Friday, 22 September 2017

Tropical Melilot Shirt

Today, we are talking shirts. how much I love wearing them, less so making them!
This is my Deer and Doe Melilot in just about the most eye watering print I think i've ever made anything in. 
This was a wearable muslin from a Kauffmann Cotton Lawn I got back in the Minerva Craft Blogging Days.
The fabric I have earmarked for my proper version is my Atelier Brunette Bye Bye Birdie in Sky, but I wanted to check the fit. 
I've worn this shirt so much more than I had planned to, the print is almost tropical and on a lovely sunny day its great to chuck on and wear open.
I am ridiculously excited in these photos, mainly because I'm at Virginia Woolf's house in Rodmell.
Its not too far away from home but i'd never been before. The garden is stunning but sadly you can only see three rooms in the house. 
The flowers were perfect and I skipped happily through the orchard, past Virginia's writing hut investigating what fruit they had growing. 
(Piemaker had to put up with me squealing at him when I saw a Mulberry tree, cue epic eye rolls!)
This being a wearable muslin, I paid absolutely no attention whatsoever to the print matching on this shirt, but it turned out rather well. I cut a 42 and I could go down a size through the side seams but I wouldn't want to mess with the fit at the sleeve too much. This style sleeve works well for my narrow shoulders but the cuff detail takes some getting used to. Due to the sort of cantilever effect of the sleeve pulling downwards, it peaks the top of the cuff a little. 
It gives it nice shape, but it feels a bit odd to wear at first.

I'm loving the shaping or lack of, in this shirt and the print doesn't overwhelm as I thought it would.
Construction wise this was a pretty easy make. I opted for the short kimono style sleeve rather than faff with tower plackets on the long version.
The only thing fancy I went for was the invisible button placket.
Now i've made a couple before this but this one had me flummoxed! The diagram wasn't giving me any answers and in the end Piemaker's origami skills were drafted in. He would fold one bit and tell me to stitch. I'd run back to the machine and back to him for the next fold. 
Haphazard but hey, it worked!
I will be making this shirt again and I might even entertain the tower plackets, but I think I can live without the invisible placket.
It did come in handy towards the end though, did you spot I did horizontal buttonholes?
I'm calling it a design choice!

Friday, 15 September 2017

New Vlog Alert: August Fabric Haul from Guthrie and Ghani

Happy Friday!
Its a sad one for us today as our Cornish adventure is coming to a close and were on the way home. Never fear! I come bearing more fabric goodness from a recent trip to Guthrie Ghani in the form of another vlog!
I'm sure there will be a sew and tell up soon about my Cornwall wardrobe triumphs and pitfalls.
I'm also off to the Handmade fair this weekend and the Great British Sewing Bee next week. So if your there give us a wave! I'm sure there will be plenty more fabric hauls to come after that one.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Cornish Capsule Wardobe: Vlog Alert and Plans

(Image from here)

I'm back today with all my plans for my Cornish Capsule Wardrobe!

I love designing and sewing up capsules, I find that they integrate into my wardrobe better and don't leave me with those dreaded sewing orphans (garments that match nothing else in your wardrobe.)

As we are going away to St Ives, I've put together a plan to sew up some clothes that are inspired by the landscape and that ultimately things I really want to sew and wear!

I'm not sure if I will achieve all of it, but hey if you don't plan it you won't get anything done anyway right?

Ok, so here is the plan.
  • Ginger Jeans in lightweight denim from Guthrie Ghani
  • Sew Over it Kimono using Delft Blue Cotton Gauze from Ditto
  • Tilly and The Buttons Cleo in Stanton Denim from The Village Habedashery
  • T-shirt dress using Skopelous Art Gallery Knit From Maud's 
  • Lark Tee in Skopelous Art Gallery Knit
  • Kalle in Atelier Brunette Terrazzo Cotton Gauze from Fabric Godmother
  • Julia Cardigan in Chunky white rib knit from Stash
  • Tilly and the Buttons Agnes Tee in Royal blue silk Jersey 
  • Butterick B6178 Wide leg trousers in Caramel Linen from Fabric Godmother
This gives me a good all round choice of clothing depending on the weather! I will be taking other clothes, but relying as much as I can on the capsule and I will report back when we come home on how I did.

