A New Fantasie in the Works

I get emails from a few online bra stores. They’re full of bras, so full of design ideas. Does anyone else do that?

One came from HerRoom recently with a video attached. The video is part of a fitting series, and was talking about how the ‘center panel’ should fit. The center panel is what I’m familiar with as the bridge. I watched to see what they’d say because I’ve had so many issues with bridge-fitting. You can watch the video here.  A wonderful little extra right under the video is a transcript of the video. Here’s the part that got my attention:

“The center panel should rest firmly against your sternum. If it doesn’t, your bra cups are not deep enough so you need to go up a cup size. If your center panel is significantly pulling away from your sternum, you probably need to go up several cup sizes and down a band size.”

I knew a lot of the information in the video, including the information in the above quote, but it did give me reason to re-think my bra-making bridge issues. I had followed the instructions in the Bra Makers Manuals and ‘Frankensteined’ my bras that didn’t go all the way back to the chest wall. I did this more than once, and one of those times was with the teacher here. And even doing that. I did not get the fit I was looking for. After what felt like too many attempts, I’d given up. It was suggested I just use a lower bridge and that does work. But I’m not really one leave things alone or give up. I wanted to find a solution to this.

So, with that very persistent personality trait, and the video stirring up questions in my mind, I thought about the RTW bras I have that fit with the bridge going all the way back to the chest wall. The Prima Donna bras I have do not do that. Neither the Deauville bra, nor the Duchess bra achieve that aspect of fit, but the Deauville is somewhat better. However, because they didn’t fit to begin with, I didn’t even look at either of those to help me in drafting a new pattern.

The one RTW bra I have that does achieve this fit level is the Fantasie Vivienne.

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This picture is from the internet as, at the time of this writing, I had not made a Fantasie clone yet. The cups on this RTW fit perfectly AND the bridge does go all the way back. But the bridge does not fit properly – it’s too wide. The wire is not the correct size either. Although it’s the closest I’ve ever found in a RTW bra. It’s even got Vertical wires. Those wires are one size too big. And too big is still too big.

I was thinking, if the bridge not going all the way back is a cup-depth problem… and these cups fit perfectly… then I can use the cups. And I’ll fix the bridge and the wire size. I’d want to fix the bridge, even if the other bridge fit better because I have a custom bridge that also adjusts for a flat spot. I’d also want to use the cradle I made for the Vertical wires I use.

Out came the pattern drafting paper, and I started to re-draw my custom bridge and cradle, starting with my wires. This method is described in the Bra Makers Manual.

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Here’s the first steps of that new bridge. You can see how it is the same shape as the Vertical wire. I felt like I was off to a great start here. I know the cups fit, so at this point no changes to them (at least not yet). And with the cups fitting, the depth should be spot on.

I now have a cradle and bridge drawn, and the bridge had the custom aspects added, and I have cups that fit. I’m feeling pretty confident at this point.

Now to address how some of the changes I’m making affect the cloned pattern I already have. I’m using a different wire and it’s not the same height as the wires that came in the RTW Fantasie.

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You can see the difference in the wires here. I have to say, although the RTW wires are a bit sturdier, they are a LOT less pretty to use.

I measured the difference between my new custom bridge and the cloned one, and took that amount out of the upper cup as well. It was only a 1/4-inch, so not a huge amount, but that excess still has to go somewhere. The next adjustments to make will be to the lower cup to help it fit into a smaller cradle.

As this is getting quite long, I’m going to sign off here, and next week I’ll have the conclusion of alterations and hopefully a perfectly fitting bra, with a full bridge that goes all the way back to the chest wall!

Happy Creating!

 

A Few Summer Projects

I bought some gorgeous material earlier this spring intending to make a summer skirt. Thankfully I can say I got it finished in July. There may not have been a lot of July left, but at least it wasn’t August or later before I got it done. I must confess here, I gravitate to making bras – just love all those bits of lace and bows!

Back to my skirt. It’s such an easy skirt and so incredibly comfortable on a hot day. The idea came a couple of years ago when I bought some elastic sheered material to make sundresses. I made two, and honestly hardly wore either one. I guess they just aren’t my style. So the next summer came around and I knew I’d likely wear them just as much (hardly at all). So out came my scissor and I cut both off into skirts. I’ve had so many compliments on both skirts, and honestly, they are so light and comfortable on a hot day.

