Thursday, August 31, 2017

Cotton Time!!

Near the beginning of August I placed an order with Hip Strings out of Pennsylvania, for some cotton and cotton spinning supplies.  I have been so excited to start adding cotton to my repertoire!!

The big box of cotton spinning goodies arrived this week -

It was really difficult to find hand dyed cotton fiber, and Hip Strings seems to be one of the few purveyors.  I loved the colourways they had in their shop, so I was happy to order from them.

Hip Strings also make support spindles, and I bought a Mistral tahkli to spin up the cotton I bought.  The shaft is carbon fiber and the whorl is a toonie sized piece of acrylic. It's so lightweight and spins like a dream.

I'm trying my best to keep the protective covers on each end of the spindle when I'm not using it, just in case the kids happen upon it. Both ends are super pointy.

Cotton sure is a different spinning experience.  This is also my first time using a supported spindle. I like it!  The cotton is tricky with the super short staple length, but spinning it long draw helps a lot.

I've my copy of the Cotton issue of Ply close at hand, as well as Joan Ruane's YouTube Channel.

Bra 1: Beginning the Boylston

Just taking a little tea break from actually sewing my bra project, and thought I'd do a progress update.

Omg, this is the most nerve wracking sewing I've ever done! It's actually going quite well so far, and I've already learned a ton. Namely, I didn't choose good fabrics for this particular pattern (I should have used foam and fabric not lace and 15 denier lining), and that I am not a fan of the 15 denier.

The thing I'm most happy about is that my sewing machine has not tried to eat my fabric (yet). I made sure I switched over to a ballpoint needle before I started sewing this project.

My main fabric is some non-stretch black lace, which I figured I should fully line, since it's pretty thin.  It is really REALLY difficult to keep the two fabrics together (lace and 15 denier). I should have picked up some spray adhesive before I got started, but seriously, who wants to make an extra trip to Walmart with 2 kids?

I'm just taking things super slow. Slow cutting, slow sewing, slow pressing, slow trimming.  Sllllloooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

I ordered some applique scissors from Bra Maker's Supply when I placed my fabric/notions order earlier this week, which I am glad to have (what a satisfying this to trim those seams so close!). I was a bit surprised when they arrived and weren't Gingher brand - since the product page specifically said they were (and they were $25!!).  Sigh...not happy about that.  They're okay, but not Gingher.

I took the advice given on the Craftsy class and marked the right sides of the fabric with a sticker. Thankfully these sticker dots come in gigantic packs.

I'm going to keep going on this bra, but when I'm done, I think I'll start on a Harriet Bra by Cloth Habit, which in hindsight I probably should have started with. My materials are a better match, and there's tons of info on the construction in the sew along.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Bra Making - Mostly Still In The Planning Phase

...and we're off!  Or, I am starting to feel that way with the bra-making endeavor at least.

I've measured myself in a variety of different ways - above bust vs full bust, full bust vs under bust, and finally the bottom cup depth *find more on that here*.

Interestingly, the bottom cup depth measurement makes it really clear which cup sizes are 'sister sizes', and therefore a lot more clear how to go up or down in cup volume.

34DDD - Very Preliminary Muslin

My bottom cup depth is right between 4.5 inches and 4.75 inches, so I'm currently fiddling around trying to decide whether to make a 32DDD or a 34DDD, both would need band alterations to bring the band up to a 36, but this is the closest I've been able to come cup-size wise (Orange Lingerie defines their DDD as an F on their website).

I also have more volume in my lower cup, so the 32DDD might be just right.  I'm going to make 2 tester bras to see which is closest, and I'll go with whichever one is not too small.

I would much prefer to cut a bra with a band size that was drafted bigger and cup size that was drafted smaller, but I bought the large size of Boylston (and Marlborough, argh!!), so I'm working with what I've got.

I also purchased the Bra Making Construction and Fit Craftsy class, which has been worth its weight in gold.  Not just for alterations and measuring, but super useful things like how to put in the underwire - hint: the process is simpler than I'd ever imagined and I definitely would have screwed it up had I not watched this class.  There are so many things I didn't have a clue about, even with reading as much as I could about bra making.

I'm still wrestling the Orange Lingerie Boylston.  Fortunately the Boylston and Marlborough have the same band and cradle, so if I can get that part right, I'm well on my way to making a Marlborough bra next.

I placed my first order with Bra Maker's Supply in Ontario last night before bed, hoping that I'd have a chance of it being shipped out today so it could reach me before the upcoming long weekend, but we'll see.

32DDD - forgive the super crappy pic


The 34DDD definitely has more cup volume than I need, so I moved on and made a muslin of the 32DDD, which is actually perfect (cup volume wise), so I guess my BCD is closer to 4.5" than 4.75"!

Now I'm just awaiting proper supplies so I can actually make my real muslin, instead of just 'ballpark' muslins. LOL!

My RTW size (professionally fit, reputable brands) is 36G, which I am definitely NOT in the Orange Lingerie patterns.  Interestingly, this is also my size if I go by the under bust/full bust measurement.

Needless to say, I have much respect for the Bottom Cup Depth way of measuring.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

A Supplies Run...

