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!

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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!

Snoozer McGavin {Ohhh Lulu Kate Camisole + Closet Case Files Carolyn Pajamas}

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These aren’t anything you haven’t seen before, so I won’t bang onΒ  about them. I picked up the cactus print satin at Spotlight earlier this week just because it’s cute. That’s literally all it takes. Never mind that satin is the devil and I don’t really wear it. That doesn’t matter at all.

Fabric: Spotlight

Top: Ohhh Lulu Kate Camisole

Bottoms: Closet Case Files Carolyn PJs

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But since making my first Kate Camisole in satin over the weekend, I really felt like I’d leveled up a bit, so decided another Kate was in order. With matching PJ shorts. Oooh andΒ  I still have some scraps of that cool spotty grey poly. Oh yes, let’s do this. Of course, not all satans (sorry, satins) are created equal and I melted a hole in this one after pressing the first dart. Ahem. Let that be a lesson to us all, TEST FIRST.

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Ch-ch-ch-changes…

I eliminated the faux fly front on the Carolyn shorts because the stitching was puckering the fabric and I really couldn’t be bothered trying that again. Because satin. No piping either obviously. You can see I still have a bit of puckering where the bands are attached at the bottom of the shorts.

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I went a bit rogue with the Kate cami and didn’t cut it on the bias because the cacti would have been running sideways. It’s not as drapey, I guess – but no problems. I also cut the neckline straight across instead of the V, lowered the arm holes (they are a bit high on my last version) and did the standard back. I also used pre made satin bias tape because I have a tonne of it and I was not keen on making it out of this fabric.

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Bonus points if you noticed I bought cactus print duck as well for Sid’s bed. They really are kicking some goals with prints at the moment.

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And hey, I know it’s still August and this morning we woke up to a chilly 7 degrees (that’s 44F for my US friends and yeah, that’s cold for us), but our days have been so mild this winter that it barely even feels like we’ve had a winter. It’s still beach weather, really (for the tourists anyway) with most days getting to 27 degrees (that’s 80F, thank you Google). So it does feel like I’ll be able to wear these babies sooner rather than later. I never really understood why you’d sew your own PJs because no one ever really sees them and they are generally much cheaper to buy, but I know better now. And I’m sorry. Handmade errrrything is better.

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Thrifted Fabric Weekend {Ohhh Lulu Kate Camisole}

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Hello again. I know, two posts in two days. Who even am I?

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I know I’m generally anti PDF pattern, but I make an exception for Ohhh Lulu because she’s rad and also lingerie pattern pieces tend to be quite small so there’s not a whole lot of cutting and sticking paper together.

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That said, the Kate Camisole (pattern here!) is cut on the bias so the front and back pieces are entire (not place on fold pieces) – does that make sense? So they are a bit bigger and there was some cutting and sticking required. But I survived.

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There’s not much to this one, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t make mistakes! Oh no sir! Would have helped if I’d read the instructions properly, but honestly, I’m like a bull at a gate. MUST. SLOW. DOWN. The bias tape is meant to be bias facing, not binding. I used it as binding for the front. Oops. Too lazy to fix it though and it ain’t so bad. Sarah has a super helpful tutorial for this, which can be found here. I recommend watching it before you sew, not after like I did.

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There are a number of variations on this pattern and I chose the lace back, she’s pretty cool right? The lace has a bit of stretch so I made it more stable with elastic (which is an option in the pattern instructions). It’s not scallop lace, but it has all these rad shapes in the fabric so I just cut around one of them and it’s the perfect size, really. I didn’t use sliders on the straps because I found they were a bit short on me. Next time I’ll lengthen them a bit.

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Oh the fabric. It’s another op shop score. Same shop as the hanky panel fabric from yesterday, actually. It’s most definitely polyester but handled a hot iron really well, so I didn’t even have to swear or cry. I have a feeling it’s vintage, but I don’t know for sure. I only had about two metres of it, so it was perfect for this project – which uses a bit more fabric than you’d expect because of the bias cut thing. I’ll definitely be making this one again.

