The Other Apron

A few weeks ago I posted about an apron I’d sewn for a friend. And she loved it! I just finished the second apron. And it’s just as cute and original as the first apron was. The apron is a pattern I bought on Craftsy. It’s a pattern by So Sew Easy. She has a number of free patterns I’ve been looking at, and will try at some point. The apron pattern is the Reversible Apron – I’ve got you covered!.

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The colors of this material are so beautiful. I really enjoyed working with them. And I’m saving all the little bits for that quilt that I’m going to sew one day.

I did make a few changes to this apron. The first change was, it’s not reversible. For that reason, I won’t review the pattern, except to say I do like the pattern, and the instructions were clear up to sewing the two sides together, which I didn’t follow or even read. For that reason, I don’t feel it’s fair to give it a review. But for how I used it, I had no problems.

Another change I made was to add a bow to the front. When I looked at the apron front, I just felt it needed something. My dress form, Catherine, is so small in the waist and hips that the apron ties go right around her and the ties made a bow in the front. When I tied the apron at the back as it is above and will be how my friend wears it, there just seemed to be something missing. So I added a bow in the same glittery black fabric.

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Here’s one of the sides. I love these adorable pockets! They are so cute. They’re from the same material I used for the front panel on the first apron, but smaller. They’re perfect for pockets.

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Here’s a close up of the pocket. The folksy theme is so charming to me.

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Here’s the other side, using a different patterned theme for the pocket.

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I think I mentioned I love the musical theme to this fabric. I’ve played piano since I was 4 or 5, so it’s bringing a couple of my loves together. And in such a pretty way.

And the last change I made, which I didn’t do on the first apron, was to leave the overlock stitching showing. I decided I liked how it looked on this one, and let it be part of the design of the apron. It doesn’t show up very much against the batik material, but really pops out against the black glittery material.

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Happy creating!

A Black Plunge with Butterfly Effect

I must say, I was inspired recently after reading Madalynne’s blog where she planned to do a bra-making marathon. (Way to go, Madalynne!) However, I live a very different lifestyle than Madalynne – for starters, I’m married, and have two sons. I rarely get days to myself without someone needing my help or assistance. But I was inspired and thought I’d see what I could do too.

So bright and early Saturday morning, I cut out 2 bras. One in black with some gorgeous black and pink lace. The second bra is a beige, with a pretty beige and tan lace. Both sets are from Bra Makers Supply. I was off to a good start. Then reality began to impinge on my plans. I had laundry to catch up on, and my dear hubby and son arrived home after a 4-day camping trip. But I did make some progress.

The black bra was the first one I worked on. And it was coming together very well. Until I hit a bump. Perhaps because there was so much activity happening around me that wasn’t usual activity, whatever the reason I made a faux pas after attaching the upper band elastic to the outside of the strap. I didn’t notice it either. It wasn’t until I had turned the strap over and was trimming the excess, and had a brief thought as my scissors snipped the material, ‘that looks folded’. SNIP.

I’m not sure how I folded excess material under the elastic, but I did. And then I cut it! Ouch. Well, I know me too well; I’d never accept that. I knew I wouldn’t wear it if it had a flaw. So, out came my trusty seam ripper, and I carefully started removing all the stitches from the strap. First, I removed all the stitches from the elastic I’d just sewn on. That wasn’t too bad. That was just a zigzag. But the side with the trim on it had both zigzag and 3-step zigzag stitches that had to come out.

I got it all done, and attached a new strap. I re-sewed all the elastic and trim to the outside of the strap, and then carefully turned it and matched it up and sewed the 3-step zigzag. And it looks good. Whew.

Okay, enough drama. Here’s my black plunge with a Butterfly Effect.

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I think the Butterfly Effect is more pronounced when the style isn’t a Plunge style, but I’m still very happy with it. It’s a very pretty way to add some lace to a bra. And I do like lace.

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Here’s a closer view of the Butterfly Effect. You can also see the foam cups I have behind the cups. The way a Butterfly Effect is done is a bit unusual. You start to sew the cups together, stop, add the lace, and then finish sewing the cups together. This effect is shown and explained in detail in the Bra Makers Manual.

