

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Here’s a screen shot from the Craftsy class showing Deborah squaring up the pattern she’s making. This was the first area where I had trouble – ‘squaring up’.

My sloper was so curvy (like me) that squaring it was rather hard. I asked my question and didn’t receive an answer. I decided to simply move ahead even though my sloper wasn’t perfectly squared up. I did run into more trouble, and again didn’t have an answer to my question.

I contacted Craftsy about not getting answers.

Craftsy customer service.

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Have any of you had any experience in dealing with Craftsy when a problem comes up? Craftsy is great! They have phenomenal customer service, and they came through for me with my unanswered questions.

When I emailed Craftsy with my frustrations over not having my questions answered, Craftsy checked and confirmed I did in fact have unanswered questions. Then made things right for me. That made me a happier customer. I still didn’t have answers to my questions though, which left a bit of a negative feeling about the class. That’s why this class review is a bit of a struggle. I have some negative feelings about this class.

However, to be fair, there are a few really great aspects to this class. So again, let’s focus on these:

  • I drafted and made a skirt that fit me.
  • I installed my first invisible zipper (and it looks great)!
  • There are a lot of positive reviews for the class.
  • With this class you make a modern A-Line skirt.

I think if you’re a competent sewer, there would be a lot you could learn from this class. So despite a bit of a negative experience, I, along with many of the other class reviewers, will recommend this class with a caution – it’s not for beginners.

I will let you know, we decided to start with our reviews but are taking December off. We’ll pick this up again in January. So no review in December.

Happy creating!

A Little Upcycling

I love to find a new use for something. I love to go to thrift shops too. I really like a good bargain.

Here’s my latest find. It’s an old wooden spice rack that will now happily serve as a thread holder. And look at how much more room I have! The little plastic thread box I had was full. This is much better.

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How do you like my little toy dress forms? They add the perfect touch of whimsy to my thread rack.

Recently, I was inspired by reading Emerald Erin’s blog. She was going through her closet and working towards a capsule wardrobe. That is something I’ve been thinking about doing too. I have a full closet, but open the door and feel like there’s nothing in there.

After reading Erin’s post, I went through my closet. The problem was, although there were things in there I really had no problem getting rid of, there were some things in there I really did. Even though I never wore them, I loved the material. I didn’t want to get rid of them.

I set them aside. I had three piles on my bed. Pack away. Give away. I don’t want to give away.

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I was not going to put that third pile back in my closet or pack it away. Then I thought of what I could do. Upcycle!

I have Betz White’s class on Craftsy. There’s a link in the photo to take you to the class on Craftsy.

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As well, I just bought a new pattern. (ClubBMV has too many sales!)

I’m sure I can use some of this material towards something like this:

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Or maybe more like this:

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This second pattern is used in the Craftsy classes The Ultimate T-Shirt and The Artful T-Shirt. Both of these classes are by Marcy & Katherine Tilton.

In the photo for the Artful class, they show this same T-shirt with a lot more piecing.titlecard

I’m thinking there must be a way to use some of these materials I love so much and make something new.

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There’s one other thing in that hard-to-give-away pile: a silk skirt. The blue floral material? That’s silk. I’ve been holding onto it for years. I think I wore it once, maybe twice. This is going to make a few lovely bras.

Time to get cutting out. Have you upcycled anything? How did it turn out? Do you love it? Will you upcycle again? What’s your favorite thrift store find? I’d love to hear.

Happy creating!

Prizes and Discounts

The Canada Cups – Cross Your Heart Relay is all wrapped up, but that doesn’t mean the fun has stopped. Oh, no. We have more fun for you.

First, let’s see our winners!

Giveaway Winners

Are you one of the lucky 10?
  1. Lavender and Lace bra-making class from Braphoria: Reece Montgomery (Canada)
  2. Two $25 CAD store credit certificates (for you and a friend) from Bra-makers Supply: Denise Marie (USA)
  3. Exclusive pre-release Latte bra kit from The Emerald Studio: Jodi Barrington (Canada)
  4. Complete bra kit including findings, underwires, and lace from Uplift Custom Bras: Angela Smith (Canada)
  5. The Sophie Swimsuit online class, incl. PDF pattern from Closet Case Files: Yiling (USA)
  6. $50 CAD store credit from Blackbird Fabrics: Chelle (USA)
  7. $25 CAD gift card from Ann’s Fabric Shop & a PDF pattern from Jalie: Jeannie (USA)
  8. $50 CAD gift card from Central Sewing Machines: Patricia (Canada)
  9. Complete bra kit from Custom Bras: Kelly Boggs (Canada)
  10. The 10th prize is a bundle of 3 classes from Craftsy, worth more than $200 USD. Their Giveaway is still open until tonight, 11:59 PM MST. This winner will be notified directly by Craftsy.

