Completed: More Bras!

23 Feb

You may have heard that the south was hit with a particularly bad ice storm last week. Nashville was coated with a few inches of solid ice, that kept melting in the sun and refreezing overnight, turning all our roads and interstates into some scary-ass ice rinks for the majority of the week. Since we’re not really equipped to deal with that kind of weather (the last time we had an ice storm anything like this was over 20 years ago – it normally just melts the next day and it’s not an issue), that means that most people spent the week stuck inside their house. And by “most people,” I’m specifically talking about myself. I gotta say – it was pretty nice to have nearly a whole snow week! I wasted the first day by being sick (wah), and the remainder of the days it was really hard to get my ass off the couch because our house is REALLY freaking cold (I’m wearing a fleece robe over my clothes and sitting by a space heater as I type this. I love my old house, but man, they are drafty!). I did want to take advantage of all the free time I had from being home for most of the week, so I made a couple of bras. Bra making is great for cold weather sewing, mostly because you don’t have to strip down often for fitting. Really, just once, and that’s when the bra is finished.

I made 2 bras, but I actually have 3 to show y’all. The first one is one that I finished at the end of 2014 (yay!); I’ve had the photos for ages but I never bothered to post it because it seemed like a pretty boring post on it’s own. For each of these bras, I used a fabric+findings kit to assemble them – so hopefully this will help those of y’all who are still trying to figure out what kit works best for which pattern.

Red Marlborough Bra

Bra #1 is this sexy little red lace number. This is the Marlborough bra, and the fabric is from a kit from Bra Maker’s Supply (the lace is something I picked up in London; Bra Maker’s Supply doesn’t include lace with their kits). This is the second bra I have ever made, and while I did have a few learning curves with this one, I really learned a LOT.

Red Marlborough Bra

Red Marlborough Bra

I really love the kits from Bra Maker’s Supply – they are a good price (less than $30 USD) and the materials are pretty nice quality. I’m not super crazy about the fabric, but it looks nice when it’s sewn up (I like to use the side that isn’t shiny, so it looks less costume-y). The only thing I’ve had a problem with is that they don’t indicate what elastic is for what part of the bra – it’s kind of assumed that you already know. For this bra, I mixed up the lace edge elastic with the underarm elastic, whoops. So now the underarms are lacy, and the top of the lace… isn’t. I doubt any of y’all would have even noticed that if I hadn’t pointed it out, but, it is what it is. It’s not uncomfortable or itchy, at least.

I made this bra exactly the same way as I sewed my black Marlborough, except I left off the clear elastic and lining on the lace (I used the underarm elastic at the top of the lace, to stabilize it). I only made a couple minor fitting changes to the pattern, based on what Norma and I talked about while I was in Paris (scooping about 1/4″ off the bottom of the bridge and adding about 1/4″ to the edge of the upper cup, also moving the straps out about 1/2″). When I finished the bra, I put it on – and it was COMPLETELY unwearable. The back straps were so far apart, they were riding up the back of my armpits. Really really uncomfortable. So I threw the bra in the corner and ignored it for about 3 weeks while I debated what to do. The bra was already finished at this point – underwires inserted, hook and eye sewn in, everything – and I didn’t want to trash it after putting all that work and money into it. This here is the downside of bra making. You can’t really fit-as-you-go.

Spoiler alert: I fixed it and it’s now wearable. I had to unpick the entire back, but I made it work. What I ended up doing was unpicking all the stitching and elastic from the back band, all the way to the frame, and then removed the back band. I measured the pattern band against the band of my favorite bra, and redrew the back curve to match the RTW one. This ended up making the back band bigger as well – so I’m not sure the bra size anymore, since it’s bigger than the 30D I originally cut. Doesn’t matter, though, because whatever the size it is – it fits ME. Anyway, I recut the back pieces in power net and reattached them to the frame, pieced the elastic (since what was attached to the bra was now too short for the band – fortunately, the kits give you more than enough elastic so this was not an issue), and reattached the hook and eye. The bra now fits really well. The band is big enough – it was a smidge too tight before – and the straps are in the right spot. I’m really glad that I took the extra 2+ hours out to rip out and fix the bra, because now I have a wearable red bra!

Red Marlborough Bra

Here it is on me. This the only floaty ghost bra picture you get in this post, fyi. And only because I did this one agessss ago, ha. You actually see a bit more nipple in real life, but I was feeling modest so I pushed them out of the way. You’re welcome, I guess.

This is the bra that I showed Maddie when I was in Philly for the bra making class. I wanted her to see my fitting changes and tell me if there was anything else I need to tweak. Thankfully, the bra looks pretty good – so I’ve got the go-ahead to keep cutting this size, with my new back band piece and all that.

Soooo, here’s the next Marlborough that I made over the snow week!

Black and nude Marlborough Bra

No fitting changes to this bra, just fabric changes (and a different kit). I really like that red bra, but I REALLY LOVE this one! I think it turned out sooo pretty! And, while I’m not the kind of person to sit here and wax poetic about my boobs or anything (I mean, they’re boobs, there’s nothing any more special about mine than, say, yours), this bra makes them look really really good. Gives them a nice lift and shape. I’m so happy with it!

