Sierra Bra and more

The Sierra bra pattern, from Madalynne, was such a departure from previous bra patterns I have sewn, that I was eager to sew it up and see what it was like.


The pattern:  I had trouble getting the pattern to print at the correct size (not sure why), so I ended up using my photocopier to get it to the right size.

Fabrics and notions:
The stretch lace is from Lincraft.  It is pretty, so I went back to get some more, but it was not on the shelf.  This is so typical of my experiences with Lincraft...the staff must not know where to return items, and this is about the fourth time I've gone back looking for more of something and either not been able to find it or scoured the whole store for it or guessed where it may have been incorrectly put away.

The power mesh I used is a very firm power mesh from my stash (I suspect it is this one, but not certain).  This gives a firm fit in the size I chose.  The bra feels a lot like a compression style sports bra to wear, but I think it gives a better shape and lift than a sports bra because of the cross over front.  The down side of this power mesh is that it is hot.  This pattern has quite a bit of body coverage, so I do notice that the mesh is hot to wear.  Which is a shame, because this is the bra you need for under floaty, halter style dresses usually reserved for the heights of summer.  I will have to try this bra pattern again with a lighter mesh.

Elastic & findings:  The beige is from Bra-makers supply, the blue strap from Elingeria before they closed down.  Originally, I was going to use all beige findings and strapping, but when I went to make the matching knickers, the beige mesh I was going to use (lighter than the bra mesh) was much more yellow / brown than the other beiges, so I ended up ordering blue mesh for the knickers and going with blue straps.  The blue sliders are from stash, probably cut off from old bras.  I ended up goign with a pale lilac hook and eye, but may swap it out for a beige one yet.

Alterations:  It would be useful to have a halter strap bra, but in truth, halter straps give me a headache, so I added a ring and single centre back strap, which means that this bra will still be good for cut-away or racer style tops.  I also sewed a bit of ribbon under the elastic looped over the front rings, to minimise wear on the elastic.  I can't remember if I picked up this tip from Amy of Cloth Habit or Norma of Orange Lingerie.

Of course I made matching knickers, using my copy of an Elle Macpherson pattern.  I would have liked the elastic trim on the front to be more of a blush shade, so match the lace, but this set is a whole story of mismatched colours.

Here they are together.  Worn on the body, they are a closer match than this photograph suggests, because it is skin and not blue mesh behind the lace of the knickers.  A fun set...thanks Maddie for the pattern and inspiration :)

Whilst I am posting lingerie, it is as good a time as any to catch up on some previously unblogged makes.  The next bra is from a self drafted pattern for a demi cup bra.  I drafted this from a combination of flat pattern drafting and pulling apart some old bras that I liked.  The curvature on the bottom of the cups is a little different than my standard pattern, and seems to give a nice lift.  The sides are a bit lower, which makes it good for wearing with sleeveless tops that have lower armholes.

My first version is made from duoplex with a power mesh back and little bit of stretch lace trim, in a kit from Bra-makers Supply.  Elastics and findings from the same place.

My second version is made from non stretch lace and  Sensitive Classic Xtra-life Lycra.  I changed the upper cup piece a bit to accomodate the all-over lace.  The bottoms are based on my self drafted swimwear pattern for "cheeky bottoms" and have a CB seam.  This set has become my go-to every time it has made it back from the wash to my drawer.

I do want to try this pattern out in a range of different fabrics, but have been distracted by other projects.

I bought a sewing machine in September, and in that first week, I made a bunch of different things to test out the capabilities of the machine.  This next bra and knicker set was one of those things.  This was a kit, but I forget where from...possibly elingeria??  The pattern is my basic draft, modified to have padded cups.  I should have made the lower cup pieces in 2 pieces in the foam but only one in the fabric...with the outer stretching a bit to cover the foam...I forgot this and the outer lower cups sag from the foam a little.

I am wearing more cut-away shoulders these days, so I attached the straps of this bra with bra hooks at the back, so I can change from a regular back to a cross-over back.