Did you win? If not, we have a number of tour sponsors who have not only donated prizes, but have also very graciously provided discounts for us.

Just look at all these sponsors! A very BIG thank you to all of them for participating with us!

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I hope you enjoyed our tour as much as we did making it. Let me know if you win, or if you decided to make something new as a result of our tour. I’ve already heard from one woman who said she “was motivated to finish her foam cup bra and make a lace one after reading the review on the Foam, Lace & Beyond class.” That is so great to hear. Did our tour motivate you?

Happy creating!

A Review of Sewing Panties Construction & Fit

Welcome to Michelle’s Creations for the Canada Cups – Cross Your Heart Relay blog tour, 2016.

banner-improvedI hope you’re enjoying all of our makes and reviews so far. This time around, I’m reviewing Beverly Johnson’s new Panty class and so is Deb, my booty buddy, from Sprouting JubeJube. Make sure after you read my post, you hop on over to read Deb’s thoughts on the class. If you started with Deb’s review, welcome here!  I do know Deb has been really busy with all her makes and has them all here in a separate write-up than her class review.

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Don’t you love Craftsy? It really is the best. They offer online classes that never expire, and in so many different categories (sewing, cooking, gardening, painting…); the instructors they get are the best and they answer your questions; Craftsy offers kits and supplies as well. They really are great!

You’ll see in my sidebar menu, I’m an affiliate with Craftsy. I decided to do this because I can do this without any compromise. I really do think they’re great. You won’t see me stand behind everything. But Craftsy, I do.

Back to Sewing Panties Construction & Fit. I started watching. I watched the class half way through the first night. Then got up the next morning and watched the rest of it. I felt ready and confident to draft my own panties which was something I’d wondered if I could really do before the class.

Beverly assures us that drafting our own panties isn’t hard. It’s just a few simple measurements. Then she proceeds to show us just how to do it. This photo is from Craftsy showing Beverly making her master panty pattern.

She was absolutely right! It’s not hard.

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The drafting of the panty is very reminiscent of Suzy Furrer’s Sloper classes. Once we’ve drafted our pattern, Beverly moves on to show us the three basic styles of panties – Brief, Hipster, and Bikini – and how to make each one from our own master pattern.

From those three styles, Beverly shows some more variations like making your own French cut panties. There is also a style with the seams in the front. I had just been looking at the Make Bra DL21 pattern. I’d read great reviews on them and how the seams didn’t show at all. I’m going to try my hand at drafting my own!

My big question is how will my class-drafted pattern compare to my favorite pattern?

Before I made a pair up, I wanted to compare my class-drafted pattern to my favorites: Kwik Sew 2286.

Here are both back pattern pieces – the black outline is the class-drafted pattern; the white pattern piece is my 2286 pattern:

back 2

The pencil wasn’t showing up very well in the photo, so I redrew the lines in black on my computer. The class-drafted Hipster hits the center back exactly the same as my 2286s. The hip sits a bit higher on the class-drafted pair. As well, the class-drafted back is a bit wider in the hip and gives a little more cheek coverage. I had no idea my 2286s were cheeky!

I was thinking about the size difference, and remembered Beverly does suggest in the class to start with a 20% reduction when drafting the pattern. Clearly, my 2286s have more than 20% reduction, which shows even more on the front piece.

Front

Again, the front is bigger on my class-drafted pair. And the Hipster line sits a little lower. The leg opening on the front of my class-drafted pair (again, outlined in black) is definitely lower, and that would be something I’d want to change.

Gusset

The class-drafted gusset is shorter and although you can’t tell in the photo, it’s a touch narrower as well. I’d even narrowed the gusset pattern piece on my 2286s.

