Holiday Wardrobe Preparation {Megan Nielsen Flint and Rowan}

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Ah, Flint and Rowan. They go together like peas and carrots, don’t they? I’ve made both before – Flint pants here and Flint shorts here. Rowan was more recent and a stretched a bit further than the original pattern into a swimsuit.

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I love my past Flints but unfortunately they’re a bit big now. And an upcoming holiday is the perfect reason to sew another pair right? This time from sweet drapey tencel that I picked up at Spotlight. The Rowan body suit is lovely soft Timeless Treasure cotton jersey from fabric.com.

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I went for the tie version on the Flints and couldn’t help but to brighten the inside a touch with a vintage fabric covered button (I pick these upΒ  from op shops, but they are often just singles, which is perfect for this use) and some rayon off cuts. The rayon is the right weight for lining the tencel. I think quilting cotton would have been too heavy.

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The closure on the Flints is pretty magic. It does your head in a little bit while you’re sewing them, but the instructions are really great and you just have to trust the process. There isn’t a zip, you just get into these bad boys by opening the pocket. Superb.

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The Rowan bodysuit has nice details at the closure too. There’s not a fancy way to say it, but at the crotch. But who doesn’t love a fancy crotch? The facing pieces can be cut from just about anything. I used some soft lawn scraps I had. It’s a nice detail. Oh and I used those old metal snaps because I don’t have a snap press, which would obviously look much more professional. Still, they do the job and I can’t feel them at all when I’m wearing it.

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So size wise the Rowan is perfect (straight large) but the Flints aren’t. To be honest, my body has changed a fair bit over the past few months and I’m still getting used to it. It seems it doesn’t matter if it’s weight loss or gain – it can still feel like your body isn’t quite yours when it changes. I made the straight medium in the Flints because I went by my waist measurement. I thought there would be enough ease in the hips and thighs but I really should have graded out to the large. My waist seems to be about a size different to the rest of me at the moment and I’m not really used to my new proportions yet.

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They’re not as swingy as I’d like, but they’re still wearable. And who knows, my hips could catch up to my waist eventually. One can only hope. But even if they don’t, that’s fine too.

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I know there’s a few sewists who’ve eliminated those front pleats, but I actually quite like them. They bring out my inner 80s mum chic.

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More Weird Tan Lines {Ohhh Lulu Romy Bra}

Yeah it’s another Romy. In the fabric leftover from my one piece. Nothing you haven’t seen before and mostly uneventful. The bottoms are from the Megan Nielsen Rowan bodysuit because I loved the fit so much.

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Never one to leave things alone though, I changed the front of the Romy so it ties up.

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It’s a really simple hack because there is a seam down the centre front anyway. I just added some casing and boning for support, along with three loops each side. I’m going to add a fourth to the top because it looks a bit weird not lacing all the way to the top.

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I attached picot for the bottom band (upside down so the picots aren’t showing). I know picot isn’t traditionally swimsuit elastic, but I’ve found it on the inside of my RTW swimmers in the past and it’s always held up really well. As usual, I lined with power mesh and all the seams are enclosed – I do love how clean that finish is.

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I cheated and didn’t make the straps, they were harvested from an old pair of swimmers. I always pinch what I can from bras and swimmers before I turf them, as long as they’re still in good nick. It’s so worth it. I hate making straps, it’s a chore.

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It just occurred to me that I could try lacing the top so the bow is at the bottom instead of how I have it here. Shall give that one a try!

First Swim of the Season {Megan Nielsen Rowan}

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It gets hot here. We spend a lot of time in the water from about September through to May. And even though we wear sunscreen and hats, as well as staying out of the sun between 10am and 3pm, sometimes that’s just not enough.

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So we wear rashies (I think they’re called rash guards in the US). They’re easy enough to buy for the kids but generally they are falling apart after one season. Not a big deal really because they’ve grown out of them anyway. But there’s not a lot of variety available for women. Maybe there’s not a huge market for them. They’re not exactly the height of beach fashion. But still, skin cancer is worse.

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So mine is a couple of seasons old and is looking worse for wear. All stretched out and baggy. They don’t seem to be made out of quality fabric anymore. Time for an upgrade. I quite like the all in one situations, like a one piece with sleeves, but I’m yet to find one that’s the right shape for me. They all seem to have what I like to call ‘Baywatch Butt’, you know – that really high cut skimpy back? Which is fine, but not all that practical when I’m in the water photographing clients, because I do that occasionally. I want to make sure I can tackle the surf without getting distracted by a wedgie.