They have the simplest of waistbands – I used the sheered elastic that was already done on the material. So no waistband needed. And for me, that helps in fitting. The material comes with a cute lettuce edging, which I sew on again.

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Here you can see I’ve completed part of what will become the waistband, and I’m in process of finishing the remainder of the waist. Once that’s done, I simply used an overcasting stitch to finish it and keep the edges from fraying.

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Here’s my newest skirt on Catherine. I’ve said it before, Catherine and I don’t have the same shape when it comes to hips and waist. I do have a small waist, but not like hers!

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Here’s a closer picture of the lettuce edging on the waistband.

One other little project I had was a repair. I live pretty far north and it get bright early and dark late in the summer. I like it dark when I sleep, and there are times I’m heading to bed and it’s not dark yet. So I wear a sleep mask. It’s not one I’ve made, but I am thinking of making one. This one is one I bought and it had Velcro on the elastic to adjust it. Last week the Velcro decided to get stuck in my hair! That was not fun. So, it went in the pile of ‘to do’ sewing. I ripped out the stitches that held the old elastic, which was rather spent, and used some of my nice soft plush band elastic. It’s so much nicer and softer than what it had in there before.

While I was sewing up this little project, I noticed the sad state of my sleep mask. Yup, it’s definitely time to make a new one.

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Here’s my mask with new elastic.

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Here you can see where I inserted the elastic on the side. I was already thinking I’m going to replace this, so didn’t even bother with those few remaining black threads. Tsk, tsk.

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And the back of the sleep mask. Oh, I love that nice soft elastic and not getting my hair pulled by Velcro. Now to find a sleep mask pattern I like.

Happy creating!

Beige Lace Overlay

With this Beige Lace Overlay bra, I feel I have my beige bra wardrobe complete. I have enough of a basic color to now branch out. I won’t be able to do that tomorrow, but hopefully soon.

Here’s my latest bra – the Beige Lace Overlay:

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This style is the same as the last beige bra I made. I was so happy with the lace on that bra, I decided I’d do the same again. My thinking was if the lace is different, then it feels completely different – at least to me. (smile)

All the materials are from Bra Makers Supply – including the pattern, but it isn’t the original pattern. What I’ve done is taken the Classic Full band pattern and altered it significantly to fit me. I’ve altered the cradle, the bridge, the upper cups and the lower cups, drew my own band based on a Prima Donna band. Heck I even alter the wires.

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Here’s a close up of the front. You can see here the lace doesn’t go all the way to the top of the upper cup – but lays over the upper cup. It’s a very pretty option for this style. You can also see how the upper cup curves with the style. This style is described in the Bra Makers Manual as a Fake Demi Cup. It still gives the coverage of a full cup.

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And this photo is just because I really love adding bows to cover the strap seam. It is such a pretty feature.

I won’t show the back or sides of this bra as they are the same as what I usually do – so no changes there. However, I do want to show you something else I thought to share with you. I remember when I first started making bras. Knowing where to cut the channeling was always a bit fuzzy for me. It was rather hit and miss for a while. Sometimes it ended up under the upper band elastic, but sometimes not. I would just zigzag over it in those cases. it still worked, but wasn’t quite as pretty as I was wanting. Then I figured out a way to do it.

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You can see here I’ve folded my upper band elastic over to where I will sew it, but it’s not sewn down  yet. It’s not even pinned yet. Then I lay the channeling over that. This gives me a clear visual to use. I’m holding the channeling here for the picture because it just didn’t want to lay flat. Pins come in so handy, don’t they?

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And once I see where I want to cut it – where the top of the channeling will lay under the elastic – then I cut it. I also cut it on a bit of an angle. I follow the slope of the band rather than cutting it straight across the top of the channeling.

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And here you can see how neatly the 3-step zigzag finishes that channeling. I hope this helps.

One last bit here, do you remember this?

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I’m in the hunting-gathering stage for this project. I’m collecting laces to put together to make my own version of this beautiful bra Amy Relf made. You can read my post on it here. I LOVED this, and have the picture beside my sewing desk to remind me to work on this.

Happy creating!

 

 

 

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!

 

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