Black and nude Marlborough Bra

I used one of the kits from Grey’s Fabric to make this one up (I don’t see it on the stock page anymore, but it was black and nude). These have the same duoplex fabric as the kits from Bra Maker’s Supply, but unlike BMS – they also include the lace, underwires, and enough strap elastic (you don’t get enough with Bra Maker’s Supply, fyi! Make sure you buy extra if you order from them). I did change out the ribbon decoration to a black one – and sewed a little rhinestone button in the middle, BECAUSE IT’S ADORABLE – but everything came with the kit. I like that.

Black and nude Marlborough Bra

The major difference between this bra and the red one is the lace – the red lace is very stable, so it doesn’t stretch. The black lace here is a stretch lace that I did not stabilize. That alone made the biggest difference in the fit.

Black and nude Marlborough Bra

I’m just including this picture because Amelia looks like a deer caught in headlights hahaha

Black and nude Marlborough Bra

I’m really happy that this lace had a scalloped edge, so I could use that in the bra. I think it’s really pretty! I stabilized the scalloped edge with a piece of clear elastic – this wasn’t included in the kit, but I have tons of it on hand, so not a big deal. All the findings are the same nude color; the only black is the lace and the power net (and the bow I made – I thought it looked better than the nude bow).

Black and nude Marlborough Bra

Black and nude Marlborough Bra

Now that I’m feeling pretty good about the fit, I’ve started experimenting with finishing the seams. I used a 3 thread overlock for this one – at the advice of all my favorite bra makers, basically. You just have to be careful with 1/4″ seams; you don’t want to accidentally cut too much off (I know you can disable the knife blade, but me, I like to live on the edge). Oh, and you can see the little nude bow that I didn’t use! Maybe for my next bra.

Finally, I also made another Watson bra!

Green and White Watson Bra

I LOVE this one so much! I talked myself into buying that kit one day (I don’t know why, but I was convinced that I needed a green bra – like, who doesn’t need a green bra?); the nude/black kit was actually bought at the same time so I could get free shipping, ha. I used one of the lace Watson kits (the one I bought appears to be sold out, but this one is similar).

Green and White Watson Bra

I admit – when I first received the kit, I was completely confused. The lace only has a minor amount of mechanical stretch – i.e., no spandex – and there was a TON of powermesh. I wasn’t sure if the bra would even fit, considering the blue Watson I made used a very stretchy material. I sat on this one for awhile because I wasn’t sure how to proceed, but I think I nailed it.

The cups and bridge are obviously cut from lace, with what little stretch there is going in the direction it’s supposed to. The bridge is also stabilized with the included lining from the kit. All the lace is lined with powermesh, and the back band is only power mesh (so it gets the stretch it needs). I’m really pleased to report that it fits very very well. The rigidity of the lace gives it quite a bit more support than the stretchier bra has, so that’s nice. Plus, it almost looks like a real piece of clothing now (I mean, not lingerie haha), with all the lace and shit. Now I’m wondering if this pattern would work with a bias-cut woven fabric for the cups and frame – that’s about the amount of stretch you get with this lace+mesh. Might be something to experiment with later!

Green and White Watson Bra

All the trim is white; pretty much the only green is the mesh. You can see that I used the picot lace elastic for the upper cups on this one, as well as the underarms. This kit only came with one trim, instead of two. I finished all the seams with the 3 thread overlock, same size and everything as with my last one.

Green and White Watson Bra

Green and White Watson Bra

I took a tip from Maddie’s bra making class and used a new method to cut this sucker out. First I used Sulky Temporary Spray Adhesive (that links to the exact one I use; but any temporary spray adhesive suitable for crafting/sewing should work), then I used a teeny tiny rotary cutter to cut all the pieces (this isn’t the exact one I used, but it’s close enough – 28mm Olfa Rotary Cutter. I got it in the bra making class I took). The spray adhesive held everything together while I sewed it, which was extremely helpful – especially when basting the lining to the cradle fabric. No wrinkles there, yay!

Green and White Watson Bra

Then I made the matching undies with the leftover! Didn’t realize the lace was supposed to be used for the front part (it’s in the project description now, but it wasn’t there when I bought it), so I just made the whole thing from powermesh. I used the wider elastic for the waist, and the decorative for the legs. These are okay; I need to practice more pulling the elastic because it’s not quite stretched enough. But it works well enough.

Anyway, that’s it! I love all these kit options for bras, because it saves me the headache of trying to source all the matching supplies myself (plus, I’m such a sucker for a good kit. Especially when it comes in it’s own box and everything is individually bagged; makes me so happy!). Now that I’ve used a few of the kits and gotten a general idea of what elastic to use in which part (and what it looks like, etc), I feel a lot more confident to buy all the supplies myself and not have to rely on a kit. That being said, I love the kits and I am looking forward to some new color options for sure!

Out of all the kits, I’m not sure if I have a favorite. I love the Bra Maker’s Supply ones because they’re really good and basic – everything is dyed the same color and it matches perfectly. The Grey’s Fabric kits are nice because they have a nice range of colors and they’re not just one solid color, plus, I like the pretty strap elastic and picot edged stuff too. I really love the hardware that comes with the kits from Blackbird fabrics, however, I think I prefer the more rigid lace + powermesh for a Watson, as opposed to the super stretchy millskin. Just a personal preference! The millskin almost feels like a swimsuit. If you’re trying to decide which kit to buy from where, I think it really boils down to your color preferences and how much the shipping will cost. There are lots of options, and they’re all really great!

