Maya bra

September and October have been busy for me as I’ve finished off making some new clothes and starting some Christmas projects, tis very nearly the season after all- especially if they are to be finished by Christmas 2017. (Maybe this will be the year my Christmas jumper finally makes it off the knitting needles). That’s why finishing this bra and knickers set has actually taken a stupidly long time. 

The pattern is the Maya bra which is an awesome free pattern. It starts off having some beautifully detailed instructions, some of which now seem to be animated. It’s the third bra pattern I’ve tried, and the first time using foam cups so excuse a few mistakes where I considered this a trial go. 

Starting off the instructions are very detailed, the information on what fabrics and materials to use are brilliant. The notches are very well placed and everything matches up extremely well. I used scuba for the outer layer again, last time I used scuba it drove me nuts skipping stitches, this time however I used Gutterman thread and no problems, you get what you pay for, as the saying goes. I couldn’t get the firmer type of power mesh so I used two layers on the wing to give it extra strength, it helped but the firmer power net would be better.

I decided to line my cups a different way to what is suggested, as for some reason with my very limited experience I felt I knew better- I didn’t want to have to cover up my zig zagged seams with ribbon/tape so I constructed the lining separately and then stitched it to my cup “in the ditch”. Pros:-no tape on the inside if the cup or raw edges, cons:- it looks a bit baggy inside the cup, because of the shape of the cup the lining could do with being a teeny bit smaller. Im not sure ultimately either method is right for me, I’ll keep experimenting. 

Sadly the super detailed tutorial instructions don’t make it all the way to the end – I’m not surprised it must have taken her hours so far. This was a bit of a problem for me, as although I’ve made a few bras now and know how to make the frame, I hadn’t used foam cups before and wasn’t exactly sure how to best attach all the layers together,  I had to find another online tutorial to finish it off.

After I finished the cups it was down hill from there, though retrospectively I noticed one cup is at a very slightly different angle. Oops. No-one would notice.

So most importantly, how does it fit?

Well I would call it a success as it keeps the girls safely in for a whole day without hurting. Result. In terms of finer points that need tweaking – the straps dont seem to join directly above the apex, but they are comfortable so I’m reluctant to move them too much, just a smidge in would be good.

The main problem I’ve had is that the upper cup piece needs about 2 cm taking out of the upper edge each side, but the bottom edge staying the same… I have a bit of a gaping upper cup. This is apparently a very common issue with this pattern. Beverley Johnson does a really good tutorial on how to fix this on her bra making class on Craftsy, which can cost between $15 and $40 depending on whether they currently have a sale. The moral of the story though is make a cut on the pattern, and over lap the two pieces and stick them back down like a dart, I’ll be trying it soon once I’ve finished my current bra. Other people have also made a redrafted top piece you can download. 

I also decided to make matching knickers for this bra and my long line bra, both times I’ve used the Montgomery brief pattern from Orange Lingerie. As the lace is so wide it looked very odd to use the whole width of lace across the front, so with both of these pairs I’ve experimented with cutting the lace down – I’m really happy with the result! 

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Rosy – Ladyshorts Pattern review

This was a free pattern produced by Cloth Habit that is an alternative to the watson brief.  

This pattern looks a little odd when you cut it out. There is a seam down the centre rather than at the sides, and a cotton crotch. It takes barely any  fabric so you can get tons out of a pretty small bit of left over knit. 

There are printable instructions but also an excellent tutorial which covers everything including fabric choice, there are some gorgeous lace versions to inspire you too. (And me… It looks like I might need some more fabric). 

Now as this was my first pair I had a small amount of trouble with the elastic which needed a teeny tiny amount of stretch but due to the drag of the presser foot didn’t quite go to plan – a walking foot next time I think. It does mean sadly on this pair the band elastic isn’t quite perfect but next time. You can’t tell when they’re on anyway. But you can see it in this photo….

Despite this small issue it was a perfect fit first time. I love them, just the style I would buy RTW and perfect with no adjustments. Plus this is my second complete matching set so I was pretty happy.

I might make a few adjustments anyway for future pairs if id like a bit of extra bum coverage…just for some variety, but my new wardrobe staple I think.