 

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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Just Keep Swimming {Ohhh Lulu Cindy Bodysuit}

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Being ok with the body you have is hard. I go through phases, but at the moment I’m struggling with it. Surely then making yourself swimmers, having photos in them and then putting them online is the worst idea, right? Maybe. For me it sort of helps though. No change rooms, no obnoxious size tags, no comparing myself to shop assistants with a completely different body shape to me. NONE OF THAT. Plus you get the style and print that is absolutely you. I put the images out there because all bodies are good bodies and I firmly believe we need to see a broad range of them so it becomes normal – especially for our children.

Right. I’ve professed my love of this pattern many times. I’ve made lingerie from it (as originally intended) but also a bikini. I’ve put off making the one piece/bodysuit version because it requires a bit of pattern manipulation and I’m generally pretty lazy. Turns out it wasn’t hard at all. There are a lot of pieces, more depending on how much lining you want. I used power mesh to line everything except the top and bottom side panels. I am a big fan of power mesh. A massive fan. The heavy stuff too. I feel like it’s changed my sewing life. Some people find it feels too restrictive, but I love that snug feeling – probably the same reason I love the feeling of wearing a waspie (although I don’t wear it a lot because it’s too hot most of the year here). It feels supportive and like a big hug.

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Pattern is Ohhh Lulu’s Cindy.

All the fabric for this one came from The Remnant Warehouse.

Underwire casing, wires and hardware from Booby Traps.

The little buttons were salvaged from an old bikini.

Also I sewed this mostly on my vintage Janome, with a little bit of over locking on my Bernina. I’m not even sure power mesh and spandex existed when the Janome was made.

So, problems. The power mesh is the really heavy stuff. I love it. I love sewing with it too, because my machines seem to like sewing knits more when there’s power mesh included in the mix. It stretches pretty well in one direction, but not a whole lot in the other. Not really thinking this through, I made sure the biggest amount of stretchΒ  runs across my body, as I have done in my bras in the past. Fine in bras, less fine in the bottom half of the swimsuit which needs a bit of stretch vertically. It’s not restrictive enough to prevent me wearing them, but next time I might just use lining in that bottom from panel, or at least use a mesh that stretches well in both directions.

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A couple of other really minor issues were:

  • not taking the underwire casing high enough under the arms. I’m so used to using picot that folds over to cover it that I didn’t really think. I made binding out of the swim fabric for the first time ever and it actually worked pretty well! It’s something I’ve always been pretty scared to try in the past. There’s a couple of bits that are slightly twisted, but it’s not noticeable when I’m wearing it.
  • Next time I’ll trim down the highest point of the upper cups (where it folds over to attach a ring and the straps) as it was a bit wide for my rings. Well, rectangles in this case.

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I made my own straps for the first time too! Yay! Another process I’d been putting off. It was actually super easy. I cut two strips of fabric, 20 inches x 2 inches, folded them lengthwise (right sides together) and then used my over locker to attach swim elastic down the length. Then just turned them right side out and magic, straps!

These ones show the guts and where I put the mesh for support. I tend to use bands for the legs because it’s really easy and I like the bit of extra coverage.

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This pattern has the option to line the cups (which I always take advantage of because I need the extra support) and gives you really straight forward instructions on how to enclose all the seams. Looks nice and polished, doesn’t it?

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I know I end up blathering on when I blog this stuff, but when I was trying to talk myself into learning how to make lingerie and swimwear, I would madly google to find sewing blogs on the topic. It made everything seem so much more achievable and this way I hope to repay the favour of the bloggers that helped me (even though they probably don’t realise).

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Pretty decent fit, I think. The only issue is the mesh not having enough stretch vertically, so the wires aren’t sitting right up under my bust. But to be fair, I have that issue in just about every one piece in this style that I’ve ever tried on. So maybe it’s just me. Oh, another thing on fit – I kept the cups and top half my usual size but sized down two sizes on the bottom half, as the bikinis I’ve made before end up feeling too big once wet. And that’s not a feeling I enjoy in the surf. Ahem. Fine for comfy knickers, not so fine for swimmers.