I really hope you guys are enjoying my vlogs as much as I'm enjoying making them, i'm still growing on Youtube so don't forget to like, comment and subscribe if your interested in seeing more. 

I think I will still be blogging in the traditional sense, but I really love the immediacy and personable nature vlogging brings. I am in real life, quite an introvert so its a big new step putting myself out there! 

I'd better get cracking! Lots to sew up!

( This post was written a few weeks ago when my vlog went up. Unfortunately I forgot to hit publish so I am currently in Cornwall photographing all my lovely makes for you!)

Sunday, 27 August 2017

New Vlog Alert! July Fabric Haul

Happy Sunday everyone! 
I have another Vlog for you today, full of fabric goodness from Fabric Godmother's Open Day in July.
Keep a eye out for fabrics you like as a lot of these are still available in the shop!
Happy Stashing!

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Neon Stripe Lark

Holy Crabsticks! It seems like forever ago I made this Lark Tee! I've been terrible with keeping up with my makes lately. Great that I've been sewing more and giving vloggging a go (check out my channel here) but not so good for the blog. I have loads of stuff to get up on here! But without further gilding the lily,

I give you another Lark tee!
Ok. I know, another one. But I think i've got the fit just right now and I made it in this fabulous grey and neon pink knit I bought at Fabric Godmother eons ago. I have just enough of this left for one more thing, but its one of those fabrics I don't ever want to end!
For this one, I took it down to a 12 and a 10 in the shoulders, my normal shoulder adjustment just wasn't severe enough. I think its just right now.
I don't have an awful lot else to say other than I will still be sewing up a load more of these. I've been reading A Curated Closet and i've come to realise short sleeved t-shirts are in short supply in my wardrobe.
 I might give it a rest for a little while as I have TATB Agnes and a few other t-shirt patterns to try out. I'd like to get my Plantain Tee pattern adjusted to fit again too. 
This last photo made me giggle!
 Caption this competition? 
My entry: 
"Piemaker what do you mean I can't have any more fabric!?" 
He's probably right though..

Sunday, 20 August 2017

New Vlog Alert! Sussex Sewing Meetup and Fabric Haul!

Hi Lovelies, 

Yet another Vlog up today, all about the goodies I purchased at the Sussex Sewing Meet!

I had such a fabulous time, sewing friends really are the best!
What have you stashed recently! I'd love to know! Also don't forget you can subscribe to my videos as well as my blog! 

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

New Vlog Alert! Fabric Haul

Hi lovelies,
 Just popping in to let you know i've posted by second vlog. This is a fabric haul from a while ago at Ditto Fabrics.
I'm finding the video editing a little tricky to grapple with so if you have any hints or tips please feel free to comment. Even if you don't and you just want to chat about fabrics (my favourite subject!) please drop me a comment or like and subscribe.
Now on to the fabric goodness!

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Closet Case Solved! Ginger Jeans. Including my first Vlog!