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Enter Megan Nielsen’s Rowan. Oh yes. Yeah, I know it’s not a swimsuit pattern, but since when have I followed the rules? My tropical print spandex and swim elastic is from Pitt Trading and the spandex I used for the lining (which isn’t really lining) as well as the plain black is from The Remnant Warehouse. Both these stores are superb sources of swimmy stuff in Australia.

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My original plan was to make a top from the Rowan pattern first, but that all went out the window when today decided to reach 31 degrees. DEFINITELY TIME TO START ON THE SWIMMERS. Risky really, but it all turned out pretty ok in the end. I’ve taken some work in progress shots this time, because the construction is a bit different to the normal bodysuit as it has to be fully lined, a zipper added and no crotch snaps. As mentioned above, my lining isn’t really lining, but spandex because I didn’t have enough black swim lining left. Both have a really similar amount of stretch so it works quite well and feels more supportive.

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I pretty much made two of the bodysuits and then basted everything wrong sides together, which gives a pretty clean finish on the inside. The front is cut for the zipper (otherwise you wouldn’t be able to get into it, obviously). I attached the neckband while it was still open rather than stitching it into a loop first, so the zipper had somewhere to go. I overlocked the raw edges. Not that they need it – the spandex won’t fray. I just find it easier to work with.

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I could only get open end plastic zips, so I put a tack across it by hand and literally smashed off the end teeth with a hammer. Satisfying and effective. Then I added a bit of spandex across the end for comfort. Not my prettiest effort but no biggy.

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And you know, I knew inserting this zip would be the biggest challenge of the entire thing. I went in all zen, even used interfacing on the edge of the swimmers because I totally knew that spandex would want to pucker and go wavy and be a bastard. It still did anyway. Probably not as much as it would have without stabilising the edges. But it was still a bugger and took longer than the rest of the construction put together. The end of it looked so horrendous that I ended up covering it with a little tab of fabric. Which in the end wasn’t the worst idea because I think it adds a bit of strength to a weak point.

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The sleeves couldn’t go in flat (as per the instructions) because the side seams were already done, so they just went in the normal way. In the round? Set in? You know what I mean. Easy enough. Although make sure your overlocker doesn’t want to inhale everything around the sleeves. Mine does. I won this time though, I was bloody careful. Then elastic for the legs and you’re golden. I don’t love elastic in swimmers done this way. I prefer the look of bands. But that’s just nitpicking and also because I have delightfully thunderous thighs that elastic tends to cut into.

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And she is done! It just occurred to me that I should have framed these better and actually got some water in the shot. So you’ll just have to believe that I am standing on the edge of the pool.

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My absolute favoutire part of this pattern is the butt coverage. It’s perfect for my shape (which is mostly pancake butt). I find that most underwear patterns bag out between the back of my hip and leg and I usually have to take a dart out of the pattern piece. But not these babies! Nice and secure. I love the fit so much I think I might use it to draft some more knickers.

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Fit wise, they are a smidge too small. I’m getting a bit of pulling at the zipper. My measurements put me between the M and the L. I made the M because I didn’t want to risk them being too big. I have converted underwear patterns into swimmers before and while the fit is ok when they’re dry, they get baggy and want to wash away once they hit the surf. This one is snugggggg and not going anywhere. If I wasn’t being lazy, I would have added a bit extra to allow for the zip because it’s seam allowance that the original pattern doesn’t have built in. I’ll definitely do that next time.

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So the thing about using orange lining is that when you actually get wet, it will show through. But you know what? Nothing else shows through, so that’s a win. And there is my first official dip of the season. There will be more – Rowans and swims.

 

 

 

Reinventing Ready To Wear {Ohhh Lulu Romy Bra}

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I do love me some creative strapping on bras and swimmers and have quite a few examples in my wardrobe. My most worn is probably this one piece by Disturbia. I lurrrrrve it. I’ve always been a bit hesitant to try and recreate it when sewing though because it all looks a bit complex and maths have never been my strong point.