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Yes, for someone who lives on the coast I am very pale. We’re all about being sun smart here and to shatter the illusion, these swimmers will be covered by a long sleeved rashie most of the time. Being sun burnt sucks.

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Extra bonus images of what we’ve been getting up to – it’s been really hot. Standard QLD summer stuff, but it still seems to surprise us every year. The kids and even the dog have very fair skin too πŸ˜‰

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Diamonds On The Outside {Ohhh Lulu Cindy}

So you’d think that if you can make a bra, you can make a bikini top – right? Sort of. Maybe if I didn’t get cocky at the last minute and decide to add foam. That was my downfall, I think. Mostly it’s cool, definitely wearable. There’s just a few puckers on the cups from the foam, as I sort of just made it up as I went along.

Here’s the bits and pieces used:

Ohhh Lulu Cindy pattern for both top and bottom.

Power mesh from The Remnant Warehouse. Yes again. I have a metre of the stuff and even though those lovely gold bits come off in the first wash, it’s really supportive mesh and quite easy to sew with.

Black and diamond spandex from Boo! Designs.

Underwire casing, boning and metal square thingies from Booby Traps.

Wires, foam and straps stolen from another bikini top.

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Swimming in this house involves the pool, the river or the beach. All are salt. All end up being quite active… activities. It’s imperative that all my bits are contained and stay that way. So the spandex on its own wouldn’t be supportive and secure enough for me – hence the lining with power mesh. Now you might be thinking ‘Whaaaaa?! Bra power mesh in a bikini?!’. But here’s the thing, I dug through my stash of swimmers and found that most of them used standard power mesh, as well as underwire casing and even picot elastic. So it must hold up ok in the water. And again, we’re mostly salt swimmers rather than chlorine. Usually the sun and constant wear ruins my swimmers before anything else can.

A RTW top with picot! Just assembled with the picots facing in instead of out.

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Like I said above, I decided to tackle foam this time, which made me rethink my steps a little bit. I decided to assemble the cups in the spandex and the lining and attach the cups to the lining layer. Turns out I should have cut them down a bit, as I ended up with foam in the seam allowance at the top of the cup – but we live and learn.

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To be honest, I’m feeling a bit cocky at this stage. I mean, it looks pretty tops. Attaching the spandex cups to the lining brought me down to earth again with puckers and wrinkles and all sorts of confusing things. Anyway, onward. The rest of it went together as per normal, but instead of hook and eye closures I just cut the back band on the fold so I could pull it over my head. Another genius move that I didn’t think through. Oh it worked when I tried pulling off my velvet Cindy over my head, but I didn’t take into consideration that adding the hook and eyes actually makes the back band bigger. Oops. It’s a tight squeeze, but I can get it on without ripping any seams. Bonus is that it won’t move in the surf either. Silver linings.

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Here’s a closer look at the underwire casing. It goes on the cup seam allowance. Clever, isn’t it?

Then we trim the seam allowance so it is nicely contained under the casing and stitch down the other side. Then a mini version along the side seams for the boning.

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Finishing the raw edges along the neckline and under the arms is what I was most worried about. On bras, you use pretty picot and it’s easy. But that’s a bit too bra-ish for a bikini. Fold over elastic is an option, but it’s previously been established how rubbish I am with that stuff. I could make binding out of spandex, but errrrk, maybe next time? So again I referred to my RTW tops and thought that the simple attaching of narrow swim elastic and folding over would do. I decided to attempt encasing it nicely with my over locker. Not so nice, my stitch was as wide as it could go, but still needs to be wider. I finished the bottom band with picot facing in.

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Annnnnnd done. Check out those wrinkles.

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Thankfully most of those wrinkles disappear when you fill them out with a body. I didn’t mention much about the construction of the bottoms, but they went together like these ones and I adjusted the legs a bit. I somehow managed to make these ones a bit bigger too, so I’ll have to make sure I correct that with the next pair.

