achievement unlocked: black & pink Shelley bra & undies

I know! I just can’t stop making bras.

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Yet another Shelley bra from Pin-Up Girls! Of course. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Plus there are so many ways to change up the look of the same basic bra pattern. The one fitting change I made to this one was to raise the neckline a bit. I brought it up 1/2″ at the bridge, grading out to 1/4″ at the strap. I also had to adjust the bridge, power bar, & frame at the underarm to accommodate this change, but the result is that I have better upper breast coverage. To wit:

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I think the fit is pretty much perfect now! I’m toying with the idea of maybe raising the underarm area just a little, but it doesn’t seem necessary.

The above photo is lightened a bit so you can see the construction details. This whole thing was all my idea, & I really lucked out that it worked as well as it did. It occurred to me like 75% of the way through the construction that there was an easier way to achieve a similar effect, but that it was too late to implement it.

So. My vision was an all black bra with a ribbon lacing detail along the upper cup in lieu of lace. Instead, I would drape the lace across the finished bra front to cover the entire frame, with the scalloped edge climbing up the underbust area, but staying below the apex. I wanted to create a gravity-defying kind of illusion with the lace placement. I took a chance on laying my lace over the pattern piece for the half-frame (the frame is cut on the fold), covering the entire frame with the scallops across the empty cup area. I added a 1/4″ seam allowance at the bridge & cut two & sewed them together. As Beverly Johnson taught us in one of her bra classes on Etsy, a straight line placed across a sphere (such as a breast) will appear to curve, while a curved line will appear straight. As flat fabric, my lace piece appeared to dip down to a V at the bridge, but when draped across the bra with breasts in it, it creates this interesting optical illusion where it seems straight, but it clearly also angling down from the underarms to cross the breast under the apex. Pretty neat, huh?

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The sewing was a challenge. The thing I realized when it was too late is that I could have just cut a lace frame & a separate scalloped piece using the cup pattern pieces. It would have been difficult to match the scallops at the bridge, but eh.

It was too late for that kind of sensible construction though. Instead, I basted my lace to the edges of the frame all around after the entire front of the bra was finished, cups & channeling sewn in, etc, leaving the rest of the lace loose. I applied the band & underarm elastics & then I pulled the lace taut against the frame to mimic the stability of the Duoplex. My lace was a very slippery, wiggly stretch lace & it wanted to shift all around. I really wanted to avoid wrinkles from pulling the lace too taut or leaving it too loose in places that were already stable. I hand-basted the lace in place right at the wire line.

Then I took a deep breath & topstitched my channeling. Obviously this was very difficult because I couldn’t really see the seamline through the lace. I just had to feel for the channeling & pull the frame & cup without shifting the lace too much. Once I had my first line of topstitching in place, the second line was easier because I could just follow 1/4″ away from the first pass. If you can believe, I actually managed to get it right on my first try!

Then, pulling both the cup & the lace as taut as I could without creating distortion, to mimic the effect of the cup being filled with a breast, I zigzagged the scalloped edge in place. If you really look, you can see that it’s not 100% symmetrical across both cups, but you know what? There are no wrinkles, no pulls. I am THRILLED with how it turned out. This is the kind of effect that is used on foam cups all the time, because the shape of the foam mimics the shape of a breast, so the fabric manipulation is a lot easier. But there’s no foam in this. It’s just Duoplex. It could have gone so wrong.

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& then there’s the lacing. I’ve seen this effect a lot in RTW & a few times on blogs, but I couldn’t find any explanation of how to do it. Just stitching lengths of ribbon in place made me worry about the ribbon fraying over time. I really wanted to actually lace the ribbon through the cups, but I didn’t want to leave unfinished holes in my Duoplex. So I made buttonholes, seven in each cup. & then I added bows to the bridge & each strap.

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After all that, I left the back pretty understated. You can see I used pink elastics, channeling, sliders, & rings. I’m still not super-great at sewing on the hook & eye (it’s the hook part that gets me), but I’m getting better.

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Yeah, definitely not ready for contrast stitching there!

& of course, I also made matching undies.

