The Mystery Marlborough

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I don’t know what it is about putting the word mystery in front of a product, but suddenly I want it so badly! I get so excited at the end of every month in anticipation for my mystery box from Bodils Wear to arrive. It costs me about £25 every month (you pay monthly no obligation) and you will receive a surprise box of lingerie making goodies that have been selected together . I have be a customer for 4 months now, and have been delighted every time. In fact May’s has just arrived and I am super excited- watch this space. (No I’m not being sponsored by her!)

Anyway I don’t like to post too early about them as I might ruin someone’s surprise but here was last months contents which was spring themed.

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Everything I needed to make an underwired bra. The lace is non stretch and the two white fabrics are a lining and a power mesh. When you subscribe you can choose to have wide notions or thin, I choose wide as I need some hard core elastics to keep the girls in check. Everything  is always beautiful quality.

I chose to make a modified version of the Marlborough bra by Orange Lingerie. It has gone through several generations of modifications to get a good fit and shape and now it is really comfortable to wear. I considered making another Angie bra but the lace was so lovely and delicate looking I wanted a continuous run of the lace edge.

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It sewed up pretty quickly as these days I know what I am doing. I’ve used lilac thread to top stitch the front, with white bobbin thread.

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The lining is very soft and I’ve used the stitch and flip method to hide all the raw edges on the inside.

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As I wanted to match the lace placement both sides, and as a larger cup size does use more of the lace, I don’t have huge pieces of lace left; but I intend to make some matching undies with pieces of lace, some knicker elastic included in the kit and some white power mesh I already own, which is less firm and therefore more suited to knickers.

One of the things I love about this bra and the mystery box is I probably wouldn’t have chosen this lace myself, but I absolutely love the bra and how fresh and bright the colours are. I love wearing it, it’s super comfortable and perfect for spring and for garments I have that need something a little more subtle under them.

A cut and sew foam Angie

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This is my latest version of the Angie bra, designed by Bodils Wear.  This is my third version, this time I wanted to try some cut and sew foam cups.

For the foam I removed the seam allowance from between the cup segments and from across their top and butted the segments close together, zigzagging across the join. I then bound the top with fold over elastic with a 3 step zigzag to give them a nice finish.  I sewed the lace cup onto the top of it so I could use the pretty lace edge, Because of this I have not been able to apply the elastic to the cups as per the original instructions.

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I have also changed the bridge this time around, it was so narrow that sewing the bridge in two pieces was extremely fiddly. I’ve removed the seam allowance for the centre seam and cut it on the fold.

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I also have altered the bottom edge of the frame, to use a Gothic arch and thin frame as I find it more comfortable as it stops the band from twisting upwards. This is a change I always make and I have shared details of the tutorials used on my previous post.

The lace I have used is from Etsy from a shop called VintageToLiveBy, which has the most beautiful laces. It is not a symmetrical pattern so I have balanced the lace on my cups so that the pattern lies in the same place on both sides. I’ve been hoarding it for probably around a year waiting for the right project. You can see the beautiful colours better in this shot from their website.

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The knickers are an edited version of the Montgomery Brief from Orange Lingerie, which I have chosen in this case as it combines the non stretch lace and stretch powernet fabrics I have used for the bra together.

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Angie I – a tester

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It’s official all, I am in love. From the moment I saw some of the Angie Bra from Bodil’s wear I just knew it was one for me. The cup shape is very round, as are my boobs, so I felt sure it would be a good match. I’ve made a tester bra in the UK size 34G, from some scraps and bits of elastic I had at home, so excuse any slight hodgepodge effect. When I say tester, I mean completely wearable and the best bra I’ve made, and the best bra I own in terms of fit. Boom!

Cups

This time I spent the time basting it all together to see how it fitted. The bottom of the cups and across the widest part of my breasts the fit was awesome, but nearer the top the cup didn’t grade back in enough and it was a little large. As it was all basted I took in all the seams a little along the top edge of the lace and that worked wonders.

Angie is designed to have elastic along the top edge of the cup, however I wanted to use the edge of the lace and so I took off the elastic allowance of each cup piece and instead ran some elastic along the back of the lace. Excuse the fact that it doesn’t completely go but as I said, it was a tester so I wasn’t overly concerned with how much it matched.

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As you can see I also used two difference colours of wire casing, same thickness but that was what I had.

The frame

So whilst the frame fitted rather well there are a couple of adjustments that I like to make now which provide me with a much more comfortable fit. First I like to make a Gothic arch at the front, I have used this tutorial for this a number of times by the Fairy Bra Mother, Beverly Johnson, and I thoroughly recommend it, especially if like me you have a quite high stomach.