For my panties, I’m going to use my favorite 2286s like I often use my sloper – to help me get the fit I want. I will change the leg opening on the front, lengthen the gusset a tiny bit, and since I haven’t found my 2286s to be too small at all, I will narrow the class-drafted pattern.

It’s time for new panties! New, drafted-to-my-measurements, incorporating-all-the-aspects-of-my-favorite-pattern, and matching-my-new-bra new panties. These are not just any panties!

panties on table

Oh, I like these. I incorporated the lace application on the legs the same as my 2286s, and did a lace front panel to match my bra.

I wanted to show you a few more details. One of the things I’ve learned making my own panties is the side seam is a weak spot when you’re using lace on the front like this. So, for these panties, I used a 1/2″ strip of knit interfacing to reinforce the seam.

reinforement

As well, having a lace front isn’t quite the same without some elastic. It will often be too loose. So a little bit of lingerie elastic behind the lace is hardly visible, but makes a big difference when you’re wearing them.

Elastic behind the lace

I like everything to look as nice inside as out. I pin my lace out of the way and use my Pinking blade to trim away the excess fabric.

Pinking the edges

There’s only one more thing to add. This is one of the bows I made for my bra.

One more thing to add

Here’s my matching set.

Full set on table 2

 I love them both!

Set on Catherine 3

I loved making self-drafted panties, but that wasn’t all I made. As well as making these panties, I reviewed a pattern.

Did you see my teaser posts? I’ve had a few over the last week. They were all letting you know there was a tour coming up.

This photo is the cover of the pattern I made. Can you tell what pattern it is? I tried to make it hard.

pattern mix 2

 A little Photoshop and it’s hardly recognizable. Here’s what it really looks like:

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Yes, it’s the Pin-Up Girls Boy Short Collection.

Along with covering Beverly’s newest class, Deb from Sprouting JubeJube and I are both reviewing panty patterns, but not the same pattern. I’m reviewing the Pin-Up Girls Boy Short Collection. Although I know what pattern Deb is making, I’m not going to tell. You’ll have to go to Deb’s blog to see her pattern review and all her makes. She really did make some lovely panties, and we found out we love the same materials. Really. We have the same Cotton Lycra stash. That’s all I’m saying.

Let me show you the Boy Shorts I made.

Front of panty

 They look just like Boy Shorts, but they also looked bigger than what I usually wear.

comparison

And they are bigger. To be totally honest here, they looked HUGE to me!  It’s mostly the different shape. Boy shorts have material over the leg and what I usually wear doesn’t. Oh my! Here they are being compared to my favorite Kwik Sew 2286s. I know what size not to use so my next pair will fit.

The best part of these panties is the back. I made view 4. They really have a super cute back and I will use this feature in the future.

Back lace detail

Isn’t that a lovely detail?

I want to thank Bra-Makers Supply for providing me with the Pin-Up Girls Boy Short Collection, and Craftsy for providing me with the class Sewing Panties Construction & Fit.

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Tour Schedule Itinerary

Follow the magical tour to see what we all have under our clothes

Canada Cups Logo Draft

Saturday, September 17

bloggers

A big thank you to our wonderful bloggers. They’ve all done such a great job!

Happy creating!

An Interview: Central Sewing Machines

Welcome to another stop at Michelle’s Creations. Today, as part of our Canada Cups Cross Your Heart Relay blog tour, 2016, I’m featuring Central Sewing Machines in Edmonton, Alberta.

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Before we start our interview, did you see my post saying why I’d become a Craftsy affiliate? I think Craftsy is great!

Now, on to our feature post. You might be wondering how a sewing machine store features in bra-making/lingerie tour. Let’s find out!

Who is Muriel? Tell us a little about your new ownership venture.

We are very proud to be a brother and sister duo owning Central Sewing Machines. Our official start date was July 19, 2016. We are thrilled to be part of this new world and look forward to bringing our brand to a whole bunch of new venues. 

In fact, if you’re in the Edmonton area, tomorrow (September 17th) it’s Central Sewing Machine’s Fall Open House.

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Where is Central Sewing Machines located?

Central has two locations and classes are held in both our South and West stores. Our South store is at 8649 – 63 Avenue, and our West store is located at 10642 – 170 Street. Both in Edmonton.