I got it into my head that I had to make myself a bra.  Digging around online, it looks like there are tons of places within Canada to buy bra supplies, but I'm a tactile person and wanted to buy what I could in person.

I headed out to Fabricana in Richmond to take a look at what they had. I started with the bra making notions, and was disappointed to see that they didn't have any underwires meant for over a D cup (and they didn't seem to be labeled with the same sizing numbers (42, 44, 46, 48, etc) that I've seen in the bra patterns I've found.

They also didn't seem to have much variety in the way of elastics, lace trims, and other notions. Their hook sets were all 2 hook setups, except for two 3 hook models with a weird piece of elastic attached.

So, I consider that getting skunked as far as notions go.  Oh well, not really any further behind.

I had a quick look at the larger bolts of lace, and they didn't have a ton in the non-stretch lace area, but definitely enough, and in a few different colours.  They had an amazing supply of stretch lace though, so once I'm comfortable with the construction and find a good non-stretch lining fabric, I'd like to experiment with those.  Their swimwear fabrics were also very inciting.

The closest I could find to power mesh / power net with something called perfect fit mesh. I might need to use two layers, but I think it will likely work.  Or who knows, maybe that is power mesh. Haha!

In the end I picked up 1 meter of stretch mesh (swiss dot stretch mesh - I could not resist), 1 meter of non-stretch lace (to become part of a Marlborough bra, I think), and 0.5 meters of perfect fit mesh.  I can't get much further without some underwires and some hooks though!

I also needed to grab more medium weight interfacing for my next Closet Case Kalle Shirt.  I actually pulled the interfacing for the last one out of an abandoned project from about 5 years ago, so I definitely needed to buy more.

I thought I was done, but then I saw the most adorable little bird fabric. It was 100% cotton poplin, 58" wide, and I knew 2 meters would be enough for either a Kalle Shirt (cropped but lengthened a bit), or another Springfield shirt by Cashmerette.

100% Cotton Poplin Fabric
I've got David Coffin's book and DVD on shirtmaking out from the library right now, and I'm eager to see how my changes to the pattern pieces look after my first try at the cropped Kalle, as well as put some new knowledge to work.

And can we just talk about how addicting hidden plackets are? They're like magic!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Cropped Kalle Shirt - Closet Case

I have to say, I was in way over my head on this one. I do like a challenge though, and all in all I enjoyed making the cropped version (view A) of Closet Case's Kalle Shirt.

A post shared by Chrissy (@manicpurl) on

Lightweight Cotton Sateen that was given to me by my FIL's cousin.  This isn't a print or colour scheme I would have picked for myself, but there's something about it I really do love with this pattern.

I think it is the scale of the oversized print with the cropped shirt that I like.  The colours really don't look good on me though.

Kalle Shirt + Dress (View A) by Closet Case Patterns
Cut size 16
Hidden placket, band collar


Closet Case Kalle Sew Along
Instruction that came with the pattern

2 inch Full Bust Adjustment (FBA), without darts (as shown in the Kalle Sew Along here).
1 inch added to the armscye (1/2" added to each the front and back pieces, as well as the sleeve facing pieces).

The FBA I did ended up adding length to the front piece (not sure if I screwed it up or if it is supposed to be like this, online tutorials seem mixed on this), and I didn't add any length to the front facing or the hidden placket, so both were too short.

I ended up chopping off the extra length from the front, which solved both issues.

The FBA also added width to the shirt (obvs), so I needed to add that amount of width to the front facing pieces, because they ended up being too short and not leaving me with anything to fold back over towards the button band for a finished edge.

I ended up sewing on an 'extension' to the front facings with a very small seam allowance and folding that back into the shirt to finish the edge. It looks totally fine and you really can't tell.

Even after getting everything matched up width and lengthwise, sewing on the facings at the bottom of the shirt was a gigantic pain in the butt.  So fiddly!

...and I totally sewed on the sleeve facings on the wrong way. The short side ended up at the back. This is definitely a case of not sewing when you're tired.  I swear I checked!

I will be adding extra length to the drop at the side seam of the front facing so it meets up with where the shirt ends.  Edit:  Once I started altering the pattern pieces for "next time", I realized that I actually needed to shorten the back facing piece and just re-draw the marking dots on the front and back to line up with the marking dot on the front facing piece (after I moved the front facing piece to line up with the bottom front of the shirt).

If I had increased the length of the front facing so it extended up to meed with the back facing piece, it would have removed almost all of the side seam from the front piece and things wouldn't have lined up properly.

I will add 5/8" to the center front of the front facings so I have something to fold over for the finished edge.

I'll also need to add length to the placket so it reaches the bottom of the front of the shirt.

These were total n00b issues that I should have caught in the tissue adjustment phase of this pattern.

Finished Make
Despite the challenges, mistakes and fabric not being my colour preference, I actually really REALLY like this shirt!

The large print with the crop, the fun shape, new skills and successful troubleshooting make this a total win for me.  I'm actually a bit hesitant to make it again, since I'm so happy with this one.

My husband took one look at it and said he couldn't get past the 'ugly fabric' to make a fit judgement and was surprised I deemed it a success.  Whaaaaaa???????  Thanks buddy.  Those are 'encouraging a trip to the fabric store' words.  $$$$