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Black jersey Butterick 6031 finished with pink stretch lace. Doesn’t look like much from the front. The real interest is in the back.

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I cut a little triangle out of the center back & covered it with a little lace scrap I made with the scallops facing in opposite directions.

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It’s just a tiny bit sheer. A very subtle effect, but it pulls in the lace on the bra.

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& I ruched the sides, which is super-easy to do. Just zigzag some elastic to the wrong side of whatever you want to ruche, & stretch the elastic as you sew it. When you’re done, it will gather the fabric. You can do this with anything: lingerie, t-shirts, at the hems of leggings, whatever.

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So that’s that! I’m pretty pleased with this set. I’m wearing it right now & it’s pretty comfy. I feel like the color combo is maybe a little bit Frederick’s of Hollywood (not a good thing, in my eyes), but…pink is my favorite color & black is my default neutral, so I guess it is what it is.

I’m already brewing up ideas for my next set, but I also suddenly remembered that it’s May & the outdoor pools open at the end of the month, so I need to make a swimsuit stat.

 

achievement unlocked: Purple Rain bra & undies

I am still sad about Prince’s death. I was listening to “This American Life” the other day & they played a Prince song at the end of the episode & I almost started crying. I decided to channel my feelings into my current obsession: bra-making. “Purple Rain” has been one of my all-time favorite movies for years, so I made this bra inspired by Prince’s stage costumes in that film.

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This is yet another Shelley bra from Pin-Up Girls. Why mess with what’s working? Fit-wise, I added another half-inch (total) to the band, this time in the frame. I think the band is absolutely perfect now. I also lengthened it into a longline style cut straight across the bottom so I could use the scalloped edge of the lace. I sewed the band elastic on the back in the usual way, turning it under on the second pass, but I left it loose on the front & waited to sew it after the back band was finished. If that makes any sense.

I also used sheer, lightweight nylon for the upper cup instead of lace, finished with sparkly fold-over elastic. &…it is VERY sheer.

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It’s two layers, which I basted together by hand before sewing it into the cup because the fabric was so shifty & fiddly. I do have a photo of myself wearing it. Prepare yourself.

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The angle is kind of weird because of the way I was raising my arms to take the photo. Trust me, everything points straight ahead when I am not contorting myself in an attempt to take a non-pornographic selfie.

I’m overall pleased with the fit, but I do want to raise the neckline area a little. I’d like just a little extra height there.

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I also added some lace to the back. I really like the look of lace under the straps & closure.

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& this is a subtle detail, but one I like a lot. The frame is actually constructed from a double layer of sheer nylon with lace over it. I hand-basted the nylon together & then hand-basted the lace on top before I sewed the bra together. The lace I had was just a hair too short to cover the entire frame, so there’s just a bit of scalloped edge & sheer material peeking out at the underarm.

& of course I made matching undies.

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This is my standby Butterick 6031 pattern. I cut the back from lavender jersey & the front from another double layer of sheer nylon. the nylon has a fair amount of stretch one way & no stretch the other way. I cut the front so the stretch was going horizontally across my body, & I altered the pattern to attach the entire gusset area to the back piece so the inside gusset (some people call it “the crotch piece”–I suspect this bramaking journey is going to get me some really weird search engine hits) is hidden from view. I sewed another piece of lace down the front, used foldover elastic on the legs to mimic the finish in the bra, & used 2″ stretch lace for the waistband.

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No photos of me wearing these. It’s just a little too racy. The overall effect was much more successful than I anticipated, though I would cut the fold-over elastic to fit next time & stretch it just a little around the back while I sew. I had a little incident sewing the fold-over elastic the first time (accidentally sewed it sparkly side down) & had to rip it out, which stretched it a little. I need to give it a steam to whip it back into shape.

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I used lilac Duoplex & powernet from Bra-maker’s Supply for the bra. They were part of a fabric trio kit with the white & purple lace. All the findings & elastics used in the bra except the fold-over elastic are also from Bra-Maker’s Supply. The fold-over elastic & sheer nylon are from Sew Sassy, & the wide stretch lace is from Sunshine Shoppe.

