May Bra: modified straps

My bra journey continues. The next lesson in my craftsy class is all about straps. For this bra I made short tapered straps:

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This is a quite easy alteration. The strap extensions (if any) are cut away and the top of the cup is straightened (which mine was already) and for the straps a piece of fabric is folded in half and sewn to the top cup.

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The neckline is finished with picot elastic. I like how the elastic peaks out in front of the strap. If you use an elastic in a different color from your main fabic this will stand out even more.

Here is how it looks on the inside. You see that the strap was sewn to the cup when I made the second row of stitching for the elastic.

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I lined my cups again with a cotton jersey. For this bra I took my time while sewing and it looks much neater than the one before. I also made a row of topstitching on the inner outer side of the underwire as shown in Beverlys first class. This really helped to avoid shifting of the fabric when sewing the second pass of the underwire casing.

I also made the lower cup a bit larger. For this I raised the upper edge about 1.5 cm. In the picture below you see the original cup piece on the left and the new one on the right.

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However, this did not really solve the problem that the bust point is above the cup seam. The lower cup now is somehow rather flat at the bottom. For the next version I will try to make a vertical seam in the lower cup and add a bit along that seam. I also realized if I make one bra for every change that Beverly shows in her class I will end up with a lot of bras. So from now on I will combine two or more changes in one bra. And if I achieve a fit and combination that I really like I will make it up in a pretty fabric. But for now you will have to bear with my boring plain abricot bras. The advantage on the other hand is that I can compare my bras really well as I always use the same fabric and notions. See you next month for the June bra!

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Style Arc Posh Top

This year I really thought about participating in “Me Made May”. But I do not need any motivation to wear my me made clothes. And I wear “me made” everyday, sometimes just my socks are not me made, sometimes only my undies are me made. The only challenge for me would be the daily photoshoot (ok, this would be a real challenge, but I do not want to take that). So I just continue with my usual posting and try to finally catch up with my backlog. Here is the first one, completed already three weeks ago.

After finishing my Butterick 6285 ensemble (no decent pictures yet….) I wanted to sew something “quick and easy”. I need some tops for summer, so I sewed the Style Arc Posh Top. This is a cute little top with gathers from the neckline and with cord shoulder straps.

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Source: Style Arc

Yesterday it was finally warm enough to take some pictures!

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Fabric:

The fabric is a cotton single jersey from The Smugglers Daughter. I liked the print, but when the fabric arrived I was a bit disappointed because it is really thin and it does not have any recovery and felt like it would stretch out only by looking at it. So it lay in my stash for some time. I think (hope) that it works with this pattern though as this is a loose style. Style Arc recommends to use “soft falling knit fabric”. This is important due to the gathering at the neckline. I think you could also try a lightweight woven fabric.

Alterations:

I sewed a size 8. I added 2 cm to the side seams at the hem, but took this out again as the hem got too flared. I also tried to shape the waist a bit more (despite the line drawing the side seams are a straight line from armhole to hem) but somehow the top got distorted. In the end I made no changes at all.

Construction Notes:

For the cords I folded my fabric strip in half and serged along the raw edge. I then used the thread tail to turn the tube inside out. This worked like a charm.

IMG_7472_Bildgröße ändernFor the armhole the edges are just folded to the inside and topstichted in place. I tried to make sure not to stretch the fabric and gave it a good steam afterwards.

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The hem allowance is wider than I would usually make for a T-Shirt, but with this lightweight fabric it adds a little bit of weight to the hem and I like it.

Conclusion:

This is an easy little top, perfect for summer. You can adjust the neckline with the cord, but you should still be aware that there is some gaping when you bend over. But I think for such a loose fitting style this is normal.

Linked to Me Made Mittwoch

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Little Owls

Sometimes, but only sometimes, I do not sew lingerie or gaments. I am not much in home decor sewing or quilting or accessories like bags. But last weekend I made these cute little fellows:

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I first saw this pattern on Rhonda’s blog and wanted to make some since then. It just took me nearly 1 1/2 years…Rhonda posted a lot of details how to make these including a link to the pattern and also a video. So check out her posts here, here and here out if you want to make some for yourself. I made mine without a washer as they are just decorative and I do not want to use them as a pattern weight. They are stuffed with cotton batting. And I discovered they are great to use some fabric scraps (which I have far too much).

What is your favorite use for fabric scraps? I need some ideas, please let me know in the comments!

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How to line foam cups

Today I will show you how to line foam cups. There might be other techniques but this is how I do it.

When I start sewing a bra I like to lay out all my pieces rouhgly like they will be sewn into the bra. This is especially important if you have right and left cup pieces that look almost the same. If ever possible I try to have the pieces lying in this order on my sewing table until they are used.

