Thursday, July 28, 2011

Blue Lace Lingerie Set..another happy ending.

 Bra making is quickly becoming my new love.  Its quick and satisfying all at the same time.  Especially when you are certain to come out of it with a perfectly fitting bra.
One might wonder, why it would be ok to publically talk about, let alone disclose the interworkings of your foundation garments.  Of couse, any woman would admit "albeit" in private, that she has always wanted to be open and discuss the problems she has with the undergarments.  We all look for the perfect fit in clothing, whether it be pants, blouses, t-shirts, dresses, and the like.  Who doesn't want their boobs to fit "inside" the bra cups.  Tara Banks was candid enough to have a show about the "bra".  Oprah Windfrey discussed it and women listened.  There spawned the bra fitting craze so to speak.  Even pattern companies increased their offerings.  What is so illusive about fitting a bra or underwear?
 Tara knows how to make us feel comfortable about the requirements of the body.

Moving forward...I remember last month spending 3 hours in the Dillards lingerie department getting fit for bras.  It was horrible, I was tired, my hair was a mess, and nothing fit.  You say, I'm small in comparison to the average woman with bra problems... Yes, I have a small chest area, 1/2 inch is all it takes to cause a bra to sag, and I hate saging.  I want my bra to hug my chest, not sit away creating a ridge under my clothing.  "It does matter." 

After taking my bra class in Atlanta last year, I have only made two additional bras, but during this time, I have been complaining about the ill fitting bras.  I just don't want to get rid of so many bras. However, when inventorying my stock, and I do have a large supply, I found that I am wearing only a select few the most, including the ones I made, which are my favorite.

  So, I look over all these bras and clean house.....

After all that I still saw that I need more of the nice ones.  The ones I learned how to make that just fit me, and me alone.  In comes my trusty pattern drafted especially for me...Intimately Yours, Bras That Fit, by Anne St. Claire. Needlenook fabrics 

I like the kit idea, because I can just work on any item I want anytime because I know all the pieces are there for me.

I made the matching panties from the panty kit provided by Needlenook Fabrics using Kwik Sew 2908, view B- bikini.  The fabric is a wonderfully satiny nylon.  The size may seem off, but trust me, when you really have the correct fitting bikini panty they may appear big.  I was shocked, however, I did not want to change the size until I was completely finished so as to get a true "fitting" of the final garment.  They really fit, with full bottom coverage and a low ride.  No panty lines.  Yee Pee!  The crotch will be narrowed an inch in the next pair, but really these are some great fitting panties.  So if you have buns that cup under a little, these have a nice curved bottom that catches all that rump. 

 Compared to the first pair I made, in which I used vanity sizing, I cut a small, because I figured the pattern has to be wrong.  I got a really good pair of panties that I had to give away....

I used some of the blue panty fabric to line the lace area of the bra for a little more coverage.  Although, the bra kit came with a lightweight nude tricot lining. Anne told me I could have dyed it brown using some strong coffee.  duh  I didn't think of that. More about the bra...  When I first learned to make these bras, my first complaint was that I donot want a "line" to show through my clothes.  But as you can see, the line isn't really that prominent.  I found that the slight curve in the sewn cup actually causes it to sit just a little off and properly fitting clothes just hang past the line.  Aaannnd...the bra isn't pointy, like it might appear.

I especially the way the band covers the side of the body...

...and how the back has the 3 hook/eye combination.  This is much more comfortable and supportive.  Anna has a reason and really good explanations for the structure of the bra.  The whys and why nots are important for someone like me.

Of course, you are not seeing the pesky little rings in these bras.  Thats because you don't need adjustible straps if they were made just for you.  Why do you need to adjust anything? Right? 
For my straps on this one, I tried one of her variations talked about in the book.  I made a 1/2 version.  Although, I really do like the suggested 3/4" or 1" versions.  I will not be making the narrow strap hurts.

You should probably get used to the idea of making your own bras.  My Mom already told me she absolutely loves hers and that I should make some more right away.  "Mom, I will, I am on it for sure." Love you...