I am pretty stoked about this set. It really does remind me so much of Prince’s “Purple Rain” costumes. The fold-over elastic, in particular, has the same glitter as Prince’s famous purple frock coat when the light hits it. I think Prince would approve of this set whole-heartedly!

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& I’m already knee-deep in yet another set! I do have actual garments (jeans, dresses, shirts) I want to sew as well, but bra-making is seriously addictive. Oh, & I think I am also going to participate in Me-Made May. I already wear my me-made clothing almost exclusively, but it’s an excuse to deepen the rotation a little & identify any wardrobe gaps I need to address.

 

 

achievement unlocked: turquoise & pink Shelley bra & undies

I made another bra!

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This is another Pin-Up Girls Shelley bra, sewn from the remains of the pink & turquoise kits I bought from Bramakers Supply & used for my last bra project. It’s still a size 40D, because that seemed to work well for me, but I added a 1/4″ inch wedge to the upper cup to give myself a little more space there, & I lengthened the back band by 1/2″ total. I also drafted a decorative external power bar from the turquoise lace, just to change up the style lines a little bit. I also used turquoise lace for the upper cup, & the rest of the cup is pink Duoplex.

The effect of the external power bar is really shown to its greatest advantage on a body:

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I didn’t necessarily intend for this to be a “sexy” bra. I am much more interested in comfort & functionality than sex appeal. I really just added the lace on the sides because I had extra lace on hand, & as much as I enjoy sewing bras, I don’t necessarily want to make an army of identical bras in different colors. But the effect it gives, with the pink Duoplex peeking out at the apex & shoulder, is surprisingly sexy. Jared whole-heartedly concurred.

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The frame is turquoise Duoplex & I mostly used pink elastics & findings. I did finish the strap with decorative turquoise elastic, rather than doubling the strap fabric.

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& I was thoughtful about what thread colors I used where, mostly endeavoring to match colors to fabrics in both my top thread & in the bobbin.

The other big difference with this bra is that I used a size 40 vertical underwire. Like I said in my last post, the wires I had on hand were too long for the bra & had to be trimmed down a lot & capped. It was a bit of a pain in the ass, & the wires didn’t fit properly in the bridge area. I did some research & realized that I probably have omega-shaped breasts, meaning that my breast root is smaller than my breast volume. Vertical underwires have a sharper curve along the bridge, which better suits people like me. With the vertical underwires, the wire pulls in the bra flat against my chest wall at the bridge & gives me more flattering & comfortable shaping & lift. I asked Beverly Johnson from Bramakers Supply about it & she suggested I use a 40B band, as that is the proper band size for the size 40 wire. I tested the wires in the 40D band though & it worked out fine. I’m not opposed to experimenting with the band in the future, though I am very happy with the fit of this bra as is.

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To make the external power bar, I taped my cup pieces together as they would be sewn & traced the shape of the finished cup. I picked a spot just to the side of the strap attachment & drew a straight line from there down to a random point on the front lower cup, taking care not to cover the apex, because I didn’t want my laces to overlap too much. The line I drew was straight so I could use the scalloped edge of my lace. It looks like a curve once a breast is filling out the cup. I basted the unfinished edge of the lace into the wire line of the completed cup & just did everything normally from there, so the lace is covered on the inside with the channeling, just like the cup fabric. It was a really simple addition that makes the bra unique & extra-feminine.

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I also had just enough light pink lace left to add a little to the side seams.

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Other than that, the back of the bra is really nothing to write home about. I did get a couple of popped stitches along the band elastic the first time I put the bra on, which makes me wonder if I need to add a little more width to the back, or futz with my stitch lengths a little bit. There’s also extra stitching along the strap elastic because I accidentally sewed the outside curve instead of the inside. Rather than picking out the stitches, I just sewed an extra line. Without it, the inside curve of the elastic wanted to curve up off the fabric, which wasn’t a huge problem, but you know. Why not fix it if you can?

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The inside of the cup. The channeling is doing its own thing there at the bridge. I guess I need to fix that.