Ok, I think I’ve done enough bra and boob talking for today! What’s your favorite bra out of these 3? Are you ready to start making your own now? Is there another kit option I should be looking into? I want to try the Merckwaerdigh kits next, I really love the color and pattern options!

Completed: Cozy Organic Sweatshirt (+ discount code!)

16 Feb

Nothing very exciting on the blog here today, I’m afraid. I spent my Valentine’s Day with whatever cold bug is currently being passed around (and, ugh, I’ve never been so tired in all my life MAKE IT STOP), and I don’t really feel like doing much of anything now, which is a huge bummer because we have been blessed with a pretty awesome snow day this morning (for real, my street is a literal sheet of ice and my gate is frozen shut. Couldn’t leave even if I wanted to). Still, have a small project that I finished before I came down with the Evil.

Undercover Sweatshirt + Ooh La Leggings

Yep, I made a sweatshirt (and ponte Ooh La Leggings, although the post isn’t focused on those. But I did make them, so there’s that!)! How boring! But, you know, when you make everything you wear (and have been doing so for more than a couple of years), you will end up sewing boring staple pieces. For the current me, that means cozy long-sleeved tops that I can wear with pants. This is a big gap in my wardrobe, as past me never wore pants quite as much as current me (probably something to do with the office job that I quit; I had a space heater under my desk! I MISS THAT!), but, it is what it is. And now I need some tops, dammit. The thin jersey ones I have just aren’t cutting it, no matter how many I layer.

I used the Undercover Hood pattern from Papercut Patterns as my base, size XS, just taking in the side seams ever so slightly to make it a little more fitted. I obviously omitted the hood and added a ~self drafted~ neckband (I use the term “self drafted” very loosely, as it’s really just a rectangle… but, whatever.). I also left off the bottom hem band; mainly because I ran out of ribbing, but I think the simple turned under and topstitched hem actually makes this sweatshirt look a little less casual, so that’s a win. I can’t decide if wearing it with a collared shirt (that’s another B5526 underneath, fyi) looks classy, or if that’s just the 80s child in me trying desperately to emerge. Thoughts?

Undercover Sweatshirt + Ooh La Leggings

The main fabric is some lovely brushed sweatshirting fabric from Only Organic, a company based out of France (let me tell you, I felt REALLY cool picking up that box at the post office when it arrive. No, seriously!). I was offered a meter of fabric to try out, and I immediately zeroed in on this stuff because it seemed like the perfect blank canvas to customize for my needs.

You’ll notice that I did no customizing whatsoever. This is a plain, cream-colored sweatshirt we have here. I will admit that I considered adding something to the front – a stenciled phrase, some gold pyramid studs, something – to give it a little more ~pizazz, but I ultimately realized that I’m not really one for wearing graphic tshirts (or sweatshirts), and it seemed kind of stupid to fancy up something just for blogging purposes. So, boring sweatshirt. Sorry, not sorry. At least I know it’s something I’ll actually wear now.

Undercover Sweatshirt + Ooh La Leggings

Anyway, half-asses apologies aside – this is a great marriage of pattern and fabric! I’ve made the Undercover Hood before a few times – but usually with a drapier fabric, and never as a straight up sweatshirt. I like the way this one fits; it’s comfortable and fitted but it’s not skin tight. The fabric is LUXURIOUSLY soft and fleecy – I’m actually wearing it as I type this, and it’s doing a damn fine job of keeping me warm in my cold ass, snowed-in house, so there’s that. I do question whether or not it’s a good idea to wear a white sweatshirt, knowing how clumsy I am – but, eh, I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. At least I know it’s dyeable :)

Undercover Sweatshirt + Ooh La Leggings

Undercover Sweatshirt + Ooh La Leggings

You can see the fleecy goodness of the fabric better here. For ribbing, I used some cream ribbing that I had in my stash – it’s not a perfect match, but it’s close enough, and I love the subtle color changes.

Undercover Sweatshirt + Ooh La Leggings

If you’ve managed to stick it to the end of the post, I have a fabric discount code for ya! Use the code “lladybird” for 10% off your order at Only Organic. Like I mentioned, this company is based out of France, so all my organic-lovin’ pals on the other side of the pond – rejoice! Woot woot!

Now, answer me this – I know sweatshirts have recently had their moment in the spotlight for being ~cool~ and ~luxe~, but does a plain white sweatshirt even pretend to portray that or do I look I belong in a Kmart circa 1995? Also, who wants to take bets on how soon I spill coffee down the front of this thing? I’ve worn it three times since completion and at this point, I feel like I’m flirting with disaster.

** Note: I was given 1 meter of the cotton sweatshirt fleece from Only Organic, however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Bra-Making with Madalynne

9 Feb

As you no doubt already know by now (mostly because I’ve talked about it to death by this point ahaha), I recently spent a long weekend in Philadelphia with Maddie, to help her set up for her bra making workshop – as well as attend the damn thing myself! I was obviously really excited for this adventure – for the hangs, to explore a new city (truth: the only time I’d been to Philly prior was for a one-way flight back to Nashville after helping my friend move to NYC when I was 22. A 14 year old boy hit on me while we were waiting for the plane to take off. I think he was the most traumatized between the two of us, though), and of course, because of boobs. And now you guys get to hear/see a recap! Yay!