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I have some unsuccessful RTW examples. You know the ones that you purchase online, hoping for the best but that just never work? This is one of those:

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I wanted to love it but the shape is all wrong for me. It holds absolutely nothing where it should, the front is too wide, the boning at the sides bends out and the bottom band (or lack of) is useless. It gapes at the back where that strapping sits. Ugh. Then earlier this week I stumbled across this Iron Fist Sports Bra and neeeeeeeded it. My inner nerd loves how the straps look like a spine and ribs. But of course, it’s out of stock. Which got me thinking, could I recreate it myself so I know that it works for me?

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Yeah, worth a try. I already have Ohhh Lulu’s Romy and know that it fits me because I’ve made a couple of versions (here and here). This sort of fancy back would also be ideal for the strappy back of the Sincerely Rylee dress that I made. A bra that’s less ‘ooops you can see my bra’ and more ‘OH YEAH THIS IS MY BRA AND IT’S FANCY AS HELL’.

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And look how pretty it is! The fabric is by Dear Stella. I’ve noticed lately that a lot of my favourite fabric companies (Cotton and Steel and Timeless Treasures also) are coming out with knits. It’s brilliant. I love the prints and the quality is very high too.

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The sparkly strapping is from Booby Traps. As a rule, you’re not really supposed to use strapping as the upper and lower bands on a bra because it’s generally pretty firm – but this strapping is pretty soft and stretchy (more like elastic). I’m thrilled with how it turned out.

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An inside out photo if you’re interested to see how it all fits together. I was a bit haphazard with the whole thing but it worked just fine. I decided to shorten the back band pattern piece where it starts to curve down and narrow for the strapping and back closure. So that whole part has been omitted and the straps start there. The inside isn’t as pretty as the outside but I can deal with that. I’ve lined the whole thing in power mesh for support, as I always do with wire free bras.

I figured out the length of the back straps using the very complex method of comparing it to one of my existing Romys.

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I wasn’t going to bother taking pics of me wearing it because I wanted to wear it right away, but I grabbed a couple when I first put it on this morning anyway. So I do apologise for them being a bit unplanned and rubbish. You can see that it still provides decent support and shaping. The power mesh lining and princess seams help that. I’ve used pale pink hardware cannibalised from an old bra and matching pink bows.

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Ooops – out of focus. Best of a bad bunch. It’s hard to take a pic of your own back. Haven’t even brushed my hair. Cool though, right? Nothing buckling (even though I’m mid adjustment, sorry).

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I’ve worn both the bra and knickers in public all day and am pleased to report that I was super comfortable and everything stayed in place. So that’s a win. I really want to try a swimmy version next, but the thought of having to make all the strapping is daunting!

The Mysteries of Bra Sewing {Pin Up Girls Shelley}

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Have I told you before how much I love bra sewing? I do believe I have. And you might think I’m nuts, but it’s seriously some of the most rewarding sewing I’ve ever done. Plus it pays off. I haven’t bought a bra for at least a year and I very rarely wear my RTW anymore. In fact, most of them have been sacrificed for their wires and hardware. I wore a RTW bra earlier this week and it only last until lunch time before it was off and turfed into the corner. NO. They are so uncomfortable.

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Why are they uncomfortable? Quite simply, they don’t fit. I mean, I’ve been fitted and they probably fit as well as they can for RTW. But we are all unique snowflakes and our bodies have their own quirks which just can’t all magically fit into a mass produced item like a bra. And for the record, I used to think my bras fit – until I made my own.

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As I’ve also mentioned before, I had my first bra pattern (Pin Up Girls Classic) languishing in my sewing room for nearly twelve months before I plucked up the courage to sew it. It was the most intimidating thing I’d ever seen. So tiny, only a few pieces and yet scary as hell. It was Beverly Johnson’s Craftsy class that finally gave me the shove I needed to make my first bra. I do thoroughly recommend it if you need the encouragement. It’s amazingly helpful and seeing it all done step by step makes it seem just like any other sewing – put those pieces together in the right order and you’re golden. Of course with bra sewing you’ve got the complex fit challenges. That’s the hardest part – not the sewing at all. Something like a dress is much more forgiving fit-wise than a bra. But when you get it right, the light shines down and those angles start singing. I swear.

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The lovely Georgina from Sew Squirrel drop me a message last week and asked if I’d like to try one of her new bra kits. Would I?! Don’t need to ask me twice. She mentioned that they were velvet and I pretty much purred. I already have a few velvet bras but will always make more. It’s a bit of a temperamental fabric to work with, but worth it. She gave me a choice of colours and I chose grey, which is pretty much my personal version of nude. I have a few grey bras now, which sounds so blah but I love it. She even sent me the wiiiiide strapping and hardware. I love my wide straps.