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I also made coordinating undies! Part of what attracted me to bramaking was the possibility of making my own matching sets. It’s hard to find matching sets in my size unless you are willing to spend kind of a lot of money, & the undies that come in most sets tend to be a little more focused on sexiness than I prefer. Nothing wrong with sexy underwear, but it’s just not necessarily my jam. Plus I think boy shorts can be plenty sexy (& thankfully, this is another area where Jared agrees with me).

This is the undies pattern from Butterick 6031, which is my favorite undies pattern that I’ve tried. It fits me perfectly, it has awesome butt coverage, no panty lines…ahhh! I love this pattern! For this version, I scooped out the upper leg to make it just a little bit higher, mainly because the lace I am using is 2″ wide, which is a little wider than the pattern suggests. I used turquoise jersey (not a perfect match for my turquoise bra fabrics, but close enough) & laid a few scraps of left over blue lace down the sides. I trimmed the raw edge of the lace with pink 3/8″ satin ribbon & added a bow that matches the bow on the bra.

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I will be a little bit sad when we leave this house, just because the pink walls are such a nice canvas for taking photos of the lingerie I make. In all other ways, it will be awesome to leave. Especially since our landlord came by this morning when we weren’t home & accidentally let our cat out & now she’s missing.

Anyway. That’s that. I’m hoping to find time for one more bra project this weekend, probably while listening to lots & lots of Prince.

 

Prince!

This is kind of weird, but…I am sincerely very sad about the death of Prince. This is the saddest I have ever been about a celebrity death. In my adult life. When I was a young child & realized that Richie Valens had died thirty years earlier, I was super-super-sad.

I spent all day trying to con Ramona into playing with forgotten toys so that I could sit glued to my computer, listening to Prince songs & looking at photos & video clips. Don’t think I don’t feel bad about that. The poor child was reduced to inventing her own puzzle by laying toy farm animals on magnets depicting the same animals. She matched horse to horse & pig to pig, but the tiger toy was matched to a lion magnet (yeah, her farm has a tiger) & she threw in the towel on the farmer toy & matched it to some ducks.

I don’t even know why I’m so sad about Prince. I’m not a crazed Prince super-fan. I’m not a super-fan of anyone or anything, truthfully. I guess now I have to eat all my dismissive words about people having Feelz about David Bowie’s death. To me, Prince seemed beyond human, & hence, immortal. It’s the only possible explanation for how successfully he rocked high-waisted pants despite being only 5’2″. I truly felt that if Prince existed in the world, maybe that meant the world was not all bad.

I am channeling my confusing feelings about this untimely death in my own way. I am still suffering from an acute case of Bra Fever, & so I am planning to make my next bra purple & lacy, in memory of Prince. I’ll call it “the Purple Rain”. Though, you know, it would be easy to make anything & give it a Prince-appropriate name. Dude loved colors. “Under the Cherry Moon,” “Computer Blue,” “Diamonds & Pearls” (pearl is a color!), “Raspberry Beret,” I could go on for a while here & we’re not even getting into deep cuts yet. He has an entire album named “The Rainbow Children”.

My first priority for tomorrow is to be a decent mom, because I’ve been detoxing from my long-standing to-do list addiction for the last couple of weeks & it’s making me less of the mom I want to be, plus I keep accidentally reading books in which bad things happen to children (just read one in which two kids are fucking electrocuted on a electric fence, WTF forever, & I should mention it was not fiction) & that makes me basically want to cherish Ramona forever & stop anything bad from ever happening to her, including a single moment of boredom or sadness. But! If I can over-stimulate her with my love & attention in the morning, maybe she will nap, & I can do some sewing in the afternoon. & I have some new stuff to show in the meantime. Watch this space! Same bat time, same “Batdance”.

achievement unlocked: vintage kitties shirtdress

I can’t believe it took me so long to write up this dress! I made it like three weeks ago.

