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. 😉 I even bought extra fabric to try and make a matching set. 😉 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. 🙂 How about you?

Sewing Plans?

If you follow me on Twitter or IG, you probably already know that I had LASIK done last week. It was a “traumatic*” experience, that while I never want to to do it again, I’m SO glad that I did! I’m still getting used to not having glasses or contacts, and adjusting to what my vision should be like–even though my glasses and contacts made my eyes see, it was different somehow. Hard to explain, even to my eye doctor.

*Read as: I’m an excessively whiny baby. Though, I’m sure it’s not exactly “fun” even if you’re not as much of a baby as I am.

Anyway, so I haven’t had the courage yet to try my hand at sewing (although I did just finish reading an excellent book on my Kindle, so any day now) I’ve been trying to come up with a plan. Before my surgery, I started on Kwik Sew 3672. I haven’t finished it yet, so I don’t know for sure, but I’m not sold on the built-in bra concept, and some of the finishing feels a bit dodgy. Maybe I’ll change my mind when it’s finished though, I’ve been known to do that–both ways! 😉

It certainly looks cute on the envelope!

Anyway, after that, it would seem that I need to get back to work on some lingerie. You may have seen my Elomi Betty clone on IG:

Here’s the original, isn’t it cute?

It’s not quite perfect, my fabric is too stretchy, some of my sewing is admittedly dodgy, but it’s very close. I’ve had a harder time breaking it in than I thought I would though, so I definitely think there’s room for improvement. I’ve already altered the pattern pieces to move the straps in more and given myself more of a scoop in the armscye to minimize chafing, it’s just a matter of finishing up one project before moving to the next.

I also downloaded the Maya bra pattern from AFI that’s been all over the internet because someday I want to tackle a strapless and hate the saggy boobs you get with a non-foam version. I want mine to be a push-up! 😛 I went with my RTW size though, because I wouldn’t have even come close to the right cup size if I used her measuring method. Confucius say: My wires are narrow and my cups deep. 😉 Anyway, it looks like it should be somewhat close based on placing it with my pieces from my Elomi clone. Hard to tell exactly when my clone is a 3-piece lower cup and the Maya is only a 2 piece lower cup.

Other than that, I’ve been dreaming of making some simple, cool, blouses for summer. I’m planning to revisit Simplicity 1598, since I wore my Jungle January 2015 version to death last summer. Literally, it’s falling apart, but I haven’t had the heart to throw it away, which may be good since it was completely the wrong size to start with and I remember cutting like 6″ off of it to make it fit. So maybe that old version can perform one final service in helping me choose the new size. 🙂 I’m also trying to decide if I want to revisit Lekala 4420 with some short sleeves of some type. Lekala offers a lot of sleeves for free, and I would assume that they would fit the pattern without too much work, but I haven’t been able to make up my mind yet.

So yeah, not much going on here ATM, how about you?

Hot Patterns Retro Playsuit

In honor of our “anniversary trip” in a couple of weeks, I thought I’d sew up something cute and sexy. I’ve had this fabric from Hancock’s (why I remember that, I have no idea–it would have been much more useful to remember…I dunno…what it’s content is?!) since I started sewing again (however long ago that was by now). I always kind of figured it was polyester chiffon, with a velvet burnout, but after sewing with it, I’d say it’s better quality than that. Not that it was super easy to sew with mind you, just not as bad as any other polyester chiffon I’ve ever worked with–which are, admittedly, few. Do they make a rayon chiffon? It can’t be silk, not from our Hancock’s.

This stuff is so, so pretty IMO.

This stuff is so, so pretty IMO.

Anyway, I’ve loved the idea of the Hot Patterns Retro Playsuit for a long time (you can get your free copy here), but alas, it wasn’t meant to be.

Isn't this so cute?!

Isn’t this so cute?!

I decided that since technically, this orangey-pink isn’t really my best color, I wouldn’t be devastated if it didn’t work out, so I just jumped in, cutting out the size 14. I chose that size based on the envelope for a completely different HP pattern, which may or may not have been the same size chart they used for this particular pattern. I should have had plenty of room (even bordering on a smidge too big) based on the size chart from their Metropolitan Urbanista Coat Dress (OOP), but I actually ended up with something that was too small. Namely, it was too short lengthwise, which is something that has NEVER happened to me before! I’m 5’2″, with (proportionally) long legs–most 9 year olds probably have longer torsos than me! In fact, the thought of it being too short never even crossed my mind–to tight/loose, absolutely…too short?! Nope. Now, I will admit that it was snugger than I’d hoped, so it probably wasn’t going to work anyway, but when you can’t cover your nips and still snap the crotch, you’ve got a problem. Maybe I have more “junk” in my trunk than Hot Patterns expected? I don’t know. It did seem like the butt was where everything went south…

A few notes on the pattern itself.

