An experiment in chiffon

I bought all the supplies yesterday to make up a couple (or a half dozen) bras out of some polyester chiffon. I like the “delicate” look you get from mesh, but I don’t like the way it feels on, so I decided that I’d give some chiffon a try. Worst case I’m out like $5 worth of non-reusable supplies, best case I have a pretty bra. πŸ˜‰ I even bought extra fabric to try and make a matching set. πŸ˜‰ I haven’t had a matching set for years, and even when I did, it was very rare that I wore the pieces together, since the knickers with the cheap sets always sucked.

Here’s what the two fabrics I chose look like–obviously I’m not affiliated with Joann’s.

I’m going to try my hand at dyeing the elastic strapping purple or grey and I have beige lace that I really liked with it.

In the right light, this one has an overall red iridescence that is quite pretty and yet impossible to photograph. I’m using black lace and elastics for this one.

I’m hoping to double up the wires to make them stiffer, we’ll have to see how it goes. They may be hard to fit with both sides stitched down (I did test them in the casing as is and they fit just fine). I do have 3 pairs of good RTW wires if I sacrifice my two remaining (and quite worn out, if we’re being honest) bras to this cause. Which, if it works well, I’ll have no problem doing that, but if it doesn’t, I’ll be a bit sad.

I also succumbed to the siren call of a $20/yard silk charmeuse. It’s an incredibly beautiful piece, and I’m hoping to make a pretty cami and tap pants with it. I only bought a yard, but I am hopeful I can get it out of that much. It’s the most expensive fabric I’ve ever purchased, (and it wasn’t even the most expensive piece they had!!) so I hope I can do it justice.

So yeah…that’s what I’m going to be up to. πŸ™‚ How about you?

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Not really even very close

If you happen to follow the Sewcialists blog, you’ve probably heard that July is/was Lingerie Sewing month. Since I’ve only got 3 bras (which according to the bra queen, isn’t nearly enough), I thought I’d give it another go. I’ve made some before, but not in a long time with many body changes in between (several cup sizes and a baby, anyone?), so it kind of felt like the first time. And it was with a pattern I’ve never made before (though I did apparently trace and cut the pieces at some point??), so unfamiliarity made the feeling more pronounced.

My pattern of choice was the Bra-Maker’s Shelley bra. It looks very similar to the Elomi bras I’m currently wearing, so I thought it would be a good choice. (Note: I still think that.) So over the last few days I have slowly but surely inched my way through sewing it up, but ultimately it’s way too small. The band is pretty close (a smidge on the snug side), but the cups! Oh my! Those are at least a couple of sizes too small. I have full-on-top breasts, so I think the way that Beverly instructs you to measure won’t work for that shape. But, I dutifully followed directions and made up two sizes smaller than my RTW size that my gut was telling me to make. I’m not sure how her sizing compares to RTW, but if anyone knows for sure, I’d be happy to hear what I need before I cut the next one out.

I would recommend the pattern though, it’s a very pretty bra, and it goes together very nicely. The instructions weren’t overly hand-holdy, but they weren’t Burda-esque either, so I’d say go for it if you’re at all interested!

UNCLE!!

I’m not entirely sure how that became the term for surrender, but English is a rather hilarious language sometimes.

So yeah, I’m giving up. I have tried several different times to make a bra that fits for the sewalong, but I can’t seem to make it big enough without distorting it, so I’m just quitting. Sewing is my hobby and it’s supposed to be fun, this isn’t fun anymore. I have a short fuse anyway, though I usually am stubborn enough to stick it out, but I’ve noticed that I’ve been avoiding my sewing room, and that’s not cool either. So, I picked up all my stuff, put it away, and maybe sometime in the future I’ll give it another shot. I know that Miss Celie has had good luck with the Sewy Rebecca, and someday when I’m over my snit, maybe I’ll order it and give it a try.

Next up is boring stuff; pajamas for my son. I’d swear he’s grown 6 inches since last summer, so all of his pajamas are ridiculously short. I’m terrified about him outgrowing his jeans (because they’re getting close too!) since he has a teeny tiny waist/hips and loooooooong legs. I’ve considered sewing them for him, but they have so many details to look “right”, and it’s a ton of work for something he might outgrow before I even finish them!

Mission(s) Accomplished!