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I won’t bore y’all with a full weekend recap – I flew in on Thursday afternoon, and spent nearly the entire time up until Saturday morning with Maddie to help her prepare for the workshop. We ran errands, we prepped handouts and the (adorable) little kits, and helped with getting the machines set up in the space the night before. I was able to sneak away for a few hours with Andrea, who took me to the Mütter Museum (my request – and also this is your head’s up of knowing that Andrea is an amazing sport when it comes to visiting weird places with an almost total stranger haha) and her favorite yarn shop (where I bought sock yarn. It’s red. That’s about all that’s worth knowing :P).

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No, what we are here to discuss is a recap of the workshop! Actually, I don’t think this post warrants too much typing – you can get a good sense of how things went just based by the photos alone (and yes, those were professionally taken. OBVIOUSLY my hands didn’t go anywhere near the camera that weekend, ha!).

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Honestly, the entire day was more of an event and less of a workshop. I knew Maddie had something special planned when we were cahooting about this shit months ago (well, my side of the cahooting was just being a personal cheerleader. I love cheerleading my friends while they are doing amazing things :) ), but I was surprised when I started seeing things coming together. Of course, I probably shouldn’t have been surprised – anyone who’s lurked up Maddie’s blog knows that that woman is all about turning everything around her into beautiful art (y’all should see her condo. I couldn’t even DEAL) – but yeah, it was all lovely. The production for the workshop, as well as all the styling and catering, was handled by The New Old Fashioned, and the event took place in the Love Me Do Photography studio. There was beautiful vintage furniture everywhere, fresh flowers, a never-ending supply of coffee (and later, prosecco. Yay!), a catered lunch, a light breakfast, adorable cakes, a photo booth – even a freaking spot to get your make-up professionally touched up. I’m telling you, this shit was an EVENT. It was amazing and there was obviously a lot of love and attention that went into every detail. Definitely not the kind of half-assed workshop that I’d throw together – but that’s what you get when you are dealing with Maddie. You get something that’s just as beautiful as it is useful.

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To be completely honest, I wasn’t expecting to learn a whole lot at the workshop itself – I’ve already made a couple of bras at this point, and I have an ok handle on how they come together. I knew I’d be hitting Maddie up for fitting advice outside of the classroom, and I knew that the environment itself would be amazing and fun. I’m happy to report that I was wrong, at least in the subject of “learning new things.” I definitely learned a whole bunch of new tips and trips – a more effective way of cutting the fabric and lace, when to use certain zigzag stitches and widths, a way to beautifully finish the top of the bridge, amongst other things. And duh, of course the class was fun as HELL! I had such a great time meeting everyone, talking boobs, and making bras together. My kind of awesome day!

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(I am sharing this photo because I have no idea why I’m making that expression! At least my hair color doesn’t look like swamp sludge haha)

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Oh yeah – and the food was fucking fantastic!

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Here are some more photos so that you can be good & jealous of our fabulous day. Our take-home goodie bags included those beautiful cookies, a tiny bottle of prosecco (again – yay!) and a fresh bouquet with a handmade medal.

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We also had temporary sewing-themed tattoos – which, by the way, who else thinks Maddie should get a pair of shears tattooed on her neck? Amirite?!

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I was REALLY excited to see that Carolina and Jen were also part of the class! I met both of these ladies last time I was in NY – Jen was one of my students in the Pants Making Intensive at WORKROOM SOCIAL, and Carolina randomly asked me for coffee (which clearly ended up being a match made in heaven – I mean, we make a pretty adorable prom couple). It was great to be able to see both of them – in a completely different city than before, even.

I know that my friendship with Maddie does make me a bit biased, but this workshop was seriously fabulous. I’ve never felt so pampered while in a class – it’s kind of a nice feeling (I might be kind of spoiled now! Ha!)! And, hey, the bra didn’t turn out so bad, either :) Want to see?

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If you recognize the fabric, it’s because I used it before on a Bambi bra; it was originally given to me from Maddie. Let me just say – the kits that we got with this workshop were seriously nice. Everything was included – all the fabric, notions, hardware, even a tiny rotary cutter and a really nice marking pen – and it was all super high quality stuff. I think most of it came from Bra Maker’s Supply – which, if you’ve ever ordered from them before, you know how nice their products area. No cheap plastic sliders or questionable elastic here! I would have found this very helpful had I been making my first bra – it gives you a good idea of what the good-quality stuff feels like, so you know what to shop for (plus, it’s easier to sew!).

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We used the Marlborough pattern for our bras; I brought my own copy (everyone got a copy with their kits) since I already had some fitting tweaks done. The lace we used is really stretchy, so everything is backed with power mesh to make it more stable. It still has more stretch than the duoplex I get from Bra Maker’s Supply, but the resulting bra actually fits pretty nicely! I’ve spared y’all the floating ghost bra photos for this post (mostly because I’m feeling lazy haha sorry), but, just trust me.