  1. It *may* just be that my printer was being a brat that day, but the pages didn’t come anywhere close to matching during assembly, so be prepared to do some “fudging”.
  2. This pattern is definitely beginner level, and has the potential for use of those fun trims you can’t quite muster up the courage to use anywhere else but still love.
  3. Once cut out, the pattern pieces themselves match up perfectly–so obviously my fudging worked out.
  4. I don’t know why anyone would want to fiddle around with teeny buttons “down there”, so I opted to use snaps. I used size 14, and squeezed in 4 of them–I’d go with 3 next time, but it would depend on the width of your trim (I just folded over my serged edges 2x) and what looks/feels right to you.

So here’s the beautiful fail with the straps pinned on. I didnt have the heart to sew them on yet. Seems silly to if no one is short enough to wear it.

Playsuit Front

Even my (petite) dressform has camel toe…

Playsuit Back

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!

Some quick Tee-NT’s

Ha, see what I did there?:-P Anyway, I recently went on a fabric binge at Needle Nook. Since I haven’t bought hardly any fabric in the last two years (>15 yards), I figured I was due.

June 2015 fabric haul

*Most* of the fabric haul…

From top left:

  • Rayon/cotton animal print
  • Rayon polka dots (wasn’t impressed with this, see below)
  • Hibiscus print ITY*
  • Grey and black watercolor(?) ITY*
  • Some sort of textured snakeskin jersey with little shiny “scales”

And, instead of stashing it, I went straight to making it up. <–This rarely happens, just sayin. I’ve been desperately in need of t-shirts for years, some of them are starting to look dated (literally, the one I’m wearing says 2004 on it), but for some reason I always feel like the stuff I make has to be for “good” at least until it starts to look like it should be relegated to the every day pile. I think this is because I get so few things done, that I don’t want to get them messed up right away. It’s probably along the lines of not being able to give up stuff we’ve made because we made it with our own two hands. This time I tossed that notion to the curb, and am so glad I did!

I used the two rayons to make up a couple of TNT patterns, so they were super fast to make.

Firstly, I made shirts:

Vogue 8670, for like the bazillionth time.

Vogue 8670, for like the bazillionth time.

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How amazing is this print?! And it’s so nice to wear! Would I be a total loser for getting it in the other colorways too?

Yes, I know, but I don’t care. I went with a round neckline this time, and they have already been worn several times. The only complaint I had is with the polka dot fabric. It came out of the prewash load already starting to pill, had some small holes, and holy cow it’s a bit sheer–which takes some doing on a black knit! I would say it’s almost tissue weight, and I’m going to do my absolute best to never buy another one like this. The recovery is also terrible, so even though I stabilized the neckline it stretched out and shows my bra straps, and it’s a lot longer (think mini dress length) because it just keeps growing longer and longer. The hot pink though….LOOOOOOVE. So pretty, so comfy, and I’m thinking about going back for the other colorways before they’re gone (if they aren’t already!)

So with the scraps I also decided to go on a knicker-binge with my trusty KS2908!

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Scrapbusting at it’s best–and most practical! 😉

The last time I went on a binge, I had run out of elastic, so this time when I went in to get elastic for the bottom three pairs, I got some to finish up the top three pairs too. Since the top three were already assembled, it went even faster than normal. I will say that the black fabric didn’t even make good undies because it grows so much, so I basically wasted my time on making them because they’ll be shot in a couple of washes. Oh, well. Also, I hate the wide lace elastic–I mean, it’s pretty and all, but it’s not fun to work with. Someday I’ll get the hang of elastic–people who get perfectly tensioned elastic (especially FOE!) must be magicians, because I’ve made lots of undies, and I still can’t seem to put it on smoothly–there’s always a bit at the end where I panic and pull the shit out of it to get it to fit.

Next up? The shiny scales. 😉 Stay tuned!

Red, Camo, and Blue

So, I know that our flag is red, white, and blue, but sometimes I just feel like I live in the land of camo. So, I rose to the occasion. 😉

Camo undies; for whenever you want your hubby to feel like a manly hunter? Or for when you don’t feel like faking a headache? 😉

I love making my own undies. They’re just such a great way to use up scraps of random knits that you have leftover from other projects. I think I may have mentioned this before. 😉 I do have one suggestion that I learned while making these though; if you are using a thicker cotton knit, don’t double the lining–it makes it significantly harder to put on foldover elastic.

Oh! I also came up with a new technique for sewing on the fold over elastic, which saves a ton of time and futzing. Sew the elastic on flat using a narrow zig-zag, (you do this by lining up the edge of your fabric with the center fold) then sew the side seams (including the unfolded elastic), fold the elastic over, and then do the triple zig-zag. I always tried before to put my FOE in the round using just the triple zig-zag, and it was fiddly, took forever, and after washing I’d discover I’d not quite caught the fabric in a small spot. This way is much faster, and much less fussy, even with the extra set of stitches. Best of all? Minimal pinning and no missed fabric! Hooray!

