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Weekend: Jamesapalooza

weekend 09 12 Weekend: Jamesapalooza

Hemingway advised us not to think about work in progress between leaving the desk and returning to it. Tis true. Our best work is rarely the result of direct thought; too much brooding spoils and tarnishes.

My mojo boomerangs between full force and total recharge. This year, I’ve noticed that I can work 6 weeks straight, weekends included, but at that point, I need a break. Luckily, my weekend of rest comes at just the right time. This Saturday, my brother, James, will host Jamesapalooza, a giant shindig celebrating his day of birth. Now, I know Marce will have words over the naming of said party – Jamesapalooza versus Oonapallooza? – in which I will say, I love you both equally.

So, until Monday, I’ll be in Florida. I have jam packed my calendar with absolutely nothing, and will spend every second with my favorite dudes – my brothers and my father. While I’m gone, I ask of one thing. Take care of the sewing world for me, will ya?

As a wise seamstress once said, see you on the other side of the needle!

 
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What i Made: Amber Rosalind

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I can be self-deprecating about my boobs — or lack thereof. It took me a long time to accept that my underboob is and will probably only be the mere suggestion of a shadow. I’ve got small breasts, so what? That doesn’t mean I can’t be sexy. Audrey Hepburn didn’t have giant hooters, nor does Gwyneth Paltrow sport a nice rack. Both women were and are gorgeous. The key to getting the most out of my knockers? The right bra. It’s a quest I’ve been on for 2 ½ years and my journey has felt like Cinderella’s. I just can’t find the right fit. It doesn’t have to scream sex kitten, but it does have to be comfortable, beautiful and supportive enough to give some semblance of boobage. Is that too much to ask for? I’ve made so many iterations of this bra – I even thought I nailed it last year. But it wasn’t the one. Dare I say that this is my match? Well, it sure seems like it. If it ain’t, well shit, I’m starting a bra burning club. Who’s with me? Men, you’re invited too.

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To make the details about patterning, fabric and construction for this bra, Amber Rosalind, easy to read and understand, I’m going to be corporate for just a moment:

Pattern: The pattern is the same pattern I’ve been using – a variation of Pin-up Girls #1200. The cup volume was reduced, the band length was increased, the strap scoop was eliminated and the fabric straps were replaced with elastic straps. There were a few other minor pattern tweaks that were specific to my shape, but if you want to replicate it, those are the main changes.

Construction: Increasing the band length allowed me to use a wider elastic at the bottom – 3/4” – which is more comfortable in my opinion. The top band and neckline were finished with ¼” plush elastic. All elastic was first set with a narrow, one-step zig zag, and then a three-step zig zag. The straps features one, ¼” strap looped through an o-ring, which were attached at the strap point. There is a 2×3 sealed hook and eye at the back and normal length underwires. All notions were sourced from Bra Makers Supply.

Fabric: The fabric is a stretch lace from Lace Supply. The bridge and both the upper and lower cups are lined with a firm power net, again from Bra Makers Supply, and the back band is unlined.

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Sara once said that all artists have to learn the rules in order to break them. On this bra, Amber Rosalind, I finally felt confident enough to break a couple major ones. First, I didn’t stabilize the bridge with a firm fabric like Duoplex. Slap me now. Although it is preached that the bridge on all bras must be stabilized up and down and from side to side (in order to support the breasts), after looking at my RTW bras, I decided against it. Maybe us women who are not well endowed can have a bridge that isn’t as firm as a woven cotton? The powernet is pretty firm and does the job – proof is that there are no stress lines. See any? Another rule I broke was finishing the cross cup seam – I serged it. It’s a much easier finish than the one I normally sew, but it’s faster and flatter. Think about it, why do seamstresses use an overlock? Because it’s not bulky, right? Same principle. And no, the serge doesn’t bother my ta-ta’s.

So, the key to my perfect, defectless bra? Just like mom’s homemade stew, it was a pastiche of ingredients – the right fabric, the right fit, the right notions and most importantly, the right knowledge that has mish-mashed over the last 700 or so days and culminated into this.
 