Definitely a great pattern I thoroughly recommend it. Good sizing, great instructions.

Watson I & Sewcialists Inspiration Month

This August with the Sewcialists it has been Inspiration Month. For a long time I have had lots of Watson bras, designed by Amy from Cloth Habit, covering my Pinterest boards. It was this bra that inspired me to try bra making, as without underwires, and with the excellent sew-alongs that were available I felt it was something I could accomplish.

At this point can I just warn you that if you google ‘Watson Bra’ for inspiration you get rather a number of sleazy pap photos of Emma Watson. You have been warned.

The pattern was $15 dollars as an instant download, it has the bra and a bikini pattern. You can make two different versions, View A has a longline band which I particularly wanted for the look and the support I thought I would need being of a large cup size. There was a lot of information available about which size I should pick for various fabrics. I measured as a 36E but the advice was for quite a stretchy band fabric to size down, so I went for the sister size 34F. Then I looked at the cups, thought no chance and cut a 34 G. This is the biggest cup size for a 34 band and retrospectively I will need to increase it for the next one.

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The fabric I used was a fairly cheap knit as I always consider the first one a bit of a test case and expect it might need reworking somewhat. I’m saving the unicorn and rainbow fabric for best!

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I lined everything as I like neat insides, the cups and band with some power mesh, as I was concerned that the knit fabric wasn’t that supportive, and the band with tricot as suggested. Retrospectively this meant that I needn’t have sized down the band. You can see the horizontal lines where it has pulled round the band. The frame does seem to fit  around the cups nicely so for the next version I am just going to increase the wings a little.

As the knit is such fun colours I’ve enjoyed using mismatch elastics to add to the fun. I didn’t quite manage to get the elastics to touch perfectly at the front, I sewed a bow over it. Next time I also need to stretch the elastic a little more under the arm. 

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This toil is very wearable especially as the band and the band elastic will get softer with time. I wanted a soft bra as I have been in hospital a lot recently and lying down, and I find the wires were digging in. It was much softer to sleep in, and I felt much less rough getting dressed with a bra every day. it didn’t provide much support lying on my sides, but then I’m not sure I have any bras that do. Next to try the matching bikini pattern and see if I can get a comfy fit.

 

 

 

Sewcialists Tribute Month

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In case you are new to them as they’ve had a break the sewcialists are a group of friendly stitching bloggers who set readers month long challenges of fun things to make. This month is the sewcialists tribute month, where anyone can join in and try out something that they’ve seen someone else make, or produce something in their style. Great if you follow other bloggers and have been eyeing up some of their creations and need an excuse to perhaps step out your comfort zone and try something new. As I have been in hospital for most of this month, hence a severe lack of sewing, I have had the opportunity to put a good deal of thought into who has inspired me and what of their’s do I really wish I’d made myself.

Here is the short list:

  1. Lauren from Ladybird

OK I’ll be honest I actually have a list of things that she’s made that are on my list, some I even have patterns for, such as the Ginger jeans, which I’ve been eyeing up for years, she’s made so many great well fitting pairs. However in this instance she is on my list because of the Pneuma tank from Paper cut patterns which she blogged as recently as the 12th July.

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It comes as either just a sports bra or there is a optional over top. Lauren has just made the sports bra top to go under something else she has made but the colours are fab, just so bring and have a holiday feel.

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When I get back to full strength and have maybe had an operation on my back I was hoping to pick back up on some light yoga to strengthen my core and I have to be honest my t-shirt seems to slip all over the place so having a keep-it-all-in but pretty sports bra to keep my modesty would be ideal to stop me flashing people.

I haven’t sewn much with sports fabrics so I’ll be back to Lauren to re-read and see what tips I can pick up.

2 & 3 Featherred1 and Alexandra Anissa

The next two ladies I have picked for the same reason. Most people would imagine handmade underwear to be comfortable, well covered maybe a little frumpy, I love that a lot of their designs and photography are downright sexy. I began sewing as I found it difficult and expensive to buy bras that fit, to buy sexy underwear that fits is doubly hard. These gals breaks the mould and if some of my makes were a little more sexy and a little more cover-all safe, well, that would be a nice thing.

