Saturday, February 18, 2017

Bra Making

Part of my unspoken sewing plan for 2017 includes lingerie.  Why unspoken?  Well, I try not to put firm plans into place because sewing is my creative space and I don't want plans to stifle creativity.  

I have dabbled a little in the past using Kwik Sew 3300 which is OK, but without a really good pattern and the correct supplies, the results did not live up to my expectations so I reverted back to my meagre supply of chain store offerings. 

Prior to Christmas I bought 1 metre of bra foam from Pitt Trading in Sydney.  After making 3 versions of Closet Case Files Sophie Swimsuit, it was time to give bra making a second chance.  I did a bit of research into patterns and chose Makebra DL03 because of their online tutorial.  Makebra DL03 is described as "Demi-cup type, slightly uplifting bra, suitable also as strapless. Three part cup."  To be honest, I do prefer comprehensive written instructions, but this video make it look so easy.  

I bought the pattern and set about finding all of my notions.  The fabric was a remnant from my stash that had been there so long it was nearly putting down roots. The strap elastic and hooks were from a bulk lot I bought on Trademe several years ago.  The white elastic I bought directly from Cordall who manufacture it.  The under wires were harvested from an old bra and the lace an old tee shirt.  The rings and sliders were bought from Lingerie Findings NZ.  The fold over elastic was bought from Lincraft.

The bra was really easy to make using the online tutorial.  For a first  bra, I am really happy with it.  For my next one though, I will use narrower fold over elastic.

For the pants I used my tnt bikini bottoms pattern, McCall's 5400.  I narrowed the gusset slightly and made the elastic slightly tighter given I was using lingerie elastic.  I have lost track now how many times I have used this pattern.  Because the fabric allowed for it, I made two pairs of underwear.

It is nice to have new underthings and best of all I didn't have to go through the pain of shopping to do it!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Revisiting An Old Favourite

 Prior to Christmas I was at a work function and I spotted a really nice top on a lady that I immediately wanted to go home and recreate.  The top had a knit front and a woven back.  I knew I had just the right remnants in my stash and also a pattern that would do the job.

I dug out Jalie 3352 which has already ecome a firm favourite for winter tops.  I hadn't really used the short sleeed version but it had been on my radar for a summer top.

My woven fabric was left over from this top.  It had some stretch so I felt relatively confident in cutting my regular size.  The stretch fabric was also a remnant and was leftover from this top.  I finished the neckline with binding cut from the woven fabric and then used my coverstitch to finish the hem and the armholes.

Unfortunately the finished top was a little snug so it made its way into Courteney's Christmas parcel.  The second version is what you see here, made with an extra centimetre added to each side seam.  The resulting top is lovely to wear and makes a fantastic casual Friday top.  It is a little more dressy than your standard tee.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

McCall's 7118 in Linen

I have been on the hunt for a sun dress pattern for a couple of summers now.  What I had in mind was a dress that allowed me to wear a regular bra.  There are plenty out there that call for strapless bras but I like my weekends to involve comfort and a strapless and comfort are never going to appear in the same sentence. 

 I came across McCall's 7118 and while I loved the look of it, strangely enough there were only a couple of reviews.    I was particularly drawn to the lovely double strap detail at the back.  A bit of research, however revealed that this dress is really low cut at the back and in fact sat well below bra line.  It didn't require a zip so I figured it was an easy fix.  A bit of draping over my mannequin and some careful measuring and I had my solution in the form of a raised back.  I drew my new lines on my pattern and proceeded to cut the pattern out.

I had some lovely soft pastel linen that I bought from Cotura Fashions at the end of last summer in their sale ear marked for this sun dress.  With no wearable muslin it was a bit of a risk using this fabric, but I went ahead boldly and cut it out.  Apart from the fit, my main concerns were that the fabric was just a little shear and in the bright light of day it would be see through.  After completing the dress I realised this was in fact the case.  Rather than using a synthetic lining, I chose a light weight cotton lawn in white as a lining.

I have to say, the biggest challenge of the whole project was getting all of those straps to sit nicely.  This required pinning on my mannequin and some very careful fitting manoeuvres to get it right.

Despite the extra layer of lining, my new sun dress is lovely and cool to wear and really comfortable.  I am quite keen now to have a go at one of the other views.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Sophie Tankini

Before I continue with this post, I need to post a warning!  I think sewing swimwear has indirectly caused me to fall down an Internet rabbit hole that I am struggling to claw my way out of!  While research is definitely a good thing, sometimes you can have way too much of a good thing and right now my mind is swimming with snippets of ideas which are all intermingled and causing confusion.

It all began rather innocently. I bought Closet Case Files Sophie swimsuit, like so many others and set about making my trial swimsuit.  Exhibit A can be seen here .  This bikini was always intended to be a trial suit.  My idea was to make this suit into a tankini.  I am not really a fan of the one piece for practicality reasons and I feel both more comfortable on the beach and happier about sun protection in a tankini.  

So shortly after finishing my trial bikini I began researching tankinis.  It took until the week before Christmas to put my plan into action and assemble the supplies.  The trouble was in between times a couple of months had passed and I had completely forgotten about my method of construction and sizing in between times...oops!  It seems my notes on construction from my original suit were not quite detailed enough.  Let me say that Christmas week is not the ideal time to take on detailed projects that require good memory recall.  Especially when ones memory is dodgy at the best of times!