The little pink bows that match the pink so perfectly were from the Bra Maker’s teacher I had here one weekend. (I’ve had the lace in my stash that long.) She had a big bag of bows and I think I might have drooled when I saw it. She let me match up a few bows to lace I had. Thanks, Jane.

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Isn’t that adorable? I took the picture before I had sewn the bows on.  They’re just pinned on at this point. But what a great color match.

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Now on this one, there are two pins. One is holding the bow in place for where it will go. the red-headed pin is to make sure I remembered, once the bra was all sewn, which strap I’d messed up. Looking at this, I’m really pleased with how well I repaired this faux pas.

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And the back of my newest plunge bra. I may tweak this back a bit and bring the shoulder straps in a bit. They’re not falling off my shoulders, but they do look quite far apart when I look at the back. Something for me to think about.

And that second bra I cut out? Well, it’s all cut out and sitting on my desk just waiting for me to have a few hours to myself to begin it.

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The good news is, it will wait.

Happy creating!

 

La Bella Luna

I hope all my Canadian and American readers both had wonderful holidays. Canada’s birthday is July 1st, and America’s is July 4th. Let me tell you, there’s one week a year where most of the continent is celebrating.

I just finished the cloned bra I made for a friend of mine. and it looks so pretty. Prettier than the pictures show. And she LOVED it. She exclaimed when she saw it that it was prettier than the original. Well, that made me feel good!

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She chose Ivory & Pink for her colors. And they really do look so nice together. All supplies came from Bra Makers Supply. Here’s a close up of the set we bought at Bra Makers Supply.

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And the back of  her bra.

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It all went together quite smoothly. Cloning is easier than pattern adjusting!

There were a few things I noticed on this bra that were a bit different than I was expecting. One was on the original bra, the manufacturer only used 1/2″ band elastic – if it was that wide. I was really surprised when I saw it and how narrow it looked. I didn’t measure it, but honestly, it looked like the same as the upper band elastic. I changed that to 5/8th width which is more supportive and should be more comfortable.

Changing the size of the elastic meant I had to add that extra bit to the pattern I traced. That wasn’t a problem, but there was not room for all that elastic under the cups. So, with bated breath, I followed the advice Beverly gave in a recent blog. She explains how to cut the elastic so it will fit under the wire.

I read her blog and thought, ‘that makes sense’, but then when it came time to actually cut the elastic! Oh, my! What a terrifying feeling. I had just spent hours sewing this bra… and it’s for someone else… and she paid for all the materials… and I’m about to cut it! Can you feel the drama there? Well, I can tell you I’m so very thankful it all turned out.

But I didn’t just cut the elastic. That was too big a step for me, so I took a preparation step first. To help me feel more comfortable cutting, I folded the elastic over the seam where the cups were sewn into the cradle – that same seam the channeling will be sewn onto – and then traced on the elastic where I could feel the seam underneath the elastic. Sorry, no pictures of that. I was busy holding my breath that it would all work out! Then I simply cut along that traced line. It all worked perfectly. When I do this again, I’ll take pictures to show you.

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On this slightly blurry picture (Sorry, technical difficulties), you can see the elastic is much wider at the lower bridge than what can possibly fit under the channeling. Trimming the elastic is a great option.

As well, on the above picture you can (barely) see the seam in the bridge. That was another one of the surprises I found on the original bra. Most patterns I’ve come across have the bridge cut on the fold. This original bra had a seam in the bridge. So I added a seam allowance to the bridge, and seamed both the duoplex on the front of the bra and the sheer cup lining.

Again, not super clear, is the lower cup of this bra is lined and there is a vertical seam in the lining. It shows up much better in this photo of the original bra.

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That seam line that is visible is actually in the lining, not in the lower cup. So I copied that as well.

The only finishing touch I’d still like to add are a couple of bows to cover the strap seams. They always make it look so much prettier.

