Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Sourcing Supplies - Our Fabric Stash

Since moving to Seattle I have been constantly looking for new places to buy my supplies. I admit I had been a bit spoiled before as I had a wholesale account with H.A. Kidd who I got my thread from along with the majority of my basic elastics. Something I still have not discovered here in the US. It is very strange but no one in Seattle seems to carry Gutterman thread which has been my favourite thread for years. Thankfully I had done an order just before moving but certain colours have come to an end or are nearing that state. Coats seems to be the standard carried by the shops here, I have given in and bought a few. They are better then I remember but the spools don't work as well on my machines.Well enough lamenting my thread habit, I know the average person would think I had enough to last years if not decades. 

This is where I store my many colours of thread, approx 75% of the drawers contain them. The other 25% is made up of lingerie elastic, underwires, bra sliders/rings and underwire chaneling. I am so happy with these drawers(IKEA) as they keep many essentials conveniently by my sewing machines.

During my search for supplies I came across a treasure of a store. Our Fabric Stash which has a location lower level 3 in Seattle's Pike Place Market  http://www.ourfabricstash.com/
If you happen to be in downtown Seattle and are a lover of fabric make sure you drop by. It is always a mystery of what they may have and give yourself minimum 1/2 hour to just dig amongst the textiles. I have been quite lucky at times, one time I found some offcuts of cotton t-shirts which I then used to try a variety of underwear designs. Here is a sampling.

It was a wonderful way to have an assortment of colour options and it was also keeping fabric out of landfill where offcuts often end up.

I have also found a variety of vintage fabrics at Our Fabric Stash. It is so exciting when one of her vendors have decided to part with some of their stash. I love vintage fabrics. I must admit I have a few totes of them in my basement but that doesn't mean I can't get more. Often they are small pieces but they have been inspiration at times for me to create.

This Marlborough Bra was created using a late 60's perhaps early 70's printed floral that I discovered at Our Fabric Stash. It sat for a while in my studio until I discovered some vintage lace I had overdyed when tidying. I am quite happy with the combination the only issue is that it is a small fit partially due to the fabric ;). The next thing on my worktable is the colourway of the recommended fabrics to try a true test of the pattern. One of my best and worst characteristics is that I am not a strict follower of recommendations. Having this trait means I need to get better about doing an accurate stretch test of my fabric when experimenting. Not just a quick one but actually measure stretch and then compare with standard fabric I use. It would have been a tragedy if this was meant for a client and it hadn't fit. Though the positive side is I have enough fabric left to do at least one more bra and it has reminded me to be more stringent with doing fabric stretch tests.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Florence from Seamwork - Pattern Review

Florence a lounge bra available from the online magazine Seamwork. It is promoted as a simple and comfortable soft bra, it is definitely both of these things. Basic sewing skills are needed and of course some nice stretch lace. 

I had some very soft comfy black stretch lace that I bought from Sew Sassy Fabrics and some scraps of duoplex from a previous project. 

Front view

Side view

Back view

The pattern consists of three pieces which creates ease of construction. The band is nice and wide in the back with only a centre seam. I did one of my standard revamps and extended the straps down into the band, this time by at about 2 1/2 inches. Still liking the added stability this creates and my straps slip less on my shoulders. The cup is two pieces with a vertical seam which is then sewn into the band. For a little added structure elastic is sewn along the top of the outer cup pieces, the inner cup uses the scalloped edge of the lace for the top. This bra is not going to provide much support to the well endowed but then that is why it is labeled as a lounge bra. For us ladies who are in the A to C range of cup size it is perfect for those days you want a bra but not the structure.

I would recommend this pattern for anyone who wants to dip their toes into the art of making lingerie. It has the basic structural details of a bra frame/band, cups and straps. The Florence is one of those nice introductory projects which won't scare off a novice. But it is also one of those projects perfect for a more experienced sewer who just wants to whip something up. I am also thinking it may make a nice starter bra for someone new to the concept of wearing them.