       2. featherred1 on instagram

This talented lady designs and sells hand made lingerie in Texas. She also has an Etsy shop which is lovely to peruse called Feather Red.

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A little more neutral than some of her other sets this is Strawberry Lolita Strappy Bralette, Panty, and Harness Set, Custom Sized Made to Order.

     3. Alexandra Anissa

Alexandra Anissa is owned by Vanessa Villarreal. She designs lingerie and hand makes it to sell. She has also started selling a few patterns on which are high on my hit list. Her photography is always fabulous and sexy, and without using stick insect models. In fact Villarreal’s goal in her own words is to, “above all, is to help women feel beautiful, sexy, daring, strong and confident”. Her blog contains a number of tutorials which can help with her patterns.

I can’t wait to try these new patterns out and feel inspired by her sewing to improve mine and try more lace only and sheer designs.

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     4. Oonaballoona

Oonaballoona looks stunning in the Bombshell swimsuit, so much so that she has inspired me to make my own. I love the bum coverage to stop that ‘getting out the pool is it covered’ moment and the flattering way the tummy is covered. I was thinking it needs red and white poker dots, thoughts?

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Oonaballoona totally rates this swimsuit, as do several other reviews. Plus great news there is a sew along, for people like me who haven’t sewn with any swimwear materials so far. More information about the Closetcase Patterns Bombshell swimsuit is here.

5. Amy from Cloth Habit

As mentioned above I have spent quite a large portion of the last month in hospital and laid up in bed due to a slipped disk in my back, and I have come to the conclusion that wearing an underwired bra in bed all day is extremely painful by mid afternoon. I desperately need some soft bras that can provide a little support and stop me exposing myself in the oh-so-flattering hospital gowns.

Sewing it, well anything, will be a slow process as I can’t get up for much time a day but as it is relatively small in size isn’t too heavy to work with. I also love that it comes with matching brief and a tutorial to help you assemble it.

These have been so popular I am just tripping over the number of hits on my pinterest wall. At the moment I am favouring these beautiful bright versions who have been made by these other talented bloggers.

 

So these are some patterns and bloggers I am really excited about, I am looking forward to show you some makes soon inspired by this lot.

Pink and black Maya bra

I’m excited to make the Maya bra for the first time, the pattern for which was very kindly given away for free. Lots of people are raving about it and it’s time I gave it a try.

Whilst I will be using some scraps to make up a toil I have a pretty pink and black pattern new kit to use from The Bra Shop on Etsy and am having trouble deciding how best to use the fabrics and lace. Now I have to say about the bra shop that they have sent me different lace than advertised in this picture and the replacement lace is not as nice and smelt a little of damp thus I am currently trying to rectify the situation. I will update you on the outcome, for the price I paid I am not so happy.

I’ve been searching the internet for some inspiration on how to use the kit,  here are some pink and black bras that I am considering stealing ideas from and I’d like to know what you guys think.

First I found this bra from Bravissimo,  pretty much the only high street store where I can still buy bras that fit.

One of the things I liked about this bra is having a plain pink stripe across the top if the bra and knickers, as opposed to most bras where the lace is across the top of the cut. I felt it gave the bra a bit of a fresh feel to it.

Next this one from Linda’s Online.

Now this bra made me wonder why you would choose to sew black stripes half way up your bra cup like that, obviously it covers a dart but it looks very weird and in my opinion is a bad idea. However I do have some really nice velvet feel ribbon that I could use between sections like they have done on the knickers that I quite like. I would do this on the bra too, not how they have.

I really love this bra by Freya

So I nearly accidentally bought this one as it was on sale and in my size and Freya bras usually fit me and are very good quality.

I still might.

Hmm, what I especially like here is how the frame and top of the cup are all back so it really does frame the cup nicely.  It shows off the print on the cups.

And then I could go for something like this more standard option from H&M.

Where the lace is across the top of the cup.

And this is what happens if you try to buy underwear from Ebay.

Not really an option, I just felt I needed to share this. I know some of you will be disappointed to learn that this item is currently out of stock….

….

Anyway.