The matching knickers turned out an absolute disaster.  I'm normally pretty good at adding elastic, but this ended up all wavy.  I took it off and put it on a second time, and I have done it a third time since taking this photo.  I'm not sure if the problem is getting used to a new machine or if the elastic itself is a dud.  The machine has an auto-tension setting, and I am wondering if I need to take that off and set my own tension??  I'll have to experiment a bit more with other elastics.   And can you see where I melted the top fabric, when I was attempting to steam the elastic back into place.  I can't remember what pattern I used, but these ride up...not sure if that is the pattern, or the elastic not holding its place.

On a positive note...I was cleaning out my underwear drawer and was going to get rid of a couple of pretty RTW lacy undies that I have rarely worn because they ride up and become uncomfortable.  They are made mostly from stretch lace.  I had the idea to sew elastic to the leg edges, behind the lace and found some matching elastic in my stash.  This worked a treat, and now I have 2 matching sets back in rotation...I do like matching knickers!  And I love a sewing rescue even more!

Happy sewing xx


Dress with neckline pleats

Another dress!  I will have a wardrobe full of dresses by the time I have completed this craftsy course.  This time, the bust and waist darts were moved around to form neckline pleats.

Actually, the lesson was for neckline gathers, but I thought this fabric would work better with pleats. 

My narrowest point is a couple of inches above my waist.  On this dress, I did not follow the side curve so closely, as it doesn't always sit so well (feels like the side seam should be clipped), but, after wearing the dress for a bit,  I think I do need to take it in a bit more at the bodice side seams.  I have noticed on several of the Donna Karan for Vogue patterns over the years that she often has a triangular piece at the bottom of the bodice waist, which would allow me to get a better fit there...I will try that idea out in a later rendition.

For the skirt, I followed another lesson to draft a tulip skirt, only I used 3 pleats instead of 1 large pleat, to mimic the neckline pleats. 

Initially, I wanted a fully pleated skirt; however, the fabric print had large white areas that I did not want to use, which left me a bit short on fabric.  The tulip skirt has a plain back.  The bottom of the skirt is pegged by 1" on each side.

The back bodice has a scooped out neckline.   There is an invisible zipper at the CB.   I added a cap sleeve.  I have not done the drafting course on sleeves yet, so I borrowed a sleeve from Vogue 8552.  I did a little bit of print matching, by following the horizontal lines of the brush strokes in the print from front to back.

The fabric is a stretch cotton sateen from Emmaonesock.


The Diamond Dart

When I first saw this draft in my craftsy course, I thought it was a bit kitsch.  It has grown on me over time (and I have had time, because it is taking me quite some time to get through this course!) and now I have found a way to make it work for me....as a tank top with a peplum skirt and V back.

The bust and waist darts are rotated to form the sides of the diamond, so there are no darts on the front of the top.

In the back, I cut a V neckline and angled the back darts to mimic this V.

Here's a closer shot of the back darts. You can also see some of my neck binding.  I bound the armholes and neck with self made bias strips.  I have been watching old episodes of the Great British Sewing Bee, so I am a bit more conscious of how long my sewing takes and how neat (or not so neat it is).  It takes me an hour to bind the armholes and neck of a tank top.

I am so proud of my neat sewing on this top.  Look at the perfect top of the diamond.

The bottom of the diamond is pretty good too (though I do need to remove that gathering stitch from the skirt portion)

 I am not super happy with the draft of the skirt portion.  It is both flared and gathered.  I didn't muslin it, because I thought that my fabric would behave very differently to the calico I used for the muslin, and I don't have unwanted silks just lying around to use for muslins.  I think I perhaps overdid it.  Maybe gathered without the flare would have been enough.  To make matters worse, I thought I had heaps of fabric so I cut the bias binding strips before the I drafted the skirt...and then I could only fit the skirt pieces if I cut them on the bias.  As you can imagine, this was an absolute nightmare to hem...bias circular very full pieces.  In the end, I just stood in front of the mirror with a pair of scissors and hacked away.  I really should invest in a hem marker of some sort.

 Some photos on me.  Front view...

I forgot to get a back shot this morning, so here is a less than flattering shot of my behind when I wore it with a turquoise skirt last week.  Actually, the back V looks wider here than I thought it would...I really should take back photos in the muslin stage.  The top is meant to be a loosish fit so I can pull it on...which I can, but it does involve a little wiggle.  I will have to add width next time.