Thanks everyone for reading my blog...I really enjoy sharing.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I count today a success. Lingerie set sneak peek...

Summer is a good time of year for most.  However, when you have a burning desire to sew, and the sun is burning up outside, and you have constant company from your lovely grandchild, something has to give.  My sewing time has been sporadic at best. Although, I have some really good systems in place for what I plan to do, and I do actually get some things completed, those items that I get completed are actually GTD project components.  Not necessarily completing a "said" project can be daunting, however.  This is why I find it extremely important to keep a GTD list.  That way I know I am actually making headway on all these projects, although I really don't have any tangible item to show for the hard work I have put in for the day.

However, today was a fun and productive day, if I say so myself.  Besides taking care of the home office requirements, and babysitting...I actually cooked dinner.  Whoo hooo!  You see, I am not a domestic diva.. I'm just a sewing diva.  So, basically anything that I get done which isn't sewing related is a great accomplishment for me.  And of course a great treat for my family. (-: 

I finally ordered my much needed eyeglasses.  And for a trully good deal at Costco.  I even got a pair of prescription sunglasses.  I can't wait for them to come in, I so, so, need them right now.  Especially, since I lost my regular pair. 

Besides planning new classes for the Hancock where I will be teaching sewing related classes, I was able to complete a New Look t-shirt and a pair of panties and make really good headway on a new bra.  I throroughly enjoy making lingerie sets.  This is so fulfilling.  I will blog about those later, for now here is just a sneak peak...

This bra instruction book is from a class I took last year at the ASG conference in Atlanta.  I do plan to increase my skill levels on making padded bras as well.  However, at this time I want to concentrate on one type of bra at a time.  Thus far, I have graduated to completing a lace bra.  T-shirts are not necessarily a need for me, but the skills learned in completing the various necklines, and the resulting knitwear sloper that comes out of it will serve useful for years to come. 

All-in-all, today was a great day.  Productivity is important to me, especially now that school is gearing up to start and my sewing classes are just around the corner. 

So stay tuned for more...I really appriciate all my readers and hope to offer good content that will help you each time I post.  Even though of course, I must have my ranting times.

Keep it sharp..AD

Friday, July 22, 2011

Vogue 1249- My birthday suit...jumpsuit that is.

Project Birthday a Badgley Mischka for Vogue Jumpsuit. V1249..
Line Art
Close-fitting (through bustline), partially interfaced, lined jumpsuit has back invisible zipper.

Pattern Sizing:
Size 14-20, I cut a 14/16. But I actually should have cut the 12/14 up top.

The drawing didn't fall in the front, but she was standing pretty straight and tall. Also, I don't have much curve definition in the front. I am really straight, and my bust are small. So my garment tends to collapsed a little. Next time I wear it, I will wear a padded bra to add to the front curves. I don't want to take out anything there, I want to give the illusion of more…which is why I liked the addition of the ruffles up front. The garment on the pattern envelope was obviously belted a little tight, cause the front on the model actually looked liked gathers, on mine it was plenty smooth with the acceptation of the pleats.

For the boning I used a technique that I invented (at least I think so…) that makes for a really straight seam.
I removed the plastic boning from the channel after initially measuring, I then sew down the channel sides and around bottom. At the curves in the princess line, I always curve the fabric in a cup like fashion thereby shorting the channel to force it to curve with the fabric. So when I reinsert the boning (making sure to have it curl with the direction of the princess seam) the bodice will curve in naturally around the bust and will form right into the chest above the bust at the neckline. So, even with the weight of the ruffles, the neck edge will not try to flop out to the front. (I have found that edge stitching doesn't always stop this from happening.)

You have to remember to determine the direction the boned foundation will face before knowing which way to curve the boning insertion. I faced the right side of the foundation to the wrong side of the bodice…not what the pattern instructions suggest… I wanted to make sure the outside of the garment did not show any signs of boning. It my classmate (a fellow designer) did not realize I had boning until she hugged me.