I finally finished my bra project last night, though I have no pictures yet. I’ve never been so glad to finish something ever, which is odd, considering I actually enjoy sewing bras–they are usually a fun challenge. I guess it’s because I felt like I had to make them and get them finished quickly because I need them desperately. Then just because I needed something fun, I decided to make a nightie for myself. My yucky oversize t-shirts are getting holes in them, so I decided to try my idea of making the Lekala pattern from here into a comfy jersey nightie with peek-a-boo lace trim down the sides instead of the bows. I have the pieces cut out (so much faster to sew when you don’t have to trace!!) and the darts sewn/pressed. After that, it should pretty much be a walkΒ  in the park, though I’m still contemplating my plan of action on the straps. I don’t think I’m going to try and make them all one piece with the binding like I did last time. I guess I’ve got a couple of hours to think about that though, so I can surely come up with something. πŸ™‚

 

In other exciting news, I found my son’s birthday present today. I bought him a “rain train”. It’s used, and most of the paint is gone, perfect for me to repaint it to look like one of those John Deere ones that cost a small fortune and aren’t made quite as heavy as this old one is. (I’m pretty sure it’s cast iron!) You might think this is a silly gift, but it’s like a two-for-one deal–we get the benefit of a sprinkler we don’t have to keep track of/move, and our son gets the cool tractor sprinkler that he’s been asking about to play in. And maybe he’ll even be willing to help put the hose out when he’s ready to play. πŸ˜‰ It’s the holding off until his birthday next month that is going to be a killer….maybe we’ll have to give it to him earlier and get him something small and inexpensive for the actual day.

Have you ever…..?

Get so bored/annoyed/bored with a project that you simply dread finishing it? And so you don’t? You just ignore it, as though it will somehow disappear from your sight forever? Because that is where I am right now with those same three bras I’ve been slowly working on all month. I’m just not motivated to finish them. I don’t recommend doing more than one at a time unless you are more dedicated than I am, because I’ve seriously been everywhere but my sewing room for days now in an effort to avoid looking at them sitting there, pathetically unfinished, mocking me. Sad thing is, they are pretty close. I’ve got the channeling sewn on, so the hard part is over. And they are going to be super cute when they get finished–or at least as cute as a bra that’s planning to heft up some pretty serious boobage can be. πŸ˜‰

OK, enough whining. I’m going to get to work on picking out that row of stitching that I sewed on backwards the last time. Wish me luck! Maybe this long weekend will be the time to finish these up and do a couple of fun projects. Fingers crossed! πŸ™‚

Which is faster?

Finally went to the sewing room today, since I was kid-free for a few hours. (Woot-woot!) Sadly, I made rather pitiful progress on the bras. I only managed to get two seams on each bra sewn up for a grand total of 6 seams. And some fusing….and a really cool session of playing with the lighter. I’d noticed that my underwires kept coming through even the twill tape, so I decided to do some experimentation. I took the (non-sewing) scissors and cut part of the tip off of an underwire, and then held it over the sink while I melted the plastic to smooth it out and bead it up a bit. I think it will work nicely. πŸ™‚

Anyway, as long as it took me to get that stuff done, I’ve been wondering if it’s faster to do similar parts together (like I’m currently doing) or just make each bra independently. I can’t tell that I’ve really saved a lot of time either way. 😐 I suppose I’ll probably just keep plowing through like I am right now, but I’m definitely going to pay attention for next time.

What size am I?

I was looking at some patterns today for a bra-making company (Merckwaerdigh) and I realized that there was a pretty significant difference in bra sizing around the world. It’s funny how ignorant you can be about things that happen outside your country, isn’t it? Anyway, I found this nifty bra size converter, so now I’ll always be able to figure out that if I’m shopping in Europe my bra size is 85F, or if I’m in Australia I’m a 16DD, and a 38E in the UK–and they have some REALLY awesome lingerie sites in the UK, so that’s REALLY handy to know! πŸ˜‰

The bra redux

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I was making a bra and it was close, but needed a couple of tweaks. Well, I reworked it, and here’s what I ended up with. πŸ™‚ I’m really not sure how comfortable I am with posting these pictures, but it’s really hard to tell what I’m talking about if I don’t…so I cropped the crap out of them, hopefully, you can still get the idea.

On the first one, the straps were too wide for my not-really-all-that-narrow shoulders, like you can see here:

So, on round two, I opted to do a bit of slicing & dicing on my pattern, like this (orange is original, purple is my adjustment):

That gave me nearly perfect strap location (though I think I might take another 1/4″ off and see if that’s too much or just right) like this:

I also opted to try a center front closure on the second bra, which while not beautiful (hey, I made this by the seat of my pants!) works just fine and I like it a lot. You can see it here:

I’m not totally sure, but it seems as though you need shorter/longer underwires if you do a front closing bra vs. a back closing one. Somehow it just seems to fit a bit different. Maybe it’s just my imagination….or I might have messed something up in my still rather crude efforts.