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1. Take your lower cup pieces and lay the wrong side of the lining onto the inner side of the foam:

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2. Baste along the cup seam (this is the upper edge that will be sewn to the upper cup). Do not yet baste along the other edges.

3. Do the same with the upper cup pieces. Baste along the lower edge.

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4. Sew the upper and lower cup together by butting the edges together. I use a “Wabenstich” for this seam (stich no 19 in the picture below. How is it called in English?). If you do not have one you can also use a 3-fold zigzag stitch.

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I also like to sew a seam tape to the outer side of the cup in the same step. This prevents the seam from showing through on the outside.
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This is how it looks on both sides:

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5. Prepare your bias tape. I cut a silk strip on the bias. It should be at least 1.5 cm (5/8 ”) wide. First fold the tape in half and press:

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Open up the tape again and press both sides using the fold in the center as a guide

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Now you are ready to sew the bias tape onto the cup seam.

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You can also use purchased bias tape or satin ribbon or anything else that is wide enough to cover the seam.

6. Lay the bias tape over the inner cup seam and sew with a slightly longer straight stitch (3.5) along both edges.

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On the outside the stitches are hidden

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7. Baste the lining to the outer edges of the foam. Make sure that is lays flat on the foam. The lining might be slightly bigger (because it is on the inside of the curved cup). Trim away the excess lining (I haven’t done this yet on the picture below). Now you are ready to sew your bra as usual.

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I hope this little tutorial (my first one!) was helpful. I have already ideas to use a contrasting fabric for the lining to give a bra some extra appeal.

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April Bra: BHS10 modified

It has been a bit quite here on the blog. If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen that I did sew, but I just was not in the mood of taking pictures and writing a blog post. I had some busy weeks and now that everything is back to a normal pace I try to catch up with my backlog.

But first I will share my latest make, a new bra. As I said in my last post I am working through the craftsy class “Sewing bras designer techniques”. Beverly uses a bra with a 2-piece cup for demonstrating the alterations. I thought it might be easier to follow the class if I changed my Merckwaerdigh BHS10 3-piece cup to a 2-piece cup. This meant to eliminate the power bar. At the end of the class is a lesson how to add a power bar. So I made just the opposite.

As I was really unsure if this would work out and if I would like the result, I first made a few paper cups and then sewed the bra in some rather boring material. I have a lot of this fabric, so I will use it for trial bras in the future too.

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IMG_7348_Bildgröße ändernIn addition to altering the cups, I also tried some other techniques. I lined the cups with cotton knit and finished the cup seams on the inside with silk bias tape that I made from some silk scraps. This needs still some improvement, but I love the result. It looks nice and clean and the feel on the skin is really cozy. For the lining I cut the cotton knit the same size as the foam pieces, basted them together and treated them like one layer. I did this to avoid the bulk of additional seam allowances on the cup inside.

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Else there is not much to say about this bra. I like the shape of the 2-piece cup. For my next bra I will try to give more volume to the lower cup as my bust point is above the cup seam. I have this also with my other BHS10 bras so this is not a result of my alteration.

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March Bra: BHS10 modified

I decided to work my way through the Craftsy class “Sewing Bras – Designer Techniques” from Beverly Johnson. The first lesson is about how to change your full band bra into a partial band bra. This is not so difficult once you understand the main difference between both styles. In a full band bra the channeling for the wires lies outside the cups and is sewn onto the band. In a partial band bra the channeling lies inside the cup. This is logically as there is no band under the cup where the channeling could be sewn onto. Basically you have to make the cups bigger at the side where the channeling will be and change the band and bridge.

I used my TNT Merckweardigh BHS10 pattern and here is what I came up with:

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IMG_7319Besides of changing the pattern to a partial band bra I also altered the straps. For this more delicate bra I did not want to have the fabric straps. So I just cut them of.

I still have a lot of that stretchy lace fabric left over that I used for my lady shorts and the bralette. In fact I wanted to make a bra that goes with the ladyshorts. The cups are lined with unstretchy skin colored tulle. The band is one layer of powernet.

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The order of construction is a bit different than for a full band bra, but Beverly also explains how to sew the partial band bra in the class. I like how a lot of the inside seams are finished with the channeling. Who does not love a clean inside? For the neckline I tried a new to me technique and finished it with a picot elastic. I like the look.

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Unfortunately, I think I made a mistake with the bridge. It turned out to be too wide, and it is about 0.5 cm wider than on my other bras. This causes the upper cup to make wrinkles. You do not see it on the dummy as she has a bigger bust size than me.

I wish you all a lovely Easter weekend!

