Other Interests

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.

My Journey with Linton Tweeds: Buying the Fabric For a Tweed Jacket

When I heard that Linton Textile Mills, in Carlisle, Cumbria, England was within driving distance of the Lake District, I knew that I would have to talk my sister and mother into a visit. I purchased the Craftsy class, The Iconic Tweed Jacket with Lorna Knight and watched it before I left for England.

Thank you to Tracy of Linton Textile Mills for the help
By posting a question in the comment section of the class, Lorna gave me further advice beyond the chapter of the class on choosing your fabric. I also checked in with Alison Smith in the Craftsy courses on Tailoring Techniques and she too, made recommendations. Both teachers invited me to their sewing schools for a visit, but I will have to save that for a second trip.

Linton Tweed has become successful for two reasons. The owners of the mill did not keep only to the traditional wool yarns to weave their tweed, but incorporated metallics, synthetics, silks, ribbons, boucles, and sequins into the weave to create marvelous patterns and textures.

The second reason is that Coco Chanel had a connection with the mill and used these fabrics for her iconic tweed Chanel jacket. Her jacket design was so popular because it was a change from the structured, fitted garments of the 1920's and represented more freedom for women. Chanel used couture techniques to stabilize the loose weave and give the jacket soft structure.


You will see that it is a quilted jacket, in that the lining is sewn to the face fabric, all seams are stabilized with silk organza selvedge and the lining hides all the hand sewing on the seams. There are princess seams, set in sleeves, patch pockets, and all types of braid to outline the jacket edges. To give the jacket weight, a chain is sewn in the bottom. If this was the real Chanel jacket, I would be using a solid gold chain, but mine might be a length from Home Depot!

Our friend, Sue Thwaites who patiently drove us to Carlisle, along with Lib Saunders, who were most generous hosts for our stay in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, England

The Linton shop, called The Bobbin is separate from the mill, which is not open to the public for health and safety reasons. Tracy, the shop assistant who helped me was very kind and gave advice when I needed it and let me browse, and ooh and ahh as long as I wanted. Since there was a cafe attached with very good food, my friends ordered the lunch and I went around fondling fabric. Such a wide choice, but I went with the idea of making a first jacket (oh, yes, there will be more!), one that I could wear in a more casual fashion with jeans, or dress up with a navy skirt.

Some of the fabrics were hung like drapes, some were stacked on rolling dollies, and some were on piled on the shelves. The rest of the items in the shop were knick knacks and scarves--many were made in China.

As you can see from the photos below, I was in heaven just looking and feeling the fabrics. I had debated on boucles, or ribbon tweeds. My priority was to choose something that would go well with navy, denim and black--the colours I usually wear as pants, or skirts. I also didn't want a huge matching job, which ruled out the one you see me so happily posing with. So, below you can see I was once again drawn to the blues/green/turquoises in a ribbon woven tweed, that I think will look beautiful in the Iconic Tweed Jacket, that wears like a cardigan.


WELL, you can't pass up the rack that tastefully says, "Buy one skirt length, get the second free." They had a beautiful thick wool navy, and a less textured black. I stayed within my budget and was very happy with my purchases. I think you can see by my expression how happy I was with that visit.

My final choices, including the 2 skirt lengths.
A close up of the label, and jacket choice.

Happily parting with the money!

Fitting the Butterick 6026 Katherine Tilton blouse

I love the pin tucks on this blouse by Katherine Tilton. I used a loose weave linen/cotton blend in navy. I cut a size 16, did a narrow shoulder adjustment of 1/2 inch, a swayback adjustment of 3/4 inch and shortened the sleeves by 1 inch. I think that making blouses is very satisfying and my technical skills are improving. 
I added an armscye dart of 1/2 inch but decided to do a full bust adjustment on the second blouse, as well as lengthen the whole blouse by 2 inches. Ignore that line above the bust dart in the close up. I can't figure out where that came from. 
I love sewing the pin tucks. It adds texture and shaping to the blouse. For the life of me, I don't know how to stand to avoid showing strange folds and creases, and weird expressions. Oh, well. 

I find the length of the coral blouse about an inch too long, so when I started the third blouse, I only lengthened it one inch and left off the sleeves. I found the 2 inch lengthen to be a little awkward when sitting, and I needed a couple of snaps in strategic areas as the buttons were a little off. The things I am learning with every sewing project!
1.  I love sewing with linen and cotton shirting. It stays put and feels good. 
2.  Pin tucks are very pretty. But, you need to deal with the threads. 
3.  I need to finish my photography course and let my husband off the hook. 

What are your favourite fabrics to wear or sew?

Camas Blouse by Thread Theory

I've written about Thread Theory patterns before. I made my husband shorts with the Jedediah pattern, and also have made the Henley T shirt, which you can see below. But, when Morgan announced the Camas Blouse Sew Along, I ordered the pattern right away.  I made a muslin in a jersey knit in navy blue. I had a little trouble with the button placket, but realized that I was installing it the wrong way. Oooops!  Then, I switched to a woven fabric, as the shirt fit well, after I made a full bust adjustment by adding an extra 1/2 inch to the gathered edge.

I tried it again in a grey shirt flannel and made the yoke in a buttery faux leather. I also changed the back gathers into a pleat. The neckline is a little more open than I'd like. I could have raised it a little, but I also like the feeling and look of having a camisole underneath. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. And I like to support Thread Theory, because they specialize in men's patterns, and Matt and Morgan just seem so darn hard working and nice!

I learned to insert a placket, using a Craftsy class on shirt details with David Page Coffin, the shirt guru. I also have been watching Lynda Maynard's class on Finishing Edges so my shirt bindings are getting better. Sewing with knits is a challenge only because the knits i have bought at Fabricville, tend to only last a few wearings before they start to pill. I think, now that I have some well fitting patterns, I will have to buy more expensive fabric, but less of it. That suits me fine. I hate the pilling--it is a waste of my time. So, suggestions for on line knit fabrics That won't pill would be welcome.