Sunday, May 31, 2009

Out of commision...?

Maybe? At least for a little while, anyway. I've got to get ready for our trip to Ohio and finish painting this darn house! I wanted to get it done before I leave but now I'm thinkin' if I can just get the front painted.... LOL! It's lookin' pretty good, btw. I probably won't be around a computer much while I'm there. Me + my mom + 5 kids= Mania! Just kidding..but I know we'll be busy. I'm so looking forward to the trip. I know it'll be long but I like traveling and seeing different parts of the country. I've driven to Michigan and flown to Florida but this is my first time going to Ohio. My sis lives close to Cleveland and Akron. I'm hoping to find some fabric stores. I guess I mentioned that before...oh well, I obsessed with fabric. teehee! I have gotten a little sewing done. My son desparately needs shorts so I used an Ottobre pattern and altered it to be a one pattern piece short with no side seams. Makes it a super fast sew. I have a ton of Chez Ami fabric that I ordered when it was clearanced so I made him 4 pairs of knit shorts. I still need to get the waistbands in 3 of them so we can take them with us.

Okay, I'm rambling now and I need to go get my daughter from her Granny's. I'll try to get one more post before I go and I'll show you what I did for the lil guy's shorts.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Thank you!

I just want to say "Thank you!" to everyone for all the kind comments about the tutorial. I may have to do some more! LOL! If anyone has an idea for a tutorial leave it in the comments and I'll see what I can do!

Hope everyone had a lovely holiday weekend! I was outside the whole time. Painting. No sewing for me. Our house is coming along, though. It's going to look really nice when we get done! I can't wait.

I'll be driving up to Ohio in two weeks. My sister and her family are moving to France in July and she's going over there to be with her hubby to house hunt. Me, my mom, and my kids are going up to Ohio to watch her kiddos. I've never been up there so it should be fun! Does anyone know of some good fabric shops around Medina, OH?;-D

We've also got our plans down for our first family vacation, ever. Gene and I have been married for almost 15 years and we've never had a real vacation. Sad, I know! Anyhoo, we are going to Colorado! I seriously can't wait. I went there with my family as a little kid and loved it! I'm really looking forward to sharing it with my little family. The kids are super excited and Meghan is constantly talking about it and asking about all the different things we are going to do. Conner is ready to go climb some mountains!

Needless to say, my sewing time will be limited. I'd like to get some summer clothes made for me and the kids but that may not happen. I finished up the sample Beignet skirt and I think it looks cute.

I don't think my husband likes it, though. He said he's not used to seeing me in skirts. I wear them all the time. Men can be so clueless sometimes....

Well, I have a ton of house work to get caught up on so I better sign off here!

Have a wonderful week!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Bra band tutorial!

Finally, huh?
This tutorial is how I make the lower bottom edge fit a bit better under the cups. It also gives the illusion of a partial band bra. Okay, I have a combination of large heavy breasts and a protruding belly. Nice. This can make wearing bras pretty uncomfortable when the band is too wide under the cups. The tummy pushes up against the breasts and underwires and it can rub somethin' awful. When the band is too wide it flips out or sometimes in and is often really painful, causing rashing and other yuckies. I have found using this method relieves a lot of it. There are also several women out there that like the look of a partial band bra but hate wearing wires and wires aren't necessary in a full band bra. I suggest using a really good channeling, though. The stuff I'm using for this bra is from Sew Sassy and it's friggin' awesome! It's the #922.

Okay, seriously, I'm not the greatest tutorial maker. I've only done one other. If you ever have any questions regarding this or bra-making in general please leave me a comment and I'll get back with you.

On to the good stuff!
First things first: Trace your pattern on to tissue or whatever you use. Now, I mostly use European bra patterns and they do not include seam allowances (I'm using my custom Danglez DB3) . If this is the case for you too add your normal seam allowance to all edges except the lower edge on your band. If you're using a Kwik Sew pattern or another company that includes seam allowances you might find it beneficial to just draw them in real quick for future reference.
Normally, I place my elastic on the bottom of my tracing to find my seam allowance:

So, pretending that my pattern below is the fabric, when sewn it will look like this:

With the picot edge peaking out and a nice wide band.

Instead, we want it to look a bit more like this when finished:

With the picot edge essentially peeking out from the bottom of the cup.

My band pattern is in 2 pieces. To get my tracing I butt them together.

I want my elastic to finish where my finger is pointing in the picture above.
I lay my elastic on the pattern, flipping it over and lining it up to that point:

Below, I made a mark where the elastic ended. I moved it up a little so you can see better.

Usually, I use my handy dandy attachment on my rotary cutter to make my seam allowances:

As you can see, the narrowest I can get it is too wide so I can't do that this time.
I measure the mark and get about a 1/4" (6 mm) seam allowance.

Using my ruler I mark my seam allowance all along the bottom.

Now, cut!

Here's the finished band pattern:

Now it's time to cut out your fabric and sew the cups and band together following the pattern's instructions:

Place your elastic along the bottom, lining up the edges.