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It is yet another McCall’s 6696. Here are the details:

  • The fabric is the cream “vintage kitties” print by Michael Miller. It’s a quilting cotton, which I find works really well for this pattern.
  • The blue accent is organza.
  • The skirt is the straight skirt version, with original pockets. The waist darts were rotated into the hem to make the waistline flat & the skirt more flared. An extra 3″ of flare was added to each side seam.
  • I cut the button placket off at the waistband.
  • This is a size 18 at the shoulders graded out to a 22 at the waist, cut from the D cup bodice. I lengthened the front bodice 1″, grading back to nothing in the back. I also lowered the bodice darts 1″.
  • With this particular dress, I hemmed it 2″ above the original (standard for me, I’m 5’5″ & prefer skirts & dresses to hit just above the knee), & then an extra 3″ (including hem) to make sure the ruffle showed.
  • The ruffle is connected to a skirt lining that was constructed separately & sewn in at the waistline.

I think those are the main changes I made. I love this pattern because it’s fun to sew (this is my fourth version) & it fits me so well with very minimal alterations.

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From the side. Sorry about those wrinkles at the back waist. I’d been wearing the dress for several hours by the time I took the photos.

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The back. I added an organza overlay to the bake yoke & took out all the gathering along that seam. I also took a lot of the gathering out of the back waist. I think this amount is pretty close to perfect for my preferences. I topstitched everything & sewed all the hems with blue thread that matched the organza, which also matches the buttons.

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Waistband detail. Sorry it’s sideways! Also, sorry about that top line of topstitching. Avert your eyes. No clue what happened there, but I am most likely going to rip it out & re-sew it at some point.

Organza is very fiddly. I did not want to deal with cutting pieces the same size as my cotton pieces & basting them together before constructing the dress. I knew the likelihood of cutting & stitching precise organza pieces was low. So I spray-basted my cotton pieces to organza yardage, cut them out, & treated them as one layer from there. It worked perfectly! & after washing the dress, the adhesive washed away & the overlay floated over the fabric, just like I wanted. A++, would try this technique again.

The only bummer part is that the organza is completely rigid. No stretch whatsoever. Obviously quilting cotton doesn’t have a lot of give either, but it’s like silk jersey compared to organza. That means that the dress is a little tight in the back yoke (if you look closely, you can see it pulling a little at the sleeve seams) & in the waist. The waistband wants to ride up around my ribcage, even though this dress is exactly the same size as my Social Climber dress. So if I used organza overlays again in the future, & might add a little width to the pieces I am covering to try to compensate for that.

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Yoke close-up. On Ramona’s craft table. She’s quite the artist, as those green scribbles will attest.

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Collar. The one thing that drives me bonkers about this pattern is that I cannot for the life of me get that topstitching on the undercollar as tidy as I want it to be. The actual pattern calls for hand-stitching the facing into place rather than topstitching & I might just to do that next time. It’s a more time-consuming method, but it will save me the headaches with trying to keep my topstitching neat while catching the entire facing edge & also somehow avoiding thread nests at the front, where there are those tight corners with multiple layers of fabric.

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Pocket. I used some random stash fabric that complemented the organza color. The print is whatever, but I wanted something low-key with all the insanity happening with the kitties print.

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I French-seamed the sleeves, rather than flat-felling them. Flat-felling is just too much of a nightmare with the easing/gathering happening at the sleeve head. I LOVE the way the French seams came out & will definitely be doing this on all future versions of M6696. I ran two rows of gathering stitches within the seamlines & gathered them up really tidily. Then I sewed the initial seam at 3/8″ with a very, very narrow zigzag. It worked with the gathers so beautifully. I then trimmed the seam right up to the very edge of the zigzag, pressed it, & sewed my next pass with a 1/4″ straight stitch.

For what it’s worth, I set the sleeves in flat & then sew the side seams for the sleeves & bodice at the same time.

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Interior yoke.

Now let’s talk about my favorite part of this dress: the ruffled skirt!

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Again, sorry it’s sideways. Anyway, I shortened the skirt by 1.5″ & did the standard 1.25″ hem. The skirt lining is made with white Rayon bemberg cut about 1″ shorter than the skirt & attached at the waistline only. I made the ruffle by cutting a long strip of organza (about 1.75 times wider than the finished hem) 4″ long. I doubled it over so the ruffle would be finished on the bottom, & I ran my gathering stitches. Then I attached it to the unfinished hem of the skirt lining.

