Thursday, September 21, 2017

Marlborough Bra - Part 1 - Top Cup

I fiddled with this pattern big time and wanted to detail all my changes and process.

I used the 32DDD as a base, and added 2.75" to the band piece (for a total of 5.5" in band circumference).  I also split the lower cup and added 0.25" to each side of the split (0.5" total).

My lace isn't galloon (the stuff with the nice border), it's yardage, so I needed to do something to finish off the top of the cup. I added a 0.25" seam allowance to the top cup piece, and used 0.25" elastic to finish the top of the cup.

The reason I added the 0.25" seam allowance was because that was what I would lose in attaching and folding down the elastic.

I applied the elastic by laying the top cup piece and elastic both right side up, and zigzagging down the top edge. I then turned the elastic to the wrong side and zigzagged it in place. Dammnnn this looks great for very little effort!

Here's the top cup piece after the first zigzag -

And here it is after being zigzagged in place -

My zigzag was set at 2.0mm long and 2.5mm wide on my machine and I think it looks good.

You may be wondering what the orange sticker dots are all about...I use them to denote the 'right side' of the fabric.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Fall Fare: Spiced Pear Muffins

Let me start by saying how much I love the recipes from The Kitchn.  I don't think they've ever steered me wrong.  I actually made some delicious pumpkin muffins earlier this week, which I completely forgot to photograph, so I'll talk about them next time I make them.

Today I made Spiced Pear Muffins. They're great. Perfect fall food.  Leaves turning red? Make these muffins. I'm currently eating one alongside a cup of Forever Nuts from David's Tea. Perfection.

I ended up using bosc pears for the first time ever. Usually I get bartlett pears and use them for everything, but when I stopped in at the grocery store this morning, all their bartlett pears were several days away from being ripe, and I wanted them now!!

The bosc pears worked great, I'd use them again in a heartbeat.

So, for the recipe, I didn't do what I was told...using a mixer when it comes to muffins...I don't know, it just seems...wrong.  I melted the butter (and upped it to 2 sticks...because I'm evil and it makes the best muffins ever to up the butter), mixed all the wet ingredients in one bowl, all the dry ingredients in another, then lightly mixed the wet ingredients into the dry, followed by folding in the pears.

I always forget that I'm a 'mix the sugars into the wet ingredients' baker now. I love the way things mix up when I do this (almost as much as the life-changing effects of bringing your milk and eggs to room temperature), but I almost always forget!

Delicious muffins, great texture, nice spices next to the pear.  A winner. I'll make these again.  Ooh, also, no sugar on top - too messy!  I don't want to have to follow the kids around with a broom anymore than I have to.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Boo Who? Halloween Pillow Cases

Late last night I decided that both kids absolutely needed Halloween pillowcases for their toddler pillows, so I set out to find a tutorial.  I had seen a mention of the 'burrito method', which I was familiar with from sewing the Kalle Shirt by Closet Case Patterns, but I couldn't really picture how it would be used on a pillow case.

I ended up finding this YouTube video that told of a 15 minute toddler pillow case using the burrito method, and it was super clear on how to get this easy process to work. More like 'burrito magic!"

I have a small stash of Halloween fabrics from a quilt I started a few years ago (and mostly finished, the top anyway), so with those leftovers, and a few from my bag making days (the zigzag fabric), I got to work.

I had hoped to be able to make the kids matching pillows, because they fight over everything, but I didn't have enough of any of my Halloween fabrics, so they'll just have to fight over them.  Both of the Halloween prints are from the same collection - Boo Who? by Jerianne Van Dijk, Licensed to SSI.  I really wish I had bought more of these fabrics at the time, since I definitely want more, but they've been in my stash for years now.

I did a cursory search online for more of this collection, and was reminded that there are a million new Halloween fabrics that I'd also like to try. LOL!!

We have the ikea toddler/cot pillow, and it seems a bit big for these pillow cases - it hangs out the end a little (creative photography hides this). With that in mind, I'd add 2 inches to the main fabric piece, so it would measure 30" x 18" instead of the 30" x 16" it measures now.  Other than that, it's perfect! I see many more of these in my future, and the kids love them too.

I have enough scraps to make a couple of little Halloween themed bags. I'm thinking maybe this one or this one...

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Bra #2 Is Finished!

For my second bra, I used the Boylston bra pattern from Orange Lingerie again.

This time I made a few changes though. I reduced the band length by 1/2 an inch (1/4 inch from the right and 1/4 inch from the left, so the pattern piece was only reduced by 1/4 inch).

chain piecing as much as I can...can you tell I started out as a quilter? 

I also reduced the width of the fabric straps by cutting off the seam allowances from each vertical edge (leaving the horizontal edges alone). This left enough space for my 3/8 elastic to be applied and turned at the narrowest point, but not a whole lot more.  I also top stitched the edge opposite the elastic, which I think looks a million times better.

so pretty, but so uncomfortable

 These two alterations are in addition to widening the bottom of the bridge by 1/4 inch that I made to the pattern last time, and cutting a 32DDD with an increased band width (overall after this time's alterations, each side of the band had 2.75 inches added to it).

Again, I lined the entire bra (minus the band) with 15 denier, but changed things up with a swiss dot stretch mesh outer fabric (instead of the non-stretch lace from last time). I figured the 15 denier would keep the support I needed. WRONG!!