The second adaption is for similar reasons, and that is to narrow down the frame under the cups to stop the band elastic from twisting. Again by the Fairy bra mother this tutorial entitled Thin is in is absolutely fantastic and I thoroughly recommend it.

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I also discovered that this bra had a very narrow bridge, and this was the flattest fit across my chest yet. However, this pattern piece for the bridge is cut in two pieces, which makes it very fiddly, I notice that a number of other people have decided to re-draft it as a single piece and next time I will do the same.

Straps

The straps were placed well, and very comfortable, though I am not 100% keen on this method of attaching them at the front as it tends to pull the shape of the cup a little, some investigation into this is needed I think. I have seen some alternatives that I think I should employ.

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Fabrics

The cups are sewn from a lace I purchased from Etsy from The Bra shop here. It’s only £3.50 per metre, it’s soft feeling and non stretch. It wasn’t wide enough for some pattern pieces, and in the picture above you can see I had to join lace together, you can’t see when it is on. I recommend sewing the two fabrics together and then cutting out the pattern pieces. I got all the lace pieces out of 1 metre and have enough little bits that I’m planning on making matching knickers sometime.

The fabric from the band was off cuts when I made a Marlborough bra. The lining and elastics were all in my stash.

The pattern and instructions

The pattern is fab, it’s a great fit for me. The instructions have been translated from Swedish, and some of the clarity of them has been lost in translation. I would say maybe not the ideal choice of instructions for your first bra. However, Bodils Wear was very happy to answer my questions and help me. The tutorials from Beverley Johnson on Craftsy are amazing, and there is a lot of help out there if you need it, so on that note go for it.

If you have round boobs it’s a fantastic pattern!

Watson II – Lace and Spots

This is my second version of the Watson Bra from Cloth Habit.

The first one was comfortable and surprisingly supportive for a non-wired bra. This time I decided to go for a slightly more elegant style rather than bright colours. I used a mixture of bits I had from my stash, including this dotty black mesh which I have been waiting to use. I had a little trouble deciding which straps to go for as I was tempted by this decorative cream version – but eventually went all black as I had black hooks and eyes and the right size rings and sliders.

I also decided to try out the Watson bikini brief as opposed to making the lady shorts, and see how they fit.

Having made the Watson before this one came together easily, this time I handled the centre front, where both cups meet, much better and I am happier with the result.

As I had more layers to handle this time I decided to baste the cream lace and black dots in place and that was very helpful.

I used a 2 hook closure and I wish I had used a 3 as it would have given me more support. My previous Watson felt a little loose under the arm; although this time I stretched the elastic more through the under arm and adjusted the pattern a smidge, it could still do with adjusting a little more.

There are two black stripes that run down the front, they don’t line up when flat but they do line up when they are on because the knickers stretch more than the bra band.

I nearly put dotty bows on too- should I change them?

Maya and the Unicorns

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This is my second go at the Maya bra, and I’ve been saving this fun unicorn fabric from LillyandMimistore on Etsy (and apparently comes in 3 colours). The Maya bra pattern is kindly available from here for free. Here was my first attempt.

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My previous Maya bra wasn’t a bad fit, but needed a pinch taken out of the upper cup. Here is how I went about changing the pattern.

I’ve taken the foam pattern piece, it has no seam allowance top and bottom, and made 3 cuts top to bottom leaving a tiny piece of paper as a hinge.

Then I’ve overlapped the two pieces at each cut and stuck them back down.

This has reduced the volume but left me with slightly funny shaped pieces that need adjusting. On the top edges I’ve reconnected the corners with straight lines.

On the bottom edge I was worried about changing the original shape so I traced the original shape edge back on.

And added some seam allowance to give the final piece below.

Not the most beautiful photos, apologies.

After that I constructed the bra as before, this time I tried using ribbon to cover the seams of the cut and sew foam rather than lining it. I think I preferred lining, but I like to try different techniques to see what I like best.

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I had a couple of issue, once again applying the elastic it stretched under the arm as my machine struggled to cope with the layers. This means I have a slightly gappy underarm section. I’ve decided to take a small pinch out of the wing next time so that if it stretches a little it won’t be a problem. I might lower the height of the under-arm too.

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The second issue is that I still need to take a little more from the upper cup. I erred on the side of caution, it’s a much better fit than before but a little more would be good. The bridge fits flat against my chest and the wires are in the correct place, less than a cm reduction should do it.

This little bow I made from two pieces of ribbon.

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Generally it just fills me with lots of happiness. It’s so beautiful and colourful. My entire reason for starting making bras was because I was fed up with the lack of fun bras bigger than a DD cup.

This week I’m going to purchase the scrundies pattern and make some matching knickers.

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! 

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.