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A Million Bucks {Ohhh Lulu Cindy + Ava}.

That’s how this set makes me feel. A million bucks. My favourite set I’ve made so far, even though the velvet was a bit of a nightmare, not only to sew with, but also to photograph (as you will see). But worth it.

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Both patterns are by Ohhh Lulu, the knickers only purchased yesterday after my search for a lower leg. Ohhh Lulu nailed it, obviously. Links to everything I used here:

Cindy Bra – Ohhh Lulu

Ava Knickers – Ohhh Lulu

Main fabric – purchased an an Op Shop and hoarded by me for about two years.

Powernet – Remnant Warehouse (just as an aside, the pretty gold bits started flaking off after I washed this net. Very bloody sad).

Elastic, bra clips, casing, wires, boning etc – Booby Traps

Straps and tiny satin buttons were rescued from an old bra, may she RIP.

So the Ava pattern is simple and brilliant. A great place to start if you’re new to sewing lingerie. Three pieces, that’s it. Front and back go together with gusset cleverly tucked in behind the back (sounds confusing, but it works), side seams get sewn up and then I just used picot elastic for the waistband and legs because I find it much easier than fold over elastic. EASY.

web-1767The velvet looks like two different fabrics. What a trickster. Gusset is black jersey.

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Picot gets sewn on the right side of the fabric, soft side up, picots facing towards knickers with a regular smallish zig zag, then flipped and attached again with a bigger three step zig zag. You can do it, I swear.

web-1779Hello pretty Avas. Finished in about 20 minutes, for real. Also, lingerie is a bugger to photograph flat. Much better on a body, but even I’m not going that far. Sorry.

Now to Cindy. I’m going to tell you a secret:

Bras aren’t that hard to make.

Don’t tell your non-sewing friends, they will seriously be so impressed to know you can sew a bra. Like mouth gaping floored. This Craftsy class taught me to sew bras. It’s amazing. You need it. Do it. I get absolute nothing from telling you that, by the way. It just changed my life and I’m not even kidding.

Alright, that said I put the Cindy bra together mostly by the instructions provided, but occasionally I veered off course and did it the way I learned in the Craftsy class. Because it makes sense. I think this is my sixth handmade bra, so I feel pretty comfortable with the process now. Cindy calls for more fold over elastic, but again I used picot elastic. This is the first time I’ve used the picot on the neckline and underarms of this particular pattern and I was concerned about it ending up a bit too low in the front, but it turned out absolutely fine and will be the way I finish it from now on. I love the three piece cup of this bra and the long line band helps smooth everything out too. What’s not to love about that, really. Since making bras with longer bands, I actually can’t stand wearing my RTW bras with the narrow back strap now. Something about it feels really uncomfortable.

web-1766I decided to line this baby with powermesh because the stretch velvet needs the extra support. It felt like overkill, but I’m so glad I did it because it definitely wouldn’t have been wearable without it – the velvet just has too much give and I need the support. You’ll notice I didn’t line the top cup piece because I sort of forgot and then was too lazy to go back and cut more pieces. It’s fine as is really, but would have been better with the extra support. Next time.

web-1770This bra has boning in it, which supports the band and stops it from rolling up when you’re wearing it. One of the comments I always get when I say I’ve sewn bras is ‘But with wire?!’ like it’s a really complex thing. But it’s honestly not. The boning and wire aren’t difficult at all. Even if you’re sewing a wireless bra, most will need the underwire casing in them anyway, as it covers the raw edges where the cups meet the band. Putting the actual wire and boning in is only another step.

web-1771Boning. Just boring plastic stuff. Sounds way more hardcore than it is.

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Done. Look at the guts of this bra, isn’t it pretty? When I first started sewing, I would never worry about the insides of what I was making because pffffft, no one will ever see it. But now I’ve realised how good it makes me feel when the insides are as pretty as the outside.web-1780web-1781web-1782web-1783web-1785Fun fact: I had my first bra pattern stashed away for over a year because I was so intimidated by that thing I felt too scared to attempt it. Now I feel ridiculous. If you can sew a dress, you can sew a bra. I don’t even touch my over locker when I sew a bra. So if you want to, go for it. You got this, legends. A million bucks.