I know I said this with my Safran Jeans but that was a false alarm, you guys! I made real jeans! Traditional, topstitched, coin pocketed denim jeans!
This has been a holy grail for me for a long while. When I first learnt to sew, jeans were just never on my radar to sew. They were made by magical unicorn sewists in far away lands, I'd never heard of anyone making bras or jeans, end of.
90% of my clothing choices involve a pair of jeans and a top as i'm sure most people do. They are practical, comfortable (hopefully) and go with everything! I always had huge issues with finding the right jeans because of my stumpy carrot shaped bottom half. (Think small waist, huge hips and thighs tapering to quite narrow ankles on a 5ft3 frame.) That being said, I haven't cracked it 100% with this pair, but i'm on the way! I've also given Vlogging a go so my full review is at the end of this post!
I find with new skills I am a very visual learner and so as with my bra making craftsy class, I opted to purchase Heather's Jeans making class on her website platform as soon as it launched. Now as a disclaimer I want to point out the if you are in the EU there are taxes applied to purchases from Heather. I took advantage of the intro offer and discount code but the $50(?) cost ended up more like £60. I emailed Heather and she explained that taxes had been applied and that was why.
 It didn't matter in the long run as the class is so excellent I thought it was well worth what I paid.
As with bra making, jeans making is a series of small processes that make up a larger whole garment. Don't expect to have them sewn up in an afternoon but you certainly could do the pocket attachments and topstitching for the fronts! I estimate that it took me around 10/12 hours of sewing to complete these. A good few podcasts listened to! I used Heather's class for every single step. Her fly front tutorial is the best i've come across. Its clear, concise and makes it accessible to everyone. I struggled with this for Safran, even though I've done them previously on the Moss skirt and others, its never looked as fabulous as these did.

I opted for the midrise option offered in the class. I'm fairly happy with the fit on these now i've tweaked them. Overall they came out way too big. I cut a straight 16 but shortened them by 16cm! The 16 was the right choice for me at the hip but I ended up doing an awful lot of tapering in the legs and the waist is still incredibly roomy. My next attempt will be a shortened 14 and see how we go. I used a delicious crosshatched indigo stretch denim from Ditto in Brighton. The stretch was about 2% elastane 98% denim. I would stick to this for Ginger as the stretch was just about right. I think that i'd get more benefit out of the stretch when i've cut a 14. I also need a significant sway back adjustment and then the waistband would fit a lot better. Even with that in mind, they are a great wearable pair of jeans. Better on my chunkier days or for a big dinner!
I am fortunate enough to have two machines and an overlocker which made this process much easier. Its totally doable to have just a machine and an overlocker, but there would be a lot of swapping between topstitch and normal threads. Luckily you only need to change your top thread as the thickness of the thread would clog the bottom bobbin. I totally recommend that you buy 2 packs of jeans and topstitching needles. I went through an entire pack just for my topstitching. I was using my basic Husquvarna E10 as my topstitch machine and if it hit a thick/tough spot the needle snapped. Next time around i'll make that my seam machine and use my newer Janome for topstitch as when I swapped it appeared to handle it better. I've been thinking about adding Vlogging to my blog escapades for a while. I've really gotten into watching other sewists and its lovely to get a sense of the person behind the blog. Not to mention the way a fabric drapes or the way a garment fits 360. This is my first go and I did it portrait! Doh! The next ones will be better. I'm planning some fabric haul videos and if you click on the link you can subscribe to my channel from there. I'm super nervous about this so if you have any vlogging advice please let me know!
I'd also love to know if you've tackled jeans, i'm all for any tips and tricks! Here goes nothing!

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Me Made May 17: The Review

We made it through guys! This is the first year I felt I stuck pretty well to the pledge and got photos most days. It was so inspiring using instagram but by the end my photos got more and more ratty, apologies about that I got photo fatigue!

So on reflection I'm pleased with a lot of the new stuff i've made recently. A few old favourites made appearances too and I gave myself permission to chuck away some of the unworn items and make space for new things! So a reminder of what I said in my previous post

What was your pledge Stevie?
I'm worked on making the most of what I have. I'm pleased to have a wider variety of garment types in my wardrobe than I ever have before, but some are from before my weight loss. I'd like to wear items and decide the fate of some that have been languishing too long, either because of fit, or the style is not quite me anymore.

So my main aims within May were:

  • Wear all the 33+ items of clothing I have in one way or another - There was lots I didn't wear. I don't think it means I have to chuck it all. But some of it can definitely hit the charity shop. I had some items that weren't season appropriate, or are definitely too ratty to be seen on the internet (Virginia leggings i'm looking at you!) 

