Category: What I’ve Made

What I Made: Another Watson Bra!

Another day, another bra made. The marigold number you see above is my third Watson bra. Even before I get to the deets, I’ll preface with a fourth is definitely on the way! I’ve been studying power net, regular stretch mesh, and micromesh, investigating how it’s made (on a Raschel machine, which is a specialized warp knit machine), how to dye it (the right temperatures, how the PH of your local water affects dye potency), and how and when to use the three. One reason is that I’m a geek and I like learning about new things and the other is that not lining beautiful lace with the proper materials would be like making a jacket without the proper interfacing. The first Watson, which was not blogged because it was a muslin, was lined with power net. I couldn’t get it over my head – remember that I eliminated the back closure. The second was lined with a micro mesh. While I wear the heck out of it, it doesn’t provide a lot of support, even for my size A bust. For this Watson, I lined it with a stretch mesh, which is in between powernet and micro mesh when it comes to stretch percentage. The lace, an excellent quality that I bought from a local fabric shop, has 30% stretch in all directions. Underlined with the mesh, it had about 25%. So the addition of the mesh reduced the stretch by approximately 5%, which is useful to know in the future. If I ever have a stretch fabric that is too stretchy, I can underline it with another stretch fabric to reduce the stretch. I tested the stretch before I fused the two fabrics together using a permanent spray adhesive and I suspect bonding the two fabrics together reduced…

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tags: bra making, Construction, lingerie, What I've Made Comments: 7

My Bra Challenge

The word proactive is fairly commonplace, but really, its core definition is obscure. Proactive means more than just taking initiative. At its roots, it means that as human beings, we are responsible for our own lives. A proactive person’s behavior is not a result of their environment, but a conscious decision based off their values. Regardless of their external stimuli (weather, social environment), they feel a responsibility to make a change about an unquestioning, unstinting and wholehearted belief. My belief is the handmade. Being proactive can dump us into our most difficult situations, but these experiences are what become the crucibles that forge our character and our skills to tassel out and blossom. It also helps us handle similar situations in the future more effectively and inspires others to take on a challenge as well. In my opinion, Project Sewn is more than a competition, it’s an example of being proactive. Marce was a competitor in a previous season, and in each installment, she accented the ranks of seamstress. At the end, she had graduated from home sewer to couturier (she deserves a crown, emirate?). Asked to make a garment based off a pair of shoes, she hand pieced a guipure lace bolero to fit her shape. Damn, that was good… I’m going to be proactive and take on a self-imposed challenge. My bra making skills have developed slowly but surely. I’m at a place now where I confidently show off and intelligently speak about what I make. But I can be better; I know it. What I need to do is dare myself into “can’t” land. I think I can’t sew 3 sets of lingerie in one weekend, but that’s only because I don’t think I can. So, on top of all my other projects, even if it means…

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tags: What I've Made Comments: 18

What i Made: The Nettie Bodysuit + Giveaway

It’s a familiar scene: a harried woman is perched in front of her closet and wailing to herself, “I have nothing to wear!” The absence of appropriate attire is a legitimate reason to lament, which is why having staples and basics is imperative to well-being and well-dressing. You’ll always know what to reach for. A classic trench, a striped tee, a pair of blue jeans – all are must-haves. And a backless body suit – another essential. Without it, your closet is replete, but with it, you’re locked, loaded and ready to go in any situation. Last year, Heather Lou released the hit pattern of the summer, The Bombshell Swimsuit, and this year, she’s at it again, just launching The Nettie, a dress and body suit. Inspired by one of everyone’s favorite blogger, Nette, The Nettie features a scoop neck and a low-cut bottom. Intended to be a versatile basic, sewers have many silhouette options: 3 sleeve lengths, 2 necklines and 3 back variations. Last, it has an optional snap closure so you don’t have to remove the entire thing when in the ladies room (I hate that!). When I received the email to be a pattern tester, my response was, I responded without any qualms for hesitation, “Did somebody say bodysuit? I’m in.” The instructions suggest using a 4-way stretch fabric with at least 50% crosswise stretch. I had a 2-way stretch lace in my stash (also used to make this intimates set) and I was confident that I could use it as long as I placed the DOGS (direction of greatest stretch) around the body. I cut the smallest size (size 4) and the only pattern change I made was reducing the back crotch length (I have a petite torso, but long legs). Because my version is not bra friendly, I underlined the front with satin…

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tags: Construction, What I've Made Comments: 58

What i Made: Intimates

It’s about to get intimate. Keeping it PG-13, at least in my opinion, I bared it all for the sake of lace and high waisted undies. Intimates look so much better on body than flat, amirite? For many sewers, making a jacket is a defining moment in their career. It says, “I have arrived as a stitcher.” Before, they were a nascent maker, but after, they are an adept, able and competent craftsperson. Conquering lapels’ sharp corners and pivots, and bagging a lining, they can do anything from there on out. For me, it’s not mastering jackets that makes me a real sewist; it’s intimates. Getting the hang of and developing a hand for elastic, stretch fabrics and hooks and eyes requires a keen and a devoted personality. I can attest to that. I spent half of 2012 and most of 2013 tweaking a bra and an undie pattern I bought when I first starting sewing intimates. But by the end of the year, that pattern had become Humpty Dumpty, broken and put back together again too many times. A frankenpattern. I needed to start clean and fresh. Mentally too. So, I took a step back from bra making for 4 months. Then, in early March, I met Norma for the first time during a meet-up Lauren organized in NYC. During the peak of my bra making, her book, Demystifying Bra Fitting and Construction, could have been considered my wingman, piloting me in a potentially dangerous situation involving lace, underwire and zigzag stitching. She told me about the projects she was working on, and it pushed my tush to get back in the game. First stop when I got back to Philly – Free People to buy my favorite RTW bra so that I could rub off the pattern. If you’re an…

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tags: What I've Made Comments: 24

What i Made: The Gabriola (The Perfect Maxi Skirt Pattern)

With a sweep of over 60 inches flat, Sewaholic’s Gabriola Skirt is my kind of skirt – cake, icing and sprinkles on top. Jennifer said sewist throw the best parties. True. We bring sweets and notions, and Marce brings drinks. Cheers to that! At the beginning of this year, I made a list of garments and intimates I wanted to sew and one of them was a maxi skirt. I had a pattern and fabric picked out, but then Tasia released Gabriola. Total game changer, people. I’m not one to ditch a plan or a schedule, in fact, it makes me nervous, but after days of thinking about this skirt, and then seeing Sophie’s version, I switched course, ordered the pattern and started stat. Inspired by a vintage dress, The Gabriola is a maxi skirt pattern that hits at the natural waist, hugs the hips to the widest part, and then flares out to the floor. The seaming and the grain placement on the front and back yokes make even the stoutest women look slender and sleek. I swear by this statement. For visual interest, the yokes can be made with a contrast fabric, but I kept things simple and chose one fabric for the entire garment – a cotton brocade I picked up at Mood Fabrics in New York City. Not my usual color choice, the fabric had a heavy drape and hand that I knew would be great for the hang of the skirt. Because my fabric was a loose weave, the yokes stretched out during sewing despite the fact that I stabilized it with stay tape. On my next Gabriola, I’ll block fuse the fabric and then cut panels to prevent stretching. I cut a size 0 and the only pattern alteration I made was reducing the hips…

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tags: What I've Made Comments: 47