Kits are perfect if you’re just starting out in bras because you get the perfect amount of all the right pieces. This isn’t the kind of stuff you can buy at generic sewing shops. It’s pretty specialised. Knowing the difference between your picot and strapping can be really confusing when you’re new to bra sewing, so I’ve done some handy labeling for you.

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This is the Shelley bra pattern, which you can also purchase via Sew Squirrel with the bra kits. So handy. The kit didn’t have the lace, so that’s from my stash, but these images show what goes where. I used the neckline trim for the under arms because using lace meant I didn’t need it at the neckline (though the lace is stabilised with yet another type of elastic, sometimes it’s clear but in this kit it’s black, which is way nicer to work with). Then I had enough leftover fabric to make matching knickers! Hooray! I used the narrow picot from the kit for the leg elastic. The waistband elastic was from my stash.

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Here’s some tips I found really helpful when I started sewing bras:

  • Do I use stretch or non stretch fabric?

    Generally wired bras require non stretch and bralettes require stretch. Hence me lining this one – the velvet is stretch and without the lining, there would be very little support and everything would stretch out. Even if you don’t line the whole thing, you’ll generally need to line the bridge for extra strength. The band always needs stretch, but you can get varying types of power mesh, some firmer than others. I prefer the firm, but I like my bras to feel like they’re giving me a hug. When I sew bralettes I usually line with power net, for that extra support. I need it. You might not. But do follow the stretch/non stretch requirements of your bra pattern. It’s really important.

  • How do I know my size?

    Much like any sewing pattern, your size won’t correspond to your RTW size. AT ALL. You have to let go of all that and roll with it. Promise. Each bra company has a different method of measuring – follow it. For example, I’m somewhere between a 14DD or 16D in RTW (they are sister sizes). The Shelley above is a 38C (my size has changed lately). In Ohhh Lulu I’m more like a 36D, in my favourite Kwik Sew bra pattern I’m a 38C and in Orange Lingerie’s Marlborough I’m a 40DD.

  • So I just take my measurements, sew up my size and I’ll be golden?

    Maybe, but probably not. I don’t think there are many lucky women that get their bras to fit straight off the pattern. Sorry. It’s more likely you’ll sew at least two or three before you find your groove. And there are probably standard adjustments that you’ll make to most patterns – I can’t deal with a partial band so always have full bands. I often have to move straps because they sit too far to the outside of my body and I usually have to raise it under my arm (which I totally forgot to do with this one and it shows).

  • Ok fine, what can I use for a toile so I don’t cut into my fancy stuff and waste it?

    This one divides bra sewists. Some will sew their practice runs in a cheapy fabric to test the fit, but you really need to find something very close to your good fabric to have that work successfully. Fabrics will behave differently and stretch and warp and curve all in different ways. I personally use the good stuff as bra sewing doesn’t take a lot of fabric anyway. Yeah it sucks getting to the end and not having a wearable bra, but you will learn heaps in the process. And yeah, you just read right, you have to make THE WHOLE THING – elastics, closures and all. You can’t really test the fit until it’s complete. It just makes victory all the more sweet. You’re allowed to cry and swear though, I certainly have. Lucky my dog is deaf and the kids are at school.

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Yeah she’s not perfect, but she goes alright. The bra too. HA. I hope that was somewhat helpful and not too blabbery. I do like my bra talk. Let me know if you’re going to try some bra sewing or if you already have.

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Bra vs Bralette {Orange Lingerie Marlborough Bra + Ohhh Lulu Romy Bra part two}

Once again, this is a post about underwear. I’m wearing some. Probably NSFW.

Part One can be seen here.

Meanwhile, look at all my new beauties! Woo hoo!

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From L-R: Romy bra, Romy bra, copy from RTW bra, Marlborough bra and Marlborough bra. All the knickers are the same pattern and are self drafted from this Craftsy class.

Where do you get stuff?

Romy bra by Ohhh Lulu.

Marlborough bra by Orange Lingerie.

Most of the supplies are from Booby Traps and The Remnant Warehouse.

My wires are from Sew Squirrel. They also have beautiful kits if you’d prefer a one stop shop.