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This is what the skirt looks like inside out.

But I needed to do something to finish the seam where the organza is attached to the lining. Let’s be frank: that seam was not very attractive, & I knew it would peek out from time to time while I moved. It’s above the skirt hemline, but not by much.

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So I made bias tape out of my leftover kitties fabric & topstitched it over the seam. It’s positioned so that I can see it when I’m wearing the dress (so, on top of the lining), & I LOVE it. I feel like it’s the last little detail that really pulls the whole dress together, even if no one ever sees it but me!

So that’s that! As for these glasses-free photos…Last week, I accidentally stepped on my glasses while I was getting out of the shower. They broke into like fifteen pieces. Pretty awesome. So I pulled out my back-up glasses & got on with my life. & then yesterday, while I was putting this dress on to take photos, the collar snagged on the corner of the frame & the arm snapped in half. I tried to fix it with Gorilla Glue & electrical tape, but neither one worked. Luckily, I had some unopened contacts left over from literally about ten years ago, when I used to wear contacts most of the time. Obviously the prescription isn’t right anymore, but it was good enough. Better than nothing, given that the entire world is just a vague smear of shape & color without vision correction. My eyesight is terrible. I managed to get the arm taped back together with duct tape (which I had to go out & buy–not sure how we didn’t have any duct tape in the house?), but I don’t expect that to hold long-term. So I also express-ordered a replacement pair of glasses from Zenni Optical, & made an appointment to see an eye doctor next week & see if my prescription needs to be updated.

Worth noting: I have never full-on broken a pair of glasses in my life, & I’ve been wearing glasses for almost thirty years. I’ve had frames stretch on me, I’ve bent arms out of shape, I’ve scratched lenses, but I’ve never actually BROKEN a pair of glasses. & now I broke two pairs in less than a week? 100% by myself, with no help from, say, a grabby three-year-old? Pretty weird.

achievement unlocked: blue & pink Shelley bra

Yeah! I am getting back into bra-making! I don’t know what took me so long. Bra-making is seriously the best. You’re working with really pretty materials, & you have to stitch so carefully & precisely, but it’s a small project so it really doesn’t take that long, & when you’re done, you have hopefully created something that you will use all the time. & as an added bonus, people’s minds are fucking blown when you tell them you sew your own bras. Some moms started talking to me about it when Ramona & I went on our preschool tour a week or two ago, & people were freaking out. Even though the reality is that anyone can sew their own bra if they have the right materials, can reliably follow a seam allowance, & can sew elastic.

Let’s go to the tape!

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This is the Shelley bra from Pin-Up Girls. It’s a full-band bra with a split lower cup & a power bar. The upper cup is lace–stretch lace in this case, but the pattern is designed to work with stretch or rigid lace. I used Duoplex for the cups & band, & powernet for the back. The fabric is a mix of two different kits from Bramakers Supply: all turquoise & all pink. I bought them when I was still too anxious to buy fabrics & findings piecemeal, for fear of buying too much or too little or just not the right thing. I didn’t love either kit on its own, so I intentionally bought both with the intent to mix & match.

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Here’s the back. & I just realized the left side of the photo is a little blurry, which is a bummer. Anyway, I was inspired by Beverly Johnson’s Craftsy classes on bra-making to get a little creative with the lace, so I added it to the seam where the band is sewn to the back, & along the strap curve. This is technically just a tester bra, since it’s my first Shelley (& only my third bra ever), but I didn’t see the point in NOT using the materials I had on hand. I figured, even if it wound up not fitting, it’s worth practicing the techniques & trying things out to see what I like for next time.

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I used turquoise Duoplex for the powerbar & middle lower cup, & pink for the frame, front lower cup, & straps. Pink powernet for the back, pink 3×3 hook & eye, & pink strap elastic. I used turquoise band elastic, underarm elastic, sliders & rings, & bow. I made an effort when topstitching to match the thread to whatever was being stitched. For example, when sewing the bottom band, I sewed the first pass (turquoise elastic on top of pink Duoplex) with turquoise thread in the needle & pink in the bobbin. The second pass (pink Duoplex on top & turquoise elastic on the bottom) was sewn with pink thread in the needle & turquoise in the bobbin. Obviously this wasn’t possible everywhere, but that’s okay! I combined the colors because I like the contrast, so I don’t mind that pink topstitching on the turquoise middle cup.