One last surprise on this original bra was the lower cup fabric is stretchy! That one doesn’t even make sense. When dealing with cups larger than a C why would a manufacturer use stretchy fabric? It’s not supportive. So one negative is my friend said she could use a little more room in the lower cup. It fits and she’s still thrilled with it, but we’re thinking of changing things up for her next bra. I’m thinking the Shelley bra will be perfect for her.

And lastly, my friend, Jan, really loved her apron. She wanted a picture of her wearing it for the blog. Not only her wearing the apron, but she grabbed a spatula from the kitchen to make it look like she was busy cooking too.

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Happy creating!

 

Kwik Sew 3300

This is such a pretty style. Here is my Kwik Sew 3300:

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I think it looks so pretty with the black and white theme. The lace was a gift, and the floral stretch lace is from a local fabric store. All other material supplies are from Bra Makers Supply.

It’s pretty, but there were a couple of fitting issues. One really wasn’t a biggie. This bra  had the straps pinned up about 2 inches here in the picture – so I shortened those.

The bigger fitting issue is the upper part of the cup is loose. I could pinch a quarter-inch out of the upper cup. That shouldn’t be too hard to fix on the pattern, and thankfully it doesn’t show when I wear it. This style actually fits similarly to how a foam cup bra fits.

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You can see here where I pinned the cup.

The steps I took beforehand really helped me to get the cup to fit properly. Here’s what I did for this bra (and some of this is from  past posts, but I’m putting it all together here):

The first thing I did was sew up a muslin for the cups. I did this twice. After looking at the pattern pieces, and picking the one I thought was closest to my size, I sewed up my first muslin. I used some scrap cotton I had left over from a skirt muslin I’d made. On this first one I could see how much I would need to adjust the pattern along the wire line. Remember, I my wear one size bra for the cups, but my wire size does not match that – it’s quite a bit smaller. So that was my first adjustment.

Standard alteration to fit in smaller wires

You can see here where I pinned out the excess material.

After I altered the pattern I sewed up another cup muslin. Again, I used some left over cotton, but this time it was from one of my moulages. This second one I pinned over an existing well-fitting bra. It was a pretty good fit at this point. But still needed a bit of adjustment. On this second muslin I drew where the seam lines fell underneath it.  Again, dealing with an Omega shape means most patterns don’t fit the way they are.

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At this point I was pretty sure I had the right size and shape for me. And I was really close.

This bra has a vertical seam, so no upper and lower cup, but instead and inside and outside cup. I was using lace for both the inside and outside cups, so I lined them both with sheer cup lining. That made both cups completely non-stretch to give it the support it needed. I’ve done this before on all lace bras, and it works great. I usually don’t use lycra because I don’t find it offers the support needed, but using this sheer cup lining would be a great option for under lycra too.

At this point I was feeling quite confident that this bra was going to fit without any issues. You see, most of my issues have been the bridge and the adjustments I needed for the Omega shape. I haven’t run into this looseness before.

I didn’t use the band that came with the pattern. I used the one I know fits wells. I now have a custom bridge that is working great for me and I wasn’t going to mess with that. As well, I drafted the cradle on my band to fit a Vertical wire and a custom bridge. After all the work to get the band to fit so well, there was no way I was going to try another band! All I was really wanted was to insert the 3300 cups into my band for a different look.

Even though this bra pattern still needs some tweaking, the steps I took ahead of time really were worth all the effort. And if you have challenges with fitting, I really recommend this method of fitting the bra cups. A shout out to Sigrid for sharing this. And after much searching, I realized it was not in her blog, but on Pattern Review. She explained this when she reviewed Merckwaerdigh‘s BHST2 pattern. Really a great tip!

Happy Creating!

 

Gardens and Flowers Popping Up Everywhere – Even on Bras

Oh, does anyone else feel like I do? I have all these projects I want to do, or have committed to make, and it beautiful outside! I don’t want to sit inside sewing. But I do have a few things I have to sew this week, so I’ll have to spend some time inside. I have a second apron to make, and finish the cloned Prima Donna Luna bra.