 

Fabric: black stretchy lace (source unknown), tulle from Sewy

Powernet, elastics and channeling: Wien2002

Underwires: Spitzenparadies

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February Bra: Make Bra Free Bralette & String Set Pattern

Hi everybody,

Today I have something a bit different for my monthly bra, the free bralette and string pattern from Make Bra:

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As this is difficult to photograph when it lays on the floor, and as it does not make sense to take a picture from the black bralette on my black dress form, and as I am not willing to model it for you, you will have to refer to the picture from the Makebra site to see how it looks on the body:
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This is a really cute, little strappy set and I especially like the bralette. The fabric is sheer lace that is a leftover from my Ladyshorts.

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For the elastic I used foldover elastic. The pattern is for regular elastic. At some places I had to cut the fabric to make it work for the foldover elastic. I did not have the recommended wide elastic for the bottom in black so I sewed a casing for the elastic out of black cotton batiste that I had in my stash. I made sure that the length of the casing was the same as the elastic when stretched to its maximum. In order to sew the cup pieces to the bottom elastic I put the elastic around my dress form and pinned everything in place. While sewing I stretched the elastic so that the cup fabric would lay flat.

The inside looks quite messy at least for me:

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First I was afraid that I would feel all those raw edges, but I do not. However, after some hours it starts to itch. But this is not a set that you wear all day long.

I found the instructions not very clear at some points, especially for the string. This was such a nightmare to sew and somehow the elastic always got twisted. In the end I put it on and tried to lay the elastic how it should and pinned it in place. Somehow it was twisted again when I put on the string the next time. I think I unpicked it at least five times….I may also have misunderstood the instructions at some point, as one elastic is a bit too long while another one is too tight. Look at this mess:

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You also have to pay attention where each elastic belongs when you put on the string. I did not fix the elastic in the front where they cross each other. The instruction did not say anything about it and so I am still able to adjust them how I like.

The pattern comes in one size only. I did not find any hint for what size range it might be, but I think it is rather for small sizes. As the cups looked a bit huge to me, I made them smaller. I marked a point 1.5 cm below the upper corner and drew a line from there to both lower corners, keeping the bottom of the cup as is. I now think that it would not have been necessary. But on the other hand, it is totally appropriate for this teeny tiny bralette to have teeny tiny cups, don’t you think so?

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Work in progress: Vogue 8667

Remember when I said that I would make the Davina dress in a wool knit? Plans have changed though when the fabric arrived. The knit is from Anita Pavani and it is lovely but it  has onlysome mechanical stretch. So not a good match for the Davina dress pattern. Instead I decided to treat the fabric rather like a woven and searched my stash for a suitable pattern. I ended up with Vogue 8667:

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I have made this pattern already twice a few years ago, that is in 2011.

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While I still love and wear the yellow dress, the other one does not get any wear anymore. When I cut the front skirt on the fold I did not notice that the fabric had some kind of flaw in weaving along the fold. Maybe you notice the line in the picture. Both dresses are a bit tight in the bodice, so I wanted to check the fit before cutting in my good fabric. I thought I would be clever and save some time by using the lining as my muslin. In the end I think it was a more tedious work, because I the lining is a white silk. I did not want any markings to show so I thread traced all the seams and hand basted everything together.

In 2011 I did a lot of changes to the pattern and this is what I started with:

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I do not remember what I did, and there were some strange things happening like the two side seams not being the same length. Also the notches were quite spare. So I traced the pieces, trued the seams and added some notches. I did not add seam allowances as I intend to thread trace the seams on my wool knit.

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The changes I had to make on my “muslin” were quite small. I added 3 mm to all seams and an additional 0.5 cm to the bottom of the side seams, tapering to nothing at the top. I also had to lengthen the front by 2cm to have the waistline at the same level as in the back. For the skirt I used the included version of the pencil skirt. I had planned for a flared skirt, but I did not have enough fabric for that. Only change I made here was to add a cut-on facing for the vent.

As this will be a winter dress, I wanted to have long sleeves. I used the sleeves from another Vogue pattern, Vogue 8787. They fit well to the armhole and when I tried the muslin on I was quite happy with the fit on me.

Here is a little sketch of the dress:

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You see that my drawing skills are non-existent. I added a tiny bow to the neckline. Maybe I will also add a tie to the back, I have a bit fabric left. But first I am basting together the dress in the main fabric and will try it on again. If the fit is still good, sewing it up should be straightforward.

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January bra: Merckwaerdigh BHS10 in lace

What better way to start off the New Year than with a new lingerie set!

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This is again my go-to pattern, the Merckwaerdigh BHS10 and three different panties: Watson Bikini, Milano Slip and Lacey Thong from Fehr Trade. I decided to use a well known pattern for the bra as I wanted to sew it with lace and without foam and this meant a few new to me techniques. There was a lot of try-and-error, a lot of unpicking (I had the feeling that I sewed this bra at least three times), some mistakes and wonky stitches, but I am happy how it turned out in the end and I am really proud of it. It looks like a real grown-up bra!