Line the fabric and elastic up so the needle enters just outside the left edge. When you start sewing grasp the threads and gently pull them while you start stitching. This will help get everything moving along smoothy. (shown above)
sew, sew, sew

Your elastic should look something like this:

I trim my seam allowances. Not absolutely necessary.

Measure down about 3/8" from the top of the band and start sewing on the channeling:

Trim seam allowance.

Lay the bra right side down on your table and flip the elastic to the inside. I pin the elastic down close to the cup/band seam allowance and use my fingers to feel the seam.

Now for the part that sort of gave me a heart attack the first time I did it. Grab your scissors and *GASP* cut the elastic (!) trimming it to fit along the seam. Do this for both sides.
Below, you can see my trimmed elastic and on the table the little piece I cut out:

Move everything over to your machine and start stitching down the elastic as you normally would. I use a 3-step zig-zag.

When you get to the elastic under the cup narrow your stitches to fit and be sure you don't catch the cup or channeling :

Begin stitching down the channeling with a straight stitch:

When you get to the bottom of the cups just stitch right over the elastic. This encloses the raw edge so your elastic will not ravel. Now go sew the channeling down on the other side.

Oooo... that looks nice!

You can see how the elastic/channeling just barely peeks out from underneath the cup. Stitching the channeling down over the elastic it helps it to not flip up, too.

Below is the oustside with wires inside the channeling:

Here's the inside view:

Finish up your bra per the instructions and VOILA! You have a GOR.GE.OUS new bra!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Sewing along

I finished up the danglez DB3 custom bra the other day and here it is on me:

It's really droopy because I didn't add any support or lining. It's just one layer of fabric all over. BUT, the fit is much better! The top cup is a bit large but I think it's due to the lace being a little too stretchy and the bottom cups need about 1/2" shaved off the bottom. I sent some pictures to Dini and she sent back a PDF with the alterations to make to the cups. Groovy! So, that'll be my next project. Also, in bra making news, I joined Sigrid's Lingerie Sew-Along. It should be fun and hopefully I'll learn some more. I'm hoping to get that dang tutorial done too. I've been trying to organize it in my head but I've never done a big tut so I hope I do it right and don't ramble on like I usually do!

I'm currently working on my Beignet skirt from Colette Patterns and I'm so excited about it! I got the pattern cut out and will try to get the fabric cut today. With babysitting and all I just don't get into the sewing room much. Today is the last day though so I should start crankin' more stuff out soon. There won't be any sewing this weekend though because my hubby's band has a gig in Borger, TX tomorrow and I'm an unofficial roadie. Yep, I help load/unload/tear down all their equipment. It's tiring for sure but I enjoy watching them play so it's okay. :-D I also have fun drawing logos for them. The pin-up on the website is mine and I drew the original pin-up that they use on their t-shirts. (Wow, that was a shameless plug, huh?! LOL!) Anyhoo, we won't get back home until early Sunday and we'll be totally exhausted.

I never did get pictures of my new vintage lingerie! Oh well, it'll have to wait till next week. I hope you all have a rockin' wekend!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

New bra!

I got busy yestersay and finished up the Danglez bra from my custom drafted pattern.

I just need to shorten the straps a little and then it will be done. The cups are still a bit big but I think it'll be okay to wear. I'm sort of afraid to make anymore bras since I've started losing weight (3 lbs so far! wOOt!!!). I always lose boobage so I dunno what to do. Anyhoo, I think I will shave off a bit from the bottom cups next time and see how that works. The cups should fit into the band better too since I seem to have to stretch the band to fit the cup. I'm not really sure if that's the way it should be.

I recently found a new independant patternmaker! They are Colette Patterns. They are gorgeous! I purchased three so far and I'm thinking I need the other two!

These are the three I got. I'm thinking about making up the skirt first. From the people that have made up her patterns so far they are drafted tremendously well and the garments fit like a glove. Plus, the pattern sizing is more like RTW and they all go from size 0 up to an 18. So I'm talkin' 46" bust, 38" waist, 48" hip for the size 18! Cool! I personally think that's awesome. Also, the packaging is sooo pretty. Each one is a little booklet with stitched bindings. The instructions are very thorough and include several well drawn diagrams. Yay!

I didn't get the pictures of the vintage lingerie since I was sewing ALL DAY yesterday. I'll try to get that done during naptime this afternoon (maybe). I also took pictures as I was going along so I'll have the tutoral for making a full bra band look like a partial.
I better get going for now. Gotta take the little ones outside for some playtime!

Monday, May 11, 2009


Well, I just got back from the eye doctor and had some good news to share. Last time, my eye pressures were up really high but when she checked them today they were normal! Whoo hoo!! I still have some nerve stuff going on that we have to keep a close eye on. It's basically the very beginning stages of Glaucoma. With me being an artist and fanatical sewist it really made me nervous and well, downright scared! I mean seiously, I just can't go blind. I feel relieved and all the more determined to eat well, exercise, and be healthy.