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Flamingos, Mermaids and Unicorns in Spandex {Ohhh Lulu Cindy Hack}.

Not literally those creatures dressed in spandex (let your mind go there for a minute), but printed on spandex. For adult humans like myself who enjoy a bit of frivolity on their swimmers. I used the Ohhh Lulu Cindy pattern, which is a great pattern that I have sewn up multiple times as lingerie. For my first foray into swimmers for myself, I decided to just start with the bottoms and tackle the tops later when I can decide on design. All my bra patterns will need a fair bit of hacking to work as swimmers, so I went the easy option first. Plus I have a few plain black tops that will work with printed bottoms and most of the time I wear a rashie anyway. Because that sun is dangerous, my friends.

I ordered a flamingo print from Boo! because it was on sale due to a slight print fault. I also grabbed plain black spandex from there. I didn’t know if my first pair would be wearable, so I didn’t want to spend a lot. Turns out they are totally wearable, but I did end up tweaking the pattern slightly for my second pair. I also ordered sports lycra from Spoonflower because the prints are just so awesome, but I wasn’t sure what the quality would be like so only ordered a small amount. The blue lining is from The Remnant Warehouse.

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The only downside to the Cindy pattern in my opinion, is the fold over elastic. Don’t get me wrong, it looks great when done well – very much like RTW underwear. But even though I’ve tried, we just don’t get along. Sorry FOE, it’s not you, it’s me. All me. Plus, it’s not really intended for swimwear because everything has to be chlorine resistant. So, that leaves making binding from your spandex (looks great, makes me want to cry) or bands to cover the raw edges at the leg openings and waist. You could also use swim elastic and fold it over (like I did here). I went the band option because I find them easy and they add a tiny bit more coverage, which I like.

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I started with the flamingo fabric and cut the pattern out exactly as is, simply omitting the jersey gusset and cutting the main front and back panels out of the lining too. You don’t want a traditional underwear gusset in your swimmers – that little guy will fill with sand and become very unattractive, not to mention uncomfortable. My first step was to attach the lining and main fabrics at the front and back of each (so the joins are then facing each other on the wrong sides of the fabric) and then baste the lining front to the main front and same with the back pieces – from then on treating them as once piece of fabric.

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Everything goes together very easily after that – front and back side panels get attached and then you attach both pieces together at the side seams. I used my over locker, but you could do the same on a normal machine with a zigzag stitch. I then stitched the seam allowance down on the side panels with a zigzag, I just like the finish and think it provides everything with a bit more strength. The last thing I want is a wardrobe malfunction at the beach.

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It’s a good idea to try on the swimmers before you put the bands on, just to check the fit. Then I just attached the bands in the usual way (mark into quarters, gently putting tension on the band as you go). And the eagle eyes will notice I attached the top band upside down. Oops!

All done. The fit is decent, but I felt like I needed more bum coverage. The pattern is designed to be high cut, so I really should have thought about that a bit more. My husband assures me that a bit of butt cheek is fine, but I feel more comfortable with everything contained.

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It was Saturday afternoon when I finished these and my neighbours were out in their yard, so I chickened out of taking proper photos outside. Here’s a mirror version instead. Fit is pretty good, but you can see what I mean about the coverage.

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Today I tweaked the back pattern piece a little and added a curve, as well as making the waistband a bit wider. Then I cut into that very special fabric. I used the same swim lining and plain black spandex for the side panels and bands.

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I love them, and the fit on the butt is better – but I think next time I might experiment with lowering the leg openings in a more pin up style. Maybe. Not sure. I’m just not used to the higher cut, so I feel a bit self conscious. It is all the rage for this season though. I also made the waistband a touch too wide, so I’ll narrow that a little next time too. All in all though, very wearable. And this time I felt brave enough to tackle photos outside.

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