We moved to our current home 6 years ago. I loved it from the minute I saw it. It’s a charming split-level, and has a big tree out front and two gardens in the front and one along the side of the house, and one in the back. I love to garden. Starting plants from cuttings or seeds is one of my favorite things to do. That just gives me so much more pleasure than buying a plant. But don’t get me wrong – I have no problem buying them too. Another delight is to get a plant from a friend. Every time I see a plant a friend gave me, I think of that friend. That is such a delight.

Our wonderful home with all its gardens was really a delight to me. We moved in right at the beginning of summer, so everything was new and fresh to me. And all the plants were something new to discover. One thing that was not a delight was the previous owner had dug up some of her favorites and left bare spots in the garden. That wasn’t very attractive. So I found new plants to fill those spots.

Another area that was a bit of trouble was the one garden in the front of the house was in the sun most of the day and was under part of the roofing, so it didn’t get any rain. That poor little garden was dried right out. And it didn’t seem to matter how much I watered it, nothing wanted to grow there.

It was that winter I heard about a Naturalization group. They provide information and activities that promote planting and cultivating native flowers. It was then I heard about Zero-scaping.  It sounded like the perfect solution to my difficult little garden.

I dragged my dear hubby along with me to a meeting. And did we pick a great meeting to test out! The members of the group were selling and trading seeds. We didn’t have any to trade, but I bought a bunch. Some needed to be watered and then frozen as if they’d been outside since summer. Some we just waited until spring and then planted indoors to start.

It is a delight for me to walk by that little garden now and see all the flowers blooming there. They’re not as showing as many flowers, but considering where that little garden started… it looks great!

One of my favorite flowers is Small-leaved Everlasting, or Little-leaf Pussy-toes. Even the name is adorable. I have a pink variety, and it really is a charming plant.

Littleleaf Pussytoes, Antennaria parviflora

I put in Wild Blue Flax as well. That one didn’t seem to take at first, but is doing well now.

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Another one of my favorites is Three-flowered Avens. This one is such a neat looking flower.

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However, we do have the odd rainy day, and when we had one last week, I quickly went to work on one of my many projects – like the Kwik Sew 3300. I’m about half way through my first bra from that pattern and it’s coming together really well. Here is one cup sewn into the band pinned onto Catherine just to show my progress so far.

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I did match the lace on the upper cups, but decided not to match the pattern on the lower cups. This being a black and white bra, I only intend to ever wear it under solid dark colors. However, once I sewed that first cup in, I thought the center of that flower really isn’t in the best place. That gave my dear hubby a chuckle. For now, it can stay the way it is. If it fits as well as I’m hoping, I’ll think about pattern placement before I make it again next time.

Happy creating and gardening!

Sewing for a Friend

So what am I working on? I’ve cloned the Prima Donna Luna bra. It’s a very pretty bra, and my friend is so happy to have a good-fitting bra. But the color is not what she would have chosen. I know that too — when you get outside of standard sizes, you don’t always have the same choices, and pale green would not have been a choice she normally would have made. But when one makes bras, we can choose what materials and colors we want.

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So, my friend came over and brought her bra. And I set her up on my computer to look at Bra Makers Supply’s kits. She looked through and picked a few she liked. And she found more than a few! But we’re starting with one kit and one bra, and we’ll see from there. While she was looking, I was using the pin-method of cloning. I showed her how by putting the pins into the seams, the fabric isn’t damaged at all.

Here’s the kit she picked. It’s very pretty and delicate looking.

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As well as a bra, my friend is moving into a new house, and she wanted a new apron that would go with the colors of her new kitchen. So again, we went shopping – this time to the fabric store, and with pattern in hand, we picked some fun colors for her new apron.

The apron is a pattern I bought on Craftsy. It’s a pattern by So Sew Easy. She has a number of free patterns I’ve been looking at, and will try at some point. But the apron pattern is the Reversible Apron – I’ve got you covered!.