Here’s another Marlborough that I’m not going to say much about because it’s exactly the same as the one in the last post. Both the lace and velvet are stretch, so the bra is lined with nude bra lining. I wanted a bit of the scallop on the knickers, so didn’t take the picot elastic over the lace parts on the legs.

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This next Romy bra I did change a little bit. I moved the point where the back of the straps attach because they were a bit too wide for me (now they are more towards the centre of my back). I also widened the back strap and eliminated the closure, so it just pulls on over my head. It’s super comfortable. This time I didn’t line the side cups so the skin would be visible through the holes (oh how scandalous!). That also makes for a slightly more relaxed fit. I still find it quite a nice shape for a wireless bra, I think it’s the princess seams and the fact that I use mesh for the lining.

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Here’s the inside:

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And on. Sigh. The perfect weekend set.

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Bra vs Bralette {Orange Lingerie Marlborough Bra + Ohhh Lulu Romy Bra Part One}

This post may or may not be safe for work, depending on who is looking over your shoulder. No nudity, but I’m wearing underwear.

Ok? ok.

This past weekend started with me digging through my underwear drawer and having a giant cull. Too big, too small, too low, too high, too worn, never worn, too grandma, too uncomfortable etc. You know the drill. Which left me with very little beyond the undies I’d made for myself. A sign, I think. What’s a girl to do? Sew four pairs of knickers on a Friday night. Party animal.

Of course, sewing four pairs of knickers can be done pretty easily in a few hours. But when one decides that she must now have bras to match, well – that takes a bit longer. I get asked about bra sewing more than anything else ever, so I thought I’d share some with you. Yeah I’m being brave and getting my clothes off. Because it’s all well and good to sew my bras, but you’re curious about fit too, right? I get it. I always was when I saw home sewn bras too. Because they are home sewn. How could they possibly compare to store bought?

Let’s talk about the patterns I used:

Ohhh Lulu Romy Bra (bralette).

Orange Lingerie Marlborough Bra.

Knickers are self drafted using this class.

Materials are from all over the place, but mainly Booby Traps and The Remnant Warehouse.

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Lets talk about Romy first. I love Ohhh Lulu’s patterns and own several. I really love the mesh insert in the Romy and how you can use lace also. It’s pretty. When I bought it, I figured it would probably work as a bikini top, which it will (replace the picot with fold over elastic, the strapping with fabric straps and eliminate the back closure, or use a bikini closure instead). Not hard.

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Pros of a bralette:

  • It’s a much quicker sew than a wired bra.
  • Generally they use stretch fabric, which means it’s easy to match your bottoms.
  • You can line or not line, depending on the amount of support you like.

Cons ofΒ  bralette:

  • Less support than a wired bra for bigger busts.
  • I don’t feel the silhouette is as nice as a wired bra (on me – more mono boob).

This is the first time I’ve sewn Romy and yeah, I really should have waited and ordered some navy strapping, but I was keen to get it sewn and check the fit. Which is almost spot on, I just need to move the point where the straps attach at the back. They are too close to my shoulder blades, I need to move them towards the centre of my back. Other than that, I love it! It will definitely work as swimmers with a couple of tweaks. I lined the whole thing in powermesh for extra support. Even the back bands, which is different from the pattern. Actually using picot elastic instead of fold over is a bit of a departure too, but I made the knickers first and wanted them to match.

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I love how the Ohhh Lulu patterns teach you how to do enclosed seams. It looks so professional. What doesn’t look professional is that I totally forgot to trim back my seam allowance under the picot elastic at the underarm. Ooops.

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Now onto the Marlborough. This is quite a popular pattern and I can see why. It provides a tonne of lift. The powerbar (that piece of fabric that runs along the outside of the cups) is awesome at pushing everything front and centre. The pros and cons of the wired bras are pretty much the opposite of the bralettes – generally they require fabric with no stretch (I’ve used stretch mesh but lined with nude bra lining), they take much longer to sew but they are a lot more supportive for bigger busts. I prefer the silhouette on me.

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The Marlborough pattern directs you to use lace with clear elastic for those upper cups, but I’m a rule breaker and used the heart mesh (to match my already sewn undies, of course) and picot. I love using wide strapping too. Probably because I used to be an F cup and could never find the wide stuff on RTW bras. Unless they were, you know, beige, massive and boring as hell.