 Central Sewing Machines (CSM) offers bra-making classes. Will that continue now under your new management?

Absolutely! We love the idea of offering a lot of variety and as long as our clients want to take these classes, we will continue to offer them.

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The Basic Bra-making class offered this fall.

Oh, that’s wonderful news! Any plans to expand the classes? Offer more? Or have the classes held more often? Or other lingerie classes?

Expansion of classes? Absolutely! We have set up an Education Team. This Team is looking for other types of classes we can bring to our store, along with new teachers who are interested in bringing something unique.  I cannot speak directly about other lingerie classes, but if there is a desire for this, and a teacher willing to offer this, we would love to bring these to fruition.

Mrs. Weaver? (Nudge. Nudge.)

How long do you see this trend of making our own bras/panties/lingerie continuing?

I think this trend will continue to be very strong. It is something that speaks to all ladies, ways they can personalize their own look.

bra-displayThis lovely bra is on display at the South store. Ooh, I love the bow on that bra!

How do you get the word out?

We send out email blasts on our courses. We also have a new website that we will be unveiling shortly which has all of our courses listed. You will be able to search and purchase classes online.

CSM has been offering bra-making classes for close to 20 years. In fact, the first bra-making class at Central was with our very own Fairy Bra Mother!

Yes, that’s right. Beverly Johnson was the first woman to teach bra-making classes at Central.

Beverly, when did you teach at Central Sewing Machines? For how long?

It had to have been 1999 or earlier. I talked to Bev S. (Bev still works at Central) and she wanted to book one class. I told her she should book at least two, as they would sell out. She announced it to her customers and we sold out 3 classes. The next time I was there I taught 8 classes in a row!

At that time the classes were only offered once a year. Is that right?

Yes. I was in Edmonton once a year, but it was always for multiple days at a time.

What were those early classes like?

They always put 24-25 women in a class.  Imagine 75 women on that first trip! No helper either!

classroom

Here’s the classroom where the bra magic happens. Twenty-five students would be really crowded.

That must have been a challenge to try and work with that many women at one time. The classes now have a limit and a waiting list. No more 25 women in one class.

Classes that are too big are not good for the learning process.

How long were you teaching at Central?

I taught there for four years, maybe five.

Who is there now?

Margaret started teaching there about five years ago. She is a great teacher!

Margaret Ferguson is teaching two bra-making classes this fall.  Bra Making – The Basic Bra, and Bra Making – Cup Design Styles.

It’s so great we have some local access to bra-making, and for those who aren’t local, there are bra-making classes on Craftsy!

 I would like to thank Muriel from Central Sewing Machines, and Beverly Johnson, from Bra-Makers Supply, for taking the time to allow me to interview them.

Have you (my readers) taken bra-making classes? The Craftsy classes count.

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Tour Schedule Itinerary

Follow the magical tour to see what we all have under our clothes

Canada Cups Logo Draft

Friday, September 16

bloggers

Thank you to our wonderful bloggers for making this such a great tour!

An Interview: Mrs. Weaver’s Finest Unmentionables

Welcome to something a little different on my blog. As part of our Canada Cups Cross Your Heart Relay blog tour, 2016, I’m interviewing a Professional Bra-Maker.

picmonkey-image-banner-2016Did you see my post the other day when I said why I’d become an affiliate with Craftsy… I really do think Craftsy is great.

Today,  my post is featuring Mrs. Weaver of Mrs. Weaver’s Finest Unmentionables. I think you’re going to love this personal look into the life of Mrs. Weaver.

Who is Mrs. Weaver?

Mrs. Weaver is actually the married name of Karin Triel, a small Dutch woman married to a tall Canadian man. A bra-maker, teacher, independent designer and corset-maker in Calgary.

When did you start in the bra-making business? And when will you (shudder!) quit?

I’ve been working in Canada ever since the lovely folks at immigration gave me my work permit, which is around 15 months ago. As for quitting, I’ve never thought about that…yet!

That’s good news, Mrs. Weaver! What made you choose Canada?

 Lol, I married a big, handsome Canadian who brought me here. He promised me it wouldn’t be too cold…

How did you get involved in bra-making?