For the zipper- I used the Threads article "Sew Invisible Zippers like a Pro" from the August/Sept 2011 issue for the instructions. For the remainder of the garment I used the pattern instructions.
I am happy with the back alteration. I shorted it by 1/2 inch to allow for a short back from shoulder blade to waist. I raised the crotch by 1 inch in the back.

I liked the overall design and construction. I felt absolutely comfortable in the jumpsuit all night!!! I really forgot I was in a strapless outfit. The corset foundation was extremely comfortable and secure. I never worried about the top falling, and the fit was terrific in the crotch. I really don't normally get that straight out the gate on any pant pattern. I think I will use this pattern as my pant and bustier slopers for sure.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

When shortening the crotch, the pleats are moved off grain, they have to be re-adjusted. "Please return your pleats to the upright position before take off." lol536

537I shorted the front crotch 3/4 inch. The pants had enough ease to take care of any extras on the thighs. I didn't need to do any full seat adjustments. I could see that as soon as I cut the pattern tissue. But, of course I had to shorten the front length.

I also lengthened the bottom of the bodice by 1/2 inch in the front and side seams. I will take that out next time, as I believe it may have something to do with the folds forming in the front under the bust.

I also lengthened the pants by two inches. May need to remember to wear the shoes I made the garment to match. They just weren't comfortable to wear all night during the party. A hostess must be comfortable.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

I would definitely sew this again with narrower pants.

Even though I DONOT drink, I must do my Captain Morgan pose. "The joke of the day." I had a lot of fun, and still never was concerned about the fit of my jumpsuit. I literally forgot I was wearing a strapless garment.

It appears that even leaning over, I had no worries. I raised the upper front 1 inch. I never tugged on my bodice anytime during the night. It was a very long night at that.

By the way... the beautiful cake was compliments of my very talented daughter Jennifer..

Thursday, July 14, 2011

When the going gets tough, the tough get Sewing!

..or so it seems for me. I have had a comparetivily bad week.  But, I don't see a reason to be depressed.  I am just eternally grateful that I have a hobby.  I celebrated by birthday with my dad (by adoption) on Monday. And invited him to my birthday party planned for Saturday, the 16th.  I still have to finish that  Vogue jumpsuit for the party.  YeePee, a great year older.  Anyway, on that same day my uncle died.  The next morning (Tuesday) I learned my dad (by adoption) has passed.  AAAAAAAGGGGH!!!!!! WFH is going on.  So, ok, it could be worse right?  Oh yes it can!!! cause by the evening.....I learn that my Stepdad is in the hospital from a collapsed lung.  Right, it CAN get worse.

So, being the trooper that I am, I don't want to be a burden to anyone, so I go to the one therapist I know can help.... "JoAnn's" 
She tells me all about the sales and that creativity is a terrific outlet for the day's woes. 
So I listen intently as I peruse the pattern books, and feel all the fanciful findings on the fabric isles.
I finish my therapy time, my 45/hour is up, time to get to the hospital.  But not without buying several fun items to add to my "gotta-get-it-done-someday" list.
And sew on we go, through life, trying everyday to see that all the parts of any thing is meant to be just where it is supposed to be.

But, for me again I find that sewing is my therapy.  The only thing I can control is which fabric to pair with a pattern.  So, I plan....
Cruise wear. 
The above is for wear on my upcoming December inspiration.

And, still I plan....
...and plan, and prep...

Simplicity 2178
Self dyed linen blend in green apple by ritz.
Tracey Reese resort wear 2012.
Wait, my granddaughter is still here, she didn't get a change of clothes from home.  Thats o.k.  we can go to the sewing room and get her an outfit. 

Newlook 6797

The sewing continues......

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Making the "GRADE" a matter of size.

Fitting issues plague everybody.  But those of us that sew for ourselves seem to be on a quest for the perfect fit.  Thus, we sew through pattern after pattern in hopes to find the perfect fit, or make the pattern fit.  Others of us, buy our clothes from mainstream producers of the garment industry and come to those of use who sew, to make that special garment fit using a multitude of alterations.