  • Work out what needs replacing/ refashioning/chucking - So I've already put my Leopard print wrap dress, my brown Oslo cardigan of doom, my recently made burgundy Mesa dress along with a few t-shirts that were too big into the charity box. It feels good but they need to leave the house sharpish, lest I pull them back in!
  • Pick out and analyse some of my favourite RTW items - Why do I like them? Fit? Design? Fabric? - I did do this but I think it deserves a separate post. 
  • Colour analysis: What are the main colours in my me made wardrobe? Am I happy about this? What else would I add. - I love blue on me, I do not have anywhere near enough blue in my me made wardrobe! I wore my new Ogden cami a lot and my blue chambray archer that could use a long sleeved friend. Pretty much any tone of blue would be good but i've got lots of aqua in the stash I need to sew up! Particularly jersey tops. I'm happy with the corally tones I already have but they could be improved with more daytime wear. I have a few lovely pieces of coral fabric I could sew up!
In conclusion I definitely need more tee's! More jeans! More cardigans, I wore an awful lot of my recently made Lark Tees and Kirsten Kimono tees along with my two Driftless cardigans. I'm pleased to say I wore my Ginger jeans a lot (They will be blogged soon I promise!) plus I was wearing a lot of me made pjs and  I will need more fun garments and use some more prints!

How did you find Me Made May 17?

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Evie La Luve's Top Tips for Sewing Lingerie and Bella Lace Knickers Kit Review, DISCOUNT CODE INCLUDED

Morning you lot!
I've got a jam packed post for you today. Hannah, the proprietress of Evie La Luve is popping by in a short little interview on what inspired her to start her online store and to give you some tips on sewing lingerie. I've also got my review of her Bella Knickers made from an ELL kit! 

*I purchased this kit and other supplies from ELL myself without any sponsorship, all opinions are my own but there is a cheeky discount code for you in this post!

So to kick things off!
Hannah is the brain behind Evie La Luve a pattern and lingerie supply online store. I'm forever stalking her site for beautiful inspiration and her tutorials on youtube are always great if your stuck with a particular lingerie problem. (i'm looking at you bra straps and sliders!)
So without further ado here is our interview and Hannah's tips for lingerie success!

Hi Hannah, Great to interview you! When/how did you become interested in lingerie making?
Beautiful lingerie is something I've always been interested in, it was one of the many things I considered designing/making after my fashion degree. I've always been drawn to pretty, lacy, very girly things and lacy lingerie, I think, is about the girliest thing you can make. I first drafted myself a simple, woven, pair of knickers and from then I was hooked. The amount of time it took me to create something (and complete it!) was no time at all, took very little supplies and filled me with so much joy. I was addicted from the start and began sewing more and more lingerie.

What was your impetus to start your craft business?
I've always had an entrepreneurial spirit. I've always tried to make money from things I enjoyed. I've had two previous small businesses before this one! I always knew I wanted my own business. My father and grandfather and great grandfather etc. have all had very successful businesses of their own so I guess you could say it's in my blood. It just came down to how I could turn my passion into my own successful business and designing/sewing/creating new things is my passion!

What is your favourite fabric to use for stitching lingerie?

I adore lace. I think thats what got me hooked on lingerie. It's so feminine and beautiful, how can something you make with it not be beautiful too?! On the flip side my new obsession is scuba fabric! Holds its shape, easy to sew, usually comes in awesome prints. Whats not to love!