My chosen fabric was a lovely print I bought from Pitt Trading in Sydney.  A bit of research has uncovered that Australian brand Zimmermann used this fabric in one of their swimwear designs.  The bra foam and under wire channeling came from Elle-Joan's.  My lining came from Pitt Trading and elastic from Lincraft.

The  problem I had making this suit was exactly the same as making my trial version but the advent of time made me forget.  I overlapped my bra foam when sewing it together instead of butting it together.  I didn't realise my mistake until my top was completed.  It was just as well I ordered quite a large piece of fabric and could recut my top!  To make the lower half of my tankini, I simply cut the pattern at the legs and added a bit of a hem.  This worked out brilliantly despite concerns it may be a little tight.  I could have included a seam in the back to adjust for my sway back but didn't want to interupt the floral print with too many seams.  Yes, there is a small amount of fabric pooling in my centre back but I felt the negatives of cutting into the print outweigh the positives in this instance.

The pants I cut out using my tnt McCall's 5400 pants pattern, which I altered slightly so it wasn't quite a wide in the crotch and through the seat.   I made these in a remnant of black lycra and also used this to trim the cups and make the straps.

I am really happy with the resulting suit. It got worn a lot while I was on holiday.  The only thing I would change in hindsight was to make a second pair of pants in the print and perhaps a bikini top so I can mix and match. I will have to add that to my list for next summer.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

End of January Wrap Up

January was all about holidays.  I spent two weeks camping at Kaiteriteri beach, the gateway to Abel Tasman National Park.  I have been back at work now for two weeks and I must say the transition has not been very easy.  I have managed to do a bit of sewing to ease my way into the new year but blogging, well has really taken a back seat.  I still have a few of last year's makes to write about so hopefully I will find the time in the next week or so.

End of January Wrap Up

Candy Lola Tee
Pattern (used before)  $0.00
Fabric $1.80
Total $1.80

Ponti Trimmed Anima Pants
Pattern $0.00
Elastic $1.85
Fabric $2.00
Total $3.85

Lace Tessuti Lola
Fabric $4.50
Pattern (used before) $4.50
Total $4.50

Stylearc Ellie-Mae
Pattern $10.00
Fabric $2.00
Total $12.00

Total January $22.15

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Tessuti Lola in Lace

While I was in coverstitch testing mode, I whipped up another top.  I must admit I do have a lot to learn with my coverstitch but practice certainly makes perfect.  One thing I have learnt since making this tee and I am sure it will help greatly, is that the metal stitch guide thingy and correct me if I am wrong but I think it is designed for quilting, that fits on my Juki sewing machine, also fits on my coverstitch.  Thank you, whoever you are on Instagram, that pointed that out!  I have up to this point tried to use a piece of tape stuck to the bed of the machine.  It isn't at all easy to see at night, even in the summer!

My latest tee is made using some lace that is a very long time stash resident, that I picked up at the Op shop in Dunedin on one of my sons swimming trips. I wasn't sure what I wanted to make with it but in the end figured a tee is a far more practical item to add to my wardrobe than yet another dress.

Once again I chose Tessuti Lola and because this lace doesn't have a lot of stretch, it was a great choice.  The top came together really quickly and will make a great work top.  It is a little more dressy than a regular tee but offers the same level of comfort.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Papercut Anima

It may be mid summer but one thing is always certain in summer, there will be a need for long pants, especially when camping.  I usually drag out long pants when I am away in the caravan on wet days.  Despite keeping everything crossed for perfect weather, sometimes things don't go my way and for days just like this, I always make sure I take at least one pair of pants with me.  Other times they come in handy are late in the evening when it gets cooler, to cover the sunburned legs I had no intention of ever getting but crept up on me anyway and of course when those pesky bitey insects come out at dusk.  I knew though, whatever pants I needed to take, they really just needed to provide an extra layer and not really provide any great warmth.  My previous pairs were beginning to look a little tired so rather than pop down to the fabric shop, this time I decided to shop my stash.

I really didn't think twice before choosing Papercut Anima as my pattern because this has very much become a tnt.  You will always find a pair or two in my wardrobe somewhere.  To date I think I may have made 7 pairs.

The fabric I chose had been residing in my stash for way too long.  It was an op shop find and one I would not normally use for pants.  It is a cotton that would probably normally be used for polo shirts.  It has a fine texture on the outside.  To add a bit of interest, I decided to trim it in the smallest remnant of ponti in black and white stripes from Tessuti which was leftover from my tee dress.  

Normally I would just make the waistband in the coordinating trim but this time I decided to trim the pockets as well.  I cut them back slightly before adding what could best be described as a band of the striped fabric which I sandwiched between the front piece and the pocket facing.  This time I decided to leave off the cord.  I usually include one but rarely use them.

Having made these so many times before, they were super quick to run up.  They even got worn on my recent Kaiteriteri beach holiday, although not to cover up sunburn because I was very vigilant this time round, but did wear them as an extra layer to protect against sandflies in the evening.