I made a real effort to mirror the lace, on the cups & on the back. & I pretty much nailed it. My only concern is that there is a spot of widely-spaced lace detail on the upper cups just under where they attach to the middle frame. That’s an area that is under a certain degree of strain on this bra, & it makes it look like it’s holding on by a literal thread.

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You can see it here, if you follow the trail of the lace stem along underneath the bow. We’ll see if this ends up being an actual structural concern as time goes on. This photo also makes clear that I really need a vertical wire instead of a regular one, but never fear, they have already been ordered, & I will replace the wires in this bra when they arrive.

My main issue with this bra is that I pulled the band elastic a little too tightly under the cups, so the entire band is a little bit tight, & that is distorting the top of the cup just a tiny bit. See how it looks a little small along the upper cup? When I put in a bra extender (which I’m not using in this photo), the problem resolves. I plan to sew another with a little more stretch in the band, & also to raise the bridge just a hair. Hopefully these changes combined with vertical wires will give a slightly better fit, though this one is definitely completely wearable.

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Detail of the lace on the back.

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Inside the cup. I used channeling from two different findings kits that were supposedly both pink, but one really looked beige. I don’t know if it was from a different dye lot or if Bramakers Supply just goofed & sent me beige instead of pink. It doesn’t matter because it’s just in one cup.

You can also see here that I stabilized the lace upper cup with stay tape. & I totally regret it. I’ve stabilized seams in various knit garments with stay tape, & I always hate it because I find it really itchy. Like, wool sweater itchy. (Wool gives me hives, literally.) The stay tape in this bra is definitely irritating my skin. I have a little stripe of hive-like bumps when I take it off right where the stay tape is. Next time I will definitely use sheer cup lining or silk organza or something. & I will be ripping out the stay tape in this bra & replacing it at the first opportunity. Does anyone else have this reaction to stay tape? I feel like everyone uses it & I’ve never seen anyone complain about it. I’ve tried a bunch of different brands & they all have this effect on me.

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Interior back band.

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& let’s just take a minute to pause & admire that gorgeous topstitching, especially along the wire channel. Well done, Ciara!

The underwires I had on hand were too long, so I had to trim them down & re-cap them. Which means wire cutters & a heat gun. It’s funny to think that I had to go to a hardware store to pick up a few crucial bra-making supplies. I almost don’t want to replace the wires in this bra because my bar tacks came out so damn perfect, but…I will.

So yeah! I totally have bramaking fever again. This is my first Pin-Up Girls pattern. I sewed a 40D. It needs a few small tweaks to be a perfect fit, but I think I have the right baseline. The fit on this thing is SO much better than the Elan 645, which is what I tried last year. I don’t know if it’s because of the actual drafting, or a quirk of what works best for my anatomy, or the materials I’m using, or an improvement in my construction skills. I watched all three of Beverly’s Craftsy classes on bramaking last week when Jared was out of town, & I implemented a lot of her tips here (no pins!) & have come away with so much inspiration for future bras. I placed an order for more supplies last night, & I think it’s best that we never discuss how much I spent.

 

achievement unlocked: more Renfrews

I’m going to group this batch of shirts together in one post. I’ve sewn this pattern so many times now, I don’t need to make a production over each individual one.

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Not much to write home about here. One short-sleeved tee & two long-sleeved versions, all sewn with various prints from Katarina Roccella’s collections for Art Gallery. I used my altered Renfrew pattern with a 2″ FBA with width added to the waistline & a new waistband re-drafted accordingly. The neckline on the two long-sleeved shirts is weird because I lost the original neckband piece (an argument for PDFs–it would have been nice to have the option to print out a new one) & tried to draft a new one. But I made it a little too small. I looked high & low for that damn neckband piece for literally almost a year (since last spring!) before I finally gave up & decided it must have gotten lost when we moved.