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I’ve already got another Marlborough and another Romy cut out to match the other pairs of knickers I sewed on Friday night. There’s nothing like a big old top up of a tired lingerie drawer to make you feel a million bucks.

Stayed tuned for part two…

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Palm Springs {Butterick 6285 + Circle Skirt}

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I like variety. I like change. It’s the reason I change my hair colour all the time, I’ll experiment with a new recipe every week and sew from new patterns quite often.

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Basically I have no loyalty (unless you count coffee and my hairdresser, because I’ll never stray from them).

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I also have no loyalty to a particular era of fashion. I will jump through those decades backwards and forwards all week. Sometimes it’s 70s tops and skinny jeans, sometimes it’s a perfect 60s swing coat and sometimes it’s a boxy 80s dress and Dr Martens. Some days I’m firmly planted in 2017 in leggings and a band t shirt. The silhouettes of the 50s are home to me though. That’s the era my favourite dress pattern in the world comes from – the one that started my business. And I do love me a circle skirt. That shit is timeless.

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I don’t even have a proper pattern for this one. It’s the skirt pieces from one of my dress patterns and a waistband from another. I add pockets and a petti and I’m good to go. I know you want to know the details, but they aren’t all that helpful this time around!

Circle skirt: cobbled together from a couple of different patterns, side seam pockets added.

Top: Butterick 6285 (it’s a knit wrap top and I made it a while back. It pre dates the blog actually).

Skirt fabric: From a tiny local shop that mostly does alterations and sells upholstery fabric. This lucky score is sateen and 150cm wide, making it ideal for big circle skirt pieces.

Petti: Hell Bunny.

Shoes: Swedish Funkis.

Pin: Colette Patterns.

Sunnies: Le Specs.

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Circle skirts are a great project for beginner sewists because they go together pretty quickly and easily. You’ll need to learn how to insert a zip, but after that you’re basically invincible. I added buttons to this version, but you can take the zip all the way through the waistband instead.

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I have two hot tips though:

  • Let that sucker hang, unhemmed for 24 hours. Because the skirt is cut on the bias, it can stretch over time. Hang and then trim if you need to.
  • The hem is never ending and a bastard because you’re trying to tuck a wider piece of fabric into a narrower one. You’ll get puckers and may even cry. I either overlock the raw edge and fold it over twice to create a super narrow hem or I use bias binding. I don’t pin for either method.

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Today I swished into the bank and around the local grocery shop like this. Tomorrow I’ll be slouching around in jeans and a jumper no doubt. But how good is it that we have the choice?

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Sewing Bras Again {Orange Lingerie Esplanade Bra}

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The Esplanade bra – is it on your radar yet? I haven’t seen many out in the wild, so I think maybe for the first time ever, I’m sewing something pretty damn new. As opposed to checking out everyone elses versions before I commit, which is my usual MO.

Pattern: Esplanade Bra by Orange Lingerie

Main Fabric: Some poly goodness that I assume is vintage. John Kaldor on the selvedge. A little bit of stretch against the grain, none in the other direction. Got it from the op shop for the princely sum of $1.

Power Mesh: The Remnant Warehouse.

Wires, elastic, foam etc: Booby Traps.

This is the first time I’ve sewn with foam and to be honest, my machine didn’t love it. I used a new size 70 universal needle as per the instructions, but it was skipped stitch city and involved a few swears on my part. We got there in the end though.

I was a bit of a crap blogger and didn’t take any construction photos, mainly because I was sewing most of it last night and no one wants ugly night time images. However whenΒ  I make my next one, I’ll share more of that stuff.

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So as you’ve probably noticed by now, the Esplanade bra is a long line, strapless bra with foam cups and boning. It’s quite rad and pretty different to most of the bra patterns out there right now. I love sewing bras, I love the process and I love how it all comes together in the end.

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I’m probably more proud of the guts of the bra than the outside. So pretty.

Every time I sew a bra, I get asked really similar questions – so I’m going to do a bit of a FAQ here, followed by some fitting images and info.

 

– Is it hard to sew a bra?

This is tough to answer because it depends on what you’re used to sewing. I think the biggest difference to sewing clothing is the seam allowance. In bra sewing it’s generally 1/4 inch, which feels tiny at first, but you get used to it quite quickly. You’re also sewing with some fabric that behaves quite differently to the usual wovens.

– You included wires?!