When I was 13, I already had an E cup.There was nothing pretty to fit and would end up with ugly beige bras. I would sabotage them until they broke, forcing my parents to buy me another (which inevitably turned out to be equally ugly). It wasn’t quite bra-making, but it was bra-breaking. One thing led to another, and the rest is history!

When did you make your first bra?

I probably had my first go at it in my early 20s – as part of a bikini. It wasn’t terribly successful. I had many years of tinkering and messing about with patterns. Later, I finally got the opportunity to train with Beverly Johnson and that’s when the magic really started to happen.

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Mrs. Weaver’s Thermal Valentine. View her original post here.

Do you teach?

I teach classes in-person in Calgary. I am teaching Professional Classes and have just launched an online class for those women who can’t get to Calgary. Everyone from total bra beginners to seasoned sewists, from Saskatoon to Sao Paolo is welcome. It’s so exciting to help start people on their own bra-making adventure! I also make custom bras for women who can’t find comfort, fit and pretty in ready-to-wear – every woman deserves those things from a bra! Making them yourself is the best way to achieve this.

Before I move on… did you catch that? Mrs. Weaver has just launched an online school!Braphoria-Home-Header

What are your future goals?

There are lots! I want as many women as possible to discover the joy of a well-fitting bra or corset. I hope to teach more, grow the number of professional bra-makers currently working with me, expand my online classes and take LOTS of fabulous women with me on the European Tour in March of 2017. Basically, I want every woman to know they have options, can learn the skills and can have gorgeous lingerie – regardless of their fitting challenges.

There’s another big announcement right there! The European Tour in March. I hope you’re checking Mrs. Weaver’s blog for all these very exciting happenings.

Tell us more about where you see your business going?

I see my business continuing to expand, with the Braphoria Online School offering more classes and learning for those who can’t get to Calgary. In-person classes are definitely the best, but online offers such  great opportunity to let more women continue in their bra-making adventures.

What are your businesses plans locally? Nationally? Globally?

Locally: I plan to continue to expand in-person teaching offerings and add more professional bra-makers to the Mrs. Weaver family to provide gorgeous custom unmentionables.

Nationally: I plan to travel more and teach across Canada; I have a lecture scheduled on Great Bra Fit at the Creative Stitches Expo in Calgary (September 23-24, 2016); as well I will be an exhibitor at the Love to Sew Expo in BC in November.

Globally: I plan to take women on my European Lingerie Tour in March of 2017 where as well as workshops with me and Beverly Johnson, I’ve arranged for world-class seminars and workshops at the London College of Fashion, and a specialty class in latex in Amsterdam; I also plan to travel back to Europe and Australia for Custom and Teaching work, and to set up distribution for my kits in other countries – to reduce postal charges for my customers.

trip-map

All of that sounds amazing! You can read more about the tour here. And I’m sure customers overseas are thrilled to hear there will be purchasing options closer than Canada.

Mrs. Weaver, what do you absolutely love about the business?

I love the look on a woman’s face when she realizes beauty and comfort aren’t just for ‘other people’. The opportunity to make her feel good about herself, to feel beautiful.

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Here’s a glimpse into Mrs. Weaver’s Parlour where her clients begin to experience that feeling of being beautiful. You can read more here.

What do you despise?

Nothing really, although it’s always very sad when women come in apologizing for their bodies with statements like ‘this is probably the worst you’ve seen’ , or ‘I hate my boobs’. Negative body image is desperately sad especially when all women and all bodies are intrinsically beautiful.

Well said, Mrs. Weaver! Do you see any lack?

I think there is a lack of understanding among women that options like sewing your own lingerie, or custom-made lingerie are available to them. Most women believe ugly, uncomfortable or ill-fitting lingerie is simply their lot in life and it’s not true. We wouldn’t wear a pair of shoes that hurt our feet or caused blisters, yet we’ll accept a bra that pokes us, straps that fall off our shoulders, or bands that roll up – that’s just crazy.

What trends have you seen?

Bralettes are big right now, that’s definitely a trend. I’m also seeing women wanting more luxurious materials and less moulded cup bras. 

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Speaking of more luxurious materials, here’s one of the kits available from Mrs. Weaver’s new store.

What is the difference between RTW and custom-made?