I hope that helps someone with their elastic endeavors! Let me know if you absolutely can’t get it though, and I’ll try to make up another pair and get some pictures of the process. Not like I don’t plan to make up a few more pairs in the near future anyway. 😉

Ruffly bits

After making the ruffle-licious tank, I had some bits of that fabric left over, and for $10 a yard, I wanted to make sure I use every last little bit of it that I possibly can. So, I made these:

Practical? Probably not, but I think they’ll be cute and fun anyway. I’ve possibly got just enough left to squeeze out the top portion of a cami which I thought might be cute too, especially with like a knit chiffon for the bottom half? We’ll just have to see when I get to that point. The others are scrap busters too, (there’s 2 more purple pairs, but I didn’t get them washed, so they aren’t in the picture) so that makes me pretty happy. Less small pieces of fabric taking up valuable shelf space this way! Plus, as a bonus, I don’t have to buy underwear 2 sizes too big to get the leg openings so that they don’t cut in! Hoorah! And no riding up! Isn’t that worth like 10x its weight in gold or something?

Unfortunately, now I’m completely out of elastic, which means that sometime here in the near future I’m going to have to replenish my stock. It’s amazing how much elastic these little suckers use up!

Anyway, these were made with KS 2908 view B. I’ve made these before, but this time I got smart…I traced it off so that it’s the whole piece instead of cut on a fold–this makes it so much easier to work with on scraps, because you know immediately whether the pieces will fit or not. I also took Debbie’s advice and made it so that I could use the burrito method that they have you do on the back for the front too–makes the whole thing look cleaner and nicer on the inside. If you don’t have the book, I put the diagram up on pinterest, under Useful Tips. 🙂 And yeah, sewing these is pretty addictive, plus it clears out those scraps so you don’t hoard them or feel guilty about throwing them away. 😉

Fabric changes everything

Just when you think you’ve got the pattern worked out, fabric choice comes along and throws a wrench in the works. I bought the most awesome ITY fabric ever, and then proceeded to waste it by trying to make another racerback tank. Oh, I’ll wear this shirt, but I already know it’s not going to be a favorite. Which is sad, because I thought it would be, since the other one fits so well.

Isn’t that the coolest fabric? I made some panties out of the scraps today too, which I think turned out fairly cute for as big as they are….

Speaking of panties, I did some scrap-bustin’ today! I cut out 6 pairs of panties and got rid of several scraps of fabric in the stash. There was one scrap of purple fabric that I was beginning to wonder if I was ever going to be done cutting pieces out of it. I think it made 3 pairs, and it was a 1/2 yard piece that had already been cut into….yeesh! So no, I’m not wearing the same pair of underwear three days in a row, I just happen to have 3 pairs of the same print. I also noticed that I’m a bit rusty at putting on FOE…I had to pick out some stitches to get the fabric sandwiched in there properly. I’m still working on the best setup for “mass producing” these things.

Anyway, I’m not feeling terribly chatty tonight, so I’m gonna call it good. Oh! Karin, if you are reading this, I seem to have lost your email and I couldn’t comment on your blog earlier, but your shirt is fabulous, and I highly recommend the collar with stand tutorial on the behindtheseams blog here on wordpress somewhere….

KS 2908 x2

It’s kind of embarassing how addicting it can be to sew up underwear. They’re super easy, take almost no time, and give you a bit of that instant gratification. But, there’s only so many undies a girl needs in her drawer…so these will be the last two for a while anyway, though it won’t be the end of my lingerie sewing.

First up, another thong. (And yeah, I am well aware that these didn’t press worth a damn.) 😦

I made a few changes. These have about 1/2″ less rise, and I think I could go a bit more if I wanted to be really picky. I also slimmed up the crack strap, because I thought I might like them a bit better that way. This was also my first time of using fold over elastic (FOE) in its intended manner. It’s not too bad, but heaven help you if you goof up your quartering!

Next up we have a version of View B.

I made a couple changes to these too. I’m not sure what kind of woman these were drafted for, but my groin area isn’t anywhere near as wide as they assumed. I shaved about an inch and a half off the width, and I think I could realistically take about another 3/4″ off. We’ll have to see when they come out of the wash. I also made a note that I needed to increase the elastic length to accomodate the new bigger leg openings after the width adjustment was made–I’m guessing around 2″ per leg. Since I used the FOE for both waistband and leg openings, I trimmed off the seam allowances. We’ll see if I plan to trim down the waist even more or not.

Next up is either the HP Cupid Cami & Tap Pants or the Burda 11/2009 variation of same. I’ll have to look at pattern reviews for the HP pattern and see if I want to risk it.

Kwik Sew 2908

I finally did it. I sewed up a pair of these panties for myself. Aren’t they cute?

I’ve made this pattern before, but it was for donation, so I didn’t try any for myself. These are the size Large of view D (thong, if you can’t tell), and I’m a bit nervous that it might be a bit too long or high rise, but we’ll have to see. Nothing touches “down there” unless it’s squeaky clean, so I haven’t tried them on yet. It only took about an hour to sew these up from cutting to the final pressing, so I think I could easily make quite a few of these once I figure out if they need tweaked or not.

In other news, I’m mulling over a Designer 1 I found on Craigslist. I’ll think about it, and maybe I’ll see about checking it out tomorrow or Monday. I’m just kind of leery of purchasing anything off Craigslist. KWIM? And if it’s gone by then, I’ll know it wasn’t meant to be.