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Our tableware at the workshop was tied with this cute twill tape that looks like a measuring tape – I saved a little piece to make a bow for my bra. Love it :) And check out that pretty gold hardware! Honestly, that’s my favorite part of the whole damn bra. Looks so luxe.

Let’s see, what else? Sunday, Carolina & I walked all over Philly (ok, seriously, maybe 5 miles, tops. haha) and it was cold but also really fun! I really enjoyed getting to spend some time with her and get some bonding done. We visited Andrea at Butcher’s Sewing Shop, where she was teaching a class. Actually, we crashed that shit and drank their mimosas, but everyone was really friendly and the shop is just adorable. No ragrets. Finally, I made it home just before the next snow storm – and I’m happy to report that I wasn’t hit on by a 14 year old this time. Also, the Philadelphia airport is WAY nicer than I remember.

I had an amazing time – the workshop obviously being the highlight of the trip, but it was so wonderful getting to hang with everyone and meet some great new people (and reunite with people I know I already love :) ). If you were interested in taking the workshop, but were put off by the price or didn’t know what to expect – hopefully this revs your engine a little :) It’s definitely an experience! For a more in-depth recap, with lots more photos (as well as a run down of all the vendors who contributed to all the pretty that you see), check out Maddie’s blog.

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I am just gonna leave this picture here, because I think it really illustrates the class well. There is alcohol and cookies on that table – and we can’t tear ourselves away from the machines. TYPICAL.

Disclaimer: I was given a free ticket to the Bra Making Workshop, in exchange helping with prep, set up, and trouble shooting – as well as keeping Maddie’s nerves calmed for her first class (I shit you not, she started VACUUMING her condo like 30 minutes before we had to leave that morning hahaha). I paid for all my travel and food expenses, but my workshop ticket was gratis! This review is just cos I think the class was awesome, and I wanted to talk about it.

Completed: Floral Butterick 5526

4 Feb

What’s that, you say? This is Butterick 5526 overkill?

deal with it
noragrets

~I DO WHAT I WANT~

B5526 Floral

In all seriousness, though, I did have a small internal debate about posting yet another shirt of the pattern I’ve talked about to death, but ultimately – I mainly use this blog as a sort of digital diary of my projects (truth: the entire purpose behind my tagging system & the Lurk My Closet pages are specifically so I can quickly find old projects without having to spend a lot of time searching haha), and I think this particular shirt has earned a spot in the archives. I’m really pleased with the resulting fit and finish, and I feel really good about the particular fabric I used (print aside – although, I gotta say, it’s pretty gorgeous!).

B5526 Floral

B5526 Floral

Unfortunately, that means I have less to talk about as I think I’ve pretty much milked this shit for all it’s worth. Fortunately, I feel really really confident in my shirtmaking skillz. I’ve pretty much got my construction down to a science, I know what fabrics are best suited for this style + the way I like it to look, and, dammit, I just really really love shirtmaking. So precise! So clean! So wearable every day basics!

B5526 Floral

As I mentioned, this is Butterick 5526, sewn up in a beautiful cotton shirting that I bought on Goldhawk Road in London. A lot of people have pointed out that the print resembles a Liberty print – and, while I agree, I also am pretttty sure it’s not the real deal. For one, I don’t remember exactly how much I paid for it, but I know it was less than the £25 they charge per meter at the Liberty store. Also, the selvedge is blank, if not missing entirely. That being said, it’s a very fine, soft shirting cotton – so maybe it fell off the truck? Maybe it’s an end bolt? An ~inspired~ knock-off? I dunno.

At any rate, it’s gorgeous. I just love the colors – the florals are a little less girly here, a little more of that 60s groovy that I’m really drawn to lately. The fabric itself is soft and has just enough drape to really make the shirt hang nicely. I’ve learned that I don’t care for true cotton shirtings in this pattern – when they’re stiff, I don’t think they look right on me. Give me something softer with a little bit of drape, like a cotton voile!

B5526 Floral

I don’t have any ~special tips~ for working with this fabric. Same as it ever was – just use a new needle, take your time with cutting and sewing, enjoy the ride, etc etc.

B5526 Floral

Oh, I think I nailed down a good sleeve length! Butterick 5526 in polka dot chambray (that’s my favorite one and I wear it ALL THE TIME. I have to hide it from myself so I don’t have too much of a good thing, ha) started out with sleeves too long, and I debated shortening them – but after a conversation with Landon, he brilliantly pointed out that they might shrink up a little after a couple of washes (even with prewashing, this can happen – which is always something I consider with pants, but never shirts. Which is why all my flannels have sleeves that are too short now haha). So I decided to leave the sleeves long and wait – and I’m so glad I did, because that’s exactly what happened. They shrank and are the perfect length now. So for this shirt, I used the same sleeve length and I think it’ll shrink up just right. The placket fits and it’s the right length (unlike my silk georgette B5526, wah), which is pretty prime if you ask me.

B5526 Floral

The only change I made to this version was to remove a few inches of length. I’ve always felt that my collared shirts were a little too long, at least when worn over my higher-waisted pants (and no matter what I do, they look weird tucked in. Half tuck, full tuck, no tuck, doesn’t matter. I get this weird tuck gut and, ugh), so I copied the length from my Liberty button up and transferred it to this pattern. I am MUCH happier with the length now; I think it works better with my proportions.