One thing I noticed that was kind of cool is that the gaping that I had in the front (where the orange squiggles are) on my first version were non-existent on my second version after doing my strap alteration. I’m always up for a two-for-one deal! πŸ˜‰

Bra-making mini tutorial

So the hardest part of making a bra for me was the channeling (it holds the underwire) and how to best apply it. I came up with this method, and while it’s kinda more for my personal reference, I thought I’d share with you!

The pattern I’m using is KS3300, if you are curious. πŸ˜‰

So, um, yeah….you need to be at the point where you are supposed to apply the channeling, and have it cut to the required length. Then you’ll want some twill tape–I’d suggest 4 pieces around 1″ long.

Pin your piece of twill tape BETWEEN the channeling and the bra seam allowance (because for the first stitching, you’ll only be stitching to the seam allowance and nothing else!)

I found it helpful to pin the channeling on with the stitching to the right edge of your sewing machine and then stitch in the ditch of that seam to maintain a straight line. Be sure not to catch your cups in these stitches or you’ll be ripping them out and swearing the whole time! Once you’ve stitched in the ditch on the seam allowance, your channeling will kind of want to flip up towards the bra cup–let it, pin it carefully in place, making sure to fold the twill tape under itself and over the channeling (this will keep the wires from poking through the channeling later on in your bra’s lifespan). You can kind of see what I’m referencing in the image above. Stitch in the same ditch again, and then go carefully down the other side. This works really well if you have the needle position thing, and these handy little red marks on the presser feet like mine (this image also shows a closeup of the “ditch” you should be stitching in as well as how the channeling should look after you flip it up):

I ran the edge of the channeling along the right red mark and my needle position was 1 notch away from that–on my Pfaff that was needle position 6.5, but your machine may be different. Just be sure to leave enough room to run the wire through, you don’t have to be perfect though–the wires are pretty small. Here’s a little hint on which way the wires go–mine have little sparkly ends on the side that goes to the center and white ends on the side by your armpits, like this:

After you’ve stitched the channeling on, and hopefully you left the twill tape loose on at least one end of each cup (I recommend leaving the centers open even though I didn’t in this picture), you’ll need to check your wires to make sure that they fit through the channeling, and more importantly, THAT THEY ARE THE CORRECT SIZE! Seriously. You can do all that work, but if the wire is the wrong size/shape, your bra isn’t going to be comfortable. Be sure to have a few spares that are in a similar size range to the one you think and see which one works best. You’ll have to do this after the bra is completely assembled though for an accurate test, which is why you’ll want to leave the centers open to insert the wires.

After you’ve got the wires inserted, flip your remaining twill tape down like you did on the other end(s) and sew down the sides. DO NOT sew across the tape! Only sew in the same stitching lines as the channeling. Otherwise, you’ll render your twill tape useless because the wires won’t be able to reach it. You could probably stitch this by hand if you are having trouble getting it under your machine.

So anyway, I know it seems silly to some of the more seasoned bra-makers out there, but I just know that next time I start one I’ll be glad I made this. Hopefully, it will help you too! πŸ™‚

Move over, Victoria!

I no longer need to spend somewhere between $50 and $80 for just one of your “Secrets” anymore! For a $10 pattern (Kwik Sew 3300) and $15-ish in notions/fabric, I can make my own bras that fit great and are cuter than yours for my oddly hard-to-find size. And, as soon as I get a bit more comfortable with the process, I plan to start tweaking it, since I L.O.V.E. me a front closing bra!

So anyway, here’s the awesome bra that I made! πŸ™‚ Sorry that it doesn’t fit the miniature soccer ball/volleyball as well as it fits me. πŸ˜‰

In the second picture (same bra) you can see the cool insert a bit better, it’s black with orange swirls, and my hubby thinks that it looks awesome too. πŸ˜‰

I went with the 38DD, but I think I’ll shave it down to a 37D-ish next time. The upper cups are just a bit more loose than I prefer, and the band isn’t exactly snug even on the tightest notch. I kind of figured this would happen since it’s the same problem I have with every other bra I’ve bought, and the pattern suggests going by my RTW size. I’m just a smidge too big for the 36 band, and a smidge too small for the 38. πŸ™„ Thankfully, on one I made myself I have the option to tweak it.

I really like the inset fabric, and that I have enough to make another version and a couple pairs of panties to match. πŸ˜‰ I’ve also got some red w/black lace and a really cool sheer that is multiple shades of dark grey. A woman I know also offered me her supplies that she’s had since her daughters moved out of the house–I guess she used to make bras for them when they still lived at home, and now that they’re all grown up she doesn’t do it anymore….so she’s giving her stuff to me for FREE!! πŸ˜€ Woo-Hoo! πŸ™‚