The biggest difference is custom-made is made just for you and your unique curves. We’re not putting a square peg into a round hole, instead we are designing the garment to work with your body. Most women find comfort is the biggest factor, with many stating it almost feels as though they aren’t wearing anything!  

What about the difference between custom-made and self-made using a pattern?

Self-made using a pattern is a big step up from ready-to-wear and is a great starting point. However, if your own breast shape is different from the shape used for the pattern (or you don’t like the style) you’ll be faced with alterations which can be tricky to master. You’ll also not have the skills required to create a whole range of bras. Every time  you make a different pattern, you’ll have the same learning curve as before – with alterations being almost inevitable.

With a custom bra, a professional bra-maker assesses fit and makes all the alterations before designing a style to address all your wishes. If you have very specific fitting challenges such as a significant size difference between your left and right breast, or mastectomy/lumpectomy a custom bra can be a faster way to a great fit. Some professional bra-makers like myself provide a custom drafting service for home sewists to help you resolve your fitting challenges more quickly.

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Here’s another example of stunning luxurious material.

What is the difference between the ever-growing number of patterns out there?

There are some great patterns out there! The thing to remember is every pattern is based on one person’s body and that body is unlikely to be the same as yours. Some patterns are better for a smaller bust, others for a fuller bust; some work better for women who are still self-supporting while others will better support a bust that’s no longer very firm. Do your research before you buy – find reviews, establish what type of bust the patterns are best for.

Why did you decide to do online classes instead of another pattern?

With every new pattern you’re potentially back to square one. With my online class, you learn how to change your existing pattern into something new. As long as your existing pattern fits well, you can transform it into so much more!

That concept makes so much sense to me. Thank you! Where can we buy your kits and classes?

You can find them at www.braphoria.com or via www.mrsweaversfinest.com .

Can you tell us why you think bra-making has become so popular now?

I think it’s because in a time when the media is trying to tell us we all need to be the same, the subversive, rebellious, stubbornly individual hearts of women have decided that ‘I don’t need to be the same, I just need to be me’. 

How long do you see this trend of making our own bra/panties/lingerie continuing?

I think it will only continue to grow – as long as women have access to patterns, classes and supplies, there will be interest. 

I know I’m so happy with this trend of making our own lingerie and hope it stays around for a very, very long time.

How do you reach your target market?

I use Facebook, my blog, newsletters, and personal interaction.

Do you use technology?

I’m rarely too far from my laptop. However, for my drafting, the only technology I use is a pencil, a ruler, and a set of compasses. My grandfather was a draftsman, he once said you could ‘feel’ what you were drawing with a pencil much better than with a computer.

How do you get the word out?

Word of mouth mostly, although social media, my website and newsletters are really good. Being featured in Vogue earlier this year was fabulous and there’s going to be another piece in the media about Mrs. Weaver and Braphoria soon. 

How exciting that Mrs. Weaver is getting all this press attention. Congratulations!

I would like to thank Mrs. Weaver for taking the time to allow me to interview her.

Happy creating!

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Tour Schedule Itinerary

Follow the magical tour to see what we all have under our clothes

Canada Cups Logo Draft

Thursday, September 15

bloggers

And congratulations to all our bloggers on a wonderful tour!

Happy creating!

A Review of Sewing Bras: Foam, Lace & Beyond

Hello! Welcome to my stop on the Canada Cups – Cross Your Heart Relay blog tour, 2016.

banner-improvedYou’ll see in my sidebar menu, I’m an affiliate with Craftsy. I decided to do this because I can do it without any compromise. I really do think they’re great. In fact, I love the whole concept: You buy a class that never expires; you can watch it anytime; the instructors answer your questions. From sewing to cooking to gardening and more, they have classes. They really are great!

I’m reviewing Beverly Johnson’s Sewing Bras Foam, Lace & Beyond class and so is Rachelle from That’s Sew Venice. Have you seen Rachelle’s blog? She has some great posts on her blog, and I think you’ll love what she does. Any blogger who falls in love with making lingerie is my kind of blogger too.

Here’s my review: The first thing Beverly Johnson, suggests in this class is that you take Sewing Bras Construction & Fit, which is another great class. I have that first class, and go back to review my notes again and again. I still find it valuable.

So, once we have that foundation on making bras, Beverly now takes us into the gorgeous world of lace bras. Oh, so much lace! And oh so pretty. I love lace. But as the name of the class implies, it’s not just lace. It’s Foam, and Lace, and more.