The 15 denier/stretch mesh fabric combo doesn't have enough support. It actually looks okay, but is is so uncomfortable. I don't enjoy having my b00bs resting on the top of my stomach when I sit down, and having them do this in coarse feeling stretch mesh is terrible!  Yuck!!

Needless to say, I won't be using this combo again.

One last change I made to this bra (vs the last one) was using size 44 regular underwires (from Bra Maker's Supply), which I had to cut at the center to make them fit.

The cutting went pretty well (I used a Sharpie to mark where I wanted to cut and bolt cutters to snip them, followed by a file to get rid of the super sharp edge, and then heat shrink tubing).

The size 42 underwires are definitely much more comfortable on me though, so that's what I'll be buying going forward.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Adventures In Stretch Mesh

After my first Boylston success, I wanted to make a second one to see if I would be as lucky (and also implement some little changes, like the band shortening and I narrowed the straps as well - hopefully that's not a total disaster!).

I would have switched over to the Marlborough, but I don't have enough strap elastic.

For the second one I am using the same 15 denier lining, but this time I'm pairing it with swiss dot stretch mesh (one way stretch).  The stretch mesh is infinitely more difficult to work with!

after zigzagging the two layers together

I started out with a straight stitch, and had no luck at all, so I grabbed some scraps from cutting out these materials and played around a little bit. I ended up switching over to a narrow short zigzag (1.5 mm wide and 1.5 mm long) and it was like that was exactly what this material was meant to be sewn with. What a difference!

After the last Boylston, I decided I would try out some 505 spray fabric adhesive to stick the straps, and the frame together with their respective lining pieces.  I had to wait for morning so I had some light, but I lucked out with a relatively wind-free day, and got to work.

drying after fabric adhesive application in the backyard

I did a little test piece first, and that seemed to go well, so I moved on to the actual pattern pieces.  I did one at a time and gave it a light dusting of 505 on the 15 denier and then placed the mesh on top of that.

Hopefully the fabric adhesive will help me keep those layers together!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

I Made a Bra!

I finished sewing the Boylston Bra by Orange Lingerie last night.  It fits! I can't believe it! And it actually looks good.  Honestly, I was surprised.  I wasn't expecting it to both fit and look good, but it does.

Once I had narrowed down a size (through 3 woven cotton (not recommended) muslins) it took me 2 naptimes and 3 full evenings to cut and sew this bra.

I used the instructions from the pattern, along with the Craftsy Bra Making Construction and Fit class. I would not have been able to achieve the results I did without the Craftsy class.  In my opinion, the Boylston Bra pattern isn't written for someone who has never ever made a bra before.

32DDD. (I should have bought the smaller sized pattern, because I'm not my RTW size in this (also, the sizing is confusing, as DD appears to be an 'E' in this one?).  I used the sister sizing/bottom cup depth info that I posted about a few days ago.

I sized up the band to a 38 by adding a total of 6" to the band (3" on each side).  I should have added slightly less than that, because my band could stand to be about 1/2" shorter (I'm on the tightest hooks).

I also added 1/4" at the bottom of the bridge, since I have some splaying action going on there.  This since this piece is cut on the fold, it added 1/2" total (which come to think of it, could be where I gained that 1/2" extra on the band?)...

Non-stretch lace, 15 denier lining, powernet (the non-stretch lace and powernet were from Fabricana, and the 15 denier lining was from Bra Maker's Supply).  I fully lined the lace, so everywhere that has a layer of lace in this bra also has a layer of 15 denier.  I should have bought some fabric adhesive, and I learned that basting with the lace side down (feed dog side) is the only way to control these two layers.

I bought fabric adhesive for next time.

I also used a 'large' findings kit in black from Bra Maker's Supply.  I didn't use the neck/top of cup elastic, and I barely had enough strap elastic. Such is life when you order a kit...

For the strap elastic, you basically have to have a mostly fabric strap, because there was only 20.5" of strap elastic in the kit (10.25" for the entirety of each strap). Particularly a bummer, because I have 2 more kits that I had planned to do fully elastic straps with and now I know I won't have enough.

Size 42 regular underwire from Bra Maker's Supply. I bought a 42, 44, 46 underwire in the regular and the long lengths, and the regular fit well in the Boylston, and the 42 fit my body well and fit in the bra too!   I think I will likely be able to use the 44's in a future bra (perhaps I'm a 43? haha), but the 46's are definitely to wide and too long.

Rotary cutter, self healing mat, pattern weights
Bernina 1230 sewing machine, 1/4" foot, zigzag foot, blind hem foot (for lining up top stitching)
Embroidery scissors, applique scissors
Iron, pressing ham
Size 10 ballpoint Schmetz needle
Silk pins

Straight stitch, zigzag, 3 step zigzag

I have to say, I'm pretty impressed with myself on this one! It was super unfamiliar construction, difficult fitting, and tricky fabrics, and I ended up with a great result!

The stitching on the top of the right cup feels like it needs some stretch, but I think that has more to do with a bit of a seam allowance issue in working with the two slippery fabrics together. Although, I wonder if I would have been better off using a zigzag stitch on that seam.

I also don't really like the lace for the straps. It just feels too delicate.  If I was going to make another lace Boylston I would likely do full elastic straps.  I think the neck side of the straps would have benefited from some top stitching, as well as the top of the cups, but that could just be because of my fabric choice.

I think I'm going to try a Marlborough Bra next.