Other Interests

This is the sheer cup lining bra that I made this summer. It was my second time using fold over elastic, but the first time I was successful in applying it. I did it in one pass, and used a small zigzag, 3 length, and 3 width. I tried the recommended size that Beverly Johnson uses on her Craftsy class, but my machine stitch settings seem to be either too tiny to be possible, or way too large, so I test and found that this was just right.

I love this bra. I changed the seam lines by cutting my classic pattern of Pin Up Girls to foam and changing the seam lines to horizontal and a vertical seam in the lower cup. It fits beautifully and felt so cool in the hot summer weather. I applied some beads in the front, above the Gothic Arch.  I stitched a tiny seam at the top of the cup. That bra lining is very sturdy and joined the strap to the two fold over elastic ends, as neatly as I could.

What I learned:
1. Bra Cup lining is very easy to work with, as it has very slight stretch on the DOGS, and no stretch perpendicular to the Direction of Greatest Stretch.
2. I love the peach colour of this bra, so much so, I bought that instead of the beige for my friend, Deb. You can shoot the messenger.
3. Horizontal lines are very flattering.
4. It is hard to line up horizontal seam lines on asymmetrical cups, but it can be done.
5. Don't forget to cut away the seam allowance under the arms, and along the neckline, when using Fold Over Elastic (FOE).
6. Although this bra is quite see through, you cannot see anything under a T-shirt, or cotton blouse. Not sure about a chiffon blouse--better check!!!

How do you use bra cup lining?

Sewing Men's Underwear: Pin Up Girls Lillebrot pattern.

I found the perfect cotton Lycra knit to make a comfortable pair of knot boxers for my husband who is training for his next half marathon. He has completed over 20 half marathons since having a double bypass in 1999. Tod does not have a typical runner's physique. In fact, there is a category called Clydesdale.  Heart issues run in his family and Tod has committed himself to healthy eating and regular exercise. After getting into cardio rehab after the surgery, walking, then running was recommended. He says he loves running; it helps him start his day, provides time to think. 

These provide close fitting, but not restrictive support and include a sling to prevent chafing and to keep all the man parts in place. So I'm told. 

Normally I would be working on my goal of improving my pattern drafting skills, but today the power was out (on a gorgeous sunny warm day), so that gave me time to cut out some patterns. Tod is so supportive of my sewing, that he deserves the occasional hand made item. (For every 10 pins imbedded in his foot--1 pair of underwear?) 

Things I learned:

1.  Most waistline elastic is sewn on at 4 inches less than the waist measurement. 
2.  Use a stretch 75 needle by Schmetz. They even have stretch twin needles that I used for the hems. 
3.  Stitch then serge. 
4.  Cut knits with a rotary cutter.
5.  I had to add one inch to lengthen.
6.  Committed woven boxer fans can be converted with this fabric and pattern. 
7.  Sewing underwear with a good pattern is quick and easy and immediate gratification. 

What do you sew for the men in your life?

A Moulage and a Sloper: Suzy Furrer Pattern Making

Well, it has been an epic 7 days. I decided that I needed to buckle down and FINISH the moulage that I started last summer. Suzy Furrer is such an excellent instructor on Craftsy. She has a series of classes on flat pattern making: skirt, bodice, pants, sleeves, creative darts and seams, and her newest one helps you use your sloper to make a wardrobe of different tops and a cardigan jacket. Just what I've been wanting to do.

A moulage is a map of your body. It can be used as a cover on a dress form, if I had one that was me. It shows your body as it is: rounded back, forward thrust neck, protruding tummy, full bust, swayback, and any curves. Delightful, but so necessary if you want to make clothes that make the most of your assets, and smooth over all of the above.

A sloper is the moulage made wearable, as a starting point for making your own patterns. (Or Suzy Furrer's starting points for tops, coats, jackets, blouses, shirts, etc.)

I learned:
1. Measure and remeasure. Having an engineering type husband is an asset. Plus, he divides fractions in his head, something I'm getting good at.
2. A variety of rulers is a wonderful thing. A T-square is helpful. I need French curves, and a hip curve.
3. I finally learned how to use a mechanical pencil without it breaking 10/10 times.
4. Shoulder slopes are my nemesis.
5. I can stick to a job and make mistakes and keep going.

So, the moulage. Because I started last year, I was close to a good fit, but felt that I had hit a wall. Luckily all the sewing I did this year, helped me understand better what I was doing, and where I was going wrong. It was all in the shoulders, baby! Slope, centering a dart, and finding the high neck point had me drafting hell. Finally, I just sewed it up with lots of seam allowances on the shoulders and had my husband pin me in. Then I sewed it.....changed it . ... and got it right.

Putting the changes on paper was tricky for me. I don't know why, but I could not get the angles right. By the time I did sloper #3, I was happy. I posted photos along the way, and received very positive encouragement and suggestions from Suzy. She answers tons of email a day, and is always so darn nice, succinct, but always polite and positive. I don't know how she does it. But, man, I appreciate her professionalism.

Pin Up Girls Shelly Design Challenge

I have a friend who would like a bra that attaches in the front, has a Y back, and fits well. She also is not afraid of underwires. It seems like so many people have ill fitting bras where the underwire pokes into them, that they shudder upon hearing the word, UNDERWIRE.

But, I can assure you, that if the wires fit you, you will have support and not even notice them. It is true. If the wire sits around the base of the breast tissue, you will only feel support, not discomfort. Also, the right length will assure that the wire does not poke you under the arm. If a bra is doing hurting you, you need to get a better fitting bra.

Here is the creation I made for myself. I promise; I did sew down the strap attachment in the back. (It is pinned in the photo.

New Challenges:
1.  the sewing techniques of fold over elastic
2.  draft the bra back band and partial band with the Shelly pattern
3.  learn to insert a front magnetic closure. I promise--this magnetic closure is secure! I bought one from BraMakers in Hamilton, Ontario and it is a beautiful piece of engineering.
4.  double the power bar fabric, and the upper cup fabric in duoplex to give support and lift for golfing.

Fitting Issues to Deal with:
1. Assymetrical Cups meant putting in the front closure using a butterfly attachment meant I had to line up the seam lines, or the upper cup edges. I had to trip the left cup which had previously been seamed in order to make it line up--too obviously out of line, if I didn't, so I continued the Fold over Elastic to the front closure.
2. Making sure the back band had enough tension when sewn to the cups to stay in place, and support the cups and front closure.
3. Getting the magnetic closure to fit inside the narrow bridge. Some women have more 'real estate' between the breast tissue.
4. I doubled the power net on the back band, because I wanted to use black and only had a lighter version of power net from Fabricville, rather than other colours I had on hand from Bra Maker's Supply.
5. I think I need to add a wedge to the upper left cup, as it looks a little snug--could be that the fabric is doubled, but perhaps too many storm chips and Netflix?!?

This bra is well fitting, feels comfortable, and I wear it a lot. Next time I will cut off the seam allowances under the arms, especially on the right when using fold over elastic, as it is a bit high under that arm. I will add 1/4 inch wedge to the left cup to bring the wire closer to the center. I think that was because I doubled the fabric and the Direction of Greatest Stretch is less stretchy than if I had used a single layer. The Shelly gives me a nice profile.