Other Interests

Bra Drafting and Fitting

After spending a week at Beverly Johnson's Bra Maker's Supply in Hamilton, Ontario, I am more determined than ever to make custom made bras. There are two tried and true choices. I can use a pattern and I am partial to Pin Up Girl's Classic pattern by Beverly Johnson. There are over a hundred size variations to make out of the 4 pattern sizes that are offered, but then, the bra still has to be mocked up first and then make the specific fitting adjustments. This will work for most women.

However, sometimes drafting from 10 measurements will help fit a person even more closely than a pattern might do. So, I took the Drafting and Fitting Class, which is a 5 day course of fast paced instruction. Taking the 10 measurements, finding the right wire size and drafting the band, allowing for negative ease, the bra frame, lower and upper cup, strap placement, and deciding to split the lower cup are all taught in the class within 2 days. Sewing a partner's bra is next, and fitting adjustments come on the 3d and 4th day. The adjustments are transferred to the pattern. This is an area which will require more practice for me. In fact, I might just save up for another class just on fitting, called 'Fit for All'.  But, in the meantime, I will diligently take notes, and practice on anyone who volunteers!

On the last day, we learned how to take the pattern and change the seam lines for more variations. Can't wait to get to that part. But first, get the draft done!

Checking for accuracy along the wire line. You can see the frame, wires, and lower cup. This bra is asymmetrical for a woman with two different sized cups, using a 42 WL, and 44 WL long underwires. (From BraMaker's Supply)
I'll post more photos of the different pattern pieces that I draft. Have you tried drafting a bra? How did it go?

Vogue 8982-- Another Marcy Tilton Jacket

Front and Back of Fabric

I've been hoarding this fabric for a jacket that will showcase both sides. One side is a black background with purple, green and tan leaves, and the other side is the tan, with black, green and purple leaves. I found it at Fabricville, and bought it when it was Buy one meter. Get 2 for free. So, for $14.99 I scored 3 meters of this gorgeous fabric. Although it is a woven, there is a bit of a stretch to it. It is probably a polyester blend.          

I decided to use this pattern, Vogue 8982, as I have made it twice before, and it is one of my favourite things to wear. The first jacket was in a linen, and the second in a knit. Because I bought this pattern sizes 16-24, I had to take an inch out of the Center back, and I also lengthened it 3 and 1/2 inches.

Line DrawingThe lengthening meant that I had to fudge the curve of the bottom front, and fiddle with the dart ending, to match how the back comes around in a curve to meet the front. For the side back piece, I chose to use the contrast, so that the seam lines show up as a design feature.

Now, if you have been reading my blog, you will know that I tend to want to rush through to see how the fit is, but because I have made this twice before, I know that I can challenge myself to slow down, and make some design changes, beside featuring the contrasting inside and out fabric.


  1.  I want to add two welt pockets to the front of the jacket, as my hands always search for these in my other two iterations.
  2. I want to make the facing on the outside, so that the contrast fabric shows.
  3. I think cuffs in the contrast fabric would be a nice touch.

I've cut, marked all notches and squares, and the two front darts. I've pinned it together to see how the contrasting fabrics match. I think I will sit on it for the evening, and think about the seam finishes; the type of interfacing on the now outside facings and cuffs, and decide if I can live with my choices. 

See how mature I'm being? I'd appreciate any comments or suggestions! But, my friend Deb, from Salisbury will be arriving this weekend for some shared sewing, so I know that she will also give me some thoughtful advice. 

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?