When I asked my teacher last summer if I should make any changes to the pattern if I wanted to skip the foam, she said I should just use non-stretch lace. So I did not change my pattern. As the lace I used is a stretch lace I lined the cups with a non-stretch tulle in nude color. Despite labelled as “non-stretch” it had a slight give in one direction. I placed the pattern pieces so that the give would be in the horizontally direction. For the lace I made sure to have mirror images for all the different pieces.

I sewed the cups like this:

I put the lining and lace upper cup pieces together and finished the upper edge with small decollete elastic. I made sure that the lining edge ends at the lower edge of the lace scallops.

I sewed upper and lower cup together with the upper cup sandwiched between the lower cup pieces (as explained here).

I sewed the lining piece of the side cup piece to the cup.

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I clipped the lining at the point where the upper cup ends:

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I trimmed the seam allowances and flipped the lining piece over. I layed the lace side cup piece on top and sewed with a 3-stitch zig-zag along the scalloped edge. On the inside every seam was enclosed and neat:

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You see that I also finished the inner edge of the straps with a small elastic. On the outside you barely notice the stitching:

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I thought a bit how to finish the lower edge of the bra as I wanted the scallops to show off . I did not found any tutorial how to do this. In the end I first sewed the elastic to the lining in the first step, keeping the lace free:

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I did not have any elastic without decorative edge at hand, so I used one with a piping. Then I turned the elastic to the wrong side and sewed through all layers. In the same step I attached the end of the back straps to enclose this as well.

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I did forget to check the width of the band and compare it with my closure. Luckily this was a rather wide one, but I cheated a bit as my band was still a bit too wide. You see that I just turned the edge of the elastic to the inside:

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Look at that pattern matching of the bridge:

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The bra feels more tight than my foam bras but it is comfortable to wear. I wore it already twice and barely noticed it. And this is also the first bra that really stays in place the whole day! Even with my other bras I have the problem that they tend to crawl up a bit, although to a much smaller degree than the RTW bras.

Now for the panties. I used three different patterns. First my TNT pattern, the Watson bikini. I added some lace for more interest. I did not care too much about any pattern matching for the fabric.

IMG_7243_Bildgröße ändernI did forget to trim the seam allowance….

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The second pattern I used is the Milano from Spitzenparadies in size 36:

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It features a nice lace inset at the front piece. Else it is very similar to the Watson bikini.

IMG_7239_Bildgröße ändernLast I tried the Lacey thong pattern from Fehr trade. I found it a bit tricky to sew the lace to the crotch pieces and I did not get it right for the front.

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IMG_7241_Bildgröße ändernI am not too happy with the inside, it is a bit bulky where the lace meets the elastic:

IMG_7242_Bildgröße ändernBut I still like how it turned out. Next time I will shorten the crotch piece a little bit, and also make a bit smaller. Else the fit is good.

Fabric and elastic: Spitzenparadies

Tulle and powernet: Sewy

Small decollete elastic: Wien 2002

Lace:  Elingeria (this shop does not exist anymore)

 

 

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2015 Sewing Year in Review

2015 was a very productive year for me. I sewed around 34 garments: 4 T-Shirts, 2 culottes, 1 Hoodie, 1 jacket, 1 shorts, 3 dresses, 3 shirts, 2 pants, 2 tops, 8 panties, 4 bras, 2 lingerie sets, 1 camisole. That is a lot for me! In addition I knitted 3 cardigans and 2 pairs of gloves.

This year most of my makes got a lot of wear. These are my 5 favorites:

The garments I wear not very often are:

These are not loved mostly because of the fabric choice. I did not wear my dresses very often, but this was due to the rather cold summer. I hope they get more wear next year.

RTW Fast

I participated in the RTW fast this year, and I can say that I was successful. The only item I bought was a sports bra. I mastered two of my personal challenges: sewing lingerie and wearable pants. I am not sure if the RTW fast will officially continue next year, but that is not important for me. I know now that I can sew my complete own wardrobe. The only exception will be functional wear like rain coats and of course tights and socks! Sometimes you see self sewn tights or socks but the results have not yet persuaded me to try it out.

Pattern Testing

I did a lot of pattern testing for Itch to Stitch. I really enjoyed this even if it was stressful sometimes. I would not have finished so many garments without a deadline! On the other hand I noticed that sometimes I sacrificed my own standards due to time restrictions (I was very reluctant with unpicking anything). I will continue with pattern testing, but to a much lesser extent.

My goals for 2016? I am not sure. I sewed a lot of basics last year and I am drawn to more dresses, skirts and blouses. I am also tempted to work through the pattern making classes from Suzy Furrer on Craftsy. I have still a lot of unfinished projects lying around and an infinite todo list in my head. We will see what the new year holds for us.

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