Hannah's 3 top tips for sewing lingerie!
  1. Don't be scared of it. Its really not as scary as it can look. Lace is surprisingly easy to sew! 
  2. Sourcing quality supplies is half the battle. Its not going to make sewing elastic any easier if you use naff stuff! I try and stock some of the harder to find lingerie supplies in my Etsy shop. Things you can't find at your local fabric store. 
  3. If your new to sewing lingerie there are so many great blogs/vlogs around now all geared towards lingerie making! Get lost in the void of blog posts and youtube videos/tutorials and you'll learn so much along the way! I have a YouTube channel myself, full of tutorials on sewing your own lingerie and where to source supplies etc.

Thank you so much to Hannah for those top tips! I know i've used a lot of Craftsy and Youtube on my bramaking adventures recently. So here is my quick review of Evie La Luve's Bella pants kit that can be found on Hannah's Etsy store here. 
I ordered a few supplies, fabrics and a kit from Evie La Luve not long ago, you may have seen it on instagram.  I was really pleased with my purchases, which included some of those stunning rose gold rings and sliders!
I also added the Bella kit which contains everything you need to make them:
  • Stretch Lace
  • Fold over Elastic
  • Jersey scrap for crotch/gusset (I don't know which word is worse! *shudder*)
  • Teeny little bow!

You can also choose to include a paper version of the pattern, or if you have it at home you can just buy the kit. I opted for the pattern included and I was super impressed with the quality of the paper. It was like a very firm swedish tracing paper. 
I really loved this coral lace included in the kit, I bought extra to make myself a matching bra but i'm finding it tricky to get coral findings so if you've seen any please let me know in the comments below. I fear I may have to dip my toe into the dyeing trend! 
The lace is lovely quality, really good stretch and nice and soft on the skin. I've worn these a fair bit since making and i'm pleased with how they are holding up. I think sometimes we forget how tough we are with our lingerie, washed then only worn once and back into the machine again. I think lace in particular as I'm always clumsily putting my fingers through it!
 I made an L based on my measurements. I could have done a XL but all I really need to do is increase the rise at the back. This isn't immediately easy as this lace would just about accommodate the pattern piece width wise. If your making knickers make sure your lace width is wide enough. I think a 16inch or above is great for these kind of cut. I did measure all of my stretch laces and I had a real range from about 8inch width to 17inch so its definitely worth checking that if you want to make a specific pattern. (Especially Ohh Lulu!)
What is great about this pattern is that Hannah marks the edge where the scallops should sit. there is no point putting the scallops on the edge where the elastic will be going, but oh my! It looks so pretty on the legs and makes this knicker much faster to sew as no further finishing is required on the legs.
Overall I can see myself sewing up loads of these in an array of colours. I think its a great basic and would go great with a pretty lace bra such as Cloth Habit's Harriet or her new Fenway pattern. (Which i'm crushing on so hard by the way!)
Yay! Thanks for sticking with us to the end!
You can get 10% off in Evie La Luve's Etsy Store this week only with the code BEEBEE10
Thanks to Hannah for giving us an insight into her life as an Indie pattern designer and store owner!

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Amy Butler Cabo Halter in Liberty

This is quite possibly the oldest UFO in my sewing room. Amy Butler's Cabo Halter in a stunning Liberty Tana Lawn.
This didn't fit very well before but I couldn't let it go. I bought and made most of it when I worked for Clothkits back in 2012. I only needed to sew the top and bottom together so i'm not sure what put me off really. 
The fit isn't ideal. You can see it here fitting fairly well on the bust but I've knotted the straps at the top of the V because it pulls it outwards and lessens the gaping in the cups. I don't think this is a personal issue, more a pattern thing as every halter top i've ever owned has done that. I decided not to add a closure as this just pops over my head and ties. 
I'm not usually one for outside photos as I find the light too difficult to manipulate, however the blossom on my little trees were too lovely to leave out! I love the blue/yellow combo of this fabric and of course its a lovely lawn to wear.  I'll probably keep it as is in terms of the knots on the straps, it adds some interest and gives me the effect I want on the cup. If you had a similar issue, I'd remove a bit of the fullness through the middle radiating down towards the cup. Amy Butler is best known for her quilting fabrics and patterns but this and a handful of other women's patterns came out a good few years ago. Its a nice style for holidays and I'm sure i'll wear it when its hot outside but looking back on her patterns now, they are a little too geared to quilting cottons for me. Great for beginners though!
I'd love to know if you've made one of these Cabo Halters! I couldn't see a huge amount of them online and i'd love to know your thoughts! Overall I think its a great simple wardrobe item but I don't think i'll sew it up again in a hurry. Then again it has taken me 5 years to get this one sorted!