B5526 Floral

The shirt is constructed entirely with flat-felled seams. Here is a flat-felled boob for your perusal.

B5526 Floral

B5526 Floral

I also added sleeve tabs, so I could roll up the sleeves when the weather decides to warm up. Didn’t want to choose between long or short sleeves, so I chose both! Also, bonus background cat. I think she was screaming for me to feed her at that point (I’m sure you can tell just by looking at my portly feline that she is indeed not starving, but she would lead you to believe otherwise).

B5526 Floral

Here it is with the sleeves rolled up. I love these tabs because I think the rolled up sleeves look neater when buttoned into place. Of course, that means there is a visible button and some stitching on the outside of the sleeve, but I can deal with that. I was curious as to whether I’d find the tab annoying when it’s not being used (aka rubbing against my arm on the inside of my sleeve), but I have some pajamas that use the same concept and they don’t bother me at all.

B5526 Floral

B5526 Floral

B5526 Floral

B5526 Floral

Did you notice the buttons? Here’s a close-up:

B5526 Floral

Haha! I always save the buttons from Landon’s shirts when they are getting thrown away (we are talking super worn out to the point of not being worthy of donated), since I tend to be pretty conservative with my button choices and, hey, free buttons. I almost didn’t want to go with these because I’m not crazy about the branding on them, but, whatever. They match the print really well. Can’t argue with that. And I do love American Eagle – or, at least I did when I was a teen (yes, this is the same teen/same time when I was wearing black vinyl pants. What can I say, I like their take on the classics haha), I haven’t been in there recently enough to form an judgement opinion.

B5526 Floral

That’s all I got! Kind of a boring post, but quite a useful garment. I am really enjoying making the same pattern over and over – no need to reinvent the wheel with my fitting, and it’s kind of fun to see the obvious improvements with each make. I’ve had a few people ask me if I have plants to make the new Sewaholic Granville Shirt, and while the pattern looks beautiful, I think I’m just going to stick with what I know I already love and has been fitted to my liking. Again, not trying to reinvent the wheel here! Although, I’ve been watching the shirtmaking posts with great interest. There’s always so much to learn, I love it!

As a side note – those are my Ginger jeans I’m wearing in these photos. I’ve been wearing them off and on for about 2 weeks, and they’ve held up their shape really nicely. I’m actually pretty surprised – most of my handmade pants need to be washed after about 2 wears because they stretch out all crazy and don’t recover until they hit the dryer. The denim I used for these jeans is nowhere near the quality of my I+W jeans, but I don’t have any complaints (except for that I didn’t consider shrinkage when drying, and now they are a tiny bit short. On the flip side – this might be the first time pants have ever had too short of an inseam on me, which is sort of exciting it’s in own way). Now if only I had more… Heather, will you pls go denim shopping with me again? Thnx.

Tutorial: An Easy Elastic Waistband

29 Jan

Hey dudes! Real quick before I jump into tutorial-land this morning – New Vogue Sewing patterns are out! Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had quite a few people ask me when I would be posting my review. Not gonna happen, guys – at least not for this set, and no, not because of anything to do with me+The McCall Pattern Company. Have you seen the new patterns? There’s really nothing to make fun of! Which is good, because it shows that Vogue is listening to our pleas, I guess, but no jokies for us this time around. The only pattern I see that I really don’t like at all is this Koos Van Den Akker monstrosity that calls itself V1441- but, again, it’s Koos Van Den Akker, which should explain everything. Kind of hard to poke fun at something that’s intentionally designed to look crazy, you know? :) In the news of things I do like – there’s V9077, which is a dress I don’t completely understand, but I think I like it anyway. Aaaaand, that’s about all that warrants any mention from the new collection. Sorry if you were expecting more! Trust me, you don’t want to see a post of me trying to pull humor out of a humorless situation :) Feel free to turn this into a debate on whether or not I’ve sold out to Vogue (the answer is no, but, I REALLY love a good conspiracy theory, and I’m sure some of y’all do too!)

Ok, so, onward to the tutorial!

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I’ve had a few requests for this, so here ya go – my tutorial for attaching an elastic waistband to your leggings (or skirt, or whatever. I ain’t here to judge your love for elasticized comfort!). While the usual method of leaving a hole in the seam and feeding the elastic through is definitely non-brainer easy, I prefer this particular method as it doesn’t allow the elastic to twist at all – not while you’re feeding it through the hole (that ALWAYS happens to me, ugh!), and not while you’re wearing and washing them. It stays in place and that’s pretty awesome! Also bonus is that you don’t have a tiny hole to close up afterwards. Whoop whoop!

Anyway, I learned this method from Katie of Papercut Patterns, and it’s definitely my favorite way to elastic the shit out of my waistbands. It is my understanding that she updated that the Ooh La Leggings pattern has been updated to include this method, so this is mainly for those of us who have an older copy of the pattern and/or want to elasticize something else. It does require a little bit of finesse while sewing, but it ain’t nothing you can’t handle ;) This is also a great method if you are using an elastic that is too wide and thus needs to be cut down – I started with 3″ wide elastic, but I needed 1″, so I just cut right down the middle (well, ish). Since the elastic is going to be attached to the fabric by machine, it’s ok to cut is as the stitches will prevent it from unraveling over time :) Just make sure your elastic has a very tight weave – if it’s a loose weave, it’s best to leave it uncut as there ain’t nothing that’ll keep that shit from unraveling!