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Bra Making: How to Make Bra Straps

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When it comes to making a bra, constructing the straps are the home stretch. Sewn before or after the hook & eye is attached, it’s one of the last operations and means you did it! But just like a marathon, the last mile can be the most difficult. There are a lot of ins and outs, twists and turns and other maneuvers to finish. Don’t get your panties in a knot; I’ll break down the process for you (that joke was funny, right?).
 
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Step 1: Cut a length of strap elastic 18” long. Feed one end of strap up through the bottom of one slider, then over the center bar and down through the other side. It should look like a belt buckle, with one short end and one long end.
 
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Step 2: Fold the short side down and stitch to secure. Trim close to stitching.
 
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Step 3: Turn elastic over and put the ring through the long side.
 
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Step 4: Weave long side up and over center bar of the slider just like in step 1. Voila! The next step is to attach to bra.
 
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Weekend: How Will You Remember Summer 2014?

weekend 09 05 Weekend: How Will You Remember Summer 2014?

As summer fades, I’m adjusting to autumn with a deeper-hued mentality. Think fir-tree green, burgundy, charcoal and maybe even black. A marked difference from a bright palette just a few months ago. This summer will be remembered not only for its cool weather that called for a light jacket or a cardigan, but also its curiosities and whimsy. I was the busiest I’ve ever been. Some things I can and have told you about, such as moving from West Philly to Old City Philadelphia and announcing my online and in-person bra making class, and some things are still waiting to be revealed. Also this summer, I had one of my best trips to Florida, sipped too many cups of coffee in this java joint and read too many featherbrained titles in this used book store. Summer 2014 came to an end on a high note when this week, I was featured in Ft. Lauderdale Magazine.

I’m not sure how or why I was dealt this hand of cards this summer, but it was a learning experience. Considered the founding father of American surf culture, John Severson was an artist, photographer and filmmaker in the 1950s and 1960s. After being drafted into the army in 1956, he was “ordered” to join the Army’s surf team in Oahu, and for 2 years, he surfed Hawaii’s wild, untamed waves. In 1960, he launched Surfer Magazine. Despite the prestige and the popularity it garnered over the years, his surfer message never rallied against societal terms, but always advocated to live on one’s own. Free. That’s what summer 2014 taught me. I wasn’t out to be a rabble-rousing bra maker, but just have fun with my family, play with yards of lace and elastic and be a vagabond in my new neighborhood. That’s simply it.

So long summer 2014, and hello fall. Where will the leaves fall as the year comes to a close? Come what may… que sera sera.

How will you remember summer 2014?

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      Did you hear that I'm teaching an online bra making class? In 1 hour, I walk you through constructing a bra from start to finish, and I'll cover choosing a bra pattern, finding your size, tracing and cutting tips and construction. Click HERE to sign up now! If you can't attend the class, I will be teaching it in person this winter here in Philadelphia; EMAIL ME to be put on the waiting list.

       

      Another famous bra maker is teaching an online class! BEVERLY JOHNSON just announced that she will be teaching a class on Crafty and the release date is Tuesday, September 23rd. Enter now to win a free spot!

       

      If you're like me and you live in the northern hemisphere, then fall is upon us. Join the ladies at CASHMERETTE as they make on spectacular, green coat.

       

      Have you heard? SARAI and the ladies and Colette Patterns are dedicating the entire month to hems. Called SEPT-HEM-BER, they will cover how to make sure a hem is even, everything you need to know about stabilizing hems, several options to finish the raw edge of your hem, how to stitch a hem by hand, how to sew basic turned hem by machines (and a few different options for doing it), how to sew a machine rolled hem, how to sew a faced or shaped hem, how to sew a baby hem and how to sew a mitered corner. Whoa! That's a lot!

       

      Congratulations MADY on your second year blog anniversary! I've been following you for only a short time, but I'm excited to get to know you even more. Here's to many more years of happy and healthy sewing!

       

      For her engagement shoot, ANGIE made a striped Emery dress and looks stunning next to her forever partner and fiancé.