Friday, 12 May 2017

Dreaming of Santorini: True Bias Ogden Cami

Hello you lot! I thought i'd get amongst the rhubarb and apple blossom for the reveal of my first Ogden Cami from True Bias. I say the first as I might have already made another one. I may also have cut another one and I might also have planned a bazillion more because like everyone else in the blogosphere I love this pattern!

I made mine with Royal Blue Premier Crepe from Minerva it is a lovely firm crepe that is opaque and fairly drapey. (I had it left over from my By Hand London Georgia dress I made eons ago.) 
Good lord above this fabric frays! I'd forgotten that once whizzed through the overlocker I had a blue fuzz covering everything!
That being said it was a quick and easy make, I was done in an afternoon and then hunting through the stash to find more fabrics to use!
You see the beauty of this pattern is in its simplicity. It takes up very little fabric and is suitable for a multitude of different fabrics. This crepe is quite structured and so it hangs away from my body slightly, but I quite like that about it.
 The fit on this wasn't bad but I sized down for my next version. I think I should have left it alone personally as now I either do an FBA, (blurgh!) or grade it back out to where it was. I cut the 12 for this one based on my measurements. It doesn't pucker anywhere whereas my second version definitely a little snug around the bust! I have a few finer crepe fabrics in mind for Ogden and I think the drape will change the pattern up a little for me. I've also seen some fabulous rayon and lawn versions. It is perfect for leftovers!
I think we can call this a wardrobe staple! I love the blue tone, I find it difficult to get a true Santorini blue. This outfit has me dreaming about swanning around the Greek Islands!
Do you love Ogden as much as I do? How many have you made?

Friday, 28 April 2017

Lark Tee 2.0

I always say you gotta love a basic! The Lark tee from Grainline studio is turning into my new Renfrew, mainly due to its versatility and speed to sew in any different jersey imaginable. 
This incarnation is stitched up from a long hoarded spongy, brushed jersey I picked up in Goldhawk Rd eons ago! I bought two colourways and the navy blue was made into some Virginia Leggings and a Plantain tee that I wore to death. Its one of those fabrics I would buy again in a heartbeat! I have just enough left in this colour for a pair of pants. Anyway, less fabric crushing!
I've made this before, so I won't bore you with too many details. Its pretty self explanatory. I think I made this one second, its still a little on the large side but on a cold day this is perfect to throw on for work. 
I may try a size 10 on the next go around with this pattern. I have a few fabrics earmarked to be more Larks but none will match this for cosiness. 
This photo sums up how I feel about this top, its like a comfort blanket! As you can see on the back I have quite a lot of room and I didn't make my usual shoulder seam adjustment. 
(Narrow shoulders, so I normally cut a smaller size for the top of the armhole.)
I'm quite liking the dropped shoulder trend at the moment, so I may have a go at another style of top that reflects this perhaps Tessuti's Mandy Boat tee or the Sew Over It Molly Top?
This Lark and my other one should serve me well over Me Made May, as well as hopefully a couple more!
I'm hoping that I will be able to participate properly this year but I'm still finding it a challenge to sew for my body now, rather than the body I used to have. It might be worth refashioning a few of my well made, best loved pieces so that they fit a bit better and still get worn. I don't think i'll mess with this one too much.
Before MMM gets underway, I'm indulging in a little stashbusting. I've kept a tally of how many fabrics I use and what for and have been doing so since January. I figure for every two fabrics I sew I can stash one? There is plenty more Larks to be had (Hardy har har...) Do you have a go to pattern you've made over and over?