Here is some of what Beverly covers:

What lace to use

Lace on the upper cup

Full lace bras

Lace partial-band bras, and lace full-band bras

Lace and foam

Making Demi cups

Making Balconettes

Preformed foam cups

Cut & Sew foam cups

And there’s more. This class really covers a lot.

Here’s a screen shot from the class of a beautiful lace-covered full-band bra.
lace covered full band

Isn’t that lovely?

Here’s another sample from the class:

partial band

Isn’t this gorgeous? Just wow. Beverly not only makes everything look amazing, she really instills confidence that we can do this too.

Here’s one more example from the class:

foam

The bras Beverly makes and teaches in this class rival any Ready-to-Wear bra – anytime. Every time.

Both my Eastern partner, Rachelle, and I both made a bra to go along with what we were learning from the class. Rachelle used the Pin-Up Girls Classic pattern to make a Demi cup bra. I’m starting with the same pattern, but just wait until you see how different our makes are!

The bra I chose to make is from this class and Beverly’s first class (Construction & Fit): the Heather bra.

In Beverly’s first class, her model, Heather, was wearing a RTW bra that became a Craftsy hit! Everyone wanted to learn how to make this bra, and naturally attributed this beauty to Beverly.

Heather

Here’s another screen shot of Beverly measuring Heather wearing her lovely bra. I was going along with the crowd on this one – I loved that bra too.

In this class, Beverly takes us through the steps to make our own Heather bra.

Heather on Ashley smaller

Here’s Beverly’s Heather bra. It’s gorgeous!

The first thing Beverly shows us is how to change the seams on our bra pattern. She takes about a minute and a half to show this, and she draws it all out and cuts it. It took me… longer than that… and a break for lunch, and two cups of tea to do mine.

IMG_0665Once the pattern was done, it was time to cut the bra out. I’m always amazed at how little fabric goes into a bra. This little pile is about to become something very pretty.

Do you remember my teaser post? Now you’ll see just what I made with this lovely tulle.

Polka Dots

Here’s my Heather bra:

Front

A few of the alterations I made to my Heather to make her fit me are: I lower my bridge, so my bra has more of a plunge look to it. (All my bras do.) I also used a smaller cradle and wire (Omega shape), and shortened the underarm of the bra. Those are my personal fitting alterations.

The last change I made was to  use polka dot tulle and sheer cup lining under my lace. The Heather bra usually only uses sheer cup lining.

Here’s where it all starts. Remember, go see what Rachelle from That’s Sew Venice is making – we’re both starting with this pattern. The Classic Pattern or ‘Linda’.

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You can see by comparing the photo of my bra front to the pattern, the cross cup seams are different. Where the straps join is different as well. Beverly shows how to change both of these in the class. There are also some pattern pieces included in the Materials of the class, so you don’t have to figure it all out on your own.

Now for a few more features of my bra.

Front bow

On this close-up of the front you can see I made my bows out of the polka dot tulle. Just peeking out from behind that bow you can see a Gothic arch. Those are so comfortable.

Bow

Here’s another little bow. Both straps have bows covering the seams where the upper cup and strap are sewn together. Another change I made was to have the trim that’s along the upper cup go all the way up the strap.

The polka dot tulle continues up the straps as well. And around the bra band for a delicate polka dot look to the whole bra.

Band

I love polka dots.

This class was really something I’d wanted for a long time. Since I first saw the Heather bra, I knew I wanted to make one too. There is so much more in this class as well. Don’t forget to pop over to Rachelle’s post to see what she made using the Pin-Up Girls Classic pattern, and read her review.

Do you have a favorite bra from one of Beverly’s Bra-making classes on Craftsy? I’d love to hear which one it is.

I want to thank Craftsy for donating this class to me to review.

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Tour Schedule Itinerary

Follow the magical tour to see what we all have under our clothes

Canada Cups Logo Draft

Wednesday, September 14

Every day I’m posting the day’s links. Want to see the whole blog tour schedule? The complete schedule will be available at the end of the tour.

We have such a wonderful group of bloggers on this tour! They’ve all done an incredible job. Thank you.

bloggers

 Happy creating!