Of all the parts of bra sewing, people seem to balk the most at the wire part. It’s not that hard. In fact, even if you want a wireless bra, a lot of patterns will still add the casing as it covers raw edges and provides a bit of structure. Wires aren’t the devil, they’re actually pretty cool.

– How did you learn?

From Beverley Johnson’s Craftsy Class (affiliate link). I wouldn’t be sewing bras if I hadn’t watched that class. It is bloody excellent. My first ever bra was a Pin Up Girl Classic, which is demonstrated in that class. It’s my tried and true bra pattern and I love it like a child.

– Where do you get your supplies from?

I always blog where everything is from, but in Australia try:

Booby Traps (fabric, elastic, hardware and pretty much anything else bra related)

The Remnant Warehouse (fabric)

Pitt Trading (fabric)

Sew Squirrel (kits and patterns)

Measure Twice Cut Once (kits and patterns)

Kits are a really good idea for your first bra, then you’ll learn your strap elastic from your underwire casing.

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Let’s talk fit. I don’t think sewing a bra is hard, but I do think fitting can be. Bras have far less room for error when compared to something like a dress. They have to be just right. And because we’re all individual little snowflakes with all sorts of boob sizes and shapes, this can be a bit tough. I honestly don’t know how RTW bras fit most of the population. I suspect they don’t and we settle for ‘good enough’. I’ve been pretty lucky with fitting, my bras have all been pretty spot on the first time, although I’ve always made slight tweaks to them all on the next round. Nothing has been so far off that it’s unwearable. I’ve watched some poor ladies in bra groups on Facebook make 6, 7 and 8 toiles. And the tough part about it is that you can’t try it on as you go, you have to make the WHOLE DAMN THING and out of the same fabric you intend to sew the final version in. Not for the faint hearted. But when you get it, angels descend from the heavens and you no longer find bras a torture device to be ripped off as soon as you get home. It’s worth it, I swear.

So this bra is probably my worst fit right off the bat. There’s gaping in the upper cups and the whole shebang is too long. The length is easily fixed next go, but the upper cup part will need a bit of extra tweaking. On the plus side, see how the bridge is flat against my chest wall? That’s sometimes a tough one to get right, so I scored there. Nevermind, it’s still wearable and I might even add straps to this version to eliminate a bit of that gape action.

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There’s that pesky gap. Not enough fullness at the top of my boobs. That’s age, gravity, babies and probably genetics. You’ll note at this stage I hadn’t closed off the casing. The wires are the last thing that goes in so you can test the fit before committing to wire size. You do not want to ever have to unpick bar tacks from underwire casing. NO. Different bras require different wire lengths. I tend to trial and error from my stash until I find the best fit.

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What about support? Strapless bras aren’t really known for it, are they? I think the support in this one is decent, would be better if that upper cup was the right size. Still, I’m not going jogging in this bad boy and I think expecting to is just unrealistic, because gravity, cup size and physics.

I’m very happy with this pattern though. It goes together really well, all my notches lined up and besides the foam troubles, there were minimal melt downs. Will make again and will also make a beach version from swim spandex. With straps though, because my sort of swimming involves waves.

Knickers With A Twist: The Interpretation

Here it is – the fifth and final installment!webdsc_3153

It’s a bit of a stretch calling this one the interpretation, as most of these challenges have had a hack or two, but I tried to go that step further with this one.

Look at this amazing cotton spandex from Orinoco Designs. Rainbow plaid? Yes please! Not only does she look pretty, but she’s deliciously soft also. Would you like to win some? Go on….
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The mesh used in this one is from Booby Traps. I think. I bought it a really long time ago.

webdsc_3147So. Hacks. For this pair I followed the directions from Beverly Johnson’s Craftsy class and added a godet. Mostly because it sounds fancy, but also because it looks cool. In the class, Beverly uses lace for the godets and leaves the lovely scalloped edge open (open? unfinished? not encased in elastic like the rest of the leg). However, because I’m using mesh and the edges need to be finished, I used picot elastic as usual.

I also lowered the waistline by three inches. Scandalous!

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And that’s pretty much that. You know the drill by now. Thanks for letting me flash you my knickers. Thanks also to Brooke for playing along and to Jess for brainstorming the whole shebang. I’m off to continue bra making so I basically have a brand new underwear drawer to start the new year. Spoiler: it’s not even a drawer. More of a tub. A nice tub though. A felt bucket, if you will.

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