After I bought the pattern and we bought the material, my friend decided she didn’t want a reversible apron. She wants two aprons! So although I’ll be using the pattern to cut out the apron, I won’t be following the instructions as they are written, and won’t be able to give a fair appraisal of the instructions, or at least not all of them. I did follow the instructions up to attaching the neck ties, but not after that. And dropping off in the middle of instructions like that, left me to come up with a way to finish the edges. However, up until that point, she did a great job explaining and showing with pictures how to sew the apron.

Here’s the apron I made:

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I love that front panel. It’s so charming.

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And the material here with the sparkles is the neckline trim, ties, the waist band and ties, and the bottom band as well. Why shouldn’t a girl be sparkly in the kitchen as well?

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This picture really shows why the apron is called ‘I’ve got you covered!’ – it wraps around the hips. That is a very nice touch if you ask me. Much better than just covering the front of the body. This apron wraps right around Catherine (my dress form) as Catherine really doesn’t have any hips at all.

And lastly,

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Faith, hope and love … and musical notes! It’s even got flowers in there. That just about wraps up everything I love right there.  Hmmm, just thinking, it needs lace.

Happy creating!

 

 

Disappointment… and Success!

Oh, at times I feel like I am the Queen of bras that just aren’t right. Sigh. My bra last week? I was so excited to wear it and thought it was going to be perfect… and it wasn’t. I wore it for an evening and the foam distorted the lower cup too much. It just wasn’t the right shape. It probably has to do with the Omega shape; but, whatever the reason, it didn’t work. At present, that sad little bra is sitting beside me with the foam cut out of the bottom cup.

Before cutting the foam out, I had thought about taking the bra apart and had removed the wires from the channeling. Then I sighed and put it down. It was after that I had the bright idea to simply trim along the seam lines where the foam was. So after I put another pair of wires in, it really should be fine.

While the bra was sitting there for a few days, I decided to make another beige bra. I really do need a couple of lighter bras for summer.

And I wanted lace on the upper cup too. I love lace. I’m still trying to figure out how to incorporate a lace upper cup. The shape of the upper cup curves quite a bit on this pattern, and most upper cups are fairly straight across that upper edge. I did try using lace on one beige bra. I cut the lace following the curved edge and zigzagged over the raw cut edge, but I didn’t love how it turned out. I’m thinking a dart might be needed to incorporate the curve, maybe two. Like this:

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So, enough of that disappointment, and even the contemplation. Here is my most recent Beige Plunge:

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I love this bra! It’s so pretty. To use the lace, I cut the upper cups from Duoplex and then laid the lace over that. The Duoplex is from Bra Makers Supplies (BMS), and so are all my other components, except the lace, which was a gift. Thank you again, Naomi. The pattern is from BMS too, but altered to fit an Omega shape and then altered again to make a ‘fake’ demi bra, or plunge-style bra.

The lace is a nice stretch lace, but it was a bit challenging to use at first. I pinned it down, and did a zigzag over the lace, and it moved. I took the stitches out, and tried again, and it moved again. I changed my stitch length, tried again, and it moved again! I thought briefly of not using lace, but instead got out my trusty Temporary Fabric Adhesive (TFA), and sprayed the back of the lace, laid it over the upper bra cups and sewed it. It didn’t move at all. I love TFA for anything difficult like that. It worked perfectly! I’ve used it before and highly recommend it for anything like that.

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Here you can see the lace overlaying the Duoplex. I may use this technique in a few more ways. I really am happy with this and how it turned out.

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I loved the look of the lace on the upper cup, so put some on the band too. I wanted the scallops to show, so didn’t cover the whole band. The elastic has a lot of stretch, so it works very well on the band.

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And the back band. There were no problems here.

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Here’s a close up of the bridge. How pretty is that? The trim, the lace, the bow? I’m very excited to now have two bras that fit so well. What a struggle this has been.

On my desk next week is to work on the Kwik Sew 3300, sew an apron for a friend, and clone a bra for her. I told her I’m willing to clone her favorite bra so she has a pattern, and sew her up a copy, but I’m very weary of alterations just now, so no alterations.

Happy Creating!

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