Other Interests

Fitting from the Inside Out!

Thanks to Beverly Johnson of BraMakers Supply in Hamilton, Ontario, I have a perfectly fitting pattern for my undergarment. I had started making bras with the two Craftsy classes, (for which there is a 1/2 off price link on Beverly's Blog). I was close, but not quite there with the 4 bras that I made. All 4 of those bras are wearable, but not perfect, and damn it . . . I was going to get something perfect! I found out that I needed two different sized wires. That is a difficult part of fitting.

Lots of beautiful colours, findings,
lace and elastics for choices. 
I signed up for Classic Bra Making 101, which is a two day course. Beverly fits and Denise teaches. It is a good combination--Denise pins! Then, we had Sunday off, and returned for the Shelley pattern, which includes a power bar and is drafted from the perfect Classic Pin Up pattern we made in the first class. The next day, we made the Alison Sports bra, and finished it up at home. It was an intensive 4 days, and we also sewed on Sunday--determined to get the right fit for Karen before the Shelley Bra Pattern class.

Beverly is cutting away the lining to reveal the foam cups.
Trust is essential--and Beverly has lots of experience!

My friend, Karen came with me and since we went together, each of us got a $50 dollar credit. All supplies were included in the courses, except for the cover of the Alison sports bra, but that required .5 meters of a swimsuit, or wickable fabric. We could have used some in the shop, but opted for bright colours and pattern - - - lots of pattern!

After 4 days of discussing bras, and fitting, there was no modesty left. We actually thought of wearing our bras proudly on the outside!

Karen and I waited to board and reviewed our notes.
What a great experience! Beverly was determined that we leave happy with the fit. Because I had done a lot of work ahead of time, I knew that I needed two different cup sizes. Also, I needed a tuck in the back band, as well as a small dart in the Shelley bra to bring the straps in a quarter of an inch. So many little adjustments, but with Beverly's help, it meant that I wasn't sewing endless number of bras, making one change at a time, which can be discouraging, not to mention a little pricey. So, with the cost of the course, and including the trip to visit family, I feel on top of the world. And, it was so nice to go with a 'bosom buddy'. We had lots of late night giggles over our sewing adventures!

A special thanks to my sister, Debbie and her husband, Walter who were perfect hosts. Dinner was ready on the table; a car was at hand for me to drive (and get lost) to and from Hamilton; and big breakfasts were provided by Walter. Dinner was ready for us when we got home after a long day of sewing. After dinner, Karen and I continued to sew in the evening in their dining room. We tried hard to pick up all the threads, but I'm sure we left some behind.

Need for a Shoe Iron and Silk Organza Pressing cloth

All of my sewing mentors recommend the use of a Silk Organza Pressing cloth. I bought 5 yards of silk organza from the Dharma Trading Company a few years ago, and although I haven't used it for the original purpose, I definitely have used many scraps and rectangles for pressing cloths.

BUT . . . you have to use one to protect your fabric. My case in point:

I just got to the last sleeve and realized that I forgot about the French seam. Since almost ever seam on this damn blouse had to be redone a few times due to putting wrong sides together, or to puckering seams, I decided that I would try to press it for a flat felled seam. Unfortunately, I do not own a teflon shoe for my iron. Santa might be buying me one next week, though. And, because it was so fiddly to iron the seam, I neglected to use the silk organza over this crazy poly silk charmeuse, which does not take a press very well.

Luckily, I have just enough fabric to cut out another sleeve and placket lining.

Things you learn from my mistakes:

1. Use a teflon shoe iron.
2. Use your silk organza pressing strip, even on small seams.
3. Starch the seams of poly silk organza.
4. Make shirts out of real silk charmeuse, or linen, or cotton.
5. Don't set your iron on the highest setting just because you want it to heat up fast. (Yes, I confess I thought that would be a good idea.)

Butterick 6064 by KAtheRine Tilton

Butterick 6064 by KAtheRine Tilton

I am drawn to patterns that have unusual design lines. I find most of the patterns by Marcy Tilton and her sister, Katherine Tilton to have something different, yet they look very comfortable.  I am working on getting the proper fit in my me-made clothes. Craftsy classes are helping me by learning how to draft my own pattern blocks, but it is a slow and long process.