I want to wish all the fellow Mommas out there a belated Happy Mother's Day! I hop you all had a loverly day! I had a nice day of sleeping in, lounging around, and I even took a nap! Gene cleaned the kitchen for me, too! Now that's a major gift. For my present, I'm getting some Le Creuset cookware. YES! I fell in love with it when I was a bridal consultant some years ago and have been wanting some for, like, EVER!! If you can't tell, I'm most excited about this.

Oh! Look what I found this morning!!! Yep, those are baby apples! The tree is covered with them this year so I'm really hoping for some delish apples this fall. I've mentioned before how wonderful these little guys are so I'm pretty stoked.

I've been at a bit of a dead end with sewing. I did work on a special order for panties and got them done Saturday. I made about 4-5 muslins for the bodice of Butterick 5181 and it's just not workin'. I think I'm going to scrap the bust dart and just do gathers. I'd like to squeeze a little bra sewing in today since the rest of the week I'm babysitting for some friends of ours. Their little girl, who is about 21 months, is good as gold and I love watching her. I'm kinda thinking about breaking out my Portabello Pixie patterns and making her something. I haven't tried them yet and they are so darn adorable!!!

I totally scored the other day at the thrift shop and I want to show you what I got. I'll try to get some pictures taken and post tomorrow or later today. Anyhoo, I absolutely love vintage lingerie (who could have guessed that?!) and so if I find some I like to add to my collection. I picked up some frothy peignoirs and an orange, yes orange, nightie! It's so cute. I hope someday to fit into it! I also added to my vintage pattern stash. Surprise, surprise!

Until then, have a lovely Monday!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Whoo hoo

Yippee! I got my custom bra pattern from Danglez yesterday! I held up my original tracing to the new pattern and it is considerably smaller. In a good way I think. Dini was also very generous in that she included a patterns for a diagonal seam and vertical seam cup! Cool huh?

I am working on Butterick 5181 view B right now, though. I think I've got the bodice fitted. Well I tissue fitted it and today I want to get a muslin made up to make sure it fits in fabric! I had to do a 3" FBA so we'll see. It's a cute dress and as I've mentioned before I really like this maxi style so I hope it works on me. I'm thinking about wearing it with a little cardigan or something to cover my heavy upper arms. Of course when it's super hot this summer I'm not going to give a crap about my arms! But for now....

I'm totally exhausted this morning. Gene and I started up our swimming again after being off for 3 weeks. We were all sick with coughs and crap but all better now. It's amazing how much strength is lost in 3 weeks! I've also started reading Jillian Michaels' new book Master Your Metabolism. I just started and am only about 1/4 of the way through but so far it's a good read. She talks about all the chemicals and crap that are in our food and environment that are messing up our bodies and how it in turn makes us fat. Very interesting and kinda scary!

Well, I think that's all I have for this post. Will get some pictures up when I have more done on the dress. Also I know some of you are waiting for that tutorial on how to make the front bra band narrower. I have not forgotten! I will get to that ASAP! ;-D

Until then, have a good one!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

How to avoid Swine Flu

Don't do this:

My sister e-mailed me this. It was a forward from somewhere so I don't know who's baby this is. Seriously, how cute is this?! And kinda gross....

Friday, May 1, 2009

Merckwaerdigh finished

I finished the Merckwaerdigh CUPL16 bra up yesterday. Here she is:

Here's the cool strap detail:

It threw me for a loop for a little bit. The English translation of the instructions were slightly vague on how to do the whole thing so I just storta went for it and I think I did it right! It looks like the I say screw it if I did it wrong 'cause this worked and that's what matters!

I do think the fabric is a bit too stretchy. A ridge formed over the seam allowances as seen here:

It shows through clothing and my husband so lovingly pointed out that I look like I'm nippin' all time. Nice. Thanks honey, just want a girl wants. Anyhoo, I'll try it again in a slightly firmer fabric. Maybe 30-40% stretch (this has about 60%). Some other adjustments I'll need to make are:

1. Alter the top cup to bring the straps in by about an inch. As it is they are spaced too far apart so the straps slip off my shoulders occasionaly. Not as bad as my RTW bras but enough to be an annoyance.

2. The band under the cups is too wide so it folds up under my breasts especially when I sit. I'll simply trim the seam allowance so the band elastic is barely visible from the outside. The front band folding up is a common problem for us curvy girls since we tend to have a "shelf" under the breast. The shelf being our tummies.

I'll take pictures as I go along so ya'll can see what I've done. I know several of you out there are making bras for the first time so hopefully this advice will help you along!

My custom pattern from Danglez should be here in the next few days and I'm really looking forward to testing it! I've been stalking our mail woman and all she brings are bills and crap. Well, yesterday she brought me these:

So, I guess I'll forgive her. For now. The two on the top left will be maxi dresses. I'm all about maxi dresses this summer! I LOVE 'em! The pattern on the bottom left is for some very pretty head wraps. A group of us on PR are making caps for people who are undergoing chemo. I haven't had an opportunity to make any up yet since I've been concentrating on bras. I haven't even mentioned it here yet but will go into more detail later. These caps will be donated to my local cancer center. Here's a link to a free pattern if anyone is so inclined to make some up or donation. If you make any up send me link to your pics. I'd love to see them!




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