Saturday, February 25, 2017

Pattern Review - Butterick B5997

The other day at Barnes & Noble I decided to pick up the latest SewStyle magazine as a treat for myself. It had a variety of patterns packaged with it, the Butterick B5997 was one of them along with a wrap dress which I may try eventually. I had been thinking of making myself a simple cotton sleeveless blouse so I started digging through some of my fabric.

I knew I had purchased some cottons when I was last at Esther's Fabrics on Bainbridge Island. Esther's is well worth the visit but be warned you will mostly likely find something you have to buy ;). Across the street there is also a wonderful yarn shop called Churchmouse Yarns & Teas. Bainbridge Island also has a marvelous museum -Bainbridge Island Museum of Art- which has a special focus on local area artists. Going across on the ferry and just walking a short distance can make for a great afternoon. (That's my commercial for a trip to Bainbridge Island done lol)

After digging for a while I found my pile of prewashed cottons. The fabric I decided to use was the end of a bolt I had got at Esther's and there was just enough with a little creative pattern outlay.

I modified the pattern slightly by only doing one pin tuck on the front instead of the three on the pattern. I also extended it down further. Another tweak was merging sizes a bit as I have hips and I don't like my tops to get caught on them. Side slits were another addition for the same reason.  

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

It Started With Some Fabric From Spoonflower

Tiny Steampunk Octopuses 6 by Jade Gordon which I purchased from Spoonflower Fabrics. At first I wasn't sure what colours to pick up and then I decided to just go for it. So the results was a very punchy bright bra and pantie set. The panties have a bright orange back.

I am quite happy with the bra and it fits well. Used the Simplicity 8229 by Madalynne as my starting point for the bra. Changed the strap by making them from the same fabric as frame. Also decided to use some colourful elastics I had and treat it like FOE(fold over elastic). Otherwise used the pattern with a few fitting tweaks that I have documented and included in the pattern sleeve for future reference. It has been a challenge for me but I have been doing a better job of keeping my notes for each pattern organized and all together. When I get working I have a tendency to create piles that then get set aside and sometimes piled with another pile. Have finally realized digging through piles and searching for loose notes is not the best use of my time and guess what sometimes it is really frustrating ;).

Now the panties were not such a success. I manged to pin them on the mannequin so they fit more like what I was going for but they need some alterations. The main problem was the heavy elastic I used on the waist and legs. Basically it makes both too loose aka too large. The leg in the back actually sits away from my bum, I really hate pantie lines, but this is definitely not a solution. Perhaps if I cut them apart at the side seam and change the angle of the seam and remove some excess fabric I can make them wearable. Already determined it was way too much work to rip off the elastic and start anew but I refuse to just toss them. The elastic may of been fine if I had used different fabric for the back but I went for a stretch mesh - Note to self Stretch mesh and heavy elastic don't play well together.

Stretch mesh has been my go to fabric lately for panties especially when I am trying to match another fabric. I bought a nice variety of colours at Pacific Fabric and it is something they consistently have. But stretch mesh doesn't work with everything no matter how hard I try to make it. The issue with making panties is that I don't really like tricot that much for them. Other options are stretch laces but sometimes that is more textured then I want. As for a nice light cotton spandex mix I haven't been having much luck finding that. To create a nice basic pair of panties sometimes seems quite elusive. Something with no prints, no texture and breathable fabric.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Book Review - Demystifying Bra Fitting & Construction

This is a book by Norma Loehr of Orange Lingerie. I read it originally close to two years ago when I initially purchased a copy but when I decided to finally use her Marlborough bra pattern I decided a reread would be good. The layout is simple and concise and works well for reference. Norma covers various fitting issues and her suggestions of alterations to a full frame bra pattern are presented well. She covers simple tricks for sewing with bra fabrics and how to fit an underwire correctly. The fact that she stresses well fitting underwire is essential is something I strongly agree with. Just switching out underwire in a ready to wear bra can create a drastic difference in its fit. This is something I have done for clients so they can actually get some wear out of bras that otherwise would just remain in their lingerie drawer.

A chapter which I think anyone making bras can benefit from is The Bridge Test. Norma does a great job of explaining in great detail how to do this while stressing that the space between an individuals breasts can vary greatly from person to person. The ideal fit for a bra is for the bridge to rest flat against your body. Now this is a bit difficult to do yourself so this is where a bra fitting buddy can be beneficial. Anyone who has tried to take accurate measurements themselves can attest to the fact it is better if you a have a measuring buddy when sizing a pattern.

A good friend and I had an amusing time following Norma's instructions to the tee. We actually followed her fitting techniques from start to finish. It was the perfect way to truly test the book. It helped my friend understand how a bra should correctly fit and I got to prove some points by attempting to fit what I knew to be totally wrong. She came away with a lot more knowledge on why she had a hard time finding bras that fit correctly and I got to practice how to best phrase certain questions when dealing with a client. Many people are not comfortable discussing measurements let alone ones for their intimate wear. Fitting ready to wear bras can be a challenge due to the intimacy involved but custom bra fitting can be even more intimate.

I would recommend this book it actually does Demystify various aspects of bras. The layout also makes it easy to reference when wanting to double check something be it for your own creations or to help explain the procedure of bra fitting to a client.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Pattern Review - Marlborough Bra

The Marlborough Bra by Orange Lingerie. This is a pattern I actually got a while ago but for some reason didn't get around to trying out. It is a nice pattern though the fit is a bit off for me. I changed up the pattern some by doing two straps. As I have mentioned I often have an issue with my straps sliding. So I revamped the pattern a bit and did two straps with them attached separately on the back band.

One of the other alterations I did to the pattern is using the bra frame for a 38", this provides a better fit for me. It seems in general that the 38" underwires sit better on my body, that is after I shorten them ;) so I thought lets just start with that size in the frame also and see how that fares. In general I have a tendency to like experimenting and testing theories of my own. So my experiment worked with this pattern on the band fit. I also went with the 38 cup size but I should of remembered to take a bit out of the arc of the cup as there is a smidge too much room there aka I don't quite fill them. The top of the cup fits smoothly and I like how they sit otherwise so next time I will reduce the arc slightly.    

To go with the bra I also made a basic pair of panties with a plain blue mesh back. The Marlborough pattern is good for someone who has some previous experience sewing bras, I wouldn't recommend it for a novice. Something that I like about it is that you can end up with very different looks without changing the pattern much.

Something to remember with bras is that no two women have the exact same proportions. I personally prefer a band size that is technically at least two sizes too big. I can get away with this partially due to the fact that I do not need much support compared to many women. As I have been experimenting with a variety of patterns I find what fits me best (most comfortably and still provides support) is not the recommended size by the designer. This is an issue I have with clothing in general, I have never been able to find something just off the rack that fits correctly without alterations. So my tendency is to buy too large and then alter as needed.