& then, last month, I decided to experiment with stabilizing some of my favorite tissue paper patterns by ironing them on to freezer paper.

Mostly I did this because I was running low on Swedish tracing paper & wanted to conserve it. I will say: this works really well! Just make sure you iron with a press cloth so you don’t scorch the paper. You can cut away the extra paper after & have a sturdier pattern piece for tracing on to fabric. I did this with my McCall’s 6696 pattern, the Renfrew shirt, & the Butterick 6296 undies, because I have made all of those patterns multiple times, with no plans to stop!

Anyway, in the process of pulling all the Renfrew pieces out of the envelope (something I have done literally dozens of time, looking for that missing neckband)…I found the neckband! It had just been hiding in there the whole time! I have no idea how I managed to overlook it. But this means I was able to use it when I made the owl print tee & got a neckline that fit a little better. I’m still not great at knit necklines though. I really need to finesse my technique. I always pull a little too much or not quite enough. One of these days I’ll get it right!

Nothing new in the constructions. Serged all the interior seams for a clean finish, constructed with a narrow zigzag on my regular machine, topstitched neck/waist/armbands with another narrow zigzag & done. I’ve sewn so many Renfrews, I could do it in my sleep.

I also used some the leftover fabric from the owl tee to make a matching turban headband.

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I should probably serge that seam in the back, but whatever. It’s hidden under my hair, so who cares.

I haven’t been sewing too much recently (though I do have another M6696 yet to be blogged) because Jared was out of town at a conference, leaving me home alone with Ramona for five days. Not that I can’t sew with her around, but it’s hard to muster up the energy with everything else that Jared usually does falling to me (getting Ramona up in the morning, making dinner, doing her shower before bed, laundry, grocery shopping, etc). I did watch all three of Berverly Johnson’s fantastic bra-making classes on Craftsy, which gave me a lot of inspiration & motivation. I’ve been wanting to make more bras ever since the two I made last year, but I got sidelined by the pregnancy, & the move, & other enormously involved sewing projects. But I have a Pin-Up Girls Shelley all cut out now & ready to go to the machine.

I’ve also been distracted by trying to figure out our plans for next year (by which I mean, next school year–when your partner is an academic, the year starts in August). The Lawrence rental market is such that if we plan to move houses, we need to start looking now. I talked with some mom friends about it last week & one of them convinced me that I just need to pursue what I want in housing & family life, & if my plans are upended by Jared getting a different job or something–that’s a GOOD problem to have! So I set a bunch of appointments to look at new houses, & I also took an enormous leap & enrolled Ramona in preschool for August! We visited the school while Jared was away & Ramona really liked it. We stayed & played all morning & for an hour after the morning class ended.

But then Jared got home & dropped the bomb that it’s a lot more likely that he’s going to get a job NOT in Lawrence & that we will be leaving town at some point this summer. When? Who knows. Where? An even bigger mystery. What can I do to prepare? At this point, absolutely nothing. There is still a small chance that we will stay, so I haven’t asked for my preschool deposit back yet (Ramona got the last spot in the last under-four class, & I don’t want to give it up until I absolutely have to), but we can’t commit to a new lease right now, so I had to cancel all of our house viewings. & now I just have to sit tight until the situation clarifies itself. Our landlord has gone ahead & put our house on the rental market for August, so if the summer marches on, someone rents this place, Jared doesn’t get a job & we don’t find a new house…not sure what will happen then! But that’s clearly a worst-case scenario.

To top it off, I finally succumbed to one of Ramona’s many late winter/early spring colds, so I’ve been all hopped up on Nyquil for the last few days, which always makes me feel like things are both a way bigger deal & way less important than they are. When Jared first told me that we’ll probably be leaving town, I cried & cried, way out of proportion to how a person should react when informed that they will be leaving Kansas. But a few hours later, when a friend called to see how I was doing with this news, I was like, “Whatevs! It’s fine! This means I get a reprieve from trolling for rentals on Craig’s List! Wahoo!”