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Harriet 2.0 & Ohh Lulu Grace Hipsters

Another day another bra! Today we bring you my second version of Clothhabit's Harriet bra, with some bonus Ohh Lulu Grace knickers to match!
I'm really happy with the way my second ever bra turned out. I made limited adjustments but the tiniest thing really makes a big difference on a bra.  
In my first Harriet I dutifully cut the measurement yielded from the instructions to "Measure around the fullest part of your bust without pulling the tape too tightly. Subtract your band measurement from your full bust measurement and use the Cup Size Chart to find your cup size." 
This put me around a 38DD which is what I made my first blue version in.
I decided that I'd cut closer to my RTW measurements this time, there was a lot of room in the cup and the band gave me little support. It was comfortable but not holding much up if you know what I mean.
 With that in mind I cut a 36D for my second version.
The fit on this one is fabulous! It is the most comfortable bra i've ever owned! I used rigid mesh and black powermesh for the back, lining the bridge and bottom of the cups with sheer cup lining. I'm not sure if I like the effect or if I should have lined the whole cup. Overall it turned out a lot more modern sexy than I was anticipating, but I quite like that about it. 
I thought i'd be clever and make my thread match my purple/pink mesh. That was a bad idea on my second ever bra. I like the effect from far away, but I don't think it looks as professional as the blue where I matched my threads as you can see every tiny detail, including a couple of popped stitches from when the underwire was inserted, also working with mesh and sheer cup lining was tricky, the little suckers loved slipping around even when pinned in place.
 Ah well, we live and learn!
I think on my next version of Harriet, (and there will be a next one) I need to scoop out just a small wedge from the top of the cup where it gapes a smidge, no more than half an inch and shorten the straps, where the sliders sit now is pretty much where they sit on me on the front side of my shoulders rather than the back. Other than that its pretty great on the fit, I feel supported but nothing pulls 
This was one of the few kits I purchased from Elise Patterns. I'm really happy with the quality of the supplies and I love how different bras can turn our just by your choices of which pieces you put with different materials. For example I did debate cutting the bridge in powermesh but I felt that only having cups in mesh broke up the effect too much. 
I did end up giving myself a lesson in appropriate fabrics for my knickers though!
 I picked the Ohh Lulu Grace Hipsters to go with this set. I had purchased some extra rigid mesh and so I had enough for them. Be advised if you buy a bra kit its sometimes tricky to squeeze a pair of underwear from your fabric too, unless the seller states that you can. I tried to be clever on these and cut my purple/pink mesh from spare fabric and the panels from powermesh. I used a fold over elastic for the edges and a scrap of jersey left over for the crotch lining. 
Here is my advice to you... Don't use powermesh for panties unless you love wearing spanx!
 I'm going to replace the side panels with regular black jersey on these as at present I can get them on but they are not comfortable! The pattern calls for some stretch and some non stretch fabrics, with the stretch around the side panels for comfort. I'd say you need at least a 20% stretch to be comfortable in these. They look great as a set, but to be honest i've just been wearing the bra with any black knickers I had already. 
 Thats the beauty of making your own underwear though! Its up to you to make it work. Now i'm starting to gain confidence in my lingerie sewing abilities, i'm going to start stashing more useful fabrics to have on hand such as stretch mesh in white and black, plain jerseys as well as foam cup lining and straps and sliders. I already have quite a large stash of fold over elastic in various colours which I found surprisingly in my local fabric shop, topped up with some from Evie La Luve.
 I'm really loving making my own lingerie, i'm finding that, like when I started sewing the endless possibilities of colour, fabric and design excites me. I like that using the same fabrics in a different combination, I could come up with countless different designs. I think its always been there. 
When I did fashion design and pattern cutting at college I did an underwear project for the CEO of Triumph and it was one of my favourite projects, didn't make a bra though. 
Have you started stitching your own lingerie? How did you find it? As you can tell I love talking about this, Let's talk in the comments!