Elastic Waistband Tutorial

Start by cutting your elastic to the desired size (I prefer about 4″ of negative ease at my waist, but it’s a matter of personal preference!), including an additional 1″-2″ for overlap. Pin the elastic with the inch overlap so it makes a circle.

Elastic Waistband Tutorial

Sew down all four edges where the elastic overlaps, making sure it’s secure. Ideally, you’d use a zigzag stitch for this – but my machine was already threaded with the double needle, so I used a double needle. I have yet to have a problem with this stitch, so there’s that! I like to stitch over each area twice to be really sure that it’s secure – you don’t want your elastic coming apart after you’ve sewn it into your pants!

Elastic Waistband Tutorial

Divide the elastic into 4 equal sections, either by using a ruler or just folding it in half and half again. Mark each point with a pin, making sure one section is in the center of the part you just overlapped and sewed. If your pattern does not include notches for dividing the waist into 4 equal sections, you’ll want to do so now as well on your garment.

Elastic Waistband Tutorial

On the INSIDE of your garment, match the 4 elastic sections with the 4 pants sections, keeping the overlapped elastic at the center back. If you trimmed down the width of your elastic, it is a good idea to match this area to the raw edge of your fabric, so it will be sewn and enclosed later. You will notice that the elastic is not quite as long as the garment in each section – that’s ok, we will stretch to fit in the next step :)

Elastic Waistband Tutorial

Using a serger (or a sewing machine with a zigzag stitch), attach the elastic to the garment. Go slowly and focus on one section at a time, stretching as much as you need to to get the pieces to fit. If you are using a serger, be careful not to trim off too much of your elastic edge – if at all possible, try not to trim off any. Keeping your elastic one uniform width will help with accurate topstitching later.

Elastic Waistband Tutorial

Your garment should look like this – on the inside, attached at the top, elastic loose at the bottom.

Elastic Waistband Tutorial

Now fold the elastic to the inside one time, which will completely encase it with fabric. Pin into place if needed – I like to pin again at the 4 equal sections (this part doesn’t have to be exact, you can just eyeball it).

Elastic Waistband Tutorial

Using a twin needle or a zigzag stitch, topstitch the elastic into place along the previously sewn edge. Gently stretch the elastic in each section, the same way you did when first attaching it. I’ve found that it’s easiest if I hold both the front and back with my hands, and gently guide the fabric as I sew. Stop with the needle down as you finish each section, readjust, and start the next section. Backstitch at the end.

If you’re using a twin needle, you’ll need to topstitch from the right side – this is where keeping the elastic a uniform width is handy. I mark my machine with a post-it note (I’m not adorable enough to use Washi tape, which I see everyone else using haha) to keep everything aligned so I catch the edge of the elastic as well as sew a straight line, but you can also feel it through all the layers. If you are using a zigzag stitch, you can get away with sewing on the wrong side so you can keep an eye on the elastic – but do try to sew a straight line, otherwise, it’ll be real obvious haha.

Elastic Waistband Tutorial

Elastic Waistband Tutorial

And that’s it! Not too hard, huh? Like I said, I really love this method because it keeps the elastic from twisting – it stays in place foreeeever! Also, the overlap at the center back is a handy way to quickly tell front from back just by feeling it – which, I don’t know about you, but I don’t sew tags in my clothes, so that’s pretty freaking useful! Only downside is that you’ll really have a lot of work to do once the elastic eventually wears out, but I personally think it’s worth it, if only to prevent elastic twist!

Let me know if you have any questions! Or if you just want to discuss those new Vogue patterns. Maybe you see something ridiculous that I overlooked??

Completed: Ooh La Leather Leggings

26 Jan

Ok, so, the title of this post is a tiny bit misleading – these aren’t leather leggings so much as they just have a panel of faux stretch pleather. BUT, it sounded catchy (as long as I ignore all the weird Google search terms that will likely lead people straight to this post, aiee), so it stays.

Leggings & Ensis Tee

Anyway, like, ~Ooh La La Leather~ or some shit, amirite?

Leggings & Ensis Tee

In all seriousness, I’ve mentioned before that this is my favorite leggings pattern. I have a couple more patterns in my stash that I haven’t even bothered to try because I JUST CANNOT QUIT me some Ooh La Leggings. I love the way they fit and I love the seaming detail. Made up in a thicker ponte, they almost pass for actual pants. Made up in a thinner material, they are great for lounging and sleepwear. Made up in some crazy lycra, they make amazing workout/yoga pants. Basically, they are my dream leggings and you will have to pry this pattern out of my cold, dead hands.

Because I love this pattern so so much, it goes without saying that I’ve made a metric Shit Ton of these leggings over the past two years. Obviously most of them haven’t made it to the blog – after sharing a couple pairs, they kind of get redundant. And y’all know how much I hate redundancy, at least when it comes to my own blog. So while you might occasionally see a pair pop up in a post (without needing to be the center of attention), they spend much more time in the real world than they do the blog world. And I do wear the shit out of all my pairs, so there’s that.

