Sunday, December 18, 2016

Achievement Unlocked: Bras!

When I started on this journey of a me-made wardrobe I wanted to get to the point where I made every stitch of clothing that I had on at any given point. The two things that made that seem difficult were pants and bras. Well I have a couple of pants patterns ready and waiting for me and I just finished making my second bra!

It turns out that, although intimidating, bras are actually fairly easy. It took me a long time to work my way up to actually making one though.

First I bought the pattern and a couple of kits. Then I let those sit for a couple months while I caught up on other projects. Finally at Thankgiving I bought the Craftsy class on bra making. I am really glad I bought the class (and even happier I waited for it to be on sale). Following along with the class made it really easy to figure out otherwise difficult steps.

And ta-da! My first bra:

I should probably have put it against a dark background so the picture popped a little more. Oh well. The fit on my very first attempt was good enough to wear, but not perfect. Fortunately the Crafsty class goes through how to fix fit issues, although this one I could have figured out on my own. 

This biggest issue was that I had extra fabric in the power bar, so I just cut the pattern and overlapped it about 1/4" and that solved that problem. The band also felt a little snug so I lengthened it 1/2" my new one feels just a little loose so I think on my third I will only lengthen the back by 1/4"

I think that might be the most intimidating issue of bra making, that something as little as 1/8" or 1/4" inch can totally change the fit. 

Here is my second bra:

I am so in love with the colors on this one! 

It's even fun on the inside!

So, in addition to the changes for fit I also got bolder with the lace. On the first bra I put the lace exactly where the pattern said to put lace. (By the way it's the Shelly bra pattern by Pin-up Girls in case I haven't mentioned that yet). For the second bra I sewed the cups and basically draped lace on them to figure out how I wanted to arrange it. I'm pretty happy with the result and it allowed me to use the cute neckline trim that came with my kit. I didn't use the neckline trim on the first bra because it had lace on the neckline edge of the cups, but I was just so enjoying that fuchsia I had to use it on the second bra.

It isn't quite the "butterfly lace" pattern that Beveryly Johnson recommends in the Craftsy class but I think it came out really pretty.

One word of caution: Check the heat on your iron before pressing. I sew almost entirely with natural fibers so I tend to crank the heat pretty high on my iron. Bra fabrics are mostly nylon and polyester though. I thought I had turned the heat down low enough on my iron but clearly I didn't because I managed to melt the power net for my back band. Oops!

Fortunately the kits from Bra Maker's Supply and really generous with the fabrics. I think I have enough fabric for two more bras, I just need mor underwire and elastics. So I was able to cut out a new back band piece and away I went but it was still a pout worthy moment.

All's well that ends well though and I have two pretty me-made bras! I am so happy with this newly acquired skill. I cannot wait to make more!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Quilted Skirt

Two posts in two days, it's a miracle! Actually it's just that my husband got me a new computer for my birthday so I'm trying to get (and maybe even stay) caught up. Blogging is so much easier when you have a computer that actually works.

And speaking of birthdays, my wonderful mother-in-law got me Gertie Sews Vintage Casual. I think my love affair with Gertie's designs is pretty well established at this point. The book has a lot of really cute patterns in it. I am really looking forward to trying out the pants pattern. It doesn't have a fly front so it's a bit less intimidating then making jeans, but will give me the chance to practice fitting pants. 

But before I takle the pants pattern I made one of the skirts.

This is the Quilted Skirt from the book. Gertie's suggested using flannel for the inside layer, but being a true Pacific Northwest girl I put the flannel on the outside! The plaid pattern also made quilting it a total breeze, I just threw on my walking foot and bisected the squares on the plaid. Here is a close up of the quilting:

Having squares already there to follow made it super easy and saved me all of the time of marking the quilting lines. Otherwise this skirt would have taken hours longer to make.

I totally love the finished skirt. I think the drape in wonderful and it's super warm and cozy. I think I'm just going to live in this skirt for the rest of the winter. I might even make more in other colors.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Salvedged Skirt

I love Halloween more than any other holiday of the year. I was really excited this year to dress up as a "Mad Housewife" like the image on one of my favorite wines. I picked out a cute 50's vintage pattern from McCall's and some inexpensive dark purple cotton. I borrowed Mom's purls and made those cute lace gloves from this post.

And it all went downhill from there.

It ended up not really mattering because I had a migraine on Halloween and didn't dress up or go out, but man was my dress just one problem after another.

First Jo-Ann's shorted me a yard of fabric. We all know that cotton shrinks, which is why it is important to pre-wash garment fabric, but even the store admitted that I wouldn't have lost more than a yard to shrinkage, but they also wouldn't do anything about it because I had already washed the fabric. I was a bit miffed to say the least.

So I bought two more yards of fabric to be able to lay out the remaining pieces. The new piece wasn't from the same dye lot, so even though I doubt anyone else would have noticed I was very aware that the front bodice and sleeves were a different shade than the back bodice and skirt. Grrrr.

So I get to the sewing the dress together part and it has a side zipper so I did a French seam on all but the left side seam, where I did a clean seam. Or at least that's what I was planning on doing. Somewhere I got turned around and ended up with a clean seam on the left side of my bodice and a French seam of the left side of my skirt, so I couldn't install the zipper on either side without undoing at least one French seam.

But that turned out not to matter because the dress was so big that I didn't even need the zipper to get it on and off.

So I put in the back of my sewing chair in time out while I tried to figure out how to salvage it.

At the end of the day I decided that I wasn't over fond of the neckline either, so I chopped off the entire bodice. There was just to much fabric used to not try and get something out of it.

I think the skirt came out pretty darn cute. To solve the issue of it being too big, and the zipper being on the wrong side I cut up the center of the skirt and added a button band. By folding over 1/4" and then another inch on each side I got rid of the 2.5" extra inches, it didn't pull the side seams to noticeably far forward and I think the buttons are really pretty. Then I just added a waistband, hemmed it and called it good.

Here is a close up on the buttons. I added 12 of them, going all the way down the front of the skirt.

I wore the skirt for thanksgiving dinner at my in-laws house and I felt very pretty! So all is well that ends well, even if it was sort of a pain in the patootie.