To feel like I am accomplishing something, I chose to make this pattern as it is basically a large rectangle with armholes and two buttonholes. The interesting part is the mitered corners that provide a self facing and give some weight to the drape of the item. I chose to interface the borders for extra weight.

I chose 100% linen which I washed and dried to avoid shrinkage. It turned out so soft and comfortable. I found this a little hard to drape around the neck, so spent lots of time in front of the mirror! The Striped Linen was made in Size Medium, and the Blue in Small.

When my friend, Deb tried it on, I realized that it looked much better on her! She suggested that the next one should be in a smaller size. I still find this one very comfortable, but she was right--the next size down fits me better. I've received compliments from strangers when I wear these.

The next one I made was in a synthetic collection that had a creased texture and a little shine. It was in my favorite steel blue color and had coordinating flowered brocade. I used French seams inside and again, interfaced the borders. There is a band that is sewn along the upper shoulders attaching to the armholes in the back to provide some structure to the rectangle so that it stays put.

I love the pleat on the pocket, another detail that makes these patterns unique.

I feel elegant in this vest, and plan on taking it on our first River Cruise in the fall. It folds and rolls up nicely and doesn't hold creases.

The pants are from my custom pattern drafted by Kathy Ruddy, another designer and sewing mentor.  I put pockets in these scuba knit pants, just the way Kathy shows on her Craftsy course, One Pant, Many Looks and there is an elastic waistband that doesn't look gathered. It was easy to do, and looks very flat. I've resisted scuba knits, as I find them cool to the touch, but these are both comfortable and fit very well. I made another pair in a brown polyester/wool stretch knit. I have to make some tops to match and then I will post those. 

I'd love to hear what you think! Please leave a comment below.

Butterick 5891 KAtheRine Tilton

Butterick 5891 has been calling to me from my pattern box. My friend and I bought a few patterns by KAtheRine Tilton, as we find they are often asymmetrical, with a touch of whimsy-- and they allow for a variety of fabric combinations. I used a linen/poly for the mauve, and a creamy charmeuse with turquoise/mauve/olive flowers. I am making up View D of the same pattern in the turquoise color. I am going to make the Size 16, just to see if I can avoid doing an FBA (full bust adjustment). All fabrics were bought at Fabricville in Fredericton.

The back seam is offset, which allowed me to try a new technique. I used the pretty selvedge on that seam, which worked out quite well. What I learned by doing this is that I should have marked the 5/8th seam allowance all the way to the end and baste it. Then I SHOULD have basted the whole top together and checked for drag lines. Of course, I was too impatient to see what the selvedge would look like. When I noticed drag lines pointing to the right hip, it meant that the center back seam was off kilter. I had to unpick the selvedge, and the seam before straightening it out. Patience is coming slowly and at a price.

I made a size 14, but after tissue fitting, then making one muslin,  I decided that a full bust adjustment was in order. This pattern is asymmetrical. That meant fiddling around until the darts had the same angle. Two muslin changes for that issue! I must admit: I used the retouch button to erase a dart point on the left side that I did not see until these photos were taken and loaded onto the computer. So, I have gone back to fix the apex of the dart so it is not noticeable. It was easier editing it on the photo! Don't you hate going back and fixing something once you think it is done?

A few who had made the pattern commented on the pleats in the peplums. You can see that I have pinned the pleat in on the photo on the right. My husband kept frowning at that, telling me that my 'hem' was tucked up, so I took it out. I'm undecided as to whether to sew both of them in. If the pleat is in, the front peplums seem to have similar hem lines. I do like the funnel neck, but I did a fully seamed collar so that there are no raw edges showing.

I also decided to make the sleeve facings into a design feature. Now that I have a brand new Husqvarna Opal 650 sewing machine, I am able to adjust the needle position easily to sew right where I want! When the cooler weather comes, I will wear this with a long sleeved T.

The pants were drafted from a yoga block that my sewing friend and mentor drew up for me. I wish I had taken time to put pockets in them, but now that I have more experience, I will do that on the next pair. These fit very nicely. Ignore the drag lines in the photo from the back. I was trying to pose and shouldn't have!