Monday, 10 April 2017

Anatomy of a Bra Kit

When I started to look at bra making it was pretty overwhelming, I mean everything was pretty! Ohh that lace! Oh those straps! Those sliders and rings! (Yes really!) It was so difficult to know what I needed and why I needed it. So I opted for a Bra Kit. These are packs you can buy consisting of everything you need, all the accoutrements required (often without the pattern) to make your bra.
Even with all my enthusiasm and joi de vivre, when the kit came and I laid it out I still felt a little confused. Its all beautiful but where does this bit go?
So I thought i'd do a little run down of a commercial bra kit giving you an idea of what might be in your bra kit and what it is for.
I found when making Harriet, I made myself some sticky notes that I labelled with each items name to remind me during the making process. Think of this as a bit of a guide.
Within this post i've run through a recent bra kit i've purchased. I know not all kits will be 100% the same but they should have some standard items to get you going on your bramaking journey. This kit is from Elise patterns
First up is Powernet - This is used as the strength fabric in your bra. Its used for the back bands and often the bridge. The places where stability is an important factor. 
Main Fabric - This is where the magic is! There is many different fabrics you can use for a bra but something with less stretch is best at the start if you want to get the fit right. I've seen some stunners in Liberty Tana Lawn, but my first attempts were with Mesh and Cupro. Of course there is always lace!

Lace: Stretch or Rigid - Stretch and rigid laces are pretty self explanatory, one has some stretch created by some elastane content and the other has none and is more like a conventional fabric. This lace pictured is slightly stretchy. You can choose to put lace on the top piece of a cup or the whole thing. The fabulous thing about bra making is that you can really experiment with this, but don't forget to mirror your pieces! Lace often has one or both edges scalloped so you it doesn't require any further finishing. This looks great at a neckline and you can get lace in different widths and with directional prints. We also have some rigid nylon below that can be used for lining a sheer cup.
 Bra Strapping - Does what it says on the tin. It is used for the straps that hold your boobs up in the bra. It often has a "Plush" side (A slightly brushed, softer side,) this is the side that makes contact with the skin. This pink strap elastic has a pretty quilted pattern on the non plush side.
Band elastic- Often fairly wide and sturdy looking. This is sewn to the bottom edge of your bra so that it fits snugly around your ribcage. You sew this the wrong side and then flip it.
Picot elastic - Used to finish the top edge of most bras. This gets sewn along the top edge of the bra and along the top of the underarm. It has a little scalloped edge that peeks above the seam after being stitched. (Sometimes our band elastic also has Picot edges, but it should be easy to tell by the width of the elastic. The wider is used for the band.)
Bra Channelling - You will need this if you are adding an underwire to your beautiful bra, but often its still used to add a bit of structure to the cup. Its often difficult and fiddly to do, but if you squeeze the edges of the channelling towards the middle you will see the middle open up into a tube. When sewing on channelling it pays to be careful that you sew right at the edges otherwise you can have a bit of a battle with the underwire. (Not like I have experience of that or anything! Ahem...)
Bra Hooks, Rings and sliders - Last but certainly not least are the parts that hold everything together! The rings and sliders are used on the straps. The ring for the front or the back attachment of the strap to the main body of the bra and the sliders to make those straps adjustable. There is a fab tutorial from Evie La Luve of how to do this on Youtube.
The bra hooks, well we've all had to battle with these! They are your most common fastening on a traditional bra. Although now you can get some awesome front closures. I would also add underwires to this list if you so choose them. This particular kit doesn't include them but i'm sure there are others that do, finish it with a bow and you are done!
So there you have it! The anatomy of a bra kit! I hope this is helpful during your bra making adventures! Are there any supplies you can't live without?