Any thoughts on how the kit should be used?

Pattern review – Camille knickers

I have recently been making knickers to go with my homemade bra collection, those bras all use non-stretch main fabric so I have been searching for a knicker pattern that is non stretch too, or a combination of non stretch and power mesh.

On that note I decided to try the Camille knickers by Evie La Luve for £7.20. I liked the slightly vintage, casual style of them and the fact they are designed to sit on your hips. I thought they might be most suitable for sleep wear as I’m not sure how visible they would be under clothes due to their loose nature.

To begin with I thought I would use some scrap fabric to make some trial ones, as I don’t have a lot of the fabric I made my bra with and these use quite a lot of fabric, a recommended 1.2 m, hardly a pattern to use up your scraps.

I measured myself and I came right in between two sizes, usually I size up on a – I can always cut it down- philosophy. This was a big mistake. At the stage before you wrap them round the sides they look enormous, I wish I had taken a photo against me. It freaked my bf right out, he’s not exactly sizest but they were probably about 4 times my actual size!!!!

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Even overlapping my layers they were still completely huge on me, I could have probably fit me and my little sister in them together.

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One of the other issues I had was sewing the lace around the lower edges. The idea is to line one edge of the lace up with the bottom of the fabric, sew across the top and cut any excess fabric away under the lace. The pattern asks for rigid lace, but of course then sewing it round a bend is an issue because the inside seam of the lace is shorter than the outside seam would be . This means the lace won’t hang in the same way as the fabric, you get creases, it’s impossible to keep the length of the shorts the same as the original fabric. It was a real problem and the wider the lace the more problem. I notice she has used a wavy lace and that is a bit more flexible round bends. I feel that that should feature in the instructions.

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The crotch of the knickers isn’t lined with cotton, so I am not sure how fresh they would be if you were wearing them for a period of time.

As the first ones were miles too big I took them back apart to save all the lace and elastics and made the next ‘real’ pair the next size down. A chat with some sewing folks online informed me that they’d had to go down a size too. I used the fabric I used for my longline Marlborough bra.

I had the same lace problem as the first set but they looked good finished flat. But I HATE them. They just look all wrong on, the shape of them on just doesn’t feel right at all, they don’t hang nicely. Maybe the fact that the lace I used isn’t wavy is part of the problem, but they are really not flattering, they are OK at the back but at the front there’s something weird going on between the legs. Retrospectively I looked at the example ones and wondered if it was the design or my body shape. Either way I am now spending the next few hours taking them apart to reuse the fabric/elastics on something I like more.

I really wanted to be more positive as I try and support small businesses but I have wasted hours sewing and dismantling the pattern and I wish I’d never bothered. I fully appreciate that other people may have more success but I can’t find anyone who really likes them. Except maybe my cat who wanted to sit on them.

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I guess my final words are, after all of that a free very similar version has been released here and you could have a go without worrying about money. it may be that they look right on you not all clothes suit all people.

Montgomery Briefs

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I figured out it was time I made some matching knickers to go with those bras of mine, I wanted to be able to use the same fabrics as I did for the bra so that everything can match. This meant that I wanted a pattern that had some sort of woven no stretch main fabric and power mesh parts which do stretch.

There are a few to choose from but I have started with the Montgomery brief by Orange Lingerie, I downloaded the pdf pattern and stuck it together (which I don’t mind doing when there aren’t too many pages). I chose this pattern as they don’t have elastic round all of the leg so they don’t give a VPL, instead they have a double layer of power mesh.

I fell right between the two sizes, so I made both to see which were most comfortable, probably the bigger ones as I quite like boxer style briefs that cover your bum and the bigger size had more bum coverage.

The lace is from Vintage to live by on Etsy, a shop I’m slightly addicted to, there are so many beautiful pieces of lace on there! I used most of it to make this Marlborough bra also from Orange lingerie, and they’ll match it.

The instructions are good except one part I found a bit confusing, the two back pieces it’s hard to tell between the centre back seam and the waist, it does say on the pattern but it took me a minute or two to make sure I was sewing the right bits together. Otherwise they were very clear.

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I’m extremely happy with my first lingerie set. What do you guys think?