Leggings & Ensis Tee

With that being said, I think it’s ok/non-redundant to post about this pattern if I’ve done something ~unique with it. Which is exactly what I did. Check out my (faux)(p)leather (paneled) leggings, y’all!

Leggings & Ensis Tee

I found this stretch pleather on Goldhawk Rd while fabric shopping in London. It was one of the very few things I had on my list to buy, as I knew I’d need to be able to actually touch the fabric to make sure it stretched enough and wasn’t toooo shiny. Not that I’m against shiny pleather pants – I had a pair when I was in high school, back when I worked at Hot Topic and thought I was sOoOoOo punk rock (and no, I have no idea why my mom didn’t veto those things! HAHA! I must have looked like such a little baby hooker!) – but, being nearly 30 now, I’m an adult and I have to tone things down just the tiniest bit, at least when it comes to my pants. ANYWAY, this pleather is pretty good, I think – as far as pleather goes. It’s very stretchy, it’s not too shiny, and the wrong side has a nice fabric backing so it’s actually quite comfortable against the skin. Or, rather, as comfortable as pleather leggings can get.

Leggings & Ensis Tee

Since my pattern was nice enough to already have all the piecing done for me, I just cut the side panels in the stretch pleather, and the remaining pieces (front and back legs, as well as the yokes) in this black polyester Ponte de Roma. The Ponte de Roma was pretty shiny on one side – like, way more shiny than I was expecting – so I sewed it with the wrong side facing out, which looks a bit more polished. I sewed everything on my serger, as I do, and omitted the topstitching as I was afraid that piercing the pleather would cause it to wear holes that would eventually tear.

As far as actually sewing the pleather, that part was surprisingly easy! Keep in mind that stretch pleather (as well as non-stretch, as well as leather, etc) does show pin holes, so you need to be reeeeeally mindful of your pin usage (aka, don’t use ‘em if you can’t pin inside the seam allowance!). I traced my side panel piece with a Chaco liner before cutting on a single layer. I did not pin my pieces together, except for one part at the hem just to hold it in place while I topstitched (I usually don’t pin my hems for knits, just press them – but you can’t press pleather! One little pin hole at the hem is ok with me, anyway). The sewing part did not require any special forethought or tools – due to the fabric backing of this material, it went through my machine just fine without the need for a Teflon foot. I used a regular stretch needle. Et voila!

Leggings & Ensis Tee

While I’ve got your attention, I guess I’ll also talk about my shirt – because y’all know I made that shit too!

Leggings & Ensis Tee

The pattern is the Ensis Tee, also from Papercut Patterns (ooh, I just heart me some Papercut!). I’ve made this before, albeit in a thicker/less drapey knit, so I think this version deserves a little bit of spotlight :) It’s amazing how different it looks with a drapier fabric, yeah? Honestly, I like this version a lot better – I think it’s a lot more flattering (plus, it’s wool, so it’s pretty snuggly!). The top yoke is a piece of wool knit I bought in Paris, and the bottom is this cool steel grey sweater knit. I bought that knit on a whim, and it’s pretty cool – it has a lot of dimension to the color, and you can really see the knit stitches due to the somewhat loose gauge. It’s also wide and VERY stretchy in both directions – I might use the rest to make a pair of tights. Also, I need some kind of grey knit intervention. I keep buying pieces and this shit is getting out of handddd. Like, I really want that pewter grey but I’m gonna resist. I must resist.

Leggings & Ensis Tee

This is basically the same picture as above, just without my head.

Leggings & Ensis Tee

This tee whipped up fast! I had it cut and sewn within a couple of hours – and honestly, it took that long because of all the topstitching I added. I topstitched the colorblocking at the yokes and sleeves, as well as the neckline, using my stretch twin need and wooly nylon in the bobbin. I think it adds a little extra to an otherwise plain tshirt. Oh, and that yellow tab at the neckline is my laundry reminder not to wash this in the machine – because it’s wool :)

Leggings & Ensis Tee

I kept the curved hem, left off the hem band, but added cuffs to the sleeves. Happy sweater-hybrid-tshirt-thing!

Leggings & Ensis Tee

And here are my leggings again, because I know you’re just dying to see them one more time. As a side note – I used a different method to attach the elastic waistband (rather than feed it through a hole like the pattern instructs). I took some pictures while I was doing this, which I’m hoping to make into a tutorial at some point later this week.

Leggings & Ensis Tee

Anyway, that’s mah new threads! Basics with a lil’ twist! What do you think? Am I going to burn someone’s eyes out with my leather leggings? Should my mom have not let me leave the house in those pleather pants? Man, I wish I had pictures of that ensemble. Sooo glad the only social media platform we had back then was makeoutclub.com HAHAHA.

As a side note – if you think my hair looks green, it’s because it is! It was due for a redye, and I decided to go green :) I’m using a new dye that I bought in London, at the suggestion of Nicole – we’ll see how it holds up! I gotta say, I’m not looking forward to the fading… green always fades so ugly. Also, these pictures are REALLY deceiving. It’s much brighter and more emerald in real life. I took these pictures on a grey and overcast day, so the color is kind of sludgy here. I don’t know how to color correct my photos, so this is what you get. Sorry, not sorry :)

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