For those of us that sew, sizing and the pattern "Grade" matters.

In 2008 I went back to school in hopes of understanding patterns better.  It was a success.  Did I learn everything there? No, but all education is a success in my eyes... As for commercial patterns, I learn more and more from working right here at home.  But the one class that did absolutely teach me the greatest amount of knowledge that has clarified my understanding of the pattern designing and fitting systems, was the class called Pattern Grading.  I shall fondly think of my instructor, Diane Brett, from Houston Community College, everytime I cut into a commercial pattern.  (I can see clearly now....the lines between sizes are no longer blurred.

Ok, I'll get to the point....I learned that in grading between sizes, the "average" industry standard is to increase sizes incrementally in groups. So, sizes 2-4-6 and 8 have a 1" size difference between each numbered size.  Sizes starting up from 8 to 10 to 12 is a pattern grade of 1.5" and from 12 to 14 to 16 to 18 and beyond is graded by 2 inches.  Well this is knowledge that is helpful going into the patternmaking and commercial pattern manipulation process. 

Until today, this system simplified working with commercial patterns. BUT....I noticed that Burda is the bad boy.  The odd man out.  The rebel, the one that skipped that class. You see, since I started school, I had not been buying many patterns, especially Burda.  I just loved taking a coffee break and looking through their magazine, but never traced a pattern.  I don't like tracing.  (I see now everybody does it, and so I ventured to start tracing some of these beautiful designs...."I want to be part of the "in crowd".) 

I even went out and purchased a pattern to check out the "J" curve of the crotch...

I love it... This makes sizing this pattern so, so much easier.  But upon closer manipulation I find this...
Sorry, couldn't get it to turn. 
Now this should be a 2" Grade from size 12-14, 14-16, 16-18 and so on.  And of course, the average female fashionista would faint if she was told she wears a size 44 pant size.  Whew!  try explaining that one to your custom clothing client, or a model for that matter.... be blogged later.. but the skirt is Vogue ??? and the bustier is my design.
Back to the GRADE!   You see, the industry standard of grading is as mentioned earlier: 1" sz 4-8, 1.5" sz 8-12 and 2" sz 12 & up.  What does that mean to us...
  • The main grade, or measurement between each size is either 1", 1.5" or 2" in the finished size.
  • Each main block, i.e. pant, bodice, skirt side seam is divided by 4, giving us 1/4" per seam for size 6 to 8, 3/8" per seam for size 10-12, and 1/2" per seam for size 14-16 and beyond.
  • In this sleeve pattern, the grade changes between sizes, as I learned.  The sideseams, grade different from a sleeve.  But you get the point.
    A simplicity pattern showing the difference in size grades.
    That equates, in the case of Burda, to a loss of 1 1/2" in the upper sizes in comparison to other pattern companies.
Burda does a "straight grade" for all sizes.  So those of us that have gotten used to having a "weighted grading scale" with the big four.  Sorry, but you now are in a lower percentile ranking.  Thus you have to essentiallly cut a larger size than even the big four.  Burda, says that a 34 is size 8, a 36 is size 10, 38= size 12, 40 = size 14 and thus 42= 16.  Sooooo, now I have to cut a size "46/18!!!!" in burda on the bottom.  Aaaagh!!  So much for vanity.  Shhhhh! Don't tell.

More to come...

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Pullover Tunic- Butterick 5355

Style Details: Pullover top, with raglan sleeves and sleeve ties that go up the arms.  Bound neckline and shirt-tail hem. 
Pattern: Butterick 5355, View B (w/o sash)
Pattern Sizing: Xsm-Sml-Med:  I cut the Sml.
Fabric: Rayon Challis
I like loose fitting tops, but they must have some type of details.  So it seems Butterick 5355 fit the bill.  I like the bellowy sleeves with the added tie channels and contrasting bias bound neckline.   I plan to where this with capris length leggings, shorts, and jeans. 

Since my goal is to make items that compliment or enhance what I already have in my closet, every color in the blouse has a coordinate piece already in my closet waiting for pairing.