I like the upper portion of this top, so I think I will make it again with a different skirt portion.  I think it will be a great pattern for mixing prints.


Y-dart Dress

I am still progressing through my Craftsy course "Patternmaking + Design: Creative Darts & Seam Lines".  I feel like I have been stuck in Lesson 3 for quite some time now.  This is one of my drafts from Lesson 3 - the Ydart. 

I'm really pleased with how this dress turned out.  I never thought that a sheath dress could be so comfortable.  It is so comfy that I didn't feel the need to get changed the moment I got home today, and did my usual afternoon chores (ferrying children, feeding chooks, hanging out washing, watering plants) still in the dress.  I did get changed to cook dinner because I tend to splash a bit in the kitchen :).

The fabric is a summer garden cotton pique from EmmaOneSock.  The print was a little difficult to place, as the pattern repeat was unusual and there were dark areas, light areas and large red areas.  The back almost seems a different print than I used for the front of the dress.

I added a little bit of width to my sloper at the waist, and that seems to have resolved some of the crinkling in the back that I got in my previous dresses.  I am wondering if I can take some of that width back out of the back darts, rather than at the side.

Instead of using the skirt portion of my dress sloper, I used a skirt sloper that I made 6 years ago.  It has 2 darts front and back, with the back darts bigger than the front darts.  I had to make a few changes to get it to fit the bodice.  This has resulted in a skirt that doesn't have all the pull lines across the hips and buttocks that my previous dress had.  It seems to fit more nicely around the tummy as well.

The down side is that the back seems longer than the front and the side seam does not hang straight.  I think that I can work with this though.  Six years ago, my weight distribution was a little different to now, so I think if I redraft my skirt sloper using this same method and some new measurements, I might be able to tweak the draft a little.

Of course, there will be times where I will need the original one dart skirt portion of my sloper - say when I want to eliminate the waist seam or if I want to line up darts on the bodice and the skirt - but I think that having a second 2 dart sloper will give me flexibility in my designs.

It is hard to see the Y dart in my printed fabric.  The Y dart originates at the centre front waist and then the top lines of the Y radiate towards the bust point.  It combines the waist and bust darts.  There is no need for any bust darts from the side of the dress.  My "Y" turned out really neat.

It is a bit strange working my way through this course, as it means that my sewing plans are not directed by the seasons or fashions or latest patterns or what I see on other blogs (perhaps leading to a little bit of FOMO - fear of missing out).  I will also end up with more dresses than I need.  I enrolled in the 3 pattern making courses last Christmas (bodice sloper, darts, necklines). I have done most of the bodice sloper course (still need to draft the knit sloper) but I am not even halfway through the other courses.  I feel that I am making real progress with both my fitting and drafting though, so I will continue for now.


Bookweek 2015

We've had a few years without a bookweek parade.  Back into the swing of it this year and probably only one more year to go.  Without further ado, I present to you

1.  Moonface

2.  Geronimo Stilton

Moonface's vest was made from a Burda pattern I traced off years ago.  Don't know the magazine or pattern number, sorry.  His bow tie was made by his sister.

Geronimo Stilton's jacket was a quick make from Burda Boy's Classic Button-Up Blazer 02/2015 #142  So quick that I didn't get the pockets on or buttons in the sleeve vents.  Wonder if I should bother doing that after the event??  I didn't line the jacket.  I am not that familiar with sewing jackets and when I went to look up some instructions in my sewing books for how to do the collar and lapels, I realised that there was no way I could absorb that information and do it properly in my very short time frame, so it really is a bodge job. It fits pretty well.  The fabric is a cotton chamois that was an internet purchasing mistake back in 2007.  I am pleased to be finally rid of it from my stash.

Geronimo made his own tie.

Geronimo's mask was a lot of fun.  I downloaded the pattern for a fox mask from Wintercroft and we  didn't stick the ears down to make it a bit more Geronimo-like.

(ears falling forward to fox mode for this photo)

In this age, when we are always looking for free stuff on the web, these masks are fully worth the asking price.  They are seriously cool.  I'm trying to think of an occasion where I could wear a mask, just so I can make one for myself.  Perhaps I am thinking of it all wrong and shouldn't be looking for an occasion.  Perhaps I could get about in a unicorn mask in my everyday?